WoW: The (Heroic) Solution

What, did you think I was going to spend a whole week waxing philosophical (and whining) and not offer a solution?

All last week we examined various aspects of the game and the gamers in relation to running heroics.

Highlights:

  • People will range in commitment from game, to hobby to job.
  • People will range in skill from bad to prodigy.
  • People will range in attitude from really groovy to fuckwad.
  • And in a random heroic, we will all be thrown into the same group.

Dark/Soth and I have had a running conversation about all of this for days now.

I just expect that heroic means you know what to do. I think I value “heroic” so much more because I did a lot of “heroics” when it meant something.

While he and I may not have been around in the days of grinding MC, we were at end-game to grind our way up to heroics in TBC.

Yes, “grind up to” heroics.

Level 70 was not a magical switch that turned on your ability to enter a heroic.

No, level 70 was the minimum requirement. On top of that, you had to have the appropriate rep at a high enough level to gain entrance (and that rep level was even nerfed by the time we were there).

And we had to walk uphill, in the snow both ways. And clams didn’t stack!

Now I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the days of grinding normal Instance X a gabillion times to get enough rep with a Faction Y to buy the key to let you into the heroic version of the instance.

But let’s take a second to consider the benefit that grind provided: you knew what the fuck to do and you had the gear.

Even if you only ran the instance on normal 5 times, that was enough time to learn the basic mechanics of the fights (which would be expanded on in the heroic version), the lay of the instance, and you hopefully got a few drops out of it. The itemization on some of those drops was fucking bizarre, but they were better than random quest rewards or green world drops.

With Wrath, they introduced the championing system with the tabards, which I love dearly. This was an awesome idea for getting the rep you needed without begging your friends to run Instance Q – AGAIN – so you could get the rep for your JC patterns.

But with the introduction of the championing system, they removed the specific rep requirements to enter heroic dungeons.

Level 80 became the only requirement to enter a heroic.

(The new LFG does do a very minimal gear check, mostly to make sure you’re not naked I think.)

The result is that in the Wrath-era, we have people muscling their way to 80 through RAF/BoA/leveling guides/questing and then immediately jumping into the heroics.

(Remember some are in heroics because they know that’s where the gear is and some are in heroics because that’s where the tool directs them at 80.)

So now the heroics are flooded with people that don’t know what the fuck to do and don’t have the appropriate gear.

How about we compromise between BC and Wrath?

Would it be so hard to require that a character run the instance on normal just once to unlock the heroic version?

I’m not putting this out there as a “this will fix everything!” bandaid. Because it won’t.

But how many times have you been in a heroic and someone finally admits that they’ve NEVER been in the instance, not even on normal?

A requirement of 1 run at least gives them a basic familiarity of the instance and a chance at drops to make the heroic version easier.

A requirement of 1 run should not radically slow down the individuals on their 5th 80 that are pulling 3.5k DPS 10 minutes after dinging.

That’s sort of a mechanical solution.

The other solution would be directed at the people.

If you can’t stand running with scrubs, don’t PuG.

If you have to PuG, take a deep breath and make the best of it.

(I’m counting on this system to bring me blog fodder for the rest of my days, I just can’t make up some of this shit.)

There was a lot of murmuring when the new tool was announced that it would kill guilds, especially small guilds that ran mostly heroics.

Bullshit.

If anything, this has strengthened guilds.

An  exposure to just how bad it can be out there has made our guild ties so much more valuable.

During my conversation with Dark/Soth, I inadvertently created a PuG mantra for him:

The key is to find the people that care as much as you do and stick with them. Everyone else doesn’t matter. =)

Guilds are our haven from the perceived stupidity of the rest of the player base.

(And if your guild is a nest of stupidity, well, that’s another problem.)

If you’re anti-guild, hopefully you have a friends list that serves the same purpose: connections to people that care as much (or as little) as you do.

And above all else, remember that regardless of your personal commitment level, it’s still just a game.

(That means you’re supposed to have fun.)

If we want to see the PuG environment improve we need to do 4 things:

Reinforce good skill.

I was in a WC group with a tank that wasn’t the greatest. But we had a mage that seemed to instinctively sheep every caster that the tank missed. You can bet I complimented that mage on their CC usage.

