Too Soon, Blizzard!

I’ll apologize for this up front. This is going to be long. This is going to be angry. This is going to be ranty. This is also heavily my opinion and how this will affect me, personally. Don’t be offended if I don’t mention your raid group or your raid size or if I do and I’m mildly disparaging. I am not happy and that’s going to come out here. So I apologize now. This also puts a delay on my response to my own “Is Warcraft a Game?” post and my post about evaluating healers and my post about Paladin feedback.

My first thought upon reading about the upcoming nerfs to Firelands content was “What the FUCK?!” In fact, you can hear that thought in Episode 33 of Blessing of Frost. Note that this post gets angrier, so either click through or move along.

Why was my original thought “What the FUCK?!”, you may be wondering. (Or you may not. I’m going to tell you anyway.)

What Blizzard is doing right now is completely unprecedented. They have never nerfed current raid content in the manner they are doing now, which, by their own admission, is akin to what they did to Tier 11 when 4.2 came out.

What was the scale of those nerfs? Well, looking at the patch notes, most boss health pools were reduced by 20% and most of their damage was reduced by a similar amount.

So they’re applying that level of nerfs to normal Firelands content as well as heroic content.

I call bullshit.

But Kurn, you say, don’t you hate heroic modes ANYWAY?

Yes. I do. But I run a progression 25-man raiding guild. What do we do when we clear regular modes? We start in on heroic modes. I think it’s ridiculous that our reward for clearing it is to be doing it again on a more difficult level, in essence, but that’s what people *do* when they clear content. The next challenge is heroics, so it’s time to do them when you feel you’re up to the challenge and can physically make the switch from normal to heroic, which typically means you’ve downed Ragnaros on normal, when it comes to Firelands content.

So what’s the big deal? They’re nerfing things, that’s good. That means more people can see the content and can progress further.

Again, I call bullshit. Why is it a good thing? I said on the podcast this week “no, more people do NOT need to see the content”. I say this as someone who has gone 11/12 25m hard modes in ICC and as someone who never cleared Molten Core with her guild in Vanilla. The excitement of working on Molten Core with my guild, even while people were in AQ40 and Naxxramas, was amazing. 40 people (well, okay, 35 or less, most nights!) working together in concert to kill bosses was awesome! And when I killed Lucifron, I killed him at about the same level of difficulty as someone a year earlier. It meant something to me to be killing a boss who was essentially the same difficulty he was previously. It was the first step in moving towards AQ40 and Naxx. I knew there was a LOT of work ahead of me, but, by golly, if I could kill Lucifron, I could eventually move on to Magmadar and Gehennas and Garr and Shazzrah and Sulfuron and Golemagg and Majordomo Executus and Ragnaros! And THEN it was on to Blackwing Lair!

Was I disappointed that I didn’t clear Molten Core or kill Onyxia with my guild before Burning Crusade came out?

Yup. I definitely was. It’s still one of my biggest regrets about Vanilla. However, it motivated me to do BETTER in Burning Crusade. That’s why, when my new raid group essentially fell apart in late April/early May of 2007, I turned to Majik and others I used to raid with in Vanilla and was like “yeah, so… want to form a new guild?”. That’s where Apotheosis came from. Our “mission statement”, if you will, was to clear through Black Temple together (as, at the time, no one knew Sunwell would come out).

In order to look at the nerfs now, in the proper context, I feel that we must look at them alongside the other nerfs we’ve witnessed. Obviously, this is all coming from my perspective, and so I feel that to truly make my points, I need to talk a bit about my history.

Apotheosis only formed on June 1st, 2007. We started late, we were already behind other guilds and we only got into Gruul’s Lair that September. We got to 4/5 Hyjal and 5/9 BT before the 3.0 patch (and accompanying 30% boss nerfs) hit. We pushed through and got Archimonde (he was going to die that next week, nerf or not!) and got through Illidan. Our original plan, to clear through Black Temple together, had been accomplished. Does it matter that we were doing content a year after other top guilds had? Nope. We pushed through. We persevered. We kicked some ass together. And, until that 30% nerf, the vast majority of those fights were the same as they had been when the top-end guilds had gone through them. Knowing that we had completed what those other guilds had completed felt great. Going through content as it was meant to be gone through is an amazing feeling. I mean, we’re talking doing Magtheridon when you still needed 10 box-clickers. We’re talking about downing Vashj and Kael and getting Hand of A’dal titles.

The nerfs that came with 3.0 were upsetting on the one hand, but on the other hand, our goal to clear Black Temple together before the next expansion was suddenly much more accessible. And so we made the best of it and pushed through and BY GOLLY, WE KILLED ILLIDAN. (With one of our DPS tanking, one of our tanks healing and all kinds of other shenanigans.)

It meant something to us, but only because we were up against a hard deadline of when Wrath of the Lich King was going to hit. It was either take the buffs at that point and continue to get through the raiding content we had left to us… or call it an expansion. We didn’t quit, we pushed through and we succeeded at our goal, albeit a nerfed goal. (Seriously, we one-shot Reliquary when the buff when into effect after wiping on it for a couple of raid nights prior to it.)

Wrath didn’t start well for Apotheosis with huge attendance issues and then poor recruitment and then, eventually, the end of 25-man raiding for us on March 1st, 2009.

I hopped around a few guilds and ended up in a talented guild on Proudmoore, where my Real Life Friend the Resto Druid was the healing lead. The problem with the guild is that it was a horribly toxic environment. It was much more “hardcore” than I’d ever imagined and after a bit of struggling to adapt, I got to be a much better player, I got through content much more quickly and in the wee hours of the morning of May 25th, I got my Glory of the Icecrown Raider 25 achievement. The ICC buff was at 15% and after maintenance that day (after our raid), went up to 20%.

Though my raid leader never turned off the buff, those encounters were difficult as hell, even with the buff. Heroic Deathwhisper, Heroic Putricide and Heroic Sindragosa were all crazy even with the buff. I fought them again when I moved to Choice and had the 30% buff and they were STILL incredibly finicky encounters. Heroic Sindragosa was positively unforgiving. If you blew someone up with your Unchained Magic, if you accidentally iceblocked someone, if you didn’t line of sight the frost bombs, either you were dead or chances were half your raid group was dead. And yet, I completed that fight at both the 15% difficulty and the 30% difficulty.

But the ICC buff ramped up slowly. The first 5% buff was on March 2nd, the 10% buff came out on March 30th, the 15% on April 27th, the 20% on May 25th, the 25% on June 22nd and finally, July 20th brought with it the 30% buff.

Not only that, but buffing the output of players is NOT the same thing as nerfing the boss health pools and their damage done.

For one thing, the bosses remained the same, more or less. The only difference was how the players reacted with the new buffs. You’d still kill your raid if you cast with Unchained Magic in the middle of the raid, or you’d kill yourself if you took the Unbound Plague while you still had the debuff on. The mechanics were the same. They were still more or less unforgiving. The buffs bought you a bit more time in terms of healing that damage or mitigating that damage and the fights were usually shorter by virtue of increased DPS.

But in a buff situation like the ICC buff, the onus is on the players to step it up. In order to make use of the buff, you still had to play intelligently. You still had to make sure to keep your tank up as a holy paladin and make sure you had the other tank beaconed and make sure Sacred Shield was up… all of these things were increased and made easier by the buff, but you still had to DO all the little things right in order to make sure the buff was being used to its full extent.

Someone who was doing absurdly low DPS because of a bad rotation/priority system or poor choices in gems, glyphs, enchants and gear would see a DPS increase in ICC with the buff. But the buff couldn’t fix stupid. If I had under 700 haste or so in ICC so that my GCD was not 1s, I was stupid and no amount of ICC buff could help me to regain all the time lost on GCDs that were over a second in length, and it would eventually catch up to me and oops, my tank would die.

