Urban Regeneration, Goblin Style

I’m absolutely fascinated by Gevlon’s most recent project – he’s starting a new Alliance guild on one of the most faction-imbalanced PvP servers in EU WoW. There’s almost no alliance infrastructure there at all right now; dead auction house, virtually no raiding, no chance to hold Wintergrasp.

But he’s thinking on a grander scale than just building a guild in a wasteland, he wants to try to single-handedly change the faction balance to something more equitable. That’s going to involve getting more alliance players in, getting horde players to switch or move out, revitalising the local economy, sorting out some kind of realm pride and cooperation …. it may even be one of the biggest challenges possible in a server-based MMO.

Now admittedly, using twixt as your inspiration may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s taking a no holds barred approach to the situation.

He will be facing many of the same problems that people/ government genuinely do face in urban regeneration (albeit without the misery caused by grinding poverty when jobs dry up). It makes me wonder what virtual communities might have to teach people in the real world. For example, in a post today he comments that there will be no guild bank and he discourages people from trading items in guild chat, because by forcing them to use the auction house it helps the economy more (i.e. better to give your cash to a local business than just swap goods, even if it might be a little more expensive  for you personally.)

How would you go about trying to regenerate a ‘dead’ faction or a dying server? Would you try to get some ‘celebrity’ guilds to get in on the action and transfer over/ make an alt guild? More publicity on bigger blogs or official sites? Forcing the other faction out by creative griefing?

And if you’re interested in taking part, he’s taking all classes and specs. All you need is … I dunno really .. a commitment to annoying the horde and rebuilding a dead server, or a love of a challenge, or being with a bunch of people who want to revitalise world PvP at really poor odds.

Running TBC Instances

I have a confession to make. I freaking HATE being dragged around old raid instances because people have an obsessive tourist urge. Obsess really is the right word here. Even aside from the (pointless) achievement for completing an old raid, players who never ran the places when they were cutting edge can get amazingly worked up about wanting to see them. Zomg  must see content!!

I totally understand the desire to get your money’s worth, but they’re old for a reason. My memory says that if they were fun, it was because of the experience we had running them as progression content. Some of the surroundings are quite pretty, but a mob is just a mob.

Normally I would take the goblin approach and either charge or refuse to help (ie. find an excuse) since I don’t play to do things that will annoy me, but last week some of my friends wanted to run a few old TBC raids and I agreed to go along.

I ended up on my level 70 druid because they were short of healers and she’s fairly well geared since she was my main raid toon. So I added Wild Growth to my quickbars and headed off to The Eye to commence slaughter.

Which old encounters still hold up?

The only encounters which still held much of the old flavour were the coordination fights.

A’lar for example, with his (or her) coordinated tank movements in phase 1, and then all the running out of fires in phase 2. Of course the fight was much easier and more forgiving, but the tourists did get a sense of what it was like at 70.

Kael’thas was more of a disappointment. We did basically follow the usual strategy but it didn’t feel like one of the hardest encounters in TBC. Picking up and equipping legendary weapons mid-fight is still fun in a gimmick kind of way but … it was dull.

We moved on to Serpentshrine. The fights again were  unexciting until we got to Lady Vashj where we actually wiped once. We got her down on the second try.

And Lady Vashj was the highlight of the evening (for me, at least). The signature coordination fight in TBC; phase 2 still requires people to kite striders, tank nagas, run around killing elementals and throw tainted cores around. Afterwards, everyone was impressed that she had been killed regularly by level 70s. People commented, “That must have been an exciting fight!” — they didn’t say that about any of the others we had seen.

It was a good deal more interesting than anything in Naxxramas, even on easy mode (ie. with most people being way overgeared and higher level).

Then a quick romp through Mount Hyjal in which the bosses were dull but the scenery was gorgeous. The waves of adds did at least give people lots to run around and kill, but only Archimonde still really felt like a boss. And even then he was a pretty easy one.

Finally, and I was praying that they’d give up before this point, we went on to Magtheridon. I never thought this was a very interesting encounter anyway and I totally fail to see why any tourist would obsess over seeing him. He’s a big demon, and … that’s it.

We had one tank grab all the adds, and one picked up the boss. We healed through blastwaves. Anything that might have been remotely interesting about that encounter (it used to require 5 people clicking on parts of the room in a coordinated way to stop the blast wave which would probably wipe the raid) was gone, it was a basic tank and spank.

That’s an example of an encounter that is completely trivialised by sufficiently better gear.

So which Wrath Encounters will hold up?

Malygos, the Four Horsemen, and Sartharion with drakes up are the only encounters that will still hold any challenge when we outgear them. They are pretty much the only coordination fights in Wrath at the moment.

I don’t know what will be this expansion’s ‘Lady Vashj’ — Sarth+3 may be it. Although I hope that at least one good coordination challenge lies within Ulduar. Even though we will wipe many times on it if so.

I thought it was  interesting to see which encounters had been totally trivialised. Magtheridon was the best example but not the only one. And the trivialised encounters were very dull.

It occurred to me not to be too upset about tank or healer nerfs in 3.1, if the end result is to make the raid encounters less amenable to being brute forced.

For example, we were able to start brute forcing Naxxramas almost immediately. Does anyone still bother kiting Anub’Rekhan or stopping Faerlina from enraging? Sure, it was easier to just ignore those parts, but it also leeched a lot of the unusual aspects from those encounters.

What else changed since TBC?

It may be unfair to compare the first tier of Wrath raids with the second and third tier of TBC raids. We expect raids to get tougher and more complex across the lifetime of an expansion.

But in general the TBC raids had more for the tanks to do. They also had a lot more trash – not necessarily a good thing but very noticeable when going back.

I still rather resented being dragged back and don’t plan to do it again any time soon. But at least I picked up the T6 hat for my druid :) I suppose I should think about levelling her now ….