Why Occulus is a Failure

(Shorter post from PvD about this topic which is very good and spelled correctly - I am a Wall of Text writer. If you have a problem with that, you have been warned - comments complaining about it are rather silly. My follow-up posts on this topic can be found here, where I talk at even greater length about the 3D environment problem, and here where I tell you all to suck it up, I spelled it wrong AND YES I KNOW IT BY NOW ZOMG)

Occulus has obviously provided some serious development problems for Blizzard. Actually, that would be an understatement.

In order to fully understand why, we have to move further back – to the beginning of the WotLK xp.

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, we were all introduced to the concept of vehicle mechanic fights. I remember very distinctly when this was a major new feature coming in Wrath (along with those dance studios and hair salons…). It sounded so awesome in theory, didn't it? Let's list off a few things that utilized this vehicle mechanic:

  • Multi-rider mounts
  • Quests requiring you to mount
  • The daily quest in Coldarra
  • Single person mounts (Flying Carpet)
  • Raids (Eye of Eternity, Ulduar)
  • Dungeons (Occulus)
  • Jousting

Despite the obvious amount of development and promotional effort poured into this vehicle mechanic, it may have been the largest overwhelming failure of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack. That isn't to say that everyone hates them, or that they weren't a cool idea, or even that they don't have some really positive effects on gameplay. Look, I love my multi-rider mount. I especially like drowning my allies in the Stratholme moat. This very evening, in fact, I was almost successful in making Fuubaar vomit all over herself while riding with me through Pit of Saron. If success were measured in liters of projectile, then maybe we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Mechanical Malfunction

The fundamental problem with vehicle mechanic fights, aside from the initial glitchiness, is that in order to accomplish your objective, it requires you to quickly learn the abilities of something other than what you have spent so much time and effort researching – your own character abilities. It doesn't matter if you've put hours into RAWR-crafting, or reading "How To Heal" blog posts, or scoured through your spec to maximize your talented potential – none of this has any bearing on vehicle mechanics. You have a few moments, at most, to familiarize yourself with the abilities of your vehicle, and then you have to get down to business. At best, you gear item level will boost the health or armor or whatever of your vehicle, but otherwise, nothing that makes your character special, or had any bearing on why you chose to put so much effort into leveling, developing, and improving it and its role, has any bearing on your abilities or success in a vehicle fight.

The problems with these vehicle fights, aside from the largest reason explained above, can be fairly easily listed.

  • Problems with add-ons. I should note that I do not think it is Blizzard's responsibility to be overly concerned about whether or not add-ons have difficulties with game mechanics. Allowing add-ons is a bonus that Blizzard has wisely implemented into World of Warcraft, but I don't think they should have to develop gameplay with an eye to making it easy for add-ons to work with everything.
  • Problems with Macros. In my opinion, macros are a bit different. This is an in-game user interface issue that Blizzard has developed. I am developmentally challenged when it comes to flying – the reason I have an issue in EoE and Occulus is more related to the fact that I can't fly worth a damn. I have to set myself to follow someone. There is a significant delay in how soon the /follow function will work properly when players are mounted, and it irritates the hell out of me.
  • Interface familiarity. If you use the default interface, you may notice that in certain fights, when you mount up on your vehicle, your bars change. This has presented countless difficulties for people who put macro buttons on their bars.

For all three of those problems, you could easily argue that people are just stupid, and there are easy fixes to all those issues if the player is just somewhat able to comprehend how to troubleshoot interface issues. Okay, fair enough. But, as an interface-moron, let me ask you this – would you rather see a fight dumbed down and nerfed to the ground, with gratuitous rewards given out in a desperate plea to bribe players into sticking around long enough to wipe through it, or would you rather see changes to the mechanic interface itself in order to make it easier for the average non-troubleshooting player?

Since I presented that question in such an obviously unbiased way, I'm sure you know what I think. I don't begrudge you if you think there is nothing wrong with the interface. I can't say this with complete certainty, since many of my issues may have been related to add-ons I've swapped in and out, but I do think Blizzard made some improvements to the interface in an effort to improve the vehicle mechanic and other issues. Unfortunately, once an impression has been left on us Luddites, we're hesitant to go look like an interface-induced moron all over again to see if Blizzard's changes really improved usability. It wouldn't really matter anyway, because the overwhelming problem of utilizing vehicle abilities within moments of gaining them is still the largest underlying issue.

The Vehicle Raids

When the only raiding content available consisted of Naxxramas and Eye of Eternity, many may not have noticed that there was a problem with these types of fights. EoE was the highest end content available, and so if you wanted the best gear possible, your only choice was to struggle through the mechanic fight. And, to be fair, Blizzard also had the foresight to recognize the inherent problem with this mechanic, and they offered a daily quest that awarded Wyrmest Accord rep that introduced you and familiarized you with the abilities you would have in Eye of Eternity. This was a brilliant idea.

Unfortunately, people hating that daily just as much as, if not more than, the EoE raid itself. Blizzard picked up on this, and when they implemented the next set of dailies intended to introduce us to vehicle abilities, they took it to a much grander scale. And thus we were presented with the Argent Tournament dailies. The benefits of taking the time to learn how to joust (which was exceedingly frustrating for a vast majority of people due in no small part to the clunkiness of the mechanic) were much larger. No longer were you simply given a small sack of gold and a pittance of rep with one faction. You had choices, and tokens, and pets and mounts and achievements.

Yet, in terms of progression in an instance or a raid, you were NOT required to do these dailies. If you boil it all down, their primary function was to teach you the jousting vehicle abilities. It seems so obvious that I'm left wondering… was there originally intended to be a jousting sequence in the ToC raid? Was this idea scrapped when Blizzard recognized that despite their efforts, players still hated jousting? Was EoE such an abysmal failure that developers read between the chat logs and accepted the fact that players wanted to play their actual characters and not a fancy mount?

In the original plan for the ToC Raid, were we expected to joust the faction champions before the famous PvPesque fight?

I realize I'm backtracking a bit, but let's touch upon Ulduar. Once Ulduar became available, players stopped running EoE en masse. Instead, they jumped into the Flame Leviathan fight.

I hate this fight. It just seems like a massive cluster of pointless button clicking – at least up until you get to Flame Levi. I like to heal in a raid. I didn't level to 80 to play a siege engine. I struggle through the fight just to get it over and done with so that we can move on to a more interesting fights that actually present an individual challenge for me that I enjoy – healing. In fact, part of the reason why I don't run Ulduar anymore if I can get away with it is simply because in order to get to the fun stuff, you have to waste time on Flame Levi.

On the opposing side, many people would form 25 man raids whose entire purpose was to finish off Flame Leviathan, loot, and then disperse. If you know the abilities of your chosen vehicle, the FL fight is a piece of cake. Even I myself don't find the fight hard per se, I just find it boring and a waste of my abilities.

The ease of these fights if you DO know the abilities is directly related to the balancing effort that Blizzard had to use in order to make this mechanic functional. The vehicle mechanic quests you did while leveling were usually actually very easy – if you knew the vehicle abilities. Their difficulty was reduced in order to offset the challenge of new abilities. So, if you learn new spells and how to use them properly very quickly, these fights are quick and easy. If you do not learn new abilities that easily, they may be a nightmare.

If you are leveling your fifth alt through Northrend, the vehicle fights may even be ideal – you know the abilities from having done them so many times, and they are, therefore, especially easy for you.

The Great Occulus/LFG Debacle

Where am I going with all this? Aside from the fact that even Larisa at Pink Pigtail Inn voted Eye of Eternity as least successful raid instance of 2009 with multitudes of people agreeing with her choice, let's take a look at an incredibly sad (in my mind anyway) Blue Post from this evening.

To encourage players not to shy away from the many invigorating adventures to be had in The Occulus, we have applied a change to enhance the rewards players are provided when selected for this dungeon via the Random Heroic option in the Dungeon Finder. Once Ley-Guardian Eregos is defeated, one loot bag per character will be provided in his chest in addition to the current rewards. Each loot bag will offer players rare gems, two additional Emblems of Triumph, and a chance of being rewarded the Reins of the Blue Drake.

My first reaction to this was sheer horror. Really? Are they so desperate that they have to go beyond the limits of traditional bribery in order to get people to run this instance? And then it occurred to me… yes they do. And I don't know if there is any better way to handle it without completely removing the vehicle mechanic fight from Occulus and redeveloping the instance – which is not realistic at all at this point in time.

The problem was there before the LFG tool. People hated Occulus. Of course there were people who loved it, but overall, it was easily the most dreaded and detested instance. Back when we had daily heroics, the groans were heard 'round the trade chat if that was the choice of the day. Most people would simply skip it. Before the LFG change, it was not an overbearing negative consequence to the average player if most people didn't like Occulus.

But now, with the LFG tool, it's an even bigger mess. I have only had Occulus once as my random heroic, but my fiancé, who has been running heroics much more than myself, has been so unlucky as to get it multitudes of times. And 95% of the time, as soon as all five strangers land on the first walk in Occulus, at least one person drops group, and the remaining members are forced to re-queue in an effort to find a replacement and not walk away with a debuff that will prohibit them from queuing for their random heroic for another 15 minutes. If the person who drops is a tank, or perhaps even a healer, you may just spend the entirety of that 15 minute debuff searching for a replacement.

In Blizzard's defense, they are a lot more aware of problems in the game than we often them credit for. They knew Occulus had been, for all intents and purposes, abandoned before they released 3.3. They nerfed it in what I can only imagine was preparation for what they perceived as an inevitable Occulus/LFG debacle. Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough. Some players get it into their head that they hate an instance, and no amount of nerfing or free gifts will change their minds. First impressions and overall attitude towards a game mechanic are very influential.

The one time I did get Occulus as my random heroic, I really did try. I did. I died 6 times trying (most of those in an attempt to get back to where my party stood impatiently waiting for my return), but I gave it my all. I looked like a complete fool. I made an ass out of myself in front of, not only strangers, but several guildmates. I felt pretty humiliated, to be honest, and vowed that the 15 minutes of LFG debuff were completely worth the 2 hours of agonizing mortification I had just endured. The pugged members of my group dropped out as soon as the boss went down and they got their badges. That's right, they were so eager to escape my fail aura that they left without even waiting to see how the loot rolls came out.

What, doesn't everyone fall off the side of the entry walkway twice when running back in? Am I really the only person left in Azeroth who gets lost flying around a giant pillar, and dismounts 1 foot from the edge of a platform, only to fall into oblivion and death? I could do an entire series on humiliating ways to die in Occulus. Those of us who are incapable of doing Occulus well are too embarrassed to stick around in a group with those of you who have no problem. You should be thanking us. BUT AT LEAST I KNEW MY DRAKE ABILITIES.

Keep the Vehicle a Vehicle

Despite all the vehicle mechanic complaints, let's talk about one of its uses that has actually been successful. The vehicle mount… mount.

