Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

There is no progression at the dance bosses

The PuG update:
Tips to those who haven't killed it yet:
  • It's easier to 2-heal than to 3 as all P1 damage sources are killable.
  • Set sectors of the ship (signs help), a ranged or healer to each sector, catching shadows
  • Shadow catchers use prismatic elixir + battle elixir.
  • Start the fight stacked and stay stacked until the first melee add dies. Can't charge this way and there are no shadows yet.
  • At the very start the melee adds are delivered by drakes. The drakes are attackable by ranged.
  • When P2 start, there is time during the speech to drink a potion of concentration.
  • In P2 melee do not attack while Goriona is here, stand away to "kite" shadows and shockwave, less movement for ranged and healers, also less damage from the boss.
  • In P2 after Goriona, stack up (healers, casters 10+ yards) and stand in the AoE circles.
  • If you are as rich as me, reroll leatherworker and get +70 shadow res bracer enchant.

After more than 100 wipes on Warmaster Blackhorn, I can tell three things: the idea of "no farming raid" works, both as the damn thing finally died, and as keeping the moral high. We did not have to cancel a single raid due to not enough people. Why? Because the system guarantees that if this dancing monstrosity finally dies, we won't have to see him again for 2 months (until we get to him on HM). Also, you can't wait him out like you could with Rhyolith "farm": you killed first 4, "sorry had to go" and did not raid until next week or until someone else killed it. Well, if the best motivator in a game is to be able to never play it again, then something is wrong with it.

The second thing is more interesting. It's an answer how dance raids are wrong. They have no progression at all. The MMOs are games of progression, you get better over time, by learning and gearing. This is so basic concept that the developers are ready to give welfare gear to M&S to let them feel progressing. If you try Patchwerk or Brutallus, you get to lower and lower boss percentages every try until he dies. You can see clear progression in both your own performance and in the raid performance. Even if you didn't kill him today, you saw improvement, you clearly got closer to the kill.

In a dance boss there is no such thing. Your improvement is in the invisible chance of not failing the dance steps. What is visible is the boss percentage at wipe and it jumps up and down completely randomly. Of course there is some positive trend, but with very small correlation. We had 10% wipe on Warmaster, followed by a 30 seconds wipe in the next try: healer got charged in the shadow whirl. To see progression you must chart up the percentages and place a trendline on it. This might satisfy a manager and a spreadsheat-loving EVE player. But an average-attitude player can easily say that "we did nothing today, it was a total waste of time". Would you feel improvement in the first 50 tries of the chart below (without the chart, just by being there)?
Obviously, if a player think it was a total waste of time, he won't come tomorrow.

The third, even more problematic thing comes tomorrow, hopefully completely proving that the dance raids are fundamentally and irreparably flawed and must be replaced by performance-based raids.


Tazar said...

I'm quite surprised that you had to wipe 100 time on warmaster. All your tips work but there is 1 more. Do not soak small twilight zones and let the ship to take the damage. It get much easier for 2 healers to heal the fight and ship will be left with 500-1000k during the transition to phase after which it does not take any damage.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the kill. I'm a bit surprised you found it easier to 2-heal it. You might run into some real dps issues on the next fight, where you simply need 3 healers. The next fight involves 3 short but very tight dps checks. The entire fight also features a lot of single target healing, that unless you're really well geared or run a Shaman/Druid healing combo will be impossible to 2-heal. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

100 wipes for a nm boss. I m not Wow anymore, but that sounds far to much.
However i disagree with progression. I know that you dont have much Progression raiding expierence... but:

Dance fights are the fights with the most progression, where gear checks (brutallus and it was a healer check too) feel like brickwall's.

Dance fights: Ragnaros HM. On the
1. night you wipe in p1, you get maybe 1-2 tries to p1,5.
2. night you wipe on the first tries again in p1, but you get much more tries to p1,5. At the end of the 2. night you get every try in p 1,5
3. night and you constantly wipe in 1,5. You try different tactics and finally you make it alive into p2, but again there are very different mechanics and you die

after a few hundreds wipes more, you can bring 50% of your tries into p4 and while you learn p4, you get closer and closer. make less failure and you know: the kill is possible.
Most kills will be with 2 player's dead; 1s before the enrage or something else.

If you wanna tell me, that this is no progression. What else is it?

Compared to Baleroc HM (befor the nerf in the 2. week!)

So you look at baleroc and see that his HP got a huge jump. You calculate and say: okay with 3 healers we need 30k< dps. ATM we have 23k. If we 2 heal we still would need 26k.
-> lets go to kill ryolith and alysrazor (dance fights!)
3 weeks later, we farmed more gear:
We finaly start progression on him, got the healer and tank stable. Get a good rotation and 3hours later he was dead.
You have to understand that we wiped 3 hour's on the dance part of the fight! We were always 15s before the enrage.

