Wednesday, September 14, 2011

T12 Nefs - bring em on and quit your crying

As I'm sure you're well aware by this point, Blizzard has announced that starting next week (well, the week of the 19th) all the T12 content (supposedly H and Reg) will be nerfed.  The expectation is that this nerf will be in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 percent, both to the boss's health pools, and the amount of damage that they'll do. 

Unprecedented?  Hardly.

In ICC they rolled out a progressive 30% buff to player HP and DPS/HPS.  While this buff would enable you to possible progress past a boss that you previously had been unable to defeat, it didn't make the content LOLSTOMP.  As Kurn pointed out in her blog, you could still wipe your raid with a badly placed plague or unchained magic explosion.  Of course you could tell Hellscream to go climb a tree and turn the buff off, but the buff was still there.

It seems like this isn't going to be an optional nerf to Firelands, and personally, I'm glad.  IMO giving the ability to turn a buff on/off just leads to a whole other level of drama and bullshit in your guild.  What gets me is some of the overwhelmingly violent objections to this nerf.

Well here's my excessive support

First, let's establish one standard/fact/baseline.  Either normal raids are the standard, and heroics are "something extra for the hardcore", or heroics are the standard and normal modes are something you have to progress past to get to the real content.  Doesn't matter which one you decide you're for, because Blizzard has already stated what it is that they want.

Normal raids are the content, heroic modes are the extra content for those that want to work at it.

Not everyone is supposed to clear heroic content (supposedly) and I guarantee you that this nerf won't suddenly boost a guild from 1/7 to 7/7.  No a chance in hell.  If you can't move out of Rag's hammer now, you're going to still die to it at 20% less damage in the future.  Even if this nerf is a straight flat 20% reduction to ALL damage done in the encounter, you're still going to have to learn the mechanics.

Tied in with this though is the boost to guilds who run sub-optimal raids.  I'm talking about guilds that don't stack to get every buff, don't swap out main-spec DPS for that 3rd healer and instead have them going OS DPS - or still three heal.  Guilds that still have members who need the boost of extra healing, because they bring members who can't figure out how to do the Alysrazor tornado dance.

This is not Vanilla

I tell a lot of stories about "back in the day", but you know what?  That's what they are.  Stories.  Like my dad telling a story about getting beat in school for using profanity.  For better or worse, schools don't work that way any more.  The same thing with WoW.  This is not the WoW of yesteryear.  I spent many, many, painful nights trying to force my way through BWL and AQ40.  In BC I moved from guild to guild trying to find one that met my timezones and was actually progressing - imagine if we'd had these nerfs back then!

In Wrath, when the group that finally formed joined up, it was with the goal to a) never miss content again and b) strive for server firsts.  We did that through Ulduar, ToC, and ICC (I'm still pissed Tirion is on my statue).  By the time Cata came out, our lives and goals had changed.  By the release of T12, we'd pretty much moved on to other guilds and games.  In fact my deepest regret in the disbanding of TI was that Monger and I didn't get to finish out T12 just 2 healing everything.  

What I'm trying to say here, is that the average raider isn't interested in wiping 400 times to get a boss kill.  If we're honest with ourselves, the majority of the player base probably wasn't interested in that back in Vanilla either.  If they were, we'd have seen a lot more guilds getting into Naxx, instead of the 2 or 3 per server that we really had.  Instead we saw guilds breaking at the entrance to BWL, never mind the Twin Emps.  We went from being able to let a full 1/3 of the raid sleep through MC, to needing everyone to pay attention in the start of BWL, and AQ40 jumped the difficulty right through the roof.  

Where the wheels came off

By accident or design, Blizzard has designed a game of instant gratification, and they are now forced to keep up that premise.  There are any number of places to point at and say "This here, this is what killed it", there's no single point of failure here.  Heroics dungeons in Wrath were easy at the start (with very few exceptions like Loken), and by the time Ulduar was out they were pretty laughable.  By the end of the content they were horrifically easy - a 180 degree shift from heroics in BC.  

Achievements were introduced to give you that feeling of "I did it", when really all you did was hit level 10.  Whoop dee fucking doo.  Hey you bought a mount at level 20!  Here's an achievement to let the world know you managed to mount a pony and ride it around the yard without falling off.  You bought bank tabs - YAY!  With this type of instant atta-boys being tossed out, is it any wonder that content is being nerfed early?  

