Heroic Musings: Six One Way…

I have, so far, been okay with the “5 man raids for blues” as Josh puts it.  Sure, they’re harder to fit into my schedule, but sticking strictly with guild runs I’ve not run wanted to slit my wrists yet.  Well, except that one time in Stonecore, but I try not to think about that.

Cranky Tank’s experiences have been quite another matter, however, and he’s quitting the game in displeasure again.  What’s the difference?

Group comp is again important.  Every now and again I get terrible flashbacks to BC where I spent half an hour (or longer) in the LFG channel looking for a mage or hunter.  Thankfully more classes have CC these days (frog!  repentence!) but this doesn’t change the fact that there still multiple classes without any CC at all. 

It’s not hard to be the victim of The Group Comp From Hell and suddenly have heroics go from a challenging hour to a three hour tour ending in alcoholic consolation (see: that time in Stonecore).  And you know what, it sucks that if you are a frost DK and your buddies are a boomkin (whose “CC” is only slightly more effective than my ice cubes) and an arms warrior, you’re probably going to get boned pretty hard in heroics while you’re trying to get gear.

And you know what?  I can see why that would suck.  I know some people rail against making all classes the same, but which is worse: nerfing the heroics, or throwing more classes a CC-shaped bone so that you can get back to “bring the player not the class”?  BTPNTC was not a bad idea.  WoW is, for many people, a social game.  I want to play it with my friends, even if they all decided to be melee for some damn reason.  Harder is okay, impossible is not–and I have been in a 3 melee heroic and it was well-night impossible.  It sucks that I can’t run with that group of people becuase of the classes that we play.

I had the blessing of a larger guild with a variety of classes and Cranky Tank did not.  I can’t help but be a little bit upset that it seems to have ruined most of his fun and there’s not a damned thing I can do about it. : \

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  1. #1 by Armagon on January 12, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    Oh, you mean like killing Beauty in BRC with 2 Tanks because we can’t CC anything?
    Yep, glad it worked out in the end (after 3-4 wipes).

    In the run before with Moonkin and Mage it was a walk in the park.

  2. #2 by Rossanah on January 12, 2011 - 5:01 pm

    Noooo! Don’t let him give up!

    Here’s the deal: week 2 of cataclysm; brand new group going through Deadmines. Not a single ‘lol carried’ player, just the cherry of the icecream there. We got CRUSHED. HARD. Countless wipes on trash (no one ever done the ‘regular’ deadmines, so it was all new). Couldn’t get past Ripsnarl.

    Week 3 of cataclysm: not totally brand new group through Stonecore. PUG druid tank with heroic 25 ICC achieves and titles including H LK. *13* wipes on Ozruk. 12 because tank got one shoted either to shatter or weird ground slam angles, 1 wipe because the healer got crit for 100k paralysys (true story).

    Those almost made me quit the game altogether. It was near impossible to get through a random heroic; who’d imagine a freacking 25 RAID? Where half the people will most likely not be that uber? Really? I don’t have the endurance for a 5 hour run of a freacking 5 man. Screw this game.

    Wind stuff a month later. People all around with almost all professions exalted. Epic trinket, epic bracers, epic cloak… 170k health tanks, 100k mana healers, 12k DPS people showing around… That’s with 0 raiding gear, too! It gets feasible. Depending on how many geared people you put together, you can even risk a ‘carry’ of someone very undeargeared. You can do certain heroics wipe-free before your Kings buff fade way, even dread hugeass-long H HOO. Some takes barely above half an hour.

    You’ll only have trouble if the majority of your group is undergeared/unexperienced/underpeforming. And even then, you have some options. They are:
    – Mine away. Befriend an alchemist. Flush some gold on BS boes, now the gear fever has lowered a bit, making shields, for instance, are pretty affordable.
    – Farm regulars like HOO/Tolvir/GB. They still drop nice ilvl333 and earn some rep; if you have a less than desirable group comp, you can do a regular easy enough, still score a chance on some loot and reach revered/exalted with factions that will bring you 346s and some purps.
    – Nitpick the heroic instead of randoming it up. SFK is pretty easy if you skip third boss. Tolvir is maybe the easiest heroic of all, unless your healer is serious undergeared. HOO isn’t also that bad; not enough DPS for Setesh? Well, just skip him.

    Craft the heroic as you’d like. Helps if you know them all (i.e., read about it, done it on reg), I remember making a bullet list of all heroics and stuff that might give you trouble dps, healing and tank-wise, including trash. I can share if you think it’s interesting.

