Archive for the ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ Category

And The Winner Is…

Posted: 12 November, 2010 in misc, Wrath of the Lich King

So Wrath of the Lich King is all over bar the snoring, time for a retrospective about the great and the not so great in the latest expansion before we all scuttle back to the Old World just in time for it to get the painters in.

Best Class – Druids
Mage flavour of the month spec changed so often in Wrath their gear was always playing catchup with whatever stats your spec of the week demanded.  Hi mages, welcome to Naxx, you’re going to be a Hybrid Elementalist Frostfire spec here.  Stack lots of crit now.  Oh, welcome to ToC.  Yeah, it’s all about the Arcane here.  Hope you stacked haste.  Oh you’re still Frostfire?  Really?  Do try to keep up.  And here we are in Icecrown, I really hope you picked a decent Fireball spec.  Except halfway through Icecrown you’re going to want to go Arcane again, oh and keep a Fire AoE offpsec for trashpacks.

Druids on the other hand, well I can’t speak for Ferals but Resto druids started off strong and just kept going.  Remember how everyone was terrified of Heroic Halls of Reflection when it was first released?  Speaking from experience, I was scared of the place on Aluriel, my Disc Priest; wasn’t overly fond of healing the place on Askara, my Resto shaman, but could generally get through it well enough; and wouldn’t go near the place for a million gold and a night of sexytime with Tyrande Whisperwind on Galadan, my Holy Paladin.  On Shinano, however, there wasn’t a thing in there she couldn’t handle.  She could remove the curses, abolish the poisons, blanket the group with HoTs to cope with being Ice Trapped, battle-rez a dead player in a weak group to keep fighting through the gauntlet, apply reliable crowd control with Entangling Roots that even a Deathknight would have a hard breaking with splash damage…  You name it, a Resto druid had a tool to counter everything that Halls Of Reflection threw at you.  And as for Balance druids, well who doesn’t like doing 68,000 dps on aoe trash packs in Icecrown Citadel?  Improved Faerie Fire was the best caster debuff in the game and Typoon was beloved by anyone and everyone who had to kill Blood Beasts on Saurfang.  Flexibility has always been the hallmark of the Druid class from day one, and in Wrath of the Lich King they, in my opinion at least, really had their day in the sun.

Worst Class – Warlocks
Because this is a Mage blog so they smell of pee and have no friends.

Best Raid Instance – Ulduar
Where do we start?  The first raid to introduce Hard Modes that actually meant something, changed the encounter design (hi there XT and Council of Iron) and rewarded better loot instead of just another ten meaningless epeen points.  Amazing architecture, genuinely hard bosses (I’m looking at you, Mimiron and Yogg) that are still challenging done on hard mode two tiers of content later and a mass of encounters with rich and varied design that ensured you never got bored.  And it had its own train.  ITS OWN TRAIN!

Worst Raid Instance – Trial of the Crusader
ToC’s open tonight guys!  Today’s raid is going to start at the Argent Tournament, everone make your way there.
5 minutes later…
Ok folks, we’re not really sure how this one’s going to work, but there are going to be some Beasts and we have to defeat them one after the other, make sure your Boss Mods are up to date, everyone ready?
5 minutes later…
Is that it?  Really?  When do we get the second boss?  HOW long?  Ok.  Well… back to Ulduar, I guess.  At least it’s close…

Best NPC – Lafoo of the Oracles
Tough call this one.  Any of the Sholozar Basin companion npcs could have clinched it, but Lafoo’s charmingly puppy-like enthusiasm for everything wins it for me.
“Crunchy bugs so delicious!  Want?”
“You have pie?  Someone give us pie year ago.  Really yummy.”
“Ooh, shinies!”
“Dig, dig, dig!”
“You got funny looking eyeballs.”
“Big comfy tree.  Make good home.”