Reinforce good behavior.

Is a person asking questions? Answer sincerely. Are they friendly? Be a friend back. You don’t have to be BFF by the end of the run, but encourage a positive party environment. Don’t harsh the mellow, man.

Educate as appropriate.

I’m healing SFK. I’ve got a warrior in full BoA linking Recount after every trash pull.

Yes, we are talking Shadowfang fucking Keep. Yes, he’s on top.

He is not the tank, yet he seems to be doing a remarkable job of occupying the same space as the tank.

I ask him, what’s your main? (BoA indicates he’s got SOMETHING at 80.)

“DK”

Oh, boy… you tank or DPS on that DK? (Maybe if he’s used to tanking he’s just used to being in front of the mob.)

“DPS but I don’t have him geared”

Mhm… would you like a tip that will make your damage go up and make your healers happier? (Obviously damage is important to him so that’s my primary carrot for him.)

“wut?”

Try standing BEHIND the mobs, you’ll do more damage and won’t eat so much cleave damage.

Would you believe he actually started doing it? He was clumsy as hell about it, but he stuck with it the rest of the run. And he stopped linking Recount.

Punish bad behavior.

Not bad skill, that falls under education. If we want to reduce the fuckwad factor we need to start holding the fuckwads accountable. Ask them politely to calm down, if they won’t, then group kick or leave. Be sure to add them to your ignore list.

If we continue to tolerate the behavior, not only will they get worse with the existing jerks, but new players will think it is acceptable.

I’m done talking about heroics.

They really aren’t as much srs bzns as we’ve made them out to be over the past week.

Now raids on the other hand…

We’ll talk about raids on Wednesday.

23 comments on “WoW: The (Heroic) Solution

  1. Tirael says:

    WTB talk about raids tomorrow, pst, paying arm/leg possibly first born. (j/k about the last part).

  2. For The Pie says:

    Heroics are serious! /stomp feet

    I recall not so fondly the rep grind that was BC heroics…oh and the Kara key chain. no no, not key chain, but chain of quests needed to get your Kara key.

    Sadly, some of my BC rep is still at the oh hai I gots heroic key level, because really who does some of those instances if you don’t have to.

    To top it off, I joined a reroll guild and had to run folks through multiple runs of BM over and over again. Yes, I was the whelp killer in the back as a hunter. That’s right, fear my ability to kill 3-4 whelps without them touching the shield. /flex Oh and that was back before all ur pets are OP. Now, who needs whelp duty when a tank can hold aggro on 12308 mobs.

    I think they swung the pendulum too far the other way. There has to be a happy medium between running Mech 1230843 times so your tank can get the gear he/she needs for tanking Kara, and the lolfest that is gearing up to raid Naxx. Where you could with quest rewards and a couple BoE’s be def capped and ready to tank at least spider wing of Naxx as you dinged 80.

    Of course I will say I do enjoy Wrath for my alts much more than I did for BC. In fact, that’s why I pretty much played only my hunter in end game in BC, it wasn’t worth going through 85 runs of normals to get the gear for my alts to get to heroic to repeat those 9432 runs of heroic so they could get into kara and beyond.

    Maybe to add to the 1 normal before heroic (which by the way, many times I’ve got both the heroic and normal achievement at the same time) is some way to make emblems/badges/seals/medals or w/e they make in Cat, somewhat BoA, but perhaps instead of getting rid of Conquest etc, make those BoA, and make the top two tiers not. That way, you could still have some reason to run the older stuff while gearing up an alt. Heck, I end up buying level 70 epic gems for badges of justice so i can use the ones I get.

    One great thing about the new LFD is that as you level an alt you can experience the older instances without overpowering them like you can on a level 80. Yesterday on my warrior tank, I got BRD. OMG flashbacks..and not good ones. But the satchel run is pretty easy actually. In fact, they made it too easy in my mind. Those trash pulls still suck btw.

  3. Tirael says:

    In all seriousness, my Prot warrior ran BC heroics A LOT. BC heroic gear was the minimum anyone would consider you to be “acceptable” for raiding Karazhan.

