Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The real Occulus

There's a lot of talking about Occulus these days. I wonder what he thinks about it.

He used to be one of those poor, forgotten creatures that no one notices, since we're all so occupied chasing for the next epic item, the next frost emblem, the next glorious achievement that we get a tunnel vision, thus missing out 90 percent of the game. And now he's getting whole blogposts dedicated to him, arguing why Occulus is a failure.

The real Occulus
You don't recall him? He's one of the dragons standing outside of Caverns of Time for some obscure reason (I bet it's lore related). Remember him now? He was one of those creatures you used to kill just for the heck of it, while waiting for a party to assemble for BM or Durnhold. The biggest one wasn't killable as far as I remember. At a certain health level he disappears. There are a bunch of smaller named elite bronze dragons though, and Occulus is one of those. He doesn't offer anything of interest though, unless you have some kinky fascination for objects such as Ripped Wing Webbing.

The other day I went to see Occulus and managed to accidently kill him, as shown in the screenshot. Just approaching him with my molten armor active was apparently enough to kill him. I didn't touch him, I swear! He killed himself. Actually I tried desperately to find some way to save his life without dying myself, but I lost him before I thought of going invisible.

How bad didn't I feel! This dragon didn't wish me any harm. He was a comparatively powerless creature - in fact quite sad for being a dragon. (Aren't they supposed to be huge and dangerous?) And as if this wasn't enough the poor guy didn't drop more than 14 silver and 24 copper. That's cheap for a life, even in Azeroth.

The O instance
You may wonder what brought me to see Occulus in the first place? Where did this sudden dragon love come from?

Well, the whole community has been buzzing about a certain instance ever since the new Random Dungeon system was launched. Some of us - and I'm one of them - have been blessed or cursed - depending on how you see it - ending up in O. more or less every single time we've rolled the dice. It's been so many times by now that I've actually given up on seeing any other instance using the PUG tool. Halls of Reflection, Pit of Saron, Gundrak, HoS - those are instances where other players dwell. So not Larísa. Larísa has gotten an O. assignment for eternity.

And so the other day the great piece of news arrived about O. Blizzard has obviously realized that the constant bailing out of it is threatening to give the system a bad reputation. So now they're hotting up the loot and suddenly my habit to roll O seemed to be quite a good one, provided at it will last. Giving it a second thought - isn't this instance actually quite nice? After all those nerfs and all this practice in the art of dragon flying, it's just as quick and easy as any other instance, only more beautiful.

Anyway - back to the point. It was when I read those news at that I realized a small but important detail. The instance in question is actually called Oculus. With one "c". Not "Occulus". I've been spelling it wrong for a whole year! I looked it up at Wowwiki to make sure. And even if I found an Occulus there, it wasn't the name of an instance, but a dragon standing outside of CoT. I felt stupid.

I'm not alone in my misconception of this name. I think I've got half of the players with me, at least judging from the blogs I read. So Miss Medicina, who I teasingly linked to above - and Hatch, who did the same thing: I don't blame you for the mistake. I've done it myself over and over again. I'll probably keep doing it. There is something with that name that makes me instinctively want to put to c:s in it.

The new Oculus
I have no doubt that Oculus - with one c - will go from being one of the most hated instances to be one of the more popular ones to roll. The days of O-quitting are over. The question is what instance that will come in its place. Which are the best candidates to become the least loved in random running?

Culling of Stratholme might be one, with the seemingly endless road, the messing around with the crates and the long speeches that serves no other purpose these days but to annoy people. I used to love the place for its pacing, but in those silent pugs it's just slow and boring.

Come to think of it, if we just start bailing out of it we might get a new treat with some extra goodies in the cache. Want to give it a try?


Elnia said...

"Come to think of it, if we just start bailing out of it we might get a new treat with some extra goodies in the cache. Want to give it a try?"

And that is the scary part of all of this. Just imagine what power the players could hold over the developers. And it's why I don't agree with Blizzard's decision. Because you have set a precedence now and it can and will be used against the developers in the future. A nerf is a backhanded bribe. This is a straight forward no holds barred bribe.