My flying carpet brings all the boys to the yard. When I first crafted it, actually, it was very glitchy, and there were a lot of serious problems. However, it only took one patch for Blizzard to correct the most egregious of these issues, so I had no further complaints. I was too busy soaring through Northrend in my magicy magicness. I refused to even close my eyes.

The three-person mount is even more successful. Aside from just being blatantly fun and allowing players to interact with one another in ways previously unavailable (no matter how I tried, I just was not capable of inducing Fuubaar vomit pre-Mammoth), it also had lots of practical uses. Go back to the old world and drive your low level guild-mates through the Wetlands!

And how about that Chopper? Aside from being a very effective gold sink, it also revitalized Engineering. Gold sinks are necessary, and fun crafted items are also necessary. Choppers are NOT necessary, but they sure are a fun addition to the game.

So I can't call the vehicle mechanic a complete and utter failure. It has certainly been an interesting device, and has added a certain… something to the game. But, by far, its most successful and loved manifestation has been when it was simply for fun – when it isn't a game-breaker. When it isn't necessary for further progression in a raid or any other instance, it is adored by players.

The bag of "thanks for not dropping group and screwing over the other Puggers" goodies is nothing more than a last ditch, desperate effort on behalf of Blizzard in an attempt to salvage a miserable failure of an instance. There, I said it. I feel bad saying it, and therefore tried to justify it with 3 pages of explanation.

I salute Blizzard for their undying effort in trying so hard to make this much anticipated mechanic work. You can't say they didn't try. I can't even imagine the amount of development manpower they invested in this integrally flawed mechanic. Hey, I tried to major in Latin for 4 years guys. I know all about pursuing lost causes. To soften the blow, look at it this way. The reason so many of us dislike the vehicle?

We love our characters a hell of a lot more.

97 Responses
  1. Keeva Says:

    The reason I dislike the vehicle fights the most is definitely the feeling that you're expected to immediately be "pro" in completely unfamiliar abilities. I know my druids inside out, but toss me onto a dragon or into a machine, and I need time to learn this stuff. Yet, many people pick it up very quickly and then I feel self-conscious when I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

    I did the Oculus the other day. I've only ever been Emerald (I love to heal). But two other people decided they had to be Emerald, for the achievement. So I was put on Amber. I warned them that I had never done it.

    I thought I did a pretty darn good job. When the boss was nearly dead, one of the DPSers said "nice time stop timing". I thanked him and said "thanks, in truth I haven't done this before so I don't really have much of a clue what I'm doing! :P"

    He replied, "Yeah, I agree."


    I think I disliked the Malygos drakes the most, because it was just spam one button a number of times, then hit the AOE heal. All gimmick, no skill... what's the point?

    But probably my biggest gripe with Oculus, getting back to that, is the constant mount, dismount, mount, dismount rubbish. Mount up, fly 20 feet to the next platform, dismount, fight a few mobs, mount up again...

    And the fact that I hate trying to judge distances of mobs (dragons and whelps) beside, below and above me. Maybe that's just because I'm a product of the platform-game generation.. but I'd really rather not ever do vertical instances, please. It messes with my head.

    Vehicle fights are cute; but the novelty wears off pretty fast.

  2. @Keeva

    That's what it is that screws me up. VERTICAL INSTANCES. I kept getting lost... I see all my party member dots, and I fly there, and yet I'm 100 feet away and can't figure out where to go. I get disoriented too easily.

    It wasn't so much that Occulus in and of itself is hard really, it's that it's so clunky. The mount/dismount every 10 seconds got real old real quick. It was too easy to misjudge a distance, and fall to your death... and then be forced to run back to the instance, run back down the walkway (or mount), pick up a new mount, fly all over trying to find your people... I think one of the easiest fixes they could have made? Allow the player to keep their little Drake-Whistle-Thingie when they die.

  3. Keeva Says:

    I always feel like an idiot going into a half-done Oculus, and not being able to find my party because I don't know which tier they are on. I end up flying around in circles feeling really silly. I'm glad I'm not alone in hating the vertical format :)

    On a more positive note, I was extremely lucky in one run - my Emerald drake died but I was hovering a few feet above a platform. I dropped down and finished healing everyone in caster form - I asked them to stick close. That was fun!

    (much more fun than doing it with dragon abilities)

    IMHO, the game should have more encounters like Gunship - where some people get to use vehicles/pets, but not everyone has to. You guys can man the cannons, I'll quite happily stick to my normal job, thanks!

  4. Kooby Says:

    There is only one thing that is in the realm of possibility that Blizzard could do to make me endure Occulus. Put an Emblem of Frost in that bag!

  5. Kurnak Says:

    IMHO the biggest fail Oculus has is the players. People are a bunch of lazy asses, and when they're presented with something different from the usual tank&spank they try to avoid it. But let's go bit by bit, why I'm blaming people.
    Learning vehicle mechanics is not a problem. Aside the Wyrmrest quest there's a daily quest in Coldarra where you fly a drake and use several skills you'll later use in the Eregos fight. But to get to that quest you need to do a questchain. Lazy people never gets to that part. And if they do they find the quest "boring" and hence "useless", so they don't do it. Also one or two tries will familiarise you with your drake skills, after all you only have 3 buttons (the third only activates for Eregos)
    It's true that after Blizz changed the drake so your gear level affected his stats the fight became much easier (as it happens with Flame Leviathan), but still Eregos is a simple tank&spank fight where only two things are needed: determine a timestop order (to use only during Enraged Assault) and run away when he shifts plane. Again lazy people the first thing they hit is timestop before waiting for the enrage and don't move during the shift. No matter how many times I've explained the tactic and set a timestop order, some asshole hits timestop as soon as the fight starts and then don't run away on Planar Shift. Another negative point for the people, not the instance. Eregos is one of the easiest bosses to kill, more than Flame Leviathan without any defense beacon.
    I must concede Oculus has indeed one flaw: it's very easy to get lost in the "second level ring", where you have to kill the Centrifuge Constructs. The "built in GPS system" (anyone else looks at it and can't help but think about Netscape logo?) is useless. Some arrow in the minimap would be more useful. But again once you've ran the place 2 or 3 times you know what to do and where to go. Maybe it's not as easy as learning the Kharazan way (where lots of people got lost in that library tower), but still nothing extraordinaire.
    This is why I blame people, not the place. It's good to have some different places where you don't have to follow a unique path, otherwise all instances are the same and only ambientation changes.
    For vehicles like Ulduar fight, well, doesn't take much to learn every vehicle. The first time I did Ulduar I was in a bike, and since you can try the vehicle before the proper raid starts it's easy to get hold of the skills. Next time I was siege gunner and again it's not a challenge: shoot down things and activate shield if you're getting beaten. While I played mostly as siege gunner one day I was assigned to siege driver, which I never did before. I thought I would cause a wipe, but again it's so damn easy... just drive, ram things and sprint away. I've never been in a demolisher, but I doubt it will pose any complication. And you can always go pvp and try the vehicles.
    For the jousting... it was ok the first days, then it becomes very boring, both in the Tournament quests and in the ToC fight. If you only had to dismount the bosses and not 9 trash mobs it wold be much better.
    So hooray for the improved loot, I've never refused an Oculus run even I've had a lot of quitters or idiots who couldn't follow a simple tactic.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I did my glory of the Hero achievement...and I dreaded the oculus achievements. I saved them for dead last. I got them done, and then vowed that I'd never step foot in that place again.

    Of course, I often have to eat my words.

    I don't like anything about the instance. Good players, bad players, I don't care. The instance is just poorly designed and outright clunky.

    The fact they've had to nerf it how many times now? The fact they have to bribe people to do it? These all seem to me that it's recognised that it is a poor instance.

  7. Exanna Says:

    LOL. I hate The Occulus and as soon as I see it's loading screen bon LFG, my heart drops. After the loading screen, my group drops.. or I drop. I think I ran that place twice in my Lich Lifetime.. once just because I didn't know any better and then for the Champ of Frozen Wastes title. After that, I vowed to never go there again. I'm not sure the extra rewards will make me suffer through it. After hearing me read the blue post out loud though, my husband is now seriously considering it. :) Happy Raiding! Exxy

  8. Jasyla Says:

    You know, I don't really mind Occulus (please refrain from throwing rocks or poking me with pointy sticks).

    At first, I hated the idea of vehicle fights. I remember reading about Flame Leviathan and thinking it was the most horrible thing I had ever heard. But then I got in there and really had a blast with it. It was kinda nice to do something different.

    I feel mostly the same way about Occulus. We've got 15 other "normal" heroics, having one that's bit gimmicky doesn't bother me. It's something different, which alleviates the boredom of running 5-mans that everyone is extremely overgeared for.

    I do agree with the point about vertical instances though. I've done Occulus a lot and I just recently stopped getting lost in there.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Okay, I'll admit it, I really like vehicle fights. I find them very challenging! (I have that whole "vertical instance" issue, too. Let's not discuss how many times I've flown -directly into- Malygos...) I've never really enjoyed Oculus mostly because there's too much travel time in the instance, but I don't like CoS or other such instances for that reason. Malygos had a tendency to bug on us, which made for interesting times, too. But Flame Leviathan? I love that fight! I love getting to drive a demolisher, spam pyrite and dodge big flowers/ice/fire/lightning/TANKS, all while being at the top of the DPS charts for once. :D

  10. Len Says:

    I just don't get the issue... you have moments to learn the few abilities on a new vehicle because it only TAKES moments to read the tooltips on usually 3 abilities, process the information, and decide how to best use them. Particularly if you have spent time researching your class, picking up information like this is not hard.

    The problems come because people think they are invincible on mounts so fly off into a group of dragons without so much as a 'follow me guys' and are surprised when they are blue-frost-beam-of-doom-ed to death. It's a mistake you should only really make once.

    The actual difficulties with Oculus are the strangely placed ranged whelps at the beginning that can be hard for a tank to pick up and stop beating on the healer, some tricky boss mechanics for new/not overgeared groups, and big pulls with lots of aoe damage on your players. It's not an easy instance but the dragons is the least of it!

  11. @Kurnak

    Oh Kurnak. Aside from the fact that you repeated what I said about the dailies, you also just exemplified exactly why people like myself will from here on out will drop out of Occulus the moment we see it is the random. Because people like you will call people like me, who struggle with that instance, a "lazy ass" and an "asshole". Why would I bother to struggle through and try to learn that fight in a pug if I know I'm only going to humiliate myself next to 4 other people who think I'm a complete idiot? You attitude isn't a very supportive or encouraging one.


    Yes - they don't want to say it in so many words, but I think even they have recognized it as a failure. And you picked the exact adjective - it's clunky. There are too many places you can fall off and die. Mounting on your vehicle is slow and cumbersome. It's too easy to get lost flying around in a vertical environment, and get torn to shreds by the hostile drakes also flying around.


    You know, I didn't hate Occulus until I got into a PuG doing it, and everyone hated that I struggled with it!


