Did ZA and ZG miss the mark?

One of the things about 5-man content in the time of WotLK is that it was largely accessible to anyone. Any of the 5-man content could easily be PUG’d except for one of the ICC 5-man instances in the last tier of content, and most of them could be finished in somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour at most. A lot of the raiding content was difficult, but people who didn’t want to be doing end-game hard-mode progression still had an option of running new 5-mans during the content release (and they didn’t need raid gear to clear 5-mans).

Right now, with the ZA and ZG heroics, people are reporting that they are spending 2 or 3 hours in the instance trying to clear them, and PUGs are really hit-or-miss in terms of whether you complete it or give up at the first boss. After taking a peak at the content, I’m pretty sure they missed the mark on what ZA & ZG were supposed to be. ZA and ZG should be content where average players are still capable of running it, even if they don’t have full raid gear epics.

I am okay with raid content being hard and somewhat exclusive. I’m perfectly  happy to have raiding content be long and grueling (I spent like 6 hours one day raiding a single instance in LOTRO a couple weeks ago). However, I’m not really okay with 5-man content feeling long and grueling. Even if it’s “hard”, it should be relatively fast to clear. Both ZA & ZG have too much trash, since they also have a lot of bosses. The target should be for people to be able to get done in an hour or less for 5-man dungeons. Any 5-man taking longer than an hour (unless you are wiping repeatedly) is too long for people. A 5-man version of a raid we used to run shouldn’t really feel like running a raid, it should feel like a fun 5-man where you can just calmly hang out with your friends for a quick trip down memory lane.

The new random PUG dungeon finder tool should go along with a set of dungeons that can actually be done by people who PUG 5-mans on limited time schedules because the 5-man content should be end-game content targeted at people who can’t raid. People who don’t raid want to be able to go in and not have to commit a 3 hour time block to clear content. Even people who raid really want short things they can do in the ~hour or two they may have free before/after the raid. Instead, the ZG and ZA instances are huge time-sinks that I haven’t even been able to run due to my schedule not allowing for setting aside 3 or so hours on either a raid night or a non-raid night.

I like my raids long and epic-feeling BUT I like my 5-mans fast and straightforward to give me a fun break from the grueling raiding end-game process. ZA and ZG just don’t feel fun because they’re just so long. :(

93 Comments

  1. Zack
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I kind of disagree with this post (which is rare). I think that in the mid-point of wrath, people could do heroics fairly easily, but in the first week they were released? I distinctly remember spending a substantial amount of time in H UP when I first reached 80. After merely two months it was a chain pulling spree as the player base became geared, but before that time heroics were still a challenge.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s a degree of how much more difficult AND longer they are than what people wanted 5-mans to be in Wrath. Not everyone has 3 hours to dedicate to game time, and there should be content that is accessible to people with shorter time schedules in addition to content for people who have endless times to play. Even once all the PUGs learn the content and how to do the fights, it is still going to take them a LONG time to complete.

      • Jon
        Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        In the interest of fairness, one should note that these two significantly harder instances do have the benefit of an entirely seperate queue. Wrath didn’t have that. When Wrath dropped, I actually found myself having to queue with lower level gear to avoid popping Halls of Reflection which, despite my gear allegedly being good enough, I was nowhere near ready for.

        Yes, they’re kicking butts and taking names, mine not the least among them (I have yet to actually end up in a group capable of downing a single boss in ZG and I’ve only finished ZA once). That said, it’ll get easier as time goes on. I remember all the drama and complaints about the Cata dungeons when it first dropped and how everything was ruined forever because these dungeons were too hard and mana was too limited and on and on. A few months later and everything is all Wrath GoGoGo again (Though some isolated things need a little CC).

        Suffice to say, Blizzard will hit a few of these encounters with the nerf bat soon enough, some of the trash may or may not be removed and people will soon outgear the instances (I got THREE purples in my one ZA run, a head, a shoulder and the gloves from the quest) and people will again be complaining about Blizz catering to the casuals and all will be right in the world.

        • shelly
          Posted May 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          Statistically speaking, the average ilevel of the group should be high enough for you to complete the dungeon if you have the option of queing for it in the first place.

          I think there should be a modifier in the calculation to account for any pvp gear that may be being used.

          And I agree, the dungeons need to be shorter than an hour regardless of the difficulty.

  2. Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    To anyone having trouble with ZA, specifically, I recommend talking with a player that did a bear run in the original instance for tips. There are TONS of ways to speed up the run and completely avoid/negate certain trash packs. If you try and clear it all, you’ll spend all day there, but going through it properly will result in a clear easily under an hour as long as you are diligent with CC.

  3. Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I can see where you’re coming from in terms of the complexity and difficulty involved, especially considering the current climate of PUGs and whatnot, but I’m personally really glad to have ZA and ZG in the game at their current difficulty. So many existing 5-mans are pretty easy to roll through and ZA and ZG provide a pretty decent challenge to phase into raiding. I think once more people get a hang of the dungeons and start getting slightly better gear, the runs will be much easier to handle.

  4. Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    ZA and ZG are a failure due to the their tuning. There is no reasonable way that a group in 346 gear will finish them in any amount of reasonable time if they do at all. Additionally in a PuG the content will be damn near impossible.

    So much for getting gear from there to gear up. The only gear you will get is when you don’t need most of it.

  5. Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree and disagree, as I’m sure many will. I believe these new instances allow for more guild progression and allow could be raiders some first hand exp at a slower pace. I do believe that random PUGs have become hell on earth. I enjoyed quick instances and even Cataclysm instances. I enjoyed the challenge and the experience of meeting new people. With these new groups forming I am scared for the sake of WoW. I’ve been trying to do at least 3/5 guildmates for the new instances. Even with my large guild, it is hard to get 3 people like minded and able to preform well with the group. I try to tell people that if they take their time and don’t try to rush through the content that it will all go smoother and faster. There could be less trash, I agree. But I do feel that with a good group everyone would be able to handle whatever comes the parties way in an appropriate manor. I’m trying!

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      sometimes I also post controversial things just to stir the pot and get people talking.

      :)

  6. Maggnus
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    I also have to disagree with this. I feel ZA/ZG are a good fit for current content. I have 350 gear iLevel and found the dungeons surprisingly easier than I expected, although it did take a few hours. I had in mind that these were going to be 5 man raids and that is how they feel to me. I am quite content with how they turned out. To each their own I guess.

  7. Garotar
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    This content, and a lot of the Cata 5 man heroic content when you were first getting into it, always seem more deisgned towards doing it with people you know rather than random people you’ve never met. I’d still say that some of the heroics are this way, and ZA/ZG are definitely guild focused rather than PUG focused. Is this bad? Not necessarily, it does give guilds challenges. It also leads to the LFD system seeming to be useless because there’s no reasonable expectation that the 5 man you get you can complete in a reasonable amount of time.

  8. Galashin
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    So first and foremost, heroics are hard mode content. Players who prefer to avoid challenge have an entire tier of content aimed at their preference: normal mode dungeons. ZG and ZA are designed to fill in the gaps for raiders, and as a progression past the original heroics, which, themselves, are hard mode content. Players who have mastered the normal heroics should not be having that much trouble in ZG and ZA. The issue is that players are unprepared, and unwilling to put enough effort into their toons, yet insist on jumping right to content not designed for their chosen playstyle.

    Second, ZA trash:
    Door opening “zerg”
    5 pull gauntlet, up to hawk. 9 mobs total, plus the gauntlet
    5 pulls to bear: 3 trolls, 2 bears, 4 trolls, 2 riders, then 4 mobs (2 riders, 2 trolls)
    4 pulls to dragonhawk (plus scouts): (scout), 3 mobs (+scout) at the first campfire, dragonhawk pull (+scout), (scout on the hill), 4 mobs (+scout) past the hill, 4 mobs (might be 3) up the stairs, dragonhawk
    6 pulls to dragonhawk: cat pack, tamer/2crocs, 3 stealthed packs, 4 pull at the top of the stairs
    2 pulls to hex lord: 4 mobs, then the 2 berzerkers
    And the second “door zerg” before the end

    The first four bosses have an average of 5 pulls before each. The rest can be skipped–and should be, the hardest pulls can all be avoided. Then two more before the final two bosses. Compare that to any of the “first tier” heroics, and it’s pretty favorable.

    ZG is similar:
    Initial cauldron mob, bugs, first mask, second cauldron, 2 snakes, snake boss.
    Rock throwing mob, cauldron pull, probably 1 pat, 2 guards, raptor boss.
    Snake-transforming pull, (archeology boss), (optional maelstrom-dropping mini-boss), mask, pat in panther temple, blood drinker pull, panther boss.
    Snake pack, witch doctor and little guys pack, 2 big guys, cauldron boss.
    (Fish killer mini-boss), pack of two at the bottom of the stairs, first big guy, second big guy, (optional to do the third), final boss.

    I’ve been running in guild groups of 3 and 4. No problems with 4. With 3, we often have to stop and emphasize “no, seriously–just kill spirits. yes, that’s lower dps. this isn’t a dps race,” but the instance goes fine. Done 8 of them so far, I think, healing/DPSing on Galashin, and tanking on Galashan (who hit 85 1 week ago–4/22). The problem simply isn’t the instances–it’s the continued sense among the community that heroics are the birthright of all 85 toons, without regard to attention, preparation, playtime, or skill. When the pool of players so vastly underestimates the instance, and overestimates their ability to breeze through it, it’s simply not going to end well. That doesn’t necessarily make it poor instance design.

    • Galashin
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      And to take a leaf out of Lissanna’s book: “sometimes I also post controversial things just to stir the pot and get people talking.”

    • Galashin
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:30 am | Permalink

      ZA and ZG seem to be about in the middle, trash-wise. Do they feel longer? Sure–they’re harder. Things take longer to kill. People aren’t skipping all the trash they could. There are a bunch of optional mini-bosses in ZG to go hunt down. But are they actually a lot longer by number of pulls? Not significantly.

