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.
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!