5 Things I do not hate about the Coliseum

This is the first week in which I’ve run the Coliseum three times, which feels like a lot given that I’m not especially fond of the place. Amusingly, none of those raids involved hard modes, as we simply don’t have enough interested people to form two 10 man hard mode raids and I was apparently non-optimal (which I don’t agree with but I don’t actually like the Coliseum so who cares?)

I am not one to fret about other people beating the same content as me, but you can tell there’s something off with the tuning when my Naxx-10 geared alt can run it and come top of the healing meters. Just saying. It is both too easy and undertuned on 10 man, so there.

In the spirit of positive thinking, I’m listing some things that I like about the current raid instance. There will be another matching post about things I do hate, it will be rather longer.

All Takes Place in One Room

The Coliseum raid is set up like an arena. Players stand in the arena, and a succession of raid bosses get shoved in through the front gate for our killing pleasure. Unfortunately the Coliseum does not feature any of the really good parts of an arena such as being able to place side bets on the bosses, or gouts of blood and people sustaining really horrific injuries.

I don’t find the single room, bosses-come-to-you model to be an issue. It’s a change of pace, and makes the place rather dull from an exploration point of view, but one slightly different raid setup in an expansion isn’t worth fussing about. It also means that there is an explanation for why the raid bosses are turning up, rather than having them all standing around in rooms on their own waiting for us. Granted, it is a fucking stupid explanation (so, the Argent Tournament chaps collected all these really tough raid bosses and decided to make a three ring circus out of things…) but I’ll take my ongoing narrative as I can get it.

I realise that epic storytelling is not what one needs expect of raid instances but we can do better than “You enter a 10’x10’ room. A raid boss is standing in the middle of it.” Blizzard is trying to do this better I think – Ulduar does have explanations for the placement of many of the bosses at least  — but it’s a constant struggle. As I say, at least the Coliseum framework provides a kind of explanation.

I also like that we can see some of the bosses outside, either tethered around the tournament area or in cut scenes as they are captured. It is in fact quite a neat way to let non-raiders (if there are any left) get a sight of the raid bosses, dull as they may be.

And then the floor fell in

I am an absolute sucker for having the environment change around us as a result of things we have done (even if ‘things we have done’ just means setting off the next boss encounter). Call me shallow but I like it when the floor caves in and everyone goes tumbling down into the depths. Collapsing floors were the saving grace of the Malygos encounter and they entertain me here as well.

Anub’Arak

The last fight in the raid instance is rather more interesting than the rest. It features a few interesting twists on old mechanics – you have to run /into/ the patches of ice instead of away from them. We saw that mechanic used on Vezax but everything is always better when there are spikes involved, especially giant spikes that come out of the ground and try to stab people.

I also rather like the phase 3 mechanic in which healers have to try to keep the raid on about half health rather than healing everyone up to full. I think that’s a more interesting healing challenge than normal raid fights, on paper at least.

Also Anub has a really sexy voice. After having to listen to Tirion Fordring and the Lich King, both of whom have me reaching for my earplugs, I’ll settle for my velvet voiced beetle buddy. And when I say buddy, I mean undead giant beetle who is trying to kill me and my 24 closest friends due to being brainwashed by a fat necromancer.

Spikes on Tier 9

Did you know that there are three different ways to get hold of tier 9 gear at the moment? There’s the pure badge version, the 25 man normal token version, and the heroic token version. We’re all going to be in T9 whether we like it or not.

But at least it has spikes.

Easy Alt Gearing

One nice thing about the (lack of) difficulty is that it actually is easy again to put a raid together, bringing a couple of non-raiders and undergeared alts and still have everyone get something that is currently useful for them (ie. badges). I’m all for MMOs making it easy for people to play together.

This weekend I ran a raid along those lines. In some ways it was challenging to have such low dps but I also get a sense of achievement as a raid leader from being able to chivvy everyone through it in such a way that the overgeared guys don’t get too bored, the undergeared guys don’t feel overwhelmed, we don’t wipe more than once (faction champs, my fault for not having one of the healers switch to dps on the first attempt), and everyone gets something that they want – either loot or badges.

Ulduar was a bit too long and difficult to make that feasible. As a player, I did love Ulduar. As someone who wants to include non-raiding friends, Coliseum is relatively quick, easy, and accessible.

Your turn now. Say something nice about the Coliseum :)

5 things about Protection Warriors that still rock the house

1. We have awesome AE snap threat. For this reason, we are the best tanks for the adds on Sartharion, bar none. Shockwave and Thunderclap pile a shedloads of quick threat onto a lot of mobs.

People will also be impressed at how neatly you line mobs up for Shockwave, once you have got the hang of it. The neat mob patterns and the stun give them 5s to oo and ahh at your amazing add control. Milk it.

Even if you don’t take Veneretio‘s word for it (and you should, he’s one of the most authoritative protwarrior posters out there, and he’s particularly good at explaining the reasoning behind his thinking), my corroborating evidence is that my protadin friend was whining to me about this last week.

If a protection paladin whines that you are better than him at anything, it’s:

  1. probably true
  2. probably going to be given to paladins next patch so enjoy it while it lasts

2. We are very mobile. Between Charge and Intervene, we can move much more quickly around an encounter than any other tank.

3. Spell Reflect. An unusual and very fun ability, I don’t think it will ever be necessary on a raid boss  but the reason it is now so situational is purely down to current content. This wasn’t the case in TBC and who knows what the future holds? Improved Spell Reflect is still good fun on Malygos and the voidie boss in the Violet Hold. Certainly if more bosses in future allow for spell reflect, it will be a way for Blizzard to increase the damage that warriors do while tanking.

It also hasn’t come up much in Wrath but spell reflect is a great way to build threat on groups of casters, assuming that they all are nuking you (ie. you just pulled one). We used this to good effect in Magister’s Terrace, which did have groups of casters as trash mobs, and it could easily come up later in this expansion.

4. Easier to heal? I put a question mark on this because I’m not convinced, but I was asking some of our healers for their opinions and they felt I took less damage. Or at least they had the perception that they didn’t have to work as hard to heal me. And particularly in heroics, they had a lot of confidence in warriors’  ability to pick up unexpected adds/ patrols quickly. This comes down to the great snap AE threat and mobility, but don’t think it isn’t appreciated.

Now to put this in context, a warrior does take less damage than a druid (they have huge health pools to soak but we have plate and a shield), death knights can stack up their amazing cooldowns but they don’t always have something in reserve for unexpected situations, and paladins take less spikey damage but tend to prioritise shield block over avoidance. This is all highly dependent on how you gear — a druid could drop some stamina to pick up high avoidance but most of them don’t, preferring to play to their strengths.

Like I say, I’m not entirely convinced but when someone hands you a compliment, accept it graciously and puzzle it out later. Perception is a powerful thing.

5. Tier 7 looks badass. Who doesn’t like fiery skulls? Warriors do usually get decent looking tier sets, with a few notable exceptions. Clearly this is down to personal preference, but at least we don’t have to wear paladin power ranger suits or have random spikes sticking out of our elbows like Death Knights.

And who would even notice what their druid was wearing? Or not, in the case of some of ours.