    There were also some MUST have gear from heroics that could last you a long time. Hell my warrior used the damned Sun Eater (the sword deemed impossible to be made) from H Mechanar FOR-EV-ER. Hehe, check out Paleteal – Mal’Ganis for a laugh. She has all BC heroic instance reps maxxed. In fact, they were all exalted (pre-nerf).

    The thing is, in BC, you had to run heroics to raid. You weren’t walking into Kara without heroic instance gear in most of your slots (Dabiri’s Enigma was from a questline in Netherstorm that almost every tank had up until the Scarab of Displacement from SSC).

    I myself have nightmares about the heroic instance grind of BC. It was tedious, to say the least. I ran H Shattered Halls so much that I got the gauntlet (one of the hardest things for a warrior tank to do) down to a science. Hell, some BC heroics were harder than some WotLK raids.

    I miss the difficulty (at times) of BC heroics. Now, if you run into a heroic with a scrub group, it’s 30 minutes out of your day. With a good group, maybe 10-15 minutes. In BC, if you had a scrub group, you could spend HOURS in 1 heroic. You didn’t /leavegroup because you needed the rep and you put up with the scrubbery because of that. With a good group, your minimum time in a heroic was 30 minutes.

    The game has gone the way of society, short attention spans beget shorter forms of entertainment. For example, fast-paced grinds/fast-paced instances. There is no more epic scale. There is no more sense of accomplishment when you finally get Keepers of Time exalted.

    I can’t wait until the raids topic, Arioch. I have a feeling I may upset your regular reader base.

  4. Slo says:

    I have read each of the entries on heroics with interest, and they have all been thought provoking, but really, I was waiting on the raiding topics…

    Can’t wait to see where you take us with that =)

    Thanks for all the great reading material!

  5. telanarra says:

    personally i miss the rep grinds to get into stuff but i’m kinda sick and demented like that. I also played in the post nerf BC rep grind era so it might have been uphill in the snow both ways but we had slidewalks.

    As to pugging. I was for a long time the Antipug. I would have rather not run something then run with 4 guildies and a pug. I blame bad BC heroic pugs on this. With the new LFG tool and i will admit achievements and a pet I pug alot. At first i pugged sans guildies why run a random with 4 other guildies when running with 4 randoms got me closer to a pet. once i got the pet though i am more app to answer the call of the guildy looking for some one to run randoms with. You still get xtra badges and if you pug a couple of other randomly from the tool you get to be entertained also toss in vent and its a running commentary akin to MST3000 only less awesome.

  6. James says:

    Personally I liked the grind. Maybe they could bring it back just not have it to where you needed revered. They nerfed it to freindly now I believe. Maybe have it to where your alts get grandfathered to where you only have to grind it out on one toon. Atleast you would know that person has been in that instance before.

    I like your idea of having to do the normal before the heroic. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to do normal MgT. If you over gear the instance good for you, then it would only take a fraction of time to clear it that first time.

    I was part of a Heroic grind team for server firsts 3 days after wrath hit. Not that it meant anything other getting the gear that was needed. It was alot of fun doing Oculus. Shit I remember trying to kill a druid in Old Kingdom on the last boss…. It took us 8-9 tries because in any form he would spam nourish. That was a pain.

  7. smart001 says:

    My initial inclination was to bring up the cross account achievements idea I wrote about once on my blog. But then I realized, just because I hunterded my way through OK doesn’t mean I know how to tank or heal it. So that idea got scratched.

    I don’t know if there is a solution to this. Having to run the regular version first will not happen, because the minority of the players will not speak as loudly as the majority. I think most people will disagree with your idea. I know, I for one do not want to do regulars once I am 80, but I will also have done all the research I need to, and will have ground the particular normals that have gear for me and will have BoE stuffs to make me effective.

    Also, Blizzard has already given everybody cake, there would be massive uproar if they were to take the cake away and tell people “you have to eat this spinach first”. I hate spinach, and that would piss me TFO.

    Someone once brought up (may have been you arioch, but i honestly cannot remember) about completing a quest chain for the role you want to play. For example. I am leveling up a warrior. Prot. He is level 70 right now. Now that I have hit 70, open up a quest chain (much like the class quests at 50) that I am REQUIRED to complete before I (or anyone else) can tank (or heal or DPS) Heroics. So basically an atunement. You could even make part of the Tanking quests that you have to bring back the heart of a regular boss or some shit. Fill in some superfluous lore and SHAM-WOW. Make the quests stuff that would be easy to complete while you are doing your normal leveling grind.

