I’m starting to farm Siege of Orgrimmar at the LFR and somewhat at the Flex level. Having now done all the bosses, I wanted to delve into some thoughts on the Siege of Orgrimmar, including what was good, bad, rating the fights from difficulty to fun.
First, how does Siege of Orgrimmar compare in this expansion to the rest of the raids? Like everything, I felt that Siege of Orgrimmar was a real mix bad. There are some encounters that feel faceroll while others you want to treat the designers the same way Jack Torrance treated Danny Torrance in giving them some good, old correction choke. Quite frankly, I felt that the Siege of Orgrimmar really was out of place compared to the development of the rest of Mist of Pandaria. The game was supposed to teach the importance of why one fights in the world and in some way it reminded me of the end of Lord of the Rings (particularly Return of the King) where Frodo and the other three hobbits returned to the Shire and found themselves confronting Sauruman and Grimmer Wormtongue. In the case of the Horde, they were similar in some respects as they had just finished defeating the Thunder King, Lei Shen, only to find that Garrosh Hellscream had gone powermad and usurped their homeland, thus making them fight back.
Emotionally, I felt that the lead up to Garrosh as the ultimate bad guy really didn’t exist. Sure, he’s an asshole but I don’t think there’s a lot of great motivation on the horde’s side as an individual horde member to really despite Garrosh outside of the faction leaders conspiring with you to hate on him. From the alliance’s point of view, the situation really doesn’t have much oomph either since they naturally despise the horde and it would probably behoove them in watching the internal conflict from a safe distance. You did have the little video of the panda guy getting impaled but even that lacks any emotional prowess to provoke on into going after Garrosh when you look at the lead up. As I mentioned in a previous blog, your only real motivation is for loot.
Once you get inside the actual raid, I think the real emotional development begins. The first encounter that made me feel any sentiment of detest for Garrosh was the Protectors encounter. Despite how the Protectors were the ones responsible for handing players daily quests, I never really identified with them. Probably the only member I recalled was He because of the stealth quest you occasionally do with him. However, I think when you start assaulting Rook and he cries out “Help!” in a hapless manner, I felt pangs of guilt and sadness. Sun also is a character that had her moments of grief with the encounter in Townlonge Steppes where she becomes increasingly paranoid and tragic. Their temperament can directly be contributed to Garrosh’s destruction of the Vale.
Then after defeating the Sha of Pride you return to Durotar in an attempt to retake Orgrimmar. Your first major encounter is with Galakras, whom you have a preview of when you’re outside the instance of Orgrimmar. Probably, one of the significant aspects of this encounter is that Warlord Zaela makes a cameo riding her mount before she eventually gets knocked off. This is interesting to me as she was your ally during Cataclysm in aligning the Dragonmaw Clan. While supposedly she doesn’t die, the fact that you do in some way battle her demonstrates how Garrosh has manipulated your previous allies as a horde member into fighting you.
The Dark Shaman encounter is another cameo for people who quested in Swamp of Sorrows or trained as a shaman. While they probably will serve for little memory for most players, the fact that they returned as key bosses in Siege of Orgrimmar does provide more impact for some horde members. Of course, the real meat of the story is General Nazgrim, whom many players have quested along side and grew found of throughout a few expansions. His memorable “Thrall’s balls!” comment gave chuckles to numerous players. So being forced to down one of the more recent likeable prominent NPCs is somewhat heartbreaking.
Probably, the only other aspect that I found a little disheartening was seeing Kovok as a mini encounter you have to defeat prior to the Klaxxi. I suppose the nurturing quest line and the occasional daily made the bug somewhat loveable. Overall, I think part of what was going on in this expansion that they attempted to teach was how things you get attached to never stay around forever. That’s kinda Buddhist in philosophy if you want to read anything deeply into this expansion (which I wouldn’t but it is supposedly an Asian themed story). Still after defeating Garrosh and completing the legendary quest, you can somewhat see part of what the makers tried to get at; the innkeeper where Wrathion is residing pretty much unveils the entire point where he discusses how the horde and alliance are made stronger because of each other. But I’ll delve into that part towards the end.
Next, I want to look at my breakdown of encounters in terms of what I liked/disliked and their rating. First, I want to go into what I felt was the least challenging to most challenging as a list. I’ll start with the LFR version.
- Immerseus – Right now, most people hate this encounter because it’s annoying and boring. If anything, it’s just an encounter to warm you up. There really isn’t anything challenging nor difficult about this encounter as long as healers know what to do and people stay spread around the room, possibly burning personal defense cooldowns and/or stunning/slowing the adds that spawn in the intermission phases.
