Tag Archives: SC2

A True Rebirth for Starcraft 2

I am excited. I’m pretty sure the paltry writing skills I have in no way attempted to foster can express how excited I am for the 2013 year of Starcraft 2 pro-gaming. When in doubt, go Caps Lock.

I AM SO FUCKING EXCITED.

With the launch of Heart of the Swarm, Starcraft 2 has been truly reborn (not unlike a certain character in the campaign). Between IEM Cologne, MLG Dallas, and GSL I am convinced that we are headed for our most entertaining and fulfilling year of professional SC2 competition yet. The skill ceiling is higher, and I don’t think that phrase really does it justice. The skill ceiling was just raised in such a way that some people got dropped into the basement.

This match, played at MLG Dallas between Innovation and Flash is the best game of Starcraft 2 I’ve ever watched. It’s a best of 5, and I was captivated by every game. Keep in mind that the actions executed by these two could be done by less than a handful of pro gamers right now.

I also want to talk about Blizzard’s announcement of this years World Championship Series (WCS). This is huge news, and I think it was handled really well by Blizzard. There is already some complaining that NASL (North American Star League) and Dreamhack were left out of the rotation, but there is only so much you can do at once, we’ve gotten word that Blizzard and Dreamhack have something in the works together. But I’m not going to get into that here.

This is a major step forward for Starcraft 2 in the eSports scene, because we finally have a storyline to follow throughout the year. Players will compete all season long in an attempt to accumulate points that will determine who gets an invite to the Global Finals at the end of the year, to be played at Blizzcon 2013. There is going to be some incredible tension at the Season 3 regional championships and finals when there are only a few spots left up for grabs. There should be no shortage of compelling storylines to follow this year, and WCS Korea has already started.

WCS Korea

While we don’t have information regarding how the points distribution will go, RorO (Zerg) got off to a strong start winning Group A with a 2-0 record, and an impressive 4-1 map count, dropping one map to Bomber (Terran), the other player to advance. Complain about balance if you will (and people are – big time), but there are excellent Korean Zergs who are still winning games, so let’s cool it on the IMBA bitching until we have more evidence. Anyway, I have more thoughts on balance I’ll share shortly. Bomber’s two victories both came against Creator (Protoss), who complained about IMBA before gg’ing out – and if I’m not mistaken did so at MLG Dallas too. Season 2/WCS Korea continues next week on Tuesday April 9th at 5:10 am EST.

The group I’m really looking forward to is Group F with INnoVation, HyuN, and Rain. I can’t wait to see more of Rain in HotS, I think that he could be even better than in Wings of Liberty when he was regarded as one of the top Protoss in the world, and INnoVation just came off from an excellent showing at MLG Dallas with a third place finish.

A word on balance. I really don’t think we have enough evidence or time to determine where there are problems with balance. In my short experience watching pro SC2, most pro players can be broken into two groups – the researchers and the surgeons. The biggest reason some pros are having trouble with HotS is that they continue to use the thinking from WoL to defend and attack, when a different thought process is required. “I can’t deal with proxy Reaper” is probably more accurately “I don’t know how to punish/defend proxy Reapers.” And we probably won’t have those answers until an innovator comes along and sees the game in a different way than other players. The surgeons are the ones who takes the researchers discovery, and uses it to create build orders that can crush their opponents. Right now, we just don’t have the necessary research to draw good, solid conclusions yet. But we will.

eSports: An exercise in immaturity

There has been a lot of news recently in the eSports community and most of it has been pretty negative. First there was the repercussions following MLG Summer Championships between League of Legends teams Curse and Dignitas, then recently there was news out of Evil Geniuses, an eSports franchise which had to suspend a member of its Starcraft 2 team for a wildly inappropriate comment made to another player while that player was streaming, which was followed by news that a very popular and respected team SlayerS was disbanding, and finally a generally ridiculous post by a sometimes respected member of the SC2 community that stated that SC2 will be dead unless Blizzard does some thing about it.

World of Warcraft players should be chuckling at this last one.

In a soundbite, tl-dr got it right. eSports need to grow the hell up.

We could draw parallels to the sports universe (like the Gameronomist did over at tl-dr), but I think we can illustrate a problem with eSports by looking at them without the comparisons. For example our newest GSL champion (the most prestigious tournament) is 15 years old. As someone with a M.S.Ed. in secondary education I feel completely qualified to comment on the average person aged 13-18. Narcissistic and inconsistent would be the 2 words that fit the best. And juvenile of course. And the eSports scene depends heavily on the ‘male 16-24’ age demographic, a group known and celebrated for its maturity and dedication to reason and rational thought.

