Are 400-pull bosses good design?

Just how hard is too hard?

There’s been a lot of noise in the blogosphere about how many pulls top guilds have required to down Heroic Ragnaros – over 500 for the world first, and subsequent kills confirm that number’s about the same for everyone. Most of the focus so far has been on the guilds doing that – how dedicated they are, how remarkable their teamwork must have been.

But Beruthiel of Falling Leaves And Wings, who is currently working on Heroic Ragnaros, is asking an entirely different question today. Sure, it may be super-impressive that a guild will stick together for 500 wipes to down Ragnaros HC – but is requiring that amount of patience actually good design in the first place?

For about the first 250 pulls I was energetic. Enthusiastic. Excited. But somewhere between then and now I just feel…tired. At one point, if I was asked if the fight was “fun” I would have said that yes, I was enjoying the progression. But that point has long past. Now it’s mostly just frustrating. I have little patience for my own mistakes, and less patience for others. Spending 7 minutes just to have a son hit the hammer because someone made a bad decision makes me want to put my fist through my monitor. Spending 9 minutes to get into our new “progression” phase, only to get 60 or 90 seconds of “progression” and then having to start over makes me want to kick a kitten.

Which brings me to the question: Are 400 pull fights good design?

Now, I’m sure there is going to be someone in the comments here that will invariably say “you are just a wuss, I loved every minute of our Rag work”. And I’m just going to head you off by calling “bullshit”. At some point you were also frustrated, be it at the encounter or you raid team. If you don’t want to admit to that, that’s your business. But I don’t buy it for a single second.”

Beruthiel does a really fine job with this post, going through the experience of a hugely frustrating, repetitive, and challenging raid encounter in detail. I must admit, many of the points rang true for me, even though I’m not likely to be seeing HC Rag any time soon, from the last couple of bosses in ICC – the hugely long, repetitive early section you have to play again and again, the complete lack of affordance for any mistake, from anyone, for any reason.

Some people will argue that it’s the frustration and the difficulty that makes top-end raiding impressive. I can see their point – but really, as a leisure activity, is pull #360, Phase 1, actually any fun?

What do you think? Is HC Rag a step too far?