Sometimes it's better to admit failure and just pull the plug. They could have easily taken it out of the random dungeon rotation and left is as a stand alone. Because they can bribe people to do it but they can't bribe people to like it.

Fremskritt said...

I am all for the acting like kids and refuse to do stuff I want buffed. :P

Jormundgard said...

History never changes: Panem et circenses.

LifeDeathSoul said...

Uhm, he was actually the guy you had to kill for the Onyxia Attunement quest chain for Horde chars :)

Klepsacovic said...

I remember the Ony chain! Fun times.

@Elnia: Pulling Oculus out wouldn't help either, it would just be saying "exploit the system enough and we'll give in."

Fitz said...

Congratulations on joining the masses of people who spell it correctly. And by masses, I mean like 20%. I correct my friends on our email chains about every week about putting two "c" in Oculus. It seems like the way we all pronounce it leads to this, and OCC is easier to put into chat as a shortened version than OCU.

I'm kind of a grammar nazi except on my own blog, so take it with a grain of salt! You were certainly not alone, and I never knew about the dragon Occulus either.

Miss Medicina said...

Awwww, I got caught. A reader pointed it out to me in a comment too. What's even worse? When I wrote up that behemoth of a post in Word, I originally spelled it Oculus. And then I thought to myself, self, you really ought to check to make sure you spelled that properly, or else you will look like a fool. So, I quickly fired up wowwiki to see if there was a page titled Occulus.

Sure enough, there was. Now, maybe if I'd actually read what the page entailed, I would not have proceeded to meticulously go through my entire post and replace every Oculus with Occulus.

The mystery of Occulus' true identity is now revealed to all!

Dw-redux said...

Way ahead of you. I've already suggested a massive boycut of all dungeons to get em to drop hilts!!

Gevlon said...

Players should conspire to always break group if they go to Azjol (the fastest instance). So Blizzard will make the endboss dropping at least battered hilts.

Tessy said...

I didn't know there was a dragon named Occulus, I always though the instance had that name (minus a c :-) because it has these concentric rings in it, like an eye. Or possibly because it was in the middle of the Nexus, like in the eye of it.

I liked the instance before, except for the last dragon flying thing because I suck at that, but now the flying seems easier so I find the place rather agreeable.

The thing I don't like about it nowadays is that when it pops up as a random generally someone drops the group and it can take quite a while to fill the empty spot again :-(

Tessy said...

*publishing too fast ftl*

Will be interesting to see if anyone drops out of a group now :P

*vlad* said...

I like Stratholme more now than when I first went there. Yes, we have to put up with the boring boxes and Arthas the Asshat and his pompous monologues, but charging round pulling as many mobs as you can makes this quite fun.

Back in Vanilla WoW, I remember the entrance to CoT was blocked by the big dragon, and to even approach him was a death sentence. Once BC came out, he moved to the side; actually, to be pedantic, this happened just before BC came out, and you could go into the caverns and wander round and speak to the vendors, ooing and aahing at the incredible amounts of hp and mana that the vendor food on offer there gave. Happy days!

Copernicus said...

I don't particularly like Oculus, but I never drop group when I get it. We just ran it last night, and it went smooth as butter. However it was a full guild run, so everyone was comfortable with asking questions.

My loot bag had a sky sapphire and a scarlet ruby in it. Not too shabby, but I don't think it would make me change my mind about running an instance that I hated. To me it's about having fun. Why do something if it's not fun? It's a waste of time.

Most of the instance is pretty standard. Even flying from area to area to fight adds is pretty easy. It all comes down to the last boss and knowing how to use the drakes.

I'm considering making a macro for each drake type, detailing how to use the abilities properly. I think that's where most of the difficulty lies, if, say, the green drake doesn't know to stack his dot on the boss before healing group members, or the amber drake doesn't know to time stop during an enrage.

People fear the unknown. Education and understanding can take this from being a hated instance, to simply being disliked. :-P

Lemontree said...

