Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Why Prince is ALMOST Not Worth It

In WoW, there are generally different types of fights for PvE and PvP. You go into one expecting something different for each one. PvP is much more luck-oriented, as no matter how much you think you have a winning strategy for that one type of class, someone’s going to pull something unorthodox, or you’ll fumble your keys, or someone else will come out of nowhere with a stun proc, or someone’s trinket turns you into a chicken, and you have to adapt your gameplan. PvP is half luck and half skill, because no matter your skill, you’re still going up against free-thinking individuals who don’t always play by the rules. The best-laid plans and all that.

In PvE, you learn the encounter, you get it down, and then you go to work. There’s a little variability, such as in the location and patting of spawned mobs or length of time the boss waits past their cooldown to use that one ability, but past a few d/c’s or people hitting their buttons in the wrong order or a little bit of judgement error, there’s not much luck to it. Sure, it can just so happen that as you’re trying to get away from Onyxia’s tail the tank can shift slightly and put it in your face, but otherwise you’re mostly golden. You learn it, you get it down, and you work those bosses like a machine. You learn to follow the Blizzard and not move in Flame Wreath.

However, PvE sometimes throws wildcards at you, and if you do not adjust rapidly, you’ll find yourself trying to figure out why you’re taking a dirt-nap sometimes. Even then, you learn that Apoko is a healer and a dpser, so in the Heroic MrT five man arena fight you have to do something about him and the priestess. Still, there are some fights that just spit on your raid coordination and laugh at your pitiful attempts to be organized. This is why, as per the title, Prince is almost not worth it.

Prior to 2.4, there used to be some “safe spots” which would suffer minimal interference from infernals. One could land behind your dps, or between the casters and dps, and people could still die, but as long as you remained in these areas, you were generally safe. It was slightly gimmicky but there was still challenge to it, and I still had to work hard to keep people healed through enrage and then axes.

Now, post 2.4, all safe spots have been officially removed. Prince has become a complete luck fight. Placement of infernals determines everything. If your tank is in a bad spot, your enfeebled dps or casters are going to eat a faceful of stone and spend the rest of the fight calling out ill-framed direction commands, calling for a brez, or AFKing to get something to drink. You can adapt, but there will be times where your tank has to run through infernals to get anywhere, or your healers have to, or your dps, and that’s when enfeeble will hit to wipe you out. Or you’re adjusting well, until your only escape path is blocked off and you’re sitting there wondering how in the world you’re supposed to dps when none of your melee can get near and your spellcasters are dead.

What is frustrating about Prince is he can stop a well-oiled machine in its tracks. No matter how often you have done Kara, no matter what your guild progression, if you get bad infernal placement, you are boned. Quick dps to get less infernals seems to be the only option, but a lot of lower-end Kara guilds don’t have that option. He also drops the all-important T4 Helm, and, for priest and druid healers, Light’s Justice. He’s not exactly skippable, since his loot isn’t really all that replaceable for at least a little while or 150 badges. My guild skips Netherspite if people aren’t getting the beams down or if he seems particularly buggy (like last time, he banished for twice as long and would randomly shoot nether breaths if you were at max distance, and not if you were next to him), but we cannot justify giving up on Prince until we wipe to the point where people do not want to pay anything more in repair bills. And it varies, night to night. Some nights, we get him first or second try. Other nights, his infernal placement is merciless and we find ourselves taking a dirt nap before we get him down to second phase, or even at the very end of third phase.

Our guild will continue to do Prince because, as I said, the loot is good, we want our T4, and I’m tired of missing out on Light’s Justice. However, he will also continue to be the bane of our Kara runs, who disrupts a well-oiled, working machine into chaos and oblivion.

No matter how we adjust, there always seems to be an infernal in my face. /endQQ


saxononyx said...

Prince is as much of a gear and dps check as anything else.

yes there is the luck of the infernal placement. However the less infernal that drop the less luck you have to have.

There for the key to prince is massive quick dps. Only one infernal in the first phase = a good chance to win.

Over gear the tank, over gear the two healers that heal him. and kick all but at most 1 melee dps out of the raid. Melee dps only get 1/2 their dps due to the enfeebels and constantly running in and out.

bear tank (for enrage), 1 holy pally, 1 resto druid, and 1 melee dps in group 1, 1 elemental shamman. 5 ranged dps in group 2, 1 a beast master hunter.

all fully geared except for prince gear. should limit the luck factor.

And yes i have drop Prince as that pally healer and with a Pally Tank. I just think a warroir or druid would make ity easier.

sonvar said...

I know what you mean. Saturday night we got to prince died 6 times due to bad infernal drops. Had him at 1% and an infernal drop right on top of us caused a wipe. Last night we had much better luck and only wiped once again due to bad infernal drop. Got him down the second try. Didn't get the mace but did get the tier 4 helm for our pally healer.

Bell said...

