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Ol' Grumpy's first week with Patch 4.1

Hi, kids. It's me, Ol' Grumpy. You may remember me from my guide to Cataclysm instance protocols or perhaps from when I explained that you'd have to relearn some old bad habits from the previous expansion.

This time, I'm here to explain how to adjust to the new realities of patch 4.1, our two new heroic instances Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman, and our Call to Arms feature in the dungeon finder. I've noticed some weeping, some wailing, and some gnashing of teeth over these new introductions with the passing of our first week with patch 4.1, and I'm here to help.

First off, calm down already. The Call to Arms feature didn't trap you in a deserted old house outside of town and murder everyone from the camp but you and that cute guy you've always liked from the other camp. It didn't steal your dog, kick your car, or write nasty things about your ma and pa on the back of the barn, either. And while both ZA and ZG provide more challenge than the previous tier of heroics, they didn't steal your cattle or set your grave on fire, either. In short, the level of consternation and yes, even whining about this has been entirely over the top. These instances are puggable with a little luck and some work, and CTA has shortened queue times, which was its only real goal.

So what should you do? Well, being an irascible old curmudgeon, I will happily tell you what to do. Especially if it keeps you off of my lawn. My wife just planted roses! Stay off!

The panic, it is unnecessary

I've always found that perception can easily trump reality. One of the indisputable and easily collected pieces of information for this patch is queue times. Are they shorter? Almost universally, the reports are that they are. Does that mean that CTA isn't an unvarnished attempt to bribe tank capable players into tanking? Nope. it absolutely is. It's bribery. It neither addresses nor even attempt to address any of the underlying causes (whatever they are) of the tanking (and to a lesser extent, healing) shortages. My point here is twofold.
  • The situation is no worse than it was before CTA. Whatever the issues for the tank shortage might be, CTA doesn't exacerbate them in any way -- even if it doesn't fix them, either.
  • Before CTA, you were just as likely to get a bad tank as a good one as you are now. The difference is, now the tank is more likely to stay to the end so that he or she can collect the bribe.
Yes, it would be better if tanking were fun enough to get one out of five players using the LFD system to do it. That's all we would need to completely fix the tank shortage, if one player out of five in the system would sign up to tank. If that happened, we'd have instant queues for everyone. Think about that. However, for whatever reasons (we could debate them all day), the facts are clear. Even with CTA bribery, we have less than one player out of five wanting to fill that role. Keep in mind, also, that I'm not saying it would fix the issue of bad or undergeared tanks to have one player out of every five in the queue sign up to tank. We'd still have bad tanks, we'd still have inexperienced tanks, and we'd still have undergeared tanks. We'd just have instant queues.

The LFD system and the CTA feature have never promised you anything but a group. All this does is try and motivate people to fill the least-filled role in the system. That's it. The sky's not falling; dogs and cats still haven't gotten timeshares. We've seen some queue improvement, and that's about all we can really say.

New instances: Harder -- and that's fine

Back in late December and early January, pugging the previous tier of heroics was often a painful horror show of broken CC, unused CC, healers going OOM and people blaming each other as fast as they could. Over time, as gear improved and players learned to adjust to the new paradigm, stuff got easier. Well-geared players could CC less and use more AoE. This was intentional; as gear improved, we were supposed to start having a slightly easier time. The Luck of the Draw buff helped as well.

With the introduction of ZG and ZA, players are once again getting a taste of what we experienced back in those earlier times. It's not really as marked because we are, generally, better geared now, but it's useful to know your CC and learn the encounters, and there's some wiping involved in that process.

Frankly, I have never seen players more likely to fall apart over a wipe than I am seeing now. I do not understand this mentality. I'm not talking giving up on a group because it wipes six times on the trash leading up to Venoxis. I'm talking dropping a group because it wiped once on Mandokir due to a miscommunication on how the new mechanics work so that no one realized they needed to kill Ohgan when he gets rezzed, or dropping after two chains are down on phase 2 Jindo because someone got unlucky trying to kite adds. In general, taking any excuse to bail on a mostly successful run because any mistake is too much. The acrimony and blame gaming is at an all time high.

This crap needs to end. No matter where you are in current raid progression, no matter how awesome you think you are, no matter what you think of the rest of the group -- if you think the slightest mistake is grounds for a tantrum, don't queue. You're just a sucking chest wound on the run, frankly, and you should go find something else to do with your too-awesome-for-the-group self. Either put your head down and do your job, or save us the time and effort of having to deal with you.

Patch 4.1 didn't destroy the world, pugging, or group dynamics. Players might manage it, but the patch didn't.

WoW Patch 4.1 is live, and WoW Insider has all the latest news for you -- from guides of the revamped Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub to new valor point mechanics and new archaeology items.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

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