Written by | Posted November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm A Girl and her Dog

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

filed under Feature, Raiding
What is Epic?
comment 3 Written by on March 19, 2012 – 7:42 am

A friend of mine had a GTalk status that brought me in mind of Sindragosa. While I can’t say I particularly LIKED that fight (any fight where the difficulty is created by making your players unable to play their class half the time is one that I’m going to get VERY annoyed with as a healer), it got me thinking about Icecrown.

In some ways, I feel a little silly – a little like the old granny raider, talking about how things were in my day. But then, Icecrown was really only two years ago, even if it seems quite a bit longer.

For me, what makes a dungeon epic is its ability to suck you in – immersiveness, if you will. The places I remember as feeling truly epic to be part of were all places that were their own worlds – Blackwing Lair, Karazhan, Black Temple, Naxxramas, Ulduar, Icecrown all were like that for me. Thinking back, those were all the “long” dungeons, the ones with lots of bosses and lots of things to see and do. Each had areas that were creepy, and little touches that made them consistent within themselves. They seemed “loved”, as though the developers really got to dig into what they were making. I’m reminded of all the alchemical horrors in BWL, the music in Karazhan (and all the scenery), the screams of Thaddeus’ victims in Naxxramas, the build up to killing friggin ARTHAS (and attempting to save Bolvar).

The dungeons I remember as epic didn’t have to be “hard” (25 man Naxxramas was certainly not particularly difficult), but they all felt like their own consistent zones. And there was a certain, sort of unquantifiable feeling of “Wow, I can’t believe I’m part of this” in each of them.

There was something lost in Cataclysm though, and I don’t wonder if it didn’t go with the larger raid groups. TRI didn’t sustain as a 25 man raid, splintering into three-ish 10 mans, two of which are still going. The core raid leadership wasn’t able to continue with the level of cat herding it was taking to keep people around, and that’s just how the cookie crumbles. (I was one of those people who couldn’t hack continuing to herd cats. Life happens.)

But our 10 man group, as fun as it was, really only tugged at half of the strings that keep me interested in a raid. We were having lots of fun hanging out and killing bosses, but between raiding with a character I didn’t RP with and the general lack of RP connection to anything in Cataclysm, I just never got those moments of epic.

That’s not to say that some of the fights weren’t interesting and fun. The Atramedes fight was really cool. Beth’tilac and Alysrazor were similarly memorable. But thinking back, even the Nefarian fight just didn’t have the same kick (probably partially because he was a recycled boss).

I’ve only experienced the Deathwing fight in RaidFinder, and I honestly think that made it lose some of the edge it could have had. Going on a raidfinder run doesn’t allow anyone to absorb anything about the actual instance – it’s the equivalent of speed running a heroic. You never really see what’s going on, you just pull bosses and roll on loot and try to ignore raid chat.

As an aside, I never did get to run Culling of Stratholme as an RP run, and I think I lost out on that. It’s too late now, with Arthas long dead, but from an RP standpoint, I think it would’ve been worth my time to make sure Aely experienced that.

Somewhere this is all connecting together in my head with the changes to raiding that made a 25 man a much more heroic endeavor to field every week. Maybe 10 man raids don’t ACTUALLY move faster, but it’s certainly seemed that way. I’m no huge fan of large swaths of downtime either, don’t get me wrong. But there was something about needing a large team of people, of having to coordinate those people, and of truly working things out as a team that appeals to me and, I think, increases the “epic” factor. *

And to bring all this back to Sindragosa, there are not any bosses from Cataclysm whose voice acting I remember. I can quote bosses from Molten Core and BWL, from Karazhan and Naxxramas, from Ulduar and Icecrown. (Suffer, mortals…) But if you asked me to quote any of the Cataclysm raid bosses, I’m honestly not sure if I could.

Maybe I’m just not paying enough attention. But maybe my attention just hasn’t been demanded as much.

*As I was writing this, I was reminded of this video – listening to the symphony of raid buffs brings back some really good memories.

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3 Responses to “What is Epic?”

  1. Ooh you gotta try AQ40 Temple… that hive of insect villany has some really nice ambiance… I also liked Serpentshrine cavern but it does not seem as vast and fulfilling… it has some neat stuff like the bridge at the end that leads to the final boss..

  2. @SirFWAL: I’d forgotten about the AQ raids, but you’re right, they’ve got a lot of good things going on. Which leads me to realize that both “Old God” raids were substantial and epic (AQ and Ulduar).

  3. I loved running ICC and Kara, and I enjoy poking at Ulduar when I get the chance (though I’ve never been very far into the place, unfortunately). I haven’t managed to hit any Cataclysm raids, but I do hear similar complaints and it’s… unfortunate, because there was a lot of potential, I think.

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