      Blackrock: 4/3/6/3/2
      pat, pull, 1 mob pat, pull, boss 1
      (npc kills things), hallway pat, (draconid can be avoided if you jump down at the right time), 4 pull, ramp draconid, boss 2
      2 out of 3 pulls to the ramp, draconid on the ramp, second draconid, first fire elemental, second fire elemental, boss 3
      top of the hill pull, earth elemental pat, 4 pull (skippable if you mind soothe), boss 4
      earth elemental pat, pull on the right, final boss

      Stonecore: 4/4/6/0
      initial pull, (ignore rock pats), second, third, fourth, boss 1? Not positive about this one.
      big guy, (ignore small flayer pats), flayers, pat big guy, flayers, boss 2
      two mobs by the rock, 1 big pat, middle of the room, second in the middle, second big pat, tent area, boss 3
      (stuff that gets aoe’d, plus one pat to just avoid) boss 4

      Throne: 9/0/(3/)3
      2 in the first hallway, 1 before the elevator, 3 more (plus gauntlet mobs), 1 5 pull, (ignore the small mob pat), 2nd 5pull, big mob pat, boss 1
      boss 2
      (optional: top of the stairs, one big guy, two big guys, boss 3)
      3 sets of big adds through the gauntlet? Might just be the single, then the double

      SFK: 3/8/3/10/4
      bottom of the stairs, middle stairs, top of the stairs, boss 1
      usually 3 of the pulls in the courtyard, pat by the doorway, first room, 2 in second room, 1 in boss’ room (is it 2?), boss 2
      pat on the stairs, 2 pulls in boss’ room, boss 3
      first parapet area, 2 poison area pulls, 1 bottom of the stairs, 1 on the stairs, 1 at the top of the stairs, 1 at the bottom of the stairs, 2 more outside, 1 more on the circular staircase, boss 4? Not positive about this one
      2 in the top room, 2 in boss’ room, boss 5

      Grim Batol: 10/2/8/4
      Granted, you might kill some of these outright using the mounts.
      2 initial, first dragons, guards for first three mounts, guards for second three mounts, 2 pulls before the bridge, 1 hallway, 2 on boss’ platform, boss 1
      dragons past tunnel, first chained guy plus mobs, boss 2
      second chained guy, third chained guy, (ignore the small mob pat in the hallway), 5 pull, 2 pulls before the bridge, one pat, 2 pulls to boss, boss 3
      2 pulls before tunnel, 1 in tunnel, 1 before boss, final boss

      Tol’vir: 3/4/4/0
      across bridge to the left, big solo thing, 1 more pack, boss 1
      past the tunnel, first midget pull, second midget pull, fake boss fight, (crocs can be skipped) boss 2
      pull by the fountain, pull by the tunnel, cut to the right and it’s just one pull along the merchant hallway, then the pat from the second merchant hallway, boss 3
      boss 4

      Halls: 3/1(+5/)+4/2.5/2.5/2.5/2.5
      bottom of stairs, pat on stairs, top of stairs, boss 1
      hallway, (optional: 3 down the hall, then 1 at the bottom outside and 1 at the top outside, boss 2), gauntlet with 4 minibosses plus gauntlet mobs, boss 3
      2 or 3 pulls for each of the four

      Vortex Pinnacle: 5/6/6 (not as sure about this one)
      initial canopy, past the bridge, midway along circle, bottom of circle, far side of bridge, boss 1
      middle of the area, up the ramp, canopy dragon, poisoning pat, central dragon, up the ramp (is there a pat?), boss 2
      first cat things, up the ramp to cat-thing pat, flying magic things, two cat-thing pulls, flying magic things, boss 3

      I’m too rusty on Deadmines to list the trash with any accuracy.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Regarding your first post above: I went into ZG with an ilevel ~348 PUG tank. With me in full epics, I couldn’t keep him alive. He died on trash. We wiped repeatedly on the first boss, and then we gave up because it just wasn’t going to be possible for someone in mostly heroic blues (with a few epics) to tank. The gear requirements to do well in ZA/ZG are higher than the gear ilevels that the instances drop.

      Regarding the 3rd: They are still a raid-level time commitment at the moment, with most groups taking 2 to 3 hours to complete it. While it will get shorter over time, only people who significantly out-gear the content will ever take a reasonable amount of time to complete it. The difficulty level is something Blizzard needs to factor into the length that they make the dungeon. Basically, leaving the same # of pulls in a 5-man that they had in a raid dungeon in the first place is really too much in my opinion. Now, 6 months from now, ZA and ZG might be PUG-able, but why put all this time into a random dungeon system and then make content that can’t be PUG’d to dangle in people’s faces?

      Maybe I’m just frustrated that I don’t have a 2 or 3 hour block to actually get through the new dungeons. I’ve tried doing both ZA and ZG and keep running out of time to be able to finish them because my raid schedule doesn’t leave me huge blocks of time to do guild 5-man runs (when our guild tanks are actually around), so they aren’t accessible to me for another few months while I wait for the average time it takes to do a run to drop (so I can run content that I already out-gear and and ran 100 times a raids and doesn’t drop anything I need in the first place). They feel long and grueling because I can’t make it to the end bosses in either just due to having limited 5-man time. Instead of having fun new content to do before Firelands, the ZA/ZG instances basically inspire me to not want to log in at all (other than my normal raid times), and really have made me disheartened with the game as a whole, since all I do outside of raids is fly circles around Stormwind twiddling my thumbs.

      • Galashin
        Posted April 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        (In the interest of full disclosure, I did bear runs at 70. Neither the healer nor DPS mentioned below did, but both had run the 85 instances a few times before running with my bear.)

        My experience has simply not been that they take significantly longer than the normal level heroics. On Galashin, I’m overgeared for the content, sure, but that’s hardly true on my bear.

        I didn’t take screenshots, so I have no proof of my role, but I tanked both ZA and ZG on Galashan, with worse gear than I currently have on the armory (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/laughing-skull/galashan/advanced)–the shoulders and neck were from the ZG run (visible in the feed), I had a 346 neck and I think 333 shoulders. Everything was reforged to dodge, plus I had the stam/armor meta gem.

        In fact, if you check my statistics page, Galashan has only even done 3 of the tier 1 heroics, each of them only once–and I haven’t done a single normal tier Cata dungeon on the toon. Further, I’m not exalted with a single Cata faction yet, and I don’t even have Therazane unlocked. I purchased the justice legs with points left over from level 80. That’s a <347 tank, with nearly exclusively BoE (crafted, boots, and purchased) gear, 1 week out from hitting 85.

        I was healed by Kohrea (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/laughing-skull/kohrea/advanced), 352 healer. His only epics are BoEs, rep neck, BH T11 gloves, and valor trinket.

        The guildie DPSing was Rocketpants/Bubblebeef (same player), both raiding toons. You can check the timestamps in the activity log–ZA 22 hours ago (Rocketpants), ZG 21 hours ago. I'll note that Rocketpants (ilvl 357) has 5 raiding pieces of gear, plus legs from either BH or valor, and then it's all BoEs, rep, or arch. Bubblebeef's mainspec is DPS, so his gear is pretty full out (normal mode) raid epics.

        Given that we completed the ZA "22 hours ago," and the ZG "21 hours ago," the ZG run clearly wasn't 3-4 hours, despite having such an "undergeared" tank, a moderately undergeared healer, and two pug DPS. The ZG run, IIRC, had two 13-15k DPS pugs (mage and hunter–spriest for the first boss, who was mediocre but dropped without saying anything), but we wiped twice on Hakkar before we finally convinced them that their DPS on that fight doesn't matter. I don't recall wiping otherwise.

        The ZA run I have no proof for, but we missed the bear chest by about 15 seconds, and I don't believe we wiped at all after that; we did wipe once on eagle/hawk/whatever-it-is (had to fix a dispelling issue). DPS was just slow, and our healer needed to drink about every other pull. I believe DPS was a warrior and a mage, but I'm not positive; both were a reasonable, but nothing special, 10-12k DPS.

        I know you're a solid healer, so the only conclusion is that your tank was not enchanted/forged properly, not specced properly, not using defensive cooldowns properly, or not addressing encounter mechanics properly. For that matter, many of the fights require the DPS to address certain encounter mechanics (e.g. killing eagle's birds, proper movement on bear, panther adds, spirits), so as to not overwhelm the healer, so it's possible your tank was fine, but the DPS weren't working to minimize group damage…but I can only assume you've got more patience for explaining than I do, and my brief explanations worked. Maybe you just got pugs that were only half paying attention to the game.

        I got through with a 347 non-raiding, barely-heroic-ing tank (and 352 non-raiding healer) just fine. Do I expect it to be as easy for players unwilling, or unable, to invest so quickly in their toon? Nope. But I also have run just three first tier heroics, not a single normal instance, and have no rep to speak of. If players would just progress through those first, put effort into their toon over the course of a month or two, and then decide they're ready for ZG/ZA, maybe you wouldn't have gotten stuck with pugs who can't handle it.

      • Galashin
        Posted April 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        In particular, if your 348 tank kept dying on the first boss of ZG, it was because:
        A) he was standing on the lines, ground circles, or phase 2 bomb things,
        B) linked players were blowing up on top of him (too much group damage),
        C) he stood in front of the poison spray (which is targeted at a direction, and doesn’t move with players),
        or D) people weren’t interrupting (too much group damage).

        The actual melee damage the boss deals simply isn’t high. With the exception of the burst from the link breaking (which at least can be held to hitting only the linked targets), that fight is pure execution, not a gear check at all. My guess is that he was taking the poison spray.

        If those things were happening, he was (basically) unhealable. Healer gear doesn’t matter. Tank gear hardly matters. But a group unable or unwilling to address the mechanics of the encounter cannot succeed, no matter how experienced the healer is.