    Ha! No rocks and pointy sticks here. The truth is, a LOT of people DO like vehicle fights and Occulus... the problem (for me at least!) is the people who have no problem with the fights themselves, and therefore think that people who struggle with them are complete idiots. I think you're safe ;)


    Hmm, maybe I would appreciate the Flame Levi fight more if I were driving vehicles other than a chopper. But at this point, everyone is expected to KNOW all the vehicles in Ulduar, and since I always struggled with that fight, I stuck to what I knew - which was not driving vehicles. So I'd be too embarassed to offer to drive now, because I don't know the abilities or what I'm supposed to do!

    I actually really like the Malygos fight, but that's because I did that daily over and over and over! I know my abilities dammit! However, I still can't fly. As soon as I mount up for Malygos, I'm /follow ing someone who isn't a completely disoriented dunce like myself.


    It obviously is not hard for YOU, and kudos to that! However, for other people, we are not quick "read a tooltip and understand an ability" type people. I can't tell you how long I didn't use Vampiric Touch, because according to the tooltip, it didn't look like it did much damage. Apparently I completely misunderstood the tooltip.

    "people think they are invincible on mounts so fly off into a group of dragons" - I fly into a group of dragons constantly in Occulus. It's not because I think I'm invincible. It's because everywhere I turn there's another pack of them, and I'm completely disoriented as soon as I get on the drake because it is a vertical instance. I get lost, panic because I can't find the rest of my group, and then get slaughtered.

    I have heard the complaint about the whelps once or twice as well. However, especially since the nerf, I have never been in a group that had a problem with these whelps - even back when we were just starting heroics :/

  12. Hinenuitepo Says:

    Holy wall of text, Jess!
    Um, I have a walk-in to go see, so my longer response will have to wait.

    In general, very nice post!

    I agree, Blizz probably should have just let Occulus die. I've had the misfortune of getting queued many times for it - at one point, 4 times in a row (all three toons one day, and the first run the next). It's an easy instance, especially since 3.3. Yet, for many of the reasons you list, it's still (well-deserved) hated enough that people drop almost every time the queue pops.

    Sad, but time to let it go.

    And hopefully Blizzard learns something worthwhile from this for the future.

    Gunship is a fun 'vehicle' fight, the first they've gotten right, so there's hope yet.

  13. Breevok Says:

    The main reason, I believe, Blizz is making Occulus more attractive, and thus entice us all back in, is because one of the 'weekly's (for 5 frost emblems" is entitled "Malygos Must Die!".

    Blizz realise that when this one comes around that there will be so much complaining, that they have pre-empted this by encouraging everyone in to Occulus to try and get some dragon experience.

    I know of no-one who enjoyed EoE phase three - and there are a lot 80s who will have by-passed it completely. Interesting times ahead.

    As for me - by biggest complaint about vehicles is that you lose whoever you have on focus. Both my priest and my hunter utilise macros which target whoever I've got on focus - saving precious time switching between targets - and having to reset this everytime is a pain.

    Tanks get a little twitchy when you MD onto your wolf rather than them at the start of a fight - and who can blame them.

  14. Jeff Says:

    Oculus is hard in a pug for this very reason - people hate it because they couldn't zerg it first time and were too lazy to ever try again.

    It would not be hard if more people would practice - preferably in patient guild groups instead of pugs.
    Personally I am glad that there is a 5-man which still presents a challenge after a whole year.

  15. Shintar Says:

    Psst, it's Oculus with only one c. (Also refer to this post.) Though I guess it adds to the instance's failure that way too many people can't even spell it. ;)

    My first proper post on my blog (not counting the "hello world" one) was actually about pugging heroic Oculus and being surprised by how well it went - so I can thank the instance for inspiring me to start blogging if nothing else.

    Going back and rereading that post now, it mainly agrees with your observations here: That the thing I hated the most about the Oculus was not knowing what all the drakes did and thus being eternally confused about why we wiped so much. Once I started pugging with people who were all confident in their drake riding abilities, it turned into a cakewalk. And yes, the clunky mounting and dismounting is very annoying as well.

  16. @Shintar

    DAMMIT! When I wrote up this post, I spelled it Oculus. And then I found a wowwiki page for Occulus, and without reading it in its entirety, i did a find&replace, changing the spelling on every Oculus with Occulus.

    This is what happens when you write posts at 3am that take hours to write, FYI!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I think some vehicles have turned out well but Blizz need to recognise that simple = better if you want people to embrace a new mechanic.

    An example is the PvP vehicles. Catapault? Battering Ram? You know what those before you ever jump in them. Hop in, go for a rip, blow stuff up. Fun. Multi-coloured drakes that do different things and have special abilities you have no idea what are? Sitting there reading tooltips when you're in a dungeon eager to get going? Not as much fun. Of course people can figure it out. Should they ahve to?

  18. Bell Says:

    I will say, I am very, very sad they nerfed Oculus to oblivion. I loved that instance. It was one of the most challenging parts to the Red Proto achievement. It required effort, patience, and time. Sure, you didn't get it right away. But you worked at it; you couldn't just zerg it like every other heroic. There was stuff in there that really could kill you in one blow, making Make It Count push you to your limits. 5 Amber took more coordination than most raids, and it felt amazing to get it done.

    I will admit, I didn't pick up or understand the vehicles right away. But I kept trying and learning. I didn't understand my Druid right away (in fact, I was absolutely awful) but I spent time on that. Why couldn't I do the same with an instance? It was a nice break from just go here, kill this guy, loot his corpse.

    The 3-D map was fun, too. It took some getting used to, but now I can get a group nearly drake-trash-pull free through it if they follow me. If I can't find someone on one tier, I know how to get to the next tier quickly and efficiently. This didn't happen right away. It took time and wipes but I learned it.

    The problem I've come across is no one wanted to do Oculus because it wasn't simple. Because it may take some time to learn it. Because sometimes it really is good to do it on normal before you jump into heroic. Because you can't just yawn your way through it.

    Now it's utter crap and people still won't try it.

    And then I get frustrated with the random people I get. Because even after three wipes they ask how the same drake they've been riding works. Because they've visited the same drake providers five times and they can't find them.

    I don't mind people who haven't been there before. I mind the people who walk in expecting it to be easy, and when it wasn't and required some work, freaked out until Blizzard nerfed it so some warlock in blues can stand in dragonbreath on an electrified floor without dying, so the tank doesn't have to kite through frost bombs or duck behind pillars for the explosions...

    Every single vehicle fight has a method of preparation, to allow you to get used to how the different vehicles work. Flame Leviathan has the trek up to the boss, where you learn which buttons do what. You just have to learn to coordinate them with the boss, which you would have to do with any character on any boss fight. Malygos has the daily that teaches you how those dragon skills work. Even with your extra spells on the dragons in Oculus, you have small packs of whelps to test them on before facing the big daddy. You're not just thrown into them, but they're not handed to you on a silver platter.

    I wish vehicle fights weren't considered a failure. I wish they were considered a new, innovative thing where you needed to think in a new way quickly. Where you couldn't just go with what you knew, but, with a little preparation before hand, needed to try something new.

    Some of the most fun I've had has been Oculus and Flame Leviathan. And I've done horribly at them. I've messed them up. I've misunderstood my job. Been criticized. But I kept working at it, and I learned it, and damn, was it a blast in the end.


  19. Zan Says:

    I rely heavily on /focus on all my characters, for healing, dpsing, tanking, etc. This is especially when dualboxing (/follow focus, /assist focus, etc) and Occulus breaks my focus.

    This makes vehicles when leveling annoying and makes me hate Occulus. (Phased zones breaking follow is also high up there in annoyance.)

    I'd hate Occulus less if I didn't have to redo focus every time I had to mount up on a drake, land, and pull a few mobs.

  20. Kurnak Says:

    I didn't call you lazy, but if you feel included it's not my fault, because I didn't mean to attack you in particular. My target was much wider. Yes, people are lazy. Very lazy. They see the loading screen and their first thought is to quit instead of stay and try to understand the place, learn the (very simple) tactics for the bosses and learn where to fly after first boss. Did you do the same in LBRS or Kara, where it's also easy to get lost? I'm sure not. Why then Oculus get so much mistreating? But it's not only in Oculus where people shows their mediocrity. In tons of pug raids I've seen people leave at first wipe. And just because they're lazy (and greedy), instead of going again and fix what failed they prefer to be carried by other people who has to do the dirty job, while they just wait for easy loot and emblems.
    So I'm sorry if I sound that harsh, but it's what I'm tired of seeing in lots of raids and other dungeons, not just Oculus. That place just got a bad reputation at the start when Eregos fight was not so easy due to gear not buffing the drake, but that changed long time ago. Still people thinks the old way, considering Oculus it's just a nuisance that can be easily avoidable by quitting. The same people who can down bosses like Vezaxx and Yogg'Saron, and can't even bother to invest 15 minutes in finishing an instance. Seesh...

  21. Kurnak Says:

    @Bell: bravo! well said! Still I think the first nerf was needed, specially the way gear affects drakes.
    Jess, instead of going away from Oculus, please give the place a chance. I know it can be very frustrating when pugging, so get some guildies or friends and do some runs in normal mode to learn and master it. I prefer an Oculus run to places like Azjol'Nerub. Yes, AN it's fast and easy (easy emblems), but it doesn't pose any challenge. UK, Nexus... boring, specially with an overgeared party. I throw some healings at start and then start doing dps because if not I get totally bored.

  22. @Hinen

    You know what's even better? This is only HALF of my "Why Oculus is a Failure" post. I cut out HALF OF IT. I am the queen of TLDR.

    I haven't seen gunship yet, but I've heard great things, and now I'm looking forward to seeing it based on your recommendation alone!


    The targetting/focus issues are the primary annoyance I have with vehicle fights as well. Actually, I really ENJOY EoE phase 3 in theory. I voted it best raid instance, in fact. But even I, someone who loved the instance, have to admit it was a failure because of the very things you mentioned. Even knowing all the vehicle abilities, phase 3 was still ridiculously hard for me because I found it so difficult to target people in order to heal them.

    Also, I can't fly.


    Back when Oculus actually presented some sort of real benefit without a PuG, I would agree with you. I did run it a few times when I was gearing up a year ago, because the gear that dropped there was a considerable upgrade for me.

    However, even though I understand the abilities of the drakes, it's still not fun for me. It's not because it can't be zerged (although I agree that this is why so many people hate it - they are accustomed to being able to zerg heroics now). It is a challenge, but not the way something like Marrowgar or Deathwhisper or Loken are challenges for me - it's not strategic. Once you land your drake, everything post-nerf is a cake walk. It's the flying around, mounting and dismounting, running the risk of getting lost and ganked by drakes, falling off the side and spending 20 minutes trying to get back to your group, etc etc etc.

    If it were an instance I thought I would ever be capable of finding enjoyable or challenging, I would spend more effort outside of the random pug trying to learn it, I suppose.


    Very well spoken Bell. I didn't think it was TLDR at all! Wonderful tribute to Occ. You should post it!

