I need more time (and another reset) to form my thoughts fully on this instance, but here goes the short version.
Eternal Palace on Normal is, by my experience, a bit too simple.
Many bosses have complicated sounding mechanics that don’t do very much. I ate the first boss’ stack mechanic solo as a tank and had 66% of my health left afterwards. I have no clue what we did on Za’qul, but he died in two pulls. Nearly every boss died in 1-3 pulls, and we ended a four-hour raid week with 5 pulls on Azshara herself.
I like the raid so far, don’t get me wrong, but from a gameplay perspective, it feels drastically too far undertuned. Mechanics don’t matter, at least, that was our experience, with around a 405 average raider item level on night 1. I ate the aforementioned stack mechanic solo with no problem and no cooldown, by accident, and it didn’t matter. The tornados on Radiance of Azshara felt like gentle breezes in terms of the raw damage taken. Orgozoa’s first few seconds post-taunt, which is supposed to put the fear of god into a tank, instead felt like the first time a boss was actually trying to fight me.
Now, from a lore perspective, at least that is somewhat consistent with the whole “Azshara really wants us in the palace and isn’t trying to actually stop us” thing, but if that is intentional, then it is dull design. If it isn’t intentional, well, I fear what happens going forward. Blizzard is known to be staunchly opposed to adjusting bosses upwards in difficulty, because of how it impacts the morale of an already low-morale playerbase. But, for my guild, the answer seems that we’ll reclear and kill Azshara this week and then go straight to Heroic. Even Azshara, with bad DBM implementations that had almost no data, still was a fight we managed to push to phase 3 in a single-digit number of pulls!
While I like the raid a lot more than the gameplay of the new zones (a topic I’ll be revisiting shortly!), it just feels like a hail-mary pass.
Could it have used more testing?
I don’t know that I am equipped to answer that, but it seems like yes, maybe.
6 thoughts on “The Quick And Simple Basic Eternal Palace Normal Post”
From looking at raiding participation numbers on my joint server, I wonder if it’s purposely undertuned to get people excited about going in and beating some raid bosses. I don’t think what average players that are left have the desire to spend months working on the same fights over and over for a minor gear drop, or the farming of rank 3 recipes, or what I found on Saturday having to collect something off each boss, that I don’t even know if I will complete by September since I will have to get them from LFR, and we are weeks away from Azshara being available.
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I felt pretty satisfied with the difficulty. On several bosses we hit the enrage timer because we didn’t have the juice to push it; that made us sit up and pay attention! Those tougher-to-my-raid-team bosses will be future kills that make us feel cocky and better about ourselves.
I’m finding that there is a huge difference between a 12-man raid and a 16-man raid, I wish I had more friends!
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That point about raid size is one I think Blizzard needs to be looking at. My raid was 23-24 people on both nights, and I imagine that had something to do with the difficulty too. In prior tiers this same expansion, we had 12-15, and it was harder. My hope is that the scaling is not so fundamentally broken that a group size change should so drastically swing the fight difficulty, but I do find it slightly harder to have that hope for Blizzard these days!
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I thought normal was supposed to be the difficulty targeted at semi-organised pugs and friends and family guilds? Because if that’s still the case, the difficulty you describe sounds pretty perfect for the target audience…
Normal is that – but generally, there are a few bosses that serve as end-wing bosses and are generally tuned to require a bit more coordination and execution from a group. So far, the only boss that has barriered us in any way is Azshara, which feels a little odd. In the past, my guild would usually spend about 6-8 weeks in Normal, and we’d need it to progress all the way through and get down everything.
The problem is the mechanics don’t seem to serve their intended function – not executing against a lot of them doesn’t really cause you to fail, it just puts a bigger burden on your healers to play catchup. That is where I think the tuning went wrong – rather than just being too easy, it feels like the stuff that is supposed to matter sort of doesn’t – and it makes the end boss in Azshara seem a bit more difficult comparatively.