Rose Colored Lenses
I have talked about this before, but many of my beliefs about World of Warcraft are in truth a product of the fact that I started raiding during the period that everyone refers to as “Vanilla”. The above screenshot is of our raid group the Late Night Raiders taking down Golemagg. In fact if I am placing this picture correctly, this is moments before I won the Giantstalker chest piece. There is so much nostalgia wrapped up in Molten Core for me, so much so that I pretty regularly returned there over the years to solo it just for that shot of nostalgia straight in the veins. While it used to take three hours of my Sunday night, to clear this place in full… it was worth every moment of it.
You would think that with all of this experience rooted in 40 man raiding and nostalgia about it… you would think I looked forward to a return to it. You would in fact be completely wrong. In many ways 40 man raiding was like a family trip, and you either bonded during it or learned to hate one another. There are folks that I raided with that I talk to on a daily basis and have become part of my extended family. There are additionally folks that I raided with that I would prefer never knowing they still existed, let along ever wanting to see them again. 40 man raids were this strange construct where 25 people who were paying attention, carried the 15 that were not to victory. It was a place of great victory, but also a place of great resentment, and I am more than happy to see that era of raiding dead and buried.
Looking For Molten Core
I have long held the belief that the people who have been clamoring over the years for a return to 40 man raiding, never actually raided in a 40 man environment. Either that or they did it once or twice with a really successful group that had everything “on farm” but never experienced the crushing defeat of having forty people doing something really stupid. I am struggling to find the exact tweet, but someone summed it up like this. Folks begged for 40 man raiding, and Blizzard did not want to return to it. As a result they gave us a 40 man raid, and made it LFR so we too would remember just how horrible it was. Last night as a guild we queued with roughly 25 members, hoping that if we brought all of the tanks, most of the DPS and a handful of heals… we would be able to turn what is normally sheer chaos into something functional. For the most part it worked, and in roughly two hours time we cleared all of the core. We had a few issues, like players pulling for us… which was pretty awesome because we had more than enough people to rapidfire kick them from the raid group.
The disturbing thing about the experience however was how much it felt EXACTLY like the actual thing. The experience of 25 people that know what they are doing, dragging along a bunch of people who are actively working against the strategy of the raid… that happened every single week. The problem with 40 man raiding was that almost no one had a stable of enough people to make sure it happened without fail every single week. As a result you had this grey area of folks that knew someone in the raid and could be pulled in when we were short. The truth is we were always short something, and always breaking in someone new that had never seen the content. LFR is pretty much the perfect representation of that shit storm of chaos, and to continue what the tweet said… whoever thought of making Molten Core an LFR needs a raise… and then a swift punch in the crotch. Thankfully my hope is that this will dispel the myth that 40 man raiding was somehow more epic and meaningful, because the way it feels in LFR is exactly how it felt actually living it.
Lava Puppy Mount
All of the above said, it was still a fairly enjoyable night and it was fun showing people who had never actually run Molten Core “for real” the ropes. It was shocking just how fast the various things came back. Also it was shocking just how well they replicated the feel of the original. There is some trash that happens immediately following Garr and before Geddon that has been lovingly referred to as “pain packs”. Thing is… they are still just as painful. The moment I pulled one, folks were simply not ready for the amount of torture that was about to be dished out, and both me and the other tanks simply evaporated wiping the raid. We had to adjust our strategy a bit, but it was a reminded of just how deadly that place was. There were things I remembered exactly how to handle, and then there were fights that I did not remember at all… like Shazzrah. Apparently as Rylacus said that was a fight where the melee didn’t actually engage the boss, so that is likely why I don’t remember much about it.
There were so many “greatest hits” of dumb things done in the core last night. Some jackass warlock tricked half a dozen people into peering through the crack behind Golemagg to try and see Ragnaros. Someone fell off the bridge and aggro’d Golemagg as we were clearing the trash. It was shocking just how stealthy a big damned core hound can be, because they almost always add to packs at exactly the wrong time. Fortunately however the other super common thing of getting knocked off the bridge near Lucifron by a Lava Surger didn’t actually happen. Neither did the ever so fun experience of having a lava spawn constantly duplicate to the point of overwhelming the raid. As such I am thinking that more than likely some of the really heinous effects were toned down for LFR. For example there were no longer 8 flame walker priests with Sulfuron Harbinger, but we still did the “Drag one out and kill it” method. For the most part all of the bosses went extremely smoothly, but it was the trash that took the longest amount of time… and caused the most deaths.
Death of 40 Man Raiding
This morning I am supremely thankful that I have now finished the Molten Core LFR, and that I have a very awesome Core Hound mount to show for it. I am also at the same time extremely happy that 40 man raiding is a thing of the past. I realize that Wildstar attempted to revive this concept, but I really feel that this was a massive mistake. That is just too many people to have to be responsible for as a raid leader, and too large of a pool of players to constantly have to keep refilling. While I will still solo Molten Core for fun, when I get the twinge of nostalgia… I have no desire to ever return to the way it actually felt. Same goes for any of the other 40 man content we did. I am thankful that I got to experience them when they were legitimately rough experiences, but I am also thankful that the era is long past. My hope is that 40 man LFR will let the folks who have always pined for this era to realize that it was not actually a magical time.. instead it was something we slogged through because it was all we knew. While we may have “raided uphill both ways in the snow”… I most definitely know we are better off not having to do it.