  23. Castassia Says:

    I did Oculus as a guild run because someone was trying to get the achievement for champion of the frozen wastes. We spent about 5 hours, it was my second time on heroic, and I'd done it once on regular.

    All I can say is its akin to eating some exotic food and getting sick the next day, not because of food poisoning. You just don't want to do it again.

  24. Tam Says:

    I cheer you with my priestly pompoms. I hate Occulus too and have been mispelling it, well, forever - and thus will triumphantly mispell it as a way of showing my utter contempt for it.

    I like the *theory* of vehicle fights, they do vary play and that's welcome, but the practice rarely seems to work.

    I usually start to enjoy them at about the point I've found some work around - I like jousting now I have an undignified but unfailing way of winning, I don't mind Oc(c)ulus, now I know what I'm doing but I still hate because it brings out the worst in PUGs: "uh, hello, this is a time to *commulnicate* my dears, you cannot all be riding green drakes."

    But yes


  25. Khaelie Says:

    I actually quite like Oculus. I guess I have run it enough that I am confident in there and the fear has gone away. Has it always been that way? Oh **** no! The first time I went in there it took us FOREVER to get to the 3rd boss and after 2 HOURS of wiping we finally just gave up. I avoided that place like the plague after that.

    Then I went in there with a good group. During the summer I had a friend that wanted to get the achievements and we breezed right through the place. It certainly wasn't as bad as I remembered and it was actually fairly easy. Now in the new LFD system I have gotten it several times. we don't wipe anymore. If someone even dies it is usually because of something they did to themselves (like falling out of the place). I had to laugh when I read that you did that because I have watched so many others do the same thing.

    I still never got all the achievements out of there and I have never been on anything but the green drake. I am pretty sure if I ever do pick another drake that it may take a bit longer to finish, but it really has been made so easy at this point that I wouldn't really worry about it. Guess it all comes down to how much effort you feel like putting into it.

  26. Shayzani Says:

    Its always surprising to me to see other people disparaging other players for being lazy or stupid or any other negative thing for not liking (and being awesome at) vehicle fights.

    Vehicle fights are rubbish because Blizzard didn't make a very good interface for them. It has nothing to do with not reading tooltips or just wanting to faceroll things the usual way.

    Just because its new and different doesn't mean its well designed.

  27. @Shay


    World of Warcraft is a game I play to have fun. Therefore, if one part of the game is not fun, why would I play that part?

  28. Bristal Says:

    Holy crap Oculus is the only instance left for my Northrend Dungeon Master Achievement.

    Should I fear it? Dread it? Will I have to pay people to run it with me?

    Now my interest is quite piqued...

  29. Anonymous Says:

    I loathe vehicle combat, especially dragon combat. Its clunky and not any fun at all. I dread Oculus and refuse to run it unless I have too. I got thrown into it last night with 2 guildies. I would have left if it wasn't for them but I stuck it out.

    It just reinforced my hatred for the place. The constant mounting, flying and dismounting.

    This week is EoE on my battlegroup for the weekly raid. I told my raid leader that they'd be doing it without me. He threatened to kick me from the guild unless I showed up. I told him to go ahead and do it because there was no way I was ever running EoE again.

    Am I whining? Probaly, but I pay my 15 bucks to have fun. Oc and EoE are not fun so I don't do them.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    I bet there's plenty of folks who drop group when faced with Oculus (the only wotlk instance that can't be facerolled) who also think Blizzard's making the game too easymode these days.

    Not suggesting Oc is without issues, just pointing out that a lot of players prefer not to be challenged, while kidding themselves that they do.

  31. Cassandri Says:

    I don't know about this lazy and stupid stuff.

    I do feel sorry for Blizzard because I remember early on in the piece (possibly even before WotLK was released) they said that they were most proud of this particular instance.

    Like Keeva I hate the mount/dismount rubbish, just hate it.

    The 2nd level where you clear (as your normal character) the inner ring then fly out to clear 3 separate platforms should either involve one or the other, not both.

    Or they should scrap the impossible-to-tank and impossible-to-heal whelp pulls at the start. Those were/are agony when you're just barely geared for Heroics. First impressions count.

    Also I'm constantly surprised by how much games on the Wii will pop up little diagrams that demonstrate how to use the remote to execute a double jump in Super Mario (sry, my roomates are crazy for this game atm). It sounds childish, but it's actually a step in learning a new ability.

    I'd never considered that jousting might be part of ToC (the raid). Thank god. Thank god it was only in the 5 man.

    Isn't it disturbing that they can make us learn vehicle fights for vanity items and titles (argent tournament) but not for raid gear (eoe)?

  32. Moeru Says:

    I think 95% is a bit far stretched. I do Occ with my guild usually, but my pugs usually stay. If you take the time to learn vehicle abilities vehicle fights aren't too bad. The only one I have a problem with is EoE. It's confusing, it's chaotic and it should NOT be a third phase in a fight. The rest are easily manageable, and the fact that they only require you to do 3-5 things, for one fight, it's not that bad. You can down last boss in Occ in a few seconds to a min now, thanks to gear scaling. Just have the DPS know that Temporal Rift makes them do a TON of damage if done right, like up to 200k hits. Communication is a big part of these instances, and I often ask for vent on that boss.

    Other than that, there's nothing bad about not being good at a part of the game. I used to suck at some parts, but got better. Just because you're 80 doesn't mean you have to be awesome at all the aspects. Sure, you like healing and feel bad when you can't perform well at an aspect that isn't healing. But sometimes WoW demands you to do something you're uncomfortable with. It's how it is...from learning to move and heal, to limiting heals to when the tank has aggro...had to learn all of these at one point. And mistakes help you learn. If you don't feel confident going with pugs, who mostly don't really blame one person in a group if they're going to blame someone, then go with the guild. I have patience to help people in Occulus. Sure, I could quit and go do AN again, with no problem. But I'd rather challenge myself.

    There's always going to be stuff that you can't be 100% good at, like I said, but avoiding it isn't the best thing.

  33. Fatbox Says:

    I love occulus. And when someone drops because of it I know they are a player I don't want to run with.

    How hard is it really? The only problem with occulus is the initial pulls with the whelps. They're a pain.

    Any player on worth can do this instance with no problem on any drake. I just don't get the hate.

    "gurr, I hate you blizzard for making me do something that i don't normally do. GURR!!"

    I tend to shy away from the normal "L2P" posts, but really? Just accept it and get it done.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Oculus is not fun.

    I don't pay money to do things I don't find enjoyable.

    Ergo, I don't do Oculus. I will farm for gold for hours, I will wipe 20 times in ICC, I will do Flame Leviathan and enjoy it. I refuse to do mounted drake fights-- the controls are clunky and bothersome, the maps are badly designed, the fights are shoddy and needlessly frustrating and the rewards for doing it aren't worth the hassle. I could drop group, tab out for 15 minutes and get another random dungeon, and probably get more badges faster than actually staying IN it.

    So yeah-- screw Oculus, and if you don't like that, go cry more.

  35. Lovely post! So glad I stumbled upon it today! I quite agree with you that Oculus is not fun, and thus I have zero inclination to run it except when in dire need of emblems, and especially no need to run it with rude, obnoxious or just mean pugs. The hatred and spew that others vent about people leaving group when faced with Occ really gets on my nerves. I do leave group. I will apologize to the random pugs beforehand, but I do not feel that the new LFG tool means I've bound myself to whatever instance it dumps on me. As I was gearing up my new paladin I had to be up front with groups if I felt I was under-geared as a tank or a healer for an instance. That is honesty. And I feel 100% good about saying honestly "sorry guys I hate this instance and do not feel that the emblems/loot are sufficient compensation for enduring it, so good luck with my replacement!"

  36. Anachronym Says:

    Oculus is not hard. Oculus does not even take that long. On the first three boss fights, the boss mechanics can pretty much be ignored. Eregos is the only difficult fight, due to having to use the drakes, but with a little experience it is not that mysterious. As always, hope you have someone who knows how to tank and someone who knows how to heal (in this case it doesn't even need to be your party's actual tank and healer) and let them carry the other 3.

    There are two reasons people percieve Oculus as hard:

    1) A lot of people appear to have very little sense of spatial awareness. I would have thought that playing a 3D game for years, with flying mounts for the past 3 years, would have fixed that, but apparently not.

    2) People internalize the conventional wisdom. In this case, the conventional wisdom on Oculus is that it is hard, so for the past year people avoided it like the plague, and now when it's actually somewhat unavoidable, the vast bulk of players have zero experience with it. As a result people would prefer to bail on it in the hopes of getting a dungeon that they know and are comfortable with, than in expending the effort to learn the very basic layout of the dungeon and 3, count em, 3 whole buttons on the drakes.

    What drives me slightly nuts is how ingrained this reaction is. I've tanked and healed Oculus several times in the last few weeks (farming triumphs means plenty of oculus, mostly because you end up filling slots that other people have abandoned). I have had runs that were smooth and flawless, and even so, when the 15 minute timers start to expire, people suddenly drop without even a word, even though we are nearly done with the dungeon. They would rather give up 3 badges than even try Eregos once. It is, frankly, pretty pathetic.

  37. Merus Says:

    I find it very hard to take your concerns seriously when you all keep misspelling the name of the instance. It's Oculus. One c. It's a word meaning a circular hole in a roof, which is what Oculus is.

    I hold a fair amount of contempt for the idea that people can't handle vehicles because they should be playing their character they've spent so much time learning. In pretty much every raid instance, there's a fight using regular game mechanics that forces someone or other to play the game differently. If you play a warlock, in some fights you're going to be the tank. Healers are going to find themselves being the DPS in the Dreamwalker fight.

    And to be honest, it's boring to do the same thing over and over again.

    The big problem with vehicles is the same problem with the game proper - Blizzard have put no effort into teaching players their abilities and roles. Single-player games are awash with tutorials that tell you everything you need to know about the game, but Blizzard drops us in the starting zone with a pop-up box saying "click on this guy" and then assumes that we'll work it out.

    The one vehicle fight that everyone seems to like is Flame Leviathan. It's not hard to see why; it starts off with some easy trash, you take down some towers, and then on easy mode the boss is a loot pinata. You have time to learn the abilities of the vehicles, and you even have an opportunity to try out the pyrite dot a couple of times.

    Compare to Oculus - what normally happens is the drakes only get their signature abilities after the penultimate boss is dead, and you get no chance to use them outside of a boss fight. If they removed the summoned trash on the floating islands and instead made it a little tutorial on how to deal with each ability, people would feel much more comfortable. I'd imagine some, I don't know, magic spheres or something that have the ability to heal themselves, that have to be taken down in specific ways that just so happen to be identical to what you "should" be doing in the fight. For those who hadn't done it before, it'd be a little puzzle, but for those who had it'd just be another bit of trash.

  38. Unknown Says:

    Ok I've read it. It was long and can be summed up very shortly: My custum UI doesn't like vehicles and I'm directionally challanged.

