Back Into the Oculus

Syp over at Bio Break just made a post regarding the new Oculus reward system. Obviously, the new reward might help motivate people to stick with Oculus if it comes up in random heroics. But why do people dislike it so much? First, my Oculus experience…

I hated Oculus. With a passion. As a matter of fact, before patch 3.3, I had run Oculus a total of 3 times since launch. I didn’t like the drakes, I didn’t like how there were all these platforms and levels and flying drakes that aggro’d on you if you looked at them funny from a mile away. But mostly, I just didn’t understand it. The groups I was with usually just flew from one point to another, stopping in random places with no rhyme or reason to it. It didn’t make sense.

Then the first day of 3.3, I got it in a random PUG. As it turns out, my groupmates either hadn’t done it (because they heard it was so horrendously bad) or had only done it once or twice, and still didn’t really know what to do. But we decided to give it a shot anyway. And it was fun! But it was also somewhat insightful in regards to the state of instance-running these days.

Now Oculus isn’t one of those instances that you can run through mindlessly, especially if it’s your first time there. You’re not running through a hallway and killing mobs on auto-pilot. Once you get your drake, you have to read what your new skills are, think about what those skills do and how to use them to your advantage (to be fair, you only get three new skills), and then you have to talk to your drake to find out where to go and what to do next. It was THEN, finally, that we figured out that the drakes tell you what to do and where to go.

We got our drakes and I listened to the first part: Kill Arcane Dudes. Okay, easy enough. We flew to the nearest platform and found four Arcane Dudes. Then on the ring right next to us, were more Arcane Dudes. Worked our way around to the other side… yep, the last Arcane Dudes.

Hey bronze dragon, what now? Oh! Time to kill Big Ugly Bubble Man! Can do.

The entire instance went like this. Once we figured out that the drakes tell you exactly where to go and what to do if you just take time to read the flavor text, it was cake… FUN tasty cake with gooey icing. Even the last boss was easy, once we got into a groove with our new drake skills. It’s like learning to drive. You have to become one with the drake (car), and once you get into that mindset, it becomes effortless.

My point is that Oculus isn’t the big bad monster that I thought it was for months. Granted, it was tougher in the earlier days, pre-nerfs. My theory is that Oculus was put in the game just to see if players are paying attention. It reminds me more of those early days of WoW, before QuestHelper and Carbonite and before Thottbot/WoWhead were widely used. In those days, we quested uphill! In the snow! Both ways! The only thing we had to go on was quest text, and part of the fun of the game was the journey and the accomplishment of finding those hidden clues and quest objectives. When players say that they hate that instance, I wonder if it’s hated because people genuinely hate the mechanics (3-D movement/combat, new skills) or if because it’s not a straightforward, on-the-rails, point A-to-point B instance like every other?

In the end, Oculus went from my most dreaded instance to one of my favorites. It’s different from any other instance, and really doesn’t take very long at all once you get going. And now, there’s extra loot! I definitely won’t be complaining about that.

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