When you nerf the boss’ health, you don’t leave anything to chance. You don’t increase players’ DPS or HPS output, you just flat-out make the encounter easier. Less damage is required and the fights will likely end more quickly. But none of that is due to the players’ efforts. That’s 100% a design decision that makes the fight easier by requiring 20% less damage done to the boss. That doesn’t even take into consideration any nerfs to the damage output of the bosses.

So Tier 11 was nerfed in the way that boss health and damage was reduced and challenging mechanics were made considerably easier. I spent a night in Tier 11 after the nerf on Kurn. And it made me SO sad to see these encounters were just “roflstompable” with a group that knew the fights already. Like, so sad. I don’t DO old content. I don’t find it challenging to do, say, T11 when I’m in T12 gear. I don’t find it challenging to do retro raids. I don’t find it fun in any way, shape or form. As I said on the podcast this week, content is like a puzzle. And once I’ve solved the puzzle (beaten the encounter), I’m on to the next. I don’t like to go back and see that you can just throw a brute-force solution at the puzzle. It ruins the experience for me.

But I’m not in Tier 11 content. When Firelands came out, we went to Firelands. So the T11 nerf doesn’t normally bug me in my day-to-day raiding, because I’m in T12.

With this recent announcement to nerf Tier 12 while people are still in it, I feel as though it’s a very inelegant solution to the perceived problem that more people need to see the raid content. I have very little interest in nerfed content. In my opinion, people are leaving WoW for a variety of reasons, but this? This would be my reason.

I’m not leaving now. I may not leave for quite some time. But I’m seriously considering leaving after Cataclysm. Through Cata, I have an obligation to my guild. I am the GM and I owe it to everyone to keep things going and to continue raiding. If this nerfing of current content doesn’t stop, there is absolutely no point in my continuing to play. I can’t imagine Blizzard WANTS to drive away someone like me. I’m a guild leader, a raider, I have multiple max-level toons, I have a blog dedicated to the game and I act as a resource for a particular class/spec. I would say that I am someone that Blizzard should WANT to keep playing. Guess what? Dumbing down the game IS NOT THE FUCKING ANSWER. I enjoy CHALLENGE, I enjoy working on stuff, I LIKE wipe-nights in raids! I am that person who will bash her head against an encounter until the content is no longer relevant. And that’s when I’ll stop. A 20% nerf to current content on both normal AND heroic? Overboard. Ridiculously so. It makes it so that this content is no longer relevant to me. The one thing that will keep me going in is for my guild. I reformed my guild so that we could go in and kill Deathwing together and I am going to do that. But anything beyond that? No. Not if this shit keeps up.

I just don’t see the purpose of a 20% across-the-board nerf. It’s so absolutely dumb, even if they ramp it up slowly, as some people are claiming the devs meant. It creates an even larger gap between raiders in that content. Jasyla was saying that they should fix the problem areas. Certainly they know how many people eat Fiery Tornadoes on Alysrazor. Is that the major issue? If so, nerf the tornadoes. It’s like Majik said on this week’s Blessing of Frost, it’s as though they’re taking a machete to the situation instead of a scalpel.

It’s a Slap in the Face!

Back when I started playing, every nerf or buff was met with “it’s a slap in the face”. It’s something that people use ironically now, or at least jokingly. I’m sort of using it half-seriously and half in jest.

You have, as I see it, five major groups of people who are affected by this nerf.

1) Guilds who have already cleared heroic Firelands (133 or so total in the world). Their reaction is probably something along the lines of “goddamn casuals. I’m so glad we got Rag before the nerfs.” (Note: I am not one of those raiders. That is my guess. :P)

2) Guilds who are more than halfway through heroic Firelands (2000-3000 in the world). Their reaction is probably something along the lines of “WTF?! We have one week to see the rest of the content at this difficulty? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

3) Guilds who are just starting heroic Firelands (like mine — ~5000-10000 guilds). I imagine this is where the split really comes up and some are probably just as outraged as I am and some are all “YEAH! More progression, all RIGHT!”

4) Guilds who are still working through normal modes who, I would imagine, are both pleased that they’ll get to kill Rag, but probably upset at the nerf as well.

5) Guilds who are not in Firelands yet, who will be able to make the transition from T11 to T12 more quickly than anticipated. I’m not sure how they’ll feel about this, not at all.

The thing is, the nerfing of content tells groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 “Hey! You weren’t good/organized/experienced/talented enough to get through content as we intended it. But because we don’t want to drive you away, here, have a 20% nerf so you CAN get through the content! Purples are all that matter, right?”

The nerf completely discredits groups 2-5 and their ability to do things on their own. It negates our ability to feel as though we deserved the kills we’ll be getting. It artificially inflates the number of guilds and raiders who achieve various things in Firelands. It takes away our choice to make that leap to heroic content and progress there, which is the only place we CAN go for more challenges once normal mode is done, because hey! There’s no new tier of content yet! 4.3 isn’t even out on the PTRs. We’re looking at November at the earliest for the next tier of content, I would say.

So I’m going to be in a nerfed Firelands for the next 2+ months? How the fuck am I supposed to stay motivated to go through nerfed content when the element I care about most, the problem-solving aspect, sounds as though it’s pretty much negated? I mean, have you BEEN to Tier 11? Have you SEEN what they’ve done to it? If it’s remotely similar in T12, then how the fuck am I supposed to keep my 30ish guildmates motivated to keep going in, night after night, when at least some of them have a similar mindset to me?

And it IS going to be that similar! By their own admission:

In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.

This is, in my opinion, a horrible decision, a bad design choice, a terrible way to try to increase raid accessibility. If you think you tuned things too hard, admit it and make small changes to fix it, Blizzard. Or buff the players gradually, the way ICC worked, along with the option of leaving that buff OFF. Put the onus on the players! A lot of us like to be challenged! What is happening next week is pretty much the worst thing I can imagine them doing to the raiding game. It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. It’s as though they researched the best way to piss me off and then acted on it. I can’t think of a single thing that is more insulting or more offensive to me with regards to raiding. And yet, next week, here come the nerfs.

I’m a responsible person and I have a duty to my guild and to my guildies, many of whom I’m rather fond of. As such, I’m in this until 5.0 comes out or the expansion comes out, depending on what Apotheosis is up to.

But after that?

If this bullshit continues, I am out of here.

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48 comments

  1. Entropia says:

    I had a much lengthier reply typed out but fuck it.

    People are getting butthurt over this and it’s fucking hilarious. Quit the QQ bitching. It’s a game, who cares if it’s “easier”? A guild that was going to get 6/7 is still going to get 6/7 (Hint: this is our guild). A guild that was going to get 7/7 is still going to get 7/7.

  2. Kurn says:

    Hint: Don’t be a douchebag in my comments. Guildie or not, read the comments policy.

    http://kurn.apotheosis-now.com/?page_id=990

  3. Borsk says:

    If a boss takes 50 pulls instead of 150, is it that much worse?

    WoW players are very attached to the fact that they have to wipe for months to feel accomplished in the game. 12 resets, 12 hours a week, that’s 144 hours in one instance. That’s A LOT of time.

    I’m all about heroic raiding and very hard fights. But to me, there is really no difference between a fight that takes 150 pulls or one that takes 75 pulls.

  4. Elladrion says:

    Honestly, turning the buff off cuased more problems than anything else in ICC, so many pugs fell apart becuase someone got butthurt and ragequit and turned off the buff before they left. I was in a fairly hardcore raiding guild at the time and we only ever turned it off twice, both times it was not to try it “legit” but because people were being lazy and not avoiding stuff they should have been becuase hey, 30%. It was more of a way to force us into serious mode and make us bring our A game again.

    I supose thats gonna be the biggest problem with all this, you lose your edge when you can just phone it in. We spent a LOT of time on ragnaros10, possibly more than many guilds out there, but becuase of that I am DAMN good at that fight now. With these nerfs? I’m not sure that is gonna matter any.