    Players have 50+ abilities vehicles got at most 6. If you can't figure them out go look at wowwiki, there are 4 endgame encounters that use vehicle combat, it ain't very hard to get to know them all. To the people dropping group, please continue this tendency, as the people who stay are usually good enough that this instance can be finished in 15 mins.

    Or just take some time to learn the vehicles, a little repose from your favourite class isn't such a big thing. Yes Occulus was hard before, but it has now been dumbed down significantly, and I've completed the "void" achievements (previously considered to be the hardest ones from Glory of the Hero) many times in complete PUGs.

    Not learning these fights and then QQing is like not enchanting and gemming your gear properly, like: "Why do i have to go and look at websites to know what the best gem is, I've levelled this class through 80 levels goddamnit!"

  39. Anonymous Says:

    The learning curve in Oculus can be brutal; however I honestly believe its reputation is not fully deserved. It's not really that hard if you know what you're doing.

    A few days ago I hit regular Oculus at random. A DPS left immediately. Surprise. We replaced them and killed the first boss. As the tank I was giving out fairly detailed instructions. Who should pick which drake, stay close, exactly where to go. I marked myself for added visibility. It was a complete and total cluster. Two ruby and two emerald drakes, two people died from engaging blue drakes on their own. The group disintegrated rapidly.

    I re-queued and was immediately put back into Oculus. I treated it much the same way. We completed the instance without wiping, and three people got the achievement at the end for their first completion (only one had done it before on a different toon). Oculus isn't hard; you just have to have at least one person that knows the way, and a group who are willing to listen to instructions.

    In my opinion Oculus is difficult for only one reason. It is completely non-linear. As soon as you kill the first boss (which is simple) and get on a drake, you can fight your way to anywhere in the instance. Most other dungeons put you into a luge with one entry and one exit. Yes the middle boss fights of Oculus are fairly technical, but they are not impossible to learn even in a PUG. If you put those two exact fights into some other instance, no one would even notice. The last fight is a challenge because of the vehicle element. But come on, it's not hard. You can faceroll it, especially in regular.

    Does all of that mean it totally sucks and deserves to be dropped repeatedly by everyone? No. In fact it is a pretty fast way to four badges (now six) if you know what you're doing. Once you learn it, it's actually quite simple. I think it is the victim of rumor, peer pressure, and being singled out because it is different.

    In short, Oculus is one of the social outcasts from your highschool. It just needs someone to be its friend.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    There is one "C" in Oculus.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Oculus is not a failure. I applaud the difference that Oculus presents. Bravo to Blizzard in actually trying something new.

    I expected this kind of reaction when the extra loot was announced. I see no need for it, but I'll take it. I've had more people drop out of Halls of Reflection than Oculus.

    I know of many people who have complained about other games, namely City of Heroes, where everything was the same. You could enter a new zone and it was a copycat of a previous zone. Even in WoW, when I enter certain buildings, there is dejavu and I'm bored instantly.

    The reason people leave Oculus is just laziness. ToC proved that people will learn new (and simple) mechanics. Oculus held a place of being "above" the other Heroics, just as HoR is now proving to be. Please keep pushing the boundaries Blizzard, just remember to keep the fun in the forefront.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    The failure, dear Medicina, is not within our drakes, but within ourselves.

    The main difference between Oculus and other heroics is that it requires effort and coordination regardless of how severely you overgear it. As for finding your way around, how are you ever going to learn to navigate through it if you insta-quit it? Ditto for the tooltips.

    Learning how to adapt to encounters and situations that you see in places like Oculus will make you a much better player than just skipping past it to another trash mob AoE fest filled with recount meter spam. Face up to the challenge for a change.

  43. Daedalus Says:

    So, in short, this has very little to do with Oculus itself (other than the fact that you, like myself, have difficulty navigating in three dimensions) but is rather about how much you dislike vehicle fights. I really don't see why so many people hate vehicles so much. The interface? You're moving, maintaining facing, and pushing hotkeys just like normal. New abilities? People don't freak out and swear off their class when their trainer offers them a new spell; vehicles are no different. Do you really, truly want there to never be anything new and different in the game, ever again?

  44. Lana Says:

    This>>> "You have a few moments, at most, to familiarize yourself with the abilities of your vehicle, and then you have to get down to business."

    It's not just learning new abilities in moments ... it's that you have to learn new abilities in moments, and figure out the strategy of using them, all while a group is waiting on you. For some people, this is no big deal. For other folks, like me, this ratchets up the pressure 10 fold.

    I'd much rather learn the mechanics on my own, figure out what the hell I'm doing, then come back and use them in a group.

    Blizzard has typically taken this individualized / solo route in giving us new things to learn, but they stumbled here: the dragon practice was after a LONG string of quests, and you had to return to an area much too low level with no other reason to go there. And if you didn't see the new blue exclamation point in the area, you didn't know about the practice.

    The Leviathon fight is much more accessible and ejoyable for the same reason: you have plenty of low-pressure time to figure out your abilities (and they don't change mid-instance).

    As you can see from the comments here -- there is utter disdain from some players if you aren't a vehicle expert. This is not fun, and most folks just avoid the disdain rather than deal with it. We have that luxury in a game.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    I think the issue with Occ is the 3D movement, I know I struggled with it in EoE as well. I actually like Occ and will happily run it (just finished my Occ achievements yay!), but for a while until I got practiced at 3D movement I was challanged. Nowadays I am comfortable with it. The complaints about the actual vehicle elements are minor, I think, while valid the real guts of the issue is the new dimension people have to get used too.

    Here's a scary thought for you Occ haters - Cataclysm has some strong water/oceanic themeing and I wouldnot be suprised if underwater dungeon/raid encounters are not featured strongly - swimming is the new 3D!!

    Id take the opportunities to get used to this now...


  46. Unknown Says:

    There seems to be two main themes here, a reluctance or inability to use mounts and a confusion with 3D navigation.

    I too was first confused by mount mechanics, which is unsurprising as it was new. I cursed through jousting for the first few days until I became familiar with the mechanics and practised with Malygos until I was happy. I understand people may find mounts frustrating but with practice, it becomes as easy as your rotation and not standing in fires ;-)

    I'd avoided Oculus pre-Dungeon Finder because I had real difficulty getting Pugs or guildies to come along. I'd also heard it was hard ;-)

    When DF first dumped me in Oculus I was eager to give it a go and I was surprised how easy it was. Sure I got killed at one stage by landing while a drake still had me and it was confusing with the different directions and heights, but we got through it without too much trouble. It helps if you have people that know the fight of course, so I suggest using an add-on like boss notes or similar to post a short summary of tactics in chat - just so everyone knows what's going to happen.

    You can expect to be disoriented, as you are in any new instance, but after you do it a few times, even with a few wipes, you'll find the sequence a little easier to follow. I also like to pull my camera back to around 40m with a small script so I can see the surroundings and my teammates a little better (I'd recommend this to anyone having orientation problems). The minimap is also your friend, just remember you may need to look up or down to find others.

    I understand it is initially frustrating and 3D movements can be confusing and none of this is helped by people who speed-run it, but the mechanics are simple, especially with some co-operation with timestop in the end encounter and it can be learned quite quickly with a little persistence.

    It's a lot less scary than learning to tank or heal for the first time and I'd encourage everyone to give it a try and those of us who now find it just another instance to be a little more patient and pass on our experience.

  47. Bart Janssen Says:

    I hated Oculus at first. And I hated it because I wasn't playing my character. I can fly in 3D, I can remember where to go and I can use the mechanics. But I still hated it because I like to play my character in this game, not some vehicle.

    The Instance is not a means to get loot, the instance is an environment within which I can play my character. Oculus took that away from me.

    I'm now a lot better at Oculus. I did it a lot of times to get the achievement for Glory of the Hero (damn Less-Rabi still thwarts me). It is fairly easy to get through and with a little explanation most groups succeed. But it still isn't as much fun as those instances where I get to play my character.

    BTW in all our guild runs now we park the healer on the platform and the drake riders hover over the healer. So unless your healer really wants to ride a drake there is no need for them to do so.

    @Kurnak Just one minor point. If you want people to take your accusations that they are all lazy more seriously, then you should take the time to use the language properly. Even for a non-native English speaker it simply takes some effort, to make the errors you made was simply ... lazy.

  48. Anonymous Says:

    I get Occulus almost daily in my random daily heroic.

    Its easy. its fast. And even the most dense players in my experience are able to choose a dragon and mash buttons en route to and past the final encounter.

    If you honestly died (six times?) during this encounter, you have no business writing about World of Warcraft. Cancel your account, and unpublish your blog.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    I'm just impatient and intolerant. In other words, my idea of a great instance is constant action.

    I've had about half great oculus groups. I don't mind those in the least.

    But, most of the time I run heroics, I'm not really in a teaching mood. I save that for guild mates and raid officer time:-).

    Weak group in any other original heroic? No problem, I can make up for their mistakes.

    1 out of 5 players has never done oculus but the rest are decent players who know what they're doing? Fine. My problem is when 2 or more members of the party don't know the instance, it can take up to an hour with people getting lost and such.

    Some days I feel like teaching. Some days I do not.

    I dislike wiping.
    [How many times has someone died pulling extra dragons, or worse, on bosses or trash someone aggroes an additional dragon. Wipe! I find half the groups are great and half the groups if I don't hold their hands, we get adds.]
    I dislike slow tanks.
    I dislike slow groups.
    I dislike "wasted" time.

    It feels like an instance where if one person screws up, you die. I hate those fights in raids (someone lagged again on Archimonde! Everyone die in a fire!), and I hate those fights 15 times more in 5 person instances.

  50. Lath Says:

    I have a confession to make. I beta tested wrath and was one of those testers that gave the vehicle stuff glowing feedback :P

    EOE is one of my favourite boss fights this expansion, I loved the phases, the hovercrafts, the lore and well I just love dragons.

    I also don't have a problem with OCC so I guess I'm kinda lucky because I would never leave a group over it so here's hoping I get a blue drake :P

    I kinda think it's important to occasionally get outside your standard routine and shake things up a bit, and these are a good outlet for me.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    I too hate Occulus. It's not the drakes, it ain't the vertical. It's the arrogance of elitest asshats that eat my grapes. They expect you to know everything, and if they don't they continually put you down. I personally would rather run something quick, but in saying that and being a guild master, I have also taken time out to introduce greenhorns to this run. If it came up as the random for LFG I'll stick around, otherwise I do not do it.

  52. Anonymous Says:

    I've only done Oculus once on Heroic, so I may not be the greatest input on the subject, but I actually enjoyed this instance. the first section was remarkably easy up until the boss (having remarkably group-mates is so nice) though things did generally go south in the mount phase. I think first off that the current mentality of the dungeon-finder (i'm getting this done as fast as possible, group be damned) clashes with the dungeon. this is almost a mini-raid, in that most of it requires fore-knowledge, coordination, and patience. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that any of this will be found frequently on dungeon-finder, and this is the only mode through which the prize (which I am very excited for) is available.

    so ultimately, this isn't going to do anything. people who are against this dungeon (many of the above, for sure) chose not to look into it more, and rather just quit. And because many (myself included) don't get to do Oculus that much, there isn't much motivation to learn the dungeon. It's a cyclical, no win situation, and honestly, I think it all kinda sucks.

