A Sigh of Resignation

When the expansion was announced at BlizzCon, I wasn’t thrilled. My reaction was something along the lines of: Mists of Pandaria? We’re going to have PANDAS running around? SERIOUSLY?

I decided I could probably deal with that, despite not being thrilled with pandas, to the point where I now no longer say “sad panda”, but rather “sad moose”. However, that, combined with the changing talent trees and abilities and such left me doubtful that I would really enjoy very much at all in Mists of Pandaria.

Still, I said, I would wait to see if things were as bad as I thought they would be, by checking out the Beta. I signed up for the annual pass so I’d get guaranteed Mists of Pandaria Beta access and a free digital copy of Diablo III. People who have noted my overall unhappiness with the announced details of the expansion have asked me if I plan to continue playing.

To them, I have said “right now, the plan is to keep playing and keep raiding, unless something significant changes or Beta is terrible.”

So I have basically told people that my viewpoint was that everything would continue barring huge changes/proof that said changes are terrible in Beta.

And then, on Wednesday evening, Blizzard announced incoming nerfs to Dragon Soul, both normal and heroic.

I sighed. And then I resigned myself to the fact that, unless the Mists of Pandaria Beta absolutely blows my mind in terms of PVE play (especially raiding), this is my last expansion of World of Warcraft where I will be anything more than a casual player.

Let me be very clear — I am dedicated to my guild and our raid group. I will continue to raid, continue to lead the guild, up to when Mists of Pandaria is released. But after that? I’m really not so sure what’s going to happen. Until release, I’ll stick around and continue to be a source of holy paladin knowledge, will still do a podcast with Majik, will still lead Apotheosis and will still raid with Choice on my off-nights. Beyond that, well, I’m not thinking I want to be a part of the upcoming expansion, which is a shift from just twelve hours ago. Earlier today, my thinking was optimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta really suck, I’ll probably keep playing.” Now, it’s more pessimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta are really AWESOME, I’m probably going to quit.”

The reason is the ongoing nerfing of current content.

For those of you who are brave, the complete rant is below, but that’s the short answer.

(Bear in mind the following is all my own opinion. And you should be respectful and read the comment policy before you comment, lest I leave your comment to rot forever in the “Pending” section.)

First, let’s talk about the nerf itself. From the Blizzard announcement:

During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of January 31, the Dragon Soul raid will become enveloped by the “Power of the Aspects” spell, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the raid by 5%. This spell will grow progressively stronger over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Looking for Raid difficulty. The spell can also be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul, if a raid wishes to attempt the encounters without the aid of the Dragon Aspects.

The Good: It’s a “small” nerf to begin with. It will progressively grow stronger over time (about once a month, they said). It can be turned off. All of these are miles better than the previous Firelands nerfs, which was a flat nerf to everything all at once.

The Bad: It’s still a nerf to current content. It affects Heroic difficulties. Disabling the nerfs is likely not an option for my group — it’s the equivalent of all of us not flasking or attempting to 24-man an encounter instead of 25-man it; it’s just silly not to take the options available to you and your raid group. It’s too soon to see nerfs, the content will have only been out for 9 weeks. The nerf to current content is still what’s driving me bananas, particularly current Heroic content.

Let’s look at Blizzard’s history of nerfing encounters.

Wrath of the Lich King

The first raid-wide nerfs hit Icecrown Citadel. A 5% buff to the health, damage done and healing done (soon incorporating absorptions done) by players was called Strength of Wrynn/Hellscream’s Warsong and was added on March 2nd, 2010 and was raised by 5% approximately every four weeks, culminating in a 30% overall buff to these attributes. Icecrown Citadel was released with Patch 3.3, released on December 8th, 2009. Of course, ICC was gated. For a time, only the first four bosses were accessible. Then the Plagueworks opened up on January 5th, 2010, allowing access to Festergut, Rotface and Professor Putricide. The Crimson Hall, home to the Blood Prince Council and Blood Queen Lana’thel, became available on January 19th, 2010. The last wing, Frostwing Halls, containing Valithria Dreamwalker and Sindragosa was accessible on February 2nd, 2010. Once all end bosses of the various wings were defeated, one could access the Lich King encounter, so he was unable to be accessed until Frostwing Halls were cleared.

From the time the instance was first released until the 5% buff was added was 84 days, or nearly three months.

The 30% buff to players came in after several months of slowly raising the buff by 5%, approximately every four weeks. The date it was raised to 30% was July 20th. From the time the instance was first released until it was nerfed as much as it would be until after 4.0 dropped was 224 days, just about seven and a half months.

The buff worked on both normal and heroic difficulty and you could turn it off if you wanted to.

Tier 11 Content

Tier 11 content, that’s to say, Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight and Throne of the Four Winds was released with the launch of Cataclysm, December 7th, 2010.

While tweaks were made to enable encounters to be less random and more manageable, no raid-wide nerfs or buffs were seen until Firelands launched on June 28th, 2011. That was almost seven months later, at which point every normal encounter in Tier 11 content received a ~20% nerf in boss hit points and damage done by those bosses. Heroic modes were untouched.

Tier 12 Content

Firelands, the sole instance that comprised Tier 12 content, was launched on June 28th, 2011. While small adjustments were made to the instance’s encounters during the first few months (especially the first), it was announced on September 12th that the following week (September 20th) would see substantial nerfs to Firelands, along the same lines as was seen to Tier 11 content after Firelands had launched. These nerfs were heavy-handed, game-changing nerfs that affected both normal and heroic modes and could not be turned off. These hit 84 days (almost three months) after Firelands had been out.

And now we come to Tier 13 Content — Dragon Soul.

After being out for merely 9 weeks, they will start progressively nerfing the instance. While yes, it can be turned off, I don’t know that many raiders will take advantage of that option. What looks better when recruiting — 2/8 HM (no buff) or 5/8 HM? Further, while I understand their reasoning, nerfing the instance itself, as I argued when they nerfed Firelands, is just plain stupid. I understand they don’t want people to feel less powerful outside of the instance, but come on. As I said previously, regarding Firelands:

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.

The same argument holds. The onus is not on the players to be intelligent in terms of the game or class or the instance. The encounters just become easier. How is that a good thing? “Hey, we noticed you’ve wiped 54 times on Heroic Hagara, so we’ll nerf her for you.”

The Peter Principle is a fascinating concept that I believe can be applied directly to WoW. It essentially states that you keep getting promoted (in a job environment, typically) until you reach your personal level of incompetence. The theory is that if you, for example, start out sorting mail in the mail room and show promise and various other attributes for more challenging work, perhaps you’ll get to be a receptionist. And, if, as a receptionist, you show promise, etc, you might be promoted to a job in sales. And if you do really well in sales, maybe you’ll become an account manager. And if you do really well there, you might work your way up to an executive position.

But as soon as you no longer show promise or no longer excel at what you’re doing, you no longer get promoted.

Nerfs to current raid content feel like that.

“Oh, hey. You made it all the way to Heroic Rhyolith, but didn’t quite get him down. I guess you can’t do it at that level. Here. Have a nerf.”