Worst NPC – Jaina Proudmore
Tirion Fordring was in the running for this.  He had one of the best questlines in vanilla WoW, started off awesome in Wrath at the Battle of Lights Hope and just got better as the expansion went on and he laid the smack down on the Lich Kings Frozen heart at the Cathedral of Darkness.  But then we got the Argent Tournament…  Oh dear.  Because stopping at the Rhine and flying the Engineering Corps two hundred miles behind German lines to build a sports stadium half an hour from Berlin is exactly how we won the Second World War, isn’t it?  And the Trial of the Crusader…  I’d stop there but then we had the final confrontation with The Lich King in Icecrown Citadel where he talks smack for a minute and then spends the rest of the fight in an Ice Trap because he couldn’t remember how to cast Hand of Freedom.  Tirion would have been a shoo-in if not for Jaina Proudmore, who’s so useless she makes the Glyph of Kilrogg look like a Prime Glyph candidate.

Seriously woman, you were awesome once.  Stop your crying and get over yourself.  No, he never loved you.  Deal with it.  What, are you still fifteen or something?  Oh, and get your facts straight, Wrynn isn’t your King, never was and unless he invades Theramore, never will be.  And please try to stop getting everyone around you killed, there’s a reason why everyone would rather take the deserter debuff than join your group.

Best Questline – A Hero’s Burden
I’ll be the first to admit that there are many other quests in Wrath that are worthy of this one.  The whole Loken/Thorim/Sons of Hodir quest is pretty epic.  Crusader Bridenbrad, even though I’ve given him crap in the past, always leaves a lump in my throat when the Naaru arrive to take him to paradise.  The Wrathgate/Battle for Undercity quest is right up there, too, as is the Brann/Muradin Bronzebeard reveal.  They’re all fine quests, rich in lore and storytelling.   But while A Hero’s Burden isn’t particularly epic, the rewards are pretty pedestrian and there isn’t a whole lot of lore involved, it’s got one thing that never fails to move me.

You and Moodle are at the Mosswalker Village, trying to find survivors of the Scourge attack.  There are dead and dying Mosswalkers everywhere being tormented by the Scourge.  The Mosswalkers, like all of the Gorlocs, are a simple, innocent people, and they just can’t understand what they did to bring the Scourge down upon them.  Didn’t they give enough shinies to the Great Ones?  The truth, of course, is that you can live as honest and upstanding a life as you want and it doesn’t mean squat when someone bigger and nastier comes along and stomps all over your beliefs.  But the Mosswalkers still cling to their faith in the Great Ones, asking you not to save them, but to save their shinies for the Shrine before they die.  Moodle, the smartest and most sarcastic of the Sholozar companion npcs, for once has nothing witty to say.
“The Mosswalkers were good people… they did not deserve this.

Worst Questline – Um…
For once I’m stumped.  Sure, there were some pretty pedestrian quests in this expansion, there’s always going to be some filler content.  But even the filler content gets a sly nod from Blizzard.  Look at the Take Their Rear quest in Grizzly Hills.  I, and I’ve no doubt many others, regularly moan about the pointless “kill x of these/collect y of these” quests that are a staple of MMO grinding.  There’s even a sarcastic meme evolved to describe them, the “Collect 10 bears’ asses” quests.  Well in this quest, that’s exactly what you do.  Gotta hand it to Blizzard, this is a boring quest, no question about it, but they know it and they create it as a nod to boring quests.  It’s all getting very meta all of a sudden.

Wrath had its ups and downs, but after playing a Mage in The Burning Crusade I can’t be anything other than pleased with this expansion.  Heck, I liked it so much I’m levelling a second Mage to 80!  I’m sure there’s stuff I’ve missed in this roundup, and I’m equally sure you’re going to disagree with many or all of my choices.  Except worst class, obviously.  Warlocks smell of wee.  Fact.

Let me know in the comments!

