Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Yet Another Nightelf on Karazhan

Okay, I'm a month behind with my blog reading, been too busy playing and working. But Yet Another Nightelf has a thought-provoking short post on whether Karazhan is the new UBRS. Which is something I hear as an argument quite often, but can't really agree to.

The only point where Karazhan is really like UBRS is that they are both 10-man raids, with UBRS being the only 10-man level 60 raid content, and Karazhan the only 10-man level 70 raid. But that is where the similarity ends.

UBRS isn't really "raid content", it is a lot more similar to a 5-man dungeon which allows a larger number of people. In the earlier days of World of Warcraft, when the cap on UBRS was 15 people, and the cap on Scholomance and Stratholme was 10 people, UBRS was considered to belong in the same category as Scholo and Strat, not in the same category as Molten Core.

One reason why people didn't rank UBRS as a real raid dungeon is that there are no epics to be found there. Instead you find parts of the dungeon set 1, or tier 0, armor. The same set that you'll find in Scholomance or Stratholme. Now Karazhan has epic loot, and no dungeon set 3 blue pieces at all.

Another important difference, which totally changes the raid organization, is that UBRS doesn't have a raid timer. You're expected to finish it without a pause. Karazhan has a 7-day raid timer, just like MC, and it is exactly that timer that makes cooperation inside a guild between different guild groups so difficult. If two groups A and B go to Karazhan on day 1 of the timer, and on day 2 there are only 5 people of each group on, they can't just combine and go raiding together. They are excluded from grouping together there for the rest of the week. UBRS never had such problems.

As the raid timer suggests, Karazhan is a lot harder than UBRS. Yeah, I know, it is difficult to compare difficulty, and somebody will chime in telling us how he wiped in UBRS back in the days. But that was never the "wipe 10 times on first boss, beat him, then wipe 10 times on second boss, etc." over several days type of gameplay. The better your group, the further you got, with quite a lot of groups beating the final boss after a few hours, and most people at least getting until Rend in one go.

Now both UBRS and Karazhan are mandatory to visit for further content. You needed to visit UBRS several times for the Onyxia key quest chain. And you need to finish Karazhan for the Serpentshrine Lair key and thus ultimately Mount Hyjal. But UBRS was never considered mandatory to gear up for Molten Core. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current thinking is that a raiding guild needs to farm Karazhan for gear for quite a while before being ready for any of the 25-man raid dungeons.

I don't think there is any level 60 instance you could compare Karazhan to. It's for much smaller groups than Molten Core, and even Zul'Gurub. And personally I always considered ZG to be as difficult as MC, just for smaller group sizes, while I don't see any instance which has the same difficulty level as Karazhan but for a larger raid group.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current thinking is that a raiding guild needs to farm Karazhan for gear for quite a while before being ready for any of the 25-man raid dungeons.

I would reccommend to any guild serious about progression that they begin Gruul's Lair immediately. It requires no key, a hell of a lot of coordination and is a good way to make the people sitting out from Karazhan for the week still feel like 'part of the crew.'

You aren't likely to get Gruul down until you've geared up, but Maulgar is certainly doable with 25 smart players in Dungeon 3 drops.

For those interested here is my review (which Tobold would call a spoiler guide :-)
To me it feels more like a ramped up version of ZG... the Hakkar fight particularly during which you need almost everyone to be on their toes.
There is too much thinking going on here. It is raid content that is simply a result of the "think smaller" philosophy that rules at the Blizz design studios at the moment.

Karazhan is to ZG what 25 man content is to MC/BWL/AQ/Naxx. ZG got MEGA nurfed several times and you can betcha' boots that Karazhan will be in the future also till you can pug it.

Give it about 3 more months. You know, when the Black temple is being beat down on by Death and Taxes. Blue will announce Karazhan "tweeks/nurfs".

I've always said a bird in the fist is worth two in the bush, I guess this is blizzards way of praising the nay sayers.
I'm thinking of a name for my blog to counter the wayward opinions I read on this one.

Anyone have good ideas?
The need herioc version of the endgame raids imo.

and on the other hand make the current endgame raids Pug versions which dont require such completely specialized chars to get anywhere.. (ie def warrior for rb tanking.)
also, there needs to be a better reward for the effort required to do those raids. From what I gather from my clannies from WoW is they dont mind the purple lootz, but would prefer some recognition or some alternate reward because it tears clans apart trying to accomplish the raid system in wow... and purple lootz often is a slap in the face in comparison to losing clanmembers.
Ya I've got one for you. How about:

Anonymous said...
I'm thinking of a name for my blog to counter the wayward opinions I read on this one.

Anyone have good ideas?
ganging up against anonymous people is such a pointless task, 4 realz!
Molten Core attunement was in BRD, which isn't a hard instance, just a really long and annoying one.

To get into Blackwing Lair, however, you did need a UBRS run.

I'm not upset about requiring Karazhan for progression, just as I wasn't upset about requiring UBRS for attunement. But until they "re-tune" Gruul and/or add a longer entry-level 25-man raid, there's a big hole in the raid content right now. About 30 people is good for 25-mans, but rather awkward for 2 Karazhan runs.

I'm lucky to be in a huge raid alliance as well as a more focused raid alliance, so we can get fill-ins for more runs more easily than many. The very large raid guilds are probably handling this okay, but a few people in smaller raid guilds I know have had numerous scheduling problems with Karazhan and having to ask 1/3 members to sit out each week.
Ya but he asked for it, Fo Shizzel!

ten mohican said...
ganging up against anonymous people is such a pointless task, 4 realz!
Karazhan is like UBRS - if you run UBRS naked. Try that, and you see what Karazhan means.

I dont share the opinion thats its very hard. Our K1 group has Curator down and is past the Chess event, within 2 weeks. Our K2 group which just started is close to down the Maiden. Not too bad.
We're a little while from Kara PUGs. There's a big difference between putting a quest in UBRS which had been PUG'd for a year and putting a quest in Kara which consolidated guild groups are still struggling through. Personally, the length/difficulty of the key quest doesn't really impact me (hard to want a key for a place you aren't actively planning on going) but I think that the UBRS/Kara arguments aren't very strong.
I think the big issue with Karazhan is the 10 day lockout.

If you're learning the instance (like we are at the moment) then you need to spend 3-4 evenings a week there.

Ideally, you want the same 10 people on each of those nights with 100% attendance. Only the most hardcore can ask or expect that and they'll soon have the place on farm and won't need 4 nights a week.

So lets' say your guild required 75% attendance. That's still pretty hardcore, but it means that each of your group can only make 3 of the 4 nights. This is why it's hard to run 2 groups into Karazhan. Because raid leaders will try to fill their raids, and then later in the week when the other group is lacking tanks/healers/etc the spare people cannot go help because they were locked to the other run earlier in the week.

We're struggling with this at the moment and are just on the edge of getting 2 groups properly going. But because of not being able to switch people later in the week, we still get one group that does well and one that can't get the makeup it needs for specific encounters.
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