Uh-oh.

What is confusing to me is that this is not a new problem. When young men and women are put in the spotlight, bad things can happen. We’ve seen it over and over again, whether in sports or entertainment or politics. Publicity can be very difficult to handle, and I would venture an opinion that younger people have a more difficult time coping with the increased pressure of that spotlight.

The difference between a 16 year old tennis player participating in the U.S. Open and a 15 year old participating in the Starcraft 2 GSL is that eSports ONLY has the internet to promote and show its product. I’m willing to bet that if you wanted to find disparaging remarks and inappropriate comments regarding the tennis player you could, but you would have to go searching for them. For competitive eSports you must watch live streams, which automatically exposes you to the horrors of anonymous internet chat. While streaming technology does a great job of bringing these games to the viewers, sites that offer streaming need to think seriously about insulating these same viewers from all the trolls and the bullshit wagon they are constantly pulling.

It continues to boggle my mind that someone can complain about how eSports isn’t growing, and at the same time make the place in which it will grow best a toxic environment.

I will also echo what you will find at tl-dr (which in fact we discussed together on twitter) that the teams involved in the eSports scene need to do a better job providing guidance and mentoring to these young professionals, helping them to handle the media spotlight, the pressure of winning and success, and how to handle themselves online to prevent them from making the same mistakes we see get repeated time and again.

It’s impossible to grow your sport through advertising and sponsorships when the community and the professionals when these kinds of behaviors are not only tolerated but in some cases defended. Even in established professional circles sponsors will pull their backing in a heartbeat if they think it will damage their brand. If we want eSports to grow, then the community needs to as well.

Shadowmourne, Spectating, and the E-Sports Plunge

This week was a very interesting one, and it made me feel compelled to write about it. I’m eagerly anticipating both the expansion and scenario accompanying it. I’ve been a Jaina fan since Warcraft 3, and I am planning on buying the book as soon as possible as well. Pandaria is, well, amazing. I played on the beta for a few months, and stopped at level 87. I didn’t want to see the rest, and I was a terrible game tester, so it was a good time to stop. But the continent of Pandaria and the Wandering Isle are breath-taking, and I’m extremely exciting to get started.

So far the Death Knight class is kicking serious ass in the new patch, and dropping 42k DPS in my Blood spec on Ultraxion while forgetting to put on my special Ultraxion gear set was the first indication that it was time to make my paladin Holy/Ret in Mists. The second was how much fun I wasn’t having working on my action bars and selecting talents as Protection. When it comes to WoW, if it isn’t fun, I’m not going to bother.

Which brings me to my next thought. Shadowmourne. I love this weapon. I love the story, and once upon a Wrath when I had some free time on my hands I participated in some GDKP runs in ICC (which is a good way to really appreciate the people I was raiding with, rather than the players from a well-known guild whose vent chat was horrific. It was like stepping into an internet meme. I had to shower afterwards). Through these runs I managed to complete the Shadowmourne questline up to the infusions. Three weeks ago I completed the infusion quests (before the ICC bugs) with my guild during a run to get another member his achievement drake. Now I have 49 more shards to go, and I can’t decide whether I’m annoyed. On one hand, outdated content is easy, and on the other hand ICC is in no way soloable. Basically with the horrific drop rate, the requirement for a 25 man raid, and the lack of bosses you can solo, if you want Shadowmourne, you are stuck dragging 10-12 more people with you. This kinda sucks. I anticipate that Blizzard will someday lift the restriction on legendary transmogrification, and when they do I want to have axe filled with the souls of the vanquished, I just don’t want to subject my friends to the same grind.

/Yoda voice

/s Torn am I, conflicted, yes.

I made the plunge into the E-Sports scene last evening, although as a beginner I made the smallest splash imaginable. Playhem is a website that hosts daily Starcraft 2 tournaments with cash prizes. The Bronze and Silver Tournament has a measly $6 pot ($3 for first, $2 for second, $1 for third), but the open bracket is $75 on the weekdays and $100 on the weekends, meaning the first place winner gets enough to take their boyfriend, girlfriend, or cat out to dinner. That last one was a joke, but what is it with cats on the internet? Dogs are so much better. I digress.

