You’ve Lost That Epic Feeling

Erc wrote a post, I read it, I commented. I realised that my rant about emblems, dungeons, raids, and my opinion on how this game could work really well in regards to gearing, raiding and hardmodes, mixed in with a little of my TBC nostalgia, was a post in itself. Or perhaps a rant too long for a comment.

Epic Dungeons

Many people say that epic dungeons are long gone. They pine for the days of Blackrock Depths, Maraudon, Dire Maul, but in essence I believe that Blizzard have given us an almost perfect middle ground in the Frozen Halls. Three dungeons, the Forge of Souls, the Pit of Saron, and the Halls of Reflection, which are intended to be run back to back as you help Lady Sylvanas or Jaina, but the best part is that because they have been split into three separate instances, they can also be treated as such, making them just a little more PUG friendly than Blackrock Depths ever was. I know it’s not quite the same thing, and I love the long epic dungeons, but I think it’s the best we’re going to get. Mind you, I hope we get something bloody long and epic in the form of Uldum after waiting this long for it.

Emblems

The thing with emblems is something I haven’t been happy with since they introduced Conquest emblems for running heroics. Yeah, great, I can gear up my alts, but I’m not fond of the idea that Naxxramas, Sartharian, Malygos, and Ulduar are pretty much skipped, aside from quick weeklies (for more emblems!!) and zerg runs. These were well designed raids, why change things so much that they become almost forgotten and left behind?

The Burning Crusade (and “Badgers”)

Back in TBC (nostalgia moment) we had 2 10 mans. Karazhan and Zul’Aman. We also had just one type of emblem: Badge of Justice. Originally, you could only receive badges from heroics, and heroics were fucking hard. I can remember back on my Warlock at the beginning, we got a group together for Heroic Underbog. We tried several times, even with the Rogue kiting one all the way back to the door we couldn’t get past the 2 bog lords before the first boss. This was how difficult heroics originally were. It wasn’t until later on in the expansion that heroics were nerfed, and a little later we could receive badges from raid bosses. This was a good thing, it made gearing up much easier and through TBC we would run Kara every Friday for badges, and sometimes gear. We’d take our mains, our alts, and sure it did get boring, but nowhere near as boring as Trial did. It was long, and epic, and we had a few laughs while we did it. That was the difference.

I was never a fan of the removal of the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal attunements as early on as they did, because when you killed Kael’thas and Lady Vashj for that attunement, you had a feeling of pride much bigger than any achievement, because they were HARD. The first couple of bosses in BT and Hyjal seemed almost like a “and now you can relax for a bit” reward for defeating two very difficult encounters, once they’d removed that, it felt just a little cheapened. I don’t think they shouldn’t have done it at all, I just think they should have waited until the 30% nerf.

Either way, once heroics became farmable and badges could be gained from raids, and there was some awesome gear from badges towards the end, not to mention Magister’s Terrace, with this, you could gear up enough to do Black Temple. Even so, there wasn’t really any skipping of content aside from Kael and Vashj. In my opinion, this was good.

Wrath of the Lich King

The beginning of Wrath was okay, Naxx seemed pretty piss easy to start with but hey ho, it was the first raid. Heroics were easily puggable to allow you to gear up to start raiding, which was great. Ulduar was a nice, big, epic raid instance. Then the Trial patch hit, you could get gear equal to Ulduar level, not to mention they changed the way hardmodes worked, which were fine in Ulduar. If Blizzard had kept the gearing system the way it was around the middle of the Ulduar patch (after a few nerfs, the easy modes are supposed to be doable after all), then content wouldn’t need to be skipped so much and the game would feel less like this linear, bland factory of mass production.

This is why I am pretty nostalgic towards TBC, there were 2 10 mans without a 25 man version, which made them less repetitive. The encounters were fun, the raids were epic. I have some great memories from Kara and heroic farming with friends, not to mention Black Temple runs, which stands as my favourite raid instance even now. Comparing then, to the game now, well.. there is a lot of difference. Things are too easy and repetitive now, raids aren’t that fun anymore, when I do raid it’s just doing the same thing over and over.. I pine for TBC, heck, I pine for Naxx and early Ulduar. When it’s just about having the best gear and keeping up, the game really loses its epic feeling.

My Opinions

My ideal situation would be kind of a mix between TBC and now. There would be multiple types of emblems, one for heroics, and separate types for each raiding tier, like in early Wrath. These would reward boots, trinkets, rings, the usual stuff, but no tier loot, that would be received from drops only. Hardmodes would exist the way they did in Ulduar, you would have to activate them in differing ways rather than simply clicking a “I want this to be heroic” button on the raid interface. The hardmodes would be fun, the easy modes would be doable for the more casual players, perhaps a buff similar to the one in Icecrown too. No content would be skipped just because people didn’t have to anymore and therefore couldn’t be bothered, it would work for all types of players. Thus mixing up the game a bit more, giving some variety, and less of the repetitiveness that leads to so much burnout. We’re getting there, the game is improving a lot, but there’s still a little way to go in my opinion.