      • Skarn
        Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        As Galashin suggested, I’d like to know what your PuG tank died to. As I’m sure you know, that’s very important to determining the real difficulty of an instance. In particular, on the snake boss or the snakes right before him, was the tank taking damage from Breath of Hethiss? That’s 100% avoidable and is an intended tank killer. Standing in any sort of green stuff on Venoxis or not interrupting Whispers of Hethiss or Toxic Links blowing up together will easily wipe your group too. The abilities generally seem fine to me, if handled correctly. I can’t imagine anything prior to the two snakes right before the boss giving anyone trouble. Later trash can be mean if you don’t use CC. Especially relevant for a resto druid: Many of the large trolls that can not be poly’d or trapped CAN be rooted in place. Pull and tank the caster, root the melee mob.

        I don’t think the trash is too bad in these instances. ZG in particular actually has very small amounts of trash, roughly 3 pulls per boss. ZA has roughly 5 pulls per boss, which might be a bit much, possibly 4 pulls would be better.

        Also, I’m curious, what “hard but short” instances are you referring to?

    • shelly
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, heroics are hard mode content – heroic RAIDS. Would be the progression of: normal, heroic, normal raid, heroic raid. Instead when you get to the zul dungeons it is normal, heroic = Raid, heroic raid where heroic = raid would be for the leveling alts gear simulation in how running the icecrown dungeons was.

      • Skarn
        Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        The original idea behind Heroic 5-mans back in BC was to give the non-raiders something HARD to do. A way to get gear and have a challenge without needing a dedicated raid group. Though I think Blizzard still remembers this idea, the community has largely forgotten about it…if we ever acknowledged it in the first place.

        • Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Except they were not just for those that could not raid to run. They were part of the gear progression path to get geared for raids and also were part of several attunements. They were never really just for the casuals.

          The sad thing is if contend is designed well enough it is content for all players not just raider/casual/hardcore/pug.

  9. Posted April 30, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t think ZA and ZG have any problems. They’ve been out for 2 days, people still have no clue how to do them. I’ve been to ZA twice – once with a PUG and once with a guild group. Most of the people in both groups had raid gear. I 1-shot most of the bosses in the PUG because the DPS did their jobs, the tank did his job, and that made my job easier (the run lasted for about an hour and I joined after the 1st boss). In my guild group, we wiped for 3.5 hours because the tank was my boyfriend on his rarely-played alt, one DPS is dumb and can’t kill what he’s supposed to, the other DPS was drunk and the third DPS kept overaggroing. The gear didn’t make them better and we wiped just as much as we would’ve with a barely ilvl 346 group.

    (That being said, I found healing pretty hard and I don’t plan on taking my ilvl 346 shammy alt in there any time soon. My druid is at ilvl 358 and some bosses hurt.)

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      That’s the part that gets me though, that you can’t take an ilevel 346 tank or healer into the instance to get them geared up for raiding. Instead, you have to take characters in the raid to get them geared up for the 5-man. ZA/ZG don’t make the bridge between heroic 5’s and raiding that we’re going to need for getting new guild members ready for Firelands. You have to out-gear ZA/ZG by being in “mostly raid gear” before the instance is appropriate for you.

      • Geros (VeCo)
        Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        I know I’m an oddball, but I would argue that you don’t need to be in “mostly raid gear” since I don’t have a single piece from a raid and have healed both. It’s true, I have all the crafted/exalted/BoE/archaeology stuff I’ve been able to get my hands on, but these new 5’s are a tantalizing option to get rid of these pesky blues I can’t make epic outside of raiding.
        While they may not help with entry to raiding right now, in 4.2 when 359 gear is sold for emblems of justice, more people/alts will be in my boat with a decent ilvl for ZA/ZG but still a few crappy slots to fill before setting foot in Firelands.

      • Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Actually, I kinda changed my mind. I won’t pug on my shaman, but in a guild/friends group I think it’s possible to complete the dungeon. I just went there on my druid with a guild group (1 main + 3 alts, one of them below the required 346) and we didn’t have any issues except when we fucked up the mechanics (like Galashin said, people who die on the first boss in ZG are probably standing in the bad… I know I did it a lot). So, for pugging, I’d recommend a raid geared healer. For guild groups with people with brains, lower ilvl works. (But everyone in the group must be on their game.)

  10. = w =
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I play on the taiwan server. As a durid healer (full heroic 346 + 2 piece 359 from rep) that only do PUGs, I find ZA/ZG a fun experience. So far I have done 8 runs, on average it took 1hr 15min to complete each run. We usually have 1 wipe per boss and get though it the 2nd time.
    The content did push my healing skill to the limit, however it was fun to learn and improve the way I heal.

    • Posted May 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      I think = w = really hit the nail on the head. ZA, ZG is intended to be challenging and will push your limits. It seems like there is this mentality that we should be able to run through heroics with zero wipes, our first time through! I dont feel that is challenging. We solidify our strategies and we see that there is very little margin for error.. I want more of that!

  11. Hamlet
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s vital to the long-term health of WoW that to cultivate the idea that it means something to be good at the game. Nothing could drive me away after that WoW’s reduction from a “game” to an “activity,” one where I simply log in for X hours and get some points to spend on gear, regardless of what I do or how good I am of doing it. The games descent towards the latter in recent years has been drastic, and this is part of the recovery. Yes, there will be a bit of pain as people who not acquainted with challenge in WoW first understand the feeling of failing at something due to lack of skill or experience. And I’m well aware that the game has to be careful to not drive people away with frustration. But some pushback was needed–in one way or another, it has to become okay again for there to be a meaningful difference between “being good at WoW” and “being terrible at WoW.” Let’s hope Blizzard sticks to their guns long enough for players to catch up.

    • Hamlet
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      “Nothing could drive me away faster than WoW’s reduction,” rather.

    • Posted May 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Actually I would rather see blizzard develop content that is scalable or at least more than binary difficulty. We really need an easy, normal, hard, heroic, nightmare? Like most single or at least non-mmo games have. Each version should have a better rewards than the previous and each would either scale damage/heals or add a new mechanic.

      Then players can learn the encounter and then add to what they have learned.

      • Galashin
        Posted May 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Easy: Solo content.
        Normal: Normal 5mans.
        Hard: (First tier) Heroics.
        Heroic: (Second tier) Heroics.
        Nightmare: Raids.
        (Insanity: Heroic raids.)

        Alternatively,
        Easy: Normal 5mans.
        Normal: (First tier) Heroics.
        Hard: (Second tier) Heroics.
        Heroic: Raids.
        Nightmare: Heroic raids.

        • Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          I understand that is how the player base views it. It is ultimately not wrong, just overly limited. You are assigning a difficulty value to a type of content. My point which I am still crafting a post about is that there should be more options, within the same tier of content.

          The player base is thinking too narrowly.

          • Galashin
            Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            Which is cool. You absolutely could throw in more difficulty levels within each rank of gameplay. It’s just false to say that there’s currently no way to progress in difficulty up to heroic raiding.

            In solo content, you learn what (most of) your abilities do. Often that spells can be interrupted (even if you don’t) or monsters CC’d (even if you don’t). Etc.

            In normal 5mans, you (usually) learn what aggro means, that CC and interrupts are sometimes necessary (killer spell of destruction), that most ground effects do damage to you. Etc.

            In first tier heroic, you (usually) learn that mobs’ abilities can chain together to become more than the sum of their parts (and thus, CC is sometimes strongly preferred), that healers’ mana isn’t infinite, that failing to avoid certain mechanics can mean your immediate death, that movement is sometimes as (or more) important as dealing damage or healing. Etc.

            In second tier heroics, you (usually) learn that DPS sometimes needs to be better optimized in order to defeat encounters (whether due to enrages or rapidly spawning adds), that multiple mechanics can occur at once (add spawns along with ground effects along with an interrupt). Etc.

            In normal raids…

            It’s similar to the vanilla raids. MC taught dispelling and focus fire. BWL taught about line of sight and positioning. And on from there.

            The problem, at least that I’ve found, is people aren’t actually getting what they’re supposed to be out of each step. Instead, they’re getting carried through (or kicked and requeuing) and receiving the rewards anyway–thereby “qualifying” them for the next step, without having to actually master the aspects of gameplay required. The LFD system is designed to encourage such behavior; most instances can be done 4man (even some of the ZA/ZG bosses, already), and the kick system is too strict to count on being able to remove a player whose gameplay has not progressed to the content at hand.

            Result: there *is* appropriate progression, people just ignore it because they think a higher item level is synonymous with winning. I don’t see how putting in more intermediate steps will help alleviate that issue, given that the existing system is so widely ignored.

  12. Zeeza
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I have done both instances, and where i agree with you is that they can tell a helluva lot of time to complete both, even with a good group and if you dont have the time in between other activities maybe that can put you off doing them. All you are focusing on when you are talking about people and experiences is ilvl and not the player themselves I managed to heal a tank all the way through ZA who had greens and blues (his ms was dps and so his gear in his bags had managed to let him queue up). Sure it was hard and we wiped a couple of times but it was certainly do-able mainly because all the dps did what they were supposed to and everyone was capable skill wise.
    The only thing that makes the new instances horrific is people who wont listen to tactics and just bowl through everything. These are the only things that have made me wipe/quit halfway through.

  13. Snowpdx
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I also have to disagree, and for some of the same reasons as the above posters. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge level of these new instances, and the ‘5-man raid’ feeling that comes from that level of challenge. Most of the bosses in both instances have mechanics that can’t be over-geared with current ilvls, and instead require proper execution. My main is a decently geared tank (357ilvl), but I’ve been in pugs with much lower-geared people and done fine by using the cc we had, interrupting the right things, avoiding unnecessary damage, and working together. Even with very skilled, geared guildies there are some pulls that will blow me up fast if we don’t use the tools at our disposal (tank cds, interrupts, etc). These instances require players to make good decisions, or die, and on the whole I think that pressure will bring up the skill of the player base. The focus on skill, execution, and teamwork also counteracts the wrath mentality of “gogogo you suck /bail” that many players still haven’t let go of. After the wipes (and there have been many) in ZA/ZG, my groups have often stopped to analyze what went wrong and fix it, rather than abusing the healer. It may just be personal preference, but I really like being challenged. I like that we won’t be successful unless we are creative in our use of our characters’ toolkits. As for time, my quickest new heroic run was ZA, done in exactly an hour – top dps was 17k, so not even close to BiS. Whew, wall of text.
    Tl;dnr: new heroics are hard, and I like it.