I can’t tell you how exciting it was to login and find my first opponent. I play the Terran race (Leodar#370 for anyone interested in practice/fun matches), and my first opponent was a well mannered (yeah, it matters in Starcraft 2 as well) Zerg named Rezknello. I was sweating profusely (which admittedly is not difficult for me) and nervous as hell, but I was also thrilled that I remembered my practice sessions and was able to execute my opening and transition into a successful 10 min push. I won the first army encounter, macroed behind it, and scouted his third expansion. After taking down the expansion, I rallyed with another set of units produced from my main base and moved up to his natural expansion, engaging his army and crushing it a second and final time. Two minutes later my opponent surrendered with a ‘GG’ and I took what felt like my first breath in 12 minutes. It was an incredible rush and an awesome feeling to win my first ever competitive match.

The next match was against a Protoss named Plasma who was a league above me in the ladder system. I had been working on creating my own build versus Protoss and executed it. Unfortunately I lost both games to lose the match 2-0. I was still pretty thrilled with my play because both times I out-macroed my opponent, had the superior army supply, and the stronger economy. Plasma had to use some deception to succeed which can be successful at the lower levels (with players like me ) because less experienced players have trouble dividing their attention to multiple places. He may have won, but my fundamentals were much better, and I executed my plan pretty well, almost winning the second game in spite of the opponent’s misdirection.

After this experience I started to think a lot of spectating in competitive gaming. Podcasts I’ve recently listened to have lamented the lack of an ‘observer’ feature in Warcraft that made it very difficult and ultimately unsatisfying to watch professional arenas. I agree with that sentiment completely, but I’m not sure that its enough. Arenas have no flow, and the abilities strike so quickly that casting the game must be a nightmare. If Warcraft PvP has any chance to compete (or even co-exist) with Starcraft 2, League of Legends, and DoTA 2, it needs to be in battlegrounds with an observer camera and tools to make casting easier. It’s not impossible, but it is a big challenge. I still think it would be worth Blizzard’s time to make PvP more spectator friendly. I would absolutely watch professional World of Warcraft players in an Alterac Valley game (although not for 3 days like some of the vanilla crazies lament missing), and it would help random battlegrounds because it would develop metagame strategies that could be shared with the community at large. We have excellent PvP websites and bloggers that handle this (Cynwise, Olivia Grace at WoW Insider, etc.), but I have a feeling they are underused. Enhancing the visibility of battlegrounds would make people more interested in learning how to play them properly.

Let me paint a picture of how this could look using aspects from LoL and SC2.

Team [Random Web Sponsor] vs. Team [Random Telcom Sponsor], Best of 5

Battleground Pool: Arathi Basin , Twin Peaks, Battle for Gilneas, Eye of the Storm, Alterac Valley (15 player version)

First Battleground: Arathi Basin

Loser selects next battleground until one team wins 3 battlegrounds.

A mix of 10 and 15 player battlegrounds would give each team strategic decisions to make based on how many players they can bring, which map is being used, and who their opponent is. Awesome , no? The only problem is that it would create some serious problems deciding what to watch every night.

New (to me) podcasts that I am thoroughly enjoying: “Starcast: The Starcraft Podcast” and “This Week in Blizz” are done by the same two guys and they do a terrific job. They are sponsored by a company who is absolutely getting my business as soon I have enough money for my next computer, Doghouse Systems.

Good Luck, Have Fun, and let’s go pwn some Horde on Tuesday.

Foundations of Success

As people reading my blog or following my Twitter feed probably noticed I have gotten hooked on Starcraft 2 competitive gaming. An explanation is critical here, and I will try to be brief.

At its core, multiplayer Starcraft 2 is an economy based game. You can go to websites like Team Liquid and find build orders, unit counters, explanations of micro (small army movements that can increase unit efficiency), and other information. For a beginner, none of it matters. When you watch professionals, it can lead you to the misconception that these things are critical to success, because it often separates the winner and loser in these professional matches. What many people fail to notice is that these games come down to micro-management because those players have exceptional fundamentals. Without fundamentals, those players wouldn’t be competing professionally. Macro is the key to becoming an exceptional SC2 player. It is the foundation the rest of your game is built on, and without it you will limit your own potential. I’ve embedded a game showcasing exceptional fundamentals (also shamelessly showing my favorite player currently,  TaeJa). You’ll notice that professional players have very little minerals and gas (top right corner), because they are constantly creating units and productions buildings.

