I woke up in an exceptionally cheery mood the other day, stood up and decided that this was the day to end all whine. I was fed up with the cranky mood that had been spreading around the bloggosphere and among WoW-players in general. Don't get me wrong, I love to read posts about why someone stopped playing, why this and that just doesn't work or is a bad idea. I do my fair share of whining around here. I agree with nearly all the general opinions about what currently isn't very well designed in WoW, from the raid fight design philosophy, "bring the player not the class"-failure, how mistreated melee have been this expansion and so on. But you know what? I am still playing this game. I know many of you out there actually aren't, you've actually walked the walk and not just talked the talk. And that's exactly it - like I always tell Love when he complains about how badly designed druids are (and in many cases I agree with him): If they're really that awful, then why do you play them? No one is forcing us to this game, and I am still enjoying it. So in my case there still has to be more good than bad about the game, even when not counting the fact that I've got a lot of friends to play it with.
Therefore I thought I'd talk a little about what I enjoy about WoW. I realize some of the things I mention might come out as ironic, but that's absolutely not my meaning.
Currently, there is actually no instances that I absolutely dislike. I might sigh when I get Deadmines or Halls of Origination, but the truth is I still enjoy doing them. Maybe not as much as another instance, but more than say, go read a book or watch a movie. At least at that particular moment, because otherwise I would log and do those stuffs instead. So what do I enjoy about the instances in particular?
I like that some of the instances have optional bosses - HoO can be really short or rather long depending on what you prefer. You can either get loads of JP from it or just head straight for the end boss, same goes with Throne of the Tides and Shadowfang Keep.
I like that some instances have really challenging trash packs, because how you handle them will really show the quality of the group. There is something extra rewarding about dealing successfully with a painful trash pack like the first groups of HoO or some of the packs in ZA/ZG just because of good teamwork. I wouldn't like it if it was all equally easy no matter how little you cared.
I actually think nearly all boss fights in all the instances are pretty fun. It would be faster to name the ones I don't like than the ones I do like. Especially out of a tanks perspective do they offer a challenge without being over the top difficult, they require some teamwork and I still feel that there is something to learn from many of them. Considering how many there are they're still pretty diverse and not many are similar to another. Just look at such diverse fights as Setesh and Temple Guardian Anhuur in HoO, High Prophet Barim in LC, Daakara and Jan'alai in ZA, Zanzil, Jin'Do and Venoxis in ZG, Erunak/Ghur'sha and Ozumat in TotT, Forgemaster Throngus in GB and that's just mentioning a few of all the rather unique fights. You probably don't recognize the names of half of these bosses, I know I couldn't name all the bosses in HoO off the top of my head if someone so offered me 1000g for it, eventhough I must've killed them 50 times each by now.
I really like the esthetic design of the instances, from the vast epic Indiana Jones feeling of LC and HoO to the Thousand Leagues Under the Sea feeling of TotT. I love the sky temple of Vortex Pinnacle and the rough yet sparkly caves of BRC and Stonecore. The eerie feeling of Shadowfang Keep and working your way down the mine shafts of Deadmines. I still discover details in every single one of them, just by looking in a different direction than I normally do. I tend to tunnel vision on the next trash pack or on my rotation or on my bars (if I am healing), which is understandable. But with very little effort, just lifting my head from the sweat and blood in front of me, can I notice all the beauty that the instance actually is.
Eventhough I definitely enjoy some classes and specs more than others, there are extremely few that I find outright boring. Even a rotation like the one of the Arcane Mage is made fun by good damage numbers and big crits - I'm in the mood for simple pleasure occasionally too and being able to switch from the more complex fire spec to a mindless, yet very rewarding spec of arcane can be very fun too sometimes. I've even come to really enjoy shadow priest dps. Even melee classes, which are the ones I usually have the most trouble enjoying, have their special areas which I love.
Shamans: I love that elemental shaman has become more complex, and they've always had some of the skills with the best feeling in the game. I just love to shoot off a Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Thunderstorm. It feels -good-. Enhancement have a complex and fun rotation system which never gets boring. Resto shamans have one of my favoire healing skills ever - Chain Heal. I'd probably never tire of casting that.
Death Knights: Death Knight tanking is easy to learn yet probably the most challenging to master - I play my DK tank all the time and I still think I suck at it, and this is a good thing! Every time I tank I think I learn something new about how to manage my runes or when to best pop a cooldown. Speaking of cooldowns, dks have so many fun ones. Dk dps is similar to dk tanking in that the real challenge is learning how to best use those runes, there is a very big gap between a dk who knows this and one who doesn't - as it should be.
Druids: I love being a fat boomchicken, and balance druids have such a entertaining rotation at the moment. Switching between two "styles", either the faster smaller Wrath or the slower bigger Starfire. And I really notice the difference when I properly manage my Eclipses and when I don't. Resto druids have a very unique healing style with all their hots, and I love the feeling of truly being able to heal everywhere at the same time, the attention all those hots need from me to be properly managed. No other healer does this. I love the concept of shapeshifting and that whne playing a druid you have the potential to be any role you want.