That is the system around us telling us we’re not good enough to get to that next level on our own. That’s like hitting our own level of incompetence, except that in WoW, incompetence (or, to be slightly nicer, the inability to kill a boss) is usually just a matter of time. Farming the bosses you can already kill and changing strats or practicing strats will eventually get you a kill. It just won’t be quick.

The blues freely admit this is why the nerfs are happening:

For any number of reasons a group may be having difficulty on a specific encounter each week, and our intent in adjusting the content is to ensure the ability to keep progressing, enjoying the content, and gearing up. […] Very few players are willing to suit up, buff up, do all the necessary requirements to raid, jump in, and then do no better than they did last week for hours and hours, only to return next week and do the same.

My concern with ongoing nerfs of current content (for having done this two instances in a row makes it “ongoing”) is that it’s catering to those people who are not willing to suit up, buff up, etc, etc. And honestly? I have no interest in playing with those people.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I like a challenge. I loved attunement quests, no matter how crappy they were to do (doing Jailbreak twice in a single night for Majik because he was a dumbass and died? Not fun.). I loved working out strats for encounters in Burning Crusade raids, which, at the time, were incredibly punishing (Vashj, Kael, Bloodboil all come to mind off the top of my head). We were nowhere near server first, we were over a year behind in most cases. But we persevered and worked through it. The only nerfs we took advantage of were attunement removals (except the BT one, because we needed the necks for shadow resistance) and the 3.0 nerfs because, dangit, we weren’t ready to stop raiding yet. (Still, we were 4/5 Hyjal and 5/9 BT when 3.0 dropped.) By and large, Vashj was pretty similar an encounter when we downed her (on June 2nd, 2008) as when SSC opened up in 2007. There had been no 20% zone-wide nerf. No stacking 30% player buff. Nothing of the sort.

There was a measure of pride there. I still wear my Hand of A’dal title because of what it took for us to kill Vashj and Kael and finish the Vials of Eternity quest.

Those were my favourite days of WoW; pushing hard to achieve something, even though I was months behind others, knowing that, apart from minor tweaks and slight adjustments, the encounters were basically the same as they had been when the server first guilds had done them. (Until the 3.0 nerf, anyhow.)

So I read the news on Wednesday night and I shook my head. I went through Wrath, largely without my Apotheosis peeps, spending 6 months (at least) in three separate guilds — first to Resurgence of Bronzebeard, then to Proudmoore to raid with my RL Friend the Resto Druid, then to Choice of Skywall and then back home, to Eldre’Thalas, to see if I could recapture the Burning Crusade magic in Cataclysm.

Cataclysm arrived and with the T11 content nerfs, my faith in Blizzard was shaken. When the Firelands nerfs arrived, I was furious and my trust in Blizzard eroded. And now, with the announcement of Dragon Soul nerfs, despite the fact that Looking for Raid exists *for* those people who will not make the efforts needed to raid seriously, I have to admit that my faith in Blizzard is shattered. My trust in the developers of World of Warcraft is gone. I am obviously not the type of player they want playing their game. And that’s what’s so very shocking to me. I am a good player. I am a community asset. I am a guild leader, a raid leader, a healing lead. I write a blog dedicated to the game that has had hundreds of thousands of visitors and pageviews since December 31st, 2009 (and more before then, but I don’t have any data before 12/31/09). I co-host and produce a podcast dedicated to the game.

Yet community assets like myself are apparently no longer people Blizzard cares to value. The dumbing-down of the game, particularly the first few levels of the game, plus the incoming changes to talent trees, are all for the more casual gamer. We were all stupid in WoW, once upon a time (I had a dagger equipped, in my 40s, on Kurn, that had an on-hit proc, for example.) but those who cared to learn more had all kinds of resources, from Thottbot to WoWWiki, from long-time blogs like Blessing of Kings to sites with maps of all of Azeroth like WoW Cartography (a now-defunct site).

It’s clear that Blizzard believes most of its players no longer care to put all that effort into learning the game, so they make it easier. I feel Blizzard feels similarly about learning raid encounters — can’t get it? No worries, wait for the nerf, then you’ll be able to stomp it and move on.

I submit that those of us who are more serious in our gaming are not happy with this. I certainly am not.

While, as I mentioned before, I am in it for the long haul through Dragon Soul, when Mists of Pandaria launches, barring any extremely pleasant surprises, I will hang up my raiding hat and I suspect strongly that I will stop playing shortly thereafter. I play the game to raid, after all. What’s the point of levelling, gearing up in dungeons and making the most of myself if I can’t go out into battle and try to take down bosses?

I could still do that — but why bother, when 9 weeks in or 84 days in, they’re just going to make it easier for me?

I’ve long felt that Blizzard is ignoring its population of older players. I have been playing WoW since October of 2005. This doesn’t grant me any in-game advantage, and that’s okay, but those things that I “grew up” with, like attunements, like keys, like epic class quests, like epic instances without the novelty of a “heroic” mode… those are the things that kept me interested in the game. Those are the things that helped grow the game to 11 million players. Precious few of those mechanics and concepts remain. Is it any wonder why people are quitting? Is it any wonder why I now believe this to be my final expansion? The game is unrecognizable. The playerbase is maddeningly lazy and unwilling to put forth the effort that so many of us old-timers did and their laziness is affecting us.

So I read the news. I shook my head. I sighed in resignation as the realization dawned on me that this game is no longer for me. Sadly, it hasn’t been for quite some time. My glory days are essentially over. I’ll never again have that moment of elation that I did when I downed Lady Vashj for the first time, having cleared SSC completely for the first time. I’ll never want to beat the crap out of Majik for failing his attunement quest and needing to do it over again. I’ll never have another epic quest like the hunter quest at level 60.

It’s Blizzard’s sandbox, as it always has been. They have the right to do whatever they like. And after Cataclysm has ended, it’ll be time for me to finally speak with my wallet, take my toys with me and go home.

33 Replies to “A Sigh of Resignation”

  1. Been a long time lurker, who finally had to make a comment. This post in its very essence describes the rot, that has set in at the core of the game. This post essentially nails what a lot of older raiders/players have been feeling for a long time.

    Really well written.

  2. Well I have always believed long periods of no progress is unhealthy for guilds. But their has not been time for that, If guilds had been stuck for 6-12 weeks sure, a nerf to get things moving again. But the patch has been out 2 months, nobody has been stuck for 6 weeks let alone longer.

    The big downside about the nerf is it shouts 5.0 is not close. The distant hope of a 6 month 4.3+1 month 4.4? Not going to happen.

  3. Kurn – great post. Agreed. It’s a profoundly disappointing turn of events. What Blizz has started pejoratively terming “hitting a wall” (and working at whatever pace your raid team can muster to get over it) is (or rather, was) the best part of raiding. It is vastly more satisfying to pull and work on and maybe eventually beat the same boss that the best in the world beat, even if it’s coming months later, than it is to beat trivialized versions. And if you don’t clear the instance on Normal/Heroic while it’s current (and hard for your raid team), well, hey, you know exactly what you *earned* up to that point, and you can always “see the content” when it’s nerfed by progression of character’s level and gear. Leave the playing field alone. We’ve got an entire mode of raiding now that is designed to let 25 folks stoned out of their minds beat every raid boss.

    We’ve come a very long way from Ghostcrawler’s insightful post at the start of Cataclysm in defense of challenging 5 man content in a very short time.