When I learned this I was totally blown away. Not because it was some new truth I had never heard, but because it was consistent with all of my other life experiences, and made absolute sense. I’ve spent 12 years coaching basketball, and one thing has been true ever since I started to seriously look at the game and learn how to teach it. That the fundamentals were absolutely critical. Critical to the point that you should avoid teaching any advanced concepts (including running a set offense) before those fundamentals are mastered. Who cares how crisp and perfect your cuts are if the person with the ball is busying staring at it while they dribble. There must be a strong foundation to be able to achieve your maximum potential. Obviously, this isn’t a basketball blog, so I’m not going to go into the detail of how to teach athletes how to play while ensuring their fundamentals don’t slip, but it can (and needs) to be done.

So how do you start to be successful ? You start by identifying the foundation of your endeavor, and you make sure that you develop the fundamentals necessary to have a strong foundation.

Discovering another example of this consistent theme got me thinking about World of Warcraft, and it made me realize that for all of my success in the game, and  all of my accomplishments, I hadn’t really identified what the foundation of a good Warcraft player was. New players are bombarded with information, and god forbid they try to find useful information online. Sure, there are reputable locations of knowledge, but how long does it take for the new player to find? BiS lists, optimal professions and enchants, detailed accounts of which abilities to use in certain circumstances are worthless to the new player. This information is great if you have a foundation in gameplay, but if you are still learning its information overload. A moderately new website called Noxxic is doing a good job of presenting easily digestible information and deserves a mention here. Below is my first attempt at identifying the foundation of good Warcraft play.

1. Stay Alive: A well known joke that circulates the WoW community is that ‘dead hunters do zero DPS.’ I promise that’s my last shot at hunters in this post. The phrase simply means that dead players do not complete quests, kill monsters, or help their team win. If you have an ‘Oh s#$%!’ button, hit it. If you are a healer, use your healing spells. Watch your health bar and make sure you aren’t standing in fire. Sure, you’ll die with some regularity in WoW, but don’t die constantly and unnecessarily.

2. Hit your buttons: Your character has spells and abilities. They all do something, and even though some are more powerful than others it’s pretty important to get into the habit of always hitting a button when it becomes available. This isn’t optimal play (especially for healers), but it’s better to be able to spam damage/healing abilities when you need to than to learn slow, and then try to be faster. Last year there was a mage that asked me for some DPS help. While I’m not an expert on mages, I am the raid leader, so I’m here to help. I got on my mage, and the first thing we did was hit the target dummy. After the 4 min DPS burn we compared damage meters. I cast considerably more fireballs than she did, and really, what is there left to analyze at that point. Play with urgency – your speed matters when raiding and PvPing. Figure out which abilities you should be using, and use the hell out of them.

3. Spatial Awareness: Know your surroundings. This matters when questing, raiding, or pvping. Are you stacking up or spreading out? Are you alone at the farm while all of your teammates are racing for the blacksmith? Is there a patrol near that pack of monsters you need for a quest? Pay attention to your surroundings, know where to be and when to be there.

This is a short list, and maybe its accuracy is questionable, but the exercise is critical. Whenever we start something – a new job, a new hobby, a new relationship – our success will be determined on how strong our foundation is. The stronger our foundation, the more we can build on it.

Back from the Dead

I have been away from my blog and twitter for far too long, so I thought I would get going again with a simple update post. I spent most of this morning reading about changes to the Death Knight class, but instead of rewriting them all I am just going to direct you to a great DK blog which has an awesome summary of what has happened recently, all of which is excellent news.

In the last month I spent a weekend camping in the Adirondack mountains near Lake Placid and had an great time with my wife’s family while we were blessed with amazing weather. We had just purchased a very expensive tent as we had outgrown our old one, and a tent is not really a place to go cheap when you are camping. It was worth every penny. I love this tent, and can’t wait to go camping again. More recently I just returned home from another trip, this one to northern Ontario at French River. We had a good time, although the 8 hour drive was kind of painful with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. Thankfully Ontario’s incredible rest stops along the way made things a lot easier. ONroute, you are amazing.

Squeezed in between these vacations I spent 9 days between two different basketball camps. One of these was a team camp where my squad played in a weekend tournament of sorts, the other was a professional development camp and was one of the most profound professional experiences I have ever had with the game.

