Oringally posted on: http://hudshideout.com/blog/
Aftermath guild (armory here) tries to do these scheduled weekly instance runs via sign ups on our boards, and for the most part they go off without a hitch and there is much rejoicing. For the first time I could sign up as a fresh level 80 for some Tuesday night heroics and cut my teeth on all the new fangled content I had not seen. Unfortunately for my stalwart guild mates and I, the Oculus was the daily heroic dungeon of the day.
The Oculus, or “5 man Preposterous” as I like to call it, is an instance that sits above the Nexus in the Coldara section of Boredom Tundra. Sorry Borean Tundra. This instance is designed for level 80 players (you can enter at 75) and true to my luck the daily heroic (you can run the daily heroic for extra gold and emblems to buy gear) was located in this zone.
The lore for the Oculus and why we are going in there is simple:
“Malygos uses the Arcanomicon to locate and tap into the ley lines, diverting the magical powers that course beneath the earth to his home base in Northrend, the Nexus. Once harnessed, the energies are focused through the Nexus’ ascending rings and blasted into the Twisting Nether. Malygos’ redirection of the ley lines has carried disastrous consequences, however – splintering the world’s crust and opening unstable rifts: tears in the very fabric of the magical dimension.”
Yeah I am a lore nerd. So it was that we ventured in with a druid healer, a dwarf hunter, a ret paladin, a night elf warrior and myself bringing up the rear as a rogue. None of us had ever actually run the Oculus except for our hunter extraordinaire Siloson. He was going off memory (because no one likes to run this instance more than once if they don’t have to) so we were really winging it. Fine introduction for only my second heroic.
I am not one to complain about the fact that life in WoW starts at 80. Like many MMO’s once you level cap it opens a world of gearing up, gaining facton, PVP’ing, raiding or decorating things. What I was not prepared for was the sudden jump from a regular dungeon back into doing heroics, which I had not touched since 2006 or so. The Oculus is also one of the hardest heroics to do, and I would get a grand initiation.
We had so much DPS in this group that we really just crushed this guy quickly. Even though I was new to the 80 “game” and totally outclassed by our hunter and ret pally, I still managed to top for most the night 1100-1200+ DPS on single target level 81+ elites. I was quite satisfied with my numbers and the new rogue patch tweaks seemed to help. I still have to get a rotation down for NON boss mobs and learn to maximize my DPS on trash pulls. Overall on the recount meter I of course finished last but I still contributed a ton of damage. Still, I died a lot and the boss mobs in Lich King are fond of AOE damage, which means that a leather wearing melee player is going to take a lot of dirt naps. I was forced to use feint not to dump agro, but to gain the 50% reduction in AOE damage quite a bit, and this took precious combo points off my DPS rotation.
The first boss, Drakos the Interrogator, was a simple tank and spank encounter.
The second boss, Varos Cloudstrider, was our first hurdle for the night. This boss runs around on a platform and covers ¾’s of it in a nasty lightening field. We finally figured out how to identify where the area was to be covered and then we found out finally how to stand in the right spots and avoid the section that would basically insta kill you. We prefer to resort to WoW Wiki or WoW Head only as a last resort. The only tip we took is that to really do this encounter, you need to pan your camera over your character so that you can see straight down on you. At this point, it made the encounter super easy and when the one section was open I could adjust my DPS hits and get in that area to keep landing blows. Not a fun encounter but we did it and got past it.
Stay in formation...
The next boss was Mage-Lord Urom and my God what a pain in the ass. Hey look, it’s more AOE and more movement which further reduces my DPS and puts stress on the healers. Ever wonder why ranged DPS is so loved? This guy starts on a platform, then as you approach he teleports away and you have to fight summoned minions. Then you have to mount up, go find him and land again and attack him. Guess what! He teleports away again and goes to another platform. Repeat this until you are about to punch your monitor then you get the meat of the encounter. Here you can finally attack him but it is not over yet. First he has a nasty AOE frost aura on the ground he gives off, so the tank has to walk him around the ring backwards and the DPS has to keep pace with the tank and stay out of the cold. Much like most instances these days, Blizzard copies their own mechanics and gimmicks and then makes him to the middle of the ring where…you guessed it…he sets off a large explosion that you have to duck behind a pillar to avoid. Sound familiar? Yeah, like Burning Crusade familiar. Been there done that. We finally got this guy down after a couple of attempts where we had some bad luck. The fight was long, annoying and just plain stupid.
Finally we go to the last boss, and here we got to fly on dragon mounts. This boss, Ley-Guardian Eregos, is a drake that you have to fight mounted. You pick your mount by choosing a color: green for a healing mount, red for a tank mount, and amber for a DPS mount. Our first strategy of only one green mount (the healer) did not work so well and we kept wiping when the healer would get dismounted or just flat out die. So we went back and tried it again with me as the DPS mount, 2 healer mounts and a red tank mount. This way we had a healer that could group heal and one healer that simply would heal the tank mount. This left it up to me to do all the DPS that was possible and use a special time stop feature to stop the Eregos from enraging. The fight was close, but after a long protracted battle we got the bastard and the instance was complete.
At the start of the night I really hated this place, and going in blind made it HARD let me tell you. In this day and age of cheating using tactics and being carried by others, it was refreshing to be challenged and to do it alongside my excellent guildies. When we got that last boss I was actually shouting again and I had not done that since early Kara days. To top it off I got the leather helm off him (the Mask of the Watcher) which ranks as the top rated blue helm rogues can get before raiding. It has a meta gem socket and a blue socket and was a huge upgrade. However, the helm looks disgustingly stupid so I have to turn the graphic off.
After that I honestly thought I had had it for the night. That entire instance was like a freaking mini raid and I had to ask myself if I still had the stomach for end game WoW seeing as how impatient I was in my MMO’s now. Then I sat back and said to myself:
“Self, you just took down probably one of the hardest heroics in the game and didn’t read about it, study it or go in that well geared and you did well.”
I then realized it was a rather gratifying moment. After this I ran two more heroics, and got some achievements for doing some neat stuff like “On the Rocks” in heroic Utgarde for not breaking any ice blocks when we killed Prince Kelesith. I also ran Heroic Drak’Tharon keep and got an achievement for not having any adds reach the bottom of the stairs when we fought Novos the Summoner. That achievement was called “Oh Novos!” I got a trinket in there that was a nice upgrade of 148 attack power so overall I have to say I had fun. The last two heroics were swift and fun, unlike the Oculus.
I realize though that there are some parts to this game, to new players or people that just hit 80, that are still a little hard. It restores my faith that I can still be challenged and it also confirmed I had the stomach to stick it out in this day and age of instant gratification in World of Warcraft.