So where is the progression on patchwork. Either you have the required dps or you dont have it.
If are missing the dps you need to kill him befor the enrage timer, even 1000000 wipes wont change anything. You can hope that the player's get generally better at the game. But a gearcheck was always a wall and will always be.

Of course this is out of the view of a compitent raider. If you raid with m&s that always do the same dance mistakes, get better raiders!
And dont ask blizzard to change something, so you can progress further.

maxim said...

I must say i wholeheartedly support the -1 kill per boss until done- mentality.

Actually it is not impossible to implement a system where a person is unable to loot any boss in a heroic raid instance more times, than he killed the endboss in said heroic raid instance.

That would require ~3 bytes of extra storage per character per raid though. But that's not a whole lot.

Anonymous said...

It is not real only progression setup, because you can (and if you have common sense) YOU WILL cheat it by going to raid finder. And I admit that 384 is not 397, setbonuses makes them op. So I forsee relation between raid finder gear lucks and progression...

You can even arrange gold bid raid finder runs...

Anonymous said...

I really fail to understand your hatred towards dance bosses.

Like many others have pointed out in earlier posts, most dance boss fights utilize generic skills that raiders learn and practice over different raids. For example, moving out of bad stuff is a skill that can be used on different bosses. Knowing how to move out of bad stuff doesn't make me good only at shannox, it also helps when i kill ragnaros.

Recently I did the 'Assassinate Creed' quest as part of the rogue legendary chain. This was hands-down one of most enjoyable experiences I have had while playing my rogue. Was it challenging? Yes. Was I better prepared for it because of my dance raiding experience? YES!!

In comparison, when I did ultraxion..and the only thing I had to do was press one button every now and then, it was boring. Within 20 seconds of the fight having started, I wanted it to end.

I raid lead a casual guild. We have people who fail at dances, always. Teaching them, giving them tips, helping them out by calling stuff on all part of our raiding experience. And you know what? It is still more enjoyable than doing patchwerk fights every single time.

I think your hatred or bias against M&S (who typically fail at dance bosses) has in turn led you to hate dance bosses (which in my opinion, are infinitely more fun than 'do your DPS rotation till the boss dies or enrages' fights)

Daniel said...

@First Anonymous
2-healing spine wasen´t that hard with a pala/druid combo eather, took us 3 tries.

but taking 100 wipes for Warmaster seems like a very high number since it´s a easier boss then Ultraxion.

David said...

The plot above shows clear progression. The deviation is high, but the trend clearly follows a linear equation. Whether you look at top or bottom boundaries, or the average trend, it shows a steady progression towards an eventual kill.

Luckily, you had a large data set to work with, otherwise the positive trend might have been lost in the noise.

Your hypothesis that current raids ('the dance') do not require or induce skill learning may have merit. However, claiming that the above scatter plot represents no progression is intellectually sloppy and dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Druids are currently doing extremely well on that particular fight. It's 2-healable by any combination of 2 well equipped and/or skilled healers. Especially if the dps knows what to do and finishes the fight as quickly as possible. However, 100 wipes on Blackhorn speak a very clear language here.

How exactly are we meant to read this graph? There's no 'Boss Health' for the boss until the second phase starts (which itself doesnt last very long). According to the graph, you also killed the boss over 10 times already. How many different people helped you over the course of progression? I imagine this would have a huge effect on the spread around the trend line.

As far as perceiving progression during a single encounter goes: You don't need to graph out all attempts like that (although I quite like it) to see how well you're doing. You simply look at your current best try only and if any consequent try is better, then you progressed. There's always bad tries in between good tries, but they have nothing to do with your progression. That's how players perceive progression and why they keep trying even after wiping over 150 times on ragnaros hc.

Anonymous said...

Also, you can't wait him out like you could with Rhyolith "farm": you killed first 4, "sorry had to go" and did not raid until next week or until someone else killed it.

"Also, you can't wait him out like you could with Rhyolith "farm": you killed first 4, "sorry had to go" and did not raid until next week or until someone else killed it."

If this hapenned, then it was the RL's fault, had that happen to me just once, solved the problem in under one week.

Deepfriedegg said...

Gratz for the kill. I am amazed that you yourself, Gevlon, dont see a trend in the graph. The minimum clearly decreases over time (attempts) - but yes, the deviations are quite high.

Also do I hear from you that you had "bad luck" having healer charged and standing in Twilight barrage? How ironic... Well, there should have been someone else in that Twilight Barrage, too. Not a bad luck :p

Anyway, having two healers is a nice trade-off between having to "eat" more damage or killing adds in P1 faster. From your 100 wipes I am not sure it worked well for you.
Maybe you failed to realize at what health the ship was when you reached P2 and you have put too much strain on your two healers by eating unnecesary Twilight Barrages. With 6 DPS adds should go down much faster = less Twilight Barrages = less damage taken by ship = less time spent dancing = more time DPSing.

