Challenges…

Harkening back to my wish (on Ego’s site) for a modern “test of skill” to replace the Anathema/Benediction quest, and reminded by BRK’s most recent post on this, I decided I’d like to do my own. No, that’s not fair – I’d like to coordinate, but I’d like your help. I want to design a test for priests that is hard but not impossible, aimed at level 70s. I’m actually going to do two such tests — one for shadow, one for healpriests — because they are really different animals.

I would prefer avoiding something that becomes a snap if geared high enough, but at the same time I think the smart and geared priest should be at least somewhat rewarded for his or her, well, accomplishments.

I would like a range of things could be tested in one run if at all possible, though doing half a dozen tests is bearable.

And to the extent possible, I want coldly replicable tests. Which means that there’s no party work – or at worst there’s one party test which needs to be the same every single time. (sigh).

Finally, I want ALL the skills tested. Mind control, mind vision, down-graded heals (heal), sustained DPS (shadow), kiting…

I’m asking too much, maybe. On the other hand, I’ve got some ideas. And I’m definitely open for input. Let me kick off a few thoughts to spark your imagination…

  • Part of the shadow test could be: solo clear the first room of non-heroic shadow labs. Yes, it’s doable – I’ve done it. It was ugly. The worst is those [censored] imps…
  • I’d like to find an escort quest of fairly high difficulty where the healer can heal the escorted mob. “No player kills” being the standard, along (of course) with successful mission. And… do I allow MC here?
  • I wish I dared have a party test where the healer kept everyone alive on a nasty “death-march” pull. Unfortunately this relies too much on the quality of the party, and I’ve become unhappy with rewards that are cake with a set of overgeared partymembers (or impossible without them). Help?

You get the idea. There’d be no real reward – not that you could prove. (screenshots? too easy to drop the party and do the shot, darnit — or forget to do it at the critical point as the case may be.) Maybe – maybe it could be used as a guild ‘test of quality’.

Just something that says, “I, with my skills and knowledge much more than my gear, have shown I know how to play my class.” Potions? ok. Enchants? sure. Food and drink buffs? why not. But… knowing how to use them… that’s the deal.

What would you put in the Challenge of Light?

What would you add to the Valley of Shadows challenge?

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~ by Kirk on September 10, 2007.

20 Responses to “Challenges…”

  1. I don’t know of anything of this dificulty in Outland, but the chicken robot escort quests (when done on level in the 40’s) were very dificult. There is an escort quest in Terokkar where you escort a little bird and if I remember correctly you can heal the bird. It wasn’t very dificult and I was holy specced at the time… but it might fit the bill. The dificulty of using escort quests is that you can only do them once, therefore not repeatable.
    As for the “death march” pull, the gauntlet in Shattered Halls comes to mind, but like you said, party make up accounts for a lot on that one.
    For the Holy test instead of a solo clear of that first room, you could do it with tank and healer only. Again requires good tank and could be made easier with a well geared tank.
    Sethekk Halls could be a good place to test Shackle (Time-Lost Controllers) the Shackle would have to stay incapicated until the very end while mantaining healing efforts on the tank. There’s a few pulls toward the end there that are rather large.
    I’ll ponder for a while and see if I come up with anything else.

  2. Thanks, Galadria. Like I said, I’d like a good but not impossible test, and I think the readers here (plus those they tempt) can make a good one. I’m looking forward to more input.

  3. For a Restoration Druid, a good challenge would be to do any fight that’s considered “hard” while remaining in Tree of Life form. For a 41-point talent, Tree isn’t very good at making fights easier. I’ve always contended that it makes easy things easier and hard things impossible. Not that Druids have any room to complain to Priests about lackluster 41-point talents. =)

  4. That’s a toughie. It’s very hard to develop a universal test for players of all calibers and gear unless it was somehow scalable in difficulty relative to a person’s gear. The only one that ever came close was the Benediction Quest from before.