@saxononyx- Unfortunately, with a small guild, you can't always choose what dps you have and, especially if you're playing with friends, you may be unable to just kick melee dps out to get the "optimal" group. I certainly wouldn't want to slow down our rogue or dps warr or enh sham or feral druid gear progression for the sake of a couple extra ranged dps, especially if they're good friends and reliable raiders.

@sonvar- Grats to your pally! :D

Anonymous said...

I've never been fond of luck in WoW. I don't buy the concept. I don't mean to trivialize the difficulty of this encounter, because it can be a solid pain.

I never used the safe spots. I always dragged the raid and the tank around the room depending on the fall of the infernals. Marked Myself with a symbol, cluster the raid around Me, and ordered them to move over voice chat.

Essentially what I did was create a mental "escape plan" after every Infernal. I understand that now they drop very quickly rather than slowly, but I feel that reaction is the only thing that would change. I would tell the raid, if an Infernal drops on the raid, we go X. If the infernal drops on the tank, we go Y... ok... move this way. Go. Or "pull the Prince to your left, go through the Infernal, raid back up, heal through the Infernal. Safe spot behind us opening up..." etc. It was a lot of work but it almost never failed, except when I made a bad call or someone failed to act properly. It was all about anticipation. With the removal of the safe spots, I would wager that planning ahead would once again work better than trusting to fate.

Bell said...

@lonetree - we actually use that strategy. We have a person deignated for calling out infernals, and they're marked with, generally, the orange condom or the yellow star, and ranged is told "if you're not standing on star, and you die, it's your fault." We use escape routes too. However, there have been several times where our escape routes have been cut off, and there's nowhere to move. That could be bad planning, or bad infernal placement, who knows? I'm not gonna get into a philosophical debate about "luck," but perhaps "chance" would have been a better term.

Anonymous said...

Last night I was in a great kara group. We slaughtered all the bosses up to prince in short order with only one wipe on some trash (feared into the mobs).
We got to Prince before 11PM (started at 8:30) and then could not get a break. Prince was acting a little buggy his blast was reaching further for some enfeebled DPS than others so we had a few die outside of normal casting range.
With the changes in infernal drops that you mentioned we had to change to having one person spot for infernal locations and another gauging range for the enfeeble run outs. Even with that we got unlucky twice and had or escape routes cut off and wiped because the healers died.
In all it took us five attempts to drop him. One hour for 3 badges... not great, at least some got to upgrade their MH and Head.

Anonymous said...

We've always had heals/rangedps stand just in the doorway and the tanks/melee stand against the wall, 40yds out front and keeping within LoS.

This seems to work decently because there is minimal places for infernals to drop that significantly affect the raid. If Prince gets surrounded or the infernal between caster and melee drops there can be a problem, but its generally not too bad.

I have had this strategy work every time I've done Prince, and still after all the times he's been down I havent gotten my mindblade, seen it drop but I get rolled over :(

Anonymous said...

Mindblade? haha... go do some arenas or Gruuls. all you nubs and T4, I feel so sorry for you all for not being able to see true end content. Prince is a joke and the only good thing about Kara are the badges. LMFAO

Elyxthaxzus said...

I agree with the commenter's about the increased frustration on prince..our guild still downs him, we wipe more often tho and with the run back you have on that encounter, it merely increases the frustration, rather then making it more challenging.

I would hesitate to call it a gear check tho, i believe thats a misrepresentation. If you have to OVERgear toons in the raid to handle a specific raid boss, to me that qualifies it as OP for the raid. technically, most raid groups can handle just about ANY encounter if their overgeared. thats why its called overgeared. OVER....not PROPERLY...

Speaking hypothetically, i could assume that blizz was trying to eliminate a few loopholes in the encounter that they might have thought originally as opportunities for the players, that realistically gave them too much of an advantage. I don't really see it that way though, as often when were running new toons in Kara, even prior to the change in 2.4, we had one heck of a time adapting toons to the run without having the overgeared ones along for cushion. This just exacerbates the situation.

The inherent problem with that kind of randomness, IMHO, is when you take an encounter that was specifically designed to be challenging from a tactical point of view, randomness can often create impossible scenarios given the expected difficulty of the encounter. take, as an example, a situation where shade summons a flame wreath at the same time the elementals are up. Though an OVERgeared group could survive this easy, it creates a near impossible situation to overcome with a group of peeps that are geared at the level of gear blizz had initially designed the raid to function in.

And this event is SOLELY due to the randomness of his attack patterns, combined with the technical challenges of the fight (i.e. he generates the elementals at 40% health..part of the arranged events in the fight).

Again, i am aware that if you have overgeared toons in the raid, these random events can be overcome, but heck...i can take my lvl 55 holy priest and solo deadmines, it doesn't mean that its gonna be easy for a group of appropriate level and gear to do. It just means that i am OP for the instance. If anything, having a situation where overgeared toons are required should eb a red flag for blizz...