    I like nerfing old content, I really do, I was very happy about the 20% to T11 when 4.2 hit, made it possible to do some pugs on alts. But current content? and especially heroic mode content? All I can think of is karazahn in BC and how much the 20% nerf killed all the fun I had in that place. Long after I didn’t need any gear from there I still enjoyed it until 3.0 hit. I’m worried the saem will happen in firelands, i don’t care for the first few fights but bael/alys/staghelm/rag are some of my favorite fights in a LONG while. Not looking forward to them being jokes

  5. Kesith says:

    Really when it comes down to it, they really could have waited until the next patch for the nerfs, let those raiding still have their difficulty; while letting those who are a step behind eventually get to the point where they can get to Deathwing. Unfortunately either someone important at Activision, or Blizzard (maybe both) is freaking right the hell out at losing so many players lately. It seems they have taken the complaints of not enough end-game content as a cry to make the current content easier, thinking maybe if a wider swath of players are allowed to access all the content has to offer, maybe they will not leave due to boredom, or MMO’s involving Lightsabers and a galaxy far far away.

  6. Sweetiebird says:

    The nerfed content is fine. It’s not like they’re doing it while it is new. Those who would have done the high end content by now would have, those who haven’t, can step up and see it.

    You know if you’re good enough to do it early or have to wait until it’s easier. I don’t see too much of a problem with it but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  7. Beezlebubba says:

    I think your head is exploding a bit too soon, Madrana. In fact, I think you’re angry enough that you need to take a step back. There will be new raid content in 4.3 and this tier, again, won’t matter. The nerfs will mean that guilds who are having issues with heroic content will have a bit easier time, but it still won’t fix people dying to mechanics. And, let’s face it, mechanics are for the most part what kills people. Stag fire kitty, beth adds with their poison, trapping Shan’s dogs correctly, etc. Just like Sindy….30% buff didn’t prevent you from iceblocking the raid. We’ll see the same here, I think. I think the heroic encounters will remain heroic. We won’t see guilds all of a sudden going 7/7 HM like your post suggests.

    Take a deep breath and relax. The sky is not falling. And HoSac me as I charge into that group.

  8. Gorbag says:

    It’s a matter of degrees. If 20% across the board means 1-shotting bosses you haven’t seen, then yeah, the nerf killed the challenge – and with it the satisfaction of having overcome that challenge. To misquote another post I read by someone who’s name I forgot (if I was a reporter I’d be fired o.o) “Firelands just got 20% less interesting.” This approach of just lowering the bar doesn’t improve the game for anyone, and for people who like a challenge it actively hurts the game. The ICC progressive buff had a similar effect, i.e. smoothing progress for slower groups, but did it in a much less blatant and disruptive manner. Why not use that again, or at least use targeted, specific nerfs to lower the strain on certain choke-point fights. It just seems lazy and poorly thought out to tackle the problem this way.

  9. Num says:

    I’m pretty sure you don’t like him, but Gevlon made a post about how it’s not the damage or the players killing the game now, but the puzzle you so much like to solve. (http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2011/09/dance-kills-progression.html)

    I had a kneejerk reaction to the news of this nerf. It kills me that because I stumbled in this tier, I won’t get to see real hard-modes. What’s even more depressing is that next week I will walk into Firelands with less gear than I started Tier 11 with and I will do fine. Giving a kid anything they want will ruin them for life, giving a playerbase what they cry for might do the same thing, I’m afraid.

    I really hope you don’t leave after Deathwing boss, I’d love the chance to raid with you again.

  10. Jen says:

    I’m not quite as angry, but I feel the same. Is this even still a challenge? I can’t get myself to care too much about anything WoW-related since my guild stopped raiding and I had to join another, but I don’t understand one thing about the nerf: why now? Why not the week before patch 4.3 dropped? Whoever still wanted T12 could stay there and do the nerfed versions…

  11. Cassandri says:

    I’m only just returning to the game after close to a year off and have been peppered with “are you going to start raiding again?” questions by guildies.

    The truth is, I’m waiting to get my head around the 10 vs 25 man thing. I’m waiting to see if I want to push for progression or if I’m willing to get potentionally frustrated by raiding with laid back friends and family.

    But this decision is truly dissapointing. Anticipation and hard work make rewards worthwhile. And putting a blanket nerf on current content is a real mistake.

    My guild just killed Rag (normal) this week so I hope that they can remain proud that they got him while it was still “hard”. However I can’t help but feel that they will second guess their achievements once they start killing nerfed hard modes.

    For shame, Blizzard, for shame.

  12. AliPally says:

    This is a terrible decision for casual players. It is basically saying – if you don’t raid a lot of hours a week, we won’t give you time to beat the content before we nerf it. What a massive demotivation.
    We finally went 6/7 normal last week, and we are currently doing Ragnaros. We are stuck on Sons of Flame right now, but with time I know we can get them down. Yet it seems we are not going to get any time.

    The fact is, the current nerfs have already made Shannox, Beth, Alysrazor and Rhyolith into joke encounters. Even our casual group can one-shot all of these now, never mind with more incoming nerfs. It’s not because we have over-geared encounters; I’m still wearing 359s in a lot of slots, it’s because a range of nerfs have already brought down the difficulty of these encounters.

    When we first did Alysrazor, I was almost out of mana by the first tornado phase; this week I got there with a full mana bar, in a 2 healer fight. That’s right, a full mana bar. That needs nerfing?
    When we first did Beth, she had about 95% health when she jumped down in the last phase and gobbled up the remaining spiderlings; this week she was on 70%.
    I’m sure Shannox’s traps have been nerfed, too. There used to be loads of them all round the boss; now there are hardly any.
    Rhyolith, wow! those adds used to hurt; keeping the add tank up while dodging lava flows and taking the general aoe from volcanoes was tough. Now? I can almost heal the whole fight with just Holy Light.

    To sum up – the place has already been nerfed! I can’t imagine the face-roll that awaits. To what aim? Just so pugs can one-shot everything? Does anyone do T11 except to gear alts up or get achievement points? Does that keep people from cancelling their subs? Healing T11 these days is easier than healing ZA or ZG! So the same thing is going to happen to current content. That is ridiculous!

    I am resigned already to not having time to do heroic bosses, but that is ok, I can live with it. What I absolutely object to, is that normal mode content gets nerfed to hell and back before we get chance to clear it. Taking the challenge away from casual raid guilds like ours is not going to make me want to keep playing this game.

    As for comments like ‘you will still die to the mechanics'; compare healing Nefarian pillar phase as it was in 10 man to the absolute joke it is now. No, you will not die to the mechanics, not at all, and that is the problem.

  13. Alfimi says:

    I have to admit, while I understand and somewhat agree with it in a longterm view kind of way, I’m actually really upset that my guild – now finally at Ragnaros (on 10man normal) after a lot of hard work on a limited schedule – if we want to beat him ‘legit’, it has to be this thursday or not at all.

    We only raid two nights a week – and last night, I wasn’t there and they were working on the Legendary’s zone boss for our Mage as priority, so we still have 3 bosses before Rags tomorrow. I don’t think we’re going to get that kill (though we’ll damn well do our best).

    We’ve only had one really good night on him before, and by the end, we’d pretty much gotten the knack for phase 1 sorted, with a slightly messy transition but we’d been hitting the next stage pretty regularly. I don’t want this fight to be made easier, it’s already at exactly the level of challenge that’s good for us, and we I don’t want to earn this when it’s easy…

    On the other hand, I don’t care about heroic raids. Heroic modes are entirely optional for us. I just want to see the content, and, I guess, that’s what these nerfs will enable. But I don’t have to like the way they’re going about it. :(

  14. Cel says:

    I was kind of stunned. As a 6/7N raider, Firelands felt just about right, with Rag being something to chew on for a while. An entire instance doesn’t have to be roflstomp, difficulty should ramp up so you can get a foothold, feel some accomplishment, and gear up for the harder bosses. Is the next instance coming soon, or are we suddenly supposed to be HM raiders again?

    I absolutely, 100% support the idea of doing careful, specific nerfs rather than huge, blanket nerfs.

  15. Nazaniel says:

    AliPally said: “This is a terrible decision for casual players. It is basically saying – if you don’t raid a lot of hours a week, we won’t give you time to beat the content before we nerf it. What a massive demotivation.”

