Wed 16 Dec, 2009
So I’ve been pondering a bit about what makes the new five mans hard and yet interesting. I noticed with TOC, that about a week after running it, plenty of people had already converted it from… OMG… this is NEW to… yeah… we’re gonna run it, but only because it has gear we need… and its quick…
But what is it that has made the newer instances like Pit of Saron so interesting? Why do they seem like they are a hell of a lot more fun?
The Story Factor….
I’m not here to ruin anyone’s fun… honestly if you don’t care, then don’t read it, but I think what really sells the new five mans is the story. Its not just… here is a big dungeon.. go kill bosses till you get to the end guy. There is a story. You enter, and either Jaina or Sylvannas has brought an attack force… they are suddenly killed and poof… you need to get some reinforcements. There’s a reason for you to battle through. There’s a reason to need to free some slaves.
Blizzard provided a reason for you to be doing something.. its not just an instance… its not something lame like… stand in this one room. You watched this guy on a protodrake slaughter a whole assault squad… its payback time.
From then on out, events get shaped around scripted events. The instance feels alive. The story jumps out at you and draws you in…
Hard = Fun
I realize the five man on normal isn’t particularly hard if you have some decent gear. The heroic version can be a really pain once you get to the gauntlet, but that’s part of what makes it so much more interesting. The packs of mobs are mixed. None of this… “its all melee mobs and they’ll all just come to you” junk. You can’t just rely on multimob tanking everything and burning it down. Blizzard is retraining us to use a little bit of CC. Sure.. you CAN just multimob tank everything, but I found that to be less effective than just CCing one or two mobs and then burning the rest down.
The other thing that I really want to applaud blizzard for is that Heroic Pit of Saron actually teaches applicable skills for raiding. The bosses use raid like abilities. Frequently there are effects that… hmmm you need to hide behind an object to avoid. This was really helpful on Sapphiron (and Sindragosa from my understanding…). There’s a boss with junk on the ground. There’s a boss with poison novas you need to run out of. There’s a lot of practice moving so you don’t get yourself killed.
Also you get to the final boss via a guantlet. Teaching people to move constantly and dodge damage. See the big white spots on the floor? That’s gonna be you flat as a pancake in a minute. Keep moving… DPS when you’re in a safe spot… hit em hard. As one person pointed out to me…. “You know… the trash in these instances has as many hit points as the bosses in other heroic dungeons?” Um… wow I hadn’t even realized… Mobs with 500k HP. Yes… that’s boss level. We’re killing bosses with 1.1 million hit points. Thats insane in a 5 man.
Wiping = Learning
I think the thing that really struck us as we have progressed in the new 5 mans is that we’re learning. We’re learning about the instances. Its not like TOC where there was one or two new mechanics and the rest was just… ok… kill the next boss… lets get it over with. The entire instance is about learning… working on skill and occassionally wiping. I mean I’ve had nights where I’m doing raid style learning in a five man. Yes… I’ve had 80g repair bills. Its not a bad thing. It means Blizzard is teaching a modicum of humility before we move on to the real challenges in ICC.
Yes… wiping can be frustrating, but overall, I love the new five mans. Plus they are just graphically cool…