While those 4 weeks were wonderful, I was pretty worn out, and had a lot of trouble keeping up with my gaming habits. I just calculated that I spent 12 days at home in the last four weeks. Hopefully next summer I can spread things out a bit.

As far as gaming goes, we are 4 weeks away from getting a long time officer and personal friend his legendary rogue daggers, and while churning through Dragon Soul kinda sucks, we are all pretty excited for him. I have a lot of catching up to do, as I want to collect transmog gear for my Paladin before Mists of Pandaria is released.

In Starcraft 2 I have ascended to a rank of 9 in my bronze ladder. I was briefly ranked 8th, but pushed my luck in the next match. A simple matter of missing my Banshee timing by 30-60 seconds, and making a critical engagement error at my natural ramp during my opponents bio unit push. 13 minutes after reaching Top 8, I was back to #9. C’est la vie. The next season starts on September 1st, and I really would like to join the silver division after my placement matches, so I’ve got some practicing to do.

Other random musings: Liked the MoP trailer, enjoyed the Olympics (although I missed the gold medal men’s basketball game and the closing ceremonies), and my excitement is mounting in anticipation of leveling my monk and warlock. I even had the foresight to create a toon and save my Pandarens name: Nuhuo. I been watching and enjoying ‘Newsroom’, and this morning met the actor that played Roland Pryzbylewski in the ‘The Wire’ at church.

The Predictability Problem in Raiding

I’ve been pretty busy lately. I could say that my job has intruded into my blogging and playing time, but it’s more accurate to say that my free time simply dried up due to an influx of extra work. I apologize to anyone that was consistently reading my talent tier posts, and I’ll be continuing them as soon as time allows. Today’s post is something completely different though. I’ve been playing a lot of Starcraft 2 lately, and it has me thinking long and hard about World of Warcraft.

Before recently SC2 was a casual gaming activity for me as I worked through the “Wings of Liberty” campaign (SC2 is a RTS game with multiple game modes) first on Normal difficulty, and then on Hard. Around this time I decided to try its Multiplayer Mode, and all hell broke loose. As of yesterday I’ve played 16 bronze ladder (lowest 20% of players based on mathematical model, starting position for new players) matches with a very modest record of 7-9. From my perspective as a moderately experienced PvP participant (2v2, 3v3, BGs) in WoW, SC2 multiplayer is an immensely better PvP experience. RTS and MMORPG are completely different gaming experiences. But that’s not to say we can’t learn something from the tremendous success of Starcraft 2, and I think we can apply it to raiding.

Predictability

World of Warcraft raiding is a game design built around experience, failure, learning, and mastery (I knew my Master of Science in Education degree would come in handy someday. Totally worth the $23,000. I need a drink). The better your raid team is, the faster you reach the mastery level. It is a simple system, and if the encounter is too simple then mastery is easily attainable (‘sup Morchok). Create too much randomness, and mastery becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible (Fuck you Rhyolith). I emphasized randomness in order to differentiate from unpredictability. They are not the same, despite their similarity.

What makes SC2 great in multiplayer mode is the nature of its predictability. In a 1v1 matchup you could get a 2 base map or a 4 base map. You could be playing against 1 of 3 races (each with their own strengths and weaknesses). That map could have easily defensible positions, or maybe not. After all of this is established you still have to scout your opponent, because each race has tons of builds (strategies) that you have to be able to identify and counter. If all of this sounds like too much work, think about how much effort goes into establishing stat weights, BiS lists, favorable raid compositions, raid boss strategies, and spell priorities. It isn’t more work, it’s just a different approach to game design.

The difference is that SC2 thrives on the inability of the player to predict what their opponent will do, whereas WoW thrives on the ability of its player base to predict and react to boss mechanics. However, the same raid encounter design in WoW also causes players to become bored with content once they’ve reached mastery. The boss does the exact same thing at the exact same time over and over and over again.

The Success of Tier 11

Halfus Wyrmbreaker was one of my favorite encounters in Cataclysm. In fact, Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent were my favorite raids of the expansion. There are encounters in every raid that introduce unpredictable components (Fading Light, Ice Lance, Face Rage, Roaring Flame Breath, etc.) but these are, in my opinion, poor substitutes for unpredictability and better described as randomness. And remember, a little randomness is good. It keeps players on their feet, and forces them to react. But they are still predictable. You know Ultraxion is going to cast Fading Light, you just don’t know who it is going to hit.

