Thoughts on the new 5-mans and beyond

Last night, I was lucky enough to log in to WoW and give the new 5-mans a shot. I say lucky, because, first, well, it’s the week before finals. Mostly though, because I’d still been hearing about instances not launching. It looks like that problem has been resolved though, since I was able to zone in almost right away.

The New LFG Tool

The tool itself gives you the daily heroic, no more questgiver

Everything I tried worked great. The system is very intuitive and now works with a checkbox system. If you want to queue for any heroic in Wrath, you can hit a button next to the line that says so and you’re automatically put into a pool for your whole battlegroup. For me on Cyclone, that’s 16x the amount of players LFG than before this patch.

I really like how the new system works, in a few different ways. First, it gear checks you. Yes, the guys who hates elitism is saying he likes a gear checking system. I’m okay with it here though because 1) it’s forgiving, by 80 you should be able to do any heroic; and, 2) it pretty much ensures your run isn’t going to wipe because someone isn’t geared. If you wipe, the more likely reason will be someone not knowing the fight or slacking off.

I also like that there’s a timer. Last night, it was a few hours past peak time and I still only had to wait 10 minutes to get into the dungeon. Which is another nice thing, no more summons needed. When the LFG tool is used, you’re teleported right in. One member of the party also gets a 5% damage/healing buff too, just for doing it in a PuG.

The Actual Dungeons (heroic mode)

I’m impressed, and not only because the polish is up to Blizzard’s usual level. Storytelling elements are fantastic. Running on heroic, most of the boss fights have more in common with scaled down raids than traditional tank and spanks.

Bosses seem to have more abilities than in most other dungeons. It’s not uncommon for players to have to watch for a boss an ability and either stop or move as quick as possible. One boss casts a spell that transfer all of the damage he gets from another party member to that player, and any healing to that player back to him. Another forces you to watch for boulders and then run behind them to remove a pivotal debuff.

Gauntlet runs really make these dungeons stand out from the rest. If you’re a caster, just getting into heroics, you’ll want a decent mana pool or some spare pots before you try these (Pit of Saron especially).

I didn’t find anything particularly hard, per se. Anyone who’s raided within the past few months should have no problem adapting – look at me, I’m an irregular raider at best and PuG tag along at worst. However, in my opinion, these dungeons, when taken as a whole, represent the biggest 5-man challenge currently in the game. The shame, of course, is that these dungeons will become progressively easier as more people run them, post/read strats, and simply over gear for them. But, that’s how it goes in a treadmill game.

Overall, I’m very happy with the patch. The cross-server dungeons and raids (accessible with /lfd and /lfr, respectively) open doors for daytime players that never existed before. If you’re interested in dungeon running, right now is your hay day.

Today though, I think I’m going to step back from WoW a little bit. I watched some of Mad Max this morning and have the urge to play Fallen Earth. I also have that mount quest in LotRO to finish up. Oh yeah, and those 15 Spenserian sonnets I have due in the morning. Gotta grab those too. Anyone feel like being an unrequited love?

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