  4. I’ve reached the point in the game where I truly enjoy raiding above all else. The challenge that comes with it, the higher gear score from loot, and usually the teamwork that comes with 10man raiding. The joking in Vent but the hard work that we put into runs. Nothing else in the game really holds my interest at all. Not my guild, not levelling alts, not being social (I’m not) or questing or the drudgery of weekly VP maxing.

    The problem is that I don’t put the kind of time into the game that other serious raiders do. I’m just not scheduling my life around WoW the way I see some people doing it. Yes, I’m serious about raiding- it’s what I enjoy about the game- but I’m not going to sit in Org for hours a night looking for PuGs. I’m not going to suffer the jerks and rudeness that usually comes from the “elite” raiders on my server. The game just isn’t that fun for me to want to do those things. Kudos to those who choose to do them, it’s just not for me.

    I too signed up for the Annual Pass, mostly for the Beta & Diablo III, and the mount, lol. If the Beta isn’t awesome I doubt I’ll be logged in much. I;ll just pay my monthly fee and forget about it. The coming nerf to the current content only makes me less interested in the game than I was before. Now, if I manage to get my Destroyer’s title before the nerf, great. But if not, I’ll have to listen to all the “elite” raiders complain and insult the rest of us about how they got their titles before it was “faceroll easy” and how I’m obviously not as good a player because I didn’t make that a priority.

    I’d like to have the title, I’d like to actually down the content before the nerf, but it’s not my life, and so I’m just not going to get bent out of shape trying to do it. I’ll plpay SWTOR, log in each week for the one planned raid night we have these days, and be happy. If the Beta is incredible, great, I’ll play more. If not, there’s other games.

  5. Now, I’m not a competitive raider going for server firsts; my guild just beat Madness for the first time this week (with me at 1hp when he died! Man, I wish I’d screenshotted that), and heroic modes are basically going to be icing on the cake for us. I refused to do any bosses on Raid Finder that I hadn’t already downed in my main raid, cuz damn it, that’s something I wanted to achieve with my friends, and I’ve now accomplished that.

    That said, nerfs have always made me frown a bit, but I’ve read over all the posts so far and I’ve yet to see any additional raid nerfs being listed beyond the addition of a 5% buff (yet). And at least this can be switched off! This, imo at least, is infinitely more preferable to “i was a firelands raider like you once, but then I took a nerf to the knee” treatment that 4.2’s raid received.

    The game and the playerbase is changing, and unfortunately, I do think that Blizzard has to juggle a lot of things to keep up with both the competition and the evolving (and conflicting) expectations of a mahoosive customer base. Not for the first time, they’ve once again changed the goal posts in regards to how they handle raids and balancing content in Cataclysm, and it’s annoying as f***. I completely understand your frustration, and I do share a good chunk of it, even if I’m not in the same league. >_<

    Now, to be fair, Blizzard have specifically stated that any buff increases would be manually controlled, and it may well be that they do not need to increase it beyond the 5% mark. (stated here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3932904229?page=10#182 ) I hope that is the case.

    They're attempting to make a much more elegant compromise compared to previous actions taken, and giving advance notice that allows for a lot of feedback beforehand. Do I think that they are deliberately out to "get" hardcore or oldschool gamers by doing it this way? No, I don't. But I can see how it would feel that way, though.

    Do I think the buff seems to be much sooner than one could have anticipated? …Yeah, actually, I do, which is what makes me think that the timetable for the Pandaclysm (beta edition) is a lot closer that a lot of people are dart boarding. I see alot of people complaining that this wont last months and months before the release –I'm wondering of people are peering too far ahead. I don't know, all we can do is wait and see.

    I've loved what I've seen and read about Mists so far, and I loved the pandaran starting area when I played it at Blizzcon, but worry about learning how to heal /again/ when they reshuffle things. I would be very sad to see your blog close, as I've always enjoyed your posts (and Blessing of Frost!), but when something is no longer fun, you do have to do what's best for you. Selfishly, I do hope that the beta manages to keep you in the game, it wouldn't be the same without you!!

  6. I try to remain the forever optimist but I have to agree. :( This following snippet struck a chord with me:

    “Vashj was pretty similar an encounter when we downed her (on June 2nd, 2008) as when SSC opened up in 2007. There had been no 20% zone-wide nerf. No stacking 30% player buff. Nothing of the sort.”

    I was in the exact same boat. Blizzard will say they are keeping our desires in mind by allowing us to turn off these nerfs… but let’s be honest – that’s raid group suicide. Not taking advantage of the options available to us will cause dissension in the ranks, difficulty recruiting, and ultimately a failed raid experience.

    I’m sad to see the nerfs are coming already. We have the potential to go so far without any hand holding – if given the opportunity. :( Now we’ll never know.

    Now, on the other side – I have to ask… where would I go instead? While I dislike this aspect I really enjoy others. The people, foremost. I love the community of the game. The guild I am a part of is fantastic (we have our flaws but I think they make us stronger). The questing. The story. I love them all. I even love Thrall (almost as much as Mhoe) even after seeing him an entire expansion. I’d hate to think of leaving that behind.


  7. @Alfimi – ““i was a firelands raider like you once, but then I took a nerf to the knee”” LOL

  8. “Disabling the nerfs is likely not an option for my group — it’s the equivalent of all of us not flasking or attempting to 24-man an encounter instead of 25-man it; it’s just silly not to take the options available to you and your raid group.”

    What? That makes no sense. A flask is a personal responsibility. A food buff is a personal responsibility. Moving out of fire is a personal responsibility. And you are arguing that “disabling the nerfs is likely not an option” and that “it’s silly not to take the options available,” but in the next breath you talk about the onus should be on the player?
    Don’t take the nerf. If you and your raid team are actually in it for the challenge, turn it off. Stop being disgusted with an option that Blizzard has provided to those that have been beating their literal and proverbial heads against a wall, pull up your breeches, and just do the encounters as they were intended. No one is making you turn it on.

    This happens every time a nerf comes. The wails and laments of “This is too soon” and “How could you Blizzard, you hate us”. Yes, they hate you and your money, they only want the 1% to succeed, and GC’s son plays a mage and his wife plays a pally.

    I respect your stance on the upcoming nerfs. I may not understand it, but I respect it. I also think it is coming a little early. The great part about it is that you can turn it off until you think it’s NOT too early. Crazy concept, I know. My only argument would be to allow a group to choose the level of nerf, if any, they want to apply. So groups that only need the 5% will only use 5%

  9. To add, if the ability to not take the nerf is not an option with your raid group, that sounds more like an issue with the raid group. There is obviously a difference of goals amongst the raiders.

  10. Its apparent that Warcraft is going in the opposite direction from what an old Everquest player like me desires.

    The Firelands nerfs were the last straw for me. I only stayed through 4.2 to give my guild time to recruit a new tank. (Although they didn’t bother. I think our guild raiding is about done.) I completed Dragon Soul on LFR once, just to see what it was all about.

    The interesting thing is that I am not in a competitive raiding guild. We raid something like 5 hours a week. We don’t even care about heroic modes, except as a bonus. Personally, I’m ecstatic if we simply have everyone in BiS normal gear at the end of a tier. To have current content completely nerfed to the ground while you are still actively working on it is completely demoralizing. This nerf to Dragon Soul, while certainly not as drastic, just reinforces my belief that I made the right decision to quit raiding.