    • Galashin
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      If you’re getting blown up by the pairs among Hierophants/Archon/Juggernaut, they can all be skipped. The pull before bear is much easier with some CC. Double flame casters also requires CC, unless your tank can consistently interrupt one while the group burns the other down first thing. The pull right before lynx is a pain because of the stuns.

      IIRC, there’s only one Hierophants/Archon/Juggernaut pull you just can’t skip, across both instances: the bottom of Hakkar’s temple. Or Jin’do’s now, whatever. And for that, have two people get the frost cauldron from the base of Zanzil’s area (where the 2 witchdoctor, ton of little guys pull is), mount up, and run right to Jin’do’s temple. You get there with 5-8 seconds to spare. It doesn’t stun, but it deals the damage, taking both to 30-40%. The tank just has to be quick with the taunt on the mob he didn’t freeze, before it kills the person who did. In fact, a pally can do it again for the first big guy, up on the temple (again, it won’t freeze, but it deals the damage); I’m not sure if you can do it without crusader aura, I haven’t tried.

      • Snowpdx
        Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I like that we have to use our tools, even on trash, and even with decent gear. The new heroics really punish you for not playing well, which I think is a great change from the wrath era.

  14. Hamlet
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Since making the above comment, I logged into run ZA/ZG for the first time. There weren’t that many guild members on on a Saturday afternoon, so I wound up with two alts in the group, including a tank at ilvl 347 ( http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/malganis/tremalane/simple ). We missed the timer by about a minute and a half. The zones were fast and easy clears just like other heroics–well under an hour each the first time. They’re slightly longer (~6 bosses instead of 3-4, but with less trash), and harder (more moving out of fire, basically). A group that pays attention and plays smartly can clear it just fine.

    The timed bear run isn’t so easy. With mains in raid I gear it will be pretty straightforward, but in lower gear you’ll have to optimize quite a bit. Still, for people talking about taking 3 hours to do the zone, it should be relevant that others are clearing 4 bosses in 25 minutes (would probably take 30 in non-raid gear).

    In trying to evaluate the zones, I wouldn’t focus too heavily on the loudest complainers. If nobody finds them hard, then almost by definition, they’re far too easy. I’d note the _difference_ in reactions, from people finding them hard, to people finding them easy. To me, that indicates they got it quite right.

    • Hamlet
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Correction: our tank’s ilvl was 344 (as you can see in the link). It was probably actually 342-343 during the run, since he got some upgrades in the zone.

      • Clawesome
        Posted May 3, 2011 at 2:02 am | Permalink

        My healer is a resto druid 348 ilvl – I was able to heal both ZG and ZA to completion in both a guild run and a pug run each.

        I had to work very hard, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. These are definitely pughable as long as at least one person knows the mechanics and explain them.

        You can’t brute force your way through encounter mechanics in these in current gear and that is a good thing.

  15. Krieg
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    How is this any different than any new content that has been released over the last 6 years?

    New instances are always trouble for pugs to clear. This is the way of the MMO and WoW is no different in this aspect.

    Lets take the next most recent content release. When Cata was released it took people the same amount of time to clear them as it takes to clear Za and ZG now.

    ! hour or more if you were in a a group of friends. 2-3 hours if you were in a pug.

    It’s no different now than anything we have seen in WoW over the last several years.

    /thread.

  16. Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    Actually Forge of Souls and PoS were the best 5-mans added in Wrath. They were reasonably short but more difficult and required more gear than the normal heroics and the ToC 5 man.

    ZA and ZG do not fit that model.

    I for one do not fight grueling long instances and grinds interesting or fun. I just wish the MMO community was not so focused on either making content a major pain in the ass. Actually the best content out there right now for players just looking to work on gear and have fun is the interactive Rift content in Rifts. Not the end game raid rifts but the rift events and invasions. They can be challenging but are doable by groups at the appropriate level and gear level. ZA and ZG are not. When trash is doing more damage to a tank than a raid boss there is something wrong.

    • Galashin
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Forge of Souls:
      Initial pull of 2 big guys, pack of 3 (4?), pack of 4, pat of 2 big guys, pack of 4 (5?), pack of 4 (5?) in that circular room, pack of 3 (4?) on the circular platform, pat of 2 big guys, boss 1.
      Pack of 4, pat of 2 big guys, (avoidable mob), shade thing, second shade thing, boss 2.

      That’s 8 trash pulls to boss 1, then another 4 to boss 2.
      Compare to ZA/ZG, as above.
      ZG: 5/4/4/3/3
      ZA: 5/5/4/6/2

      There simply isn’t more trash. There are more bosses. More bosses is good. It means instead of running forge 5 times in a row to kill 10 bosses, you run ZG twice. Less boredom. It means instead of each boss not dropping anything useful for half the players, or alternatively dropping so much that your chance of getting a useful item is tiny, there’s room for a variety of gear, and more drops total. For the record,
      HoR: 4/4/4(5?)
      PoS: 5/7(8?)/5(+gauntlet mobs)

      Nor do any of the trash pulls do more damage to a tank than raid bosses–provided you’re willing to neither underestimate the content nor overestimate your group. Again, as I stated above, there’s only a single Hierophants/Archon/Juggernaut that can’t be skipped, and you can blow it up with the frost cauldron buff. The only other high damage pulls are right before bear in ZA (CC them), double flame caster pulls (CC one or have the tank lock it down, while the DPS kill the other), and the pull right before lynx (because of the stun–and also CC-able). In ZG, the only other high damage pull is the double blood drinker one (again, CC). The other “hard” pulls in ZG can be dealt with via a cauldron (the snakes before boss 1, the pulls before raptor).

      The problem isn’t the instance. It’s that the average player in LFD is just unwilling to recognize that maybe they should use CC, pick up cauldron buffs, or wait 15 seconds to avoid a pat, much less that they should prepare their toon before even queuing, by being able to do more than 8k DPS (or similar expectations for healers and tanks).

      ZG/ZA are absolutely doable with “undergeared” tanks and healers, as in both my post and Hamlet’s.

  17. Sean
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    I think this is a very interesting topic, and in part because of one glaring difference between ZA/ZG re-release and WotLK dungeons — there is no normal ZA/ZG..

    With Wrath, we always had a normal mode to get us ready for the dungeon bosses. Players had that time to get familiar with the dungeon layout (which trash to avoid, where bosses are, etc) and to learn the basic boss mechanics. Heroics either just stepped up the difficulty or added elements, but wasn’t very different. Cataclysm dungeons have been the same, even for dungeons like SFK and Deadmines.

    But ZA/ZG are only familiar to those who raided them before, or who rolled through them with a small group at level 80 just for the achievement. And some things have changed as well even for those who did raid back then.

    There is no way for the regular player base to get familiar with these fights except in heroic mode, when they’re most likely to fail. I ran through ZG earlier today and I stood about 10 minutes as we had tanks, dps, and healers all drop at different times just in front of the first boss. We wiped on it maybe 5 times before we got the right combination of skilled players to handle it.

    Should there have been a normal mode? Maybe. But we haven’t had 4.0 very long, and it seems early still to make regular normal dungeons obsolete already. It would be weird for a “normal” dungeon to have gear requirements like 4.0 heroics, but it would also be weird for them not to drop higher ilevel loot, like the Coliseum from 3.2. With a bigger picture in mind, I think it was right to not make normal dungeons.

    I think we’ll see run times drop a bit as people get the hang of the encounters, but not much. As long as people without skill enter the queue, it will slow down those who can handle it. A group of 85s in all 346 can handle it if they have the skills to. But someone without skill could have full 359+ and still wipe on the first boss.

    Selfishly, I like this more difficult content since I don’t raid and can’t test my skills against the toughest content out there. I like being able to prove I’m good at my role, and ZA/ZG gives me that chance. Sure it takes more time, but if you want to take less time just do 4.0 Heroics instead. The queue is shorter and the bosses are easier.

    • Galashin
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      “There is no way for the regular player base to get familiar with these fights except in heroic mode, when they’re most likely to fail.”
      The familiarity comes from heroic content in general. If a player has experience with the first tier heroics, s/he was either carried, or understands interrupting, CC, getting out of fire, etc. Further, such a player should be able to parse and act on basic initial instructions “group up for X, spread out for Y.” If no one in the group has done ZG/ZA at all, then you learn–two wipes is enough to figure out the mechanics, at which point we revert to parsing instructions.

      “We wiped on it maybe 5 times before we got the right combination of skilled players to handle it.”
      “As long as people without skill enter the queue, it will slow down those who can handle it. A group of 85s in all 346 can handle it if they have the skills to. But someone without skill could have full 359+ and still wipe on the first boss.”
      This is exactly the problem. The instances are fine. The player base is not. Players are queuing without putting sufficient effort into their toons beforehand, expecting that either the instance will be easy or they will be carried.

      Yesterday, I entered a run with two bosses down on Galashan (DPSing–my offspec), along with Bubblebeef (tanking–his offspec). Turns out that of the three players who had stayed to refill, at least one of them hadn’t been in the group at the start, either. Cleared toward dragonhawk: mage pulls an extra group, while doing 7k DPS. Dragonhawk boss: mage does less damage than the tank. First pull toward lynx: mage pulls TWO extra groups (the first after I had time to type in /p “Pat inc, move” four times), while doing ~8k DPS. Mage dropped. Friend of the mage dropped. Refill: one of the two DC’d, kicked 3-4 minutes later. Refill: new DPS pulls an extra pack, then DCs. Refill: lynx killed easily, we finally had 3 DPS all over the tank (who could also parse the instruction: don’t kill healing totems, stand in them instead). Healer drops (“GF aggro”). Refill, instance cleared no problem. All told, ~40 minutes, at least 10 of which were waiting for new players.