A while ago I was in an Icecrown 25 man PuG on Shinano, specced as Laser Chicken since they were full on healers.  It was a pretty good raid and when we downed The Gunship and the loot was linked.  Gunship Captain’s Mittens dropped.  Since Shinano was in need of more hit rating and she was having to use her Tier 10 Resto gloves for her Boomkin set, I rolled.  And I won the roll.  And then the Master Looter said:

You can’t have those, they’re cloth.

I’m pretty sure you’re going to find I can have those.  Cloth and Leather are the only two things I can wear.

Priests, Mages and Warlocks have priority on cloth gear, you’re a Druid.

Well that’s lovely but you do you think next time you could maybe say that before I agree to join your raid?

I’ve heard of this sort of thing before, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen it happen, let alone been on the receiving end of it.  Now doubtless some of you cloth wearers are sitting there reading this and thinking “Damn right, too!” It’s okay, I know where you’re coming from, I play a Mage, remember.  (And a priest and a warlock)  Dps casters have to compete a lot more for their gear than any other role.  A Mage, for example, has to compete not only against other Mages, but also against Warlocks and all three varieties of Priest for their armour.  Any weapons a Mage can use (Staves, Daggers and Swords) are going to be rolled on by Resto Druids, Balance Druids, Elemental Shamans, Resto Shamans, Warlocks, all three flavours of Priest and Holy Paladins.  Trinkets, rings and necklaces are the same.  By contrast a Warrior, Paladin or Deathknight tank is probably going to find two other people at the most rolling on gear they want for their role, more than that for weapons if you’re a Deathknight; and A Feral Druid tank has to compete against Rogues and other Druids for their armour and also against Hunters for some of their weapons.  And this is just assuming we stick to class armour limitations.  Open it up to whoever can equip what, and the three cloth classes suddenly find themselves competing not just against each other for gear but also against Resto Druids, Balance Druids, Resto Shamans, Elemental Shamans and Holy Paladins as well as the classes that are limited to cloth armour.  Grossly unfair right?

I used to think exactly the same way until an Elemental Shaman friend pointed something out to me.  We can all agree that every dps caster needs Hit Rating to be effective at their role.  Let’s just browse the list of caster mail armour in Icecrown that comes with +hit.

1.

And that’s it.  Now for the leather caster armour that comes with +hit.

1.

Yes, that’s right.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Elemental Shamans and Balance Druids, assuming they are forced to stick to their own armour class, have ZERO +hit rating available to them.  All that +hit needs to come from necklaces, trinkets, rings and weapons.  It’s possible to get yourself hit capped by wearing no armour that has any hit rating on it, but it’s possible for any class to do so.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the smart or fair way to do it.  If the Warlocks, Shadow Priests and Mages were suddenly told they weren’t allowed to roll on any armour that had Hit Rating on it there would be uproar, and quite right too because they need a certain amount of hit rating to do their jobs.  News flash, so do Balance Druids and Elemental Shamans, and it’s not their fault that Blizzard put zero hit rating on “their” armour.  Even the Elemental Tier 10 Armour set, a set that is specifically designed for Elemental Shamans, has only two pieces with any +hit on it.

This is not the fault of the Druids and the Shamans.  They would dearly love to be wearing “proper” mail and leather armour.  It’s not their fault that the caster gear that is “their” armour comes loaded with mana per 5, too much crit and not enough haste.  It’s not their fault that the best in slot belt for almost every class with a mana bar is the Crushing Coldwraith Belt, a piece of cloth armour.  If you want to blame somebody, blame Blizzard, because duh…  it’s Blizzards’ fault.  These guys are trying to improve their gear, and it’s not their fault that their gear is your armour class.  It’s shitty itemisation, it sucks for everyone and it causes all sorts of problems but it’s not their fault.

