Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rating Karazhan, Part II

(See Part I.)

Terestian Illhoof is a decent fight. About the only knock against it is that the Demonic Chains do a bit too much damage. If your raid runs a little dps-light, and one of your dps gets sacrificed, it's a bit dicey as to if the person will survive. As well, it's fairly hard to get a heal off in time to keep the sacrificed person up. To be honest, it might be better if the Demonic Chains had more health, but did less DPS. It would make that portion of the fight a little more forgiving.

Final Grade - Terestian Illhoof: B-

Shade of Aran is a crazy fight. Fights where you can go all out are always fun. The silence around him is a bit annoying for paladins, as it means you cannot melee-heal. However, the new Blizzard mechanic is great. It's amusing to make the ranged people run around like the melee people normally have to do.

The voice-acting in this fight is superb, and adds a great deal to the atmosphere for this fight.

The only problem with Shade is that the ending part with the elementals can get too chaotic, especially if you don't have a warlock. But that's a small quibble for such a unique and engaging fight. It's a hard fight, mind you, but lots of fun.

Final Grade - Shade of Aran: A

The Chess event is a very nice breather. It's fun, and relatively easy, and provides a great change of pace. For some reason, I like controlling the pawns.

I'm gravely disappointed that Medivh cheats, though. What's the world coming to when you can't trust an evil undead wizard to play fair in a game of chess?

Final Grade - Chess Event: A

Netherspite is also a very interesting fight. The portals and beams are an interesting mechanic. I haven't actually been in on a kill for Netherspite yet, but from what I've seen it's a good fight.

Edit: Killed Netherspite tonight. I think my rating stands.

Final Grade - Netherspite: B

Prince Malchezzar (and the legions he commands) is a complicated fight to grade. On the one hand, it's a well done fight with interesting mechanics. In particular, the random element of infernals makes the strategy for this fight more dynamic than most.

The problem with this fight is that I don't think raiders deal with randomness very well. In the ideal case, when you lose a fight, it should have been because you made a mistake, or did not execute correctly, and you should know that you did not execute correctly. In contrast, when you wipe on Prince, the most common phrase you will hear is that the raid had bad luck.

Which is not true. It is not bad luck, but failure of strategy that leads to most Prince wipes. However, the link between failure of strategy and the wipe itself is hard to see. Most people only see the proximate cause of the wipe ("We wiped because an infernal landed on us"), and don't see the underlying strategic flaw ("We didn't move the raid to a safer position early").

This disconnect often shows up in DPS fights which lack a timer to make the lack of DPS obvious. Instead, the proximate cause of the wipe is healers running out of mana, and so that's where the blame falls.

The inability of the Prince fight to make clear the true reason the raid wiped is its deepest flaw. Which is a pity, because in a lot of other respects it is a very well designed fight.

Final Grade - Prince Malchezzar: B+

Still to come: Nightbane, and the overall grade for Karazhan.


  1. Shade of Aran, just having Imp. rightous fury up and frost aura and spam healing will get their attention on to me, works pretty well. Unfortunately if I make a mistake its over pretty fast. But it is quite feasible to self heal all 4 elementals damage.

  2. One of the recent patches nurfed the heck out of the elemental adds, you can just have the raid nuke them down and go back to Aran now. You're more likely to hit his drink phase that way, but it's less chaotic in terms of controlling adds and staying alive.

  3. Ilhoof is a good fight, except for the chains, as you mentioned. This is one fight that really strains our healer's mana (then again, we don't have any shadow priests nor shammies). I think fixing the chains so they do a bit less damage but have more health is a good adjustment.

    Shade is a good fight, too. There are a few minor adjustments that could be made, but I wouldn't be upset if he never changed. Such as make the water elementals do a bit less damage.

    Netherspite is about right. Except there's still quite a bit of time after he comes out of banish, before the portals start shooting. In that time, he can tend to whack someone. It's not exactly clear when the aggro reset is, so it makes it a bit difficult for one of the tanks to pick him up. The green beam heals him for a bit too much also, imo. If you get a mistake with the green beam and it's on him for for than a few seconds, it's a wipe, due to the enrage timer.

    Prince Mal *is* luck. We've moved in advance before, and we still get boxed in. I tank him as a paladin, so our only real wipes are due to infernals. Either the healers are in movement and I don't get a critical heal at the right moment, or an infernal seperates us. What would help, is if there were specific patterns, or some kind of animation on the ground so it was easy to tell where one was landing.