    100 times this. We raid 7 hours a week because we are a guild that’s mainly people with full-time jobs. One team just killed 1/7 HM, the other is about to get there. We have been steadily progressing – we’re not stuck on the content. We don’t need a nerf, we just need more time to spend on the challenge.

    In the end, the fun isn’t in killing the internet dragons, it’s in killing the internet dragons with friends after 50 attempts and a couple of heartbreaking 1% wipes.

    @Borsk – There is a real phenomenon in behavioural economics called The Ikea Effect (Dan Ariely is awesome – http://danariely.com/2009/02/05/hbr-breakthrough-ideas-for-2009/), where people ascribe more value to things that they have created, because they created them. And the more effort that someone puts into something, the more value they ascribe to it. Applying this to our situation, reducing the number of pulls that it takes to down the boss with the nerf makes us value the achievement less. So the nerf does actually make a difference to people’s enjoyment.

  16. slice says:

    ugh….blanket nerfs….bad idea. Specific nerfs to mechanics that might have been overtuned…ok.

    Lots of people are saying woah dont have a cow…but….with the way things are going….IS it even worth raiding for a challenge….? 20% is a huge nerf….

    This may turn into a huge casual vs hardcore debate…but my make it so easy that even the most casual of player will think…is this it?

  17. Serrath says:

    If I recall there was a line in the announcement indicating that these nerfs would be implemented “in the coming weeks.” It seems a lot of people are freaking out over this (my raid group included – group #3). I just don’t see it.

    As usual, Blizzard made a generic statement that will hold no merit until we see how they implement said plan. The way I read the announcement says that they plan to nerf the content and the nerfs will eventually reach the same size as the 4.1->4.2 nerfs of T11 content. I’d wish everyone would keep in mind that the T11 content was _constantly_ nerfed over the course of a few months (this includes the heroic encounters). It wasn’t until the very end of this series that they did the whollop of the big nerf.

    In my opinion I think this will happen in much the same manner. The reason it wasn’t announced during T11 in a similar context is because the T11 nerf pattern had no previous events to utilize as a point of reference.

    So while I share your views if they do this all at once next Tuesday, I’m hesitant to jump to that conclusion based on prior experience this expansion.

    I hope I’m right but won’t be surprised if I’m wrong.

  18. Antidentite says:

    In light of the recent leaks about how the new raid finder will work, I think this is one of the last times we will see this type of blanket nerf. The intent is to allow people to see the content, and with the availability of a new third, easier mode of raiding, they wont feel as pressured to open up content through nerfs. Why now, who knows, but I think they are trying whatever they can to stem the tide of folks leaving wow.

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/976530-Patch-4.3-Escapist-Interview?p=13185099#post13185099

  19. Ngita says:

    Gorbag they are nerfing hp, they have not stated they are nerfing mechanics. So the 1 shots hurt just as much and their are just as many as before.

    “And when I killed Lucifron, I killed him at about the same level of difficulty as someone a year earlier”

    I think i first walked into MC around April 2005, what changed between then and say April 2006. Raid frames, decursive,Boss mods, Dire maul, Teir 0.5, ZG. Heck we where roflstomping mc with 20 people for legendarys by then. Did the mobs hit just as hard? As far as I know yes, but you didnt have 3k hp rogues and the best geared player in the raid using a level 50 epic.

    Blizzard have stated on multiple occasions, Not enough people saw Naxx, Not enough people saw Sunwell, I guess 7 Heroic 10 kills of rag pre the nerf 2 weeks ago counts as the same. They said in 4.0 If players are not progressing as well as expected they will nerf. Is it too much or too soon? I have no idea, I have not seen the nerfs, neither has anybody else.

    I do know that every single tier we have progressed from normal to heroic progression we have bled players.

  20. Gday of Frostmourne says:

    Hi Kurn,

    Disagree with your point of view. Firelands has been progressively nerfed from the beginning. Just as ICC was. I understand your feeling of accomplishment in Vanilla, but blizzards policy of making raiding more accessible is a good one. The 5% per month in ICC was an easily understandable buff and kept us as raiding for that whole year of ICC… even through the lean times when other 25 man guilds had stopped…

    What I would like to see from blizzard is a similar system to ICC…… If you wanted to beat a nerf, you knew exactly when it was coming…. And you tried to do it. If you wanted to turn it off, you could do so….

    To be honest, I am pumped about the nerfs to Firelands. I look forward to see more modes and more progression in the coming weeks…

    Take it easy,
    GDAY

  21. @AliPally – could you also be killing bosses on alts because you understand the mechanics so much better than the first attempts?

    @Antidentite – I think you’re spot on, wow is going for the more casual players as they want the subscribers and hours of play. LoL has a lot of wow players.

    Generally speaking the progression monitoring websites already modify the point rewards which make up the world rank by slowly reducing the points allocated according to time, number of kills, release of strats, and of course Nurfs. If you’d prefer to track your progress against that too rather than where you are in a 6/7 type manner, then that gives your relative position of progression.

    We got 7/7 normal last night (yes, pre nurf) and a few guildies were bitching that it was to happen last night or never. That is frustrating to read, as even nurfed it is still worth doing. The difference I’d like to see was one of an optional nurf, more like the ICC buff. You had a choice then.

    Achievements and such could have been linked to with-with-out buff if folks wanted to show how awesome they were in the future.

  22. Kurn says:

    Borsk – In a word, maybe. As I was saying on Twitter today (Wednesday), my favourite fight EVER, the one after which I felt the most accomplished, was Lady Vashj. We spent over 100 attempts on her. We had a crazy huge roster, insanely lax attendance requirements and a lot of the time it was a matter of re-teaching the fight to the newer people. But that was a lot of work and a lot of effort and it paid off.

    Normal Ragnaros took us 70 pulls. I think that’s acceptable. For a harder fight, I’d expect double that. So if Shannox is considered easier than regular Rag (and it should be, because we got H Shannox in 12 pulls) that’s one thing. But Rhyolith SHOULD take us a lot of time. I’m not necessarily asking for 500 wipes on these fights (and I understand that a lot of higher-end guilds ARE spending crazy amounts of attempts on H Rag), but it seems as though a 20% nerf across the board is surely inelegant. The shorter the fight lasts, the less time you have to fuck up the mechanics. If you send 2-3 people on 25-man up on Alysrazor, you’re almost certainly going to get a third ground phase, which might even mean a third tornado phase. If you send 5-6 people up on Alysrazor, you have maybe 2 ground phases, so you get to avoid that third tornado phase.

    That’s what a 20% nerf is going to do. Mechanics may still be there and may still be brutal, but if health pools and damage done are nerfed by 20% on average, that’s 20% less time you’ll be able to fuck up on the mechanics.

    While that can be considered a good thing, I don’t think it is and I think it significantly changes the raiding puzzle.

    Nazaniel below also links a great article about the Ikea effect. I totally recommend it to you. :)

    Elladrion – I agree, people screwing around in a raid situation and turning off the buff in a PUG was silly. I would hope that if Blizzard ever released a buff mechanic that can be turned off again that they’ll allow only the raid leader/assistants to turn it on or off.

    You absolutely DO lose your edge when you can just phone it in. I’m not saying that will happen with heroic modes, but it will certainly happen with regular modes. “oops, got hit by a tornado or six, but I’m alive, doesn’t matter!” Ugh.

    I’m still not a fan of nerfing even the old content, but it’s something I’m able to accept, because I’m usually IN the current content when the old content gets nerfed, so it doesn’t really affect me, so I can’t really talk much about it.

    Kesith – I completely agree that this HAS to be some kind of knee-jerk reaction based higher up in Blizzard’s heirarchy than most decisions. Nerfing content after it’s been out for a total of 12 weeks (11 weeks this week, 12 next Tuesday) when raid content typically lasts closer to 4-6 months is just inexplicable.

    Sweetiebird – With all due respect, I think that this claim is ridiculous:

    You know if you’re good enough to do it early or have to wait until it’s easier.