  18. Posted May 1, 2011 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    I agree that they seem a bit long – I’ve run ZA once @ 2 hours, and ZG twice each @ 3 hours. In my ZG today we had no problems up until the final boss where we wiped 15 times. Yes, I counted. A lot of the deaths that occurred were due to people not knowing the mechanics and I had to explain every fight and pull. Now I’m sitting in 348 (after getting some ZA/ZG gear) with no raid gear and only a few exalted reps and I must say that I as a tank did not have any trouble with surviving. The mechanics in these fights are very unforgiving and I think that is where the majority of people are having trouble. Personally if I want a fast heroic I run the T1 heroics just for my badges and the odd piece of offset gear; if I have more time I’ll run the T2 for the upgrades.

    • Galashin
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Boss 1: Don’t stand in green fire (poison circles or lines), don’t stand in front of the poison spray, if you’re linked move away (ideally away from melee, not only the link target).
      Boss 2: Don’t stand in orange fire (earthquake-esque thing), kill the raptor.
      Wooshulay (I haven’t gotten the others): Don’t stand in whitish fire (electricity storm), when he charges stay back until he lightning rods, then go back in.
      Boss 3: Interrupt the boss, tank pulls panther packs one at a time (back to back), DPS panthers before her.
      Boss 4: Don’t stand in purple fire (fire), green cauldron for the poison gas emote, white cauldron (1 person) for the big add, red cauldron (let the tank get it first) for the little adds, kill big adds before boss.
      Boss 5: Stand in the green thing for phase 1, do not stand in purple fire (mortars or void zones) in phase 2, stand near chains phase 2, melee DPS do NOT kill the big add until it jumps, melee kill jumped-chains, ranged stand on chains and do NOTHING but kill spirits. Tank pull a big add if there isn’t one, tank it if there is.

      Admittedly, expecting pugs to know how to /focus panther boss for interrupts requires actual knowledge of the game, and Jin’do has both a positioning (near chains, but not on fire) *and* targeting requirement (ranged: spirits, melee: post-jump big add, chains).

      The rest? Move out of fire, kill adds? The mechanics are less forgiving than the tier 1 heroics, but few individual fights have more going on than previously. If a player can’t handle that, they have no business doing hard mode content in the first place.

      • Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        “The rest? Move out of fire, kill adds? The mechanics are less forgiving than the tier 1 heroics, but few individual fights have more going on than previously. If a player can’t handle that, they have no business doing hard mode content in the first place.”

        This right here is the main mental problem with the wow player base at the moment.

        It stems from the Casual / Hardcore joke of an argument for the past years.

        Bottom line if Blizzard would create content that was more than just Easy/Super Hard and actually have progressive difficulty options it then there would be something for everyone.

        Ulduar was the best raid instance ever produced by Blizzard with mutliple fights that had several difficulty settings. The other Binary difficulty bosses were ok because they had the multiple difficulty bosses to build off of and still progress while working up to the Yogg 0 or Freya 4.

        ToC was nice do to the lack of trash but the divide between normal/heroic modes was stupid.

        ICC followed this same path which was even worse because it was 11 bosses where the heroic bosses were locked out until LK was killed. It should have been heroic lock toggles so Saurfang and before were tied to Saurfang, PP unlocked pluage wing, the Queen blood and Sindragosa the frost. This would have allowed guild to progress at a more of thier own pace.

        We get the same stupidity in the first tier of Cata raids with Cho, Al, and Nef locking the heroic versions of bosses that could actually be easier than the normal mode.

        • Galashin
          Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure I understand your position.

          Are you claiming that players should be able to successfully complete hard mode content without the positional awareness to avoid “fire” (fire, poison, void zones, lightning storms, etc) and focus fire specific targets?

          Or are you agreeing that the requirements on players’ ability/attention for hard mode content is reasonable, but claiming that there is not sufficient opportunity to develop those skills in normal modes?

          Or perhaps I misunderstand entirely?

          I claim that there is something for everyone. Solo content includes leveling (a primary toon and/or alts), questing (zone quest lines and dailies), professions (primary and secondary), and revisiting old content (which, for many players, is something they have yet to see). Solo-run group content is the LFD system (normal runs, first tier heroics with some preparation, second tier heroics with significant preparation), TB, unrated battlegrounds, as well as pugging BH or the like. Group content for players unwilling or unable to put much effort into their toons includes partial premade BGs, normal dungeons, and, after completing a significant number of normal dungeon runs, first tier heroic dungeons. Group content for players uninterested in raiding, but willing and able to put effort into their toons, includes first and second tier heroics, and arenas and rated BGs. Normal raid content for those interested in raiding, but not willing to put in the effort for heroic raids. And heroic raids for those who can maintain a group and want a challenge.

          • Galashin
            Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            Obviously didn’t mean to bold that whole paragraph, I left the “/” out of my . Sorry!

          • Posted May 2, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            “Are you claiming that players should be able to successfully complete hard mode content without the positional awareness to avoid “fire” (fire, poison, void zones, lightning storms, etc) and focus fire specific targets?

            Or are you agreeing that the requirements on players’ ability/attention for hard mode content is reasonable, but claiming that there is not sufficient opportunity to develop those skills in normal modes?”

            My main opinion is that there are not enough options in the game. You have solo content, easy group content, and hard group content. There is not progressive group content that slowly transitions from easy to hard.

            Going back to Wrath, take Sarth 0 – 3 Drakes. You worked over time up to being able to handle 3D OS, by first going with 0D OS and building up over weeks to the more complicated fight.

            Also you could do the “Hard Mode” from day one, no asinine lock based on defeating the “end boss” of the instance. The granular locks like they initially discussed that required a certain number of kills of a particular boss was a much better middle of the road path if they still wanted to lock the “heroic” versions. I say remove the locks entirely, if people have the skill to make up for gear let them have at it.

            Come to think of it yes, ZA and ZG need to have normal mode versions that have the gear requirements of T1 heroics iLvl 329 and drop 346 gear, actually even better would be to place them in the T1 heroic rotation as a normal mode.

            My main complaint with all Raid design from ToC to present is that they have been overly fixated with the binary (2 mode) fights.

            Scale 1-10 difficulty.

            ToC -> Now
            3/9 or 5/10, or LK at time 10/11

            I would rather see about 50% of bosses be like Sarth, Freya, Yogg
            2,4,6,8,10 versions of the fight that get progressively more complicated.
            So each level would add a new mechanic until you reach the most complicated that would be equivalent to todays hard modes.

            Hell Rift can dynamically scale damage and # of mobs in a Rift event dynamically on the fly as each wave is defeated. Blizzard should at least be able to make a about 50% of the encounter have multiple levels of difficulty.

  19. Julia Given
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Well I haven’t done them yet – and seeing as my top toon has ilevel 345 won’t be doing them for a little while yet. But seeing as I belong to a small guild that doesn’t raid – I’m kind of looking forward to having something to do after our guild has mastered all the current heroics. I don’t mind if its harder or takes a bit longer than the current heroics. It does sound like the loot needs a little work though – needs to be loot that is better than what you get in the current heroics or otherwise what is the point?

  20. Imakulata
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The question is, what is that you don’t like about the Zul’fivemans? Are they too long? Are they too hard? Or both? The two things are related but are not the same, even if many people seem to think so for some reason. Of course, being hard makes it longer as people need explanation on tactics or to coordinate; but there is no reason why not to accept the fact that even long instances do not need to be hard and fairly short ones can be difficult (for example HoR).

    Regarding the difficulty, let me just say that it is still possible not to run them – there is an option to queue for the 4.0 ones only, unlike in Wrath. I like the choice, as it allows people to select which ones they want to run so the ones who want a challenge do not need to mix with those who do not – I think this should allow both groups to have more relaxed play instead of feeling forced to do something they don’t want to.

    I’m not sure what your stance on the difficulty is; you claim that people need to be overgeared for the heroics, which is wrong – I have done ZG yesterday (as a healer) for the first time with 343 eq. ilvl tank who was a first timer too and while we had our share of wipes, all of them were because of failures to follow the tactics. And the instances drop 353 gear, 10 levels higher than his average. (My gear is better, with 4 5-man hc and a single raid HC piece, average about 356-357. Some of the Zul’drops are an upgrade for me too.)

    Regarding the length, I think they could be shorter. Due to their difficulty, wipes can be expected as people are learning the encounters so the instances might take a couple of hours to finish unless you get to be the lucky person who gets into a group that is on the last boss. (It seems there always is someone who quits at the last boss, seriously…) If I have time to raid on the evening, I do raid, so this would leave me with few opportunities to do the Zul’fivemans. And I think there is very little content for people who don’t have much time but want their game to be challenging, although I guess having them long and easy would please some people too.

    • Lissanna
      Posted May 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      my problem is that they don’t fill my current need of something short but still interesting to do at times when I’m not raiding. I am mostly having to sit around in SW doing nothing because I’m bored and don’t have 3 hours to commit to a run.

      • Clawesome
        Posted May 3, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink

        If you have only 45 mins or so, why wouldn’t you just queue for the 1st tier heroics?

        • Lissanna
          Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          ’cause they aren’t interesting to me anymore since I’ve been running them since Beta. Since I have to run instances to test resto druid healing ability in Beta testing, I burn out on 1st tier 5-man content faster than average people (because I’ve been running them months longer than other people). I limited which ones I burnt myself out on early, but it still leaves me bored with them.

