I can't recall but I think I was tanking 2 mobs in that fight, the Paladin and one other and I had to run me and the melee out of his consecration and reflect judgements or something like that. Crap. I just burped into a conference call....
I agree with you that these fights use an old and tired mechanic. It was fun trying to work your ass off to out threat your other 2 tanks to gain threat on Gurtogg Bloodboil. Looking back to those days there is always a huge sense of nostalgia for those encounters. Yet, back in TBC there were a good number of encounters that were just plain designed better. The largest issue that designers are encumbered with is the fact that all encounters must easily be translated from one size raid to the other. A large number of Vanilla and TBC fights tend to be a lot more interesting than current and WotLK encounters mostly because of this. Gone are the times where we had 8 tanks for 40man Four Horsemen. Gone are the times where we needed 3 tanks for fights like Fathomlord, Gurtogg, Leotheras. Gone are the encounters where we had "Mage tanks" and "Warlock tanks" as well. Encounter design is just completely handcuffed by the 10 vs 25, LFR vs Normal vs Heroic modes.
As for the current and last raid tier... I was surprised we saw even one single tank fight in either instance. They wanted Baelroc to be a two tank fight. I was actually surprised there wasn't some sort of tank debuff in the Majordomo fight that required a tank change when the form changed. So far, the only single tank fight I see in Dragon Soul is Zon'ozz on LFR/Normal. While this encounter is a tad more interesting from a tank point of view. This encounter could be boring as hell or more interesting if your raid can't bounce the ball correctly.
What we need now is for Blizzard to sh*t or get off the pot with their default raid size and makeup. We had a much better end game when there was 2 separate and different raid sizes. When we had decent encounter design with interesting tank mechanics. Back when a large number of encounters required 3 tanks during TBC. Think back to the most interesting tank encounters. As you said, Hydross, Illidari Council, Kalecgos, Gurtogg, A'kar all of these had mechanics that can simply not occurr in the paradigm because of the need to have mechanics that work for 10 and 25man.
The next question is, what would you choose to add or subtract from encounter design to make it more interesting as a tank? More multi-boss encounters such as Fathomlord, Council and Horsemen. Do we want more encounters where the tank has to fight for threat? Do we want more double tank fights where there is a "Crushing Blow" mechanic such as Gruul? Do we want more fights like Mother and Marrowgar where the only real reason the other tank(s) is there is to split damage?
Then you have encounters where the tried and true methodology of "Just add adds" mechanic was used. Morogrim, LDW, Valithria, Mu'ru, a good number of Ulduar encounters... all fall into this category. These actually number on some of the more interesting and sometimes harder encounters we have seen. Mu'ru was just plain annoyingly difficult as we all know. Freya, Mimiron and Thorim are amongst the highlights of Ulduar where Razorscale and Ignis are amongst the less than stellar outings. Adds can make or break and encounter and always give the other tank something to do.
In short, the "tank swap at # debuffs" mechanic is old, but how do you solve for the current numerical paradigm without using it liberally? Gone are the days where Blizzard had the leeway to just make fun encounters and let the raid group manage their specs and roles to make things feasibly defeatable. Gone are the days where they can even make 3 and 4 tank encounters because of the limitations of the 10 man raid. So yes, we will be seeing more and more of this, because Blizzard can't get out of the corner they have so expertly painted themselves into over the last 4 years. We can complain all we want, but the reality is the reality. Unless MoP comes with yet another huge change in the raid paradigm like both of the last 2 expansions have done, we are stuck.
Yea I never really took the whole 10 vs 25 dilemna into account for encounter design, but it didn't stop Ulduar from being awesome.
And bare in mind the current tank swap method is only 2 expansions old really, when most bosses became tauntable in WoTLK, its just been extremely overused for how boring it is.
One of the most fun encounters I've had as a tank was 25man XT, I'm not sure if it was a bug or something, but one reset we had his adds constantly spawning, it made picking up pummelers and avoiding bombots fun
One thing I forgot to keep in mind is that probably a reason I"m so tired of this mechanic is because its used in every damn Wintergrasp/Baradin Hold encounter. Everyboss in BH has a tank swap, in Wintergrasp Archavon, Toravon and Koralon had a tank swap. I think Emalon tried to change it up with that add that had to picked up and burned, but people sucked at it. So I'm guessing Blizzard just wants those encounters as easy as possible for the the PvPers and incompetent.