Let get back to Halfus. This was the entry encounter in Bastion of Twilight, and it was an encounter that changed every week. On normal mode there were 3 active drakes each week, but the combination of drakes available were not the same every week, forcing your raid to adapt and communicate your strategy before the pull. I always liked the encounter for this reason, but never really explored why until now. It was the anticipation that I enjoyed. Was I going to be tanking the boss or the drakes? Was it going to be a relatively easy combination, or a difficult one? I realize now that I loved running through these thoughts as we cleared trash and prepared ourselves for Halfus. This was a fight that was both predictable (through consistent mechanics and timing) and unpredictable (through different mechanics based on encounter composition). For example, the Nether Scion had a predictable mechanic that you could react to, but you didn’t know each week if you would have to. I really believe that this is an exceptional encounter design compared to a fight like Shannox, which is a completely predictable encounter with elements of randomness built-in. And it really is disappointing to see the Heroic version of Halfus removed that by having all 5 drakes active. Sure, it made the encounter more difficult by forcing the raid to deal with more abilities, but it made it more predictable, and in my mind, less compelling.

I might surprise some people with my second choice of a good raid design with a nod to unpredictable. The Omnotron Defense System (ODS) encounter was very enjoyable from this perspective. Each encounter started with one of four members of the ODS active, and while one unit was active, you would be notified which unit was next. Each pull created a different sequence of the four members of the ODS, making it unpredictable but allowing for mastery of each member’s mechanics. This is exceptional raid design.

The Fine Line Between Random and Unpredictable

Yor’sahj the Unsleeping is a great example of exploring the line between random and unpredictable. In fact, I would argue that it is very similar to ODS, and was my favorite encounter of the Dragon Soul raid. Yor’sahj summons 3 slimes (4 on heroic), and the raid can only kill one. Your raid decides which slime to kill, and deals with the mechanics of the other 2 (3) that are allowed to survive. This makes the encounter different on every pull, introducing a desirable amount of unpredictability that your raid team has to react to. It also has an appropriate mastery level. Until you over-gear the content, you must master the combined mechanics that you can see, and once you do the success rate increases.

Yor’sahj’s counterpart Warlord Zon’ozz in a good example of a terrible encounter. Despite the originality of the void sphere, it is a horrible mechanic that is completely random. The members of the raid have very little real control over where the sphere floats, and it doesn’t behave the way you would expect it. This isn’t unpredictable, it’s random and stupid and frustrating. There is no mastery of the void sphere mechanic here, either it works as intended on the pull, or it doesn’t, and that is not a good design.

Randomness and Loss of Control

No discussion on this topic would be complete without mentioning Lord Rhyolith. This Firelands encounter was terrible on normal and heroic mode. From Wowhead’s comment section:

40

By Rygol (2,255 – 3·26on 2011/07/17 (Patch 4.2.0) Report
Worst designed heroic fight by far, this boss is completely governed by how well RNG praises your guild.

Last edited by Rygol on 2011/08/17 (Patch 4.2.0)
upvote11downvote GullaDaPwna on 2011/08/13 (Patch 4.2.0)I agree even on normal mode RNG has a lot to do with it..We oneshotted him last week because active volcanoes spawned right in the path we were already taking and now this week they spawn directly opposite of the one we’re going after…very lame

I’m not going to go into depth about how some nights it felt like the boss was NEVER going to turn, or the times when you missed the volcano by one pixel, or when volcanoes seemed to spawn practically IN THE FUCKING LAVA (which the boss couldn’t touch), or how much fun it was when a volcano activated right BEHIND the boss assuring you wouldn’t be getting to it anytime soon. I also won’t lament the fact the a guild working through phase 2 of Ragnaros could still wipe on Rhyolith if you got unlucky, or that there were nights that ended with Rhyolith because we ran out of time waiting for the RNG gods. The unofficial stats show that I consumed approximately 137.9% more alcohol on Rhyolith nights that any other raid boss since I started tanking in Wrath. Rhyolith is a good example of complete and utter failure in compelling raid design.

Players do not like – and for good reason – when they have reached a level of mastery with an encounter, but still fail due to something outside of their control. This is why Rhyolith was failure despite an admirable attempt at an original design. Here’s hoping that raid designs lean more towards Halfus and less towards Rhyolith as we head to Pandaria.