Hard Modes Arrive – A Reflection on Icecrown Citadel
In more general WoW news, this week saw the release of the Icecrown Citadel hard modes. The gating system in ICC was always going to be met with mixed reception but at last, the raid instance is fully available.
Icecrown Citadel has been, in my opinion, a very nicely designed raid instance. The ambience, artwork and lore were all exceptional and after the disaster that was the Trial of the Crusader instance, Icecrown has been successful.
I will admit to being surprised with the speed at which the hard modes have been defeated in twenty five man content. Paragon (EU) impressively took the world first killings of ten of the Icecrown hard modes on the day of release. In the following two days, they took the remaining two stood between themselves and the Lich King. Obviously, these are, presumably, not just the crème de la crème of raiders, but also those with a great deal of time to invest in their raiding. I do feel slightly saddened by it however. As I reflect back on the final instance of tBC, the infamous Sunwell Plateaux, the speed of progression was much slower. Blizzard have always said that they would never make another Sunwell. It simply made no sense in regards to the resources they spent on it in relation to the percentage of players that saw it in it’s pre-nerf state. Hard modes were introduced to give the better players the challenges they craved without starving the casuals of the chance to see the raid content. Still, if the hard modes are the best they can now offer to that niche of raiders, isn’t one week to defeat most of them a little on the speedy side?
(Above image courtesy of MMO Champion)
Naturally, they’re just my personal musings on the subject. I’m not a twenty five man raider so commenting on the tuning of their hard modes is perhaps not my place.
What I will comment on are the ten mans. My guild have finally reached the Lich King this week (on normal mode, I should add!) The progression of the ten man strict guilds has been at a steadier place. Two strict ten man guilds have downed the Lich King on normal mode this week, both on US servers (we’re lacking behind EU!) Overall, I’ve thought the tuning has been good. The first few bosses are predictably easy, thus allowing the majority of players to see and defeat them with little to no practice. Some of the later bosses have proved more challenging. Blood Queen Lanathel held us up for a week (although I should mention we were down one of our main healers). Sindragosa also cost us a week of learning as, while she is a simple enough boss, the execution of her has to be quite precise; a boss truly about accurate positioning. (On that note, I will be updating the Sindragosa boss guide to reflect changes we made to our own tactic which I believe are better than those originally posted).
How long will the Lich King take us? Who knows. I do know I’m desperately waiting for us to be able to make a start on the hard modes. As with the twenty five man guilds, that’s where the real challenge presumably starts. On a personal note, I do wonder how Guildox (the site responsible for the strict ten man rankings) weight boss kills (or rather achievements). Seeing guilds in the top ten EU rankings that lack the most recent Icecrown Citadel kills but boast Yogg 0 kills seems a little strange. Or maybe if Yogg 0 is still deemed that hard, two tiers later, it should be a hint to Blizzard?
Best of luck to all the guilds out there progressing in Icecrown Citadel and a special to mention to all my fellow ten man guilds! I’d love to hear more thoughts on the tuning of Icecrown encounters thus far.