Monday, March 24, 2008

Karazhan Fatigue and the Zul'Aman Timer

There's been a lot of whining about badge loot from the raiding community lately, especially in light of the badge rewards coming in Patch 2.4. I don't really want to get dragged into a discussion of the larger issue of badge rewards, but I'd like to focus on one element that is has not really been discussed so far. In my opinion, a large part of the impulse behind the complaints comes from Karazhan fatigue.

Karazhan was the first raiding instance of TBC. It's the one we've been doing the longest. It's a good instance, but still, veni, vidi, vici. It's way past time to let Karazhan go. Yet it is the single best source of Badges of Justice in the game. One evening nets you about 22 Badges. And so we run Kara on our mains for Badges, we run Kara on our alts for Badges, and so a lot of us are pretty sick of running Karazhan.

Zul'Aman had potential as a replacement for Karazhan, but ZA is on a three-day timer. This means that the rewards from ZA are balanced around being about to do the instance twice in one week. ZA nets you 13 Badges for one evening of work. This means that you should always hit Karazhan for Badges first, and ZA is your second choice.

I've stated my opposition to short timers before, but that was mostly on scheduling concerns. But the distribution of loot is also a concern.

A newer, harder instance should be more attractive to players than the older instance. If you can clear ZA, you should choose to clear ZA over Karazhan. No 25-man chooses to farm Serpentshrine Cavern over the Black Temple.

Imagine if ZA was on a 7-day timer, and the loot was balanced appropriately. Now one evening would net you 26 badges. You'd get 2 higher quality epics per boss. And there would be a chance at a couple of Bear Mounts. If you could do ZA, you would choose to do it over Karazhan. It's harder, but it's also strictly better in terms of rewards.

The higher end raiders would most likely drop Karazhan completely, and move on to fresher content. Smaller guilds would have greater incentive to master ZA. In my opinion, putting a 3-day timer on ZA was a mistake. It has caused us to linger for too long in Karazhan, and the resulting Karazhan fatigue is an toxic element in the state of endgame.


  1. Depending on your personal itemization, Karazhan can be more worthwhile to go to than Mount Hyjal in 2.4.

  2. Lovelace / Vek'Nilash EU1:38 AM, March 25, 2008

    It should be worth to mention that ZA is much harder than Kara and isn't easily done with alts and the last bosses actually requires you to concentrate. I dont know about you but when we do Karazhan we talk crap on TS, have a good time, drink some beer and at the same time get 22 badges. If we would do ZA we wouldnt be able to talk as much trash, drink as much beer or bring as many alts as we do to Kara, its not really about the amount of badges in there.

  3. Most serious raiders dont even bother with ZA unless it's just a "fun" run. Kinda like those nights you get 7 people together and run ZG. On our server no one has the bear mount simply because no one cares. Face it our main bear tank wont even step foot in there because it's a waste of his time - no loot/no badges!

  4. Have to disagree a little here, ZA being on a 3 day reset timer is great, it means you can learn the bosses fast, and down them well. If anything what I would like is someway to set 10 man instances to Heroic mode, and an option once cleared to reduce the reset time (so say clearing Karazhan fully gives you the option to reset it 1 extra time / week).

    Its annoying being able to clear an instance in a night, and not being able to reset it, ok the 25mans on a full week rotation, but the 10 mans tend to be smaller and more dynamic meaning a shorter reset is much more fun from my pov at least.

  5. I think they balanced ZA on a 3 day timer so that guilds who want to focus only on 10 mans (small family/friend circles who want to keep it simple to some fast 10mans and pvp) can have more action. With ZA on 3 day reset, with karazhan, they can do about 3-4 days of scheduled raids as opposed to only 2.

  6. Well, this is probably so far away from my raiding experience as possible. I have a hard time to schedule raiding Kara once a month...

    Well, on to my point: I've got the feel that many have and will always do the easiest road to rewards. We've all read the discussions about the hardships to get a raiding guild to do new content - but farming content is crowded. The same with heroics. Places with max badges drop is (was) easier to get a PUG for than harder ones with less badges.

    I reckon the same may happen here.

    Well - just a thought...

  7. Actually, I think that "Kara fatigue" is just one facet of overall "WoW + TBC fatigue".
    Blizzard has pulled off making a moving-target hardcore gear chase look like any casual could do it!

    The expansion is over a year old, and there have been few patched additions to the WoW 1-60 content in these 14 months (only the Duskwallow Marsh content comes to mind).

    There is a limit to how many BGs even I, a rather tolerant grinder, can stand. I can't bring myself to set foot in a BG right now. Just not interested.
    Arena is IMO very, very limited, too. It seems to me that it’s really difficult to improve because of the speed plus lack of feedback, and that I'd guess that most of us are pretty much clueless as to how gear vs. class vs. skill really adds up.
    And while Kara is definitely a neat place, I truly got my fill of it after about 5 runs, and don't care to grind it for the sake of loot.

