"End" of Expansion Malaise

I’m still here, folks, no worries of my head exploding about pandas and the like. ;)

I’ve been slammed recently with deadlines for my classes at university and with all kinds of guild work, but hope to get back to posting regularly in the next week or so.

In the meantime, I wanted to touch on the malaise and burnout and fatigue I’m seeing of late.

We’re not even done with the second tier of raiding this expansion and I’ve had a few raiders come to me to tell me that they’re stepping down or will be stepping down when 4.3 comes out.

While I can’t say I’m completely surprised, I have to say that it’s a little bit startling that so many people — both in my guild and others — are throwing in the towel.

I’m not sure what’s causing it, in general, although I suspect that there’s more to it than just a reason or two.

I do think, however, that Heroic Ragnaros, or the prospect of him, is causing part of this malaise and fatigue. Every single raider who has aspired to clear heroic modes in Firelands has to have thought to themselves, at one point or another, “MAN, that Heroic Rag fight is completely brutal!”

Reading blogs like Beru’s and Borsk’s, reading tweets from Derevka and Pliers, there’s no way anyone can be delusional enough to think “hey, my guild will be different! We’ll spend a week on him and he’ll fall over!”

In Wrath of the Lich King, we didn’t encounter a heroic-mode boss of the difficulty of Heroic Ragnaros (or even close!) until Heroic Lich King. Heroic Anub’Arak came close, in that a lot of guilds got to 4/5 in TOGC and then “hey, ICC is open! Screw Anub’Arak and his ridiculousness!!!”

That’s not to say that Sarth3D wasn’t challenging (it was) or that Algalon wasn’t rough (again, it was) or that 1 or 0 Light Yogg wasn’t extremely difficult (I understand it was). But to *clear* the instance, the final (even optional) bosses were doable for a progressive raid guild.

But Anub’Arak was a jerk, to put it mildly. A lot of people didn’t get him down until after ICC had come out, as I recall. A lot more people only got to 4/5 and then waved a little white flag and moved on to ICC.

And then, Heroic Lich King was a fight that was even more nightmarish.

Here we are, in Tier 12 content, no idea when 4.3 and T13 will be coming out (my best is ~4 weeks from now) and people are being faced with the prospect of an “impossible” boss. Most guilds spend in excess of 350 wipes on him.

By contrast, a lot of progressive guilds got through to Sinestra (although perhaps heroic Twilight Ascendent Council or heroic Al’Akir eluded them…).

So why is Heroic Ragnaros so hard?

I’m not saying “omg nerf heroic rags!!!” or anything. I’m trying to question the logic of putting such an “impossible” boss into this portion of the content. Obviously, the last boss of the expansion has to be Deathwing, so they couldn’t put a bad-ass Heroic Rag at the very end of content.

I think Blizzard does themselves a disservice by making Heroic Ragnaros such a huge stumbling block. I also think they’re doing themselves a disservice by only having 7 “real” bosses this tier. As a result of so few bosses, I think pretty much all classes have a slot where they can’t upgrade to 391 (holy paladins are stuck with the reputation 378 belt, for example) and the way Firelands is structured leads to bashing our heads on walls as we push forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind bashing my head against a heroic boss 3 nights in a row.

I’m starting to realize that other people do and I think that’s contributing to the burnout I’m seeing/hearing about. The kind of people who are willing to bash their heads against Heroic Ragnaros for 350+ pulls are increasingly rare. Once again, I have to point to how easy it was to gain gear in Wrath of the Lich King as a reason for people’s lack of patience. It took me months, months (!) of raiding before I got my first epic on Kurn, back in the day. Nowadays, people hit max-level and can immediately use a ton of epics. I understand the reasoning for it and, as a guild leader, I’m thankful for the ability to gear up quickly for lesser-progressed people, who then expand the recruitment pool, but the sense of entitlement is what I think is causing issues.

I remember the days of spending several resets (with our limited roster and time back in the day) on different bosses. Nowadays, it seems as though if you spend more than one reset on your farm content and a single new boss, it’s not enough. God forbid if you don’t down a new boss every week!

