Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Madness of Deathwing

Overall I give this fight a 4/10. Not stellar. Not amazing. Sub-mediocre. And certainly not befitting the end boss of a whole expansion.

I know, I know, people are pretty sick of fighting yet another gigantic dragon. We've already had several of them this expansion, what with Atramedes, Nefarian, Theralion & Valiona, etc etc. There are only so many things you can do to make a fight fresh and new and exciting when the end boss is a dragon (ie the standard tail whip, cleave & breath).

Which is why I think they went with a whole new direction. The Madness of Deathwing is not a dragon boss fight, even though he's technically a dragon. But by this point you've pried off his armor plating and he's starting to unravel and come undone from his own physical form.

So what are you left with when you have a dragon whose own crazy evil corrupted insides are spilling out from him like lava? Apparently it disintegrates into a series of wildly flailing limbs and tentacles.

The entire fight consists of jumping around several platforms as you take down his mutated tentacles one by one. Not once do you even get a glimpse of Deathwing or anything that might resemble deathwing during this entire phase. When all of his tentacles are done, you are basically DPSing a giant wall that is supposed to be deathwing's head or something (this is pure speculation since you are, quite literally, DPSing a giant lava-covered wall).

The whole punch-the-dragon-wall thing, I guess, is to put into perspective just how gigantic this mofo of a dragon is. But didn't we already establish that he's freaking huge in the previous fight, spine of deathwing? You know, where the entire raid is riding around on his back?

While it may get the point across that deathwing is really, really, REALLY big, it's also not that fun to sit there stabbing a wall for 5 minutes. At least give it some identifying features or a claw or something. Towards the end I kind of felt sorry for the poor sucker, sitting there helplessly like a big rock while all these insane bloodlusted orcs and trolls wailed on his defenseless hide.

The fact that you never actually see deathwing in any recognizable form also detracts a lot from the fact that this is end-game boss. Compare with Lich King, for example. I mean, there's no doubt that what you're fighting is none other than the Lich King. He might not have been a gigantor (although he was much bigger than a tauren...), it was exciting to finally tackle the one and only Lich King.

Whereas with Deathwing...hey here's that guy that wrecked the world. Let's kill a series of tentacles! Do you see where I'm going here???

As for the execution of the fight, phase 1 was somewhat interesting, involving a lot of add control and movement and raid cooldowns. I still would've liked to see more variation in the 4 different platforms - our guild used the same strategy on all of them except the last. It would be a lot more challenging and fun to deal with different types of adds and different mechanics per platform, as opposed to a carbon copy except what kind of buff you get. The buffs don't change the strategy much at all.

Phase 2 was extremely disappointing. Shrapnel debuff is incredibly stupid and way too dependent on RNG (for example if a healer or tank gets 2 in a row that's a wipe). I would personally like to never see that stupid emerald dream button ever again (Ultraxion's button was more than enough for one raid).

Also, 2 phases in a end boss fight? Really? I don't know about the others but LK had like, what, 5 phases? 6 if you count getting trapped in the sword? Defile was an interesting and fun mechanic that really had you on your toes. The Valkyrs really highlighted a rogue's burst DPS and stuns. The vile spirits required ranged to be on top of their game.

With Deathwing, you have adds but all they do is whack you randomly for stupid amounts of damage. Tanks need to eat CDs and DPS just has to pray that they don't get hit twice in a row. No snares, no traps, no rescuing, just kill adds then stab boss. Kill adds then stab boss. The elementium bolt was somewhat interesting but again, nothing so engaging and dynamic as the Valkyrs or the Frostmourne mechanic in LK.

Perhaps I'm being a little harsh. The only other comparison I have is LK, and maybe it's just that LK was my very first end-game kill and I have fond memories of ICC. However that affects my assessment of the Deathwing fight, I can't help but feel that it had boring, uninteresting busywork-type mechanics and could have used a lot more creativity and thought.

Oh well, he's dead now. Maybe heroic mode will be more interesting, although I doubt we'll be getting to that anytime soon. Perhaps MoP will bring the return of interesting, innovative boss mechanics (and perhaps some new graphics too! I'm tired of reskinned bosses).

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