Shattered Halls: The Beginning of the End

| Thursday, September 16, 2010
Was World War I the first modern war or the last pre-modern war? Or is that the question for the American Civil War? Well we had infantry charges and cavalry charges combined with machine guns and poison gas. And a lot of Russians died.

And there we go transition phrase... Russians in wars are like that one room in BRD with the quickly respawning trash mobs that you can never kill, just outrun.

And trash GO!

Shattered Halls, was it the last good instance or the first LK instance?

On one hand I remember it was a very friendly instance to CC classes. It was filled with humanoids standing in somewhat spread out groups. So many of the most common CCs work most easily on stationary humanoids: sap, sheep, traps, blind, fear, seduction. Those can work on other mob types too, but humanoids are where they all come together. Being spread out a little bit means you can land a CC before they end up too close to safely thunderclap, consecrate, or death and decay (gotcha!). The pulls were big and could cause a lot of hurt, so CC was a pretty smart idea.

Then came the overgeared paladin tank. With minor line of sight breaks they could round up and hold an entire pack without getting torn apart or losing aggro to heavy AoE. And so began the end of the instance as a place of fun. Rather than nerfing paladin AoE, instead all classes gained strong AoE aggro generation. We quickly outgeared instances, far beyond what would have been expected in BC, and soon there was not a single trash pull that was not mindless AoE.

With our fancy new mechanics like being able to use thunderclap in defensive stance and it hitting more than a few targets, suddenly we were playing like this everywhere. Thanks to heirlooms our normally green-geared lowbies who drooled for blues were instead always up to date in multiple high-stat slots such as chest and weapon. It was as if Shattered Halls was gone forever.

Oh they tried! They gave us Magister's Terrace and it was a wonderful place. But we cried "too much CC!" and though it was true, they went too far. We cried that we hated the PvP fight as well, so Blizzard did what no one would do: they heavily nerfed the effectiveness of PvP gear in PvE, removing what had once been a major incentive to do PvP, and so that slowly dwindled.

We could blame that prot paladin. Or we could ask that prot paladin with heavily biased views formed during his vanilla years what he thought. And he'd say something more fitting of a 1950s racist blocking a school integration: it's them damn werriors! Yes warriors ruined everything. With their tanking monopoly and aggressive exclusion of the possibility of any other tank, the paladins and the druids grew angry and radicalized and caused terrible things and everyone denounced Paladin X but had this little nagging doubt about what was really going on. Then Dks came like a veritable flood of Mexicans and we blamed them for everything.

My point is this: I miss BC heroics. Even while they were sometimes too long to fit into the time I had, at least when I could run them, I was glad to be there. And I still got badges!


Anonymous said...

I'm getting the shakes again just thinking of tanking that on my warrior back in TBC. I ended more than one run in tears after being told that I sucked compared to every paladin tank in existence. Just because I didn't have overpowered built in AE tanking abilities and they did.

Eventually I gave up and switched main characters. Tanking BC heroics that all seemed as though they'd been designed for another class completely ... sucked. (Magisters Terrance, bizarrely, was actually OK but by then I was just doing it to prove that I could.)

I don't have words to describe how much I hated it, just because of how amazingly horrible other players (even peopel I knew) were when I was trying to learn it, and how much I still hate all paladin tanks because of that instance :)

They should have nerfed paladins.

Shintar said...

I remember completing a heroic Shattered Halls run in half an hour, after one of our raid nights: well-geared paladin tank, two out of three dpsers with spammable AoE... and go! It felt amazing and fun - because it was so unusual.

At the same time, thinking back to how much I enjoyed that makes me feel ashamed now, considering what happened to AoE and CC in this expansion. I think this is a prime example of the fact that just because we as players find something fun in the short term, it shouldn't necessarily become the long-term standard.

Green Armadillo said...

I actually never successfully completed a SH run at level 70. (SLabs was almost as bad, but you HAD to slug through that one for the Kara attunement, so I went a few times to help guildies.)

Personally, I think the right balance is somewhere in between these CC-fests and where we are in Wrath now - have a reasonable number of targets per pull (maybe stop at 4 unless they're really weak AOE trash) but have them dish out significantly more damage to encourage players to try and lock down one of them. That said, I'm a mage, and we were pretty much guaranteed a slot (or even 2!) in TBC 5-mans because polymorph was nigh essential.

Anonymous said...