    So I’m done with raiding, if not WoW. I still log in to chat and run dungeons with friends. I still love the game, but don’t know if I’ll continue playing through Pandaland. Raiding is a big part of what I enjoy, and I just can’t trust Blizzard to deliver the content that I want.

  11. Like you, I did the whole BC raiding thing. I started playing after ZA was released and, by virtue of logging well (and knowing someone) I got into one of the very few raiding guilds on the server as they were working on Vashj. I was an integral part of the guild-1st (and server-2nd) kills of Vashj, Kael, and Archimonde (I drama-flounced the week before they got Illidan, the week before the 3.0 patch in turn).

    I think the ICC gating sucked. Sucked sucked sucked sucked sucked. And it would have sucked more for the really good guilds that could have blown up the whole place on normal in a week or two. IMO, claiming several weeks before the ICC nerfs set in is pretty much disingenuous, gated content blows.

    Although attunements were neat in some respects, they also sucked. They forced you to do a lot of repetition of non-raid stuff, generally on off nights. As you say, in large part I play the game to raid, not do attunement quests.

    I agree that the FL nerfs sucked.

    I don’t agree that it makes any sense – seriously – to talk about how you want your hard content hard, then leave the buff on.

    Especially if you’re really close to getting YS (or whatever you’re doing 2nd) without it. Turn it off, get the kill.

    I don’t really think you’ve fully considered what you’re asking for, and how different the raiding population is from the population that was in BC. The only heroic encounters that have stalled the top guilds at *all* in this expansion were awful, by all accounts. Heroic Al’akir, Heroic Ragnaros, Heroic Spine – they are almost universally reviled. People HATED them. And they are the ONLY things that slowed down some guilds even for a couple weeks.

    Honestly, I don’t really see a better way to do it. Blizz releases content that would take most guilds – the VAST majority of guilds – months and months and months to clear, if at all. Stuff that my guild wouldn’t clear, yours wouldn’t clear, stuff that makes Beruthiel literally break down in tears. Stuff that is WAY more difficult than Vashj, Kael, or Illidan, however good those kills felt.

    They give the super-hardcore a couple months to clear it.

    Then they let the rest of us play some too.

    I mean, you have not cleared a single tier on heroic. Neither have I! Shit, this is the first tier we’ve made serious pulls on heroic content. But I’m really, really not sure how it’s “not hard enough” or “too dumbed down” for you unless you’re wrecking it in the first month.

  12. I just don’t understand it. Nerf to t11 when t12 hit? awesome, most of us were don with it. Nerf to t12? T12 heroics? What? Those are SUPPOSED to be super hard! OK fine, whatever. But now, for t13, we HAVE an easy mode already! People can see the content already and they do, there is a HUGE amount of people that have killed deathwing in LFR.

    I already felt that normal t13 was too easy. The jump is incredibly jarring, we BLASTED through t13 normals, only gunship and madness gave us any real trouble, most bosses were one-shots or only took a few attempts to get positioning down. Heroics are ROUGH, we’ve been stuck on heroic Yor’sahj since week 3, although part of that is poor attendance over holidays. And that’s ok, they’re HEROICS. Heroics are where they should be, but normals are already too easy, and we have an easy mode so people that want to can do it. And they’re stiff nerfing them more? It’s incredibly disheartening.

    I’m right there with ya on panda’s being not very exciting to begin with. I like the system changes to talents actually, but the theme does nothing for me. I specifically DIDN’T sign up for the 12 month plan and more and more I’m glad I didn’t.

  13. @Josh – Taking a potion or food buff may be “personal responsibility” in one sense but not really in terms of raiding. If you don’t have a food buff up, our raid group will wait till it is. It is the resposibility of both the individual and the leaders to make sure that people are performing to the best of their abilities using all the tools at their disposal. Standing in fire is a personal resposibilty, but if your raid is wiping to it, then it’s the raid’s responsibilty to fix the problem and make sure they’re maximizing their chances of defeating the encounter. If Blizzard didn’t intend to nerf the bosses then why do I need to turn the buffs off? You say “Stop being disgusted with an option that Blizzard has provided to those that have been beating their literal and proverbial heads against a wall, pull up your breeches, and just do the encounters as they were intended.” My only issue is that clearly Blizzard is suggesting that we do it with a 5% nerf. Whether we need it or not they are saying we should be using it. And who are we to not take every bit we can get? It would be like taking your gloves off in order to make a fight more challenging. They give you gloves slot because they believe you need that appropriate amount of gear to do an encounter. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, either way these nerfs/buffs are saying that we need it regardless of what’s true.

  14. Kurn, I feel for you. As I’m sure you remember I had my own meltdown over nerfs back in September when they took the axe to Firelands. Frankly, the game hasn’t felt the same to me since that day.

    I’m preparing a post to explain how I feel about these nerfs to Dragon Soul in detail, but frankly, I’m okay with them. Not because I think the raid needs to be nerfed, but because we knew they were coming long before DS was ever released, so it wasn’t a surprise.

    But I think the most fundamental reason that I’m not frothing at the mouth over these nerfs is that the raid itself was designed to be easy and approachable to ‘casual’ raiders in the first place. How can I really get upset when something goes from easy to easier? I guess I got the anger out of my system after the first week of steamrolling the first four bosses in four hours with the only serious resistance coming from Zon’ozz and his ping-pong ball of death.

    But I think you’re right: The game has moved away from the old school, vanilla-mindset crowd to a completely different style catering to a completely different player. I can say this, though: While the game will be poorer for losing people such as yourself, but I can’t really blame you at all.

  15. “And after Cataclysm has ended, it’ll be time for me to finally speak with my wallet, take my toys with me and go home.”

    This! Sooooo much this!

    I could not have said it better myself. While I was not around for the fun BC times you listed, I still agree 100%. I may be a “Wrath baby” but it still baffles me as to what they are thinking. A far far better solution would be to help educate those people who, apparently, want “an option that Blizzard has provided to those that have been beating their literal and proverbial heads against a wall…”

    My personal opinion is that if you have indeed encountered said frustrations you simply need a better plan of attack or better understanding of your raid group and its individual parts, or better understanding of the raid encounter. Rather than Blizzard nerfing the content, they should BUFF the KNOWLEDGE of those participating in the content. That would strengthen the game now, and well into the future.
    They could make the leveling process more about learning your class/spec. A player can get to max level and have absolutely no idea how to play their class/spec/role. They are then forced to seek outside help just to get started. It leaves them frustrated and ignorant to how things are, and then, they are expected to run off and suddenly be able to down somewhat difficult raid content within 6-8 weeks. Obviously, they are going to fail, they barely know how to play solo, let alone, with others.

    In short, Blizzard built the problem, and rather than fix it, they just keep adding to the pile. Which means, like Kurn, unless there is something that blows my mind on MoP Beta, I too am going to “take my toys with me and go home.”

  16. Blanket nerfs like this are an extremely short term fix that only allows the underlying problems to get worse. Ultimately, this is going to be extremely damaging to the game. The players getting squeezed out aren’t the Vodkas and Paragons, it’s the guilds like Apotheosis who suffer because of these decisions.

