If you follow Lathere and I on Twitter you probably read our despondent tweets a few nights back where we lamented the general sea of impatient and unkind players found via the Dungeon Finder.
After being carried through Throne of the Four Winds Lathere was wearing purple coloured glasses (if you can imagine such a thing). And the best place for us to get gear right now? The Heroic Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub dungeons. And before we can qualify for the Z Heroics we need a bit more gear from normal Heroics.
Isn’t it odd how even between dungeons, normal or heroic, there are still different shades of difficulty?
And fresh from a 6-9 month gap, we had forgotten how unfriendly and punishing other players can be.
We queued for a Random Cataclysm Heroic and landed in Blackrock Caverns.
Blackrock Caverns: Heroic but easy
We made a big mistake: we behaved like ourselves. This means that I, mistakenly, took time to say hello to people in our groups. Lathere almost immediately announced:
“This is the first time I’ve done this Heroic”
Or words to that effect. I chimed in:
“Me too. So any tips or reminders would be great.”
What I really wanted to say was: I will probably remember most of the boss tactics – from normal mode that is – after we’ve pulled each boss but having a quick little reminder before we pull will help me recall and perhaps do a better job. And I’d like to be told what is different on normal mode.
Our tank’s response was simple:
“Then we’re fucked.”
I thought that was a little extreme. Perhaps we should be grateful that he didn’t just leave the party immediately? No, wait, I think I would have preferred that.
Lath was quick to defend us “We’ll be fine. We’re not idiots!”
He went on to say something like “if DPS don’t know how to handle the beams on the second boss there’s no point”.
I was on Vent with the third member of our party, a Mage from our guild, so asked him what the tank was talking about. I did actually remember that boss – Corla, Herald of Twilight – quite well from normal mode when I was leveling:
In normal mode she she has two Zealots – one on each side of her – and when the fight starts they get struck by a steady, continuous beam (the purpose and origin of which escape me). The beam can be intercepted by a player simply by standing between the source of the beam and the NPC.
If the beam is not intercepted properly the Zealots turns into a giant ugly Patchwerk looking thing and promptly eats your healer – face first – and then the rest of the party.
I remembered this fight well and also remembered intercepting the beam back at level 80/81. Two players are required to intercept two beams.
In Heroic mode it’s three Zealots and three beams. Ideally you would have two ranged DPS intercept the two outermost beams and someone in melee intercept the middle one. If you only had one ranged DPS – or a more capable healer than melee DPS – you could ask your healer to take a beam, too.
I asked my friend, our Mage, over Vent:
Don’t you just have to watch stacks of something? Like you can’t take 100 or something?
I should point out here that our friendly Mage was on an alt and usually plays DPS as a Warrior. His advice was something vague about “get out before 80″.
This seemed straight forward enough and I was optimistic as I volunteered to take the far right beam on as my responsibility. The tank took the center one and my friend, our Mage, took the leftmost beam. I played cautiously and – since those stacks of the debuff ticked up so fast – strafed out just after 60. Taking in lag meant that my stacks were close to 80 before the beam broke from me.
Soon as it wore off I was back in there. And out before 80 again. That’s when things went wrong: my Zealot morphed into something big and scary. I knew something had gone wrong. And that it was my fault. But I was perplexed: exactly what should I do differently next time?
We wiped. I tried to explain what I had done over vent – hoping for someone to quickly grasp my mistake and fill me in – while we ran back.
Too late. Our tank left the party but not before leaving with a
word of advice parting shot:
I suggest you learn how to do this before doing it on heroic.
How maddening! We replaced him and tried again with a new tank. This time around I had a chance to read the tooltip of the debuff and adjusted accordingly. The limit was 100, not 80 and getting out at 80 (not before) was a breeze.
Solved! Much easier than juggling Netherspite’s 3 beams, that’s for sure!
Am I behind the learning curve? Am I to be expected to get it first time? Am I expected to read up and study for each Heroic before I queue?
Maybe. That’s a shame. Learning first hand is so much more memorable. I don’t think I would even remember if I just read about it.
Starting the Heroic like that wasn’t enjoyable. I don’t think I relaxed completely until it was finished.
