Were Baron's Bombs a Wipe?

| Thursday, February 2, 2012
It's been a while, so I can't remember. This came up over at WoW Insider, about the newness of the dance, perceived or actual, and the penalties of bad dancing. So to you I ask, Do you remember if a screw up on living bomb on Baron Geddon was a wipe? I know it was a big deal and definitely a major setback, but I don't recall it being an instant wipe. For some perspective on my perspective, I was doing this with people in mostly blues, with one guy loaded out in purples because he'd done MC before. So it's not as is we were significantly over or under-geared. Looking at the ability on wowhead, it says 3200 damage. Trivial these days, but if I recall, that would have been a pretty big hit back then. Maybe not quite an instant kill, but close enough that it could trigger a wipe if it lined up with his melee AoE or if someone important had a mana burn tick.

Beside the power of the failure, I'm wondering about the difficulty of the mechanic. I don't think it was very difficult, and certainly easier than more modern dances. We'd set a spot to run to, or multiple, since not everyone would have time to get there, or just generally tell people to get the hell away from the raid. If they moved away, even to the wrong spot (high ceiling ftl), they would only hurt themselves, and even then a quick priest with levitate and feathers could save them.

It helped that the fight didn't have too many things going on. Some classes were, of course, on dispel duty, because that mana burn would quickly ruin a caster, so a slight distraction there. Melee had to run out when he'd do his flame AoE. But overall that is two distractions, which would be almost exclusive, as there was only one melee class with a magic-remover, aka: lolret. When players only have to focus on that one part, it can be a lot easier to handle. It also helped that DPS was much simpler, leaving even more spare mental capacity.

So there's another aspect to consider, not just how difficulty a mechanic is in isolation along with the cost of failure, but add to those what is happening around the mechanic. If we're already worrying about X effect, when Y happens we may not be as ready for it, and will react more slowly and with greater confusion.


Kring said...

Exactly. With 40 people we had a dedicated healer doing nothing but keeping the bomb person at full health pre and post explosion. That was all the person had to care about. That person didn't have to do that while riding a vehicle and killing dragons in between while taking care to stand in blue and not green spots.

Michael said...

I think the main issue wasn't lots of things happening at once, it was simply that screw-ups were a lot more forgiving. Geddon bombs would kill you and anyone near you, and I certainly remember a few times where all the melee except the tanks were killed because someone forgot to go out. But even with 8-12 melee dead, the boss would still die.

That's the main difference from vanilla wow raiding. In wrath/cata content, in a 10man raid, if someone dies and you can't brez him, it's almost certainly a raid wipe. A single death is enough to make the encounter unbeatable. In vanilla, you could lose people without it stopping the encounter. It was actually fairly common to have 10-20 people dead at the end of an encounter. You could lose a few peeps every onyxia deep breath, chromaggus time stop, skeram clone, etc, without it becoming an insta-wipe. You could even lose tanks and one of the 3-4 other tanks would just pick it up. You'd intentionally have those other tanks ready to pick it up in case the main tank gets a bad crushing blow or something.

I think the first encounter for my guild where it felt like losing people early would mean the raid wouldn't be able to beat the enrage was Sartura in AQ40. And then again at Huhuran. A lot of naxx felt that way. There was still room to lose a few, but not the 10-20 that had been the norm in MC and BWL.

In vanilla, it was more like a race between you and boss. Can you kill him before he manages to kill all the raid? Where healers and tanks slowed the rate at which he killed you. Now days, if someone dies it means either they screwed up, a tank screwed up, or the healer screwed up. There are very few acceptable deaths simply from attrition.

Andenthal said...

No where in MC was there a single mechanic that would be an insta-wipe if a single player failed to deal with it (minus maybe if your tanks died - but thats true of any instance).

But don't forget, MC was designed that way. It wasn't meant to challenge the weak link.

Klepsacovic said...

@Michael: Good point on the raid sizes. With so many people it may also be harder to individually stress any particular player, so that mechanics have to be more generalized.

@Andenthal: Divine Intervention at the right time could do it. :)

Kring said...

> No where in MC was there a single mechanic
> that would be an insta-wipe if a single player
> failed to deal with it

You didn't use a hunter to pull geddon and shazz? :)

Shintar said...

Another one of the factors that make things a lot less forgiving these days are tighter enrage timers. In "ye olde days" I'm sure most people had at least a couple of kills where loads and loads of people died during the fight, but as long as someone stayed alive you could keep going and eventually beat the boss. If an enrage timer existed at all, it was usually very generous and mostly seemed to be there to save all the dead people from dying again of boredom while they watched a tank and two healers take down the boss at a snail's pace.

But at the same time, those were the days when people joked about half the dps being afk while auto-attacking and their performance seemed pretty inconsequential.

The Renaissance Man said...

It wasn't an instant wipe, but during progression, you were likely to lose most of the people it hit, 3.2k damage was the majority of a player's health pool at that level. It could also crit, which would push its damage up another 1.6k, kicking it up to the level where it would one shot any non tank.

On a related note, do you know what I love most about the old strategies for vanilla bosses? They were written so informally.

From the old MC strats preserved on WoWpedia:

"Geddon Line — This strategy involves the group making a line about 40 yards from the mouth of the cave after pulling him. We use a hunter and warrior to pull, getting the warrior the first bomb as a sacrifice. The line spreads out in order to avoid a wipe in case of a bomb that doesn't move, and so we have a clear, easy place to explode."

"Most raids using a voice talking server (Ventrilo or Teamspeak) will have someone calling the name of the player with the bomb debuff. "Volk is the Bomb! Volk, run away from the group!" would be a typical response to a player named Volk being debuffed. "Alright. Lets rez up and rebuff." would be the result of Volk not getting away from the group."

My guess is that Volk was "that guy".

However, it does warrant pointing out that MC wasn't really a fully formed raid instance. Up until rag, most of the encounters were excessively simple, and designed to be doable with 25% of the raid AFK. It wasn't until AQ40 where you began to see modern raid encounters. It wasn't until the addition of enrage timers, first pioneered with Vaelstraz, did people actually become concerned with weather or not a DPS character lived or died.

MC raiders were the Australopithecuses of the raiding world.

Rohan said...

If you were actually progressing, ie not beaten MC yet, a bad Baron bomb could wipe the attempt. Most often it didn't wipe the raid right away, but it usually took out enough people to start a death spiral.

We were all really terrible back in MC, though.

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