    Put a Priest in the middle of the Auchindoun summoning stone and come back in an hour to see if they’re still there. :D

  5. The underlying problem that I see is that you’re taking out the party factor.

    For a healing priest, teamwork is key. Gaining that teamwork is key.

    Disregarding that work, that effort, and that accomplishment in order to have some fictional blue ribbon of healing doesn’t interest me.

    Why would downranking be considered a vital priest skill? It can be helpful, sure, but I don’t think they’re a make-or-break priest skill.

    I’m all for exactly what BRK suggested – a long, gruelling, difficult quest that required the assistance of friends and the ability to do some of it on your own. A test of your ability to use your skills to good effect, all for a piece of flair. A tabard, a dress, a special mount with no extra speed.

    You’ve hit upon the difficult part, though. Designing it.

    Especially for a healer, how do you design something that’s fair? I couldn’t take out the first PULL of shadow labs, let alone the first room. But my group can take out the whole instance in less than an hour, and my healing contributes to that ability.

  6. Phaelia – (with tongue in cheek) it’s hard enough making one for priests. You nature-lovers can make your own after we show you how it’s done (grin). Seriously, I agree about the 41-point talent. On the other hand I’m not sure that’s a critical test for priests.

    Matticus – good point. And yet there has to be a threshhold. It’s easy to say “must be SSC gear”. And yet, one of the things I despised about Benediction was the critical component in MC. Sure, it was a guaranteed drop. One item that was EITHER our eye of divinity OR the hunter’s leaf. One player out of 40 — no, one player out of (often) 6-8 — was going to get The Quest. I’d like our challenge to not have as devastating a break. Altogether, though, I think I’ll set a floor. No, let me restate that. I am open to suggestions for “floor” for both heal and shadow priest challenges. What do we consider a minimum level and gear that is in reach of ‘casual’ players (who can be very intense, just can’t play seven days a week), but which doesn’t become a yawner for the 7-day-per-week ‘adequate’ player. (I’ve met some of the latter. They’re extremely well geared. I wouldn’t trust them to heal, well… let’s not go there.)

    Ego – two parts. First, I clumsily combined two challenges above. The clearing of shadow labs room one is a good shadow test. And as you noted, a terrible one for healpriests.

    Second part – you’re right. The really important part of healpriest is, well, healing. Which is definitely a group issue. That’s why one of the components I was seeking was an escort quest. The problem with group quests is (repeating us both) the quality of your group which may have NOTHING to do with our own quality. I’m open to suggestions. After a fair night’s sleep, though, I’m beginning to wonder if on good test might not be a downsize raid. As in… I wonder how many level 70s, Kara-guild level, it would take to run MC enough for the priest’s eye of divinity…? Still working this around – and throw out some more suggestions, ok?

  7. A thought comes to mind. Does anyone think that being sole healer of a 5-man of AQ20 or ZG is a good test? I know ZG is possible to 5-man. I suspect but don’t know about AQ20. Thoughts?

  8. I think a cue can be taken from the Druid Epic Flight Form quest, which, I think, is an amazing series that takes into account each of the druid forms, and designs a quest objective to fit its strengths, regardless of the druid’s spec.

    To quickly list the encounters:
    1. a few generic and/or gimicky collection/FedEx quests
    2. a challenge of shapeshifting speed in order to avoid fall damage
    3. a generic escort quest where you CAN heal the NPC
    4. a quest to use Hibernate to capture a fast moving animal mob
    5. an endurance fight that relies on the stamina and armor of bearform
    6. a DPS fight that relies on catform to take an enemy down asap
    7. a root and nuke fight against a enemy susceptible to nature damage
    8. a swimspeed chase that necessitates the use of aquatic form!

    The best part of the quest was the way it was all tied together with the lore off the Druids of the Talon and how the Emerald Dream astral plane is accessible to malevolent animal spirits. I confess to not really reading ALL the quests, but I assume it to explain the draenei druids in Zangarmarsh.