When is the last time this game felt truly epic for you?

18 thoughts on “You’ve Lost That Epic Feeling”

  1. I actually love the way they handle things now in patch 3.3, and I wouldn’t like to go to the previous systems.

    You asked if I miss the epicness of TBC?

    No, because I couldn’t experience it.

    I got to lvl 70 aprox. 3 months before Wrath of the Lich King. I tried to farm rep, pug normals (I wasn’t geared enough for your precious “hard, epic heroics”), and get crafted gear to even start raiding. I couldn’t get pugs because nobody did normals anymore, my guild took me only to karazhan to farm Badges (that’s the only raid I finished before WotLK).

    Now I think that Blizz learned from their experiences in WotLK, and probably all raid will be like ICC in Cata. I prefer to activate the hard modes per boss using the UI rather than doing some crazy stuff like not killing adds or whatever. The emblem system is great not only for gearing alts, but also for “late” players like me that didn’t play the expansion since day one (as everybody assumes these days). In Cataclysm there will be only 2 tiers of “emblems”: Emblems of Current Tier and Emblems of Previous Tier. I think things are better now.

    Just my opinion.

  2. I agree with you mostly about the dunegons, being able to jump from one dungeon directly to another allows a reasonably epic feeling, but also allows Pugs to skip to the end if thats what they want. Effectively Maraudon of old was like this, given it was practically two different instances, and everyone had the Scepter to jump to part 2. Plus instances like Blackrock Spire and Stratholme were effectively two entirely dungeons in one. The only exception from the old series was Scholomance (my favourite) but that was originally a raid so…

    So anyway, the Sylvanas dungeon run is a good model of the direction to go. My main complaint of them tho is that they’re still rather linear. There’s no chance you’ll ever got lost doing them. Lost is a good thing, lost is an immersive world, not a glorified platform game.

    My alternative would be to have large dungeons that have multiple entry points. A bit like Stratholme – go in the back door to go after the Baron, go in the front if your target is the Scarlet Crusade. Each entry point could be an option in the Dungeon Finder, and the end boss of each “wing” could be the criteria for the Random PuG feature.

    If you want a quick easy PuG, you win. if you want a longer more epic experience you win, cos you fight your way through the whole thing after completeing your “wing”.

    /end text wall
    .-= Wulfy´s last blog ..Its Easy Being Green: Part II =-.

    1. That’s an idea, the trouble is, it’s not going to happen. Players who enjoy the long epic dungeons you can lose yourselves in are a minority. I’ve never completed a full BRD pug because nobody can be arsed to stick around, people get cranky and frustrated the longer a dungeon goes on. It’s a shame, I like them as much as you do, but they won’t come back in their original form. If they do then /bow ;)

      Mind you, as I mentioned, if Uldum isn’t fucking huge I’ll be vastly disappointed.

  3. I wonder if things feel less epic because, since it’s been such a long time since Wrath came out, the people who are still playing are all really good and overgeared and everything’s easy for them?

    I’ve certainly noticed that practically everyone I bump into has that furious red Gearscore (yes, I know, but it’s an addiction!!). On the rare occasions I do find a teal GSer, it’s a hardcore player leveling an alt rather than a true new leveler eight times out of ten.

    I really hope, and think, that Cataclysm will re-invigorate players who have been out of the game for a while, and bring in new players, whose sense of wonder and fun at all of it is undiminished (unlike our crusted old veteran hearts). That, more than the relative merits of the instances, is to me what will Bring The Epic.
    .-= Disciplinary Action´s last blog ..The Discultimate Gear Guide – Heirlooms =-.

    1. When Wrath was first released, everything was new and exciting, everybody heroicing was at the same gear level and we all needed heroic loot (I remember thinking at the time “This is damn nice, and I know it won’t last, soon people will scoff at people needing on heroic loot” Ha)

  4. Wrath has kinda taken the prestige out of being the guilds that can do that content and has almost eroded a lot of reason for some players to play hardcore. In our guild there’s still things we do that a lot of guilds can’t but at the same time it’s rather frustrating to be spending so long on content and getting a couple bonus item levels out of it. The achievement drakes were a cool idea though.