As much as I love the LFD tool, this was another change that helped push us to this point.  Now I absolutely LOVE the LFD.  For all the mouth breathing, drool sucking, keyboard turning, foul mouthed racist asshats that we get to deal with - we get the occasional great run.  More importantly, I don't have to sit in Dalaran/Shatt/Org/where-the-fuck-ever spamming "LF x for ABC run - PST".  Now I can keep farming, let the LFD pick me a group, and be whisked away to my run.  Hell, I don't even have to know where the damn dungeon is.  In, out, and on my way.  

At the start of Cataclysm Blizzard tried to bring things back to the BC days.  Dungeons were difficult, heroics were absolutely brutal, and the cry for nerfs was heard round the world faster than you could say "Told you so".  In my experience the average player can't be bothered to wipe once or twice, much less take 18 seconds to either admit they have no clue what the fight is about, or to explain it without calling them a useless fucktard.  Oh noes, the tank doesn't have the fight memorized and isn't in gear 2 tiers above the current content, and the DPS is doing 9k DPS - GTFO and L2P NOOB.

And that ladies and gentlemen, has led us to where we are today.

The idea that we should have it all

Somewhere along the lines, it was decided that everyone should be able to access all the content in the game with a moderate amount of effort.  Designing spectacular raids that 1% of the player base will see just doesn't make financial sense, so we got the heroic version of raids.  Heroics were supposed to be the pinnacle of the end game.  Yeah, you can beat Arthas, but can you beat him on super+ hard mode with x% more badstuff?  This was genius in theory, because it let all the "I'm just interested in seeing the content" players actually "see the content, and it gives the Paragons and Stars of the world something to race for in world firsts.  

Now what happened though is that the average raider got it in their crazy mind that heroic content should be for everyone.  You might link this issue to gear, or prestige, or epeen - but either way, it happened.  I personally think this is crap, because the average player isn't willing to do what it takes to actually accomplish the heroic content.  They want the kill, but they don't want to have to force Jimmy the Bad, or the Horrible Wife to sit out.  They don't want to be forced to grind VP on multiple toons, carry the "perfect' professions, or grind out Archaeology until their eyes bleed because the BiS trinket or weapon comes from that instead of raiding.  

Making sacrifices and hard calls

While that style of play isn't wrong, it's wrong to think that they should have access to all the heroic content.  I wanted to kill Sinestra in T11, but I wasn't willing to do what it took to get there.  I didn't want to play in a guild with more than 10 people - so we had to run with the players we had.  We didn't want to raid more than  six or maybe eight hours a week - so we did what we could as we could.  We didn't want to extend lockouts,  farm guild levels, or any of the other things that we might have done to get us to 13/13.  Instead we hit 5/13, said that's enough, and took some time off till T12.  

And this is what it boils down to.  I think it's awesome that my current guild is 1/7-HM, is really close on a few others, and all while keeping a good roster of players that rotates.  We dont' stack buffs effectively, we don't sub out or swap players, and we rotate everyone throughout the week.  I love it, and I respect that the leadership has stuck to their guns on these topics.  We're either going to get it our way, or we're not.  

I approve, and I respect it.  I also have to say that expecting to be able to go 7/7-HM while doing that may be a little much.  

What I'd rather see

Personally I'd rather see Heroics left alone, and nerfs to the regular mode.  I'm OK with the possibility that I may never see Ragnaros walk outside of a YouTube video.  I'd love to do it, I'd love to see us pull it off without any nerfs even.  I'm also secure enough in my epeen that I'll still take a nerfed kill.  Hell, I'd still do Sinestra if I get the chance.  

I don't want to see an option to leave the buff on or off, and I do agree that increasing player DPS and HPS/Stam is very different than just nerfing the HP and DPS of a boss.  At the end though, it's still a nerf.  I don't think this is going to "kill WoW", and I don't think this is a last ditch effort of anything.  What I do think is that we're about six weeks away from Blizzcon, where we should be seeing announcements for the next expansion.  I'd like to think they're just playing 4.3 close to the vest, but that's probably not the case either.  We'll probably start seeing some raid information trickling out soon, especially since we're getting Tier previews now.  


In the end, this isn't Vanilla, this isn't BC, hell it ain't even Wrath.  It's year seven (eight?) of a MMOs life, and things are bound to change.  You can't walk uphill both ways to school, with no shoes, in the winter, and without a coat even forever you know.  Eventually you're going to get some shoes, maybe a bike, and hell - maybe move to someplace warm.  They're nerfs, they're here, and I don't think it's a bad thing.  


  1. The problem is the skill gap that the nerfs create between T12 and T13 content. The people who raided ICC, and couldn't get past putricide without the buff, and wound up going 5 or 6 heroic becuase of the 30% buff will wind up thinking that they're supposed to be heroic raiders, and when T11 comes out and they can't get past acendant council normal because lightning rods require a brain, they'll get upset and quit. When these nerfs come out, and guilds that should only be 4/7 normal are 1/7 heroic, and T13 comes out and they can't clear past Chromatus because the matching colors is hard, they'll get upset and quit.