- Iron Juggernaut – Any encounter where the boss practically is stationary is honestly a no-brainer. The most difficult thing about this encounter is on the tanks’ side where they must position the boss correctly and help in disarming the bombs. But outside of occasionally moving away from stuff on the ground and kiting the laser, this encounter is a cake walk.
- Malkorok – Because of the massive nerf in LFR, this encounter is really easy. As I mentioned, any boss encounter where a boss mostly is stationary is a no-brainer. Honestly, I was somewhat sad at how badly they nerfed this encounter compared to flex (and certainly other modes) because it’s good practice trying to avoid things and making sure you’re cleaning up the purple p0ols. But most of the mechanics can be ignored here, especially the breath part. That practically trivializes the encounter down to nothing.
- Spoils of Pandaria – Since they nerfed this encounter along with enforcing a 5 people-to-start policy, this encounter pretty much is a cake walk. Probably the only aspect that demonstrates any level of difficulty is the bomb part. Beyond that you just open boxes, blow cooldowns on the big adds and nuke anything else with AoE. Sadly, the trash leading up to this encounter is far more difficult.
- Klaxxi – What should be one of the most difficult encounters in reality is one of the easiest compared to earlier encounters at the LFR level. Outside of dealing with the occasional adds, most of this encounter is just focusing on a single boss and burning him. Sure, you need to go through 9 separate bosses but there isn’t any significant mechanics to cause serious issues at the LFR level.
- Thok – Since the phase transition for LFR is predetermined rather than dependent upon the raid’s health and his speed not having any increase, this encounter is quite simple. The hardest part is just kiting him and making sure that you survive during the fire phase. And of course the trash leading to this encounter is far more difficult than the encounter itself.
- Norushen – I ranked this encounter far higher than the others because of how people still manage to wipe. The main aspect they changed up was predetermining the tests, which makes this encounter doable in LFR as the coordination otherwise would just go to hell quickly. Most times the issues in LFR are getting nuked by the beam, people not absorbing the corruption and adds overwhelming the group.
- Siegecraft Blackfuse – Because of its recentness, this encounter still can be challenging, but it really depends on the tanks. I noticed that you could theoretically just avoid all the mechanics in LFR and just burn right through him. The only challenges I found were dealing with the bomb adds and staying away from the missiles. And of course, the trash is more difficult than the boss.
- Fallen Protectors – At the LFR level, this encounter can be a pain. It’s one of the least nerfed encounters, which makes it fairly close to my experience in flex. The mechanics all are there where the only major change is putting the marker on the tank. While I’ve wiped less and less recently, there’s a lot of room for error still and I find myself explaining the encounter quite often since people die to simple things.
- Galakras – I feel that this encounter is just chaotic with too much going on. It’s not that the mechanics themselves are hard but it’s plain messy. For an LFR encounter this one can be a little overwhelming in the scheme of things.
- Sha of Pride – If there’s one early encounter that causes wipes, it’s this one. Sha of Fear was such a horribly boring encounter that I feel they decided to remedy that by introducing a highly spruced up version for that fight. This fight is pretty simple at Flex but for LFR, it’s a lot for most people to handle. This encounter represents the theme of personal responsibility that seems to be prominent in Mist of Pandaria; but that aspect has not boded well. People not going to prisons, moving from self reflection, building up too much pride, not stacking during Gift of the Titans, etc. make this fight a nightmare in LFR. And the trash leading up to this encounter sucks horribly.
- Dark Shamans – This fight will go down as an overall very difficult fight. The only mitigating aspect is if you’re lucky enough to have three tanks. This encounter has a lot going on and even with the three tanking strategy, this encounter can still be a reasonable challenge. The hardest part about this encounter is the amount of stuff going out. Even though this is a situation of just “avoid stuff”, the amount of stuff that you need to avoid is ridiculous. In a 25 man situation, clustering up both bosses makes this encounter really hard especially for an LFR group. And once again the trash leading to this encounter is just super annoying.
- General Nazgrim – Probably, one of the most difficult bosses for LFR groups due to the sheer amount of the “personal responsibility” mechanics in this fight. Nazgrim is a great closer but probably overwhelming for most groups as just the simplest aspect such as getting away from the shockwaves. This fight gets really hairy fast with all the add management that must be done. However, it definitely is up there when it comes to bosses that are near impossible for many groups to do, even with determination stacks.
