First Looks

Friday I got my first look at Flex Raiding and also a first look at the Siege of Orgimmar raid, thanks to the kindness of Askevar and the Band of Misfits over on Azuremyst. Thanks again for the invite, guys, I had a blast.

Initial Impressions on Flex Raiding:

My first thought to flex raiding is an unequivocal, unreserved, and very enthusiastic YES. Yes, what?

  • Yes, I like that it’s cross-server, allowing me to run with old friends and family members, even though we’re not on the same servers.
  • Yes, I like the difficulty level. It really does feel like the old days with ICC. It didn’t feel like it was loose enough that anyone could just ignore mechanics (i.e LFR), but also wasn’t so tight that one or two mistakes would wipe us (i.e Normal). It just felt nicely tuned, where we could have some people making some mistakes, but make up for it with exceptional play elsewhere.
  • Yes, I like the loot. It’s nice to get something a step up from LFR, even if it’s not as good as normal. Speaking of which, I got some lovely 540 gloves to replace a 502 pair.
  • Yes, I like the personal loot system. It saves me the awkward choice of whether to roll on something that’s an upgrade while running with what is otherwise a mostly-guild group. No “loot guilt” if I win something.
  • Yes, I like the flexibility. It was really nice that we were able to add people as they signed on instead of waiting around trying to get enough. It was equally nice that we could keep chugging on when people started to drop out without having to call it for lack of personnel.

Overall, I was very pleased with pretty much every aspect of Flex raiding, despite having a somewhat academic reaction to its announcement. Everything I had hoped would turn out well exceeded my expectations. Everything i was worried about came out well. Thus far, I haven’t seen anything about it that I simply dislike, but we’ll wait a bit and let some of the “shiny” wear off before I make a final decision.

Initial Impressions on Siege of Orgimmar:

Granted, I only got to see the first 3 bosses, and we only downed 2 of them, but we weren’t raiding all that long, either, so it comes out in the wash, so to speak. The first few encounters were really fun.

I hadn’t ever seen anything quite like Immerseus before. It was a bit hectic at times, and the healing seemed to fall into a cycle between “yawn. nothing to do” and “oh, crap! use all the CDs” but all in all it was a nice little encounter. I’m sure it’ll become a little less rushed/hectic once we’ve seen it a few more times, but I had a good time, anyway. The “quick, heal the puddles” mechanic was kind of fun. It felt nice to be able to have a direct and tangible effect on the outcome of the fight beyond just keeping everyone alive. You don’t see many fights like that (Dreamwalker in ICC and Tsulong in ToES also come to mind), but those few that do are always among my favorites.

The Fallen Protectors encounter was kind of sad. I felt really bad for them, so +1 on Lore for this one. Also, the fight wasn’t too bad. There was enough to do without there being huge lulls in the healing, and that made the intense moments all the more rewarding to heal through. Overall, I’m not sure the difficulty was up to where it needed to be (it certainly felt easier than the first one), but that could have just been because I was running with a good group, or it could have been that, unlike tanks and dps, my job didn’t change based on the boss’ health pool. Either way, it certainly wasn’t LFR-level of faceroll.

Norushen felt like a big step up in difficulty from the first two. There was a lot more going on in this one. Aside from a fairly involved main phase (which involves avoiding puddles and beams and handling adds), there is a phased portion in which portions of the raid will split off to take a personal mini-test that effects the raid on the outside. This one seems like it will take a bit more organization to crack than the others, whose mechanics were much more straight-forward.  Still, it was fun even making the attempts, and we did get close (under 10%) several times.

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