‘Tis the day before Pandaland, and excitement is brewing and bubbling away.
Poor timing for this post? Perhaps. But in the rush of enthusiasm, as many are carried along, there will be at least one voice saying, “But momma, he’s not wearing any clothes.”
This is, yes,a bout the Fall of Theramore, but it could as easily be called “What I did last weekend.”
But this isn’t about the story qualities of the Fall of Theramore. I’ve got a completely different axe to grind. Or not.
I think Rades said everything that should be said about it, in the best possible way. At least, everything I hope can be said about it. I find myself nodding along and wishing that it was all intentional to build up the Raid of Orgrimmar, and not just, you know, fail character development of Garrosh.
When The Fall of Theramore scenario was first released, Alex, Cassie and I all hopped on our characters and ran it once. We had a good time learning about it, exploring, burning the ships, etc.
Alex, as could be expected, was a big fan of setting the ships in the harbor on fire, usually while Cassie and I were still fighting on the decks.
We ran the Fall scenario just once that first night, because when we went to re-queue, the option for Fall was greyed out.
The second night, we went in again, and did it a few times. It turned out that you could re-queue, as long as you dropped group and then regrouped. Fortunately, that bug has since been fixed, but at the time it looked like a given character could do it but once a day.
I think we only ran it twice that second night, and I went on my Death Knight, hoping to get a weapon upgrade.
Instead of gear, I got the Everlasting Alliance Fireworks in my loot bag. Alex saw me get that, and was excited at the possibility of getting it as well. I mean, fireworks, right?
I wasn’t sure how loot was designed for the scenario, because after three or four runs, none of us had seen any loot whatsoever, and I had thought there was supposed to be a pretty long loot table for it, so, is it even working? but clearly, there is loot, and it was in the spoils of Theramore box, so… okay?
We ran it again a few times over the week, and no, none of us ever got any epics or Everlasting Fireworks on anyone else.
The drop rate seemed pretty low for anything, and it’s now school time. I decided to just put it aside until we were level 90, and could do the scenario at our leisure to get the fireworks.
Time moves very fast. It was Saturday night when I saw that a Blue had commented that the loot you can get from the scenario of Theramore now will NOT be available in the level 90 Mists of Pandaria version. If you wanted any of the items, you’d better go get them now.
Well… shit. Really?
It was late, maybe 10:00 pm, but I decided to log into Alex’s account and queue up his Death Knight to try and get those fireworks for him. It was no big thing, but I like surprising him with things like that, and he loves the cute flavor items more than actual gear upgrades, you know?
I left Stormwind to fly up to Western Plaguelands to farm iron ore, and join what I expected to be the long queue time for Fall of Theramore, just to get him an everlasting firework.
My first surprise was that the queue time was instant. I’d heard there were huge wait times earlier in the week, but not on Saturday night. I had three runs in before my flight even landed in Western Plaguelands.
How long could it really take to get one simple firework? I could reason that the epics might have a lower drop rate, but a cute little flavor item with a short availability? Shouldn’t be a big problem.
After my third run, I mentioned in Guild Chat that it was going to be a long night of runs to get that firework if the drop rate was as low as it seemed. I mean, sure I didn’t get any loot, but neither did anyone else in any of the runs.
Call me suspicious, but three runs now, plus the runs from earlier in the week, and NOBODY got an epic yet? That suggests a fairly low drop rate. Not exactly raining epics.
One of my guildies, Baddmojo, offered to run it with me three or four times to speed the runs up a little.
Saying his presence would speed the runs up is not a boast. Well, it is, but it’s also damn true. He’s a member of the progression heroic raid team in the guild, and his Rogue is a pure badass. He mentioned in guild chat that he hit 88k DPS on one of the DS boss fights over the weekend, and all I can say is, really? Well, we could bring three of my Hunter, or one Baddmojo to a fight. Hmm… let me think about that for a second. So yeah, I could reasonably expect the runs to go a teensy bit faster with him on the squad.
We queued that baby up and ran the Fall of Theramore.
About four runs in, I realized I was getting Justice Points for every run. Alex had no points when we started, and had been wanting to get a Spellpower Heirloom Staff for our baby Warlocks, so hey, double bonus! We’ll be making progress towards two goals at once. Can it get any better than this?
We ran the Fall. And we ran it some more. Then, well, we might have run it again.
It might seem boring or like drudgery, but I was having a blast on every run.
See, I have a Death Knight that is now a baby 85, no raids, no runs, barely an instance or two. Still half in pvp 377s. But I was on Alex’s Death Knight, and seeing what a hotrod can do on the open road.
It was an eye opener. So many things to try, so much to do, shiny buttons and Talents, oh my!
Inevitably, we were trying to see how fast we could do it, and okay, so we were messing with each other pulling mobs. Since his DPS was so obscene, I would use Death Grip on his mobs when he was far way from me… especially when I’d see his Legendary Dagger wing effect pop. :)
I figured out I might have been going too far when I didn’t let the mobs spread out to engage the water elementals on the last phase, but rushed the group instead so I could Death and Decay and my diseases on everyone at once. Oops! Steamrolled!
