As I mentioned in a previous post, there has been much hand-wringing over what is now being termed as “the dance” in WoW raiding. From what I can tell, “dancing” refers to more twitchy, agility-based boss encounters that require being quick on your feet and moving in required ways at required times during the fight.
Leading the charge in this current complaint is Gevlon, the WoW blog scene’s favorite libertarian, and his post today is all about why the dance is inaccessable and wrong. Now, just to be clear, I haven’t done Firelands but I have at least seen if not killed every boss and mode that came before it, as well as watched videos of the Firelands fights and spoken with others who have done it themselves. I do not see how movement-based boss encounters are a new thing, and I do not understand how this would limit a player’s access to raids moreso than previous dependence on gear or output.
Are movement-based boss fights anything new? Gevlon thinks so: “While “fire on the ground” existed since Vanilla, it was straightforward and non-obtrusive.” Non-obtrusive fire! His argument is that previous raid bosses had elements that required movement, but they were straight-forward. I think an example of this that everyone would agree on is the fel infernals that dropped during the Prince Malchezaar fight in Karazhan. The infernals dropped out of the sky at a somewhat random pace onto a somewhat random location, but once they landed the damage could be easily avoided.
However, there are many, many examples of chaotic environmental damage before Cataclysm. This is hardly a new phenomenon. Archimonde had doomfires sweeping around the raid (not to mention the twitch mechanic of clicking Tears when tossed in the air). Felmyst’s air phase required some pretty fast and tricky movement, and anyone who failed would become mind controlled and have to be killed. Mother Shahraz in Black Temple had very little movement for tanks, but at random moments three players would be teleported and had to run like hell or they’d pretty much drop dead and take someone else with them. Heigan (in Vanilla and WotLK) is famous for being the “Dance Fight”, but Thaddius is an even better example of bosses that require moving correctly for success. (I’m purposefully not mentioning hard modes, but these mechanics have always been extremely popular there, like dodging fire on Mimiron or rotating the plague debuff for Putricide.)
“Move fast and smart” boss mechanics are nothing new.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s be kind and say that while this has always been around, it’s more prevalent in Firelands than ever before. Would this in fact be more limiting to casual raid accessability than previous tiers? Gevlon certainly thinks so, going so far as to say that “Brutallus was more casual friendly than Alysrazor.” The reason given for this is that output based bosses like Brutallus allow a completely new person the opportunity to succeed their first time in the fight due to work done outside of the raid (collecting gear and practicing rotations, basically).
Would someone brand new to the zone be able to survive and contribute to a Brutallus kill? To be fair, Brutallus was the pinnacle of DPS race bosses in his day but even he had a movement/awareness component from the Burn debuff that could be spread to surrounding players. I don’t think it’s at all reasonable to assume that a raider who has a problem with movement and twitch play would easily be able to note if they or someone around them had Burn and quickly move appropriately.
It’s also worth noting that the only way to contribute to Brutallus as DPS was to have top-of-the-line raid gear from previous encounters, which was hardly casual friendly back in TBC days. I think everyone who played WoW then and now would agree that it’s much easier to gear up a character now, whether they think that’s a good thing or not.
This is all hypothetical though, so again for the sake of argument let’s pretend that there are more movement requirements in Firelands bosses, and someone new to the fight is more likely to die the first time they see a current fight than they would in the bad old days. My response to that is: so what? The expectation here seems to be that someone completely new to a boss should be able to walk into the fight and ace it 100% of the time. A newbie died the first time they saw a fight? Oh no! A brand new tank had to try a few times before they mastered the movement associated with a boss? What?! That’s 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back!
Why should a player expect to be awesome at a fight they’ve never seen? Grinding badges for gear until your fingers fall off is acceptable raid behavior, but actually practising the fight is, apparently, not.
Movement and fire “dancing” is not new to Cataclysm. Not having to move is not the final absolute arbiter over whether a new raider survives a fight or not. And even if it was — I don’t really see why it’s a problem. Chill out, take a deep breath, let the new guy learn the fight, and move it, move it.