  53. Unknown Says:

    I wager Miss Medicina will never go near the Abomination potion in the Putricide fight either. It's a reality that in order to make fights new and different, they need to introduce 3rd party options. There are only so many ways of making fire/slime/shadow holes appear on the ground without boring the pants off everyone involved.

  54. anassaria Says:

    For me, it's not about learning the mechanics. I can do that no problem. And it's not about being too lazy to practice. The problem is, there is something about the way I'm made that makes me disoriented in these vertical types of fights. No amount of practice will EVER make me good at it.

    For those of you for whom it's easy, realize there are those of us who will never do well at this, no matter how hard we try. And ridiculing me for doing poorly is just making it more certain that when this healer pulls Oculus, you'll be going back in the queue.

  55. Majromax Says:

    ... enough hate in the comments?

    I've done Oculus a number of times now. I used to hate it, now I merely dislike it. Miss Medicina has it mostly right, and I'd like to expand a bit.

    First, the flying trash is annoying, even when it isn't hard. Prior to the final abilities, there's no real tanking and healing -- and a blue drake is nearly a match for a single player. Combine that with extreme difficulty judging range without ground-cues, and even an experienced group will face-pull a lot more trash than strictly necessary.

    Secondly, the navigation really isn't as easy as some of the comments give it credit for. The background of the instance is just Coldarra, and with low view distance it's mostly fog. Unlike every other instance, it's impossible to orient yourself at a single glance. In addition, despite the legions of fans screaming their lungs out, many players are still keyboard-turners, and the keyboard doesn't do 3D navigation well. Add in the "drake on, drake off" clumsiness for a trifecta.

    Thirdly, the drake abilities really aren't intuitive -- especially the Bronze ones. The entire idea of "build up and use shock charges" doesn't even come into play until the final boss, so it's no wonder players have a difficult time learning the right channel/shock mechanics. There's a reason that, pre-nerf, people insisted on using Ventrilo for the instance, and that's not a good standard for a 5-man.

    Finally, the instance doesn't "feel" heroic-y (or even dungeon-y) enough. Even giving Blizzard part marks for the lead-in quest, there's no rhyme or reason to any of the bosses there save Eregos. Blizzard could replace Varos (that'd be the second boss) with a large can of tuna and the instance would still make just as much sense.

    Even the architecture doesn't cooperate. Save for the very first boss where the players "rescue the assault team," there's literally nothing going on. There's no mining-of-evil-ore, no forging of apocalyptic weapons, and no channeling of the ultimate spell of doom for players to spot. It's not even a useful fortification, since everybody and their drake can fly right around it.

    The mechanics are clumsy at best, the storyline uninspiring, and the layout disorienting. I see and admire what Blizzard was trying to do, but it unfortunately didn't work.

  56. @Bristal

    Ha! As you can see from the comments, there are still a lot of people who like it. I recommend you don't pug it though! Get a group of patient/friendly guildmates or friends, and it can be a lot of fun :)


    "Am I whining? Probaly, but I pay my 15 bucks to have fun. Oc and EoE are not fun so I don't do them."



    Yes, I think one problem is that people want to grind heroics, and get through them quickly. They don't see Oculus as a good return on their time investment, so they drop it. I don't have a problem with this in theory, but in practice, it does come off as rather rude to the rest of the pug.


    It's because GC promised us ponies. We can be bribed.

    In all seriousness though, it seems like Oculus has a combination of two factors going against it - the 3d vertical aspect, with all its mounting and dismounting, in addition to vehicle mounts that you can't practice outside of the instance (unlike the EoE ones). It's a fatal combo


    Sorry if that wasn't clearer - 95% of my fiance's PuGs had a member drop group. I don't think 95% of all Oculus pugs have a member drop group.

    "There's always going to be stuff that you can't be 100% good at, like I said, but avoiding it isn't the best thing."

    I wanted to stop here and say thank you for a great comment that manages to politely and respectfully disagree with me, while offering encouragement. You, sir, are awarded a cookie. You're right, avoidance is not the solution. Maybe I will try to run this more with guildmates first.



    My only problem with that method is that it is rude to the other members of the pug. I think if you are DPS and you drop, it's not as group breaking as if you are a tank, or to a lesser degree a healer. As a healer, I feel especially bad for dropping, which is why I haven't done so yet.


    "The hatred and spew that others vent about people leaving group when faced with Occ really gets on my nerves. I do leave group. I will apologize to the random pugs beforehand, but I do not feel that the new LFG tool means I've bound myself to whatever instance it dumps on me."

    THIS. Blizz has implemented a tool that encourages you to stick around, but they do not want us to feel forced to stay in an instance in which we are not comfortable. The key is to be courteous to your group when you leave, and explain why you are leaving.

  57. @Anachronym

    Just because something is not difficult for you does not make it easy for others. Many will drop group so that you can replace them with someone who finds it just as easy as you do. Think of it as a courtesy.

    However, I do agree with your statement that people internalize conventional wisdom. For people who haven't run Oculus, I really do hope they at least give it a shot or two, instead of being scared off by all this discussion.


    The misspelling was pointed out by over 9000 people. I addressed it in a later post, and explained why I erred :)

    I hated Flame Levi. I loved Malygos, as long as I had someone dependable whom I could /follow. Malygos was fun for me because I don't find doing the same thing over and over boring, and did the Coldarra daily repeatedly until I knew all the abilities like the back of my hand.


    You didn't have to read it :)

    And my post was not intended to have any QQing. It was a matter of trying to understand why Oculus was not a successful instance, and what can be learned from that in the future.


    "In short, Oculus is one of the social outcasts from your highschool. It just needs someone to be its friend."

    You ftw.

    You make a good point too. If it were linear AND 3D, maybe it wouldn't be so difficult for me. Non-linear, 3D, and mounted are a trifecta of me-fail.


    Wanh, i know...


    Not everyone who drops is lazy. Struggling with something with a positive and encouraging group is fine. Struggling with a pug that calls you lazy for not intuitively doing well in the instance sucks.

    That having been said, I still agree with you in applauding Blizz for trying something new with Oculus. I don't mind if some things they do fail, because it means they are trying out new things, and being creative. That means some things won't be successful, and other things will be wildly popular.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    I don't buy the "I just want to play my character" complaint regarding Oculus. Eregos is the only boss that you fight while mounted. The other 3/4 of the instance bosses require your character to fight them. All the non-optional trash requires you to use your character.

    I also don't buy that the abilities are just oh so confusing that new person can't figure them out. I happened to run this today. One guy picked an emerald drake. When we got to Eregos, I asked if everyone knew their drake. He said he'd never done an emerald. I was the ruby and just said "do your best". Guess what? he figured out how to work the buttons and get me some heals when I needed them. Perhaps some of you with this issue are too proud to ask for help?

    Even the spatial problems people seem to have baffle me. Think of the instance in 4 tiers; one for each boss. Kill a boss, fly up a level. How hard is that? The in-game maps even show where the bosses are and the layout of the tier you're at. Even if you do get completely separated from the group, you can fly towards their dot on the map and then just fly straight up or down till you see them.

    My opinion is the reason a lot of people don't like Oculus is because they had a bad experience when it used to be non-faceroll and can't shake that impression. And because that's their impression, they refuse to try the instance again or improve what they're having problems with. I could understand falling off a ledge or aggroing 20 drakes your first time in there, but if those are really persistent issues for someone, the problem isn't the instance, it's the player.

    One gripe I will agree with is it takes too long to mount up and that you can't mount while in combat. But that really isn't that big of a deal.

  59. Anonymous Says:

    Vehicle fights are preferred by game developers since they do not have to worry about fine tuning the encounter to in-game toon abilities. Everyone has the same set abilities.

    Non-vehicle fights are preferred by players since players know their toons inside and out.

    I do not seem them going away. Blizz has to pump out loads of content to the game continuously so some vehicle fights in the coming expansions are unavoidable. They are easier to manage operationally.

    For my part, the thing I dislike the most about vehicle fights is that some of them screw up my camera angles. Vehicles are sometimes too big for my screen, I can barely see what is going on in the raid. I get very irritated once I find myself in a position to manually adjust my camera.

  60. Anonymous Says:

    I dislike Oc. The end fight really irritates me; I'm a mage not a dragon, and I'm not particularly good at it. The 3D layout is a pain; I just follow someone. The repeated mounting/dismounting is a pain; it's slow.

    I have never dropped a PuG over which instance I'm in, only when the players themselves were useless or abusive.

  61. Synkronos Says:

    I had no problem with the 3D aspect of the instance, or with learning mount abilities. Many others do, I am aware. While I don't expect everyone to have flawless 3D spatial perception immediately, or to just *grasp* a new set of abilities, being with people who, for whatever reason, cannot complete the instance without dying 80 times and pulling every single drake, is irritating. These days I just kill about twice as many drakes as is really necessary (and about 4 times as many as I would need to kill if I were solo flying), and make sure that everyone is following me. When people _still_ fail, I admit I do get a bit tense. Mostly the runs have been pretty smooth thanks to Nerfnerfnerf.

  62. Anonymous Says:

    Just fyi, and people have probably mentioned this, but Oculus has one 'c' and the Flying Carpet was fixed of its bugginess because Blizzard made it a regular mount instead of a vehicle.

    I completely agree with your article, though, and furthermore I think vehicles in general were an unnecessary misstep by Blizzard and I will be excited if they are completely absent from Cataclysm.

  63. Kira Says:

    This was a fascinating read.

    As far as vehicle mechanics in dungeons go, I believe that requiring their use for specific fights was a mistake, however having them as an integral, yet optional part of the various PVP battles turned out to be a fun addition.

    I believe that in developing Wrath they had an overall plan for how vehicle fights in dungeons would work, but they didn't count on half of the player base hating the mechanic, even if they were competent vehicle users.

    We had a guildmate who came back from a WoW break after we had all of the initial Wrath content on farm (Naxx, EoE, OS), and it took him several months to get the hang of his red dragon in EoE. I have also mentioned to several players that you can practice with those specific abilities by doing the Coldarra daily, and usually got back the surprised response of not even knowing of that daily's existence.

    You mention getting used to the sudden new abilities, and usually found this to be annoying as well. While questing through Northrend and doing the various vehicle quests, I would always pause for a minute or two to read the ability tooltips, and even then sometimes I might find myself low on health, panicking, and forgetting that I had a heal spell on the bar. I have found that most vehicle abilities are pretty much the same; there is usually some form of direct damage, an AOE, and hopefully a heal/shield. I found that once you can put abilities into those categories, it's a bit easier.

