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Not Worth their Weight in Loot

June 9, 2011

Dear Reader,

My buddy hated the ICC instances, particularly the final one, Halls of Reflection.  For those of you “unfortunate” enough not to have experienced that one, it’s essentially two gauntlet events; in the first, 10 waves of monsters and two bosses attack the players.  The monsters replicate player classes and can be extremely hard for a tank to round up.  Players often huddled in corners to force the monsters to run to them and group up, but even then, one careless player could cause a lot of problems.  This was followed by a gauntlet where you had to outrun the Lich King.  Poor dps in the gauntlet guaranteed a wipe.  It could be frustrating at times.

The instances, you see, dropped purple loot.  People wanted to get the loot.  The loot inside was equivalent to the “normal” raid loot of the previous patch, ilevel 232.  It was, I suppose, a chance for people who hadn’t raided earlier in WotLK to be a bit better prepared for the ICC raid.

The thing was, the difficulty of the instances versus the rewards were simply not suitable in my buddy’s eyes.  You could get obscene amount of dungeon badges elsewhere anyway, so there was no real reason to go out of your way to do those dungeons.  Also, if you’d raided at all, you probably didn’t need the gear.  Blizzard had simply made the dungeons unattractive.

That said, my buddy really likes the Zandalari instances.  He’s already grinded them over and over to get most everything he needs, but it’s still all he really wants to do when we play.  And that’s the crux of this post, dear reader, because I cannot stand them.  I find the “cost” of the new instances – be it time, repair bills, or simply stress – nowhere near the benefit you may get from the gear.

Let me be clear; I don’t think the new instances are too hard.  I find them to be challenging and enjoyable.  However, I also find that a lot of the people I end up pugging with (which in a group of 5 is usually only 1 or 2 people) incapable of managing the encounters.  I don’t know whether it’s been extreme bad luck or what, but it seems that nearly every healer or dps we have to PuG dies over and over on snake boss, can’t avoid the waves on panther boss, can’t kite the beserkers, etc.  I always take time to make sure people know fights, too, so it’s not ignorance (though it may be lack of practice).

Now, this is also not a OMG BAD PUGS post.  The problem I have, you see, is with the rewards, not the instances themselves.  If I can just grind out valor points day by day in the “old” heroics, frequently with few to no wipes, why should I bother with the stress of the new ones?  At this point, the “first tier” of heroics can be three manned (as some blogger is proving), so having a slightly incompetent healer or dps isn’t as big a deal, whereas in the Zandalari instances it’s almost certainly a wipefest.

Since a troublesome ZG or ZA often takes 2 or more hours, I simply can’t see a reason to run them.  It’s a shame, because I thoroughly enjoy both.  I love finishing the gauntlet before bird boss in ZA in just a few minutes; my friends and I have a lot of experience in ZA from the past, so it’s frequently a pleasant surprise to the healer or dps PuGs when we obliterate it.  Still, the trouble the rest of the instance causes is not worth the rewards it provides.

In the end, I think it was too soon for another tier of heroics.  The ICC dungeons appeared as part of the… 3rd?  4th?  patch in WotLK.  These are part of the first.  I’m sure it was an attempt to make up for having so few new dungeons (not that these are new, but you know what I mean), but when adding dungeons in WotLK the designers didn’t feel it necessary to make them “harder” or “more rewarding” than the previous dungeons until the ICC ones.

What happens with the next dungeons?  Will they get even harder?  Will there have to be another tier in the LFD tool?  It seems unnecessarily complicated, like the dungeons themselves (at least as perceived by the PuGs I’ve encountered).  So that’s it.  I’m done with them.  Troll dungeons indeed, I certainly feel like I was trolled by them.


Stubborn (who would take 10 [insert your least favorite non-Zandalari dungeon here] over 1 Troll dungeon any day)


37 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2011 4:53 pm

    Overall I agree with you, and I prefer the old heroics over ZA/ZG on my tank dk, because I know I’ll spend 30 minuted instead of 2 hours doing my instance. But vp can only give you so much gear, so once you’ve filled those slots, you’re basically left to get the rest in ZA/ZG, there are even a couple of gear pieces (holydin bracers, wand) that are so difficult to get through raiding that people do those instance just to get those final gear pieces they need.