Warrior: Warrior tanking just never goes dull, every single fight there are so many buttons to push, so many utility skills to use that it feels like I can treat every single pull completely differently if I like to. Warrior tanks truly have an ace up their sleeve for nearly every situation and there is no feeling like propely executing those skills and saving the day. Dps warriors have possibly the best melee "oomph" of all the melee classes. I love the splatty, splooshy sound all their skills make, it makes me completely forget whatever dps I'm really doing, because it feels like something gets hurt no matter what.
Mage: I really enjoy all the mage classes, frost and fire with all their procs to which you need to react accordingly to do the most damage and arcane that need that minute mana handling to be really, really good.
Warlock: I love that the warlock talent specs actually manage to be so very different from eachother, they are as close you can get to being a hybrid without actually being a hybrid. Affliction, Destruction and Demonology have nearly nothing in common in their rotation and playstyle except they all use Shadowbolts in varying degrees. The class offers a huge diversity while all the specs still manage to stay very true to the warlock idea, and all the specs are loads of fun to play!
Rogue: I love that the rogue has managed to keep its backstabbery, sneaky feeling, with lots of little utility (blind, lockpicking, sap, poisons). They're not the least similar to playing any of the other melee classes but have a very unique playstyle.
Priest: I love that you can switch between two very different heal styles when being priest that both offer a huge tool set of skills with something useful for just about any situation. Discipline has many different ways of being played within the spec (Atonement, SoS, ToT). I love that holy has the ability to focus on either aoe and single target healing (and only wish the feature be more pronounced). Shadow priests have an interesting reactive style of rotation and I love the fact that you can jump in and do some hobo-healing in a real pinch.
Hunter: I love that the hunter is such a forgiving class. If you just mindlessly press buttons you will still do a good job, but to truly master a hunter there is so much to learn. A really skillful hunter has loads of interesting skills at their disposal that when properly used definitely make a huge difference.
Paladin: Paladins have a huge set of utility and much like hunters they can be played leisurely or hardcore. If you're tired you can just log on and fool around and still do a good job. If you feel like it you've got a tool for every situation, the possibility to tweak and tinker every fight to turn the tide to your favor. I just love that paladins have so many cooldowns to manage.
There is probably no fight in Cataclysm that I don't like. I enjoy all of them (although to varying degrees). Some fights are really unforgiving, some fights are doable even if someone messes up, most of them are quite varying (especially in Firelands) and offer a new way to play your character with each boss. Some focus on heavy healing/dps, some focus on micro management or a lot of moving around. Some focus more on environmental awareness and some more on playstyle awarenes. I love that most of the Firelands bosses require so much teamwork, I really feel like they managed to not make it the one man show of 10/25 people but that good communication does the trick (some of the t11 bosses did this too). The nerfs is another discussion, but just looking at fight mechanics I must say I'm really happy with Firelands, each boss feels fresh and interesting and most of them still require you to be on your toes even after having done them loads of times and after the nerfs.
Shannox: Feels like the perfect start boss. I think he gives you a good general idea about how the FL bosses work, with a good mix of simplicity and need for awareness and teamwork. The rest of the fights will generally require more of one or the other, and Shannox has a very good balance between challenge and ease.
Beth'tilac: I usually really like fights where you have to split the raid and each group has their task - Beth'tilac is no exception. It has a common theme of awareness in the first part of the fight and nuking in the second part, which in my opinion keeps the fight interesting throughout, but with two radically different ways of having to play.
Ryolith: A great example of when good teamwork pays off and a fight with lots to think about for most people involved. Everyone have their part that they need to take care of, no one is left out to just mindlessly dps/tank/heal.
Baleroc: I always love it when they try to implement healing-oriented fights, I really liked how Valithria worked. I like how Baleroc forces you to have great communication between yourself and the healers and dps for the shards.
Alysrazor: I like it that the fight focuses so much on awareness, it really puts a strain on you and I think it is one of the more difficult fights in the instance (at least pre-nerf). I love that it requires good healer/dps distribution because it makes me a feel a whole lot more useful when I know that this part totally depends on me doing a good job, because there is no one else there to do it for me.
Majordomo Staghelm: I find it funny that you can choose between doing it the fairly easy way or the very hard way, although I doubt anyone would intentionally choose to do it the hard way (our first kill was with several scorpid phases, and it was tough I tell you). In a sense this is a sort of relaxation before the big fight that is Ragnaros. I particularly enjoy the Searing Seeds, having to keep track of a debuff that has a unique timer for every single player is a really fun game mechanic.
Ragnaros: Raggie has so many things for you to think about, but I don't think they're as unforgiving as some were on Nefarian. You can survive a wave, you can survive a tick from an Engulfing Flame. I also like that Raggie seems to be approachable with slightly different tactics depending on your setup, there isn't necessarily a tactic that is the only way to do it (that's not to say there isn't a setup that is the best to have).
So you see, I can rant quite a lot about all the things I actually like as much as I can rant about the things I dislike. Most of the time we talk about everything we don't like because it's just more fun, for some reason. But I think I would love to read a post about why something is so enjoyable as much as I love to read the posts about why someone really dislikes something. I dare you to be happy.