I remember doing the High King Maulgar fight -- now -that- was a fun puzzle. We made some of the hunters and one of the mages into tanks for that fight, and the warlocks were on 'uh oh, new felhound, quick, Enslave it' duty.... everything had to go right.
I think the problem is that Flan (aka Magma Custard's Last Stand) was too hard for some of the tanks who were trained to (as I politely put it) 'stand there and look pretty.' Me? I loved tanking Flan bosses, because there were mechanics that made you stretch your abilities and also forced some of the other classes do something more than just stand there and DPS or heal. "Sorry, on Rhyolith, your tanks are going to have their hands full. DPS get to drive the boss. Three of my DPS and one healer stepped up to the plate and said, "We'll learn it."
The problem became trying to teach the tanks who didn't have all the 'want to be the multitool, use your your buttons and exercise battlefield awareness tank role' skill/desire to tank the fight. And short of kicking them completely out of the raid group, I -had- to teach them, one at a time. Leading to an Alysrazor fight where two of them could not stay up (they were standing in the lawn sprinklers) nor get their hatchlings down; finally I just gave up and said to the one who would accept it better; 'You. Go DPS. I don't care if your DPS sucks. Gimme. I'll show you how it's done.' I rebalanced the DPS to compensate for the other tank's lack of ability to kill their bird, and still munched my chicken first. On Rhyolith/10 I one tank all the adds, and I set the bar for the other tanks to follow.
I am our raid's emergency tank, until Mists hits, and then I am relegated to being either a tank, dps, or healer, not the bearcat I enjoy being. I taught our tanks Shannox by first by making them follow me around while I did the move/kite/dodge traps routine while being second on aggro, and then had them tank it with me being second on aggro so we didn't have a complete wipe if the tank died. I've picked up Riplimb when the Riplimb tank had too many stacks because he failed to drop them, and had the DPS back off until I overtook them on threat or they died, and we pulled that one out.
When Dragon Soul hit, I looked at the Zon'ozz fight and groaned. "A one tank fight where the tank has to move the boss to collide with a moving object? This will not end well." As predicted, my two 'main tanks' would let the ball get by the boss, or else face the boss towards the healers/ranged, or not face him the right way at all. And I don't understand how they can miss a GIANT PURPLE BALL heading towards them, but clearly, DS is designed mostly for them. :| I had one of my DPSers rant at me about how Zon'ozz is cake with an LFR PUG and yet we were having trouble with it on Normal, and then I ran an LFR PUG with the boss and saw the why -- the entire group ignored the purple ball, and yet it sat there until I ran up and batted at it by myself as the only ruddy person in there with raid/fight awareness, and because I was a tank, I didn't die. It -is- a tank and spank fight in the LFR.
Last note: I was in a ZA dungeon run on my mage. The tank admits he doesn't know the instance. So we give him detailed instructions. On the last boss, the tank fails to taunt the lynx during the claw fury attack he does, and the first DPS dies. Then the second claw attack nearly kills me, and I ice block. The third claw attack kills the healer, and we wipe.
The warrior says, not unkindly, "You do know where your taunt button is, right? If you don't taunt, that's fatal to whoever he's attacking."
The hunter, joking, says, "It's right next to the bubble button."
The tank replies, "...what's my bubble button?"
The next attempt, I get the first attack (I iceblock), the healer gets the second attack and dies, the warrior gets the third attack and dies.
The warrior: "Do we need to teach you how to taunt? Seriously?"
The tank mysteriously disconnects after we wipe for the third time.
This appears to be our future, where the learning curve of finding where your buttons are is mitigated by having 500% threat baked in. Where good enough healers can save you from not taunting at 3, but 7 stacks of a debuff because your OT wasn't paying attention. We are going back in the direction of the days where all the tank needed to do was stand there and AoE with impunity, and now even CC'd mobs don't pull. I kinda liked it at the beginning of Cataclysm where you had to use CC on the fly again, and practice precision tanking while protecting overzealous DPS from their own idiocy, even if the trash packs at the front of BoT/25 gave us headaches.
