This is a tad long-winded, I apologize in advance.
Now, I know most of you probably aren't too terribly interested in the 20-man raid dungeons, but I figured I'd put this out there for some discussion. I recently (5 months back) started my own guild from scratch, so this is something I've had a chance to experience myself. Keep in mind while reading the following commentary that this is coming from a guild who did not back-track to the 20mans as they were released (from MC or BWL respectively), this is from a guild who worked its way up from scratch, greens and blues. It's also worth knowing when reading this that the guys we ended up with in the guild are a very good crew, great players, and we have had a very high success rate, with little "learning" time. We've conquered ZG, RAQ, Ony, and are on Ragnaros currently. That being said,
Does anyone else feel like these two particular encounters are a tad out of place, difficulty-wise? Let me explain:
Jin'do the Hexxer
This guy is just flat out harder than Hakkar, the boss of Zul'Gurub. Given the level of dps your raid is expected to have after farming some of the other bosses in the zone (I'd expect Jindo to be a target pre-dating Hakkar), he's a bit out of whack. Even if you're doing everything perfectly, stacking -heal debuffs on Jindo, removing totems asap, and staying pretty well ahead of shades, he still requires a decent amount of dps to overcome before your (pre-mc) healers run dry. And if you're a caster heavy raid (and Jin'do is a caster-loot oriented boss), its even tougher, as you run into mana issues. Rogues/Warriors end up being your best bet by far. Basically we didnt drop this guy til we had farmed Hakkar 4-5 times. Easily the highest learning curve in the zone. Suggested solution? I'd say raising the cooldowns on all of his abilities by just a bit would tune it pretty nicely. A couple fewer totems to deal with, a couple fewer skeletons to AE down, and a couple fewer shades to kill, resulting in a bit more time dpsing Jin'do before your healers are dry.
This guy's a bit of a different story than Jin'do. Basically, you have to stack classes. And I hate hate hate stacking classes. Compared to the rest of RAQ, where you don't need to stack classes anywhere, its really frustrating to have a very balanced raid class-wise, clear everything but Moam with no problem, and then have to make the decision of either attempting the fight with difficulty turned to hardcore, or subbing in an extra 1-2 warlocks to just bring the fight back down to RAQ's average difficulty. Let me explain more:
With 3 warlocks (and 2-3 priests, and a hunter). You have sufficient mana drain to prevent the explosion, and keep in mind your dps isnt stellar yet, its just 20man gear and maybe some MC pieces here and there. You have your three warlocks to banish the three adds and just dps Moam down in stoneform. Even so, heading into add-spawn and stoneform, your raid is mana drained pretty bad (ending up with almost required consumable use per-kill, something rare in a 20man), so heals are fairly scarce. In come three big bad elementals, and the crux of the problem. These three elementals are almost a raid encounter of themselves (would be, if they had more hp). They are not snarable, fairly certain they are not stunnable, they have a harsh 1k arcane AE, and to top it all off, they can counterspell. So even with the 3 warlocks, you're going to take some hefty AE damage on average, due to at least 1 badly timed counterspell on your warlocks, or simply if they launch an AE before the 1.5 banish cast time. All in all, doable, but still very challenging (With stacked classes!)
With 1-2 warlocks (and 2-3 priests, and a hunter). Here's my issue. With 2 warlocks, you end up with 1 free elemental to be tanked, launching AEs and counterspells. With 1 warlock (we've never even bothered trying this), you have 2 free elementals to be tanked, launching AEs and counterspells. And again, this is on top of your already near-dry casters. At the appropriate gear levels, you have to have everything go extremely well, perfect positioning, no bad luck on counterspells and such to even have a chance with 2 warlocks. With 1 warlock I dont even see this encounter happening. These adds are just way too harsh.
Suggested solution? Simply toning down the elementals would go a long way to making this encounter balanced for RAQ's overall difficulty level. Options are adding vulnerability to snare/stun (again I dont remember stun's status, but I am sure they are not snarable), reducing availability or damage of the AE, and removing the counterspell. Any or all of this would help a lot. I realize they already dont have much HP, but the AE can rip your raid to shreds considering your available dps will mostly be melee, since the drain will have taken a toll on casters. Basically anything that removes the warlock-stacking requirement would be a huge plus.