    They released Firelands on June 28th. That’s summertime. In the last six years that I’ve played this game, every single guild I have been a part of has had attendance problems in the summer. This year was no different. Choice (where my baby pally is) is going through a serious recruitment drought and the summer consisted of a revolving door of people on vacation/etc. Even Apotheosis isn’t immune. We are extremely lucky that we haven’t had to cancel a raid, but we’ve come very close due to the infamous summer slowdown.

    I know for a fact that my guild raiders are good enough to have downed Rag six weeks ago instead of three weeks ago. But what are you going to do when you don’t have the comp? When all your main spec tanks are unavailable twice in the span of a calendar week? I’m not making excuses for my raid group — we could have, should have done better, but given the circumstances we faced, I don’t feel that we were all that slow. 10 weeks into the content, we had cleared regular mode twice and got 1/7 H and some good work on H Rhyolith. We CAN get through these bosses without the nerfs and now we don’t have the chance to do that because of some arbitrary bullshit decision that has almost no precedence at all. The closest thing is the 30% nerf across the board at the end of BC when 3.0 dropped, to ALL bosses in ALL raid instances and that’s with literally a month left in Burning Crusade. We are still probably a year or more out from a new WoW expansion. To nerf it NOW makes very little sense.

    Beez – We already spoke about this in-game, so you know where I stand on this, still. My puzzles are changing and I am not a happy camper and if it continues, I’m gonna be done after the expansion. People constantly say “if you’re not happy with the game, stop playing”. So, at an appropriate time to do so, if I am still unhappy, that’s exactly what I will do. I will vote with my subscription’s end and let them know EXACTLY why I will be leaving. And if they want to lose community resource people like myself, someone who has a blog dedicated to the game, to teaching people about holy paladins, someone who has a goddamn podcast, for crying out loud, then they’re in trouble and nothing’s going to fix the game and people leaving it in droves.

    Gorbag – I completely agree that it seems lazy and poorly thought-out. I’m not thinking we’ll one-shot anything, but for me, the pleasure is in figuring it all out. 20% less health means a shorter fight, which means less running up right against the mechanics (see earlier in this comment about Alysrazor and tornadoes).

    Num – I don’t tend to read him, but that’s an interesting post. The thing is, the gimmicky fights we’re dealing with in this expansion (such as Rhyolith, such as Alysrazor) aren’t even the puzzles I like to solve, although they’re what’s here at the moment, so I try to solve them.

    It’s about having the team work together to down the encounter and adjust and learn as we go. Whether it’s a tank and spank with fire to avoid or you have to “drive” a boss around doesn’t ultimately matter in the end, except that if you had 7 tank and spank fights in an instance, there’s basically no challenge, so they have to do SOMETHING to ramp it up. I don’t need Alysrazor fights (the flying part, anyway. I like the ground stuff!) or Rhyolith fights. How about a good old fashioned dispell fight like Lucifron? Or a gimmicky fight like Magmadar where you needed like 3 tranq shots trained (yes, trained, from the book that always dropped off Lucifron) to dispell his enrage while being feared through fire and such? I don’t need grandiose fights, just fights that are interesting. More like H Professor Putricide and less like H Sindragosa, though. My magic is pathetic and enjoys betraying me.

    We’ll see what happens, but a lot of what happens with me depends strongly on what the next expansion brings and how they treat 4.3 content. Don’t count me out yet, but this is almost certainly where my line is.

    Jen – I agree. There are so many questions we all have about the nerfs — all at once or ramping up? Why now and why in this form? That’s the one thing a couple of days has given me perspective on — we do not know the whole story.

    I’m still pretty ticked off, though. :)

    Cassandri – well hey, welcome back and grats to your guild! Regular Rag is no slouch, that’s for sure. I completely agree that anticipation and hard work make the rewards worthwhile. That’s a great way of putting the aforementioned Ikea effect succinctly!

    AlliPally – The place has already been nerfed by fixes, yes, but don’t forget that you have more gear now, too. I think that’s an important part of the story a lot of people are forgetting. Sure, hardcore guilds wiped on Rag a ludicrous amount of times. Paragon, who got world first, claims to have wiped over 500 times on him. But they got him on July 19th. Three weeks (one week on normal) into the content, they downed him. That’s not enough time to gear up, but gear — just like more healers — is a safety net. More gear, more output, more health, more healing, all of that helps to cover for mistakes you can (and do) make. If they had the amount of gear even I do now (377 equipped) back THEN, I strongly believe that 500+ wipes would have been a smaller number. Three resets gives you:

    7 bosses on normal (plus Occu’thar, probably) = 980 VP + 41 pieces of 378 loot, some of them useful, some of them not. (6 from the tokens) And 5 pieces of 384 loot.

    Then the first week in heroic content is, at best, 6 heroic bosses (30 pieces of loot, plus 18 tokens, some of which are unusable since you still need the normal versions) and then a Rag kill for 5 more pieces of 384 loot and 3 more tokens, plus the 980 VP.

    Then the third week was the full heroic clear. Add up all that loot together and that’s not 25 * however many gearslots we have. Looking at Diamondtear (a holy paladin for Paragon) NOW shows me that he has a 372 cloak, a 372 chest, 379 (Sinestra) bracers, 378 (crafted) boots, a 378 (VP) ring, a 379 (Sinestra) trinket and still hasn’t upgraded his relic to 391. And this is the 11th week of the content.

    If you’re curious:

    http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/lightnings-blade/diamondtear/advanced

    Having said all THAT, I think some of the heroic mechanics will still kick our asses, but will be overcome relatively (relatively!) quickly by a talented/strong raid group.

    Good luck on Ragnaros!

    Alfimi – If it makes you feel any better, I think the nerfing might unite heroic raiders and normal raiders in being upset about them? :) Lots of heroic raiders seem upset and lots of non-heroic raiders seem upset.

    It’s funny, they finally legitimize 10-man raiding by making the lockout be shared and giving the same loot, but they’re still punishing anyone who wasn’t out of the gate like a bat out of hell when Firelands dropped. :/

    Hope your group got/gets (?) Rag before the nerfs. :)

    Cel – Stunned is a great word. If you listen to me in this week’s Blessing of Frost podcast, you can see I get over my being stunned pretty quickly, at Majik’s urging, but I’m still blown away that they’ve made this … foolish, for lack of a better word, decision.

    I absolutely agree with you that difficulty in instances should ramp up. I have no issues with LK or Rag being tougher (on either difficulty!) than anything we’ve seen before. I just don’t want to be given a nerf to the content (which is, in essence, a buff to us — just not quite) I didn’t ask for or want.

    Nazaniel – excellent point: “we’re not stuck on the content. We don’t need a nerf, we just need more time to spend on the challenge.” You, sir (I’m assuming you’re a sir), are getting a Blessing of Frost shoutout from me on the next show. (Heartbreaking 1% wipes are what make it all worth it, a lot of the time!)

    And thanks for linking about the Ikea effect. Great read!

    slice – heya buddy. :) I guess we’ll see where it goes, but if it keeps heading that way, I’m not interested in their idea of a “challenge” any longer, likely. We’ll see. Again, I agree that specific nerfs are so much better than sweeping, blanket nerfs. I just can’t understand it.

    Serrath – There’s, IMHO, a difference between what they did to T11 content while it was current and what they did to it when 4.2 came out.

    The first bunches of fixes can be considered “tuning”. The last one at 4.2 is a distinct “nerf”.

    You’re not the only person who’s reading the statement to mean multiple hotfixes over time, but that’s not what I read it as. I read it as hotfixes (plural) to the encounters (plural) to reduce the health pools and damage done by about 20%.