  17. So you’re proud of downing Vashj without buffs/nerfs.

    Only your raid was geared out from the next tier of raiding when you got her down.

    I fail to follow your logic. What is higher tier gear if not a buff?

  18. Rohan, I think it’s more about the pacing than it is the cut to content. This nerf is going to drop only two months after the patch dropped, and that’s not considering that most guilds lost two weeks of raiding dealing with the holidays. Kurn never complained about the T11 nerfs, because they didn’t occur while the content was the current tier.

    The pacing of the cuts to content are far too fast. With only seven weeks of effective raiding on the content and they want to start nerfing it already? It’s not smart, and it’s only going to diminish the shelf life of an already stunted tier that’s going to have to stretch out for another six months.

    Regardless of the pacing, there’s always going to be some people who just weren’t ready to throw in the towel, but these nerfs are egregiously quick, and it’s exacerbated by Bashiok pretty much saying “If you aren’t 8/8H by now, you’re not good enough to get any farther than you are right now, and we’re going to help you.” That’s downright insulting. It’s a completely different message from “Hey, another tier came out with new gear! Go forth and conquer!”

  19. @ Maj
    Kurn’s argument is that the onus should be with the player, to improve, to become a better player. You’re arguing that it’s the leadership responsibility that the player improve? To a point I guess that does make some sense though there is a point where people can reach a ceiling.

    Blizzard’s intent? Of course they intended to nerf the bosses because…they nerfed bosses. Blizzard’s intent isn’t just that you take the buff. It’s that you take the buff if you need it. If you don’t, then don’t.

    So are you upset that you feel like Blizzard is saying that you’re not good enough? Prove them wrong. Turn off the buff. You will then have the personal satisfaction of completing the encounters without the nerfs. If you value the challenge so much, and not just getting gear, that is.

  20. Jay – Thanks very much. I think that parts of this post have been years in coming, to be honest, heh. Glad you left a comment, even if it took a post like this to get you to come out of lurking. :)

    Ngita – You’re absolutely right that 5.0 is not close. To my knowledge, the Family and Friends Alpha that Blizzard typically does with WoW expansions hasn’t even happened yet. Generally, 1-2 months of that happens before the limited Beta (which then opens up further and further), which itself lasts around 5-6 months. I would be surprised to see Mists of Pandaria before September, which is why I purchased the annual pass, because I knew I’d be paying for WoW for at least the next 6-8 months and the remaining monthly time (4ish months) that I’ll be paying for will be roughly the equivalent of Diablo III’s retail cost. So I’m fine for paying a bit longer than I’ll actually be playing.

    With regards to people getting stuck, you’re right, long periods of no progress aren’t healthy. My own guild has had those periods back in Burning Crusade and in early Wrath. However, I would argue that people’s ideas of “long periods” have changed drastically over the years. My RL Friend the Resto Druid’s guild, back in Burning Crusade, spent… I believe it was 11 or 14 weeks on M’uru in Sunwell. I know this was the case because I had an alt on the server and I’d log off after my raids (ending at midnight) and login to Proudmoore and we’d chat in a custom chat channel with some friends while I farmed and such. As I understand it, really long periods like that were not uncommon. I’m not saying that was necessarily good design, mind you, but I’m saying that people’s idea of “long periods” are definitely changing at the group level. That was acceptable, if not pleasant. My raid group has currently had two full nights on Heroic Hagara plus parts of other raid nights, probably totalling about 9-10 hours worth of time on her. She got to 7% on our best attempt on Tuesday and even I can tell that the boss is taking “too long” to kill.

    Especially knowing that the nerfs are incoming in just under two weeks, that adds additional pressure to us. We can kill Hagara on Heroic before the nerfs, but what of Zon’ozz and Yor’sahj? Almost certainly not Ultraxion and not Blackhorn, Spine or Madness.

    I guess my point here is that, collectively, the playerbase wants to kill bosses NOWNOWNOW and many of the players, it seems, don’t have the persistence to keep going/trying after a certain point. I think that’s a problem in the playerbase and it means that I don’t have a lot in common with those people any longer — and those are the people who Blizzard wants to encourage to keep playing.

    Baylie – I completely agree with you: “We’ve got an entire mode of raiding now that is designed to let 25 folks stone out of their minds beat every raid boss.” Why touch normals when you have that? Why touch HEROICS when you have that AND normals?

    Ozolin – I agree that nerfs like this harm those who take their raiding fairly seriously, but aren’t raiding often. What of the people who raid one night a week but aren’t having too much trouble with the content? Why do they need nerfs? That’s what extended lockouts are for — to give you more time in a specific ID. The answer isn’t nerfing the content.

    Alfimi – Congratulations on Madness! :) 1HP? Sounds like Rallying Cry wore off just as he died, heh. Anyhow, they did mention the buff would be carefully watched/controlled, but that’s the same line they fed us about the ICC buffs and yet, 5% every four weeks, like clockwork. I just don’t trust them at all. For every guild that cleared the instance on normal with 0% nerf, there are 10 who could really use a 5% nerf, more who could use a 10%, etc, etc.

    Don’t get me wrong — I think this nerf is a LOT better than the brutal Firelands nerfs, absolutely. Had they done this nerf THEN, maybe I wouldn’t be at my breaking point. This nerf in general is a lot better than what we saw, especially because they attempt to give us a choice.

    I kind of hope the beta manages to keep me in the game, too. I had trouble falling asleep after writing this post because I realized just how much of me is made up of labels and roles I’ve acquired through WoW. To be me… without being Kurn? I’m not sure I know exactly who I am without the umbrella of things “Kurn” is, as odd as that may sound. It’s just been such a part of my life for such a long time.

    The game, however, as it stands, is no longer made for me. The game will survive, perhaps even prosper, without me and there will be some new holy paladin resource out there, I’m sure. But I appreciate the compliment. :)

    (And no worries, I like walls of text!)

    Serrath – Raid group suicide, exactly. The one thing I’ve been very careful about doing is making sure we have enough people to raid throughout this expansion. That’s what killed us in early Wrath — lack of attendance and inability to recruit due to lack of progress, due to the lack of attendance. It’s a nasty little cycle and it’s really hard to get out of it. Like I said in the post, no one’s going to care if we’re 2/8 without the nerf versus some other guild who’s 5/8 with the nerf. Recruiting has been nightmarish as it stands and we’re fortunate to have so many bloggers and people on Twitter in the guild, because without those formats of social media, we wouldn’t have nearly so many applicants. The top 10 referrers to apotheosis-now.com in December:

    My blog (150)
    t.co (Twitter’s URL shortener) (91)
    wowprogress.com (36)
    google.com (32)
    tankspot.com (11)
    nyanit.com (??) (10)
    blessingoffrost.com (8)
    wowhead.com (7)
    dragonsworn.net (Aro’s blog) (4)
    tikari.net (Tikari’s blog) (4)

    Out of 353 referrers to the main site, my blog and twitter accounted for 68% of visitors. We are supremely lucky that people retweet and visit my blog and all that stuff, or I’m sure we wouldn’t have lasted as long as we have.

