Matticus has a really nice post from a while back about the raid mechanics in encounters which frustrated or challenged us. (ref: 13 Punishing Raid Mechanics Which Made You Go “PICK ME PLEASE!” | World of Matticus). He points out 13 which deserve attention.
There seemed to be more gimmick / click challenges in raids in Cataclysm than other expansions, and thankfully the raid content I’ve seen so far in Pandaria does not have many of these gimmicks. Feng the Accursed is the exception who has a special clicky-action-fun-time-button.
To be clear I think a fight mechanic is a gimmick when it is not logical in the setting or story. It might be shallow but if the mechanic makes lore sense then it is far easier for me to integrate into my understanding of the fight, and therefore defeat. There are great, poor, and average special mechanics in the game, so here are a few I thought to note.
Some examples of bad are:
(a) Ultraxion – where does the extra power the character gets come from? Oh, other magic Dragons perhaps? Plot-Jumping-Shark-Alert! Clicking the extra magic button soon, but not just now, and not later, within 1-2 seconds, or before 3-5 seconds if your latency is up.
I also don’t get why Deathwing waited so long to bring Ultraxion out of the box given how badass he was supposed to be (just listen to his self-serving intro), but then maybe Deathwing knew he was flawed and just threw him at the characters to distract us.
(b) Feng, Mogu’Shan Vaults. Two crystals, which powers, much confusion. Yes, it can be explained with a strategy on how to beat the encounter…but why does that happen in the story in the first place?
If I was Feng I’d grab those crystals myself and stop the pesky players getting the powers.
Average, with some doubts:
(a) Shado-pan Monastery end-boss – the Hate mechanic. OK, we pause and contemplate our anger to move the effect that is seeping into us during the fight. Not terrible, but odd.
(b) Chess in Karazhan – was appropriate to the setting and good for the group, yet still irks me for some reason. Perhaps it is just that the vehicle fight stands as a barrier to typical solo’ing of content. I know it is possible now, but can’t be bothered getting past it to solo out the instance.
Great mechanics, which were hard but I loved:
(a) Sindragosa’s Ice Blocks, waves of frost, and death grips. Sindy was a frosty bitch who took a long time for our team to kill at the time, but I rarely disliked doing attempts.
(b) I like any dragon in the game which has a tail swipe effect. It just makes sense. Yes, that set of powers might be a little well used in the game, but the swipe can be made to have useful effect, or the breath can be clever, as demonstrated in the ToES dragon fight where players use the breath to kill adds. Great stuff in that fight, love it.
(c) Prince in Karazhan. He summoned a few infernals, dropped our health pools to zero, and punished the groups with summoned spinning blades. He was a bastard of a kill, but also really felt cool and real.
I didn’t understand why he only walked around on the upper balcony, but forgive that. Maybe he was a heavy smoker and Attumen didn’t like second hand smoke, or Shade of Aran has allergies?
(d) The Poisoned Blood mechanic from the original ZG encounter for Hakkar. Absolute mongrel at times, but certainly consistent with the world and excellent in terms of lore.
Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.
- The Situation with Video Game Stories (Moving Pixels) (popmatters.com)