    I wouldn’t like him to quit, mainly because I still want to play with you both and have some fun together (amg I swear I’m assgaloring as soon as my facking new international credit card arrives to replace the outdated one). But it seems he feels like I did on week 2 of cata, where I didn’t log for 2 whole days just because my ego was so crushed I was having trouble sitting in my chair.

  3. #3 by Krikket on January 12, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    Yeah, I am also on the side of liking the greater challenge & need for CC, but I agree that they need to do SOMETHING – not only because of the problem you describe, but because LFG is not smart enough to not toss a DK, an arms warrior and a rogue as all the DPS in one group.

    Honestly, despite the fact that you *can* use LFG for heroics, and sometimes it even works out ok, they either need to massively overhaul the system to be “smarter” or ditch it entirely OR nerf the heroics just a little bit (which looks like the route they decided to go based on the most recent patch notes I’ve seen).

  4. #4 by Turiel on January 12, 2011 - 5:08 pm

    While I agree with the statement that it totally sucks when you do end up with less than ideal CC comps, I have yet to encounter a group comp where there is not two types of “doable” CC. Granted- I’m talking about a holy pally using stuns, fears (same with prot), rooting melee mobs by druids, and all sorts of other goodies people seem to forget about. The ONLY comp I would probably bail on (is one you could find yourself in) is 4 DKs and a Holy Pally. BUT, even then you could start pulls with Hungering cold, DG a mob out, burn it, and after them come out assign a kiting DK in UH pres+chains to reduce tank damage.

    My point is- these heroics truly reward the creative- In our guild we’ve found that one some of our best damage reduction abilities on our warrior tanks is intervene/heroic leap- especially with casters as he’ll be at half life and the time it’ll take for the mob to get to him buys the healer and dps that much more time.

    Also, when you end up with these nigh impossible compositions and defeat the instance in un-conventional methods you end up feeling awesome! Don’t let crank give up on them yet…

  5. #5 by Turiel on January 12, 2011 - 5:13 pm

    But Krikket! Arms warrior can fear, rogue can sap AND blind, and the DK does have a few abilities to help certain things! It’s not a good comp by any means, and you may have much closer calls than stacking 3 Surv hunters who each have 2 CCs+a beast fear and scatter shot (not to mention OP dps)… but it can get the job done with smart play (I suppose I’m not banking on LFD success, but guild success instead).

  6. #6 by tehsh on January 12, 2011 - 5:27 pm

    You’d think, after reading the class descriptions that they would be ok even offtanking for a bit because they wear plate 0_o.

  7. #7 by Hoho on January 12, 2011 - 5:56 pm

    You don’t need spammable CC to GREATLY reduce the damage group takes. Pretty much everyone has some tools to help groups get past difficult groups. Interrupts and dispels are extremely useful, same for stuns and disarms. Tank classes can chain survivability cooldowns and offtank a mob or two for quite a while with zero healing needed to survive. Roots are one of the strongest CC in game, easily better than sheep vs melee as it doesn’t break when you look at it. Majority of heroics are easily doable with just one CC, having more is just a bonus. Having people actually use all the tools they have makes them cakewalk.

    Also, tanks-healers are kind of overrated. In beta I often played with a mage and very often we managed to kill bosses and trash when tank and/or healer died at around 25% just by juggling the boss around with fade, iceblock, regular kiting, rocketboots or tanking with dispersion.

  8. #8 by Krikket on January 12, 2011 - 8:05 pm

    @Turiel: I have yet to refuse ANY comp for heroics in either of my guilds, even when it’s less than ideal, because I trust the players. But when you’re running pugs, and they’re as likely as not to be a detriment even when you get an ideal comp, I don’t want to waste a lot of time. I’ve heard nightmare stories of people refusing to interrupt “because it makes my DPS suck”, and healers getting blamed because DPS can’t be arsed to move out of shit that hurts, and … dear god. There’s so many things that can go horribly wrong in LFG, even if the instances were less demanding than they are right now.

    When the biggest challenge of an encounter is how to overcome the stupidity of one or more players, challenge starts feeling less like fun and more like a chore.

  9. #9 by Christopher Schmidt on January 12, 2011 - 11:29 pm

    I don’t think “Bring the Player Not the Class” ever really meant “You can stack 10 paladins and get a successful raid”. In the same way that you had to pick to get a number of buffs, etc. or you would find yourself in a more difficult situation, I think that if you want to play with a suboptimal comp, you either have to be overgeared or get creative.