    Guess we’ll find out, eh? I hope you’re right, too. :)

    Antidentite – You know, there’s only one person I know by that name. ;) Assuming you’re that shadow priest I wanted in my guild in BC *just* because I thought your name was awesome, holy cow, you read my blog? ;D haha! Hope all’s well with you and Furor. :) Majik would definitely want me to pass along a hello. :)

    You do bring up a great point — the “LFR” difficulty could make a huge difference in terms of future “current” content nerfs. I hadn’t thought about that at all and I think I could swallow this if it’s a one-time nerf to current content (as opposed to “tuning” fixes as I mentioned above). I also think someone’s panicking about WoW users leaving and that’s why we’re seeing this now, for what it’s worth.

    Thanks for the reminder about LFR; I really think you might be on to something!

    Ngita – They mentioned damage reduction, too:

    In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released. (Emphasis mine.)

    Now, how to intepret that? Does that mean Alysrazor will hit 20% less hard, but the Voracious Hatchlings and Fiery Tornadoes will still hit just as hard? I dunno, Alysrazor actually only hits us for what, 60 seconds in the entire encounter on normal. Seems kind of a waste to nerf her damage done by 20% when the real issue is tantrums, Gushing Wound, Fiery Tornadoes and such.

    As to the tools to defeat the encounters, yes, raiding MC later generally meant you could take advantage of new technology. I used CTRaid and my pally had that old crazy hax version of decursive and my raid group was in a mix of T0, T0.5 and ZG/AQ20 gear for sure, which might have eased the learning curve a bit or even a lot, but that’s a different change. That’s PLAYERS making the intelligent decisions to pick up gear from the 20-mans, the Tier 0.5 questline, etc. I don’t mind rewarding players for their good play or their thinking about how best to gear themselves. I think that’s a pretty natural progression there. However, when the onus is not on the players (as in this case) that’s when I get cranky.

    I have to say I was lucky in that I didn’t lose too many people from normal T11 to heroic T11. I did lose some and I lost others at T12, but I’m definitely fortunate. Doesn’t make me like heroic modes all that much more, though. ;)

    Gday – See, if only everyone who disagreed with me were as polite about is as you!

    The one thing I’d argue is that we knew the buffs were incoming during ICC, but we didn’t know when until MMO-Champion would probably let us know a couple of days before. We had no idea WHEN they were coming, just that they were. In a sense, that kept people logging in. I think it was an intelligent way to apply the buff — maybe it’s 10% this week! Etc. But I would like to see this as a buff to us (optional!) rather than a nerf.

    Thanks very much for your comment and I wish you the best of luck in the future, while still (politely) disagreeing with you. ;)

    TyphoonAndrew – Grats to you on getting Rag down! And, as I just said to Gday, I agree that an optional nerf would probably be the best way to go here.

  23. Alfimi says:

    Heya Kurn, thanks for the luck wishes. We’re gonna need ‘em tonight. :)

    An ICC buff would have been nice, but I suspect might be a coded nightmare to add in at this point (well, my guess, anyway, I could be wrong!).

    I have been sitting back and thinking more on the upcoming nerfs, as well as reading a few other posts (and blogs); it’s been interesting to see opinions ranging from across the entire spectrum. I kinda wonder if this same reaction would have been had if better specifics about the nerf timeline had been provided instead of the vague “oh we’re doing this in like a week, yay” post we did get.

    They’ve not said they’d be making any additional mechanics changes (yet, sigh, more info plx!), so people will still need to learn The Dance Steps if they want to succeed. But are they making this content more accessable so people can get more purples because tier 4.3 is going to be /that/ challenging if you’re going in without the gear to back it up? That’s what it’s beginning to feel like to me.

    Blizz do have a lot more data access than we do (ooooobviously), and while the decision sucks, I’m really wondering what they saw from the past few months that really encouraged them to make this change. Cataclysm has felt quite experimental in ways that I don’t think worked as well as Blizz hoped. And ‘m sure they’re as disappointed by that as the rest of us! But if you don’t try, you can’t ever know, and no doubt they’re learning what to avoid doing going forward. That said, I would be sad to see you quit over these design shenanigans, though. Your blog has always been an interesting read, and a great reference resource.

  24. RDruid says:

    I’ve read through most of this thread and can’t help but agree with several people on the question of “why?”. I think there are several reasons but probably two primary theories…the first is one that hasn’t been mentioned yet.

    Theory I

    It really is the casuals fault…but not just in WoW. There was an article released in early August of this year by CNN titled “Why most people don’t finish video games” which highlights the tectonic shifts in the gaming industry when it comes to the demographic that plays video games today verses just a few years ago. Here is one of the most striking sections from that article.

    …”At the beginning of the 21st century, the average gamer was pushing 30 — mid-to-late 20s, to be exact. They weren’t playing as often as they did in their adolescence, but in between entry-level jobs, earnest slacking and higher education, there was still ample time to game.

    Fast forward to today, and the average gamer is 37, according to the Entertainment Software Association. The average age of the most frequent game buyer is 41 — nearing Just for Men-type levels. They’re raising kids. In the middle of a career. Worried about retirement.

    Not only that, but time is precious for gamers of all ages.

    “People have short attention spans and limited time now,” says Jeremy Airey, head of U.S. production at Konami.”

    If you have the time, the article is a good read…
    Link to the article:
    http://alturl.com/iqjgd (Used ShortURL.com service)

    Is it possible that some people have been playing WoW for so many years that you’re living through and experiencing first hand the player base shift the article is referring too? And is it further possible that Blizzards moves toward supporting “casuals” are more in line with shifts that are taking place in the entire gaming industry as a whole not because of the forum “its too hard, Nerf it now” trolls”.

    Theory II

    Nerfs help take the pressure off of guilds that may be suffering with roster issues (class balance, gear level, recruiting, etc). It also increases access to gear for a larger pool of people that may become someone that you recruit later.

    I think the question of “why” is Blizzard nerfing in this manner and so soon may be a symptom of them trying to increase the geared player pool so its membership or raiding base doesn’t collapse when the next raid instance is released. Something they’ve learned from previous expansions and are trying to be more “proactive” to the point of almost being ridiculous with the current nerf.

    I know this theory isn’t very sexy, but Blizzard keeps running stats on every conceivable metric about their game. Is it possible that the player base is actually undergeared or shrinking to the point that it might cause a real issues when the next raid instance is released? Is it possible that Blizzard would like to release “hard” encounters but the current raiding pool will not support those types of encounters for very long periods, thus the nerfs are just a too to prolong or increase the raiding population over a more sustained period of time?

    Take your pick…but I’m sure whatever the real reasons are for Blizzards move they view the nerfs as necessary to the continued “long term” health of the game, not just one instance or even one expansion. In fact I’m going to call it now…the next expansion will have Pandas and be even more “casual” than the current. I know…impossible, right?! And face it you would all come back just to be able to be a Pandarean…

  25. Merk says:

    I’ve thought a bit about this change since it was announced and my reaction has evolved since I first read it.

    I started with “WTF”. I can’t believe they’re doing this! This is a slap in the face and a morale crusher!

    Since then I’ve thought some more about my past raiding experience and how “hardcore” or not that experience has been.

    I wouldn’t describe my Vanilla raiding as “hardcore” in any meaningful way. That changed in BC when I changed guilds and we were “keyed” for BT/MH before they removed that necessity. My guild had also killed through Bruttalus before the 3.0 Grand Nerf. In WotLK the same guild got Sarth 3D just before Ulduar came out.

    My most successful “hardcore raiding” was actually a 10man volunteer subset of a 25man guild in ICC. That 10man group got LK down on Normal with the 5% buff and Glory of the 10man ICC at 15%. Many of those folks are now in Apotheosis with us (to my great pleasure).

    In hindsight, I now recognize that all of my “hardcore raiding” success came against nerfed bosses. When I killed Kael’thas (when you still needed him to enter MH) he’d been nerfed. Perhaps several rounds of nerfs actually. Same for Vashj. Same for everything.

    The difference now is all the information that’s available from datamining and sophisticated progress websites. Now I know exactly what has been nerfed, when, and by how much. Does my recognition of my benefiting from past nerfs lower my pride in those kills? My personal answer is “no”.

    I don’t have the time or energy to be in a top 50 guild. I may also lack the talent, but it doesn’t matter since I can’t even try for logistical reasons.

