Monday, April 30, 2007

Karazhan: The roadblock to modern raiding

Karazhan is the first raid zone in the new expansion and actually requires very little effort to get attuned. You simply talk to the NPC outside the tower and then complete some level 70 instances. The last part of the attunement requires a succesful Black Morass run but that isn't as hard as it used to be for most players. The reason Karazhan is a roadblock is not because of the attunement or the difficulty of its bosses but instead with the fact that its the first raid instance in the new expansion.

The difference between the gear requirement for normal level 70 dungeons versus the first 25 man raids is simply too great. Guilds have to gear up in Karazhan if they wish to advanced to any of the large raiding content. However, since Karazhan is a 10 man raid with a week reset timer it slows down the gearing process unless multiple raids are formed. This is impractical for the most part though since the top players in a guild tend to stay together for a single raid. Leftover players often form 2nd or even 3rd raids but often have problems clearing anything after the Huntsman due to class balance.

Thus a lot of guilds have fractured because of the gear imbalance caused by trying to organize multiple teams. In a perfect world a guild would rotate well geared players among the different raid teams so that all of them could finish the zone. However, the varying class balance requirements for each boss in Karazhan makes rotating people a nightmare. Its been suggested that Karazhan be moved to a three day timer like Zulgurub but that would cause even more problems. The reset timers for each team wouldn't necessarily be on the same day and would cause even more of a headache.

Some other factors also lead to Karazhan being a bad "first" raid zone for the Burning Crudsade:

1) Bosses that require unique class balances for an average guild to be able to beat.
example: Range DPS for the Maiden, Melee Interrupters for the Shade

2) A couple areas of fast spawning trash before a hard boss.
example: large groups of undead before Monroes, mana feeders before the Shade

3) Loot often set for primary raid specs only
examples: Fury Warriors, Retribution/Protection Paladins. DPS shamans and Hunters have very little loot in Kara.

A better introduction to raiding would have been to make a slightly easier zone for 25 people as the first raid zone. At the moment as soon as a guild wants to raid in TBC they have to split themselves up into separate teams for Karazhan and farm for a month. This really hurts some of the camaraderie of the guild especially if the "A Team" has a lot more success then the others. An easy 25 man encounter before Karazhan would provide a nice weekly event where the entire guild got to participate in a victory. It would also help distribute the loot out better since multiple Karazhan teams would be participating.


Ian said...

Hear hear.

I'm an ass't guild leader in a raiding guild that used to run 40 mans nearly every night of the week, along with 20 mans later in the evening.

We're trying to form two Karazhan teams now, but every time anyone has a Real Life issue, or leaves the guild, or simply just can't be on, we're screwed.

The worst part is all the changes. So many of our raiders are used to the static, old-school fights like Chromaggus where little or no movement and improvisation is required, but now even the trash mobs require thinking on the fly, changing healing/CC assignments, and overlapping roles.

No one is happy with the situation. The people getting into Kara are feeling guilty, the people who aren't feel left out, and the small size of Karazhan means a single unprepared or unskilled raid member means little or no progress.

Bill said...

Completely agree.

Our guild is running 3-4 Karazhan groups a week, most quite successfully.

The problem is that we recruited into the guild to fill out some of those raids, so now we will have a significant excess of certain classes when it comes to 25 man time.

I warned folk to not based recruiting on multiple Karazhan group requirements, but was overruled.

Massive drama is incoming in the next couple weeks as we head to Serpentshrine for the first time and plenty of folks who've had their heads in the sand wake up and realize they're out of luck, pretty much permanently, from now on.

Relmstein said...

Hopefully we'll see the addition of Zul'aman pretty soon which is should be a 10 man instance.

Mindkiller said...

I see a lot of people complaining about Karazhan, yet no one has hit on why it was made the way it is.