    Off-tanking, chaining (seperate DR) stuns, picking the instances you run to have more of the types of mobs you can control, etc. are all ways to get around limited CC options; grab a pally with the Holy Wrath glyph and you can stun all elementals + dragonkin + undead every 15s, which makes a huge difference (especially at the start of a pull) as well as fearing an undead nonstop…

    LFD doesn’t solve these problems for you; I treat LFD as a last resort.

  10. #10 by Voink on January 13, 2011 - 12:53 am

    That moonkin needs to learn to root and sleep properly, then. They’re very viable cc if you know what to use them against (root melee, not ranged or casters). They’ve also got a silence although I can see how many raiders wouldn’t spec in to that.

    When I dps, I’m usually more reliable the the real cc classes because I use what I’ve got.

  11. #11 by Kotakh on January 13, 2011 - 9:56 am

    Boomkin are pretty good at CC (not hunter good but still good). Root is very good as long as you’re rooting a melee. Hibernate is the best against beast and dragonkin and Solar Beam is very good against caster. (Solar beam might not be a must in raid but it IS a must in heroics imo).

  12. #12 by Achloryn on January 13, 2011 - 10:57 am

    I’m with kotakh. I’ve recently started proposing to my boomkins who know how to solar beam properly. It’s *that* fucking good. And that’s to say nothing of hibernate, soothe, root, or cyclone if they know how to use them properly. That said, I tanked a heroic ToT last night with Amber on her deathnugget, a warlock of some flavor (destro?), and an arms warrior. Other than fighting harder for aggro than i’ve had to do in a long time, it went really smooth. We only had one wipe, and that was in the hall with the two goddamn faceless things that throw you in the air and then ground pound all over the place.

    Amber… if you see someone doing an aoe on the ground, get out of it, i shouldn’t have to explain that to you =P GIANT DUST CLOUDS ARE NOT FOR STANDING IN!

  13. #13 by Saiyanman on January 13, 2011 - 10:59 am

    Elitist Jerk warning: if your trio of Frost DK, Boomkin, and arms warrior are having that much in heroics then at least one of them should respec to a tank and the boomkin might wanna think about healing. Well, maybe not on that last bit. But seriously, tanking isn’t all that bad and gear for heroics is easy enough to come by: lots of great rep options and you should be able to glide through normals no sweat. Faster queue times and hopefully you can pull in a pure DPS class that can CC/interrupt reliably for those nasty Stonecore or Grim Batol runs.

    Like #4 said, creativity and flexibility is definitely rewarded in heroics these days. If you’re a raid spec DPS on a hybrid class, you really ought to think about playing tank/heals for heroics at least.

    Also, #10 and #11 are spot on in that boomkins are actually pretty amazing in the CC/interrupt department.

  14. #14 by Melfina the Blue on January 13, 2011 - 11:11 am

    I ended up redoing my shadow spec to pick up silence just for heroics. Pugging-wise, I’ve queued with a couple of guildies (boomkin, holy pally and me) and had a tank take one look at us and go “No cc, no point” and drop as I was busily typing…
    “Roots, Mind Control, glyphed fear, silence, and stuns aren’t cc enough?” Oh, and then there’s the deadmines runs with two priests, a kitty, and two pallies, all guildies. Very slow and rather painful (so slow that I have yet to actually get to the ship bit).

    On the other hand I had a SFK last night where the tank chain-pulled and the only cc was for the boss with two helpers (second or third one I think) and it was one of the best runs I’ve had. One death (hunter stood in bad), and a 40 minute run.

    Honestly, at this point I’m ready for raids gear-wise (first raid tonight YAY!), and I still don’t want to heal for anyone but guildies (and would rather run as shadow if I can). In holy spec, I don’t have much in the way of cc and most pugs seem to default to “healer’s fault” for wipes. While I’m enjoying the challenge of heroics (now that I’m a bit better geared), I’m firmly of the belief that said challenge is best enjoyed in a majority guild group, preferably one where the tank and heals are a bit overgeared.

  15. #15 by Hoho on January 13, 2011 - 11:17 am

    “Oh, and then there’s the deadmines runs with two priests, a kitty, and two pallies, all guildies”

    You had a shadowpriest, what kind of other CC do you need there? Stuns and roots are just icing on the cake. Quite likely the spriest also had physic horror (no good reason not to have it) and then could have drastically lowered tank damage during those 2-mob pulls where you can’t CC them, though having someone kite one of them would have been even better. I’ve done those pulls by ping-ponging one of those mobs between my spriest and holy pala with , fade, dispersion tanking and agro pulls from me and taunts+bubble threat drops from pally. Worked like a charm.