  21. Lightmeat
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I personally believe it is almost on par with where it should be with a few minor tweaks. This weekend was my first experience with patch 4.1 and the new dungeons and after watching a video and talking with my guildies i qued for a random. First run was ZA and i had a really good group. It still took about 2 hours to complete however. almost the same situation with ZG…went smooth until last boss when guildies had to leave due to time constraints and went through about 5 tanks before we downed the last boss. I have qued several times since then and have not completed either since. ZA goes smooth up until the eagle boss every pug i have been in cant get past him. I consider myself raid ready with an ilvl of 354 but havent really gotten the chance to raid due to my work schedule. I have come to the conclusion that with a pug group it is almost a 1/100 shot at getting just the right amount of geared/skilled players to knock it out. i really think that unless they change something they should atleast bump the required item lvl up to around ilvl 350.

  22. Holykat
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I have to disagree with your post and agree with some of the previous commenter.

    People said the same thing about the heroics when they got to them.

    These dungeons should be challenging, they should take a few hours to clear until those who aren’t in full raid gear have earned a few pieces of loot from the instance.

    The problem I’ve encountered are the people who barely meet the item level requirement or who are gaming the system to get in who don’t meet it with the gear they have equipped. Then they don’t have their crap gemmed or enchanted.

    That and the CTA idiots whom have no business tanking but are answering the call and getting face planted because they haven’t tanked before. Oh its so much better to sit in the que for 20 minutes instead of 30 only to get a tank who doesn’t know the difference between their heroic strike button and their taunt.

    ZA is perfect in my opinion. ZG I think they need to cut about half the trash out and retune Zanzil and Jin’do those are the only bosses out of all of them in both instances which I feel might be slightly over tuned. But, I am okay with that, it gives me and my friends something to work towards.

    • Galashin
      Posted May 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I seriously can’t figure out where the trash complaints are coming from. 5 pulls to snake, 4 to raptor, 4 to the panther, 3 to zanzil, and 3 to jin’do.

      Of those, 3 of raptor’s get wrecked by the frost cauldrons, plus 1 of zanzil’s and 2 of jin’do’s. Plus, that doesn’t count the archeology boss (+1 trash pull for +1 boss), the maelstrom miniboss (+0 trash), or the bag-of-items minibosses (mostly +0 trash).

      Jin’do is simply a matter of getting your ranged DPS to *actually* kill spirits. You stand on one side of the chains, then move to the other if a shadowbolt mortar is coming at you. Ranged kills spirits, melee kills the big add AFTER it jumps, and the chains otherwise. Repeat.

      The main problem I’ve seen on Zanzil is people not getting out of the fire and people getting the fire cauldron buff before they let the tank have a few seconds on the skeletons. Neither is the fault of the instance–you *should* die, if you mess those up.

      I have no trouble believing that some pugs are taking 2-3 hours to clear these instances–but that’s because of the players who insist on joining groups before they learn to CC, interrupt, move out of fire, and get their role done, on top of continuing to underestimate the instances. They can absolutely be completed, without raid gear, with 2 pugs, in a reasonable amount of time. If there’s such an issue with more than 2 pugs, it just seems obvious what the problem is.

  23. Rauxis
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    completely off topic – but what LOTRO server are you playing on?

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

    • Lissanna
      Posted May 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      I’m on Meneldor. My main is Annobur.

  24. Shatamall
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to have to disagree on this one as well. I went into a ZG last night as a kitty and made it to Zanzil before our healer had to drop group. I offered to heal the rest of the instance in my resto spec – told the tank I was marginally geared for it – they said let’s give it a shot and did Zanzil and Jin’do with me healing in an ~346 resto kit. It’s all 333/346/353 gear, plus a few rep epics (I’m in feral gear on the armory). It was rough in a few spots (and you have to play smart), but ZA and ZG are doable in level equivalent gear (ZG moreso than ZA, imo – mainly due to less mandatory trash).

  25. Ly
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I love ZA and ZG.

    I find them hard but I am challenged. Yes it is taking us a bit to get through. My first time in ZA we one-shotted the eagle boss, but my second time through with a bit different make up of guildies (all raiders) we wiped 4 times before getting him down. The tank and heals (me) were the same, but there were 3 new dps. My tank was a non-raiding alt, had a few purples.

    So everyone has to be on their game, and what Hamlet said about playing the game well, couldn’t be more true. (and I’m not nearly as good as he is!!! But I’m striving and that is what makes the game)

  26. Suss
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the new dungeons on an alt (I don’t think I’ve even done them on my main), but their design surprised me in a couple of ways. First, Blizzard clearly doesn’t mind long dungeons that people cannot reasonably expect to pug successfully within 45 minutes. Second, and related to first, I’m surprised they’re tuned as tightly as they are. Like everything in Cataclysm, these places take longer. That’s ok, it just means I play fewer toons. Most of all, however, I’m surprised that many average players keep wading into failure without cancelling subs.

  27. Naro
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree to some extent. These take way too long even when people know what they’re doing and are a nightmare to PUG.

    However, I think it’s only fair to look at these as more like 5 man raids than 5 man dungeons. You can get a lot of nice gear. I got 353 bracers for both of my specs (Amani’shi Bracers and Armbands of the Bear Spirit) in one ZA run. That alone is worth it to me since leather bracers were horribly limited and I had been trying to get Armbands of Change for months. Also, the amount of Valor points rewarded is going to make it a lot easier for people who don’t raid or don’t raid much to collect tier sets (or even pvp sets now).

  28. two
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I like the fact that blizz is trying to inlcude more difficult content in the game but they need to realise as 5 mans of this difficulty zg and za may have needed to be split into seperate smaller dungeons especially in the dungeon finder, similar to the was some of the old vanilla 5 mans have been like Maraudon so a guild could get a group together and start from boss #1 and go all the way to the end if they chose to but random pugs would be able to achieve success in the new dungeons over multiple, shorter runs which would be good for those people who don’t have the time to commit to raids etc.

    • Clawesome
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      These 5 mans give you double the valor points.

      Think of them as two easier 5 mans in one.

      They’re fine the way they are – any easier and there would be no challenging 5 man content in the game. Right now there is something for everyone.

  29. uncaringbear
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, thank you Lissanna, for your wonderful site. I’ve followed it for ages, and it’s always been a source of useful and insightful information for my druids.

    In regards to the ZA and ZG difficulty levels, I can’t comment, since I haven’t been in those instances. In fact, there are many heroics I haven’t set foot in yet, as I’ve made the decision to stop running dungeons. I simply cannot allocate a block of 3+ hours a day to run a heroic (and usually fail at completing it), and I don’t have the luxury of guildies or a reliable group of friends to run them with. This is an issue for me, not Blizzard. However, it makes me wonder what the long term cost is to Blizzard in having declining participation in dungeons? Whether this is happening or not, only they know.

    As a long time raider, I am fully willing to commit the time and patience banging my head against a wall repeatedly in raids. Having to do this as well in heroics isn’t an option for me. For those folks who have the time and support from friends and guildies to breeze through heroics, then more power to you.

  30. Iirdan
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    You probably don’t remember me, but I played with you for a bit back in the Cataclysm beta.

    I remember particularly a time when we were in the same heroic – Halls of Origination. We went through three tanks and spent a total of three hours in the dungeon. It was still a great time, but we struggled to get through it.

    Now, HoO is cleared pretty quickly, even if you do all seven bosses (and I always try to). It’s simply a matter of players learning the nuance of the dungeons and their bosses and adjusting to new methods of doing things. Many people refuse to do that, however, and as a result we have impatient pugs that exacerbate the problems.

    They will grow to be loved in time.

    (If that wasn’t you on the beta, it’s an odd coincidence. Character was named Lissanna and was a boomkin.)

  31. Chezza
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Remember back in the days of Vanilla when Gnomeregan could take hours?
    I remember my first trip into Gnomer taking a good bit of the night :)
    Maybe it’s one of the ways in which Cataclysm is returning to some of the characteristics of Vanilla WoW.

  32. Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Here is a question for everyone that thinks the difficulty is just fine.

    Does everything in the game need to be a multi hour grind for next to no rewards?

    • Clawesome
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 1:56 am | Permalink

      No everything doesn’t need to be.

      But some of us like a challenge. If you want a quick heroic, perhaps you’d prefer running the T1 5-mans instead? They’re pretty quick to run through and easy now that most people are geared.

      I love raiding but don’t have the time for it these days. The T2 hit that perfect spot between faceroll 5-mans and raid content for me.

      For people like me, they’re perfect.

      • Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Except I don’t need anything from the 346 level dungeons, I only have a few slots that are 436 ilvl with the rest being 359. I have found them to not be worth the time investment. If I am going to deal with grueling content I will raid. I do not want 5-mans to be raid leveling annoyances.

        It is really that Blizzard has forgotten how to build good content with a range of difficulty options. It seems like they had a lobotomy after Ulduar.

    • saregos
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      They’re *not* multi-hour grinds, though. It’s entirely possible to clear the entirety of ZA in less than an hour, and I’ve had a few PUGs that manage at least 2/4 on the tribute run… plus a group that was one bad pull away from full completion on that. ZG is maybe an hour and a half, even padding for wipes.

      Honestly, if these are regularly multi-hour runs, you need to look honestly at whether or not you, personally, are slowing them down. Bad PUGs are bad… everyone sees those. But I’m finding that it takes a truly deficient group to take more than 2 hours at these runs.

      • Posted May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        So what you are saying is that I should just quit WoW for a few months until content can be out geared a bit and is actually fun? Ya that is a good solution to tell the playerbase.

        If content had more than easy/hard we would not be in a situation where a % of the player base is happy that they are sitting as kings, another % pissed that they want to be kings but can’t get the exact right group together, another % pissed that due to scheduling don’t have the ability to get into either of the 2 other groups.

        If content was more modular and had greater ways to iteratively or granularly improve we would not have so many pissed off people.

        • Galashin
          Posted May 4, 2011 at 2:58 am | Permalink

          If people didn’t have the same sense of “I’m 85, therefore entitled to steamroll all things 5man,” we wouldn’t have so many pissed off people, either.