- Garrosh Hellscream – Without a doubt, this is the most difficult boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. Befittingly too. Certainly, the fight is more epic and meets the expectations that Deathwing did not. On the other hand, the fight is complex to the point where it might be a tad too hard for LFR groups. The first phase in particular is probably where most groups will wipe because of the sheer number of adds and dealing with avoidance.
Now, I want to rank the fights in order of Flex difficulty thus far.
- Immerseus – This is really way too easy of a fight. You can one shot it with a decent group. The only thing that ever gave us trouble was people accidentally pulling the boss.
- Iron Juggernaut – I really feel that this boss is just a loot boss. In flex, it’s easier to control the positioning reliably with a group that has experienced this encounter on numerous occasions. Once you have the position correct, the rest of the encounter is just about avoidance and dealing with the bombs.
- Fallen Protectors – The difficulty of this encounter shoots down dramatically in flex. As long as people communicate which adds to focus on then the only remaining issue is nuking them down simultaneously. Maybe the only other mechanic is panicking once you get targeted as just placing the mark on the tank in a non-LFR situation is not a good idea at all.
- Sha of Pride – On Flex, I find this encounter to be one of the funnest. Just avoiding things on the ground, grabbing the add in the back, AoEing the smaller adds and dealing with prisons along with the personal responsibility aspects make this a very good fight.
- Norushen – I ranked this encounter slightly higher than the Sha of Pride just because of how the tests phase is no longer random. In some ways, that makes the encounter more difficult because you need to rely on good communication to ensure that people are clearing their stacks at appropriate times. Beyond that aspect, it’s not a bad encounter. It can get chaotic at the end once the adds start spawning and dealing with the enrage timer but that’s about it.
- Spoils of Pandaria – The hardest part about this fight on Flex is learning about the order of the boxes. Once your group has a good groove then this fight’s difficulty level drops tremendously. Of course, the bombs still present problems but by this point most people should understand where to place them.
- Malkorok – Once you pass LFR, this fight becomes a LOT more unforgiving. The real problem is with the breath. So making sure that people know where not to stand is key. Also, the purple pools become a much larger issue. I see (and do myself) a lot of redundancy when it comes to going for the pools.
- General Nazgrim – In Flex, this encounter does become simpler because people are better at dealing with avoiding rage generation, particularly during defensive stance and his shockwave. What really increases in difficulty is the add management parts, especially towards the end as the enrage timer gets closer. So there’s quite a bit of tension at the conclusion of the fight.
- Siegecrafter Blackfuse – This encounter is more reliable in flex. I didn’t find it to be difficult at all as a melee. But I think for ranged it might have more problems. That’s something I’m looking forward to trying though.
- Galakras – I honestly find this fight to be a fairly good challenge. It’s a really chaotic fight in that you’re dealing with barrages of adds. Even with the add priority system, you can mess up since everyone could easily just focus on a single correct add but ignoring others. In turn, that might leave other fairly important adds up while people waste time getting to that one add. And because things happen so quickly, it’s hard to switch at times with the various adds swarming down.
- Klaxxi – Most of this fight’s difficulty is the add priority. Having someone call out the correct add and everyone focusing on the right one can get tiring quickly. It’s not an impossible fight but the momentum builds up and the encounter is very dynamic. Considering that the dungeon journal is loaded for this encounter, it’s impossible to really give a clear explanation without going insane (and hoarse).
- Thok – This encounter is probably uselessly frustrating. It’s probably the most annoying encounter more than anything. I feel it doesn’t even belong. The spell interrupts, the overly huge boss you can’t see, the lack of perspective in the room and the last phase are all things that make me want to hurt kittens. I would’ve ranked it higher in terms of difficulty but again that’s more of my bias than reality.
- Dark Shamans – I rank this as possibly the hardest encounter besides Garrosh in the Siege of Orgrimmar. Until the three tanking strategy was made popular, this encounter was a huge pain in the ass. I would say that as your group gets smaller, this encounter gets more challenging. Sure, the health and damage output of the bosses is reduced but overall this encounter can be hair pulling, especially if you’re a melee. There’s just so much to avoid and things get out of hand very quickly.
- Garrosh Hellscream – Admittedly, I have not yet downed this boss in flex but I did get him to 6% thus far. There’s a lot to learn about this fight and it’s appropriately unforgiving. Learning your way through each phase felt like real progression compared to most of the other encounters. But certainly they made this encounter something where every little bit counts. Something as simple as leaving an add up can easily wipe the group.
So that’s my current evaluation in terms of difficulty. Next, I want to talk about my overall enjoying of the fights as ranked:
- Sha of Pride – Honestly, this is my absolute favorite encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar. It feels well balanced and thought out. You don’t really feel bored and you’re forced to keep on your toes the entire time.