    It's detrimental to the game to artificially build people up and then suddenly kick them down again. Especially repeating it every tier of raiding. They'd maintain more subscriptions by simply tuning the raid to where it should be, and letting people go at it at their own pace. People would have a better feel for how far they should expect to progress, and as such would be less likely to fall short of their own expectations.

  2. But I don't want to kill heroic mode bosses, that was never my aim, nor my raid's aim. For me it's too hard core and not what I want. Our aim is to complete un-nerfed normal modes; I'm not asking for something unreasonable making that statement.

    We killed Nef,Chogall and Al'Akir on normal mode before it got nerfed. It was the best raiding I've experienced in a long time. It wasn't super hard like some content I've experienced before (Vashj, Kaelthas), it was just hard enough to enjoy getting to the end, and seeing that Defender title pop up.
    Now we have managed to get 6/7 in Firelands, and have been progressing on Raggy for a couple of weeks. We are again pleased with our progression, but now it seems Blizz has decided we are a bunch of noobs, and need a hand getting that final boss down; we don't. We don't want a hand, thanks very much.
    We based our progression on the idea that the nerf would only hit with the next content patch, as happened with T11. How unfair to just suddenly say - oh we are nerfing your content next week; too bad if you haven't cleared it yet.

    I'm sure there are plenty of guilds like ours feeling just like we do right now.

  3. Not to be a dick Ali - but what exactly would you have done differently if say, Blizzard had announced 3 weeks ago that T13 was coming out next week instead? What about the mini nerfs/corrections done to bosses since the release of T12?

    I can totally get behind wanting to get through the content pre-"big" nerf, I think that's everyone's goal to some degree. I don't have a better solution, but that's where we're at for now.

  4. The qq on the nurf makes me mad too.

    How about this - Blizzard rolls back the nurfs on HMs, in fact they increase them. Make HMs so brutal that only 0.25% of the player base can stand it, and add a month long attunement to them as well. You want a way to prove how godlike you are, fine. I hope Blizzard gives it to you in spades.

    You want hardcore? Where is the limit, and what about your neighbor's limit? Oh, right, screw your neighbour..its all about you.

  5. "It's detrimental to the game to artificially build people up and then suddenly kick them down again."

    I tend to agree with this sentiment the most. What Blizzard really needs to do is stick to their guns. I went into Cataclysm really excited about things. I had participated in the Beta. I had a chance to see how difficult everything was going to be and I couldn't wait. I felt stimulated and interested in the new content and the new playstyles that people would have to adapt to, in order to keep up.

    Then the nerfs happened and everything Blizzard said about triage healing and needing to CC went right out the window. We were back to pulling large packs of trash in Heroics and needing certain class/spec combinations to get by. Nothing they said going into Cataclysm held true anymore.

    They had an opportunity to make amends on some of the mistakes that were made in Wrath and they blew it, big time. Like you said, they catered to a certain section of the player base and now they have to live with that decision. Unfortunately, everyone else does, too and that's genuinely not fair.

  6. I also don't have an issue with the nerfing of the content; however, I think there is a better solution to how Blizzard goes about it's progression and keeping players doing current content instead of the old linear progression of Vanilla WoW.

    I think the big issue with many guilds not killing heroic bosses has nothing to really do with skill but more to do with the amount of time they have available to actually put into the encounters. I think it is safe to say that heroic encounters are tuned in such away that they assume you are in mostly normal mode ilvl gear and even some heroics under the assumption you have some heroic gear. How often are you pushing heroics in the intended ilvl? Very rarely I bet.

    So what happens is that your guild is forced to really make sure you clear the instance and farm up gear in normal mode so that your team can really be geared enough to actually realistically be able to kill a heroic encounter. The majority of raiding guilds are not Paragon or Stars and able to do heroic content undergeared nor have the ability to stack raids as they do. I think plenty of guilds have the skill to do heroic if they were properly geared and were able to spend the time needed on the fights. Having to farm normal modes to just get gear needed cuts into needed progression time, time is of the essence as well for the majority of raiding guilds who typically raid 12 or less hours a week.

    I think a solution that Blizzard really should do is that you pick one progression path, normal or heroic not having to do both. This is simple by matching up ilvl of gear. So for example, T11 normal was ilvl 359 heroic 372, just make T12 normal 372 and heroic 385 sticking with the 13 ilvl increase per gear level then not have any gating to do heroic mode. So T11 heroic mode guilds just go right into T12 heroics and normal mode guilds into normal mode T12.