          The content simply isn’t the problem. The problem is that people who are unable or unwilling to put any reasonable effort into their toons still try to use LFD to force others to put in the effort FOR them. It simply doesn’t take much. A single person typing 1 line about each fight is plenty of explanation. This thread has already proven that sub-350 tank and healer pairs are enough. The only problem is that people are unable or unwilling to follow basic, BASIC instructions: “get out of [color] ‘fire,’ kill adds.”

          I ran ZA and ZG again today, tanking both on Galashan–who’s gotten some additional upgrades since last time. My gear is still nearly entirely BoE, but now with 5 ZA/ZG pieces (one BoE: 400g, a second only barely an upgrade–I had a second crafted ring, and the staff was from the end of the second run tonight). In particular, I have done no raiding except the BH pinata–from which I did not get loot. My only exalted rep is hellscream. My only PvP item is honor bracers. Doing the Deepholm quest chain plus a single day’s worth of dailies gave me revered Therazane, plenty for the lower shoulder enchant.

          The runs took a bit over an hour each; the ZG was around an hour and a half, mostly because of the final boss. The ZA took about 10 minutes to get started, convincing the rogue and warrior left over from the original failed group to port back in. If you take a look at Galashan’s recent activity (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/laughing-skull/galashan/feed), you can see:
          Obtained Mirror of Broken Images. 5 hours ago
          3 Daakara kills (Heroic Zul’Aman). 3 hours ago
          3 Jin’do kills (Heroic Zul’Gurub) 2 hours ago
          So even if you don’t want to believe me regarding how long each run took, the longest they could possibly have taken, combined, was 3 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. The shortest, 2 hours, 0 minutes, and 1 second.

          ZA run was with just one guildie, and we zoned into a run that had given up on eagle, only two of the original 5 were left. We had 3 melee: ret pally (my guildmate), warrior, rogue. Disc healer with 79k mana, so clearly not particularly geared.
          Eagle: “Kill birds, kill the white bird, dispel, group up under storms.” 1shot.
          Skipped the pat of two big mobs. No CC until the pull before bear, I simply marked a skull on one mob at a time (keybound to number pad 5). Rogue got seen trying to sap on the pull before bear, we wiped. Came back in, CC’d two (sap and repentance).
          Bear: “He charges the person farthest, leaving a debuff that kills them if they’re charged again. [Healer] will take the first, Rynol move out for the second, one of the other DPS volunteer to move out for the third. Then the phase changes and it resets.” Warrior volunteered. During the fight, after each charge, I typed “[next person] out.” 1shot.
          I marked Scouts with a skull (bound to number pad 5) and Flame Casters with an X (bound to number pad 6). “Scouts have to die immediately, then kill flame casters. Don’t let them cast.” No CC until the last pull before dragonhawk, then called for the flame casters to be CC’d. Sap, repentance, done.
          Dragonhawk: “Avoid all three types of fire. Adds will come, kill the one I mark skull and ignore the other. As dragonhawks spawn, kill them.” 1shot. (We let one full side hatch, then DPS’d him to pop the other side all at once.)
          Two people ran into the pat I told them to avoid, they died and we rezzed them. I hibernated a cat and we repentanced a humanoid on the pull before lynx. With the humanoid left to kill, someone pulled a side group–I picked them up and we killed them, too.
          Lynx: “Kill lightning totems. Do NOT kill healing totems; [healer] can stand in them for infinite mana. Ignore the cat, just DPS him. The cat can’t be tanked.” 1shot.
          CC’d two on the first hex lord trash pull, killed the big trolls.
          Priest healer left, shaman healer joined.
          Hex Lord: “Kill the spirit, repentance then kill the blood elf. Then the boss. Get out of any AoE he drops.” 1shot.
          Final boss: “Bear has the same charge mechanic, be ready to move out. Eagle avoid tornadoes. Dragonhawk avoid two types of fire. Lynx I have to taunt quickly.” We got lynx and dragonhawk. 1shot, although admittedly only my guildie and I were alive at the end (the rest stood in fire).

          ZG run was with two guildies, both ret pallies. One of them had not yet run the instance. We got a ~9k DPS hunter and started with a pally healer.
          Second cauldron pull: “If you’re linked, run away.”
          Snake: “Avoid poison, other poison, and other poison.” Bubblebeef: “And the fourth poison.” “Right, and that poison.” 2shot. First was a wipe because apparently, if your camera is angled straight down, the maze poison isn’t visible–I stood on a line without realizing. Second was no problem.
          Holy pally drops without having ever said anything. Priest healer joins. Used the frost cauldron for Raptor trash, which is there specifically to make it all trivial.
          Raptor: “Don’t stand in orange “fire,” kill the raptor.” 1shot.
          For future reference, the frost cauldron does not work on the humanoid in the snake-transformation pull. Epic BoE strength/dodge/parry cloak dropped, the priest needed (“my druid alt needs”), we informed him that not only does his druid alt not need that, but BoEs binding if you need them. Kicked him for ninjaing. Another priest healer.
          Arch boss, 2shot. First wipe was the healer not killing the 3.1k health mobs that had the other four of us stunned, despite us all typing in /p that he needed to. I suspect English was not his first language, from the few comments he made during the run.
          CC’d the two blood drinkers on that panther trash pull.
          Panther: “If there are panthers up, kill them. If there are not panthers up, I’ll be pulling more to kill. Kill her when they’re all dead.” I had her on focus to interrupt the AoE. 1shot.
          Snake AoE pull, witchdoctor+AoE pull (witchdoctors get frozen from their own cauldron), 2 big mobs pull (frozen).
          Zanzil: “Get the green cauldron for the poison gas.” 1shot.
          Frost cauldron again to make the pull at the bottom of Jin’do’s temple AND the first big troll trivial.
          Jin’do: “Stand in the green thing. Then stand on chains–if there’s “fire,” move to the other side. [Hunter] do NOTHING but kill spirits. They kill us. This is not a DPS race.” 4shot. First and third was the hunter DPSing chains instead of spirits. Second was me pulling another add so soon that the melee weren’t on new chains, AND the hunter not DPSing spirits. Fourth was the first time the hunter had more damage on spirits than on chains…and surprise, surprise, the we finished the fight easily.

          The fights simply are not that difficult. The instances do not have significantly more trash than other heroics–and compared to several, they have less. The vast majority of the more difficult trash pulls can either be skipped or made trivial by cauldron buffs (bottom of jin’do’s temple) or a little CC (before bear, dragonhawk, lynx, and panther). The problem is that so many in the LFD community are unwilling or unable to follow basic instructions (“get out of fire,” “kill skull,” “interrupt as possible”), use or wait for CC on just a handful of pulls, avoid unnecessary pats and pulls, gear/forge/enchant reasonably, do more damage than the tank (if DPS), dispel (if a healer), pick up multiple mobs (if a tank), etc.

          The overarching solution is to get through to the community that heroics are hard mode content, NOT the birthright of players unable or unwilling to put effort into them. The more immediate solution is to remove the ridiculous restrictions on vote kicking, just setting a short initial cooldown (say DC’d for 3 minutes, out of the instance for 5 minutes, and 10 minutes otherwise) and requiring a majority. If players unable to pull their weight get kicked every run, they’ll eventually learn that maybe queuing for the new heroics is a bad idea, until they run some normal dungeons or tier 1 heroics. The LFD community will improve.

        • Galashin
          Posted May 4, 2011 at 3:10 am | Permalink

          In case it wasn’t clear, in particular, in response to:
          “If content was more modular and had greater ways to iteratively or granularly improve…”

          There are. Normal instances, then first tier heroic instances, then second tier heroic instances. The problem is that the same people failing (and causing others to fail) in second tier heroic instances are the ones who relied on others to make up for their mistakes in first tier heroic instances. Not to mention that you can run second tier heroics the day you hit 85, if you purchase a few useless items from rep vendors at revered, plus AH a couple BoE epics.

          Just because people aren’t choosing to run the content designed for the level of skill and attention with which they choose to play does not mean such content doesn’t exist. When people repeatedly die because they’re standing in brightly colored “fire,” especially when they were warned about it, that isn’t Blizzard’s fault.

  33. Ander
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    I see two problems:

    – the istances are way too long
    – the istances are too hard for a PUG of 346-geared PCs (those who need the drops most)

    The first is a design problem which will not go away, six bosses take way too much time (make some more optional, like HoO?)
    The second is a mistake which will be somewhat alleviated by nerfing, but again is a design issue… The istance should be tailored to blue geared PCs, not to raiders.

    Example of istance done well: HoR
    If done properly it lasted 30 mins more or less, but it was challenging and fun.

    Generally speaking, I believe that 3-4 bosses, with a FEW trash packs is the way too go. More than that is just painful when you are in poor gear, and boring when you are in great gear (no CC, full AoE, gogogo).

    • Galashin
      Posted May 4, 2011 at 3:34 am | Permalink

      The instance was designed for two sets of players:
      1) Ones in full tier 1 heroic gear, plus rep epics and maybe a VP piece or two, and
      2) Ones in, say, half raid gear, who have a few slots to still fill in.
      It was *not* designed for players who still can’t pull their weight in tier 1 heroics, nor for ones who can’t follow instructions such as “get out of fire” or “kill adds.” The primary issue with the tier two heroics, currently, is that players who should still be running normal dungeons or tier 1 heroics insist on queuing for the tier 2 heroics via LFD.

      3-4 bosses versus 5-6 is a preference, and you’re certainly entitled to yours. For myself, I prefer to have a wider variety of fights, as well as loot tables (without reducing the chance any given item drops to statistical insignificance).