  16. #16 by Ambrosine on January 13, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    I’ve done, and seen things done, with sub optimal groups–but Josh wasn’t having that luck. *shrugs* I’m not sure what the problem was iether, since I was never with him in these heroics (except 1 partial where it was THREE MELEE and we never even downed a boss, oh fuck you Beauty). Theo ther alternative is that the people in the group sucked, but that wasn’t something I could really bring up in that conversation since it was a full guild run for him.

    I do wish I’d gotten him to run at least one heroic with me. :(

  17. #17 by Pixelated Executioner on January 13, 2011 - 6:19 pm

    Speaking as the Arms Warrior, Intimidating Shout and Throwdown are handy tools. They’re not perfect CC by any stretch, but they do help as needed.

    However, even difficult heroics can be handled without CC – it’s a question of communication, strategy, DPS who can avoid unnecessary damage, and tanks and healers who can use their cooldowns appropriately.

  18. #18 by tytalus on January 14, 2011 - 11:14 am

    Teaming up with my sweetie (dungeon runs too) is what’s keeping me in the game right now. It is a shame that you missed those bad heroic experiences. Your moral/emotional support might have helped.

    He’s right about 5-man raids, though. I don’t have the patience to spend 3 hours on a damn heroic. If it’s not looking doable after an hour or so has passed, the gear can wait. I’m getting experience (and rep, and gear for my partner) out of the regulars.

    Like the game lacks for other things to do? I’m leveling a pally healer up from 80, since everyone claims it’s so challenging. Admittedly my belfadin’s light of dawn is not as boobtastic as Orithea’s. :)

  19. #19 by Nzete on January 14, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    I’m still a big fan of all guild groups although I have branched out and will occasionally queue in the random with a vote-kick majority guildies.

    I still say when I’m inner will + body and soul kiting because fade is on cooldown that something is drastically going wrong. And while I’m willing to chain shackle some undead something while healing, if I have to drop my chakra state to holy word: chastise something for either the interrupt or stun effect, that also means that something is drastically wrong.

    And mind control is the best CC ever for humanoids, that aspect of running with a shadow priest makes up for the part where he rolls on every piece of gear that I want except spirit proc trinkets (and has better dice than I do).

  20. #20 by Nassin on January 23, 2011 - 6:37 pm

    Sorry to hear that he’s decided to quit playing WoW — but sometimes it’s for the better to take a break and when you come back you have lost a lot of the frustration. I’m almost to the point where the rewards from using LFD are not even worth using LFD vs server or guild runs. Unfortunately being in a mini-micro-guild where players only log on for raid/heroic nights 2x a week, I’m pretty dependent on LFD. I’ve had some great groups, and far more that were terrible (I think if I see Stonecore come up in LFD, it’s auto-deserter.) Did a H SFK last night 3/5 guild with pug rogue and pug DK tank. No wipes and cleared entire instance in less than 1 hr. On the other hand, there’s been plenty of times where I’ve had to deal with loot ninjas (crit rating is a stat for tanks now?), being kicked for no reason, or for being a ret paladin — even though I pull 12-15k or more easy on bosses — also being kicked because they want to bring a guildie in. 2 nights ago I was kicked because my DPS was too high (!) and the dungeon guide told me I need to lower my DPS a lot so the tank doesn’t lose aggro, and I told him to learn to tank. Let’s not forget the never-ending parade of people who can neither listen nor learn. I don’t mind helping new players learn the strats, but if you tell someone not to stand in the fire, and they keep standing in the fire, at some point it’s best to cut your losses and move on. CC-wise, it’s becoming less and less relevant as players gear up. Most heroics with the exception of a few pulls I don’t have to CC — as DPS, heals, and tanks improve, CC becomes less and less of an issue.

    I think if he comes back a month from now he will be surprised at how much better and easier heroics are once the majority of players have geared up a bit, learnt the fights and got a few runs under their belts. It’s already heading that way (esp. with the incoming nerfs to some of the most challenging heroics) and they’ll just keep getting easier as you go.

    The area in which I wish they’d make the most improvement is queue times. I work 70 hrs a week and have 2-3 hrs a night to play WoW at most, and it’s frustrating having to queue for 45m as DPS and then getting the aforementioned fail Stonecore groups. I’m lucky if I can get 2 heroics done in 4 hours.

    tl;dr Stick to non-LFD runs = wins and free blues. LFD runs = random greatness interrupted by hours of OMGWTFLOL.

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