To be honest I dont understand the point in melee not damaging the boss in P2 until Goriona flies off.
It doesnt help the ranged as they need to be relatively stacked up to be in range of Goriona.
It doesnt help the healers because the fight takes longer.
It only helps a bit when Twilight Flames would be in melee cluster. But it really takes just one tick to get out of it.

On topic: not sure if many players would like to have raids full of Patchwerks, Brutalluses and Ultraxions.... You might see the progression on this boss but once you kill this boss it is just over and the boss is irrelevant. I am almost sure that if you wiped 100 times on Blackhorn now, it would still be challenge for you if you decided to kill him next week untill all your raid members learn the fight so well that they exactly know the positioning, timing of cooldowns and how to handle specific situations. Well, they should have known earlier then after 100 wipes, anyway.

Good luck with spine. Once you use personal CDs on first tendon, pots on second and hero right before the third + personal CDs again during it, you should be fine.

Deepfriedegg said...

And one more thing about the graph: What is boss health below 0%? Did you kill the boss several times before the first kill? :p

And are those dots only for phase 2 where you actually damage the boss?
I am not going to count them, it looks like there are more than 50 of the,. Does it mean that you were more than 50 times in P2 before you killed him?

I really do not know what shall I think about the numbers in the graph. Which doesnt meant there is a visible trend there

Péter Zoltán said...

I think the graph is just fictional. This is how I felt during our hardmode progress sometimes. Banging head to wall. Wipes between 90-50%, then slowly shifting to 70-30%, 50-10%, then a kill almost unexpectedly. This is definitely not the progression model I want to play.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time understanding what types of boss encounters you want.

Do you want patchwerk all the time?

Can you name a boss that doesn't involve dance and is not Patchwerk or Brutallus?

jtrack said...

I'm sort of agreeing with the bandwagon here, Gev. Stand there and rotate fights like patchwerk are very boring... I can do that with the battle dummy in town. While I can agree that there are many things wrong with WoW and many changes are addressing symptoms and not problems, "dance fights" as you call them are all around WoW and have been forever and some people do like them even if you don't.

I can agree, that many fights feel like your graph looks and that can be extremely distressing over that many attempts.

Bristal said...

In college, do you FEEL yourself getting smarter or more educated? Is that what drives you to continue, that constant affirmation of each step forward?

That certainly wasn't my experience. Your graph, IMO much better typifies real progression.

Each try at a boss may feel like a crapshoot, but every few tries there is that tiny breakthrough. And with 10 different people in the mix, each having their own occasional breakthrough, it's just not controllable.

And THAT my friend is the real M&S you hate so much. That sense that others are taking away your ability to step forward.

But it's not any particular person or even type of person that you can just eliminate. It's a 9% failure across 10 people that adds up to an M&S.

Before in your blog you railed about how people failing in this game were clearly morons or not trying, and blamed the game that they just needed gear or others to boost them.

Now you are blaming the game as well. Perhaps all those morons were just pushing the boundaries of their video game abilities like you are now?

Mr. Bob said...

Actually, the dance IS the fun part. As some have said, patch is too boring.

Take out the word "dance" and call it "reacting". That is fun

Its so true that they even put the need of reacting IN the rotations by the means of procs that CHANGE your rotation (like in lavaburst reset procs, instant cast procs for pyroblast etc).

Imagine a total procless rotation in a danceless fight, you can "play without playing" semi-afk watching TV just pressing 1, 2, 3, 4 in sequel every X seconds.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steel said...

If you ask me, the right balance was struck around the Wrath era of Ulduar/ICC (apart from the over-undertuning thing). I enjoyed those fights a lot, as did aparently Gevlon - I don't remember ever reading on this blog complaints that fights are too dancy back then.

I kinda miss Festergut. I miss the simple but constant pedal-to-the-metal tension of the fight. Though I may be biased, at that time I was in a ICC-4/12-25-forever guild, we were hitting the enrage even at 25% buff in ICC gear - which kept it 'interesting' I guess. Don't think I ever had that in Cata raids though, it's all been, run this fight 100 times until you no longer fail. It got annoying way too fast.

Regardless I no longer have a dog in this fight, as I'm having way too much fun roaming and murdering ice miners in New Eden. If you ever get bored of pandas and selling magic dust, Gevlon (

Squishalot said...

Congratulations on the kill. As an update from Wowprogress:

Ultraxion: 20786
Warmaster Blackhorn: 16283
Spine of Deathwing: 13874
Madness of Deathwing: 9044

You've come in at 15,769th place. You'll need to pull through faster (less wipes?) than that to hit your 10k target.