Of course there’s a flipside to all this.  I’m talking here about things like Holy Paladins or Resto Druids rolling against dps casters for weapons with Hit Rating because “it has more spellpower than what I’m using”.  And yes, I’ve seen this happen, and I’ve seen them get away with it.  Of course if no-one else who can actually use all the stats on the item wants it, then go for it.  But if a dps caster needs it and they still roll against them they are retarded and the players concerned need to be smacked in the face with tyre irons right nowWhispering Fanged Skull has more Crit Rating than Muradin’s SpyglassAlthor’s Abacus has a ton of lovely spellpower on it that would be quite useful, but I don’t roll on Althor’s Abacus because I’m not a healer and I don’t roll on Whispering Fanged Skull because I’m not a fucking retard.  Yet when a Resto Druid rolls against a Shadow Priest for Sister Svalna’s Aether Staff because they’re still using a Mace from Trial of the Crusader, that Resto Druid needs two things:

1.  Commiserations on being so unlucky that a proper healer weapon hasn’t dropped for them yet.
2. A good kick in the nuts for being so stupid and greedy that they’d roll on a weapon with a stat that’s 100% completely useless to them against someone for whom it’s 100% useful.

And if you let them get away with it you need a good kick in the nuts too.  Or in the tits if you’re female, whatever.  And if that person then suffers an outbreak of nerdrage and quits your group because you refused to allow them to be a moron, well you just lost a moron.  That’s never a bad thing.

Oh and Gorn got a new mount.

He had this to say on the subject:

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

You Cannot Be Serious

Posted: 20 August, 2010 in Rant, Wrath of the Lich King

I’m busy grinding out Loremaster on Gorn, it’s something to do while on summer leave anyway.  So I’m farming all the newish quests in Dustwallow Marsh and get onto the conclusion of the Defias quest chain that revolved around King Varian Wrynn being kidnapped by the Defias as he travelled to Theramore for a secret meeting with Thrall, brokered by Lady Jaina Proudmore.  Time for a quick history lesson…

Back in the good old days, there was no King in Stormwind.  King Varian was missing, and Prince Anduin Wrynn was being fostered by Lady Katrana Prestor while Lord Bolvar Fordragon was Regent of the Kingdom in the Kings’ absence (which explains why Varian’s so incredibly pissed at the Horde when Bolvar is betrayed and apparently killed at the Wrathgate, the guy took care of Varian’s son after all!).  An extremely long and amazing quest line had you discovering a Stormwind Marshal imprisoned in Blackrock Depths, a Marshal who had vital information about the Kings’ disappearance and the true power behind the throne in Stormwind.  Once you’d freed Marshal Windsor from prison, you escorted him to Stormwind, exposed Lady Prestor as none other than Onyxia herself, and embarked upon another epic questline that culminated in and attack on Onyxia’s Lair and the defeat of the Brood Mother of the Black Dragonflight herself.  It was truly epic stuff.

Of course, you can’t do the quest anymore because King Varian is back from his imprisonment on Alcaz Island and his time as a gladiator in the horde arenas.  So now when you do the Defias quests in Dustwallow, you end up with a flyby scouting of Alcaz Island and when you hand in to Jaina Proudmore she babbles on for a minute about how it’s all okay now because King Varian escaped from Onyxia’s evil clutches, returned to Stormwind, exposed Lady Prestor and slew Onyxia.

Er..  no he didn’t, I did!  I have the screenshots to prove it!

What the hell are you babbling about, woman?

This has pissed me off more than it has any right to.  Not just because I worked hard to complete that awesome questline (on 9 characters!), not just because Blizzard slapped such a godawful and hasty conclusion onto the end of it in Theramore which pretended I never existed, but mostly because they’ve turned Jaina Proudmore into a blithering idiot.  Again.

Believe it or not, she actually used to be cool.  People were actually in awe when they zoned into the Mount Hyjal raid instance and realised they’d be fighting with the legendary Jaina Proudmore at their side.  In Wrath of the Lich King she’s turned into a love-struck moron who bursts into tears at the drop of a hat and can’t even get basic facts right.

