Last night, hold onto your bacon folks, last night Beartrap ran… a heroic instance!
Crazy, cats, simply craaaazy.
My first heroic instance since the expansion shipped!
Well, the first one I did where the group finished the run, and my first attempt to join one in over four months, so it still qualifies. I think.
What made me do something that out of character?
Why, having friends to play with, of course!
Beartrap the mighty hunter ventured forth, set to wage war in partnership with Hedwig and Matheo, because… well, because they felt like doing a heroic and asked me along.
What, you expected something more? Sorry, they wanted to play and I think I’m finally heroic ready, so I went with ‘em.
Picture this, if you will. Beartrap the Beastmaster Hunter enters the random queue for a heroic with Matheo the Bear Tank and Hedwig the Healing Priest.
*I* get to follow along and watch a Bear Tank lead through a heroic. A heroic where two other players, NOT the tank or healer, are pugged in.
This has all the possibilities needed for postworthy drama, don’t it?
Where we ended up was Vortex Pinnacle.
I’d like to say that if other instances are anything like Vortex Pinnacle, I am going to have myself a mighty fun time in WoW from now on.
Vortex Pinnacle, under the talented paws of Matheo and with good healing from Hedwig, called to mind all the best memories I have of running heroic instances from both Burning Crusade AND Wrath of the Lich King.
Bold words, I know, but lemme explain.
When I think of Burning Crusade heroic instances at level, what memories do I call forth?
One thing that I loved was that the intelligent use of crowd control was not just an option, but an understood necessity. Not just that CC was needed, but that the group walked in KNOWING that it would be needed, and worked together accordingly.
I liked that because I felt more involved as part of the team when I went as DPS, that I had to be prepared to bring the Ice Trap skillz.
Likewise on having things that needed to be removed, such as curses. Having Static Cling on the final boss fight in Vortex Pinnacle, and needing it to be cleansed off so I could move again made me VERY aware of how much we needed Hedwig in the fight, and not just as a healbot.
I liked that feeling in Vortex Pinnacle. We had mobs marked for traps, I was given the go ahead to trap ‘em, and boy howdy did I! We also had a tank that used Skulls and Xes and Squares to mark mobs, and I always love seeing that in a run.
Another thing I liked was the architecture provided plenty of opportunity for line of sight pulls, and they were taken advantage of. That was great fun as well.
There was tension, there were mobs off the aggro table running around as a free for all, there were interesting boss fights, it had it all.
But what it also had was the shortness of Wrath of the Lich King heroic instances.
Even with the CC and mechanics, and the hopping from tornado to tornado, it only took a half hour to complete the instance.
I loved how short Wrath of the Lich King instances were, but I felt that they achieved that by being straight line runs from group to group with little in the way of tactical variety. Charge in, AoE, burn fast, next group, rinse and repeat. The uber-heroics in ICC were an improvement, but groups had been trained out of how to play by that point. Why look, the unfun!
What we had last night had the complexity and teamwork requirements of Burning Crusade, the interesting variety and lessons learned from both expansions, and the quickness of Wrath of the Lich King.
There was just one more element that was needed for me to feel rejuvenated and eager to begin playing group content again, and I got it;
An entertaining conversation with friends over Ventrilo.
Nothing is more fun to me than chatting with friends about the fights AS you are doing them.
Where else do you get the opportunity for such awesomeness as saying, “Wow Mat, you almost bit it on that pull”, and having Hedwig reply, “Oh, I wasn’t really paying attention on healing him.”
When you’re having such a good time chatting that you forget how to play, you know you’re doing it right.
I know that the heroic instances have a reputation for being incredibly long, so I’m not assuming that a sample size of one represents anything.
Vortex Pinnacle may have been great, but heroic Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep or Zul’Aman may be three hour slugfests for all I know.
But that’s all right. What I know is, I had a lot of fun in a group last night, and I didn’t expect to see that happen again. Even if the other heroics suck in comparison, if the fun in group is there, if the great conversation with friends is there… why, we’ll have fun despite it all.
Oh yeah, and tank aggro with the changes to Swipe? Much, much smoother response time on grabbing large groups. Matheo reported enjoying life a lot more than before as a tank.
Geez, if I keep having friends to play with, the next thing you know I’m going to transfer my Druid over and start tanking for groups again!
Of course, if I did that, then I’d have to start developing gear lists, and I’d have to work out the math on stat priorities…. on second thought, maybe I’d be better off taking a hammer to my hard drive now and just going fishing.