Could you imagine if CC was a requirement for any wrath heroics? Everyone would argue over who's going to do it because their DPS on the all-important meters would go down (Oh Noes!). As a little experiment I think Blizz needs to break DPS meters for a while so maybe we can start to measure the success of a group by, I dunno, whether they KILL the boss or not. There's far too much focus on gearscores and DPS numbers and not enough on tactics. Remember in (think it was the Mechanar) at that pack of infernals where a lock was needed for CC? The good locks would first enslave, then banish another. Good times.

Leah said...

As much as I loved CC (I was a hunter in BC and LoS chain trapping casters in slabs was a lot of fun) I also remember having trouble when the group didn't have enough CC able people. I mean sheep could be held indefinitely. good hunter can hold something trapped for a fair bit as well, but what if the only CC you had was a sap (the one you cannot refresh)?

BC in some cases was excersize in frustration on finding groups if you played certain classes.

Wrath went a bit too far in the other direction, yes, but I'm glad I can run an instance in 20 minutes instead of 2 hours. mostly because my gameplay is no longer limited to one instance a day (assuming I find a group)

I believe they are trying to find a good balance between too efficient and too complex in Cata. unfortunately no matter what the instances will look like, there will be plenty of people unhappy with them.

Klepsacovic said...

@Spinks: Warriors are jerks. Fact.

@Shintar: I also remember some very fast AoE runs in BC and how they were a thrill. Now they're just the same old. Even as a paladin I couldn't do that in every instance. Some mobs still needed focusing or CC because they were just too painful.

@Green Armadillo: More CC might also encourage the community to not look down on DPS so much. Right now it's so tank-focused that even as a tank I don't like it much.

@Anonymous: The smart bad players want to CC, it's their excuse for bad DPS! :)

@Leah: Sap should still be usable with quick DPS, and care with the AoEs. But the point stands, needing CC can be tricky. Yet most classes have a CC thse days, so it's not so difficult of a requirement.

Chris said...

You could AoE tank SH in blue dungeon gear, and you could AoE tank Magister's if you had a good tank.

You can't really blame paladins for being the AoE tanks, that was their job after all. Warriors were given the MT crown and skills for all situations, Druids and Paladins were given niche tanking roles that we fulfilled with the potential to become MTs if we were good (though we still lacked abilities / had excess vulnerabilities).

Looking back like this is really some kind of tinted lenses, I tanked alongside a Warrior in TBC who AoE tanked SH, who AoE tanked Hyjal (I did the bosses he did the trash :P). The game was never hard to AoE tank, it just required some co-ordination given the damage thresholds - but we still see that in WotLK in places like Old Kingdoms with the caster packs which place multiple ground AoE attacks making it hard... people generally dislike hard.

Anonymous said...

The topic is getting somewhat old already. Good old times vs mindless aoe times.
The truth is that aoe part is up to you. I'm tired of Shockwave-Cleave-fests on my warrior tank, so I don't do it anymore. I'm tired of Mind Sear-fests on my priest so I don't do it anymore. But I do like Chain Heal-fests and I do it!

Klepsacovic said...

@2nd Nin: I'm not blaming by paladin for being good at AoE. I really did enjoy it as a niche. I didn't enjoy being second class on raid tanking. But the solution seems to have been to buff paladin raid tanking and do nothing to our AoE.

@Anonymous: I suppose I could try sheeping things on my mage and using frostbolts, but it will just get broken anyway and I'd look like a complete idiot. The problem isn't player behavior, that's a symptom, shaped by instance design; the problem is instance design. Playing badly won't fix that, it just gets people vote kicked.

Chris said...

We were still lacking in MT capability for a long time (interrupts, disarms, you name it basically, bears, dks, and paladins generally need to be babysat if something is coming up). Everyone gained AoE capbilities, Warriors were a little light in some ways but their flexibility is still unmatched.

One thing that really does annoy me is our loss of consecration in cata... it's been iconic that we stood on this crappy yellow icon for 5 years... now its once every 30s.

Anonymous said...

2nd Nin, with the minor exceptions (normal Gormok), bosses are immune to Disarm and it is not an issue if MT lacks a disarm.
As for interrupts, it is logical to assign them to DPS. Interrupting tank = 1 wasted GCD on threat = 10-12 DPS members unable to do more damage (threat-capped). And really good DPS members are thread-capped most of time. On the other way, interrupting DPS member = lost damage from only 1 DPS member (or 2-3 if a rotation is in order).

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