All of this begs the question: “Kurn, you guys are 5/7 HM and you’re working on Heroic Baleroc. What happens after you get him?”

Short answer: Probably doing Glory of the Firelands Raider and working (at least a bit) on Heroic Ragnaros.

Long answer: It really depends on the time allotted us after we hit 6/7 and knock out Glory of the Firelands Raider, but, by golly, if I can SPAWN Heroic Ragnaros, I want to WIPE to Heroic Ragnaros.

It’s not all decided, we’re still chatting about things, but I really have to question what the hell Blizzard was thinking to put in a boss that requires 350+ pulls in the second tier of raid content and I have to question if that’s good for the game and good for the raiding population.

My thinking is no, it’s not good for the game, nor is it good for the raiding population. I think we’ll see more burnout issues come 4.3 after more people have beaten their heads on the Heroic Ragnaros fight.

In other (somewhat related!) news:

Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas is an Alliance 25-man raiding guild with several spots open at the moment!

We are currently seeking:

– 1-2 hunters (!)
– 1 retribution paladin
– 1 elemental shaman
– 1 enhancement shaman
– 1 warrior (either DPS or tank!)

We raid 3 nights a week, from 9pm ET until midnight. Raiders are expected to be online by 8:45pm for invites and are expected to make 75% of scheduled raids in a given month.

Come throw in an app!

http://www.apotheosis-now.com/main/

11 comments

  1. Anachan says:

    Kurn, didn’t you know TOGC only had 4 bosses? ;)

  2. Pradzha says:

    Heh. I’m forever tempted by these recruitment notices from progressed bloggers. When Monolith was looking for a hunter there was a little voice in my head saying “you could go back horde!”

    But! I <3 the people in my guild and I don't have the time for a more intense raid schedule anyway.

  3. Vidyala says:

    I have to agree. We’ve been working on H Rag for weeks too and it’s pretty demoralizing knowing that compared to further progressed guilds like Monolith have been doing this 350+ times and they may have an end in sight. It’s not a pretty prospect. Tonight we ended up doing H Rag for a few hours before going back and doing some T11 heroics again. There’s only so much any group can take of one boss. Fortunately we haven’t had anyone say “I’m totally done with this” or burnout, but a tier like this that ends with a boss like that definitely feels like it’s a push in that direction. For that reason alone I hope 4.3 comes soon. I don’t actually mind Firelands but it really isn’t that many bosses, and I am tired of the red, orange and black. :|

  4. Balkoth says:

    500 pull bosses exist to demonstrate skill.

    “Wait a second,” you say, “you must be nuts! It’s endurance and dealing with burnout, not skill!”

    Well…I lead a 10 man heroic raiding guild and we killed H Ragnaros on October 3rd. The “catch” to my statement is that we only raid two nights a week, 8-9 hours total per week.

    Imagine this for a moment: each boss has a certain average performance requirement. Normal Shannox may require the average raid performance to be 75% of optimal. Heroic Alysrazor may require average performance of 95%. Heroic Ragnaros requires 99% or higher.

    With repeated pulls, people improve their performance. The raid’s average performances keeps rising until it hits a limit (happens for some people) or the boss dies. The most gain occurs in the earlier pulls and then it ramps up more slowly.

    When you set the final bar lower, then it becomes far easier to hit that mark simply with repeated pulls. Which rewards time over skill. Bosses come down to “How fast can you pull them” instead of “How well can you perform.”

    For most of t12, within 10 man guilds our kills hovered within the 800-1200 world ranking. For Heroic Ragnaros, we were world 300. That jump is at least partially due to guilds with more nights simply wiping again and again and it yielding less results than us performing at a higher level. We still wiped something like 160ish times over a 5 week period, but because the performance requirement was so high, player ability had a much larger impact than sheer number of pulls.

    If Ragnaros was made more in line with the other bosses, then instead of world 300 for 10 mans we’d be something like world 1000. That’s the effect of 500 pull bosses.

  5. Serrath says:

    My raid actually suffered from the burnout, too. :( We recently decided to throw in the towel since recruitment is so rough on our server. Too bad you don’t need healy priests and too bad it’d cost me $55 per character to get over there! Now that I’m not actively raiding maybe I can roll a worgen hunter…….