    While I can quickly list several priest-unique abilities that could have tailored quest objectives, I’d ask what is the STORY of the quest? While everyone knows it as the Swift Flight Form quest, what druids are really doing is removing a disturbance in the Emerald Dream… “Abolish Poison”, but on a larger, mystical scale.

  9. Urthana – nice idea, which I like very much. Of course since this is an unofficial project, there’s some frustration involved, but still there’s nothing preventing me from telling the story. On the other hand, I suspect I need to decide the tasks, then the story.

    Point of useful interest – the anathema/benediction quest (the old “I am a PRIEST” quest) had a story to tell, as do most WoW quests. Good idea.

    One thought comes to mind, though, is that I cannot comfortably asking priests do both shadow and holy for this. Druid changes are, well, they’re supposed to change. Priests jumping between shadow and holy are doing a MASSIVE respec (gold), plus there is a lot of rare drop gear that is, well, rare if not one-shot.

    … otoh, earning both the Valley and the Mount recognition… sigh.

  10. Oh of course. But it’s good to remember that priests serve purposes other than healing, and the lore already experienced in the game may help generate creativity.

    And I know all too well that you cant ask a Shadow priest to dish out some healing. But perhaps an encounter that amplifies the effects of Smite would be appropriate to both Holy and Shadow specced priests?

    In that vein:

    1. An encounter where the enemy is dying regardless, but dishes out LOTS of shadow damage as it dies, effectively, a test of healing/shielding/buffing yourself through the fight.
    2. An encounter where you must “aid” an NPC by healing him against an enemy in a fight, but should you draw any aggro, you die and the quest fails.
    3. An encounter where you must Mind Control a mob to open doors, defeat a few mobs, activate a summoning ritual, and buff yourself with a spellpower amplifier.
    4. An quest to Mind Vision a named NPC in Silvermoon City from The Exodar, or vice versa for opposing factions.

    These are four quests that I think Shadow and Holy priests could do, and I can think of a few more given more time.

  11. And because it’s a slow day at work…

    5. A labyrinth of humanoids that must be Mind Soothed and delicately manuevered around to get to a quest item in a timed quest.
    6. A fight against an NPC warlock that hellfires for vast amounts of damage, or some kind of ground attack, necessitating the use of Levitate to effectively stay safe and effective.
    7. A quest to shackle and kite an incredibly hard hitting undead mob through a “mine field”, allowing the mines to daze, slow, and wear down the mob.
    8. An encounter where the mob has a mana bar that acts as a detonation timer. The priest must defeat an enemy by using Mana Burn, lest the mob’s full mana bar explode and kill the priest.
    9. An encounter that requires the use of Dispel Magic to remove the magical debuffs in an enemy’s arsenal, or Mass Dispel to defeat an “evil” paladin.

    Overall, I think it’s a missed opportunity for Blizzard to not address the uniformity of the priest class across the various races and dogmas. The Holy Light is seemingly ONE single force known by different names and forms, and the Priest Epic quest should be about learning how human priests and troll priests and night elf priests are all empowered by the same energies.

    Perhaps the quests could ask the priest to visit the various abandoned temples/chapels/ruins throughout the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor to assemble the clues of how this mystery manifests… and ultimately, earn an audience with Elune.

  12. Unfortunately, I’m not a programmer/developer for Blizzard, so I can incorporate absolutely zero of those. And in some cases while the command COULD be made to work ‘that way for that encounter’ (something Blizzard’s done before – challenging shout for the warrior berserk-stance quest being an example), I’d be hesitant to do that sort of thing.

    No, if I were a programmer developer, I’d start with a tiny little first step. I’d make a new instance. hmmm — new post.

    Instead, let me again ask for suggestions using what’s already in the game. Remember, we are not developers, we are players. This is unofficial. It’s a test of our skills, and sadly (at this time) it’ll give us, well, nothing as a result beyond pride of completion.

  13. I’ve obviously misunderstood the post. Apologies. If you’re asking for events/questlines that already exist in the mechanics of the game, ehhh… I got no clue.