After you defeat Deathbringer Saurfang in Icecrown Citadel (if you’re Alliance) , King Varian and Lady Jaina appear to grant Saurfang the Elder access to retrieve his son’s body.  At which point Jaina bursts into tears (again) and blubbers about how she’s so proud of her King.  Er..  he’s not your King you silly cow!  You are the daughter of the ruler of Kul’Tiras, not Stormwind.  And you rule the Island of Theramore, which is not part of Stormwind either.  And don’t get me started about her mooning over Arthas and getting everyone around her killed every time we clap eyes on her.  Most disturbing of all, she’s still wailing about how Arthas is just misunderstood and loves her really while he’s beating her to death with a Runesword! Miss Proudmore, get help.  Now.

There’s a lot of this about in Wrath.  Revered lore figures who kicked major butt in vanilla wow have become laughing stocks.  Are the Night Elves even involved in Icecrown?  I’ve not seen Tyrande Whisperwind or Fangdral Staghelm since I was doing the Ahn’Quiraj quests at level 60.  At least Magni and the brothers Bronzebeard are getting stuck in, even if they reduced poor Muradin to yet another Varian Wrynn lackey.  “Right away yer Majesty!”  he says in Icecrown as Varian barks orders.  Muradin, grow a pair, please.  You’re the King of the Frostborn and Wrynn’s in YOUR house now.  And look at poor Tirion Fordring.  It all started so well with some major buttkicking at the Battle of Lights’ Hope Chapel and the Cathedral of Darkness, then by the time we reach the end of the expansion he’s nothing more than a pimp for the Entertainment Sports Network who doesn’t remember he got Hand of Freedom sixty-two levels earlier until after the Lich King has wiped the floor with his champions.

At least they didn’t fuck with Bolvar.  He’s still a badass.  Mostly dead and almost certainly consumed by hatred and evil, but you still wouldn’t spill his pint and get away with it.

/flee

Posted: 17 August, 2010 in Cataclysm, levelling, Mage, misc, Wrath of the Lich King

So it appears that Arcane Intellect is going to be changed in the next expansion, no big surprise there, pretty much everything’s changing.  Right now it provides (at max rank) a static buff of 60 points to your intellect.  Since intellect is going to translate directly to both spellpower and mana, it’s being changed to simply add to your mana pool .  People are complaining about this.  “It’s Arcane Intellect”, they say.  “Not Arcane Mana.  It’s our signature buff, don’t mess with it!”

Really?  They’re taking Tree form away from druids and this is something that’s worthy of complaint?  Standby for a newsflash my fellow mages, because the following is absolutely 100% true and a lot of you probably don’t realise it.

Arcane Intellect is shit.

“How can you say that, Calli?”  Well I’m glad you asked, allow me to elucidate.  Fire specced and fully raid buffed Calli has 30484 mana.  Take away Arcane Intellect and she has the massive total of 30348 mana.  Wait…  what?  Intellect is supposed to give 60 Intellect, that’s worth more than 136 mana!  So perhaps it’s being partially overwritten by some other buff?  And in fact it is, with Gift of the Wild being the culprit.  If you have Gift of the Wild, Arcane/Dalaran Intellect gives you something like….  wait for it….  9 intellect.  Don’t even get me started about Blessing of Kings, which scales with your gear so only gets better as time goes by.  Yes folks, Arcane Intellect really is the shittiest buff ever.  They can do what they like with it in Cataclysm, they’d have to work real hard to make it worse than it already is.

Speaking of the expansion, I note with some dismay that Blizzard are increasing the health and damage output of the mobs in the 80-85 levelling areas.  By a lot.  I’m not really sure how to feel about this.  Part of me is pissed off because I didn’t work through heroic 25 man Icecrown content in order to gear up to the extent that I still have to run away from packs of fucking kobolds when I’m levelling to 85.  The average mob in Icecrown has 12k health, give or take.  That’s one Fireball crit or a non crit and a Fire Blast.  Boom.  Dead.  And so it damn well should be!  I’ve slain the Lich King for fucks’ sake!  I solo Threat From Above, wearing a dress!  But no, I’ll be hitching up my skirts and running for my life if I aggro more than two Murlocs again pretty soon.  When Tirion Fordring was recruiting for the Argent Crusade, all he needed to do was pop down to Elwynn Forest and recruit this guy.