    One thing that really annoyed me about using vehicles (or I suppose this is technically a control fight), is the inability to move the buttons on the bar, or for them to be starting from 5-7 or somesuch. My main is a Priest, and as a Priest I was required to Mind Control in Naxx 25, which I was horrible at. One of the reasons being that I was forced to keep my hand at an unnatural position on the keyboard because the abilities were located at 4-7 (or maybe 5-8, I don't remember now), and you were unable to move them! There was an actual vehicle fight that had the keys in an odd position, but I don't remember what it is now.

    I consider Wrath to be Blizzard's grand vehicle experiment. Now they know they it's not completely designed well, and that even if they were, many people would still dislike them. For Oculus specifically, what they have done is too little, far too late. Really, that instance has such a bad reputation, that no amount of bribery will make some people run it (I know a few of these people). The only change would be to overhaul the instance (as you mentioned), or overhaul the entire vehicle mechanic. I feel that the constant mounting/dismounting is the most annoying part. If they were to make the whole place vehicle based after that first boss, it would add a lot.

    You can see that there have been various experiments over the years with dungeon mechanics and layouts. Many of the non-linear dungeons (Maraudon, Gnomeregan, Sunken Temple) are very unpopular, and I've seen people say they even refuse to take friends there as a level 80. In BC, pretty much every single dungeon was linear, and took less time to complete than the 2-4 hours that it took for a full Stratholme or Scholomance clear.

    With every iteration of WoW they try new things, see what people like and dislike, and make changes accordingly by the next expansion. I have no reason to believe that the same won't be the case for vehicle mechanics. There probably will be vehicles in Cataclysm, but we'll have to wait and see how they're utilized.

  64. Anonymous Says:

    I find Oculus only mildly irritating - the vehicle mechanics work reasonably well there. What I loathe is the wretched horsies in ToC. Whatever the latency in my game generally, the lag on control inputs on those stupid horses is about 10 times worse. My UI says the cd is up on shieldbreaker, but I can't cast it yet. I spam the button. Nothing. I notice that the mob's shield is now down (no doubt my party has hit them), so I start spamming charge. 2 seconds goes by, and my shieldbreaker flies towards the mob. A teammate charges. The mob is down. I try to target the next - no targeting circle appears under it. My horse charges the now-dead mob, in response to a control input I gave 5 seconds ago. Hopeless.

    I've learned to adapt a little by now, giving controls for the fight that will be happening in 4 or 5 seconds, but it still annoys the hell out of me.

  65. Uschisuki Says:

    I don't get all this Occulus hate; ok the whelps at the beginning are really annoying but other than that, it's such a quick instance!

    To make the drake part and riding around less painful, here's how I do it: once on the drake, fly up and straight to the second ring with the trash groups. Once the ring is clear you can use it as a "highway" to fly on with the drakes, and fly straight out to the other trash plattforms and the boss. This minimizes the flying around, and there's almost no need to orient oneself in 3d space.

  66. Anonymous Says:

    Back when Oculus was easy to avoid, I could get why some people never went. It WAS a challenge, especially to pug - the openness meant people had to spend a bit of time to learn their way round the place, the boss fights all had "execution" elements to their mechanics, and it took a go or two to learn the combat-mount mechanics for the last fight.

    Now it isn't so easy to avoid, there's a new outpouring of Oculus-hate, but I think this has more to do with the unwillingness of people who want to be seen as Uber to show a little humility.

    In the age of gearscore some folks get embarrassed to be the 5000+ player saying to the rest of the group that you've never learned the place and would like some help. The percieved humiliation of that is way harder for some to bear than a 15 minute debuff, which they can spend thinking up excuses as to why they bailed.

  67. Anonymous Says:

    Yo Miss Medicina, I'm really happy for your post, and I'ma Let you finish, but Oculus has to be one of the best instances of all time!

  68. Weapon X Says:

    Every time Blizzard try to put something new in the game to move it away from the vanilla grind fest, a ton of 3 hours a week casuals moan and complain that they can't just grind their way thru it and have to actually co-operate with other humans rather than sending in their pet and auto attacking.

    These players are the ones with ego problems, not the raider elitist jerk types that people have invented (but don't actually exist). Raider types have done occulus and it's not hard if you just read the instructions the NPCs give you IN THE INSTANCE!

    Ooohhh I can't macro my way through the fight.

    So, Blizzard have nerfed it, but to their credit left the vehicles in. So I bet you occuclus will be full of noobs wiping the group because they just can't be bothered spending 3 minutes reading tooltips and talking to NPCs - BUT THEY WANT THAT NEW BLUE MOUNT COS THEY PAY JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO TO PLAY.

    Hmmmm not reading manuals... is that a female trait?

    Not able to operate vehicles..... is that a female trait?

    The author of this blog and a lot of the posts that agree... are either women or men who are "half rice, half chips".

    If it's too hard for you, don't go in there. You can grind boars or go for a haircut.

  69. @Weapon X

    Not able to provide a logical argument except to say "LOL THATS CUZ UR A GRL LOL"... Is that a male trait?

    No, it's not. It's a trolling asshole trait. My bad.

  70. Unknown Says:

    In my case, I've never had a chance to find out whether I liked Oculus or not. It's all very well to say "learn it in a safe environment with guildies," but that assumes you've got guildies who are willing to go with you. My main is "friends and family" in a big guild, and I was a bit behind the rest in leveling because I can't usually play every day. By the time I was ready for the Oculus, none of them was willing to run it with me: "I hate that place! I'm not doing THAT again." Eventually, I decided to try it on normal mode in a PUG; I'd queue for it, but nobody was ever forming a group for Oculus and I didn't feel willing to recruit others when I hadn't even set foot in the place. I finally managed to get into the place once when it was the daily dungeon. And by then, the badge system was in place, and people were apt to get snotty if you showed up in a PUG not knowing exactly what to do at all times, because they wanted to zerg through and get their badges in 15 minutes. So I figured I'd stick to dungeons where I knew what I was doing, even though I didn't hate my one trip to Oculus.

    The second time I ever went was on Monday, just before the "loot pinata" was implemented. (I had gotten it before in the random dungeon and was willing to try it, but those PUGs fell apart when people dropped group.) Ironically, I was grouped with three guild members and we were just PUGging one other. When Oculus loaded, they were all bragging to the PUG member about how they knew this place inside out and it would be such an easy run. Which, to be fair, it was.

    Anyway, I'm game to give the place a fair shot, really I am. But if you didn't get there in the first week, it was tough to learn. Too many people were turned off to the place already, and the ones who remained were likely to be the hardcore Oculus-lovers who would sneer at you for not knowing your "three easy buttons" as well as they did. I'm willing to bet there are more like me who just fell through the cracks.

    Now if Oculus would just pop up on my random again... (I know I could queue for it specifically, but hey, if there's a loot pinata going around, then I'd like a piece of that!)

  71. Weapon X Says:

    It was more friendly banter but I can see how it looks trolly... fair enough.

    In seriousness though, I currently am trying to improve the PUG experience. When the inevitable "OMG YOU SUCK NOOBS" breaks out in a pug, I try to get the person who is calling ppl a noob to explain the problem.

    Usually they guy (or girl!!!!) says. "er, yeah it's just that you need to attack my target first", the guy messing up gets his act together and the pug succeeds.

    If you randomly got matched with me in Oculus, I would just try to explain the fights as best I could and encourage a win....

  72. Shoe Says:

    First off, thanks to Miss for an engaging read. This was my first visit to this blog, but it won't be the last.

    I also dislike Oculus, but not because it is excessively long or difficult when compared to other heroics. Granted, I put off running it for ages, but when I finally did, I picked everything up on the first run (thanks to an experienced guild mate who led the group) and now I teach Oculus to others. The mounting is slow and clunky, there is too much flying back and forth, the vertical plane makes it way too easy to get lost, the GPS system is useless, and you really need to keep your mount when you die. But all this aside, the mobs and boss fights are easy, and Oculus is a fast run once you learn the place. So why do I still hate it?

    I don't hate Oculus because it's not easy. I hate Oculus because it's not FUN. Nerfing the mobs and throwing loot at the instance will not make that one glaring problem go away. The Oculus is simply a poorly designed gimmick run that never should have made it out of beta. When you see DPSers instantly dropping out of group and waiting 15 minutes for a different run, you know the instance is just plain bad.

    Old Kingdom is the same way, with its tortuous slog through endless waves of densely packed and annoying trash mobs that also cause players to drop group the moment they see the load screen come up. Despite the extra badges to be had from five bosses, players either drop out of OK or skip right to the end. As one random hunter said before dropping group before the first pull, "Sorry guys, but OK is not okay."

    Blizzard has stated that the goal of WotLK heroics was to maintain a brisk pace throughout so runs would be more fun and players wouldn't feel like they were stuck in an instance for hours on end. But even so, Oculus and Old Kingdom have become the Shattered Halls and Shadow Labyrinth of WotLK. Let's hope Blizzard learns from this fiasco when they design the new instances for Cataclysm.

  73. @Weapon X

    Awww, man, you just single-handedly ruined my next post about trolls. Now I'm sad. Friendly banter is fine. There were a lot of comments that were not so much friendly banter, so perhaps I was a bit defensive.

    I encourage people who are willing to help others learn how to do this instance, to write up a macro of some sort, and spam it as soon as you hit the first walk, before people drop. I don't know if it will work, but it would be interesting to see if it did.

  74. Anonymous Says:

    Oculus is spelled with one "c".

  75. Shoe Says:

    As an aside to my original comment, I wholly agree that one of the key reasons for the failure of Oculus (and similar runs like FL and EoE) from a design standpoint lies in making players abandon everything they know and love about their characters and wrangle with the clunky vehicle UI and handling. The various technical and add-on issues only add to the learning curve.

    Many players do not enjoy having aerial or vehicle combat forced upon them in order to progress through a five man badge run (or worse, a progression raid with the guild mates) and the fear of seeming "noobish" while learning the controls causes them to seek more traditional runs. I can only imagine how humiliating it would be for an Oculus virgin to attempt this run with a pug full of "leetards." One close friend needed only heroic Oculus for her "Frozen Wastes" title and after two disastrous pug runs, she was driven to tears and actually attempted to give me her login and password so I could login and play as her mage to complete the run! Instead, I took her on a guild run and taught her the instance as we went along. She did fine.

    On the one hand, I applaud Blizzard for trying something new, but they should have known better than to make these gimmick fights in any way mandatory. I'm not a fan of the jousting either, but it was presented in such a way that everyone had plenty of time (and incentive) to practice before setting foot in ToC. If aerial combat had been handled in a similar fashion, Oculus might have been tolerated, if not embraced, by players.

  76. Anonymous Says:

    Dismount tip: land your dragon and then dismount - your parachute pops out while you're standing on the ground. You might wait a sec to make sure you are not under fire.
    Mounting tip: drag the icon for your dragon onto a toolbar so you don't have to search for it.

    I have a hard time finding items in my bags. Perhaps Blizz could create a special bag for quest items similar to the one for keys, that would help me out.

