Sunday, February 10, 2008

Attunements and Reward Bosses

Patch 2.4 is removing the attunements to Mount Hyjal and the Black Temple. If you look at the WoW Dungeons and Raid forums, you'll see a lot of angst over this decision. First off, I fully support removing the attunements. In general, I think raid attunements beyond the first level are pointless and end up hurting the slower, less hardcore guilds.

However, the raiders complaining about the attunement removal do have a point, and it's worth considering their perspective. In my view, the issue is not really the attunements themselves, but rather the nature of the bosses right after the attunement.

Remember that for raiders, quality of reward needs to match the challenge overcome. However, it is generally accepted that the first few bosses of T6 content are "easy" and really are not worthy of the quality of loot that they drop. But this is acceptable because Kael and Vashj are so difficult. Early T6 bosses do not just reward you for beating the T6 boss, they also reward you for killing Kael/Vashj.

Essentially, the first few T6 bosses are "reward bosses". There are other reward bosses in the game: Void Reaver in Tempest Keep, the Chess event in Karazhan, the drakes in Blackwing Lair.

But with the attunement removal, you don't need to kill Kael/Vashj, so the challenge ceases to match the reward, and thus there's a lot of complaining. People are allowed to skip the hard content and access the easy bosses with over-generous rewards.

This happens on a lesser level with Void Reaver in Tempest Keep. Originally, you had to beat Magtheridon to get access to Void Reaver, and thus Void Reaver was essentially an extra reward for beating Magtheridon. But now you can go straight to Void Reaver, making his reward (T5 shoulders) greater than his challenge.

Another way to think about it is to look at the Chess event in Karazhan. There is no question that the Chess rewards seriously outstrip the challenge of that event. However, those epics are not just a reward for Chess, they're also a reward for getting that deep into Karazhan. If the Chess event came at the beginning of the instance, or after Attumen the Huntsman, it would make no sense. The reward would be disproportionate to the challenge on every level.

If the first boss in T6 content was the equivalent difficulty step of Razorgore in Blackwing Lair, there would be no complaints about removing attunements. Challenge would match reward, and everything would be fine with the world.

In general, I think that "reward bosses" are a bad idea. They encourage guilds to take shortcuts, to waste time and skip over content that would teach them necessary skills. I honestly believe that having guilds skip Magtheridon to go for Void Reaver has hurt them in the long run. Magtheridon teaches coordination skills that are very valuable in later T5 content.

Reward bosses are an especially bad idea to have near the beginning of an instance. If you have to have a reward boss, it is best to follow the Karazhan model, and drop it deep in the heart of the instance.

19 comments:

Lovelace said...

You just spoke my mind.

Matticus said...

As a raider, I see nothing to complain about. Even if you're not a Guild that's been able to get down Vashj or Kael, you're about to come up with the most annoying trash in the game. That in itself is a challenge. Because if you wipe on a boss in Hyjal, guess what? You get to do all that trash crap again. It gets easy the first couple of times, but after a while you'll start to notice the strain. This is when pressure to kill bosses becomes paramount because no one wants to be the idiot that wipes the raid and forces them to do 8 waves of mind numbing trash. Again.

Alex - aka Firelight said...

While I agree with you whole assement of the situation regarding attunements I'm all for the change.

Guilds, like ours, that are on Vashj and are able to clear all 5 bosses before her in one night and do the same at Tempest Keep to Kael(although we've not tried him yet) are only going to benefit from this.

We're struggling to find the right amount of DPS for Vashj right now. This will help us a lot be giving us the ability to gear up a little further. We're not going to skip either of those bosses because there are still loot from them we need.

Plus the thing stopping lesser able guilds from entering Hyjal and Black Temple will be their gear level! No-one in Kara/Gruul level gear is going to get anywhere in Hyjal or BT.

So I think the attunement will still exhist in some ways...