Oh yeah, right. When you’re dead, you do zero DPS. Right. Forgot about that.
About, I dunno, 8 runs in we got a dedicated Priest healer, and holy CRAP did that change the nature of the game. The two of us dropped any pretense at strategy, and just started zerging the island.
We’d pile everyone up at the beginning, kill that damn kissing captain, and then he’d take the left ship, and me and the healer would head right. By the time we’d hacked our way through to the right ship’s captain, Baddmojo would have knocked off the left captain and caught up to us. Usually bypassing us to set the ship on fire.
After that, zerg the fountain, zerg the demolisher, and successfully zerg the final wave.
I wanted to hug that healer. Such fun! So fast! I wanted to keep him and hug him and name him George.
I asked him if he’d stay with us. Don’t leave us! Baby, it’s cold outside.
He was there farming cloth, he was delighted to run it again with us.
Over and over and over…. and over and over and over…
By 2:30 in the morning, I had about all I could do. Fortune favors the brave, and random is random, but it just wasn’t happening.
God bless Baddmojo, he stuck with me the whole way through. He may have said he’d run three or four with me, but we ran Fall of Theramore enough for me to earn enough Justice Points to buy that heirloom staff outright.
Lemme see here… 168 JP per run, and 3500 JP for a staff, equals… huh, about 21 runs in one sitting. Or maybe it’s 186 JP per run, and 19 runs. Shit, I don’t even know anymore.
What I do know is, we ran Fall of Theramore a lot.
Over the course of the evening, I saw a lot of cloth drop, a lot of trash grey items, and I got… one Black Circlet epic.
No Everlasting Alliance Firework, just a ton of the Alliance fireworks.
Baddmojo got three of the epic daggers to drop.
I never saw any of the other players we were with get any epics at all.
All night long, not a single one of us ever got the Everlasting Firework.
Here is the sad part. We didn’t get the loot that was supposed to drop, but we did get a world drop of a iLevel 359 epic. A necklace or something, Ju’tzes bell or one of those things.
It wasn’t a waste of an evening by any stretch. Like I said, I did earn enough JP for my son to get the heirloom staff all in one night. That’s pretty badass.
When we played our Warlocks the next day (we’re at 27!) he was so delighted. Now, as he pointed out, he only needs enough JP for the cloth heirloom shoulders. As it is, we’re twins in so much Heirloom gear, the mobs might as well bend over when they see us coming.
It wasn’t a waste in other ways, too. I had a freaking blast playing through that on Alex’s Death Knight.
I learned so much about performing AoE DPS on a Death Knight, on survivability cooldowns, on how Talents work, I can’t begin to tell you.
I know that I started out the night doing around 15k – 18k DPS, and by the end of the night I was doing 33k.
Of course, Baddmojo was doing about 20k more than that, but I felt a distinct sense of satisfaction at improving so much.
I had never really had a chance to play with AoE Death Knight mechanics, and let me tell you, the Blood Tap Talent is awesome for repeated applications of Blood Boil at carefully timed moments of maximum crowd density. Just, wow. Boom boom boom!
And then there was just having a blast messing around with someone doing things that aren’t for progression, just… having fun, you know?
What I’m just a little ticked off about is the miserliness of the drop rate for these items.
I don’t understand it.
Is it really intended that you should take one character and have to chain run it for a week to get one item you’re looking for? To invest four, five hours running the same 20 minute scenario in the hopes of getting an everlasting firework so you’ve got that cute memento?
Alex wasn’t down about not getting it… not with the multiple stacks of normal Alliance fireworks he got. He can burn those suckers off for the next two years. He’s cool. It’s not like we were dying for some specific transmog item, either. Aside from the Archmages Staff, they’re pretty ugly items.
But the drop rate…. I really am surprised. Ooh, here’s the point of the post. I’m a little worried, too.
What I’m worried about is that this isn’t intentional design, but instead a result of the new LFR loot system.
As far as I understand the new LFR loot system, the game decides if there was a chance that loot your class and spec could use would have dropped from the boss. If the answer of that random roll is yes, then a second roll is made to see if you would have been lucky enough to win it based on normal numbers of competitors all rolling for it.
So, although you’re not literally rolling against anyone else, the rarity of loot is supposed to be equivalent to your playing with a full group of people, and always having everyone who could roll for something useable by you competing with you.
Is what I saw in Fall of Theramore that system in action? Where I won a single epic helm after 18 (or 21) runs of the scenario, not including the runs from earlier in the week?
Or was the scenario not using LFR rules, and it was just… hell, the worst loot luck I ever heard of.
Not leaving me with warm fuzzies, here. What if it had been a pet drop? Something I would have wanted on my account, too?
All in all… the Fall of Theramore is leaving me with a bad Cataclysm aftertaste, and I am hoping, I am really hoping that it’s not a sign of what the live Mists of Pandaria will be like.