    This also makes it much easier for a guild to decide to go from just a normal progression guild to a heroic progression guild. This would allow guilds the time needed to actually progression on heroic content while sufficiently geared, I think you would see a lot more guilds killing heroics and "seeing the content". Now this model likely would be welcome in the high end raiding community (top 50 world) because then the content would likely feel to easy but in all honestly who cares about those guilds really?

    In the end WoW is a business and Blizzard needs to appease the majority of the community and fulling the needs of the top 5% of raiders doesn't mean financial success to Blizzard. What is success is is making the challenging content realistically doable by the majority of raiders and those with the ability to do heroics to do it but not be road blocked by gear/raid time and raid stacking.

    This were really get rid of the need to apply these nerfs. I mean these nerfs are being done so people can catch up on gear and be ready to do Deathwing. Blizzard doesn't want 50%+ of its community to not be able to do the cap stone boss of the expansion.

  7. Vanilla raids are actually strategically easy and required less individual player responsibility compared to Cataclysm raids. It was pretty much one thing you had to watch out for (ie. UR DA BOMB) and that was it. Otherwise, on the vast majority of fights, you could point your camera to a wall and watch 40 health bars and have no idea what was going on in the encounter if you were healing.

    In vanilla, there was no flying thru little hoops while dodging clouds and landing before having to dodge a billion tornadoes and repeat that 3 times to win while balancing a spoon on your head and saying the alphabet backwards.

    When Blizzard makes encounters with very high personal Reaction Time "twitchiness" required to succeed on even normal-modes, then they are going to have to suffer the consequences of fewer guilds completing that content.

    People are still acting as though Cataclysm raids should be easy for everyone, and I can assure you that for the average guild, they're not (and for the average guild, most of the twitchy encounters will still be difficult on normal-mode after they re-tune the content). They're only easy for that top 2% of the playerbase where everything is always going to be easy.

  8. You missed out on one of the focal points behind WHY content became easy — Sunwell. That was the absolute hardest content I had progressed through in the game, ever. I feel that the fact that so many "casual" players didn't even get to get past Brutallus, or hell even Kal that it left a bad taste in a lot of players mouths.

    There were no nerfs. No hard modes. No achievements. Just the sheer excitement and sense of pride that you had after finally killing the Twins, M'uru (**** him) and ultimately KJ.

    I think THAT is what led to the whole "end-of-expansion nerfs so that people can see the content".

  9. I'm totally on board with seeing the content, but I don't think you need to see "everything". For example Ragnaros actually walking around and "dying". Sinestra. However not being able to kill the LK or Deathwing would be like not being able to clear SWP. Hell, I didn't even kill Illidan in BC (to this day I still don't think I've done all of TKE, and I've never ever done SWP).

    For me, I play for fun - which is a different measurement for everyone. Challenges are fun, wiping on a boss that randomly 1 shots someone isn't fun.

  10. Your points were convincing until you wrote this: "Personally I'd rather see Heroics left alone, and nerfs to the regular mode." given that you are 1/7 HM.

  11. Parc - I belive that was exactly my point, in that Heroics should be heroic, and don't need to be accessable by everyone. Finishing a tier at 7/7 is awesome, finishing 7/7HM should be AMAZING. I'm glad that T11 was hard enough in the heroics that we only finished 5/13.

    Allow everyone to defeat the final boss, but leave heroics as the big challenge they should be - that's what I "wish" they would do. But I'm not going to get all upset and cry just because the T12 HMs we've been beating up against may be slightly easier next week.

    Let me kill a nerfed HM boss, and I'll tell you if the sound is as awesome as when we finally killed Alysrazor with 1 person alive at 3243 HP.

  12. I think the nerfs are a good idea. I raid in casual raiding guild where we didn't get to end of T11 before they nerfed it, and we haven't got to the end of T12 before Blizz will nerf it. We will never be doing hard modes until they are well behind us in terms of expansions (we only got H-LK a couple of weeks ago).

    We work hard at being a middle to lower end raiding guild where we play with mates and have fun. We spend 10-12 hours a week raiding. We read up and prepare for encounters. We just would rather play with sub-optimal raids (3 hunters for example) and have fun than be hardcore about it all. After the work we put in we want to see the last boss go down at some point. For BC content, we had to wait until almost Cata before we finally got all the bosses down. I know that our kills won't mean that same as Paragon's, but we don't care. We pay £10 a month and we should get to see the content.

    My 2 cents anyway.


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