Naxxramas Revisited

I’ve been back to Naxxramas a couple of times this week. Time has dulled the pain of over-exposure — I was really quite bored of the place after having run it twice a week (once on 10 man, once on 25 man) for a few months. Despite the sub-par graphics, I’m quite fond of the old instance. It does have a good variety of encounters, even if the tuning was never quite right.

The biggest flaw to my mind is that it’s far too easy to brute-force the Spider Wing. But by doing that you lose the most interesting parts of Anub’Rekhan and Faerlina as boss fights (what’s the point of Faerlina if you don’t have to mind control and sacrifice the adds?). The second biggest flaw is that there are too many bosses to clear in a 3 hour raid unless you are all being very hardcore/ disciplined about it, which doesn’t happen even in successful PUGs. A smaller raid instance or a set of winged instances would have been more manageable.

I wouldn’t say I’m overgeared, it’s just undertuned

My first Naxx rerun was in a raid that a friend in the raid group organised for alts and new level 80s. She’s very concerned that they don’t have much of a chance to learn how to play their characters in raids, especially some of the (female) players who are nervous of being shouted at in PUGs. We’d hoped to have enough signups to run a 25 man raid but in the event we only had enough to run with 10.

Although I do have a couple of level 80 alts who could have gone, I offered to bring Spinks to help them out. I doubt there’s anything I need from Naxx-10 even as offspec but I eyed the signups and figured they’d have a much better shot with at least one (over) geared tank. Also, I suspect seeing my name on the signup list made them all feel more comfortable about the run.

The raid was a moderate success. We got the two easiest wings down, and a few people learned the fights who had never seen them before. A new raid leader had a chance to order people around and see bosses die. DPS was generally low, and I’m grateful they didn’t want to go on to the Construct wing as I don’t think we could have taken Patchwerk. So although many people would consider that raid a failure, most of the players had their expectations met. And some of the fights were still exciting — they may have been exciting because people weren’t playing especially well but we still had some fun skin-of-the-teeth kills.

I fear there isn’t really much you can do for people who want to learn to raid but are nervous of PUGs and heroics and mixing with people they don’t know. There comes a point at which you can only learn through practice and these things aren’t really designed as fun social experiences for nervous raiders. Plus a lot of people in the raid group really are burned out on Naxx and won’t want to spend time there when there are other things they can do which would be more beneficial to their characters.

I do think it’s possible to teach nervous players to raid based on one raid per week, and I won’t be at all surprised if dps improves next time. But it’s a slow process and it really isn’t guaranteed that other players will be as patient as the newbies might need. They could help themselves a lot by getting over the PUGphobia.

And then there’s the raid I walked out of due to sexist quips …

I swear I have a pretty good tolerance for off-colour humour among gamers. I can sit back quietly and let them have their fun even if I don’t have anything to add. But what I don’t have is any tolerance for sexist, racist, or homophobic jabs. Not funny. And I will tell people if I’m not amused. And if they persist then I’ll walk. I figure you get one chance to realise ‘wait, someone here is uncomfortable with this’ and if you don’t take it then I’m so very gone. And if I’m one of your healers then you may be very stuffed.

So. The second Naxx raid was a 10 man PUG that I hopped into on my resto druid. Again there aren’t really many drops I need from Naxx-10 but I’m still at the stage with that alt where I figure I could use the practice. One of my friends was there too, also healing with her paladin. Unfortunately she had a power outage near the beginning so they had to replace her.

And it was a good PUG. People were chatty, we cleared through the Spider wing smoothly and then the Plague wing as well. It was only after we killed Patchwerk that things started to fray a bit at the seams. One of the holy paladins flew into a rage when one of the moonkins asked why he was rolling on spellpower leather which had spirit on it and left. (This boggled me, because the piece might still have been an upgrade for him but if so all he had to do was say so and I don’t think anyone would have minded if he’d taken it.)

But fortunately my friend had her power restored at this point so we invited her back. It was actually more amusing than this because she’d only just logged back on at the time and had just paged me to say how sad she was to have missed the run. So I’m like, ‘Hey, do you want to come back then? Our holydin just flipped out over loot.’

So we’re trucking on through the Construct wing. The last two bosses here have tended to be the skill checks for pick up Naxx groups. No one ever wants to kite the zombies at Gluth and Thaddius continues to confound PUGs (it may be his role in undeath). After a second wipe on Gluth, our MT was getting grumpy. And the sexist jokes were coming out. I was chatting privately to my friend about this and we were both agreeing that neither of us really needed the Naxx loot and didn’t really see a reason to stand for it. So after one warning, which he ignored, we apologised to the raid and left.

I was paged about 10 minutes later by one of the raid, saying that they’d booted him and would we be willing to come back. Since they’d been nice enough people (and competent too) that’s what we did. Awesome guildies were nice enough to agree to come fill in the other spare spots (a dps had to leave for RL reasons too) and we rocked through the Military wing. By that time, people were tired and wanting to go eat so we called it.

And the bonus? One of the nice players contacted my friend later, asking how she could apply to join our guild (and as it happens, I know it was a female player and she was attracted by the fact we’d no tolerance for the sexist guy and we’d been able to bring other friendly guildies in to finish the run). Now let me tell you, any PUG in which you get the chance to recruit a friendly, competent player is in no way a waste of time … Also, dps shaman! :)

The other interesting side-fact was the class makeup of that 10 man PUG. Three druids, two paladins, three shamans, two deathknights. It’s an interesting view into what alts people are playing at the moment.