      Regarding trash, however:
      ZA: 5/5/4/6/2/0
      ZG: 5/4/4/3/3
      I list the trash pull numbers for tier one cata heroics, as well as for the ICC heroics, in the following comments:
      http://www.restokin.com/2011/04/did-za-and-zg-miss-the-mark/comment-page-1/#comment-9475
      http://www.restokin.com/2011/04/did-za-and-zg-miss-the-mark/comment-page-1/#comment-9503

      In particular, HoR was 4/4/4 (possibly 4/4/5, I can’t quite remember). Both ZG and ZA average *fewer* than 4 trash pulls per boss–and that’s without even counting the arch boss (+1 boss, +1 trash pull) or the minibosses (like the maelstrom crystal one, which adds no trash at all).

  34. lancore
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    “because the 5-man content should be end-game content targeted at people who can’t raid.”
    And that’s exactly what those new instances are: challenging end-game content for non-raider, instead of a grindfest to get as many epics as soon as possible.

    I happily tank it with my ilvl 346 tank (now 350 thx to ZA/ZG) without many problems. Even similary geared healers can keep me alive, IF you use your brain. Your tank and your healer both have cooldowns, use them. The trash is fully CC-able and are buffing themself up. So, CC and dispel/interrupt them and you won’t have any problems at all.

    You don’t have much room to slack with entry gear levels and have to use your skills. I very much welcomed the challenge, compered to those boring grinds that the other heroics have become.

  35. Wynn
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I’ve had really bad luck in pugs
    People not CCing
    People not interrupting
    Tanks never been to ZA/ZG(TBC)

    First night
    I was kick for not keeping a Ret pally top off on trash
    I was kick for drinking(it was the run with no cc)

    Guidl runs are fine but long and not willing to take the new guild tanks that want to jump right in with not really knowing tanking .We did a ZG tonight with 3 wipes and did really well but its a long 5 mans and I can’t see a full group of players that never did the old version of the new zones with out getting wreck and giving up. A lot of us here take for granted that we have done the zones when they first came out.

    . The other problem I have is some of the bosses are harder then raid bosses which doesn’t seem to be right with this being a stepping stone for raid gear.

    Last thing anyone else sick of telling Warriors that they have rally cry and DKs that they can battle rez now? :P

    • Galashin
      Posted May 4, 2011 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      The bosses are in no way harder than (many) raid bosses. They do not require greater HPS than raid bosses, and are tanked without trouble by characters without raid gear. I described them all with a line or two each in http://www.restokin.com/2011/04/did-za-and-zg-miss-the-mark/comment-page-1/#comment-9576. Jin’do is the only one that requires much explanation, the majority of the others are “get out of [color] ‘fire’ and kill adds.”

  36. saregos
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    My mileage with these 5-mans definitely vary. I have yet to have a PUG (and we’re talking full PUGs, I don’t run with guildies) fail to down all of the bosses… granted that there has been some variance of typically 1-2 players that drop or get kicked in the course of a run, and some have been painfully close.

    I walked in as a ilvl 348 DPS – I’ve since moved up to 352 simply with the gear I obtained through these instances. Typically speaking, I’m top of the meter or close to it, and I just returned from a 2-month hiatus. The average DPS seems to be around 12k and that seems sufficient for downing everything.

    I would share your concerns about the time, but I had a PUG last night where only 2 of the members were guilded… and one of those 2 was in PvP gear. We missed the Tribute run (i.e. pulling Lynx boss after downing all 3 of the others) in ZA by one bad pull. While I wasn’t paying attention to gear much, I doubt anyone was completely 359’d out.

    Typical investment for me on these is about an hour. Last night, took 40 minutes at most. And I’m only expecting that to improve.

  37. Aybarra
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Last night I spent 2 hours on the last boss of Zul’aman. Normally, I would consider ZA to be the easy dungeon, though long on trash. We unfortunately got stuck with the Lynx/Dragonhawk combo. No matter what we did, the tank would die just before the dragonhawk and then DPS only lived so long blasting that easy boss before aggro killed us off one at a time. We had even switched tanks at one point within the group. FINALLY, we downed him. It took a combined total of 56,000dps (each dps’er doing 16k+) to beat the fight. I spiked for over 24k on cooldowns during lynx phase. I had come in on the second to last boss thinking “Wow, there’s only 2 bosses left and no trash!”

    That is all I have to say.

    • Galashin
      Posted May 4, 2011 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      That boss does not require 16k+ dps. This is a case of the tank being bad. You taunt and pop a cooldown when lynx focuses someone; repeat. All 4 tanks have several cooldowns to use. My mostly-BoEs-and-some-ZA/ZG gear bear alt Galashan did just fine.

  38. Wynn
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    In a pug 3 melee dps aka nightmare on eagle boss, he did 19mill group damage and I had 24 dispells, Hes the only boss that I think is over tune for heroics

    • Galashin
      Posted May 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      No, it didn’t. 19 million damage over a 6 minute fight would add up to over 52000 incoming DPS–meaning about that HPS required. That’s CLEARLY just flat wrong.

      If, on the other hand, you meant 1.9 million damage, then over a 4 minute fight, that’s under 8k HPS. 10.5k for a 3 minute fight. Neither is unreasonable, given that:
      1) 3 melee means more chained damage from the lightning, and
      2) 3 melee means fewer birds dying, drastically increasing the damage taken.

  39. Wynn
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I read it wrong lets say its 1.9 milllion damage(I am dyslexic) +24 dispells that is still a ton of damage for a boss that is meant to get you ready for raids

    grrr wish I took a pic of the meter

    I’m over gear and can heal it but couldn’t see a healer in blues do it

    • Galashin
      Posted May 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Again, 19 million damage, even over a 6 minute fight (which is longer than Eagle takes), is 56,000 HPS. That would have been flat out impossible.

      1.9 million, as I mentioned, comes out to under 8k HPS for a 4 minute fight, or 10.5k for 3 minutes. Given that it seems your group completely ignored the fight’s mechanics (potentially solely due to composition, potentially a mix of composition and gameplay), that’s not unreasonable.

      Simple solution: LFD should ensure there’s at least one ranged DPS in each group. That would have reduced the number of targets getting hit with the lightning, as well as provided an individual who could more easily kill the birds. Both would have resulted in drastically lower damage. In fact, simply having a second player standing at range would reduce the static disruption total damage by an average of 35%, on top of reducing the dispelling required by the same (down to 16 dispels, just from having one ranged DPS). It also would increase the likelihood that the debuff could expire on its own, rather than even needing to be dispelled.

      I would also be interested in seeing how much damage, if any, your party took from the electrical storm–as avoidable damage, it should likewise not be considered in declaring total output too high.

      Your case seems to be that a healer in blues, given the worst possible composition (and the only undesirable combination) for the encounter, couldn’t heal it. I’m not convinced, but I’ll cede the point, sure. It just seems much more logical, given that particular exception, to update LFD to not stack 3 melee DPS than it does to declare the fight poorly tuned.

    • Galashin
      Posted May 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Moreover,
      http://www.worldoflogs.com/zones/Bastion_of_Twilight/Halfus_Wyrmbreaker/
      http://www.worldoflogs.com/zones/Blackwing_Descent/Magmaw/

      10man Halfus kills: median 29830 HPS, average 30023 HPS
      10man Magmaw kills: median 26211 HPS, average 26607 HPS

      If we assume Halfus is evenly split between 2 and 3 healers, and Magmaw is usually run with 2 healers, that’s a total average of 12656 HPS per healer (average of the medians gives 12.5k). Having a heroic designed as a step between first tier heroics and raiding require 8-10k seems pretty reasonable, if the first 10man raid encounters ask for 12.5k.

  40. Wynn
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure your right it was 1.9mill damage the boss is able to do 5 times the damage of other bosses in ZA.

    The Devs have a fix for static disruption and are also looking in to the boss, the blizz boards are down right now but its a 14 page thread call Akil’zon

    Being someone that did old ZA and having raid gear I can brute force it, but a new healer in blues with 3 melee can’t see them doing it

  41. Mekathir
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    This is more in response to the earlier posts regarding the gear level of toons entering ZA/ZG.

    I went in to ZG first time with 2 trinkets at ilvl 308/333 respectively, 1 epic belt (BS crafted) and then 346s for everything else and it took a very long time to clear it, but it also included the learning of the boss fights and what the trash do. Half of the battle in ZA/ZG is not how much trash or how many bosses – it’s what they actually do and what your DPS need to be aware of in order to succeed.

    Main observation is that it’s straight forward to tank for the most part (with exception to the Panther boss in ZG, as well as the last boss of ZA when he goes all Lynx on you). But it’s definitely suited to the 346 level.

    Learning exactly what is required of you, when to use cooldowns, what cauldrons to use per se, what mobs require CC and which need to be burned. With an equal-minded healer by your side, and level headed DPS who know to stay out of bad stuff, these instances are easily successful.

    I’ve also enjoyed the company of those whom laughed at my gear and told me i’m squishy and a moron and a terrible tank, and then we’ve done a full clear within 1.25 hours. They also were trying to push me in to pulling unecessarily fast, and also had a few DPS pull trash before the healer or I was ready just because they wanted to speed things up. A few posters above have mentioned, a clean and fast run is done by working together, CCings things properly, avoiding the right trash, burning the right things at the right time. It’s not about pulling the entire instance (which a lot of us can now do in other heroics). This is stressful for a tank and I even got kicked out of my own run because the mage kept pulling all 4 of the panther groups because he wanted me to tank them all at once (yet the healer couldn’t keep me up on one pack to begin with).

    Glad to get that off my chest! Point is, people need to not be stupid in these heroics!

  42. Morgan
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Well, they were kind of long at start. But that’s only because people were new. And it didn’t matter that it took a long time, because it was new content. Fun content.

    About a week ago I got a pretty nice PuG, 3 DPS with ~15K each, and a nice healer. All was ZA/ZG + Rep geared. We ran through ZG first, in 29 minutes, and ZA must’ve been like 35 (got the timed run and then went on, forgot to look at the time after that though). Now, that’s might be a one time thing, but most PuG’s I get nowadays at least manage to make them in 40 – 60 minutes (usually because of a wipe on people not understanding bear surges or Jin’do tactics).

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