Afterward I found myself staring at my list of dated, but otherwise hard won titles from the last two expansions. Just to remind myself that I am a good player even if I am a little rusty and inexperienced with the ways of Cataclysm.
Grim Batol: Normal but as difficult as normal gets
For the next few days we scaled back to queuing for the Random Cataclysm dungeon (non heroic that is). At level 85 “Random Cataclysm dungeon” means apparently means “Grim Batol“.
Lathere and I are overgeared for it and there’s not one upgrade for us there. But I diligently tried to pay attention to each boss ability, storing it away as practice for Heroic Grim Batol (which Ive actually done already a few times right after hitting 85).
These were straightforward runs. I rejoiced in the no-pressure but party-friendly use of Psychic Scream and Psychic Horror. Lath stopped paying attention to her mana: she had more than enough to play comfortably.
ZulAman: Heroic and difficult
When we approached Heroics again Lathere chose the dungeon for gear (Zul Aman and Zul Gurub) on the proviso that our group and our tank were from our guild.
With a small amount of nagging and peer pressure we were able to talk some “old school” guildies into a ZA run (I say old school because these are the tiny percentage of players that were in the guild when Lath and I raided).
Oh my what fun!
I was mad keen to see what had happened to ZA: had they mangled it? Split it into pieces?
There’s no easy answer except to say: it’s so much like before. I actually know that instance better than I know any of the Cataclysm content. Which is saying something: I was no expert at ZA the raid and I’ve forgotten a lot in the last 3 years.
Most of the boss abilities seem to be similar although there is some rather major differences between old Nalorakk and new Nalorakk. I guess that makes sense: that fight was very much about two tanks working in tandem and juggling their threat at key points. Now players juggle their distance from Nalorakk to juggle occasional charge/swipe attacks from him.
Akil’zon doesn’t just force you to react to a Thunderstorm anymore – now his swooping birds actually try and pick players up. I’m pretty sure they didn’t do that before.
I teased Lathere something fierce as we approached the gauntlet to the Jan’alai boss. In the Burning Crusade we called on Lath to trap approaching Scouts before they could run to their drums and summon extra groups. Her timing was always so poor (like casting it after multiple, alarmed requests from us over Vent, usually by then they had already reached the drums!) we eventually took the responsibility away from her. Crowd Control is probably not her strongest point.
In saying that, I nearly wiped us on the Jan’alai boss simply because I didn’t realise the Hatchers would die with so little damage. I one shot on the Hatchers while our Shaman was killing the other and then saw our tank running towards my side to tank the hatched birds. Well the birds that would have been hatched if I hadn’t accidentally killed the Hatcher so fast!
Hex Lord Malacrass was a breeze and those Spirit Bolts made me itch for Circle of Healing.
Zul’jin has been replaced by a new last boss Daakara. The concept was much the same however in that the final boss channels the ability of each of the four animal avatars – bosses – already defeated.
Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!) ZA was so much fun. And I felt so comfortable there. In my element. I felt powerful too, although I’m sure that’s because my teammates were doing most of the damage, but that’s a topic for another post.
Oh yeah, and Lath healed just fine!
Zul’Gurub – Heroic and damn difficult
The following night, fresh from our success in Zul’Aman, Lathere and I queued for a Random Z. I’m going to call it the Random Z queue from here on out since both of the instances start with that letter and I can’t remember exactly how they are grouped.
While Lathere and I had some experience with Zul’Gurub (we used to run it with guildies before they were ready for Karahan just to get the raiding hook in) we didn’t run it at level 60.
What I do remember of the instance seems to have been changed completely anyway. You could argue that there are still Trolls in ZG but I think that’s where the similarity ends. Fortunately we dragged a third guildy, Velidra, along with us and asked him explain the important stuff over Vent. I think he may have regretted his decision by the end of the night and I do feel quite bad about that.
I can only think about how much worse it would have been without him!
Lathere confessed that we were new to the instance. We followed along closely and I stuck to my Dungeon 101 basics: kill what the tank is killing. I also clicked all those cauldrons. Because it seemed to be the Thing To Do.
