It is a meme that has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a while now but with 4.1 coming soon, hopefully next week, and then 4.2 coming shortly, for Blizzard, afterward I bring this meme/question up, again.
When asked about what some of the best designed, maybe not tuned but for over all design many times players will say Ulduar and also include Obsidian Sanctum for OS0-3d. I would also add in Faction Champions from Trial of the Crusader into this mix for a separate reason than the previous 2 encounters.
OS Zero through 3 Drake and Ulduar
This series of encounters were designed very well because they allowed players/groups/guilds to progress at their own pace in difficulty. The inane binary hard modes did not occur until ToC the tier after Ulduar. IMO this moving away from multiple levels of difficulty on with the same boss as in Sarth, Freya, Flame Leviathan and Yogg. Was abandoned to increase the rate of new content since most likely at about this same time was when the realization of how much work was needed to redo Azeroth for Cataclysm.
So with T9, T10, and T11 we get 2 difficulty modes with bosses of either Easy and Very Hard with no progressive intermediate difficulty modes. This type of content sucks.
Add to it the inane cock block of end boss encounters being tied to being able to unlock earlier boss hard mode encounters which was supposed to be changed in Cataclysm, but was not. Because of this we have a very different progression arc where there could very well be hard modes that are easier than the end boss encounter so there is not a smooth progression of encounter difficulty available.
To demonstrate numerically if 1 through 9 is used to describe difficulty of an encounter where 1 is easy and 9 is hard what you have today with the End boss Heroic Lock systems is a progression like the following | shows the lock out break.
Now: 1 2 4 5 7 8 | 5 7 8 8 9 9
A better progression if the unlocking was based on # of times a boss had been killed, like it was supposed to be, if Blizzard would record or display the information.
Better: 1 2 4 5 5 7 7 8 8 8 9 9
Yes this would require switching back and forth between heroic and normal modes but really who cares, it just needs to be possible.
I pull out this encounter as being one of the better designed fights during Wrath of the Lich King for one very important reason. Compared to about every other encounter in-game it is completely different. The only similar encounter I can think of is the pvp like fight in Magister’s Terrace. There may also have been one in vanilla wow that takes place in a pit but I am not familiar with a lot of the upper and lower black rock encounters so I am not sure.
Because the threat mechanics were different for this fight it made it play completely differently. This is another example of how to change and vary fights. Not to mention it is also a way to scale difficulty as well. If in a different mode of the fight certain spells or actions cause a different response from the boss could make for an interesting way to change the fight.
For the bloody love of what ever deity you worship can we please get some sort of actual X,Y,Z range finder between other characters if we are going to have more fights like phase 3 Malygos and Al’Akir. In both of these fights it would have been very helpful to have floating fragments of the platforms to use as reference points for Z-Axis alignment, similar to the end of The Occulus, except have the 3 platforms at different +Z values in relation to the main platform or boss.
Given the wow interface these 2 phases are complete assign. Ya the elite hyper-focused raiding guild might not have a problem but lets look at the actual numbers from wowprogress, 4/3/2011
The numbers represented this way really don’t do the orders of magnitude justice.
So ya, I believe the red part of the Halfus bar could be larger if Cho’gal was not the gate for access to the hard mode on Halfus. I also believe that Al’Akir may have more kills if we did not have to relearn how to play/move at the beginning of phase 3, as if the first 2 phases are not annoying enough.