    The instant we turn off the buff, we fall behind in progression. A 7% wipe on Hagara from Tuesday becomes a 2% wipe in two weeks. A 4% wipe (which we may hit tonight) becomes a kill in two weeks.

    While I appreciate that they’ve made it physically optional, socially, logistically, it’s not optional. Raiders like to min-max. It’s part of the game for us to reforge JUST SO and make sure we’ve hit various caps or breakpoints. Disabling the nerf is great if you have no need for recruitment. Disabling the nerf is great if you’ve already cleared everything you’re going to clear. But if you’re still trying to make yourself look attractive to other potential apps? It’s raid group suicide to disable it.

    ahahaha, re: Thrall and Mhoe. :) Thanks for the laugh, buddy. :)

    Josh – Hi there. Thanks for your comment. I feel that there are a couple of things I could have explained better in my post, so I’ll take the opportunity to do so now:

    As Majik states below, no, flasking and food buffs are not personal responsibilities in our guild. The guild provides Cauldrons of Battle twice a night and a Seafood Magnifique feast before every boss pull. So for us, that’s not an option. You take the flask, you eat the feast, or you sit on the bench.

    I am not “disgusted” with the option. I am disappointed with the decisions Blizzard has been making to nerf current content in Tier 12 and Tier 13. As such, once Tier 13 is done, I will almost certainly be quitting and will no longer bitch about anything to do with the game. Nor will I be leading a guild, leading raids, coordinating healing, doing a podcast or writing guides for holy paladins to help share my knowledge.

    Turning off the nerf is, as Serrath put it, raid group suicide. Please read the above comment to him to see what I’m talking about. With regards to a difference of goals amongst the raiders, absolutely. I raid for a different reason than Serrath does, for a different reason than Majik does. With 32ish people on the roster, you’re never going to have 100% agreement in “why we raid”. It’s nice to try for that and people whose ideals are too different from ours won’t “fit in”, but you’ll never get all the people in a raid group to raid for exactly the same reasons.

    Cullucut – You hit the nail on the head right there. “I just can’t trust Blizzard to deliver the content that I want.” Bingo. I feel exactly the same way. Good to see your comment — I may only play part-time on Skywall, and you may be Horde, but it’s always fun to see someone from a server I know. (Thanks for your Blessing of Frost support, too!)

    Anachan – I’m kind of pleased with it myself. ;)

    Cameron – No, see, this is my issue:

    I don’t really think you’ve fully considered what you’re asking for, and how different the raiding population is from the population that was in BC.

    It really is radically different. And I don’t want to play with a lot of people who are playing now. “gogogo” wasn’t something I ever really saw pre-WotLK. The overall ignorance and impatience and selfishness of many puggers you see out there today isn’t representative of me or my goals in this game.

    I mean, you have not cleared a single tier on heroic. Neither have I! Shit, this is the first tier we’ve made serious pulls on heroic content. But I’m really, really not sure how it’s “not hard enough” or “too dumbed down” for you unless you’re wrecking it in the first month.

    You’re right, I haven’t. 4/5 TOGC, 11/12 HM ICC, 7/13 HM T11, 6/7 HM T12 and I’m sitting at 1/8 HM T13. It’s not that the content I’m currently in is not currently challenging to me. If it weren’t, we’d be at 8/8 HM. It’s that to see that goal line be moved closer through actions that are not our own (ie: outside interference by Blizzard) that is demoralizing. I could go back NOW and kill Anub’Arak or heroic Lich King… but I don’t do it, because that’s now trivialized content. I don’t like them messing with CURRENT content, because it trivializes it to an extent and is a demoralizing thing to happen.

    I think attunements were important because they added a necessary gate to the content. If you could get attuned, you probably could make it through the first bit of the instance, at least. It also served to slow down progression a bit so that top guilds couldn’t race through instantly. IMHO, anyway.

    Elladrion – It’s quite jarring to move from normal T13 to heroics, I agree, and I further agree that many people who want to see the content already have, via LFR. I don’t understand nerfs this early (9 weeks!) to both normals and heroics. I just don’t get it. And I don’t want to “get it” anymore. I’m done with Blizzard yanking the rug out from underneath me. I’m done with them screwing with my head and my goals and my objectives. I’ll lead my guild through this expansion and then we’ll see what happens. But I surely won’t want to continue to raid if nerfs to current content keep happening.

    Maj – Shocker, I agree with you.

    Fannon – I had hoped no nerfs would hit DS until much later on. But I was expecting it. Just not so soon and not exactly in this fashion. I was afraid it would happen and hoped I would have a bit longer to work on heroic modes the way I want to, without the additional reminder that if I turn off the nerf, I’ll fall behind in progression and will have trouble recruiting.

    I appreciate the kind sentiment — thank you. :) But I’m not gone yet. Just… starting to pack up my things, you kow?

    Jaymz – Buffing the knowledge is something they have never really cared to do, I don’t think. I learned everything from other people and from a LOT of my own reading. I still do a lot of reading to best understand buffs and how boss mechanics are working. There is a LOT of work that goes into learning how to properly play one’s class and how to properly defeat bosses and pretty much none of it comes from Blizzard. It’s why we have sites like EJ, why my blog is a popular holy paladin resource. Because anyone who CARES is going to go to google and be like “holy paladin 4.3 spec”. But not enough people care to go outside the game and Blizzard is, IMHO, catering to those people by making content easier, rather than buffing the knowledge required to defeat the content.

    The Renaissance Man – Actually, I think it’s all the middle guilds that suffer and then the lower-end guilds will suffer. I completely agree that it’s a short-term fix to nerf the content, and while I feel it’s discouraging and demoralizing us more middle-ish guilds, we’re some of the people who pass around the knowledge needed to better play classes and the like. Without us, lower-end guilds will suffer because there will be a lack of knowledge. The lower-end guilds will HAVE to wait for nerfs to content after the top-tier guilds zip through them.

    They’re exacerbating their own problem.

    Rohan – Well, first of all, I would argue that we were not, as you said, “geared out”.

    The Apotheosis of that era was nowhere near as organized as we are today. We had the attendance “requirement”, if you can even call it that, of showing up once every three weeks, I think it was. As such, we had a huge, sprawling roster and we rarely knew who would be available on any given night.

    While it’s true that we killed Rage Winterchill, Anetheron, Kaz’rogal and Naj’entus prior to killing Vashj, the actual amount of T6-level gear that was used on the kill was pretty minimal.

    Let’s look at Apotheosis’ BC-era kills:


    We killed Vashj on Monday, June 2nd.

    We killed Rage Winterchill on Sunday, April 27th.

    We killed Naj’entus on Sunday, May 18th.

    Anetheron and Kaz’rogal both died on Thursday, May 29th.

    So, at the very most, we had gear from one kill of Anetheron and one kill of Kaz’rogal, at most three Naj’entus kills and maybe 6 Rage kills.

    Back then, 25-man raids in Hyjal and Black Temple dropped 2 pieces of gear, then 3 (?) tokens, if they were a tier boss. But none of the bosses we killed in Hyjal and BT were tier bosses (Azgalor, Archimonde, Mother, Council and Illidan were the only ones who dropped tier).