Anyway, overall I am very happy with these two instances. Having been through the end-game a couple of times in other guilds, but never having been a part of the "guild building" phase from ground up, I am immensely enjoying the availability of 20man raid dungeons to help gear us up. Not to mention its just fun as hell conquering a zone with your guild (quite a bit more fun if you're doing it while its still a challenge, i.e. pre-MC/BWL). I just feel these two encounters are a bit out of place. A bit of tuning would go a long way towards making these zones masterpieces. Thoughts?
As far as I am aware, both Moam and JI'do are deliberately harder than the rest of the zone. They are optional bosses whose loot tables are, in my opinion, supeorior to everything bar the end boss. That's why consumables are needed for them - 40 player raids burn through pots constantly (heck, I'm alt-tabbed mana potion farming now), and these two bosses are the first indicator you get of that in the 20 player raids.
If they were progression bosses in the zone, then I would agree - but as it stands, they are fit for purpose I think. Really hard optional challenges you can do when you finish the zone for a bit of extra loot.
(BTW, 3 warlocks isn't stacking a raid for a 20 player force. You woudl expect 6 classes to have 3 members present, and 2 classes to have 2).
Agree with Maledict, it has been stated by Blizzard that these encounters are optional, hence they are harder then the progression bosses in their respective zones. A bit of risk/reward scenario here. You can let them rot, and still consider the raid a success, if you feel you don't want to risk failure.
They prime you for the massive usage of consumables that become much more common in the 40-man raids.
I'd agree on your warlock stacking argument, if warlock werent the least-played class globally.
And I can see your point about the optional aspect of these bosses, but Jin'do's loot is not any better for casters than Bloodlord's is for melees. Remember where my guild was coming from. Bloodlord's melee weapons were fantastic for us, huge upgrades. Same with Jindo's caster stuff.
As for Moam, while I can accept the fact that three of the bosses are in fact "optional" by definition, the zone is very empty without the inclusion of them in a clear. Once again, remember why a new guild is there. They're wanting to clear the entire zone for loot volume, not quality farming (Ossirian) like an established 40man guild is.
While Blizzard may have stated that they are indeed optional and tuned correctly, I was more after the opinions of people themselves, especially from the perspective of a starter guild.
I absolutely agree that it's fine that they are harder than the rest of their respective zones, but I still find Moam rediculous. The difference between having 3 and 2 warlocks is huge. The difference between 2 and 1 is even bigger. And I think we've killed him once or twice with no warlocks, but the entire raid was BWL level geared characters.
And it could be argued that bringing 3 warlocks is stacking the raid. Considering that a lot of 40 man raids these days consider anything above 2 a waste.
And it could be argued that bringing 3 warlocks is stacking the raid. Considering that a lot of 40 man raids these days consider anything above 2 a waste.
In 20 people raid, 2-3 representatives per class mean balanced setup, just like in 40 ppl raid 5 per class is. Thus it's can be hardly said that having 2 warlocks (the lowest number that can be considered balanced), 2 priests and 1 hunter is stacking. Even 3 are far from stacking comparable with taking 7-8 mages for BWL/AQ - it's basically equivalent of 5 warlocks.
Stacking would happen if having 4th or 5th warlock gave you something extra in this fight, which is obviously not the case - warlock DPS when mana draining is laughable and having more then 3 warlocks (and arguably, more then 2 as well) actually makes Moam harder.
How many warlocks does it take in a 20-man raid to experience the full benefit of the warlock class's utility? If the answer is < 3, then having three is stacking. After all, anything a warlock would do beyond utility is DPS, and there are classes I would much rather have doing DPS than a warlock (at least, with the gear level in a pre-MC/BWL guild). If you need no more than one warlock to experience the full benefit of the warlock class's utility in a 20-man raid, well, you get the idea.
Basically, if one warlock can provide all that I need in a 20-man, anything more is stacking.
"Agree with Maledict, it has been stated by Blizzard that these encounters are optional, hence they are harder then the progression bosses in their respective zones. A bit of risk/reward scenario here. You can let them rot, and still consider the raid a success, if you feel you don't want to risk failure." - I don't know that I agree with this. I think we can all agree, however, that just because Blizzard cries 'Balanced!!' doesn't mean that there is balance. Regarding difficulty due to optional status, Buru is MUCH easier than Moam and can be done with a ridiculous variety of raid setups. Mandokir is worlds easier than Jin'do, so once again I have to take issue with this whole 'optional boss' business.
So yeah, the encounters could use a bit of tweaking.