The bosses all blur together in my memory now but I’m quite confident that we avoided the common mistakes/pitfalls. Sure, if I was more familiar with the instance I could have played better. I probably avoided stuff that wasn’t that harmful and took spell casting gaps where I need not.
Our tank left group without a word after the first boss. Coincidence? I hope so. Our replacement tank left after the second boss. As did a Damage Dealer. Coincidence? I doubt it. But he didn’t say anything either so I don’t know if it was something we did wrong (or something we weren’t doing… like high enough DPS?! I’m getting anxious thinking about it).
Our third and final tank decided to stick it out. We also picked up an Enhance Shaman to finish the run.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle before the Zanzil when I raced right past a group of enemy Trolls and pulled them without seeing them and realising it. I take the blame for that: it was absolutely my fault and hopefully one I won’t make again. This caused us to wipe entirely – Lathere and her heals were miles behind and our tank was quite far ahead of me.
We wiped on a trash pull soon afterwards again. And we really, really struggled to get the last boss Jin’do the Godbreaker.
I understood the concept: Chains that need killing, but first you have to lure the ugly giant to jump on you (while standing near the chains) before you can harm the chains. I didn’t quickly grasp the danger of what I think of as Shadow Crash (but everyone in the party described them as fire which confused Lathere and I just a bit) and also didn’t immediately understand that standing on a Chain inside it’s immunity bubble makes it impossible to see that you’re being pelted by Shadow Crash.
Lathere was even more in the dark and on each attempt just got wiped out by incoming damage and adds (spirits/ghosts) half way through.
After our second wipe the tank typed:
Do you know how to do this fight heals?
Lathere was pretty frustrated and I was pretty upset (I find referring to someone by their class or role is incredibly lazy and rude – they are real people after all). We explained that we were new to the dungeon and having it explained on Vent.
I think his reply was:
And we got it on the next go.
From the Achievement spam it turned out that our Enhance Shaman, myself and Lathere were all new to the dungeon.
I thought we did pretty damn good. But even Velidra seemed a bit frustrated by the run “that took a lot longer than it should have”.
I am sincerely grateful for the help from guild members. I am sincerely grateful for the patience of other players who we encounter in the Dungeon Finder. I am even somewhat grateful to the impatient and rude players we encounter in the Dungeon Finder.
But I’m really, really tired of feeling this way in my groups.
I’m tired of feeling like I’m not good enough, or somehow am the weakest part of the team, somehow dragging down the run into something slow or hopeless or pathetic. I hate feeling as though I need to be carried. Feeling as though I am being carried.
I want to feel as though I contribute my fair share towards our success.
I need the gear from these Heroics. I’m using the Dungeon Finder to get that gear. I’m open to suggestions and encouragement and instructions ”priest, you take the right beam and get out before 100 stacks” but there seems to be precious little of that going around.
Nobody wants to tell me what to do. They just want me to give up and get out of their way so they can be finished – and rewarded – faster.
The shoe is on the other foot
Part of the agony of being in this weak, pathetic, pleading position is that I’m just not used to it. For years I’ve landed in dungeons as the most geared, experienced, knowledgeable player.
But I can promise you I never, ever, treated my fellow team players with disrespect or impatience. No matter how green they were (like being asked where my Tier 8 came from from a fresh 80 when Ulduar was the new big thing!). I knew that the dungeons I was in were designed for new level 70s/80s (as the case may be) and not for raiders. I was trespassing on their territory and not vice versa.
I like playing with new players. They bring enthusiasm to the game. It’s easy to get jaded when you’ve seen the inside of the dungeon a million times. A new player brings a fresh look and often gets you to see something odd that you never noticed before.
Playing with a new player is a chance to pass on your own tips and shortcuts.
Am I in the minority? Has it all been spoilt by raiders who are forced to run these dungeons because of the (presumably still relevant to raiders) rewards?
I refuse to believe that. Raiding doesn’t turn you from a patient person to an impatient person. Raiding doesn’t make you rude to strangers. If anything it should make you value teamwork over all else, it should make you better at networking and social situations. It should make you patient.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I can feel myself becoming more and more isolated and unwilling to play with strangers.
I was anticipating the launch of the Raid Finder but, honestly, I don’t think my ego could cope with it right now.