    The endgame 'incentives' have degenerated into loot chases.
    For raiders, Kara badge grinding.
    For PvP, BG and Arena grinding.
    For gold, daily quest grinding.

    And in a way it's been disheartening to watch TBC gear inflation; such as the offering of level-70 PvP blues that cost a ton of honor at TBC release now sold for a pittance by PvE faction vendors.

    But it won't be long now and a brand new 70 will be on a par with a year-long+ 70 who ground Kara/BGs/Arena, when WotLK resets the playing field and your level-80 toon finds that level-70 epics are just bank clutter!

  8. I don't understand how the problem with ZA is the 3 day reset; are you saying that if they had done it on a 7-day timer, they would have thrown in more bosses and better loot? I'm not sure there's any reason to think that.

    I like the 3 day reset because of the increased ability to farm the place. I don't think I really like the way the timed chest loot works, but I think to a large degree ZA is a novelty/one-off instance for Blizzard. They wanted to bring back some old designs (timed runs, troll instance, etc.) and also fill some gear holes for certain specs.

    In a lot of ways, I think ZA was a design experiment for Blizzard and an attempt at variety. I don't like it as much as Kara, but I think it's cool that it's a little different than the average instance.

    Here's hoping that WotLK has more 10-mans than 25s.

  9. I Think the 3 day ZA time is great! It allowed my guild to gear up the new recruits very quickly and be ready for the Black Temple content much faster. We could obtain 1-2 decent healing pieces each week per person that are better than the Karazhan loot in plus healing and stamina. (The Tanks and DPS also got interesting gear and weapons that are a step above Karazhan loot as well.) In Black temple, there are several fights where healers should have over 10k hit points or as close to that as possible. The ZA gear helped out in that regard until BT loot could be distributed to replace the ZA gear. Of course BT is only on a one week timer and loot from it is harder to accumulate, but BT is also not a one night instance for us yet. We first completed it in 3 nights, this week we should be done in only 2 nights. (one night = 4 hours). I don't think anyone in our guild has set foot back into Karazhan except for strickly badges or to gear up an alt since ZA has come along. For the Bear mount runs, ZA is run timed, and the timer expires in about a 45 minute time period, so we will only spend about an hour in ZA that night and get down the first 4 bosses. (Bear/Eagle/Dragonhawk/Tiger). We then decide if we feel like getting the last boss or not because he is usually not an easy one shot boss.. That is still a far more efficient use of time than Karazhan which takes several hours but is laid back and not as serious.

  10. ZA and Kara are not there so that BT guilds can farm badges.

    They are intended to be there so that low level guilds can get their starter raiding gear. The badges were placed there as a bonus for the BT guilds.

    The issue of badges for those guilds has already been addressed by making the 25 man bosses also drop badges. Now the high level guilds can get their badges just by clearing high level instances.

  11. Indeed, but I'm saying that even for a BT guild, Karazhan and Zul'Aman are more worthwhile to go to than Eye/SSC. The problem is that every normal boss drops 2 badges, regardless of difficulty. Azgalor, the second-to-last boss in Hyjal drops 2 badges, the exact same amount as Moroes, the second boss in Karazhan. Karazhan has more bosses than Hyjal, SSC or the Eye, so Karazhan wins.

    Whether you like it or not, BT guilds do go to Karazhan and ZA for badges, because that's the smart thing to do right now. 11 badges/hour is just too lucrative to skip.

  12. Even though our guild clears Kara in two hours, I like ZA more - it's more challenging, it resets twice a week and it shows whether people can play their character class or not. It's good recruiting grounds, then, too. ;) And I like the whole troll/Indiana Jones atmosphere. And two ZAs cleared give you 26 badges compared to Kara's 22.

  13. ZA was built to be completed in one hour or less. It also actually gives you *more* badges in the same amount of time. In a 3-week period, we have seven resets of ZA for three of Kara. That gives a total of 91 badges vs. 66 from Kara.

  14. Zul'Aman is also harder than Karazhan, so it's appropiate that it's more lucrative to go to than Karazhan. However, Mount Hyjal is harder (at least gear-wise) than Zul'Aman, and it nets you 33 badges over 3 weeks. Black Temple rates at 57 badges over 3 weeks. The amount of bosses should not be the only deciding factor in the number of badges that you get from an instance.

  15. The only thing that brought me back to Karazhan was playing an alt in a new role.

    I really feel bad for anyone who wants badges but thought they had put Karazhan long behind them.

  16. Yeah i'm sick of Kara as well. I've spent probably the past 6 months there? Maybe 5, anyway, a long time. Now we have it on farm, but guess what, we still need to dedicate a day to it to just farm badges. I'm very close to getting my hunter xbow, and we'll see if i ever step foot in that stinking place again.