    So at MOST, we had 12 pieces of loot from Rage, 6 pieces of loot from Naj’entus, 2 from Anetheron and 2 from Kaz’rogal scattered throughout the entire guild, not even the entire raid, given our crazily-shifting roster. AT MOST, 22 pieces of loot out of 425 different gear slots. Given the way we raided, it’s likely that many people with that gear weren’t even in the raid that night and it’s very likely we didn’t have as many repeat kills on Rage as is mathematically possible, so that number drops, probably closer to something like 16 pieces if that many.

    Even if you want to argue that the amount of T6 gear we had is akin to a buff (and it surely was for Kael, don’t get me wrong), the fact remains that we started on Vashj before having any T6-level gear, on Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 and dealt with the challenge of a revolving door of raiders (35 different raiders took attempts on Vashj), along with the strain of having our pick of four separate instances to go to — SSC, TK, Hyjal or BT and trying to figure out which would best serve our raid group, knowing we weren’t clearing any of them.

    It was not a good time for us and killing Rage happened because not enough people showed up for Vashj. We 23-manned Rage Winterchill on our first night of attempts. I would argue that even if we had all 22 pieces of loot out of those 425 potential gear slots in the raid when we killed Vashj, which we assuredly did not, the new people in the who had recently joined the guild (Brodix, Duper, Eviildeedz and Massimo) were undergeared enough that the extra boost on a handful of gear only evened out the overall output of the raid rather than boosting it. I think making sure the whole raid was flasked had a bigger effect on things than a couple of pieces of T6-level loot.

    Either way, it was OUR choice to go forth and take a peek at Tier 6 content. OUR decision. Actually, it was Majik’s decision because I was late that night due to a family dinner, but it was our decision to return to T6 content a bit more. It was entirely up to us to use that gear that we got, or to obtain that gear in the first place.

    The Blizzard-induced nerfs are artifically forcing people from one level of content to another, without additional knowledge being shared, if that makes sense. If a guild was in T11, still, when Firelands came out, suddenly, they could clear T11 easily and move on to Firelands. That’s an artificial shove of that raid group out of where they ought to be.

    When Firelands got nerfed, that was an artificial bump for everyone — people on normals could move on to Heroics if they desired. People on heroics would progress deeper into the heroic instance.

    Whatever happened to letting people do things as they managed on their own? That thinking is out the window, in favour of “everyone should see the content!!!” and now “everyone should see the content even on normal!!!”

    The Renaissance Man – To be fair, I did grumble about the T11 nerfs, but not nearly as much as the Firelands nerfs. But yes, the fact remains that many guilds had ~2 weeks off due to the holidays (we cancelled four raids ourselves) and so that’s really only 7 weeks into this content. I don’t agree with their decisions and since they’re clearly continuing in this vein, I’m going to throw in the towel after this expansion. I have no desire to be told by Bashiok or GC or anyone that I don’t deserve to work through it at my own pace.

    Josh – In practice, that’s not how it works. No ranking site can distinguish whether or not you accomplished something with or without the buff. All that matters, when trying to attract people to your guild, is whether or not you get the bosses down. If NO ONE uses the nerf, you’re all on even footing. But if even one guild uses the nerf, everyone has to in order to try to keep up and stay competitive. How many people actually TURNED OFF the buff in ICC? I know my guilds in WotLK did not. I don’t know anyone who did.

  21. I did not have the chance to post here because of being behind a firewall, and I might be the only one that comes out and says it here, but I think you are pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

    During T12 most raiders cried that (OMG you did not let us turn the buff off!) now they do, but it is obviously not enough.

    The problem with all of this is simple hardcore raiders state it themselves.

    “I was in the exact same boat. Blizzard will say they are keeping our desires in mind by allowing us to turn off these nerfs… but let’s be honest – that’s raid group suicide. Not taking advantage of the options available to us will cause dissension in the ranks, difficulty recruiting, and ultimately a failed raid experience.”

    Really? So you group with a set of people with a common goal but different takes on what is an advantage/what is an expliot/what matters/what does not.

    I think that as a member of the community with a blog (with all the hits) and also with a podcast that you say should enrich the community I don’t get all the negative feelings and language. It is your blog and your oppinion of course, but how is this nerf really changing anything for you? Turn it off or not you are still going to get to the goal of the group.

    I have no idea how soon MoP is coming out, I don’t know if I will hate it or love it, but making a game more accessible should not be looked as the lets give it to the (lazy/incompetent)

    It is like saying that you refuse to continue to use your cellphone because they added more features so more people can use it. Screw the iphone, it has SIRI Now… oh no, I want to go back to using my rotatory phone… now everyone can dial.

    If you hate the direction that the game has taken and miss the old raids, I get it, I miss some elements too.

    I personally cannot be mad at Blizzard for making money in a smart way. I am still having fun, I am an adult and probably older than you and I am looking forward to pokemon WoW even though I am more Atari 2600 than gameboy/pokemon era.

    I honestly think that raiding can be a lot of fun if you do it with the right group. And yea, those nerfs are for people like me, that do enchant and gem and know mechanics, but love playing with friends and and are ok with not having all buffs and optimal composition. We will kill Douchwing and be happy about it, and probably will use the nerf and love it.

  22. “Whatever happened to letting people do things as they managed on their own? That thinking is out the window, in favour of “everyone should see the content!!!” and now “everyone should see the content even on normal!!!”

    Here’s what I don’t understand. Before implementing the LFR system, I could follow Blizzard’s rationale when progressively nerfing to allow more people to “see the content.” Yes, every time they introduce nerfs mid-patch it affects all of the guilds in the middle. But, what are you going to do?

    If their intention was to grow subscriptions (and retention), and they had data that suggested more people would raid easier content, you do it because it is good for business.

    Finally, I thought, they had the perfect solution. LFR accomplishes the same retention goals without compromising the content for the guilds working on the middle.

    I assumed (and I imagine others did too) that the ultimate goal was to give the player the freedom to navigate up to the content level they desired; understanding that with each new level comes a new level of commitment from the player.

    Honestly, I feel the reason why this progressive nerf is different than the previous final tier of content is the lack of ambiguity where design philosophy is concerned. Now that we know there is a reasonable alternative, the conscious decision to keep the raiding player base on the 378 –> 397 –> 403 escalator is upsetting.

  23. Hey there Kurn. Long time reader, first time poster, I have no idea if you’ll even read this since this is no longer the most recent post on your blog. But I figured I’d give my 2 cents anyway because I’ve been thinking about this issue for awhile even though I haven’t played WoW in over six months. For what it’s worth my main was a Holy Paladin as well.

    I burned out after T11 because, quite simply, the content was too hard. I did kill all the normal modes in my 10 man guild well before the mass nerf, so why exactly would I think it’s too hard? Well, here’s my point of view.

    – Despite the new model of healing, all the fights were still basically very binary movement dances. Gevlon has had a long series of posts about this, but movement dances are just generally bad design because it allows for no slack, no compensation, and no gradual improvement. One raider eats shit and it’s a wipe. Or you b-rez, which is why they had to give it to other classes. Wipe nights on BC were common, but I had a much stronger feeling of progression even on nights we didn’t kill the boss. I remember in Cataclysm we had one night where we got Nefarian to like 3%, and then the next night we only go to Phase 3 like 3 times out of 20, and I was just so frustrated.

