The other day, we did the new 6-man The Bells of Dale on T2 Challenge mode, and I was baffled. Five random observations.
1) You can solo heal at least up until the final boss with a red line lore-master
Okay, perhaps we were a bit sloppy and accidentally let our poor minstrel die on the first boss because our burg or AoE was hitting the boss too hard --> too many adds, overrun... but why wasn't it a problem? After our minstrel died somewhere at the start, we were like "oh shit, we need to be careful", and when we continued acting properly and killed the adds first, DPS lore-master solo healing was fine (we didn't have a captain). It wasn't even stressful.
We (accidentally) repeated this 'experiment' several times because we missed trash/adds coming around the corner, and it wasn't a problem whatsoever. I can safely say from experience that you can solo heal the first bosses on lore-master without any problem. The last boss I don't know about, that might be tricky (we actually kept our minstrel alive there for a change). Sure, I'm properly equipped with a second age book, the Beacon of Hope HoT and Water-lore pulses set bonuses, but this isn't very exceptional. I was even traited full reds. This was pretty surprising, as the devs have always said they didn't want lore-masters to be able to solo heal 6-mans.
I think the whole thing should be doable solo healing on a yellow or blue traited lore-master. I apologize in advance to our (actually quite capable) minstrel.
You can also do this without the dude with the lute.
2) There is a boss without any mechanics whatsoever
Really, I couldn't discover anything happening on boss nr 3? I mean the guy with the big hammer, don't remember his name. Sure, he does some AoE, I think, but that's hardly boss-specific. Turbine also went through with their trend of less trash: there's barely anything in between the bosses-that-shouldn't-be-called-bosses. But what they forgot was to make the trash in between even vaguely challenging.
3) The lore-masters cheat
I'm talking about the enemy lore-masters, of course! They keep spam summoning pets during the fights, which every greenie lore-master knows we can't do. Luckily they make very poor choices by picking lynxes and... squirrels?
4) I'd buy a house here, if there wasn't so much fire
I wanted to say something positive too before I get totally depressed, so I thought to salute the looks of the town. It's cool to see what they envisioned as Dale, and I always like fighting in a cosy environment (even if it's overrun by enemies).
A cute little well in the middle of Dale, now announced gorthorog-free.
5) The overall (lack of) difficulty
We ran in without having done the instance before and had no clue whatsoever about the tactics. We were not really trying to play properly and let our minstrel die three times, with only a lore-master left to heal. We were generally just messing around a bit without much thinking. And we still made it as if we were a breeze blowing through town. Really, Turbine?
Sure, we were all seasoned players. T2 Challenge as it stands might be hard for an inexperienced pug. But shouldn't they be doing tier 1 anyway? In my opinion, the Bells of Dale is an all-time low in the recent history of Turbine scaling down the difficulty of our instances.
So what are the capable players in the game supposed to do? Raiding on T2 only? If you think I will keep doing the Bells of Dale just to get the rewards, you are wrong. Instances like Sari-surma and the Lost Temple (before the nerf) where the things I liked to do. They were actually a challenge. I play for fun, not to grind. And getting rewards without having to work for it is grind, not fun.
I understand there is a player base consisting of more casual players than me, and that's fine. But that's what tier 1 is for. Turbine seems to miss the mark with increasing frequency when it comes to balancing the difficulty of group content. The Bells of Dale is the most recent example of this.