Weep for us all, I think. :| And maybe I will go full DPS, because if there's no challenge to tanking, there's no point, eh? :}
Part of the issue, as I see it, is.... what can really be "threatenting" to a tank anymore, without giving a healer a heart attack? Balancing out tank health against boss damage and healer strength is becoming a problem. Honestly, if we were only really dealing with PvE, it wouldn't be an issue. However, at least two of these factors have to translate across into PvP, and there is where the problem rears it's head.
Figure, a 200k tank in PvE, you could easily make it a situation where a boss hits for a greater percentage of health, and bump up heals to compensate for this accordingly. By adjusting how the tank/heal team have to cooperate to deal with an encounter, you can increase the difficulty and challenge of a fight. However, when you adjust the heals end of this equation you create a potential problem in PvP.
How do you make health, heals, and damage balance in PvP versus other players..... and have those same abilities translate directly to PvE?
If I increase tank health to deal with a PvE mechanic, I've now "unbalanced" PvP. this was one of the common gripes at the tail end of WotLK. Tanks could roll into PvP with 2 to 3x the amount of health as a cloth counterpart.
If I increase heals to compensate for larger boss damage, then I've now given healers a huge advantage in PvP, as we have currently in the state of PvP. Healers are generally able to power through ANY damage a single player can deliver. Or even two. The limit they face is mana resources, but even then..... because of PvE mechanics and healers being expected to maintain a certain amount of heals over a 6 min fight.... mana can't be set back too hard.
I've frequently seen this in PvP. I see it every day when I run my holy pally. One person is NOT enough to take me down. Two, frequently is not enough. Three is about the point I hit problems.... And I don't have ANY RESILIENCE GEAR YET.
For DPS, making it meaningful in PvE is not the real issue. Boss health is adjusted to compensate for this. The limiting factor is... again... PvP. Blizzard can't make a DPS player so powerful that they can instantly one-shot an opponent in PvP, or it becomes instantly "unfair". So, they have to scale their abilities in relation to other toons. THIS.... is the actual limiting factor.
PvP Balance limits PvE mechanics.
PvP vs PvE balance is a significant part of the problem, and as stats increase on items, it will/has become increasingly difficult for Blizzard to maintain that balance. But, Blizzard HAS to somehow balance each class and abilities of them against each other for PvP. It's how they have set the game up. This limits what they can do for boss fights and other encounter in PvE.
No one tanks in a void.........
I had my first trip into Baradin Hold today with a PUG, we did only the newest boss. It was about as fun as killing Archavon in ICC gear, as in, not. I understand they want it to be killable by most anyone, but I think it's a bit overkill. That and all mage gear dropped with no mage, GG.
@Tielyn I think this just all goes back to not only the game becoming easier but the LFR discussion we've been having a 10 page discussion about. If players aren't relentless punished in 5 man content and clearly aren't going to learn jack from that LFR stuff. Its just not possible for these "wrath babies" to learn the game properly.
The lack of discipline required for most 5 mans is quite sad, as a DPS I can charge in careless and not focus fire like in the old days with no repercussions. And honestly, as a tank I can literally start a rotation for a few seconds and then alt tab w/o losing aggro.
I really dont see Healing being much of an issue at all though in terms of threatening the tanks its a mechanics problem, a tank should know how to be light on his feet and prepared for anything, not to know he has to taunt at 3+ stacks.
Sadly, I don't think Blizz had a choice with what to do with heroic difficulty in Cata. They held the line for a while, hoping the portion of the playerbase that was struggling would L2P, but it didn't. Blizz realised that you can't make people play how you want them to. And if they don't want to play how you want them to, they might just quit.
So we're stuck with a tanking system which is pretty dumbed down from what we remember in the past.
The horse is dead, and this is way off topic, but I still strongly believe and advocate that these LFD dungeons should be called "normal" dungeons and true heroic dungeons should be available outside of the LFD just like normal/heroic raids for individuals seeking a dedicated 5 man challenge. It wouldn't even be that much more effort on their part since its the same content just tuned differently but we would all win. Make it hand out gear equal to LFR so people who don't want to raid have a separate, meaningful, and challenging progression path.
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Actually, I support this. Pretty damn good suggestion. Gearing (you know, minus exploits) in LFR is a pain in the balls. With a dedicated 5 man group doing BC-style heroic runs (flying the hell out to the instance and zoning in like a boss) would satiate me. Instance lockouts would be back but that would mean you could run each instance every day if needed instead of farming the dog shit out of 3 randoms to get FL-N level gear, which I did, and it sucked.