I eat Icecrown Raiders for breakfast, and I'm very hungry!

And yet, you can see it from the opposite side too.  Back when The Burning Crusade was released, very few people were wearing raid gear.  I was lucky enough to be sporting full Mage Tier 2, and didn’t feel the need to replace any of it until I reached about level 68.  The vast majority of players were still overwhelmingly geared in blues and greens, so I was two tiers of content ahead.  The normal world mobs in Wrath are scaled to be competitive for players in level 80 quest rewards.  That was four tiers of content ago.  World mobs in Wrath are scaled to be defeated by players in gear that no-one is wearing for more than a week these days.  Everyone is wearing raid gear.  It’s a completely different ballgame to when I was levelling to 70 in gear that was only available to maybe 5% of my server population.  Or when I was levelling to 80 in Tier 6 gear that was acceptable for entry into the first Tier of Naxxramas raid content!  So in order to provide some kind of meaningful content, the levelling zones in Cataclysm are being populated with mobs that are going to hit twice as hard and have twice as much health as world mobs in current level 80 zones, because pretty much everyone is now sporting at least Tier 9 raid gear in most slots.

Or in other words, we’re all going to be running away from kobolds again.  Meh!

On a lighter note, we’re plugging away at Glory of the Icecrown Raider to pass the time before the expansion hits, there are still of couple of us who don’t have our Drakes, so last night we were at Sindragosa doing All You Can Eat once again.  Our glorious raid leader has just finished ranting at us to switch our brains on and try to stay awake, and perhaps three seconds later a very large and pissed off cleaving and frost-breathing undead dragon turns around and faces the raid.  We hear an “Oops” on Teamspeak.  “Taunted by accident” he says and I had to chew on my fist to stop laughing.  I shouldn’t get too smug, however, on the very same attempt my combat log crapped out and I stopped getting raid warnings from my addons.  I was so busy staring at my Mystic Buffet stack counter I failed to notice that when the boss was at 1.8% I’d been targetted by a Frost Beacon and was standing pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the raid.  By some miracle, neither of these cockups wiped us, and we managed to get the achievement again.

Just, you know, don’t tempt fate.  Because she’s a bitch.

Over the Christmas Holidays I spent an awful lot of time playing WoW. I’m not a massive fan of chasing achievements for their own sake, but when you’re running a random daily and a weekly raid quest on 10 different level 80 characters, some achievements just sort of happen whether you’re shooting for them or not. It was while running these “old” level 80 dungeons (and a few even older raid instances) that it was made abundantly clear to me just how stupidly overpowered we all are these days.

Example time. One achievement I am chasing is the 40 Exalted Reputations for the title “The Exalted”. 37 down, 3 to go. Already Revered with the Ashen Verdict, I figure I’ll get Exalted sooner rather than later. Revered with Ogri’la and working on it whenever I can be bothered. Oh, what’s this? Revered with the Hyrdaxian Waterlords? I was a little late to the party at level 60 and we’d moved on to Blackwing Lair before I hit Exalted with the Hydraxians, so whenever the urge took me I’d been running back to Molten Core and facerolling all over the bosses in there to grind out the last few thousand rep I needed (after Revered you only get rep from bosses, and at 20999 rep
you need to kill Executus or Ragnaros himself for the last point. Bah!). Now you have to bear in mind that Ragnaros, the last boss, was a step up from the regular bosses in Molten Core, he dropped Tier 2 loot, not Tier 1 loot, after all. The fight required two tanks (because he knocked back one of them and started one-shotting people if there was no other tank to pick him up) and a broad mix of dps with healers mixed in to burn him down and cover the aoe damage he kicked out. If you were really, really, REALLY good, you’d get him down before he submerged, because if not he’d summon the Sons of Ragnaros and swarms of Fire Elementals would emerge and start eating everyone. You needed to gather them up and get rid of them fast, because Ragnaros would re-emerge soon and need to be tanked again. It was a simple fight that went to hell very fast if you didn’t keep up. Bear in mind a few things. To get Ragnaros down before his Sons emerged, you need 40 raiders at the top of their game, pushing out some serious dps.