    – I have two RL friends that started playing WotLK. They had no time to join a regular raiding guild but I’d PUG 10 man raids with them on weekends. With pure PUGs we were able to kill the Lich King by the time the 30% buff was out. I tried doing the same with them at the beginning of Tier 11 and it was a disaster. If we killed Magmaw and Omnitron over the course of two hours it was considered a smashing success.

    – I really just don’t like heroic modes. I loved downing a new boss on regular mode, but heroic mode was like 10 times the aggravation with a tenth of the emotional payoff. I’ve already seen the combination of pixels die before, I’ve already got this loot in a slightly different color, why am I doing this again?

    – Probably the biggest one… I started playing WoW as a recent college grad, who was single, was working at an entry level job, and had just moved to a new city and didn’t have much in the way of friends. I’m now almost 30, getting married in a few months, and I don’t have a single other hobby that would be as time-consuming as WoW raiding. Well, time-rigid is probably a better description. I play in a softball league that meets every Wednesday at the same time, but it’s a single hour. I probably watch over 10 hours of TV a week, but I can also choose to watch less, or watch all 10 hours in one weekend (yay for DVR!), or whatever. The “four nights a week, four hours a night” rigidity of WoW raiding doesn’t fit into my life anymore, and I’m probably not the only one.

    Are the changes Blizzard making designed to bring players like me back, at the expense of players like you? I think so. But here’s the unfortunate thing — these changes Blizzard are making, aren’t going to bring me back. Maybe they’ll bring back other people. I don’t really know what would bring me back.

    The fundamental problem with WoW is that the skillset between a total beginner and an experienced player is just so vast now. When I first started playing, nobody basically knew what they were doing. I remember only like half my guild in BC had any idea what the hit cap was and why it was important when we would raid Karazhan. Youtube barely existed, let alone videos of detailed boss fight strategies.

    So Blizzard is stuck. You either optimize content for experienced players, requiring novice players to essentially go through a period of “homework” before they can participate in endgame, with no clear instructions on how to pursue that research since it’s not in the game. Or you optimize for the novice player, essentially trivializing all the hard work and effort and participation and community that players yourself drive. Or I guess you do things like LFR and gradual nerfs, which basically just confuses everyone and makes everyone vaguely (or very) unhappy.

    Well, I guess it’s time to conclude this wall of text. I’ve always enjoyed what you’ve written. Best of luck, whatever you ultimately decide in Cataclysm, MoP, and beyond.

  24. Kurn …I luv You …. please klick Majik in the balls ..i know that will make you feel better …

    Don’t gooooooo please….

    wait for panda’s

    ps i give permission to bus tMajiks balls….

    lots of Luv … Neil

  25. You’re discovering just what so-called “casuals” discovered in the Wrath-to-Cataclysm transition: what it feels like when a game company, for some reason, moves the design away from focusing on your segment of the player population.

    We “casuals” responded by mass quits, and they had no choice but to react. At the end of the day, a business follows the broad dictates of its customers, or it fails.

    The difference in the situations is there’s a lot more “casuals” than there are hardmode raiders, and this move is a whole lot more understandable from a point of view of business fundamentals. You should not be surprised this is happening; what should puzzle you is that they ever tried to make the content harder. What were they thinking?

    The other thing that should cause a sinking feeling in your gut is that other game companies have no doubt been watching this, and will tailor their designs accordingly. You will be hard pressed to find a hardcore focused MMO anywhere, except those deliberately intended to be niche products.

  26. @Justisraiser, even Gevlon himself admitted the DS bosses were much less dance-like and placed more emphasis on the raw power requirements.

  27. LFR is set at just the right level for the casual gamer. The dps and hps requirements are incredibly low, and the only way you lose players on any of the encounters is that people don’t know what they are supposed to be doing. I think LFR is hugely succesful, and the best thing Blizz has implemented for a long time.
    LFR is catering to those people who don’t have time to raid properly, or don’t have the experience to raid, or don’t want to spend hours wiping. Good job, Blizz!

    Normal level T13 is set just right too, I think. The earlier bosses are fairly forgiving, and the difficulty gradually ramps up, but not too severely. Any guild that raids to even a basic standard should be able to beat this level. They might need to spend a few weeks gearing up on the earlier bosses, but there is nothing that hard here. It has no need for a nerf of any kind. There is no ned to nerf this!

    Looking at Heroic modes, I think our guild could complete Siege of Wyrmrest Temple on Heroic. I seriously doubt that we could get much further than that without nerfs, though. We don’t have the choice of stacking ranged, stacking burst classes, choosing one tanking class over another. We have our small roster, and that is what we have to play with.

    Having said that, we are not typically a guild that does heroic modes. We are only really doing them now because Blizz gave us access to FL heroic loot by nerfing it so heavily. The repercussions of that decision are still evident.

    What I am more in favour of, is increasing loot drops rather than nerfing boss health/damage. The current 10 man loot system is the worst yet in my opinion. One Tier token plus one other piece of loot is awful. Increase loot drops if you want people to progress faster; stop nerfing bosses, Blizz!

  28. it should be called “Wait Craft” not “Warcraft”… just wait long enough and you’ll get it.

    this really does ruin the motivation of players to bother ‘trying’ to beat current tier content. just wait a couple weeks and then it’ll get nerfed enough where you don’t have to try that hard.

    i’m fine with that. but what it means is that there’s no point in rushing. there’s no reward that lasts. the people that do care (i was one of them) aren’t aknowledged in terms of achievements or patience with their teams’ learning curve by blizzard.

    i remember making post after post on the wowinsider forums when they changed the lockouts to 10/25 exclusively arguing that the inherent difficulty (which posters like cutaia and mattkrotzer in particular vehemently argued against, marginalizing any who agreed with me) ought to be designated with specific achievements to encourage 25 man guilds to continue to make the extra effort required to beat encounters on the ultimate setting (heroic 25).

    anyway, after blizzard chose to not aknowledge this, i figured, fuck it. why bother. so now i play around in the shallow end in 10mans and laugh it up when the nerfs come.

    eat your heart out krotzer.

  29. It’s really sad to see you guys flip flop back an fourth about this 5%. You say on one hand you want the challenge and on the other hand say well if we turn off the buff some other guild will move up in the ranking passed us. Let’s be very honest right now no one looks pass the top 5 ranking. You may think people are scrolling through pages of ranking going ‘WoW awesome look who is 678th on the guild progression ranking list but that’s not that case.

    Why do you care so much about other guilds progression? When Blood Legion was 4/8H did you give up because well someone passed us in progression so let’s just quit no you kept going because everyone is not on the same level. I think the honest answer is people are just tired of playing wow and want an excuse to quit so they will grab at anything that they can to justify why they don’t play anymore.

  30. Why not cater to each category of gamer simultaneously?
    Nerf normals and not heroics.

    Also, your raid recruiting catch-22 was interesting.
    If your guild doesn’t progress apace, you can’t recruit raiders who are at your level.

    A similar catch-22 exists for players who wish to raid.
    Were you guildless but now want to raid?
    Too bad, you can’t get into a raiding guild.

    Do you want to try pugging the content to get some experience?
    Link achieve or no invite.



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