  14. shrug – they were great ideas. And for misunderstanding… I’ve done that more than a few times myself. Welcome, read, enjoy, comment.

  15. Hmm, I see a front room solo of slabs in my future, wish me luck.

  16. How about Old Hillsbrad? You know the part with Thrall, that’s a nice escort quest. Maybe it’s possible to complete it with just you and Thrall, with just Thrall’s DPS and your lack of Holy DPS it could be a good challenge just to see how far you can get before OOM.

  17. I’ve got one that can “possibly” be done by any level 70 priest.

    There are certainly mod timers that you can add to your UI with a click on/off key. A mind vision test to see how far you could mind vision from a set location in 3 minutes, for example? If everyone started in the same spot, there is a degree of repeatability. Any priest could pull it off. And it would have to be on the honor system as you could /target a named mob somewhere in the area. You must complete it by ONLY jumping targets that you can see from your previous target. You would need to screenshot your starting location and your view at 3 minutes. :)

  18. Oh! I have another one!

    Using the Levitate feature in an Outland zone with floating islands, you have to try to land on a particular object on teh ground!

    You fly to a sky island, like in Nagrand by the Throne of Elements, you mark a location on the ground and you have to time your use of levitate correctly to “Parachute” onto the target!

    It would be easy, accesible and certainly repeatable!

  19. Mind Control – AV bridge.

    This is an area of a lot of Horde and they are guaranteed to be there! In the midst of battle, you must MC any horde player and make them jump off the bridge in AV near the Alliance town! To prove it, you must take a screenshot of the horde as they are falling!

    You will be under fire, and only have 10 seconds to pull it off. It would be a battle tested skill! :)

  20. Kolm, interesting ideas. I started to scoff at a couple, but after thought… no, they’re interesting, and I’m still in the ‘gather ideas and see where they lead’ stage.

    remember that at this time this is largely a self-test, no ability to prove things to others. (Sure, you can send the screenshot. If the other player will give you a link or if you want to put up the shot on your blog or, well, you get the idea.) So except where this is being used by a guild as a test… nah. Ok, a couple of detail responses:

    The mind vision test, as you’ve described it, is possible by anyone who can enter the outlands. And as you said, getting there by jumping is more challenging than /target, but it’s still something you can do as soon as you get mindvision, limited solely by whether you can get into that zone. Still… hmmm. ok, I’ll go you one better – and it’ll add to the difficulty, and it requires a team (grin). You must enter a 5-man instance as a 6-man raid. You stay at the door, but are to mark every pull. Oh – you can’t use your teammates as your ‘launch’. Now what this means is you’re going to have to jump to the first mobs you see, mark them, jump to the ‘next pull’ so you can finish marking, and from then on you’ll jump to the ‘next +1 pull’ and mark the pull that’s between your target/mind-vision and your party. Which instance? Ah, now that’s a debate. Not one that goes on and on – after a while you’re rather proven the point (so BRD would be out, for example). At the same time, it needs to be long enough to be a challenge – Ramparts may go away in that case. Preferably a bit of twisty passages or other challenges. I’m not averse to a closed door – so long as it’s recognized that yes, that means the priest will have to /target something known to be on the other side of the door and work his or her way back. (grin – picture this run for the other players. No waiting for marks, just stop for loot and mana/health regen.

    I like the levitate idea. A variation – there are some interesting plateaus in Azeroth that are below ‘high’ points but are otherwise inaccessible. For example, if you’re on the Stonewrought dam, you can see a couple of small grassy areas next to the dam’s spew (waterfall) that are a little too far out to reach by just jumping. Same idea, bitterly frustrating if you miss and have to recover your body.

    Mind control – nice idea. I think PVE, as I’ve pointed out numerous times I’m not fond of PVP, but this is a good idea on a number of levels. 20 yard range means survive long enough while close enough, and as you said only 10 seconds to get them off the bridge. hmmm, and hope the other side doesn’t have a dispel caster who’s on the ball.

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