I had 4 people drop group in Occulus today. And we didn't wipe a single time before or after they left.

Tedra said...

Up until it was nerfed, I would have had to say that I hated HoR the most. Those waves would just roll over my bear like there was no tomorrow.

I did, infact, know there was a dragon called Occulus. Periodically, while waiting for the old CoT dungeons, a friend of mine and I would kite that rather large unkillable dragon in Gadget and watch as the lower level characters flailed (kind of mean I know, but they DID rez just outside of the area if they died). Anyway sometimes little Occulus would try to join in the fun, but would invariably die from the AoE. I am regretting those deaths now.

Charlie said...

Oculus is now about middle of the road as far as emblems/hour. Most of the groups that stay don't wipe for stupid reasons. I like playing it because no one would ever go before and all the others I've done to death.

The last Oculus I got into, the entire group left. My only option was to re-queue and it made me sad. Luckily, if your entire group leaves, you don't keep the debuff.

If people start seeing Oculus as middle of the road, I think the emerging worst instance(s) will be Halls of Lightning and/or Halls of Stone. They're both pretty trash intensive and both have spots that can wipe overgeared groups. For a 17k dps group that never wipes, I think Violet Hold is slower than CoS. But both of those are so easy, I doubt they'll ever be avoided.

Hatch said...

Well now I feel *really* stupid. I made an entire graphic on my site spelling it wrong!

Screw it, I'm not going to bother fixing it in photoshop.

slashmourn said...

as a tank i can honestly say that i'll continue to abandon my random party members at oculus. the new incentives are not enough for me to endure the headache and i'm quite fine with waiting 15 minutes to re queue

Shintar said...

Love this post... when I saw the title I thought: "Oh no, even Larisa spells it wrong?" Got me good there! :D

Larísa said...

@Elnia: I guess it’s hard to kill your darlings. And I can’t blame them. Oculus contains some quite nice scenery and fights that provide a bit of a change to the normal tank-and-spank in a corridor. It just takes some practice. And with those new incentives maybe more people will give it a chance. I used to dislike O. too, but after all those random runs, I’m starting not to feel so bad about it anymore. It’s quick and – yes! – easy. Beautitul. And different. So is it really such a failure?

: apparently it works…

: apparently they’ve learned from history!

: OK! Never did that on horde side.

@Fitz: it feels good to join your crowd! Better late than never.

@Miss Medicina: you’re not alone. I just feel a bit sorry for you since you got the Oh well. What matters is the content of your great posts, not the spelling.

@Dw-redux: hear, hear!

@Gevlon: yeah, we just have to coordinate ourselves a bit.

@Tessy: yeah, and the entrance portal is a bit like an eye as well, isn’t it?
Actually when those people pop out I just think “good riddance”. The ones who have guts enough to stay normally know how to do the instance. I haven’t seen much fails in there, especially not within the new x-realm system.

@Vlad: I had no idea about that, being a TBC baby. Thanks for sharing!

: I actually think the way up to the end boss is more annoying than anything else. All this mounting and dismounting, and you can bet someone has aggroed a dragon just as you dismount… but basically the instance as such isn’t so bad when you’re used to it. I must admit though that I always pick the bronze dragon really quick, since I don’t remember what to do with the other dragons. Never done them after I did the achievements and that was ages ago.

: Oculus it is!!! With one C!

@Tedra: Yeah, I don’t know why I felt so bad about it but I kind of liked the Occulus when I met him. Maybe all this dragon flying in Northrend has made me into a dragon-friend?

@charlie: The entire group leaving. Wow! I’ve actually never seen that happening.

@Hatch: I’m so sorry for being the one breaking the news to you. And I really liked your Oculus analysis. It’s not about the spelling, it’s about the content…

: Really? Is it so bad? And why is it worse for a tank? I never thought the actual boss fights were that bad for tanking. Isn’t HoS more of a challenge then, dealing with all those adds?

@Shintar: Hehe! Thanks!