    Most epic moment recently was our second kill of LK on 25man. I missed the first one and we went in 5mins past the end of the raid having just done 2 hardmodes we’d been struggling on. We forgot to assign everything and had literally told everyone “we’ve got 1 shot and then we call it”. It was also our last raiding day that week and because of our focus on Hardmodes we sometimes struggle to get to LK and rarely get the kill in due to time.

    Everyone pulled through, people were calm and communicative. The LK went down! The nerd screams on vent were joyous. Perfect end to an awesome raid.
    .-= echo´s last blog ..Ulduar Achievement Happy Fun Time =-.

  5. I feel the same. Back in Vanilla if you dinged 60 months after the rest you were left to fend for yourself and get gear slowly and painfully till you could raid. Epics were only really found in high-end raid content and even then raid bosses dropped blues too. Then came TBC, which was great while we were progressing with the top guys but once the nerfs started it all went downhill.
    Wrath is great for the casual player though. You get to 80, do 2-3 days of heroics and then start doing pug runs. Within 2 weeks you’re fairly well-geared (Better than 90% of the players in Vanilla) and you can go to basically anything with no huge skill required.
    Kinda makes me sad :(
    But anyway, nearly every raid instance has some fond memory for me (especially Kara tbh), many laughs and many screenshots of silly things gone wrong. If only I’d recorded every encounter and Teamspeak session…
    .-= Pindleskin´s last blog ..Recruitment Spam =-.

    1. I like that they’re catering for the casual, that’s great, it’s much better than vanilla BUT they’re taking it too far now.. The ease of gearing up and being able to do at least 5k dps has caused so much elitism in random dungeons and /2 that I just can’t like it the way it is.

  6. I fear I have little of substance to add to the conversation, but I’ll give it a try.

    I started playing after TBC launched, and late enough that I hit 70 only about six months before Wrath hit. My Guild at the time never had the manpower to field a 25-man, so when we started Raiding, it was Karazhan, and then ZA for us.

    I certainly remember epic feelings in Kara that I don’t THINK are tinged by rose-colored glasses.

    The first Moroes kill after wiping on him for a couple of weeks was awesome. The first Shade. Seeing Prince die after so, so long. Nightbane. Seeing a boss you’ve been wiping on finally die that first time was always a good feeling.

    I always feel a little inadequate when I hear people talk about easy Naxx was when Wrath first launched. We always had problem bosses, no matter how often we went in there. Grobbulus was always a nightmare, as were the Horsemen. Maybe it was just the overall skill of the group, I don’t know.

    But having a Tank, Healer, and me successfully three-man Heigan for ten minutes was awesome. As was the first Kel’Thuzad kill. (Which meant that we had finally cleared all of Naxx.) Perhaps it was my limited experience in the Raiding scene, but those things felt epic to me, though as I read about the big picture, I can certainly understand why some feel the way that they do.

    I was without a computer all of last summer. As such, I missed Ulduar completely, ToC had been out for a little while by the time I came back, and even at that my old Guild had blown into the wind. I’ve never seen so much as the Ulduar loading screen. I looked forward to seeing the Raid progression, now that we had the ten-man option for my old Guild. The knowledge that I’d miss that saddened me for a long time.

    I have mixed feelings about the Emblem system. It’s a very nice way to quickly gear up alts (like what I’m doing now with my Death Knight, and as I did on my Hunter when I got back last August) or new players, and let them get into the thick of things. However, this makes Naxx-level content completely irrelevant. And I sometimes question whether or not I’ve “earned” my Emblem gear.

    While I don’t Raid these days, I think about it. I miss it sometimes. And I think that if I were to get into TotC or ICC-10 and clear them or down some bosses, it would feel less “epic” to me because there was so much content that I skipped. I wouldn’t have moved from A to B to C; I’d have gone from A right to E. And I don’t know how to think of that.

    I love the ICC five-mans. As you noted, it’s like one epic dungeon separated into three smaller ones. It’s one story, only with chapter breaks.

    I’m sure that there’s a balance in there somewhere. Five-mans that make you feel you’re accomplishing something of value. A way to keep an Expansion’s first Tier of Raiding relevant. It’s just a matter of finding it.

    1. Definitely, and I like to think that guilds that did or do struggle with Naxx and Ulduar were fine with that. That’s where they were, they could progress at their own rate, sod skipping ahead a few tiers. Sure, there will always be the odd skipped boss, Yogg Saron is pretty difficult, but skipping an entire raid sucks a bit. I wouldn’t like it if it was me.

      As long as you can have a laugh while you do it, raiding can be more fun at a slightly slower pace sometimes.

  7. I never raided at a high level, I never killed a boss on 25 man while Burning Crusade was active. I didn’t do 25 man raiding when Wrath came out either.

