Icecrown, the Final Goal

Here it is folks, the big baddie himself. It’s Tuesday, I’m downloading the patch right now, the servers will be up in 4 hours or so for me, and then it will be officially the largest raid day of the expansion. How many people in the world will unlock Icecrown hard modes in 10man and 25man TONIGHT? Things are going to start getting really busy for all the raiders out there and I’m excited. I have to say that I’m very very glad that ICC is using the Ulduar route for hard modes rather than the ICC one, I don’t know if I could stand to run it twice in a week since it is bigger than ToC. It’s already bad enough that I’m demotivated on 10man days because the fights do feel “easier” to me. As a tank, I have been very disappointed in my responsibilities in in Icecrown, so here is hoping Dreamwalker, Sindragossa, and the Lich King will make me do something more interesting than stand there waiting for my turn to taunt the boss or else we wipe. It really does feel to me like DPS gets to have all the fun in ICC fights.
Aside from the way he looks, Marrowgar is not terribly interesting for either a tank or a DPS. The Deathwhisper encounter was at least amusing for me because I got to round up multiple targets, but the boss itself was just boring tank’n’spank. On the gunship it’s fun when I get to fire the guns, but even when I get to jump over to the other ship to tank Muradin it’s still really basic. Saurfang makes me want to go to sleep (though I do have to occasionally stop using consecrate for about 10s every time the adds spawn), same thing with Festergut (though I’ll occasionally have to run somewhere with the spore over my head). I’ve never actually tanked Rotface, but it doesn’t look that complicated. I suppose I should be thankful I have the slime job because at least I get to move around, but it’s gotten pretty old, pretty quick, but maybe that’s just because my raid seems to have really short tempers regarding our constantly messy kills. Putricide is ok I guess. I’ve never been the Abomination, but I’ve warmed up to vehicle fights considerably since the beginning of Wrath, so it might be fun if I ever get to do it. As simplistic as it is, I have to admit I do actually like moving Putricide all over the place. The blood princes encounter, while the most busy encounter so far, is still a relatively boring one to tank, especially if you’re on the Flame-sphere guy. At least the vortex tank has to move occasionally. Blood queen, like Saurfang, is a fight I go to sleep on. Sure I have to do things like put sacred shield on myself so the holy paladin can put it on a DPS who has a much larger chance of dying than I do and I have to minimize damage I do to my OT by stacking irresponsible amounts of armor and using DivSac and HoS and other CDs to help keep the raid up, but I’m still basically just standing there contributing my meager DPS to what feels like too-tight a hard enrage timer for a normal mode encounter. So I’m hoping for a something a little more challenging, personally, out of the last three fights.
Hard modes are where I hope the real interesting mechanics will rear their head. I just hope they involve more than “Your DPS needs to hit harder and avoid more stuff and your healers need to heal bigger.” In my opinion, the only interesting hard mode fights for tanks consist of Hodir (back when you had to kite him to beams of light and out of snowfalls), Freya (in 10man you had to solotank everything), and Mimiron (have fun kiting fire while picking up adds and being tractor-beamed). Anub’arak only counts for me on 10man because you have to pick the adds up yourself. If you’re solotanking adds in 25man you just have to stand there and let the 4 of them come to you, then you just have to “not die”, hardly interesting or challenging if you’ve actually had the lucky or forethought to have built a passively unhittable set. I realize that the majority of the “challenge” of tanking is in the optimal preparation for fights because we have so many more customization options than DPS or healers do because they only have to worry about “how big can I get it” and “how long can I keep it up” which is why they all universally fall for spam-email viruses. I guess I’m just feeling bored of theorycrafting and preparation because you only need to do it once. Once you’ve got the gear you need and you’ve crunched the numbers, your preparation responsibility is over, but there is very little challenge (in my opinion) in the actual live execution of our jobs. I wonder if I could actually design an encounter that could be challenging for tanks that would, at the same time, not be challenging for DPS or healers, or have the tank challenge trivialized or be able to be worked around by the healers or the DPS negating the point of the encounter. If all “tank check” fights ever really amount to is “do you have the gear” or “taunt at this precise moment or it’ll be a wipe” it feels far more out of my control than most DPS-checks where gear is important but truly skilled players somehow always get to add an extra 1k to their numbers. Maybe I’m just jealous my prot-DPS never goes to 11.
Season 8 is also starting, for those of you who like that sort of thing, but even though I’m rather strongly anti-pvp, I have to mention this: the Paladin season 8 gear is the best looking piece of Paladin-only armor since Tier2. All the other season 8 gear only looks “not bad” at best to me. Warlocks, once again, get their requisite bad-ass helm, but the orange doesn’t do a thing for me. Most of the sets just look bland and uninspiring, but A SHINING WHITE SUIT OF ARMOR WITH GOLD TRIM just slaps you in the face with its awesomeness. For once I can actually identify with Jong and can’t wait to tear my shirt off and be like “WUTNAO!!” wearing something like that. It’s like Blizzard finally decided, “Well, it’s been 8 tiers of content since the Judgement Armor, I guess we can finally give Paladins something nice to wear again.” Which, if they hold to form, means the next time we’re gonna get something cool will be Tier18 sometime in post-cataclysm. Maybe I’ll finally have some screenshots up by then…

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