Blizzard does not want anyone to blast through content faster then they can make it. As to it being a road bloak...yeah thats the point. They dropped the ball on raid instances this time around so they could cram out multiple 5 man instances....comon: 3-4 five man instances in 4 zones. Nice yeah but thats where they obviously focused their energies this time around. Perhaps they plan on adding bigger raid instances all the way up to the next exp.
Placign Karazhan in front of us with all its little annoyances is their way of steming the flow of players burning through the game before the next roadblock is ready.

Maybe some day I'll take my 70 Rogue to Karazhan....someday.

Yet Another NE said...

Our guild had the whole "A-Team" thing going.

I understand the reasoning behind putting some of your best players on a team to learn new content.

But it really hurt morale. And don't believe for a second that the A-team members who have now grown old of going to Karazhan are going to help the other teams.

Now instead of a guild forging ahead into Serpentshrine Cavern together, we have 10 raiders who wonder why no one shows up for Gruul and Magtheridon raids.

The remaining teams are finally starting to see some success in Karazhan on their own. And I'm sure something can be said for learning things and building up self-esteem that way.

But I can only imagine how it would have been different only if they had simply spread around the leadership.

One team consisting of 3 of the raid leaders and most of the class leaders? That made no sense to me.

Hellfire said...

"The people getting into Kara are feeling guilty"

Try being a shaman in a guild with literally 15 other 60 shamans and never missing BWL because you were the only one who actually knew what "overheal" and "healing gear" was.

But yea, the whole "A-Team" thing can be both good and bad. That's why I'm maxing out the guild that Im recruiting right now at 20, until we get into 25s, when we will pick up 10 more.

Anonymous said...

The entry to 25 man is too high.

I've been attuned for Kara for 3 months. Never been inside the instance. If not going to Kara means I won't make it into Black Temple then I'll be turning off WoW sooner than later.

Kaziel said...

In a way, I'm thankful my guild is taking it slow. Since I spend a good portion of my day checking out various blogs, I already have a good idea of potential pitfalls that could hit us when we step into Karazhan, and go beyond.

But still, the decision to make the first and manadatory raid instance a 10 man was a bad move, IMO. I don't think making Karazhan second would have been a better option, because for guilds that just don't have the numbers, having the first raid zone be available to them is a boon. Instead, I think the best option would to have two separate raid instances of equal "level", with both being initial zone to get used to raiding in this expansion. This way you aren't forced to split up your group to raid right from the start, potentially creating an A-Team, a B-Team and potentially a C-Team, but you don't have to have 25+ people to raid.

Another thought would have been, instead of 25 people and 10, they could have done 25 and 12, 30 and 15, or 20 and 10 people.

Heartless_ said...

The only valid complaint in all of this Kara complaining is that it is a bottle neck for raiding guilds in TBC's raid progression.

Guess what, raiding guilds are a minority. More often than not, they will do whatever it takes to progress. If it wasn't Kara slowing them down, it would be something else (like keying).

Don't get me wrong, as I am not saying this isn't a legitimate problem in raid progression. But in the grand scheme of WoW, it is a very minor issue affecting very few players.

If you ask me, Blizzard did the right thing in concentrating two aspects into one instance.

Kara serves as a step in raid progression, but equally serves as a new age ZG for the weekend warrior to pick up a few epics. Bravo in my book, but then again I've never been a fan of making raiding any easier for raiding guilds.

Marco said...

It takes a lot more organization in the guild and in the raids to get throguh karazhan, and yes, it's a bottleneck. We've had trouble with our guild getting the whole thing going, and I know many other guilds do.

However, if you can't get 25 man in two teams doing kara on a weekly basis, there's no way you can step up to Gruul and later on, magtheridon. I see people complaining that you can't just stand and shoot, why the hell is that a bad thing? Blizzard upped the intensity of the bosses, making it so much more rewarding when you down them and so much more fun to do, and you complain about that? I don't get that.

It took us several months, but we're steaming up with a third team, now clearing Gruul weekly and recently had our first kills on Void Reaver and Magtheridon. And let me tell you, because it is so difficult, not just the raid itself but the whole organization, it gets so much more rewarding when you down new bosses. Blizzard did an excellent job on Karazhan and I still love going there.

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