- Malkorok – I have a poor short term memory but the way this encounter is structured is a mini game. Essentially, the best way to describe this fight is World of Warcraft’s version of Simon Says. It’s not difficult but you need a sense of perspective to ensure that you’re positioned in the correct spot to avoid the breath. As you do this encounter more and more, the real challenge is to not rely on the tank for positioning once the breath goes out, but having your own system in place (like the helper add on) to make sure you’re always in the correct spot.
- Fallen Protectors – This is a pretty good encounter. I really love how this encounter changes so much for DoT based classes like a shadow priest or balance druid. I think this is one of the few encounters that gives me an emotional charge each time I do it just in hearing Rook cry out for help and listening to Sun’s despair. It fits so well with everything that’s been done so far.
- Dark Shamans – As much as I rank this fight as being tough on both LFR and Flex, the truth is that I think this is an incredible encounter. I really wish that this encounter was placed towards the end since it’s a real challenge and blends in so well with what’s going on in Orgrimmar and the general Siege. The mechanics are not exotic by far compared to say Amber Shaper or the ridiculous Dark Animous. Instead, they stick with the basics of get out of shit but they multiple that part a millionfold. There’s just so many things to watch out for and how you quickly run out of space. The encounter never feels dumb and you kinda wish that a Dark Shaman could be made into a class after doing this fight.
- General Nazgrim – This fight should’ve been second to last rather than the stupid Klaxxi encounter. What more appropriate manner of showing such a great and memorable figure than to make him the last bastion of protection before Garrosh? This fight is another fairly simple mechanics encounter of get out of shit and focus on adds. But you need to be aware of his rage build up. The tightening towards the end where you just are forced to burn the boss while in defensive stance shows how you end up making a split second decision to sacrifice everything just to nuke him down. It’s a real thriller. I do think that the add part gets out of control, but his character received a very suitable fight that made you appreciate him as both a character and a boss.
- Garrosh Hellscream – I haven’t yet beaten this on flex but the lead up and everything that goes on is really epic. It’s definitely one of the best encounters done with Garrosh slowly transforming into an enhanced being. You don’t feel plagued by the issues of fighting pimples and finger nails for an end-of-the-expansion encounter compared to Death Wing. Instead, you really get an epic fight that requires everyone to be on their feet. You can’t just get away with determination in LFR neither so people who just want to sit around AFK won’t stand a chance for a second here.
- Iron Juggernaut – I think that this is a loot boss. It’s probably one of the more relaxing bosses with some movement and some personal responsibility mechanics. But it is mostly a healing/tank intensive encounter more than anything. So as a permanent DPS player, I really don’t have a lot to say about this boss.
- Siegecrafter Blackfuse – I really think this encounter should’ve been far earlier in the Siege, probably after Iron Juggernaut. I do hear that on Heroic this encounter becomes rather ridiculous. But at least for LFR and Flex, I didn’t find much special (besides really annoying trash).
- Norushen – I found this encounter to be pretty pointless. It’s as if they wanted to retain part of the feeling in Pandaria of having a sha-like being leading up to the Sha of Pride encounter. But in the grand scheme of things this encounter had no place being here. Maybe they should’ve put this in Throne of Thunder instead. Either way, the mechanics aren’t too bad but I dislike how they nerf your damage heavily until you become uncorrupted.
- Spoils of Pandaria – This encounter might as well be called Loot Ship 3.0. My group did have some problems initially but that was in relation to figuring out a good order for opening the boxes. But once the basic mechanics are seen, it’s really not a big deal. If anything this to me was a garbage boss in that you just had a collection of everything you’ve seen in Pandaria in one spot. But I don’t see from a story point of view why this even was worth being part of the encounters.
- Immerseus – The current most hated boss because it’s boring. Truthfully, I have no idea why it’s around. This boss really serves no purpose and just feels horribly out of place.
- Klaxxi – Oh man, where to start on this encounter? I think someone described it best when they mentioned that the dungeon journal’s insane length shows you what a fucked up encounter this is. And that’s the reality. A fight shouldn’t be that complex when it comes to describing it. There’s just too many things going on. Not complex things but just too many. The thing that makes it bad for me is that I really feel this has no place being the encounter just before Garrosh. I think it should’ve been placed far earlier like near the Sha of Pride to demonstrate how the Klaxxi had ties to both the Pandaren and the old gods. Even if this encounter is really tough for heroic, the fact that guys like General Nazgrim got passed up in favor of a bunch of bugs really ruins the emotional impact of these fights. Maybe even worse for me is that they pulled the trigger on the Klaxxi’s storyline way too early. I think it would’ve been far better to keep them away as raid bosses until we had a better idea of what the whole “Old Guys” and “Your Gods are not your gods” mean.
