Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Choose-Your-Own Difficulty

Mordiceius has a post up giving some love to the concept of scaling dungeon difficulties. I personally think this is an awesome idea, way better (and for some reason, less acknowledged) than this dumb phasing thing. The fact that you can beat the Sartharion encounter with four degrees of difficulty (regular, or with 1, 2, or 3 drakes still alive) is huge. Zul'Gurub was like this, where you could technically engage Hakkar without killing the various aspects, but I don't ever remember reading about anyone actually doing it that way, and even if they did, there was no tangible benefit to doing so.

Another fight like this was the Eredar Twins in Sunwell. After one was killed, the other would gain the dead one's abilities, and it was generally agreed upon that there was one that was supposed to be killed first in order to make the fight go smoother (I've never set foot into Sunwell, QQ). However, killing them in the 'wrong' order was extra challenging, and actually rewarded extra loots, much to everyone's surprise. This was later nerfed in 2.4.3, and killing them at all dropped the 'bonus' loot, but for a while there was a normal way and a hard way to do the same fight.

Fast forward to a few nights ago, when a certain mouth breathing 16 year old in the guild (without naming any names, let's just call him "Dangx") was complaining that the entire endgame was so easy, and how awesome it used to be. I'm not sure how old Mr. Dang was when C'thun was released, and maybe he was just cranky and needed a nap, but I decided to probe a bit into the conversation. Sartharion, and his 'dumb variations' was brought up, and I asked our mystery tank from the Cho'gall server's Audacity guild how many times he himself had downed Sarth with 3 drakes up. The implication, of course, being that he must have it on farm since it's so fucking easy. Dipshit McDang began mumbling incoherently --you seriously should hear his voice, I'll record it sometime-- and stated for the record that 3 drakes up was totally puggable, but that he himself had never done it.


For the record, I've attempted 25 man Sarth with one drake up in a pug, and it, uhh... got a little fucking nutsy. Like real fast. We left 'the egg one' up, so that the adds would come out of the portal, and yeah, shitstorm wipefest doesn't begin to describe it. I'm not complaining, that shit was fun as hell. We tried it about 4 times, then just killed the drake on its own, and finished the encounter the normal way. That was the option, to scale it down a bit because our group couldn't handle it. THAT WAS AWESOME.

I know a few out there are turning your noses up, but I've really just reached the point where I play WoW to have fun, and I had fun. There's nothing to be ashamed of there. I got caught up in the bullshit of WoW before, botted on my main account for flask costs, and lost my three favorite toons. I'm in the process of releveling another warrior and priest, and was given a warlock. I've learned my lesson, and know what I want from the game now. The most aggravating part of the game now is coming across people who refuse to enjoy playing it, and I seem to be surrounded by these types recently, to my endless torment.

Anyway, back on the subject. Self Adjustable Sliders for each dungeon. I love this idea. Obviously you can't set the slider to 'EZ' and expect the rewards to be the same, and part of human nature (for whatever reason) is to invalidate self imposed restrictions that offer no external reward. Like, unless BLIZZARD adds a variation, it doesn't exist. Achievements are a perfect example of this. If someone was to down Ragnaros before he summoned the first wave of Sons, then hooray, but it doesn't really mean anything. Suddenly there's a list in the game that can be brought up with the Y ("why"?) key, and it means something when a little light goes off, and you get 10 xbox live points. Hey, whatever floats your boat.

The better alternative is the way Sarth is handled. From

The loot is modified by the number of drakes taken alive into the Sartharion fight:

  • Normal: (10-man)
    • 1 Drake up - bonus lvl 200 item
    • 2 Drakes up - bonus lvl 200 item and bonus lvl 213 item
    • 3 Drakes up - bonus lvl 200 item, bonus lvl 213 item and [Reins of the Black Drake]
  • Heroic: (25-man)
    • 1 Drake up - bonus lvl 213 item
    • 2 Drakes up - bonus lvl 213 item and bonus lvl 226 item
    • 3 Drakes up - bonus lvl 213 item, bonus lvl 226 item and [Reins of the Twilight Drake]

Oh boy, more loot! The point is that it isn't some entry in a list, it's a tangible reward (and a mount, if you're into that kinda thing). It's also recycled content, kept fresh by adding variations for people that outgear the encounter, or have it on farm.

I like this, and everyone likes more loot (some people like it a bit too much, perhaps). I think this is a good thing, and should be expanded upon.

A few general ideas:

Green Mode - Beat the encounter wearing ONLY GREENS. Any iLevel green is fine, and any enchant is fine, as long as the base item is a green. This would add a huge minigame of 'getting prepared'. People would be linking each other 'awesome green drops' they got as world drops in guild chat ("uuuh! CHECK OUT ALL THAT SPELL POWERRR!"), although it might be tedious having two full sets, especially when there's also...

Blue Mode - same drill, but blues.

The truly hardcore could maybe go for Grey Mode (It's not the gear! It's the player!), or 'Do it Naked', but yeah... an entire 25 man Naxx raid, beating the whole thing wearing all greens? NOW you can complain it's too easy ;)


Anonymous said...

Nax(25 or 10) is believed to be the Karazhan of Wotfk. Sartharion is fairly easy by itself with 3 drakes killed before and PUG'able. Malygos needs coordination to say the least and a druid healer for instant heals in first phase simplifies the encounter. The last phase where you get drakes is like the Oculus end boss where you mount drakes but ofc with 25 people strong group coordination is necessary. The rant is that future raids will be similar to Sartharion with 3 drakes combat. That means hard as nail. Sartharion with 3 drakes is really a dps and player awareness check. The first Drake must be dpsed down within 1 minute almost and all dps must be aware of firewalls adds and try to keep alive while maintaining 2+k dps. If you think of the 25 people 4 must be tanks and 8 must be healers, this leaves 13 people to dps down first drake within 1 minute without dying. On 10 man this is more difficult in my opinion. You still need at least 3 tanks and 3 healers and only 4 dps and must kill first drake very fast. Well in short I like this attitude of Bliz with easy-hard choosable encounters. We tried the Sartharion 3 drake all the week and and tuesday after long hours of wipefest we killed it the normal way to get the loot. So even trying is rewarding because the raid leader knows who is coming for loot and who is there for progression.

Anonymous said...

The reward from doing the boss in greens should also be an appropriate uber green item, to help with the next attempt.