Arrg Patch 4.1 reflections

Patch 4.1 granted all sorts of old content to be visited again. We get to once again experience ZA and ZG, extra loot, some portals in Dalaran (once again), no miss chance for taunts, and a raft of class specific changes. This post is a bit of a quick first impression and rant (how unsurprising), so you can cut to the chase if you wish.

TLDR Version: This patch was disappointing. It delivered all that it said it would, but it missed delivering something that will sustain the playerbase until 4.2 is released.

All the micro changes & updates are kind of moot, as I expect tuning to always be occurring. The feature of this patch was the Troll content. The bugbear I have is the patch feels like it under-delivers: old content done badly, a set of bug fixes, and some new loot. Hardly what you would call innovative and interesting; more like maintenance. If you like spending 2-3 hours to do a 5 man run, and wiping on trash then you will be happy with this patch. I’m not happy about it and think it’s getting to the point where we are close to be being taken for a ride by the game’s developers. Opinions and the reasons why after the break.

rise of the zandalari patch 4.1

A quick update – seems that The Instance podcast also have observed players thinking that the 4.1 patch was a little rushed. I’m glad it was not only me (said on the Ep #227, show 26 mins in).

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Return of the poor pug

Last night I had another of those experiences which teach you to hate pugs, and I have not written about a bad pug in a while – which is mainly due to not having anyreally bad experiences. So on balance I am kind of pleased to not have suffered much recently. 

It started because I decided that I’ve tanked far too many instances on my druid, and I wanted to do some other bank clean-up and miscellenanous tasks, so waiting for 10 to 15 minutes for a run was fine. I stayed in Boomkin spec and joined the wait list. The group I joined looked typical, we had a mix of highly geared toons and poorly geared toons, and the group was very silent.

We got the Pit of Sauron, so I was pleased, as it is normally an easy run. The gear level did not especially make me pause, as I’m ok with beginning toons, especially as they can sometimes be carried without too much impact.

So we begin the first pull (the necromancer with his skeleton guards) and the healer is clearly struggling to keep the tank’s health above 50%. Then one of the dps (not me, as I don’t often Starfall in pugs) pulls the other pack which is close, and we have a real issue. One of the dps dies, and the tank is near death when the last mob dies.

I was concerned, so as we finished the battle I looked through the groups gear and setup.

We had:

  • a Blood Death Knight Tank in moderate gear (mix of 219s to 232+) with appropriate enchantments and gems, so potentially an excellent setup,
  • a Holy Priest healer in blue 200s with a few 219s and 232s,
  • a Warrior using Fury spec wearing mid 232s – all which looked typical and correct,
  • another Death Knight using Frost 2-weapon and wearing the same level of gear level as the tank, and who also belonged to the same guild as the tank,
  • and my Boomkin sitting around 6k with correct enhants and gems.

What stood out as a serious problem was not the healers gear level, it was that it was primarily dps gear, and poorly encahnted and gemed even for a dps role. Basically it demonstrated a messy and poorly thought out approach. I decided to give the healer a chance, but the team started to grumble.

“WTF healer” was as elequent as we heard, and as the comments flowed, the healer’s performance seemed to drop proportionally. You’d have to expect to get kicked soon after the screw-ups started to become consistent.

So we go on, and I see more evidence that 4 out of 5 characters should be here, but the healer is just gimping the group:

  • Trash is hard, slow, but we survive.
  • We had a full wipe on Garfrost, due to players not resetting stacks, then I died again, due to not getting healed. Yay, fubar.
  • Many of the team didn’t run out for the poinson burst from Ick, and I almost laughed with saddness when the healer stood still during the “avoid the bubbles” mechanic.
  • None of the guys had ever heard of skipping the “burning mobs” by using a mount; and frankly I think they would have stuffed it up anyway.
  • During the Garfrost, Ick fight, and the burning trash I pop’ed out of Boomkin form to heal the tank, myself and a few heals on the other dps.
  • One time on the frost mages with skeleton guards the time the healer paniced and ran backwards into another pack, instead of standing still and healing – we knew he needed to be kicked.

He was kicked straight after our first attempt at the cave run, and a new druid healer joined teh group. From then on, everything was smooth and we had mo more deaths or wipes. 

What the healer did not get was a dialog of what he had done wrong, why his performance was so poor. But then he should bloody know. If the rest of the group have to explain a class to the player then you’re lost at sea. I can understand explaining a fight mechanic, but not a class.

What the healer should have done:

  • is not even dream about trying to heal an instance in dps gear. 
  • to practice healing on on some normals before trying to join a heroic.
  • Not only did this healer clearly have no place being there, he was selfishly wsting everyone’s time.

What the tank should have done:

  • Nothing, he was fine. A little more gear might have covered the healer more, but a fail player in bad gear can’t be compensated for as a tank or healer. That is a dps’s luxury in 5 mans at the moment.

What I should have done:

  • from the beginning is just tank, as at least then I have more control on the flow of the battles, and can help manage the groups to keep the healer’s job simple.
  • I’ll dps with guildies, but tank when doing pugs.