I've killed Skadi the Ruthless in WoW's Utgarde Pinnacle a few times, but never quite like the way we pulled it off in a random dungeon run this past weekend.
Skadi: Then and Now
If you're in a PUG with a tank who has not done the fight before, it typically goes something like the following:
- Tank gathers up the horde of flunkies, while the healer keeps him up.
- One or more DPS players grab harpoons from the fallen flunkies, loads them in the harpoon launcher, and uses them to kill the drake that the boss is flying on.
- The boss lands on the ground with a completely clean aggro table, aggros on the healer due to healing threat, and kills them before the tank figures out what's going on.
Step three results in a wipe, and I've had PUG HUP runs wipe repeatedly and give up after failing to get this particular stage of the fight under control. People even came up with a way to abuse the fight respawn mechanics in order to skip directly to the transition. Or rather, step three resulted in a wipe a year ago. This past weekend, the fight proceeded as follows:
- The dead healer was a priest, and therefore gets to keep healing as a ghost for 10ish seconds after his demise.
- The tank was raid geared, and able to stay alive for a while with emergency cooldowns even after the heals stopped.
- DPS has tripled over the last year, primarily due to massive gear inflation. Even the tank is now doing as much DPS as the DPS used to do a year ago. The boss' health, however, has remained constant (somewhere in the mid-400K range).
Between the decreased total burn time to kill the boss, and the increased amount of time we were able to stay up without a healer, this previously sure wipe turned into a win. Indeed, I've had a fair number of healer-less victories in PUGs of late.
The point of the entry level game?
The point of having all this gear inflation in the first place is to help new players get up to par to enter the raid game. Unfortunately, it's having a serious negative effect on the competence with which players approach dungeons (which were already AOE-fests with no crowd control a year ago).
The net result is that the few dungeons that are still vaguely difficult (notably Halls of Reflection) are very difficult to complete in a PUG. Players come in expecting to not be able to wipe no matter how badly they screw things up, and this does them a disservice in preparing them for situations where performance actually matters. I didn't have problems beating HOR the week it came out, and I came back months later to find that Blizzard had raised the gear requirements for the zone. Even with the higher (though easily met, thanks to more gear inflation) standard, it is still very difficult to get a group that is prepared to deal with a dungeon that makes them work.
Is this really doing the raid game any favors? It certainly isn't improving the quality of the experience for players who aren't looking to go beyond 5-man content.