Friday, December 3, 2010

Dungeon Review: Deadmines and Ragefire Chasm

Before they nerfed dungeon XP, it was very easy to get a level or more in even a short run, so I ended up kinda out-leveling the Northern Barrens. I'm not complaining, NB was a fairly bland zone with not enough changed for me to really be gripped by it. Now that dungeon xp has been nerfed to garbage, there's even less reason to subject one's sanity to the rampant bigotry and impatience that comprise the vocal minority of the LfG system. Still, if you have a premade group, or are desperate for human contact, however abrasive, here's some words on the two lowbie dungeons.

Deadmines has the same layout, but totally retooled bosses and mechanics. It actually felt like a real instance, with bosses actually having distinct mechanics and interesting flavor. It also uses the new ability for quests to resolve in the field, which I quite like. It also works a Worgen in as the penultimate boss encounter, incorporating their existence into the early lore and helping to make them feel like a proper part of the world. Something the last Alliance race could have used, to be sure.

RFC is by contrast largely unchanged. The same bosses, same trash, and even the same end spot for the LFG tool, one boss short. The mobs have been moved around a bit, and in some places thinned, but every encounter is more or less a tank and spank. Though Oggleflint's cleave served a rude introduction to THAT particular mechanic for all DPS involved in my run.

I want to stop and say a brief word about group pulls in these early dungeons. To DPS, please realize that tanks don't have all their abilities to generate AoE threat yet, and if a skull gets put over something, it's probably for good reason. That said, holy shit druid is fucked up in this regard. These two dungeons both have unavoidable three and four mob pulls, and while Paladins get Avenger's Shield for being prot and warriors have had Thunder Clap for a good six levels, druids have NOTHING to generate AoE threat at all until swipe at 36. Thirty freaking six! How are we supposed to keep four mobs off a healer? Demoralizing Roar? I know mobs deal little enough damage at this level that one can go stray and it's no big, but it's profoundly frustrating as someone who's tanked big kid content to have a half-empty toolbox for doing this low level shit.

SO ANYWAY, both dungeons are fine, with a nod to Deadmines for interesting boss fights. Well, as interesting as level 15 can get anyway. The dungeon XP nerf went way overboard and now dungeoning is vastly inferior to soloing, so I can't really recommend doing any dungeon more than once. It's very disappointing that Blizzard effectively eliminated dungeoning as a viable alternative to questing in this way; even with a premade, it would be faster (and far less repetitive) to do solo quests. I know Blizzard wants to show off the new zones and quest flow, but come on, the option would have been nice.

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