    The bottom line is I’ve never, and I suspect this is the case with the vast majority of people who would be regarded as (or regard themselves as) “hardcore raiders”, killed the original, unnerfed versions of virtually any raid boss. Hell, I never even saw most of them until after several nerfs. These days I’m aware that’s the case and perhaps the ignorance of yesteryear was bliss. I don’t mind knowing and I don’t mind the nerfs to Firelands that are coming down next week. I’d like to see the famous legs that Ragnaros is sporting in Heroic and I’d be surprised if that would have happened before 4.3 otherwise.

    I guess my TLDR can be summed up as; I needed to really look at my raiding history without nostalgia or pride to see that this nerf isn’t really all that different than past nerfs (even if slightly more blatant and more publicized).

  26. […] So, I was immediately angry, and then slowly started to drift towards acceptance. As I read some thoughts that other people had on the subject, I realized that I have to focus on what is important: the […]

  27. Gday of Frostmourne says:

    Gday Kurn,

    Thanks for your nice reply. I appreciate the tremendous effort you put into your blog and read it with interest whenever you have something new to say. :-). With regards to the ICC buff, it was monthly (every 28 days) and it was always an extra 5% on the previous months buff. After the first buff, you could calculate when subsequent ones would be applied. We used to race to see how many new progression bosses we could down before the next buff came. I kept the buffs in my calendar so we knew when to expect them! :P

    I think Blizz got it right in ICC… The buff was optional, and you knew when it was coming. If they added transparency (like including the buff and its qty in the raid calendar), then I think everyone would win!

    Take it easy,
    And keep up the good work.
    Gday

  28. Paul says:

    It’s not complicated why they did this. They lost 900K subs (net) in H1 2011, probably more in NA/EU. Q2 2011 non-GAAP revenue from WoW was below that of Q2 2010(!). Q3 2011 numbers may be even worse, if China reacted as poorly to Cataclysm as the rest of the world did.

    Sub losses in Cataclysm may end up costing Blizzard upwards of $300 M. That’s a huge chunk of money to lose due to bad design decisions. People are fired over much less.

    Cataclysm, with its catering to the hardcore raiders, has failed. I expect the next expansion to be easier than WotLK.

  29. snuzzle says:

    It’s not about the purples. It’s about seeing the content and getting to experience it. Less than 200 guilds in the entire world have cleared H FL? That’s your problem right there.

    They don’t want FL to be another original Naxx or Sunwell, and I’m sure they don’t want it to get lost and forgotten like Ulduar was when TOC came out. Deathwing is due t come to Azeroth soon, and I’ll bet it’ll come out sooner than you’d think, because they were expecting all this content to be released one patch earlier.

    As soon as it drops on the PTR, every guild who cares about progression and doing content competitively (that’ll be all of group 1 and I’d bet most of group 2) will drop FL regardless of their progression to start working on T13 on PTR. You have to, because everyone else will, and they need that edge and practice.

    While I wish they would have made it a clickable buff or an option (more options are never bad). You’re right, the ICC buff did make the content easier but it buffed the players instead of nerfing the content, which didn’t make them quite as “easy” as nerfing the content 30% would have done. But I think that also made things harder to balance. When your tank is getting wailed on full force and the only difference is he has more HP (but not more avoidance) and your heals hit harder (but you don’t have more regen) then it becomes a lot more Wrathy feeling, and they’re trying to move away from that. But if you give the tank 20% more avoidance, then the fight may become trivial even for the proverbial facerollers. The easiest way to go, doubtless, is to nerf the content. But making it an option would be nice so those who want to do it at relevancy can still do so.

    Part of me says this is a testing period for the new “Raid Finder” difficulty. I’d bet it’s a straight 20% nerf to the content, which is a bit sad. But hey.

  30. Ricardo says:

    I’m also a Guild Officer in a Guild that’s been struggling since 4.2 release and we’ve only managed to down 3/7, Baleroc is 40% and I welcome the nerf. Maybe you don’t like it, and maybe lots of people are in your situation, but remember, that probably many more are in our situation, and worse, leaving the game at all. I’m pretty sure Blizzard isn’t doing this as an experiment, they must be bleeding subscribers thanks to the badly tuned design of FL and they realize that for each hardcore player that can leave because of a nerf, they would lose 10 or more casuals who keep wiping night after night on a boss. Just my two cents: It’s a business decision and a smart one imho. I read a lot of WoW blogs, and so far this is the only one I’ve found that disagrees with the nerf, I’ve read 3 posts that are welcoming of the nerf.

  31. absynthe7 says:

    “no, more people do NOT need to see the content”.

    It’s a bit hard to take your concerns too seriously when you so clearly and explicitly state your sheer, unbridled contempt for other players.

  32. Seamus says:

    I’m curious where you got your numbers about the five major groups. Are the majority of raiders starting hard modes? Or are the majority stuck in normal like we are? I suspect a lot of raiders are still doing normal modes. A _majority_. Obviously, Blizzard is looking at different numbers than you and has concluded the majority of players need this nerf in order to continue progressing. I’m sorry you have progressed past that majority group and that this nerf will actually hurt you. It benefits me and a lot of people I know. Blizzard needs to satisfy the majority of subscribers, not necessarily all of them. “The needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few; or the one.”

    Raiding is stressful. It’s satisfying, but it’s stressful. We call it the “attendance boss,” but really it’s the burnout boss. You say it took your guild ~100 pulls to down Vashj and the final kill gave you a great deal of satisfaction. For my raid it took 100 pulls to finally get Cho’gall (pre-nerf, I might add) but I got no joy from the kill. The grind almost broke me and raiding has never been the same. I enjoy a challenge as much as anyone (I am an active raider after all) but my pain threshold is much lower than 100 pulls. Fifty or sixty would do me just fine.

  33. Donovitch says:

    This is the progression of ideas Blizzard has been heading to for quite awhile. In fact I am surprised it took them this long to take the leap. Blizz has made it pretty clear that they believe that if you are not doing the content that they just released that you will somehow get disgruntled and leave. They have been continually removing “natural progression” through raids for quite some time now. They know that they have pretty good ideas coming up at a pretty good pace so they don’t care for the idea of people working on raids when they aren’t top tier- they are getting subs either way (not saying that is a business wise decision).

    Their explanation for making “all content accessible” is nerfing to heck everything that isn’t top tier and saying if you want to complete it that it should be easier now. Well we don’t always want easier. To me it is like saying to a pro boxer that if he can’t beat the best boxers out there to look up the ones in the rest home that used to hold the title. Pardon me but I don’t feel like beating up on senior citizens that can’t fight back- so don’t expect me to enjoy beating up pixels that can’t fight back either.

    The biggest problem imo is that Blizz doesn’t hold up a genuine difficulty curve from easiest to hardest content. They don’t expect people to get better. People who feel entitled to see the most up to date content because they pay their subs make up a large enough portion of wow’s population.

    I recently left wow and started playing DDO and LOTRO because at least starting out playing those games I don’t feel like I am cheating at playing. Right now raiding in wow feels like back in the days when you were grindquesting and you’d tag a mod and a rogue would ambush the crap out of it finishing it off.

    Why does raiding need to be easier when most of the raiding guilds in the world are at least IN current tier content? Raiding is supposed to be the greatest and ultimate challenge at end-game, why make it into a wet noodle that a group of puggers can waddle through?

  34. Logtar says:

    Cata failed everybody by trying to make things hard again. Firelands using your numbers was cleared by 133 guilds right, that is a very small number for a game that has subscribers in the millions.

    With this whole rant you fail to see a point you yourself illustrate with it. The content and “puzzle solving” really does not matter all that much unless you have the people to do it with. I think you are taking the nerf bat personal (and I did, with the healing changes) and trust me, it starts ruining the game for you and making you lose focus.

    The game does not suck, the game is correcting itself. As players we should start to push for changes in the community and stop waiting for blizzard to make the game X or Y for us. Play with nice people and have fun, that makes more of a difference than difficulty level.