  6. Kalvelis says:

    Precedent has been set to include really difficult bosses in the last 2 tiers of a particular expansion that very, very few get to see/experience.

    In Vanilla WoW most guilds never made it past Huhu (3rd tier) due to the crazy amounts of resist gear that was needed by everyone. If you did make it past that, then you had the joy of wiping on the twins or on the trash afterwards (which, before they were nerfed, were considered more difficult than the twins.) Even more crazy… most guilds never got to see the final boss of Vanilla game because they couldn’t field the 8 tanks needed for 4 Horsemen; which was one of the reasons they went back and did this instance again in WoTLK.

    In BC, I don’t recall very many guilds moving past SSC/TK PRE nerf/removal of ‘gate’ mechanics. Even after they removed the ‘gating’ of these two instances, a lot of people had a hard time coordinating the throwing for Lady Vashj. On top of that, I recall Blizzard, in justifying an ‘easier’ raiding experience, saying that less than 1% players ever made it past the first boss in Sunwell. For those guilds that did, you probably never made it past Muru.

    My point is, this is pretty normal for raiding.

    I don’t think there is any problem with a really difficult boss like HRag. I think the problem is the lack of diversity in the endgame content currently. Compared to previous expansions (BC particularly) there is a lot less ‘raiding’ encounters in this expansion, that you could at least…. go back and have fun in if you’re tired of banging your head against the wall a particular night.

    And I agree entirely with the statement that the amount of really ‘hardcore’ raiders who are willing to wipe countless times is small. I used to be in this subset, but then life/work/gf got real and I simply don’t have the time anymore to raid like that any longer. Which I think is the bigger issue: the social dynamics of MMORPGs are changing and I think blizzard (and a lot of other developers) are struggling with how to make a challenging game, but more accessible: but that’s an entirely separate post.

  7. Jasyla says:

    I think spending 350 wipes on a boss is excessive, but I can’t really say what my ideal amount of attempts for a heroic, end-wing boss would be. 150? Maybe 200?

    I think Fireland’s biggest failing is in sending mixed messages about what people should expect. Nerfing all the heroic bosses meant that many guilds are now 6/7 who wouldn’t be otherwise. Or some just got there much faster than they would have otherwise. So people develop a false sense of how fast they should be progressing then they come against a brick wall when they get to Ragnaros.

    I do think the end-wing bosses should require more time and effort, but having it take *hundreds* more pulls than the previous 6 bosses seems like a huge oversight.

  8. Slice213 says:

    Agreed. Fights should be challenging but not to the point of 500+ pulls. Even the highly ranked guild taking that many pulls seems like an overtune on Blizzard’s part. Then again with how short 4.2 was I am not surprised. for 4.3 I would be surprised if they pull the same thing. Or they may not and we may see a bridge raid between 4.3 and 5.0. (I hope) Because its going to a long time before we see MOP. If blizzard wants to keep people occupied they will need to release something in the interm, especially with TOR, Tera, GW2 etc on the way.

  9. Sinpree says:

    I think the real issue isn’t so much what the boss requires but more about how much more difficult the encounter was over the other bosses in the instance. I think in this expansion Blizzard has done a poor job of the ramp up in difficulty of their encounters through an instance. For example, ODS heroic was much harder then say Atramedes or Ascendent Council being harder then Cho’gall. I do think that for highly skilled guilds to wipe 200+ times though I think is a bit excessive for an encounter though especially on an encounter that is 15 minutes.

  10. Serrath says:

    Hunter is 82! I’m comin’. :P

  11. AliPally says:

    I think it is more the length of the fight coupled with a difficult end-phase that makes it unattractive, at least to me anyway. Once you have mastered the first phase or two, doing that over and over again only to wipe in a few seconds in the harder phase is very, very tedious.
    I would much rather have a fight that lasts 8 minutes, and pushes you all the way, than a fight that lasts 15 minutes, and you are just going through the motions for the first 8 minutes. Anyway, it’s a moot point, because we won’t be doing heroic Rag. We know our limits.

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