    • June 9, 2011 5:13 pm

      Very true, in fact I’d prepared a post on the fervor over the “980 JP a week?!?!” change that I never finished (and is now quite untimely) for that exact reason. All the same, I don’t know if I buy into the “perfect gear or go home” mentality of some raiders. If I have a few blues, well, that was good enough when we started raiding two weeks after the expansion, it’s still good enough now. I realize that many may not feel that way, but hey, it’s how I’ve always played (it’s a part-core value, in fact). I just don’t have the time or willpower to keep banging my head.

  2. June 10, 2011 12:53 am

    I agree as well. It’s much less painful to complete 1-2 of the older heroics on my relatively geared tank, and then i don’t have to go through the stress of the newer instances. Particularly when I’m just doing it for the valor points.
    My wife plays as well, and she agrees with me. Raid nights are the ones when she expects to have to concentrate hard, and spending 2 hours in a heroic on another night isn’t our idea of fun.

    • June 10, 2011 9:45 am

      Agreed. In an old heroic, if you lose someone, it’s just an invitation to work harder to get the boss done. In a GB last night we had a rogue “misclick” killing spree during a shadow vortex and die. He was supposed to be slowing and soloing one of the adds, so I, tank, ran over with my wife, healer, and we dps’d the crap out of him, slowing as we could, and the dps finished both off before any eggs hatched. It was a furious battle, but with a grimace and sense of accomplishment at the end. That wouldn’t happen in a Zand Heroic – it’d just be a frustrating wipe.

  3. Imakulata permalink
    June 10, 2011 12:57 am

    All dungeons that were added during WotLK (i. e. were not part of the starter pack) were “more rewarding” and, in my opinion, harder as well. Also, 5-man ToC was added as part of the 2nd patch of WotLK and provided loot with higher ilvl as starting 10-mans (Naxx&OS). The biggest difference was that the heroics were included in the daily random when the LfD tool was introduced, there was no option to only do the first, second or third tier except for not having the average item level needed to queue for them. I’m not sure about the daily heroic dungeon quests we had in 3.2 but I think they included ToC5 as well.

    I admit that they were shorter (ToC and HoR were really short and even the other two feel shorter than Zuls) but I think that the other points you mention applied to ToC and the ICC heroics more than they do to Zul heroics.

    • June 10, 2011 9:51 am

      I had forgotten that ToC dropped better quality loot, but it clearly does. I never really considered it “harder,” though, and I definitely do feel the Zands to be harder, though I don’t feel that they’re too hard.

      in the end, I don’t think so much that I don’t like them as much as I feel it’s simply not worth doing them. If they were part of the normal rotation, I don’t know how I’d feel; I know my buddy dropped HoR every time, though, and I might do the same. Their “special” separation into another tier of randoms is definitely part of the problem.

    • Sipollo permalink
      June 11, 2011 3:22 am

      ToC and the ICC dungeons also had non-heroic versions – you could gear up in ToC5 / Forge / Pit / HoR normals and then poke the heroic versions if you wanted to.

      It was quite common for people to run ToC5 normal over and over again to get the nice trinkets (eg Black Heart or the Abyssal Rune) which dropped there – the HC version dropping different loot to normal.

    • June 13, 2011 10:19 am

      Yeah, I remember the black heart. I did that place over and over for it. Perhaps that’s what was needed; a normal version of the Z heroics to help you gear for the heroic level of them. The normal Z’s could drop “old” heroic level gear, etc. Good thought.

    • Imakulata permalink
      June 11, 2011 5:07 pm

      I think heroics in general have more complex tactics, not just Zuls over ToC. I’d say that ToC on average (it had random bosses) was harder than an average 3.0 instance but I can’t say whether the difference was the same as between 4.0 and Zuls.

      In my opinion, having another tier is more of a solution than part of the problem. Back when ToC was introduced, the extra emblems were handed for completing daily quests and if your server had ToC or any other heroic you didn’t like, you either did it or gave up on the emblems for the day. Now, you can avoid Zuls or the 4.0 ones completely and still get something.

    • June 13, 2011 10:28 am

      I don’t know; before people outgeared it, Gun’drak was crazily hard (snake boss mostly). I know the gauntlet before the first boss of Azjol was tough, too. The same will probably be true as people outgear the Z’s, too (I’m sure some people already do). Good point, though, about the daily heroic quests.