We never attempt Moam without 3 priest and 3 warlocks; it's not worth it for us at this point. I think 3 of his drops are melee leather, 1 is balance druid gloves, and there is the Talon off-hand that I have never even seen. The fight is simply a gimmick fight for warlocks. Requiring a certain amount of mana-drain doesn't strike me as unbalanced, but the adds are way more powerful than Garr's (the only fight with similar mechanics) and so tanking them is usually a disaster, especially if you (as the OP's raid probably is) are skirting the edge trying to get enough DPS on Moam before stoneform ends to win.
'War' is too small a word for what I'm fighting. Like a candle in front of the whole burning Sun. Now, I am not going to die today. I have other projects, and other options.
I think we have to differentiate between Jin Do and Moam. Jin is doalbe with less than stellar gear, IF everybody is on his toes. If people show good teamplay and control of their class, this boss is doable with a variable groupsetup. Moam however requieres warlocks. As some folks mentioned, there are only a few of them, we had several runs where we didn't have one. Granted, we were able to solve this problem by dpsing as hell, using our gear to beat the encounter before an add spawn (usually we sport at least 3 rogues in our raids). But this is not viable for raids who haven't got BWL on farm yet. For this reason I consider this fight the worst designed fight in the zone (only comparable to the pre 1.11 Ossirian, nicknamed the unpyloned).
I can only imagine similar problems with expansion pack encounters, when all the sudden paladin/shaman will be needed - and while horde guilds will quickly incorporate 3-4 pallies, allies will stick with 1-2 shammies for some melee buff. All the sudden 3 shammies will be needed to do something... and that will be called stacking.
This fight is very easy with 3 warlocks, but perfectly doable with 2 as well. And 2 warlocks is just normal, minimal number of those expected in 20 people raid. Not having 2 warlocks means stacking other classes, not the other way around.
As for balancing this fight, if it's really needed.... I guess adds could be not only banishable, but also fearable (just like elementals in DM West). That would give you 2 classes that can control them - although their HP/damage would need readjusting to cope with 1 warlock being able to crowd control 2 at the same time and 1 priest being able to AoE fear them in right situation.
Recenly I was doing this fight with 2-3 people in MC/BWL class gear and all the other people in blues/greens. Additionally, it was a PuG. We had 2 warlocks and 3 priests. So I would call the group being on level close or even lower then expected for this encounter.
We have killed her on the second try (first one was disaster on many levels - among other things, priests were healing not mana burning). DPS was really subpar because of gear and before the spawn Moam was still around 40%. But good banish and DPS coordination after spawn resulted in burning first add fast, then boss, then last 2 banished adds.
There are many tricks that can be used by not that well geared groups like starting with druids in hybrid gear and cat form to add to DPS and save mana for healing when shammies/palas run out of mana. Good coordination between warlocks can result in almost instant banishes and limited AoE damage.
But like I said, if this fight requires balancing it should not be done in making mana draining less intensive or lowering number of adds, but by giving raiders more crowd control means. Fear fits this fight - 1 warlock will be able to control 2 adds, 2 warlocks - all of them. And you can always use priests instead, if warlocks are not available.
Is this fight class dependant? Yes, of course. But there are many such fights in game - every raid dungeon got at least one.
I agree that these two encounters are quite difficult.
Moam exhibits a distinct problem with lowering the number of raiders. Devs have to be careful not to require anything out of the ordinary or else people will have to stack their groups. I led our guild AQ20 runs for a while, and I played around with group setups etc. I'd go from 3 hour clears to 1 and a half clears by changing a few people around for a few different people. Even for a group of hard-hitting niggers, it would be quite dangerous to attempt moam without enough mana burners to keep him drained. We had enough DPS to dirtnap him without his sons coming, but due to poor group setup, he would explode on some parts. Hell I think we've had him explode twice before and still won.
Anyway, I hope the 10 mans that will be 'hard' (I call bullshit on that already) in TBC are tuned to NOT require two warriors, or two of any class.
The two encounters are optional. I feel Jin'do is fine, you don't need to stack anyone, you just need attentive raiders. Moam is a lot easier with 3 Warlocks, maybe it should be retuned.
I hope Blizz learns from Moam and doesn't do something like that again (or at least do it for a more popular class).
I am sure that having Shaman/Pallys will be make some TBC encounters easier (with their new level 70 spells), but that should be understood. I just hope this requirement will only be in 20 mans or higher.