Or one level 80 Arcane mage, one tank and a very bored healer. You could actually probably skip the healer.

Ok, so Ragnaros might be 40 man raid content but he’s level sixty 40 man raid content. I get that. It’s only 20 levels but I get it. How about something a bit more recent?

Less-Rabi seems to be the achievement that most people get stuck on when grinding out the meta-achievement for their Red Protodrake. It certainly seems to be the most popular one in trade chat anyway. People always want an Enhancement Shaman for the Reverberation talent which gives them an interrupt on a 5 second cooldown and yes, I can see why that would make sense. The boss will periodically try to transform into a Mammoth, and to win the achievement you have to ensure he doesn’t. The problem is that every time he starts the transform it gets cast faster and faster, until by the 4th cast it’s very, very hard to interrupt it in time, hence you take an Enhancement Shaman with Reverberation.

Except, you don’t need one. Not at all. You just need an average group of tier 9-geared players and the stupid amounts of dps they push out. Last week I joined a random on Shinano, my resto druid. We got Gundrak, came to Moorabi and the tank, a paladin, asked if I had a dps offspec. “Sure” I replied, “I’ve got a reasonably well-geared Feral Cat offspec”. So I switched to Cat and we nuked the boss down before he even got to try his third cast, let alone his fourth. Healing? Pfft. Judgement of Light and Leader of the Pack did more than enough healing. This is not level 60 content. This is level 80 content. It’s level 80 heroic content. Healer optional, dps preferred.

Sheesh.

Some of the other so-called “achievements” aren’t even remotely worthy of the name any more. When Wrath of the Lich king was but a wee babe in arms, Loken in Heroic Halls of Lightning had killed more players than any other level 80 dungeon or raid boss. He’d killed more players than the rest of the top 5 combined! There is an achievement for killing him in less than a minute and I can remember the sense of victory we felt the first time we did it, not because we were trying to get the achievement, we were just trying to kill the big bastard before he killed us! Actually, I wasn’t the first person in my guild to get the achievement, and I can clearly remember seeing it pop up in guild chat and sitting there in awe of the dps that managed put Loken on his arse in less than a minute and the healer who managed to keep the group up throughout it, because in order to do it, you pretty much had to stay in and eat his Lightning Novas. These days my best Loken kill is either 18 or 28 seconds, not sure which. No big deal though. Loken is a cakewalk. You fire up your Mirror Images, blow Arcane Power and Icy veins and spam Arcane Blast. Depending on your buffs and crits, that’s 20-24k damage every 1.5 seconds. Any dungeon boss is usually face down and pushing up daisies before the Mirror Images expire. These days if you see a “kill a boss in under a minute” achievement pop up you’re not thinking “awesome!”, you’re thinking “noob!”

Some more random facts for you.
Calli, my mage, now has more health in a dungeon than Gorn, my Warrior tank, did when he started tanking heroics.
Jingles has so much spirit on his gear that Fel Armour grants him over 400 bonus spell power, more when raidbuffed.
Calli didn’t even have 400 spell power in raids at level 60, and Jingles, an alt, has more than that as a bonus.
The big dps check at level 70 was Brutallus in Sunwell Plateau. On average, your dps had to be pushing out at least 1500dps each to have a hope of downing him. Sunwell Plateau, let me remind you, was the pinnacle of bastard-hard raid content. These days, a mere ten levels later, you can do at least that much dps in quest rewards. Calli does 9000dps on dungeon bosses, and has nudged 14000 dps on certain raid bosses, almost the equivalent of 10 superbly well-geared level 70 raiders. She’s not even the best mage in our raid group.