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8 thoughts on “Naxxramas Revisited

  1. I can completely relate to the Naxx burnout you’d experienced. Our guild is one of those ‘undisciplined’ types that couldn’t clear in a single sitting (too many ‘afk bio’, ‘afk phone’, ‘afk, the cat’s on fire’, but we’re not ‘hardcore’ enough to boot people for constant afk’ing); between 10 and 25 man, with shots at Maly and Sarth, some of us would find ourselves in raids 5 nights a week! At any rate, there are efforts being made to bring up lesser-geared people, and even though I don’t want to go, I’m often finding myself dragging through the place on 25’s again. I console myself by telling myself that I’m helping the guild, but sometimes it’s REAL hard to get excited about heading in that place….again.

  2. Dual specs have made hybrids the preferred classes. If I log onto my main’s guild at any time there is a preponderance of Paladins, Druids and Shamen online.
    Pre BC, hybrids were designed to be weaker than pure specs; now they are seen as the best classes.

    Maybe it’s time for Blizzard to offer pure dps specs alternative healing/tanking builds.
    Warlocks could become Demon tanks or Dark Menders; Rogues could be Bards (healing) or Monks (tanking), for example.

  3. I absolutely agree to vlad.

    They have gone too far with the hybrid love, and dual specs enforced that trend. Now it is too late.

    This trend is also revealed in armory datamining, Shamans are on the rise but still among the less played classes. Death Knights, Druids and Paladins are the most popular classes nowadays and especially DK and Paladin are often replacing Warrior Tanks with their AoE tank capabilities.

  4. 1) “these things aren’t really designed as fun social experiences for nervous raiders” …the game could benefit a lot by fixing this specific issue with the first raid instance being structured as a tutorial.

    2) /highfive for walking out of the pug for sexist comments. I’ve done that a number of times myself. Most memorably, my guildies and I (3 healers and a tank!) left a voa 25 pug because one guy telling bad dps to stop with the “f**gottry” (there’s a new one) led to a litany of talking about how “gay” dying to emalon is. Bye bye, bigots! Enjoy replacing us!

    3) Yep, hybrids are where it’s at right now. Here’s the key in my view:

    a) in TBC, hybrids by design compensated for poor performance with major raid buffs
    b) in wrath, hybrids were pumped up to perform comparably well, but…
    c) THEY GOT TO KEEP ALL OF THEIR RAID BUFFS, and each pure dps class got one at best.

    Have you compared the benefits say, a ret paladin brings to the raid over say a rogue or warlock? It’s mind boggling. The paladin brings literally 7-8 discreet raid buffs. The rogue brings, at best, one if they spec into it.

    I think the solution in the next xpac is to reverse that trend. Give rogues a bloodlust equivalent, and use the new talent points to allow pure DPS classes to provide more and more raid buffs, while removing some talented raid buffs from hybrids. At the same time, actually enforce the “slightly superior dps”. I’d also recommend balancing pvp so the 4 pure classes are considered superior by the community (yes, even above DKs) for a few patch cycles. That should fix it right up.

    I LOVE dual spec, even on my rogue, and can’t imagine an argument that could prove dual spec is bad. It’s GREAT. It’s just that the rest of the game wasn’t prepared for it.

    Great post, Spinks!

  5. on the hybrids vs. pures I have the opposite view.

    Right now all geared up the Rogues and Hunters and Mages are rocking the DPS. More than the 5-10% that they’re supposed to be according to Blizzard. The only exceptions are DKs and Feral Cats who are doing insane damage still. (nerfs inc)

    Also no matter what loot system you use the dual specs and those who actually honestly do it well, always lag behind the pures and the one specs. It’s simple really, twice as much gear means twice as much DKP/Suicides/Council wins are needed. And don’t get me started on enchanting and gemming two completely separate sets of gear, that crap gets expensive stupidly fast.

    According to Ghostcrawler Druid Tanks are the least played of the four and Warriors are still, nearly 5 years later, the defacto tank. So much so they’re not nerfing Druids as much as they want to and they’re not buffing Warriors as much as they want to because of the imbalance it would reinforce.

    For buff coverage you only need one shaman, or one paladin or one warrior/feral to cover them. That leaves 15 slots for whoever can pump out the DPS.

    That’s not to say that a disproportionate number of alts are not hybrids. It seems if it isn’t a DK it’s a hybrid of some sort. Only rarely do you see a Warrior alt or one of the pures. They tend to be mains much more than alts.

  6. I’ve never really understood why they didn’t make Naxx into five separate winged instances. Each wing would be an hour or less, depending on your group.

    People would be much more likely to just do one wing in an evening, rather than trying to do the entire thing in one night because they might not be able to get the group back together again later.

    You could pick and choose which wings you want to run, if you have a group makeup that would work well in a certain wing. Or if you don’t have any gear you need from a certain wing, you don’t have to do it that week.

    If you still want to lock out Sapph/KT to people who finished all four wings, give it a simple attunement, make you finish this quest to kill the final boss of each wing before you’re allowed to enter the last one.

    Just don’t make us do the entire place with the same group! It’s the main thing I hate about Naxx.

  7. One of my issues with Naxx is that it isn’t a particuarly good tutorial for WotLK raiding in so far as it reflects the design philsophies of a different iteration of the game. Compare it with kara, for example, which did teach you the basic lessons needed for BC raiding. Don’t stand in the fire and learn to be mobile. Interact with this item at the right time. Learn who to kill and when. Learn to deal with adds. Whereas Naxx not only uses a lot of design ideas from Vanilla, it uses toned down versions of the final design ideas of vanilla in a way that doesn’t resemble who the new raids work. OS, EoE and Uludar share common elements that don’t really show up in Naxx.

    Also, it never drops my loot.

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