First, let’s be clear – I’m not one of the people that ditch a party the instant I realize it’s Oculus, no matter how badly I may want to (I don’t ditch HoR either, until the DPS inevitably drive me to it, and my hatred for that instance burns with the heat of a thousand suns). Which isn’t to say I’m necessarily crying when the rest of my PuG does.

Seems like every time I load up MMO Champion Blizzard has nerfed this instance again. I can understand what they’re trying to do. People don’t like it, people are complaining about it. People are basically choosing a 15-minute deserter debuff over running this instance. From a design standpoint, I doubt that’s what they had in mind.

Part of it, sure, is because it’s hard. I remember back when it first came out, before its endless line of nerfs. Holy fuck it was difficult. The learning curve was huge, the instance is in three dimensions, and vehicle combat was not something we had a lot of exposure to. Eventually we checked our gear lists, determined there was nothing in there we would die if we didn’t have, and we just stopped trying – and we’re people who pride ourselves on our love of the game when it’s challenging.

The problem – for me – is that Occ didn’t try my skill and ability and knowledge of my class. It tried my patience. The few parts where I was on the ground, operating under my own power, using my own abilities were fine. That wasn’t where we were having trouble. It was the parts on the dragon – a vehicle that has (had, I suppose, since gear now counts at least*) nothing at all to do with the skills, tricks, and gear I had spent 80 levels collecting and enhancing and developing.

AND the fucking things have TWO BUTTONS. Woo. I’m so excited.

If I only wanted to press two buttons I’d’ve rolled a frost mage.

It is infuriating, as a tank, to be removed from the comfort of my class and my toolbars and thrown onto a vehicle that in no way resembles my chosen class or role. The “tanking” dragon has a mitigation button, sure, but where’s my taunt? If my DPS get to the target first, or are on their own target (nah! Never happen!), I can’t get it back, so what good is pressing my mitigation button, exactly?

In theory, I like the concept, but I think the execution is lacking some crucial piece. I’m not engaged by the way it rolls out right now. I’m not intrigued even. I’m offended and irritated and bored, because I logged in wanting to play Warcraft and take my warrior into instances and tank with her. Not spend 30 infuriating minutes playing the equivalent of someone else’s character and getting progressively more bored and lost and frustrated.

I have very similar complaints about the end of the Malygos fight, btw, especially because I’ve got to go through the first two phases to even get to the point where they take my ability to play away from me.

It’s a cool idea. I like dragons. I like the idea of riding dragons and fighting side by side with dragons. My first fantasy books were Dragon Lance, FFS. That’s what they were about. It’s neat, it’s exciting. It’s always cool when the dragons realize they need to “lower” themselves and work with us mere mortals or we’re all dead anyway.

My problem is that we’re not fighting side by side with the dragons. The dragons replace the character I’ve lovingly played for the last four years and 80 levels at the coolest moment in the fight and I’m forced to deal with a foreign toolbar, an unfamiliar set of mechanics, and all the work I’ve put into learning my class and my role and gearing/leveling mean nothing.

Even if I win the fight it means nothing to me. I didn’t do it. My dragon did it. My contribution amounted to pushing my two buttons without any real understanding of what they mean and blindly hoping they’re doing something.

The reason why I hate Oculus is because it doesn’t make me feel cool. It’s boring and makes me feel secondary to someone else’s glory. And nerfing the instance into obsolescence isn’t going to change that.

I’ll take those extra badges, though.

*The only thing that counts from gear is iLevel. Which means my careful itemization decisions don’t mean anything either. Turning down a higher iLevel item for strategic stat reasons, for example, means my dragon is weaker. So even here, the thought and choices I’ve put into my character don’t mean anything.