Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Reasons for Hating Oculus

That poor, lonely instance Oculus. Its looking for group channel is always dusty and vacant, its loot is scarcely touched. The bosses chill out with impunity, which is rather a difficult task to master (but they've had the time). The drakes have plenty of time to make more whelps. The empty holes in Glory of the Hero mock those looking for a group, even as their friends respond to their requests for help with whispered obscenities and PTSD-like symptoms.

So what is it about Oculus that inspires such horror and loathing?

The first could be the requirements for Heroic achievements. You'll need to go no less than three times, and perhaps more depending upon the lifespan of your drakes and if you can get from the first boss's dying throes to the last boss's dramatic collapse in under 20 minutes. Not a single boss in the instance besides the last has any achievement attached to it. And there is simply no way to get all the achievements done in less than three runs with the inclusion of Experienced Drake Rider (and your drake must be alive at the end of the fight to receive credit).

Another issue would be that this instance, at least on the final boss, relies heavily upon coordination and competency. It also requires adaptation and understanding of your mount's abilities. You have to have five people working together with an understanding of how to function in varying levels of various drakes, and it takes a lot of trial and error. Last night I was in a five Amber Drake group (to get Ruby Void and Emerald Void in one go) and though we eventually got the boss down, it took some coordination, failed strategies, and consultation with those who had done it before (thanks Aegus and Iliana). We rode our drakes naked so we didn't rack up too much of a repair bill, and tweaked our strategy until we had it. But even with experienced raiders along, there were deaths and adjustments until we got used to the strategy and our drakes.

I suppose the main reason people dislike Oculus ("dislike" being used in its most extreme form here) is that, no matter how geared you are, how far you have progressed, or how you spec, it won't matter for the final boss fight. Your Drake will never have more health than your party can buff it (at the expense of buffing their own Drake), your moves will never do more damage than they do, you will never heal for more than you do, you will never shield from more than you do, at the first moment you step into Oculus to your last run. The Drakes are an equalizer, so that a healer can DPS, a tank can heal and the DPS can tank. Your spec can be terrible, and you can ride a Drake and win.

In some ways this is good. While the first three bosses need some decent DPS, they are manageable with people under 2k. While not all the achievements can be completed with low DPS, many of them can because on Drakes it just doesn't matter. All that matters is that you understand how to use the Drake in coordination with the other people (and therefore that they understand how to use their Drake as well).

However, people dislike Oculus because they have no control over improving their Drake. They do not get to choose what their Drake can do past color, and sometimes not even then (due to group makeup requirements or achievement purposes). This lack of control is frustrating and puts a lot of people off. They do not like having to "learn a new class" while riding a Drake, because, for all intents and purposes, that's what you are doing. It's impossible to cover for someone; if the only Emerald Drake dies, then you're SOL where healing is concerned. No one can off-heal. This rigidity can be irritating.

I personally enjoy Oculus. The first three bosses are just complicated enough to require environmental awareness and precision, while not completely blocking you from the rest of the instance. Also, since your own gear does not affect your Drake's performance at all, you are free to remove the gear and eliminate a lot of the penalty for wiping. It's unique and fun to learn different strategies and Drakes, in my opinion, and I look forward to going back.


krizzlybear said...

A good marriage between gear requirements and mount customizability would probably be to scale the effectiveness of mounts with the rider's gear's average sLvl rather than its stats. I hear Ulduar has something along those lines with its vehicular combat event, but I don't really want to read too much into it until 3.1 actually comes out.

Dorgol said...

I've managed to do a single Occ run. No one wants to go back. Heck, I don't even remember what the bosses DO.

I will go back, though. I'm probably going to have to start bribing people, though.

Kring said...

I don't like Oculus. I go there if I have to, but I don't like it.

But for a completely different reason!

First: I actually enjoy my characters. If I would not, I would not still play them after 4 years.

For me, boss fights are the reward of an instance. And loosing the end boss to a fucked up vehicle event is just crap, IMHO.

It don't want to fight the endboss with a drake. And it is not the gear. I would also not like to fight the endboss with switched characters, even if I would get a full T10 char for that fight.

Second: The continuously hopping on and off a drake while clearing the trash and always waiting 3s until your on the drake and 3s until the stupid parachute dissapears. I hate it. And after every second kill dismounting and mounting again because nobody can heal at that stage... feals like lvl 60 again where you had to drink after every pull.

Because of that the instance has a very very very slow pace.

Third: It doesn't really help that the instance contains the most annoying trash in the game. (Annoying, not difficult. Mana-Tmobs was great! Auchenai Crypt was great!)

Sylly said...

I decided I hated Occulus after only one shot and have never been back. I should try it again, though. I suppose more people know what they're doing and can drag me through! =)

p.s. I'm tagging you with Fimly's Haiku meme =) Have fun!

Yeoldegit said...

Sadly, the general impression I've got is that people dislike Oculus because it's long (for a WotLK heroic) and not easy. There are two out of the four bosses in there that I'd consider "hard", as opposed to one or none in all the other heroics. Added to that are the hardest trash pulls in heroics that I can think of (the mages and arcane guardians) and the constant mounting/remounting between platforms - and I'm definitely agreed with Kring that this is annoying, I'd much rather only be flying between bosses and not between every other trash group - and you have an instance where 4 emblems can take 60-90 minutes. And when you can get 3 emblems in 30 minutes while barely looking at the monitor elsewhere (VH, UK), people are going to start hating Oculus.

Personally I love it. Learning the coordination for the 2nd and 3rd bosses and the drake for the final boss was easily the best experience I've had in a WotLK heroic. I also enjoy how the final boss can let a healer tank, a tank dps and a dps heal (as I did on my first time). I personally don't mind the fact that gear, spec, class etc isn't a factor in part of an instance - as long as it's not for a whole instance, that is, and when 3 bosses and a lot of the trash is done on foot, that isn't the case here. It's a nice break from doing what we do in all of the other instances, all of the time. That's my view, anyway.

But ultimately, concerning heroics and even raids in general, Wrath is all about both ease of entry and ease of emblem-looting. Oculus doesn't fit in to the rest of the expansion; it's more like a relic of the Burning Crusade end-game philosophy.

Dreaming said...

I'm really not a fan of the Occulus either, healing there is tedious, and the whole instance feels kind of weird.

Slightly out of topic remark.
I've named you for an "Honest Scrap" award, I hope you've not got one already :P
You can collect it here, and enter the fun :)

Please keep up to good posts :)

Button said...

"..even as their friends respond to their requests for help with whispered obscenities and PTSD-like symptoms."

Not ashamed to admit I fall into both those categories.

Lilivati said...


I like Oculus. I am the only person in my guild of this opinion. That doesn't bother me, but when we end up there, they feel they have to complain so INCESSANTLY that it completely ruins my experience. I don't complain like that when I do something I don't like for one of them- and believe me there are instances I hate with the fire of a thousand suns. It really ticks me off.

And now they're starting to do it with Malygos, and I swear, if they wreck Malygos too...