  77. el ranchero Says:

    I disliked the Oculus (only 1 "c," by the way -- it's a Latin word!) the first couple of times I ran it, but it wasn't of the mount mechanics or because I loved my character more or it was "a waste of my skills" or whatever. I disliked it because the first 2 times I ran it were painful wipefests. Sure, people occasionally got lost and that ate up some time, but what was really irritating was Naxx and Ulduar geared parties wiping because they were caught standing in Varos' lightning and getting hit by Urom's arcane explosion.

    Frankly, as a poster above noted, there's only one mounted fight in the entire instance, and in my experience it's one of the easier fights in Oculus. There's nothing clunky about the way the dragons taxi you around the instance, which is all you're using them for the rest of the time.

    I can't escape the suspicion that people actually hate the Oculus because it requires more skill than most of the other instances, so they have to play harder and pay more attention. Similarly, people love UK, the Nexus, and VH because they're a breeze, but always piss and moan when Xevozz opens because he's the one boss in VH you can't sleep through.

    And same thing with Malygos, whose 3rd phase is more difficult than most of the stuff in Naxx and OS (or at least, it seems to have an inordinately high body count).

    For that matter, I did a ton of ton of Argent Tourney grinding, but I avoided jousting dailies when I could. Why? Not because they were "clunky" but because they were harder than the others, and I get mad when I lose to the computer. Most of the dailies were boring, but I did them for weeks on end because they were fast and easy.

    People like things that are easy and hate things that are hard, and it happens that several of the mounted fights are of above average difficulty. That's all there is to it. They complain and avoid everything that's hard, and then they complain some much when Blizzard responds to those complaints by nerfing content and handing out more "welfare epics."

  78. @el ranchero

    Very well put, but I must say I disagree. Of course it is subjective, but once you know the abilities of your vehicle, the vehicle fights are actually incredibly easy. I don't think it requires any substantial skill to do Oculus, it just required patience. Or perhaps simply a different skillset, like being able to orient yourself properly in a 3d environment, or learning new tooltip abilities, and processing how they optimally function quickly.

    Maybe the real fundamental issue is how a person defines what is hard, and what isn't. It's hard for some people, easy for others, and for some folks, it's just time consuming enough that it's not worth it.

  79. Revrant Says:

    A rather good read, I disagree entirely about where the blame lies of course, the blame lies on you, and those like you, you're not flexible.

    I said it, you aren't, you've played the game for so long using a very static, unmoving style of play revolving around mechanics as old as Ultima.

    That's a shame, because it means every new, innovative mechanic Blizzard utilizes, players set in stone will reject them, or simply be unable to put them to use.

    I can whip through Occulus on every color drake, I picked it up slowly at first, but after understanding it, I had great success.

    As soon as I landed on the seat of my Hawkstrider graciously awarded to me by the Sunreavers, I was at home.

    I topped damage with it in every ToC, I slammed the Valiants and Champions so hard and fast every day I would consistently defeat my last one with the five minute debuff from my first still counting down.

    The mechanic is not a failure, you feel it's a failure because you and many others cannot learn new hat, you have "the way" to play the game set in your mind and anything different or new is so fumbly it is alien to you.

    I would suggest you loosen your tie and play other games, challenging games that push your limits, I have my whole life and it may be why I picked up so easily on these mechanics.

    I think there's also a large portion of players who aren't truly inept, but choose to be.

    I didn't believe that for the entirety of my gaming experience, until 3.3 hit.

    I was on there, patch night after it had all settled, with people who's addons were down.

    There was no QuestHelper, no X-Pert, no Omen, no Recount, they were left with the proverbial "skin on their backs", what Blizzard gave them.

    I was disgusted by the ineptitude of fully geared raid tanks, one somewhat famous on the server, who could not function without their creature comforts.

    Without addons handling their every move, without their special macros tied to the UI they were using. They were as blind as a king with no servants and as inept still, it was out and out disgusting.

    I refuse to rely on the stupidity-embedding addons such as QuestHelper, or even the new Quest tracker, letting myself be dumb is not my idea of fun, I play the game to be challenged, not led my family jewels gently to each reward.

    I pride myself on being able to operate under new conditions and learn quickly. As a Hunter, arguably the most useless DPS spec for surviving a sour moment, I have saved countless boss encounters, party members, and situations gone awry where no souped-up Ultradin could do anything.

    Yet I look four feet from me, a class who has accepted his general inability and overcome it with raw ingenuity, and I see fools who can't find a quest four feet from their character's face, and seem to think tanking and healing should be handled by automatons and not players.

    You'll excuse my ferocity, but Occulus is not a failure.

    People, are failures.

  80. Hinenuitepo Says:


    I, too, refuse to spell it 'correctly.'

    @WeaponX lol. That's the interweb for you. Your first post was classic troll, even if not meant that way.

    At several others, okay a boatload - mostly anons, who say those who dislike it because it's too hard for us scrubs.

    Check my post on it at my site, specifically the one (among many) where I've done over 10k dps for the run, and over 60% of the party's damage.

    It's easy.
    I rock it.

    It's still a fail, fail, fail instance. Miss Medecina and others have actually done a very nice job of explaining why, if you were paying any attention.

  81. Lana Says:

    Revrant ... perhaps you missed the point. Actually, I think a lot of people missed the point.

    There is an issue with Oculus -- evidently people don't like it. So much so that Blizzard had to add a big carrot-on-a-stick to fix.

    So, you can argue it shouldn't have been a failure (hey, betamax shouldn't have been either) but that doesn't change the fact that it is a failure.

    What follows that premise is a discussion here of why it is a failure. If you want to go pout in a corner that it shouldn't have been so, then I'd suggest the WoW general forums.

  82. Orron Says:

    Great post. Glad I stumbled upon this blog.

    As someone who's played WoW from Launch Day, the bottom line is Oculus is not fun. Plain and simple. It's not fun for all the reasons that have been stated before. And while I'm glad there are people who are fans of it, for me, I dread getting Oculus everytime I LFG. I don't drop, and I know the fights—but lord do I hate getting it.

    I think this post summed up nicely why so many people loathe the instance. Blizzard is a great company with an awesome track record but creating Oculus was an epic fail that stands out because they've created so many other great instances.

  83. @Orron

    Glad you like it :)

    I agree, for too many people (not everyone) Oculus just isn't fun.

    But I also would venture to say that I find it perfectly okay if some of Blizzard's attempts to do something different in an instance fail. I would rather see them try and fail a few times, than never even try, and we be stuck with the same old monotonous content style forever.

  84. Kevin S. Says:

    Absolutely right on. Best post on WoW I've ever read.

    I love the heart of this game, but think that Blizzard is adding way to many distractions. It feels as if I have to play a game that I don't want to play in order to play the game that I do want to play... if you get me.

  85. Anonymous Says:

    I agree about the vehicles used in progression. hate it, hate them.

    But, I do have to say this. Blizz does seem intent on tweaking the game and trying to fix failures. That they miss sometimes tells me only that they do care about player experiences in the game and that is what makes Wow the popular game it is.

    So, they failed on some of this. I still love this game.

  86. @Anonymous above me

    Amen. Does that make me a fanboi? /ponder

  87. finalen Says:

    Nice article, your ways to die in Occulus certainly made me laugh!!

    I'm one of those few people who actually enjoy doing that instance, and I have to say running it now, compared to pre-nerfs is a HUGE difference.

    So far, the only trouble I've had with the Random LFG landing me in OC is when people have not been there, or rarely been there. We all tend to forget what happens where and how, if we avoid doing something for too long. Luckily I forced my friends through endless nights of OC on reg then heroic before we started hitting up Naxx, waiting for some gear to drop.. can't recall what it was now, but I "HAD" to have it. =)

    Story: Our first time in Occulus... We were wondering if Blizz had setup the floaty islands with invisible barriers on the sides so people would't fall off.. they do like to do that after all.

    So I asked my hunter friend if he wanted to check. We laughed about it and then I saw his toon slowly strafing to the left, closer to the edge L-L-L-FALL!! Zomg, the tears running from our eyes... so worth it.

    And to make you feel better, I was with a very well geared & played DK, (shock), that fell off the ramps in FoS last week.. yes, more tears from all. =)

  88. Hammaer Says:

    "Vehicle" fights acutally began in Burning Crusade with the Teron Gorefiend fight in Black Temple. IMO it was MUCH worse than any of the Lich King fights. 25 people go into a raid, and ONE of them is randomly picked to be turned into a ghost (the "vehicle") and has to solo 4 mobs. If they fail, it's a wipe. It was stupid, and nearly broke my guild apart ("You suck, why didn't you kill the ghosts!").

    Unlike the vehicle fights in WotLK, there was no "ghost training" that you could do in game (someone created an html-based simulator though).

    I still LOATHE the Gorefiend fight to this day. When doing the occasional level 80 nostalgia run, I pop heroism to ensure that we don't get a ghost during the fight.

  89. Jasyla Says:


    Good point about Teron!

    Someone not knowing what to do in Oculus can be worked with. But screwing up the ghost on Teron, especially when you're the first target, made things quite unrecoverable. I've messed up on that one myself and there have been few other raid scenarios that have made me feel that shitty.

  90. I think the spelling of the Oculus rants are as ridiculous as nitpickers that didn't like Shadow Labyrinth being called Slabs. Tough tooties, imo. And really, if that's all they've got to go with in a comment, geez!

    I also have to wonder why so many are so damn set on convincing those of us that don't like Oculus that we're somehow wrong for not liking it, should run it more (or at all), and need to "improve" ourselves. That's like telling someone they should play a class they don't like, because otherwise they suck or fail or whatever word you want to use. Puh-lease.

  91. Edgar Says:

    Some advice for all of you that know where to go in Oculus and know the fights pretty well. Place a marker on yourself...something conspicuous. It makes life so much easier for the ones that get lost and disoriented. Had a high level tank do this once when he saw everyone getting lost. Nobody got lost after that.

  92. Revrant Says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  93. @Revrant

    Feel free to take a shot at me, but do not use my blog as a forum to take shots at other commenters who are perfectly polite.

    This is not wow.com, and this is not the WoW forums. Go elsewhere to test out the internet fuckwad theory.

  94. Anonymous Says:

    I can't fly my way around the columns. I wanted to go for ages, finally got a group. I only got it for the 2nd time the other day...

    I failed at the "fly straight up" part...


    Squidly still hasn't been inside!

  95. Ecco Says:

    I love my characters too. I'm an altoholic, and I love the variety of playing styles when I switch between them. That is probably why I never had any problems with Oculus, and vehicles in general, it's just another way to diversify the game. That, and the fact that I play with my chars 99% of the time, using the same skills over and over again. 15 minutes on a vehicle is always refreshing. :P

    The void achievements were my favourites also, seeing how you could overcome the disadvantage of not having a color made me realize how well that bossfight was designed. Not the usual boring tank and spank.

    Pre-nerf oculus was my favourite hc. :) Now it's just one of the longer ones to get those 2 frost badges.

  96. Anonymous Says:

    I hope everyone who drops an occ group proceeds to only ever get occ ever again for the rest of their lives...

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