  4. June 10, 2011 4:17 am

    It’s so sad if you think about it; there’s new dungeons, new content but people won’tl bother because it’s just as good and easier to do old ones. that’s not how it should be and clearly the whole effort-vs-reward ratio is terribly off in WoW right now.

    • June 10, 2011 9:57 am

      It is a little sad, particularly if they’ve never seen ZG or ZA. However, I’m afraid the purple loot might be part of the problem as I’ve thought about it more over night. People who shouldn’t really be in there are making a zerg for Ilevel 353 gear… and it’s making it harder for everyone else.

      I forgot whose blog I recently saw it on (I always do), but someone suggested just dropping points everywhere. Make every piece of gear purchasable with points and have every boss drop points and nothing else. That, at least, would allow people to play what they wanted when they wanted how they wanted (within reason, of course), instead of being pressured to do harder content.

    • Fabio Capela permalink
      June 10, 2011 10:51 pm

      This is why I think the LFD tool should do a much better job screening player’s gear.
      IMHO, it should look at gear per spec, taking into account the total stats gained (including from gems and enchants) and how useful they are for the spec. Wrong type gear (i.e., cloth on a Shaman) should be disregarded.
      It’s a disservice for everyone that, for example, a Prot/Ret paladin with great DPS gear but tanking greens can queue as a Tank for the Troll Heroics.

    • June 13, 2011 10:15 am

      I totally agree, and even I have gamed the system a little to get into “normal” heroics to heal since my dps gear on my druid was pretty good. Now, I have years of healing experience to back up being a little undergeared, so we never had problems, but I have met PLENTY of people who shouldn’t or couldn’t fulfill their role in LFD because they’d picked up pieces they weren’t wearing to beat the system. The iLevel tool should only measure what you’re wearing and only what fits your spec.

  5. Nina permalink
    June 10, 2011 6:26 am

    My shameful little secret is that I still suck at Stonecore. I always end up in the worm’s dust cloud, get hit by whatsername’s meteors, and I can’t get out of Ozruk’s way to save my life. If it comes up in my random dungeon I’ll apologize quickly and drop group.

    I like the troll dungeons but I won’t queue for them unless I know I’ve got two hours free. I’ve cleared them in under 45 minutes, but I’ve also taken an hour at Jin’do on multiple occasions.

    • June 10, 2011 9:54 am

      Blackrock Caverns is my bane. I hate Corla and the Dragonblacksmith dude. Once again, it’s not that I find them overly difficult, it’s just that those two are historically difficult for a majority of the PuGs I end up with. While I wouldn’t drop over it, I’d say that my drop ratio is 50% BRC and 50% everything else combined.

  6. June 10, 2011 11:22 am

    I kind of have to disagree there, in my opinion this was the perfect time for another tier of heroics. I don’t care about running them (or *any* heroics for that matter) on my main, but for my non-raiding alts they provide a nice goal to work towards – not because of the valor points, but because of the drops. Cataclysm has generally been a bit lacking in terms of non-raid content, so giving non-raiders something new to dig their teeth into and an opportunity to progress is the way to go as far as I’m concerned.

    And by making them a separate tier the devs avoided the problem of people getting dumped in there when they don’t feel ready for it. It’s a conscious choice to go in there, and personally I like having the option of picking a normal heroic for some easy emblems or trying a more challenging Zul for the extra rewards.

    • June 13, 2011 10:00 am

      I wonder if you run with LFD or with your guild. I’m starting to suspect that the problem doesn’t have so much to do with the instances but with the quality of people I’ve encountered using LFD. Note that’s not a complaint with LFD or all the people in it, but just the few I’ve been grouped with.

    • June 13, 2011 7:36 pm

      I rarely do five-mans with my guild actually, I’m one of those crazy people who pug endlessly. I do run into bad or obnoxious players sometimes, and it does usually put me off pugging for at least a week, but on the whole it’s not too bad.

    • June 14, 2011 3:53 pm

      You are a saint, then, because I simply do not have the patience anymore. I really am struggling to like WoW, but I think leveling this shammy may help. We’ll see.

  7. Linda Pelfrey permalink
    June 10, 2011 9:34 pm

    If you buy a few crafted pieces and have rep items, then the drops from any of the heroics are pretty irrelevant; all you go for is the badges.

