Editorial: Siege of Orgrimmar First Impressions

Here we are again:  the beginning of a new tier.  With normal mode week finally over, we have our week one impressions of the new raid.  Remember that these are first impressions, and only reflect the author’s opinions of week one of normal modes – take it for what you will.  Also, due to the length of this article we have split it into two parts.  This is Part I, click here for Part II.

Overview

Another check in the “successful tier” category for Blizzard.  In fact, Siege is set to be better than Throne of Thunder and to rival Ulduar.  One of the major areas where ToT failed was it’s lack of variety – the environment was stale and repetitive and bosses all looked and felt the same.  At first, Throne seemed like it had a great ambiance and variety of environment.  However, after looking closer it was apparent that the dark blueish hue of the entire instance made everything feel the same.  Siege’s environment changes drastically from one fight to the other.  Immerseus is located in an underground room filled with streams of water, then protectors is outside in the ruins of the Vale, followed by the titan chambers of Norushen and Sha of Pride.  The actual fights themselves are also unique.  No boss feels like the previous, and most introduce new mechanics we have not seen before.  The only gripe I have with Siege is the quantity of encounters.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to return to the days of Firelands and Dragon Soul.  However, Throne’s twelve bosses felt perfect; whereas, Siege’s fourteen seems like a bit much.  However, this all depends on the difficulty of the heroic encounters.

Immerseus

immerseus smallOh Immerseus, what are you doing here?  Just like Tortos, you are a blemish on the otherwise pristine face of Siege of Orgrimmar.  Although arguably original in mechanics, the fight fails from terrible redundancy and sheer annoyance.  Any fight where the room is so large, and requires the raid to spread throughout, is always irritating for a healer.  As a resto druid, if I want to maintain my lifebloom stacks and a rejuvenation on my tanks, I will most likely be out of range of everyone else.  If I stand with some ranged (and by some I mean 2), I am out of range of everyone else – pure aggravation.  Add to the mix that the fight is incredibly repetitive.  During his “main phase” he has almost no mechanics to worry about; but don’t get too upset, he will not stay there for long.  Before your cooldowns from the pull expire, he is gone and spawns adds around the room.  The add phase, with some needing to be healed and others damaged is the only positive aspect of this fight.  It gives something unique for healers to do while they fester their anger originating from this introductory encounter.

The Fallen Protectors

The idea of a protectors encounter where they all need to die at the same time is nothing new, but the implementation of Desperate Measures and their mechanics is satisfying.  Each boss has their own unique set of abilities in addition to spawning adds exclusive to them.  These add phases throw a change up into the typical protectors fight, breaking the monotony.  Additionally, the fight has a lot going on.  Each boss has multiple abilities and each type of add has multiple abilities.  Despite all of this, the encounter avoids becoming (for lack of better words) a charlie foxtrot.  The abilities are manageable and keep you on your toes without making you feel like things are out of control.  This fight would have done beautifully as the first encounter in Siege.  Get rid of Immerseus as the doormat and replace him with the protectors!

Norushen

norushenAs you leave the ruined wasteland of the former Vale of Eternal Blossoms, you enter a titan structure inhabited by Norushen.  Despite being the official name of the encounter, you do not actually fight Norushen.  Your enemy is going to be a nameless Sha Amalgamation.  My only issue with the design of this fight is that the boss itself is rather uninspired.  Blizzard took the standard “Sha” model and stamped an ambiguous name on it.  The boss has no history or reason.  Perhaps a recognizable member of Garrosh’s Horde, infested by Sha, would have been more fitting here.  I understand the lore behind this encounter is meant to be purging your raid team of sha corruption before you can progress further, but it still feels like a bit of a design cop-out.  Design aside, the encounter itself is well done.  The fight presents interesting strategy decisions for the raid:  what roles to purify, who specifically, when, how quickly, and in what order?  All of these questions are extremely important to your success, but do not have a single correct answer.

Sha of Pride

This encounter shares a lot of similarity to previous.  Both fights require players to manage a resource, and various boss abilities may add or remove that resource.  Although the mechanics may seem overly complex from the dungeon journal, they are actually quite simple.  There are abilities which require the raid to spread, move out of stuff, move into stuff, and to break their fellow raid members out of prison.  For less experienced and geared teams this will most likely be the first DPS check in the instance.  Players must get the boss to 30% before anyone’s resource, pride, gets to 100.  Then they must quickly kill the boss from 30% to 0% as the boss adds to everyone’s pride every 3 seconds.  I was glad that the mechanics of the fight did not stop during the 30% DPS race either.  All abilities and mechanics that are present at above 30% health persist until he is defeated.

Galakras

For some strange reason this is one of my favorite encounters of this tier.  It is not complex and easy to execute, but for some reason offers a lot of enjoyment.  Part of this may be attributed to my “tower team” assignment.  Something about your small team storming the tower, killing the mini boss at the top, then shooting down proto-drakes is extremely satisfying.  From what I understand about the “not tower team”, the fight is pretty simple and borderline boring.  Despite that, you cannot argue against the originality of the fight and it’s potential to make a great heroic encounter.

Iron Juggernaut

juggernaut smallSingle target orientated DPS rejoice!  Finally, after six bosses we have found a purely single target encounter.  Although you cannot call it a “patchwerk” fight, this is a good place for your DPS to flex their single target muscles.  Why not patchwerk?  Well, there it actually a bunch of abilities and mechanics going on.  The boss switches between two stances, altering the abilities that he uses.  Most of them are “move out of this” and “kite this beam around” mechanics.  However, the main hurdle is dealing with the crawler mines.  Periodically three of these adds will spawn and dig into the ground around the area (think Spider Mines from Starcarft).  The mines begin a countdown until they explode and deal raid wide damage.  To avoid this, a player must jump onto the mine and soak the damage.  Personals and absorbs are essential to survival here.  The only annoying mechanic in this fight is the huge knockback, albeit easily negated by positioning your back to a wall.

Kor’kron Dark Shaman

Where to start with the Shamans?  Unlike the Fallen Protectors, this is actually a charlie foxtrot.  This fight has more void zones and bad stuff on the ground than you can count.  Perhaps overwhelming at first, this helps to create the hectic and “go hard” feeling of the fight.  Additionally, this encounter makes it clear who in your raid group suffers from slow reaction speeds and quick decision making.  Keeping true to their word, Blizzard has infused this encounter with individual responsibility.  If you get Foul Stream and stand it through the center of your raid, you might end up causing a wipe.  I’ve heard negative reviews of this fight, but many people do not understand the “point” of this encounter.  It is meant to check the raid’s thinking on the fly and reaction times.  Finally, there is also a bunch of unavoidable damage throughout the fight, making this a solid heal check as well.

Continue Reading…

This concludes Part I of our editorial review of this tier, please click here for Part II.  If you have any comments or questions about this article or the material discussed, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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