What is your nemesis fight?

Back in the ancient era of TBC, anyone who was raiding at the time may remember a little raid instance called Karazhan. When you raided back then, you had to accept that some fights would be fun for you and some …. less well designed for your class/ spec/ style. Karazhan contained both heaven and hell fights for melee classes.

Shade of Aran was a melee dream fight. There was a bit of running in and out so that you didn’t get bored, you could interrupt to your heart’s content, and most of the rest of the time, you could just hit him. Even better, the fight didn’t need a tank so your tanks got to let off some steam too (unfortunately dual specs didn’t exist at this point, so letting off steam meant dual wielding in your tanking spec – but it was the thought that counted!)

And then to make up for it, Prince Malchezaar was the fight where melee always died. (Apologies to anyone who didn’t, you are either a mutant, sleeping with ALL the healers, or very lucky.) You had to run in and out … but you also had to dodge random infernals and if the tank was unlucky they could end up in a position where melee literally could not get out in time safely.

And there was a kind of expectation that there would be some balance. For each horrid fight, maybe you’d get a melee friendly one. And similar for ranged, and healers, and tanks … and maybe now you see the design issues here.

But what happens when one fight is SO hellish that it puts people off the entire raid? One of my ex-WoW guildies hates healing Chimaeron, for example, and checks the goals of a raid before he signs up. In LOTRO, I hated one of the fights where I had to stand pointlessly on a distant  platform for about 80% of the time because it was so melee unfriendly and my class wasn’t that important anyway. (Nothing will make you hate a fight so much as feeling pointless … apart from guaranteed insta-death I guess.)

This is not so good for raid leaders, who really would like people to just sign regardless of which fights are on the menu. And back in the good old TBC days, that’s what we did. What else were you going to do? It was how things worked.

Now I suspect that players are more willing to just say “suck it” if they hate the fight that much, because there’s always another game, or waiting until the next tier to see if that’s more fun. I’ve wondered also if class/ soul design feeds into this, meaning that it’s easier to make fights that are just that darned unfun for some people. Or maybe the drive for devs to keep finding new and different mechanics to drop into a fight – maybe tank and spank with a few movement mechanics wasn’t so bad after all.

Do you have any hell (or heaven) fights? Have you ever considered only signing for a raid if they’re going somewhere you like? And as for me, I hate that LOTRO platform fight and never want to see it again, but it seemed rude to only sign up conditionally (eg. I can come but only if we don’t go to that wing) so I stopped signing up altogether. I wonder if that was better in the long run for everyone else.