  35. linda says:

    Software development note: for completive reasons, Blizzard would like to get expansions out faster so eventually “2 months into Cata” could be the same as “4 months into earlier expansion”

    I agree with Paul @12:10. Blizzard devs made a game that they and a million forum posters wanted to play. Which is stupid if you had 11 million subs. Actually, the decrease in shareholder value (going #1 brand versus declining has-been) is probably in the billions.

    The problem is *two* difficulty levels. There needs to be an epeen level for paragon, vodka and friends and something below average players in PUGs can do plus a couple of levels in between. Because if there are just a few difficulty levels, then a design decision that causes half the heroic raiders to emoragequit but retains a small % of the “guild fell apart before killing Magmaw” players is in Blizzard’s best interest. ( To be really controversial, this is because it is a subscription game. The “few hours a week and will never commit to a schedule” player pays the same $ and generate more profit for Blizzard than a member of Paragon. )

    There are arguments as to what people like and what makes for a “good” game. IMO, the fact that Cata difficulty with above average mechanics was a very poor business decision.

    Hours to level cap: EQ 2000, WotLK 100, Cata 25. There can, and should, be fights that require a dedicated schedule of dozens of wipes. But, these days if you want millions of subscriber customers, that is going to be a small portion of the customers.

  36. InHI says:

    Kurn, I think you should know that your love of wiping is rare these days. Like you, I’ve run guilds. Every time I’ve been burnt out and taken a break, the guilds have utterly fallen apart because that’s the way things go. Today, I no longer run a guild and I’d say at least 50 of the people I used to raid with have left the game because Cataclysm upped the difficulty.

    You see, when the raiding gets tougher, people progress more slowly. Too often in this expansion, people have not progressed at all or way too slowly. This greatly increases raider burnout. What’s worse, I had to work even harder to recruit from a smaller pool (because so many raiders were burned out and/or unable to do the content). That burned me out. The fact is that a lot of people enjoy progressing. In today’s world, the average gamer is older and doesn’t have the time to wipe 150 times on a single boss.

    I’m all for challenge and so are many of our friends. We’ve had the most fun after nerfs like these when we take horribly geared alts in and see how far we can get it. My best Cataclysm kill was an alt raid that pushed Cho’gall to the limit because our alt dps (lots of greens) was awful. But I fully favor the nerfs because I could find all the challenge I wanted by doing things to make the encounter more challenging but my choice didn’t hurt others.

    Cataclysm has burned out players like nothing before in WoW, and it makes me sad because the community is much weaker for it.

  37. InHI says:

    Oh, best challenge ever was solo healing faction champs on 10 man with ICC gear and a ton of horribly geared alts for my buddies.

  38. K-phik says:

    This is pretty funny, me reading this blog about 10 minutes after cancelling one of my WoW subs for almost the exact same reasons! Heck, even my raiding progression was just behind yours at almost exactly the same time. O.o

    I think the problem is that many online games, especially MMORPGs are beginning to be less of an actual game instead of an online reward system. Your assessment of the T11 buff(nerf) was perfect, that’s why that worked. The way the raids are being nerfed now doesn’t help the players get better, it makes the problem worse. People don’t have to try in order to get their epics and achievements, all they need to do is wait it out and complain a bit and things will be just about handed to them.

  39. Paul says:

    I’m curious where you got your numbers about the five major groups. Are the majority of raiders starting hard modes? Or are the majority stuck in normal like we are?

    The majority of raiders from Wrath are either not raiding, or no longer even playing.

  40. Zellviren says:

    I was reading through, thinking you were totally overreacting, then I got to the final few paragraphs and started nodding my head.

    This decision is basically telling a huge number of players that the content wasn’t made for you, and we’re dumbing it down to your level to let you see it. In any language and in any part of the world, that’s incredibly insulting.

    Compare this with Sartharion, a raid that was universally loved. No drakes was DESIGNED for casual players, 1 or 2 drakes up was DESIGNED for intermediate players and 3 drakes was DESIGNED for top quality players. Sure, gear trivialised it in the end, but that didn’t stop the instance from being wonderfully designed for the 3.0 players.

    And if you ask me, that’s where the problem lies. Raid content is currently being designed to exclude people, where WotLK content was designed to include them.

    You’d think they’d have figured it out by now.

  41. Paul says:

    This decision is basically telling a huge number of players that the content wasn’t made for you, and we’re dumbing it down to your level to let you see it. In any language and in any part of the world, that’s incredibly insulting.

    What’s interesting is I doubt the reaction would have been nearly this bad if the content had come nerfed from the start.

    Blizzard seems to think that the ideal game design is a finely divided series of difficulty settings, and each group plays close to its level of competence. I argue this is completely wrong in an MMO. They are providing the not quite elite heroic raiders with this kind of content, and it’s not going over well at all.

    What people want is content that lets them believe they’re better than they actually are. This means the content should either be undertuned (so they feel like heroes), or so grossly overtuned they can skip it without feeling embarrassed. Wrath got this mostly right.

  42. Zellviren says:

    “This means the content should either be undertuned (so they feel like heroes), or so grossly overtuned they can skip it without feeling embarrassed.”

    Wise words here. If they want people to see the content, design it so that they can see it in the first place; don’t ostracize players on release, then patronize them with an arm round the shoulder a few months in.

  43. Espoire says:

    I’m convinced that the reason for these nerfs isn’t so much that they think that Firelands needs to be nerfed, but rather that they’re doing an experiment in preparation for adding easy-mode raids in 4.3. If you haven’t heard, they’re adding a 25-man only Looking for Raid interface, and it will be on “easy” mode. They want to know just how much they have to nerf raids to make randoms capable of clearing them.

    My money is on 50%+.

  44. Runzwithfire says:

    I have to agree with you on this Kurn. The gradual ICC buff (complete with option to turn it off if you wanted to) is a much more elegant solution to allowing people to see end content. So is the gradual character buffing by gear progression, plenty of times in Wrath my guild went back and did the previous tier’s raid especially if we were looking to test new recruits or needed a break from progression raiding. The point was there was still a challenge there, if you were inexperienced or just plain bad you would likely wipe your raid.

    Blanket 20% nerfs to current tier content is just heavy handed, ill conceived and entirely unnecessary. I guess implemeting a similar ICC buff mechanic just took too much time from the dev’s other projects… like void storage & transmogrification. Don’t get me wrong, these are ideas that are long overdue and way behind many other MMOs but don’t implement this stuff when the biggest ‘issue’ the playerbase has is actually the raid content. Many claimed WotLK was ‘too easy’ compared to TBC (and compared to vanilla and TBC those people are right) but the content was probably the best balance between allowing a challenge for progression guilds and allowing less experienced players the chance to see end game content. Guess that’s why WoW’s subscription numbers rose significantly during Wrath but Cata has not achieved any such similar success.

  45. Logtar says:

    I agree with Zellviren comment. The problem with the current state of raiding is that a lot of self proclaimed hard core raiders could not complete Rag on heroic… so now that they get to experience what the medium skilled player had experienced in the past, they call foul and over-tunned or not worth my time.

  46. AliPally says:

    I think a better way would be to have bosses drop more loot. Certainly in 10 man, we get hit by the RNG over and over; we either get the same items dropping every week, or we get drops that are for classes we don’t have in our raid.
    I’m currently in possession of only 3 pieces of loot from boss drops, despite we have everything on farm bar Ragnaros.
    Up the number of boss drops, and I’m sure we could progress a lot quicker; no need to nerf everything.

  47. […] monocles and flaming lions: it’s a visible indicator of progress and achievement.  And with raiding getting easier and easier, more and more people are obtaining and wearing the same gear.  While some players keep special […]

  48. […] Kurn felt the “hardest part on Alysrazor was NOT killing her faster”. In all fairness, Kurn’s group seemed to have a lot more fun because the content wasn’t as brutal as it was pre-nerf. That being said, Kurn felt the nerf was a slap in the face this time. […]

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