    I don’t know, just an idea. I know I said dont make us run regs, but having to run one or two regs to attune for the entire heroic arsenal would not be heartbreaking or earth shattering.

  8. Tirael says:

    As a warrior tank myself, here is what I want the quest line to be.

    You plus 4 npcs (3 dps and 1 healer) are setup to tank waves of mobs in packs of 5. 25 waves

    • For The Pie says:

      You sure you don’t want to just take all the waves together? ;) Oh wait, that’s current geared bear/warrior/pally tanks that i’ve run with that want to pull all the trash to the first boss and tank him and the trash all at once.

    • Dark/Soth says:

      I had a Pally tank with quite a few ICC 10 and 25 pieces in my random H UK last night. He pulled 3 groups at a time. It took me a couple pulls to get used to it. He’d pull the first group, I’d toss out a few living bombs, and he’d be off picking up more groups. >.< By the time he got to the 3rd group, the bombs exploded, pissing off the 8 mobs he had little aggro on, which all bee-lined for me. Thank FSM for Ice Block and Mirror Image.

  9. Zarigar says:

    I think I am a patient person (I haz a title that says so!) but when I pop into a random pug and the first thing a tank says is “I’ve never been here before”, I die a little inside.

    • Dark/Soth says:

      It’s even better when the tank says, “its been a while since I’ve been in here, how does this boss go again?” and the instance is Pit of Saron. How could you have forgotten it already? >.<

  10. Dark/Soth says:

    I like the idea of some minor form of “attunement” for heroic instances. Even a single run would be sufficient. I don’t think anyone should be able to blame poor dps, tanking ability, or healing ability in heroic instances on not knowing the encounters.

  11. theerivs says:

    It’s not my job to teach others how to play the game, if they suck I tell them so and leave. Usually I start casting the teleport right before a boss pull. Muhaha.

    • For The Pie says:

      Back in BC, you had to make sure where the portal was from the mage in the raiding group. It’s like they had random macro. Everyone wanted to go to shat, but sometimes you’d end up in UC or Silvermoon. You learned quick to mouse over and verify before you clicked.

      Tricksy mages.

  12. Tirael says:

    Or you could do like the mages in my last guild. Each one put up two ports to random places right on top of each other. We called it “Portal Roulette”.

    @Dark/Soth

    I have done that before on my warrior with a lock chain seeding right behind me. That was a practice in patience. He never died though.

  13. Vordan says:

    I have ran A LOT of heroics. I have 3 80s and they all need to be geared appropriately so I can raid, so heroics is the best way to go about it. Unfortunately that means countless hours of misery simply because people who are trying to get frost badges, and are geared out the ass have the need to laugh at me and make my life hell for having iLvL 200 gear. The thing is though, I do a fine job healing with my gear. People just feel the need to be asshats.

    Since I run so many if people feel the need to laugh at me, tell me how scrub I am, tell me I can’t heal for shit when I keep their ass alive, I wait till they pull, watch them die, laugh in chat and teleport out. If you want to be an asshat to me, I won’t hesitate back. Ive been playing this game since it was released, I won’t stand bad behaviour because you think you are better than me. Bad idea is bad to dis your healer in the middle of a pull, amirite?

  14. Darraxus says:

    All I have to say is….Shadow Labs can lick my balls. Took probably 10 tries to get thru it the first time. The first time we got thru, I think we had 17 wipes. It was terribad. Really bad. And that was only the regular version. I remember people spending 4 hours to get through Heroic.

    I ended up running Mechanar pretty much every day until I got decent enought gear. That shit was maddening.

    • For The Pie says:

      Slabs was not fun. At. All. You only ran it when you really had to. I can’t recall what, but there was something in there that benefited a class or role, so if you had that class/role in your guild, you ended up running it.

  15. Stupid Mage says:

    Hunters for the Spear. Still one of the best looking weapons in the game.

    I also believe there was a key or something in a box next to Murmur.

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