- Galakras – I was really looking forward to this encounter. It looked like a true Warcraft encounter. You’re coming in, finding the city under siege and you have to fight through waves of your fellow horde orcs to get through. Then you get cannons to shoot down dragons and you fight mini bosses. There’s a lot of cool storyline action. But in execution, this fight sucks. It’s just a confusing, chaotic gauntlet with way too much going on. I don’t really care for gauntlet style fights where you get tons and tons of adds. I would’ve preferred something more like the add fight just before the first boss in Ulduar; that to me was a real siege. This fight felt more like someone with bad gas sitting front of you on a bus who can’t stop farting. Then towards the end the person shits in his pants uncontrollably.
- Thok – I know I’m not alone in hating this encounter. It’s absolutely one of the most pointless encounters around. It feels like Oondasta 2.0 except even more annoying. I’m certainly not looking forward to doing this encounter on my spellcasters. I think the only class that might find this encounter to be somewhat enjoyable is the hunter. Beyond that fuck this fight. The main reason I hate this encounter so much is that I hate encounters where you get chased. And there’s a lot of that in this game like the Fel Reaver, the Storm Giant, etc. Usually, those things you can easily avoid by simply not venturing in those areas for questing. Here, you just have to push your way through. More than that, there’s nothing really added for me in terms of emotional impact and story lines outside of the possibility that Garrosh likes big bad monsters as pets. But so what? I didn’t feel like I grew or learned “why I fight” by doing this encounter.
Overall, I think the raid itself is a real mixed bag. I think it’s just too big and takes too long. They really should’ve shaved down many of the encounters and had a better order for them. There’s too many elements that feel out of place and that some encounters are far more difficult than others but not lined up well in terms of a steady curve of difficulty. There are a few situations where I felt anger towards Garrosh in the Siege from the encounters, but nothing where that detestation increased on a steady level. Instead, he becomes a background figure that you’re after because 1) you’re told you have to kill him; 2) he has bad ass loot.
Matter of fact when Thrall makes his grand re-appearance, you can’t help but laugh at him. He ends up becoming nothing more than a weak bitch, getting punked and then ultimately giving up the mantle of warchief to Vol’jin. For myself, I can’t help but blame Thrall for all the problems that came about since he gave up the mantle of warchief to Garrosh. It’s even more insulting that his relationship with Jaina from the past seems non-existent and he just lets her get nuttier rather than being reasonable with King Varien and his son.
Emotionally, I felt drained rather than relieved that Garrosh was dis-empowered. In fact, I felt sympathy towards him because for the entire duration of the expansion, there was little that ever motivated me to really downright hate the guy. He simply had a vision of how he wanted the horde to behave and was provided the authority to execute that plan. Yet Thrall made me want to hate him in the end because of the pointless route that we’ve been lead once Cataclysm had finished. I mean, why didn’t he attempt to interfere earlier? Why the sudden cameo in patch 5.1?
The messages being sent towards the end were just too mixed and cluttered. The fights mostly felt like filler just to keep people busy and grind for loot as opposed to encounters that led to the end game’s message. Some fights had absolutely no place being in the raid at all. While none of the fights were overly complex in terms of exotic mechanics, the real difficulty was in the sheer number of things to deal with. Overtime, that aspect will diminish once more people successfully complete and farm each encounter. But I feel that many problems could be avoided for having less things to deal with but focusing on a few really critical parts. Also, as epic as they want to make it seem, Siege of Orgrimmar just feels too long. It really needs to be condensed to be doable in a single night within a three hour max time span. The trash, the number of bosses and the level of mechanics that cause the time to go up make it not such a great raid for me.
From an LFR point of view, it seems that Blizzard is slowly learning but they need to figure out a better way to balance the number of things going on vs oversimplifying things. I think it’s pointless having most of the same mechanics in each level but make some completely worthless. I’d prefer that these encounters just have better layering so that each level of difficulty introduces another mechanic rather than just adjusting the damage levels and health of the bosses. It’s kinda like normal vs nightmare vs hell vs inferno for Diablo 3 where the champion packs and elite mobs assume additional mechanics as you go up in difficulties.
Overall for me there’s really no stand out fights that really impressed me. I think Throne of Thunder did a better job of creating an environment that lead up to the end boss. Sure, some fights in Siege of Orgrimmar were epic but I think that it should’ve been handled in a far different fashion.