FFS, You’ve Been Trained for This!

I’ve only had the opportunity to do General Vezax once, and only a few attempts at that.  Most of those attempts consisted of yelling at ranged members of the raid to avoid shadow crash.

This wasn’t overzealous DPS trying to jump into the resultant puddles.  It was people not paying attention to the world around them.  Having raided extensively as a healer, I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of “playing the UI” – focusing on a small section of raid frames to the exclusion of all else.  I can’t quite grok what was occupying the attention of the ranged DPS, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make.

FFS, you’ve been trained for this!

I remember when I was first leveling through TBC during beta, and came across Warlord Kalithresh in the Steamvault.  Anyone who had raided AQ20 in vanilla WoW should recognize the basic mechanic of this boss as coming from Ossirian the Unscarred.  At the time, I was a little disappointed, as it suggested that Blizzard was recycling boss mechanics.  Over the life of TBC, we saw this repeated at times (Vexallus in Magister’s Terrace re-using mechanics from the Curator in Karazhan for example) but we also saw a fair amount of new and unique boss encounters (Kael’Thas in The Eye, Archimonde).

Still, most of the re-use in TBC was taking raid mechanics and porting them over to 5 man instances.  You even saw this in WotLK to some extent: Krystallus in Halls of Stone has the same mechanics as Gruul.  Rarely did you see a mechanic first introduced via solo play show up later on a boss.

(as an aside: how many times have you come to Krystallus, asked the party “this is like Gruul – does anyone not know the mechanics?”, had everyone say that they are ready, then had a melee class run right back in after knockback and kill themselves?  /facepalm)

In WotLK however, we started to see mechanics introduced on 5 man bosses that were designed to train you for later raid encounters.  The first such encounter that people may be aware of is the Aces High! daily, which gives you a drake to ride with the same abilities as the drake you ride in phase 3 of the Malygos encounter.  It’s not exactly the same fight, as in Malygos you tend to perform the role of healer or DPS, but it’s a start.

If you look back through some of the other encounters from leveling to 80, you see other training opportunities:

Instructor Razuvious Understudy Tanking

I have held for a long time that the skeleton phase of the Prophet Tharon’ja fight in DTK is training for tanking Razuvious’ understudies in Naxxramas.  Perhaps it’s just the shared abilities (bone shield and taunt), but I think that the intention for the fight was for players to set up a taunt rotation, using bone shield at the appropriate time to ensure that whoever was holding the boss would be protected by a bone shield.

Unfortunately, the damage output on both normal and heroic is so low that a single tank can hold the boss for an entire skeleton phase without healing.  I’d like to think that Blizzard just mis-tuned the fight or decided to not introduce such a harsh mechanic into a mid-level dungeon.   Still, I’d like to have seen the heroic version of this fight tuned so that the attacks did a percentage of max hp and that such a rotation was required.

General Vezax

General Vezax is one of those fights where people shouldn’t have any problems with him, because his trash does *the exact same attack*, and you have to clear three full packs of such trash to pull the boss.

But you shouldn’t even have problems with the trash, because the trash leading up to Herald Voljzj in Ahn’Kehat does *the exact same attack*.  The problem is that while the attack in OK hit hard (and harder on heroic), it doesn’t kill you.  And if you die, it must have been the healer’s fault, not your inability to look at something other than a faceless one’s crotch while you were spamming Divine Storm.


Give Us More Training!

Personally, I like this style of content introduction.  Not only does it bring variety to people who might not get a chance to raid (though the bar to entry is lower with every patch), it gives you a place to point people to if they’re having problems in raids.

I’d love to see an overworld example of nearly every boss mechanic available somewhere, or at least all of the mechanics that have avoidable damage counterparts in raids.  Wouldn’t it be great if there were a daily that required you to do the Safety Dance?  How many 45-minute Heigan kills might be avoided if more than a fifth of your PUG knew how to dance?

Do you think we’ll see anything like this in the next expansion?