Of course, there’s some old content I wouldn’t dream of pugging, even in Tier 10 gear. Twin Emperors in The Temple of Ahn’qiraj leaps to mind, as does Kil’jaeden in Sunwell Plateau. Some fights still have mechanics that will knock you flat on your arse if you try to faceroll your way through, gear will only take you so far.

So where does that leave us? Icecrown Citadel 5 man dungeons, that’s where. I’ve complained in the past that the gear requirements for them, Halls of Reflection in particular, were ridiculous. I’ve played through them with some ridiculously well-geared and competent raiders, players who in no way needed any of the loot that dropped from them, and gotten roflstomped by the trash.

Now you can ascribe this to a lot of things. I ascribe it to the sad fact that due to all of the reasons listed above, people no longer respect 5 man dungeons and if you treat the Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection like another Nexus badge-farming snoozefest you are pretty soon going to find out who’s never made their way manually to the instance before and can’t find the entrance while in spirit form. This is why a tank with 45k health buffed, a healer with Heroic 25 man Coliseum gear and the Legendary healing mace and 3 dps all capable of soloing Loken from 100% to nil in 30 seconds are getting kerbstomped by waves of trash. People in level 258 gear should not be faceplanting in any instance that drops 232 gear. But you WILL faceplant in these places if you go in there treating them with the same level of contempt reserved for the likes of Loken and Cyanigosa.

You can ignore the tank target and nuke whoever you like in Violet Hold and get away with it. You can AoE packs of Dragonkin down in the Nexus and live to tell the tale. The tank usually won’t even notice and the mobs certainly won’t. Selective targetting and crowd control are simply not needed most of the time, unless the tank either a) sucks b) is massively undergeared compared to the dps or c) the dps are just being collossal pricks. Wait a minute.. crowd control? Selective targetting? What are they? Well usually crowd control is what the mage or the priest try to do just before the Rogue spams Fan of Knives and the Warrior pops Bladestorm. Selective targetting is what everyone ignores right after the tank marks the target. Seriously, I regularly tank instances where the one with the skull on its head is the last one to die. No shit. Wait, who am I trying to convince, you must see it all the time yourselves.

Yes, selective targetting and crowd control! Remember those? I know level 60 was a long time ago for some of us, but please, try to remember the skills you learned in Upper Blackrock Spire or even Magisters Terrace because you’ll need them in Icecrown. You can still faceroll to an extent in The Forge and Pit if sufficiently overgeared, but the vast majority of people in those instances don’t have loot accounts at the Royal Bank of The 25 Man Heroic Coliseum and using stuff like Repentance and Shackle Undead to even the odds in your favour on the slope up to the Ice Tunnel in the Pit are completely alien concepts to the majority of people. Why? Because with the lone exception of Magisters Terrace at level 70, no-one has needed to use them since Upper Blackrock Spire required a key to get in and Rend Blackhand was considered badass. Go on, how many of you had to look up Blackhand on Wowhead? Yeah, it really has been that long.

This is why I love Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection. They’re the only instances you can’t autopilot through and the only ones I feel a geniune sense of foreboding for when I see their loading screens. Of course I’m talking about when I’m doing the random daily on Calli or another dps character for Badges of Frost. They’re also the reason I never queue on Gorn or Sithica as a tank unless I’ve got a pre-made guild group. They’re fun for all the family if you’re on a healer, though. Hands up any healer who’s never placed mental bets as to which smacktard dps is NOT going to run out on Krick and Ick’s poison nova? Or which one is going to kill themselves on Scourgelord Tyrannus when they have Overlords Bane?

No, it’s not always the Deathknight. Sometimes it’s a Deathknight on his Rogue alt.

And if anyone catches the reference in the title you’re far too old to be playing silly videogames!