    Note today’s changes, presumably after you published.
    These heroics give the same VP cap as you can get from raiding (Raiding VP nerfed) and twice the VP cap from regulars.

    You can run these once a day (or 7 on Saturday) and get the same VP as someone who kills every raid boss in the game that week.

    • June 13, 2011 10:14 am

      In LotRO, my friends and I enjoyed (I promise this will connect) the game up until the end. There, we weren’t in a guild, so we were having a hard time getting groups to do the 6 man dungeons. We needed them to get geared for the 12 man raids. However, there were these strange 3 man “heroic” dungeons that were released, so we figured we’d give them a try.

      We got OBLITERATED in there. We are all studiers, so we were optimized as we could be in gear and play. What it came down to was that the three mans were a step harder than the raids, so you had to have raid gear to do them.

      That made no sense to us. To progress from 6 to 12 to 3 seemed highly illogical, and it put the nail in the coffin of that game for us.

      Zandalari seems the same, to me.

  8. shelly permalink
    June 11, 2011 3:04 am

    I like that they have new dungeons but with a grand total of three regular level 85 dungeons I don’t see why they couldn’t have made a regular version of these. As it stands right now I may never even see the troll dungeons again cause of my own standards not being reached by me. I have plenty good gear to do the first tier heroics but find that I just do not want the stress involved with either healing or tanking in them.

    • June 13, 2011 10:17 am

      I agree, there should have been more normals. Even if they upped SFK and VC to 85 normal to make it fit; the lower levels could have lived without their bottom tier of dungeons, especially since the dungeons are so easy now during leveling.

  9. Bill permalink
    June 11, 2011 8:30 am

    I think one problem is that whenever Bliz redoes one of the old dungeons, they feel that they have just as many bosses as trash as the place had in vanilla. (See also: new SFK and Deadmines, in addition to the new Zuls).

    The old, vanilla-era dungeon design was to have lots of bosses and have lots of trash. It was expected that it would take you two or more hours to go through dungeons in those days.

    But the new dungeon design is generally to have you get in and out in less than an hour (with a medium-competent group).

    So, while it would have annoyed some people, I think that when Bliz redid these vanilla dungeons, they really should have pared down the content in them quite a bit to better match current design philosophies.

    • Imakulata permalink
      June 12, 2011 6:40 am

      They removed some trash and bosses too – at least in Zul’Gurub. I think they didn’t remove any boss in Zul’Aman, not sure about the trash.

      On the other hand, some on the WotLK ones introduced later were quite short – ToC had 3 boss fights, 1 jousting event and 3 trash mobs although the first and last bosses were longer than usual. HoR was not long either.

    • June 13, 2011 10:29 am

      A little trash; there was a pull on the way to bird boss that disappeared – or may just have been moved over and made skippable. There was a pull or two before the indoor guy with the adds (shadow boss we always called him), and the area on the way to lynx boss was a LOT harder (people had to jump through windows, etc, to skip or even avoid pulling two groups).

      ZG is radically different, though.

    • June 13, 2011 10:21 am

      I don’t mind trash, but I get your meaning. The design philosophy certainly has changed, and as they were both raids, toning down the trash in them certainly would have helped. Before Bloodlord, in particular, there’s a lot of nonsense that’s mostly a joke due to the cauldrons anyway, so why bother making players jump through those hoops more than once or twice?

  10. June 13, 2011 6:54 pm

    Since the Troll Heroics arrived I find the people doing regular heroics woeful to the point that these are harder than the old heroics. Tanking Grim Batol one evening for two hours while I pulled 11k dps tanking, and the dps pulled 5-7k was truly woeful. Wipe after wipe on the last two bosses even wth my help they couldn’t kills the adds on either bosses, and someone would always die to the flames from Valionia.

    This is not the only experience, a halls of Origination I had a group with 3 dps doing 5-6k, a good healer though pulled us through. I have sworn of them for the time being.

    • June 14, 2011 3:52 pm

      I’ve done few of either recently, but I will say the one “regular” heroic (how oxymoronic) I’ve run in the past week went super-smoothly to the point that I had high hopes and tried another Zandalari instance, which is the one documented in Monday’s post. I have seen some abyssmal dps numbers, though. I usually do a quick look at recount and toss a suggestion, which, if they ignore, they find out about the Vote to Kick side of me.


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