    So my last truly epic feeling moment takes place in my favourite raid, Karazhan.
    We had killed all the bosses before The Curator, and were trying and failing to get him down. It just seemed like there was no way that we were getting this bad boy down.

    We decided, one last try, one last try and then we would leave it for another day. So we got stocked up, arcane protection potions were crafted and distributed, positions were changed, all buffs possible were sought out.

    We pulled him, and it was the toughest fight I’d ever done, it was close to wiping so many times during that fight. And then he died, and the feeling was….epic.

    And that is my long winded version of my last epic moment. :)

  8. I know exactly what you mean. Lately I’ve been pining for Burning Crusade raiding too. BT, which is also my favorite instance was the most epic feeling time for raiding. One thing I loved about BC was that each tier had more than one raid instance (Kara/mag/gruul, SSC/TK, MH/BT). That made things so much more interesting and varied. Much more fun than the current model of repeating the same bosses on hard mode.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..Random Thoughts and Updates =-.

    1. Yes, that was awesome, and they almost had it with Naxx, Sarth and Malygos as well. Black Temple was a big epic raid instance, and Mount Hyjal was a smaller, though about as epic, one to go alongside it. I’d love to see a little more variation. That’s part of what puts me off raiding these days, the lack of.

  9. It’s feeling pretty epic right now working through the 25LK fight. When we win, it will be a major accomplishment for our guild and our team and I expect much celebration.

    The same people that skipped Vashj and Kael sucked just as much and probably didn’t kill Illidan or Archimonde. All the reminiscing sounds like elitism to me. Your reward was killing Vashj, some of you wearing loot from the kill, and the teamwork pride that comes from beating a very hard encounter. Your reward was not exclusive loot from easier bosses.

    1. Nah, I’m far from elitist, just the way I saw things when people refused to even TRY Kael and Vashj because they couldn’t be bothered and boast about their BT/MH progress back then :)

      Good look with Lich King!

    2. Don’t massively see how any of this post was Elitist, Elitist posting would be demanding that the “scrubs” Cant see the content that the “hardcore” and “skilled” players can do, as they haven’t earned it (I its always funny when these people post on forums, only to notice they rarly have past Deathbringer, any hardmodes. Remembering the legendary Eyonix quote “Amazing. You have nothing to do now that people that aren’t you have cleared Ulduar.”)

      She never claimed that the loot made it epic, quite the opposite, she said it was the feeling, that epic feeling being, well the feeling not the loots.

      On wrath, While the LK encounter is as boring as hell to me (Can still see why its enjoyable, but sadly I still find sarth 3d Propper hard to beat this Xpack) 5-6 Epic bosses, even if they are more epic than any of the bosses in the past Xpacks, if that expanshion has more top quality bosses, its going to be more epic. TBC had alot of bosses that just made it feel “epic” even in the hallowed halls of Karazhan, while it became god awful, noone can tell me there first Prince or nightbane kill wasent As epic and shouty as any 25 man wrath kill was, Downing bane or Prince felt amazing, even if in 3 months it was doable with 7 people and a Ret paladin (hur hur)

      My first Curator kill probs still holds my loudest Nerd Scream award, this is mainly becuse we never downed Kil’Jayden, and our illidan kill was ruined by a 4>5 transaction, so we diden’t know wed killed the wanker for like 50 seconds…by that time people were just bored.

      Epic dosent have to mean hard, it just means epic, BT had a very high epic boss ratio, Ruined by the first 3 and the GOD awful Illidari council (HISSSS), while compaired to Ice crown, you have to admit, baring Farnsworth (one of the best bosses in wow) and i guess old arthus, alot of the bosses, hard or not just dident have that? well…

      I have to say Classic also sufferd from this, imho worse than wrath, MC was saved by A boss, Aq was just Cthun and twins, Blackwinglayer was 3 epic bosses and…well i wasent one of the 0.0000001% who saw naxx 40 so no fucking idea. Ony was good mind, kinda saw why her new 80 vertion had to be labotomised, hard to celibrate an anniversary when you spend 5 nights wiping on the fucker in phase 3.

      Its not elitism to miss somthing old, saying “everything bar X is shit” would be, she dident, wrath had a few all out classics, sarth is offten ignored for the perfectly exicuted (IF YOU HAD A DK TANK :DDD) encounter, Ulduar while shit now was a dream, with the wonderful mimiron being the highlight, and Yoggy0 being probs the hardest encounter ever. But when compaired to the feeling of most of the TBC bosses (not hyjal…no just no…Hyjal can die, and take totc and MC with it.) it dosen’t add up.

      which I fear was her point, not the usual “Hur De Hur was harder before durp” stuff that PISSES ME OFF.

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