People moaned when they removed the attunement for Magtheridon but now there are still people who may have been once or twice, but there's no point any more as they've moved into SSC and are able to get better gear. But they're nerfing him now, so maybe people will be able to do him more often?

All I know is that it will be amazing to be able to say "I saw Black Temple!" before WotLK comes out.

Dyermaker said...

One of the biggest problems with removal of attunements is the selective nature of these decisions without regard to the effort and challenge that has been expended. Blizzard creates the very lazy players they claim to struggle to avoid. Lets face it, players (especially newer ones) will take the path of least resistance. It is why so many people are willing to AFK through battle grounds. It is why gold selling remains an issue even when Blizzard has provided so many easy ways to earn money inside the game.

What new 70 will invest in the time and effort of finding people to get Kara attuned when they can just walk into Black Temple? Why expend any energy for Kara when you can just free ride to Black Temple and Mount Hyjal for some easy rewards? How can anyone justify removing the attunements for Black Temple when Karazhan and even Onyxia, Molten Core, Blackwing Lair still require long drawn out quests?

Just like all the open attunements that preceded this decision, the encounters will be changed because of the nature of the player and their expectations that will follow. Sorry, but if you cannot down Kael'thalas you have no reasonable expectation of tackling the Illidari Council. When those players who are not yet ready reach this stage, what happens? The fun of these encounters is the challenge, if you weaken the challenge you diminish the fun for those who have tackled that challenge.

I have spent months working toward a goal, killing Illidan. I have motivated my team with an analogy of being a part of a softball team, that their hard work now has them at the championship game. Now, it seems, even those who have not spent the time and effort in reaching these goals are to be just as rewarded. There is no sense of accomplishment in WoW any more, and that saddens me.

Anonymous said...

Well Kael and Vashj are opposite fights and the hardest in the game. The first bosses in T6 are not easy just easy compared to Kael and Vashj. People who can't clear ssc/tk won't be able to walk into MH/BT and clear the first couple of bosses.

The attunements for MH/BT are great quest lines just like the quests to get into TK and SCC. It is a shame to waste that content.

However getting everyone attuned to BT sucks from a raid . It is a real pain to get everyone keyed. You have to keep clearing TK/SSC for much longer than you should.

I think Blizzard would have been better off Nerfing trash respawn timers to allow guilds more practice on bosses. Also killing Vashj/Kael without clearing the instance with some kind of having done it before check would allow attunements to be done with a reasonable amount of raid time. Right now my guild is spending resources to buy cleared SSC/TK runs so we can do attunements without spending the 3-4 hours of raid time to clear all the other bosses in SSC/TK. OR do some kind of guild attunement.

Doeg said...

I guess that being primarily a PvP-er right now (and mostly in the BGs), I was struck by the fact that if the release of patch 2.4 followed by WotLK comes off as planned, there is essentially nothing new for PvP until WotLK. In fact, there has been no new content in the BGs since EOS at TBC release - an entire expansion, probably at least 1 1/2 years, without any new content at all.
So, why try for S3/Vindicator when a gear reset is coming into view?

I guess I'm torn between saving up honor and marks for WotLK, or questing & maxing professions and leveling alts.

Or just cancelling WoW until WotLK.

dorgol (boulderfist us) said...

@dyermaker
"What new 70 will invest in the time and effort of finding people to get Kara attuned when they can just walk into Black Temple? Why expend any energy for Kara when you can just free ride to Black Temple and Mount Hyjal for some easy rewards? How can anyone justify removing the attunements for Black Temple when Karazhan and even Onyxia, Molten Core, Blackwing Lair still require long drawn out quests?"

And how will a fresh 70 wearing quest blues / greens kill ANYTHING in BT? They won't. I have 3 70s, two of them in a decent set of epics, and I have no delusions that I could go into MH / BT and provide a meaningful contribution to a raid.

Removing attunements will HELP the guilds currently working on SSC / TK by allowing them access to T6 loot.

Removing attunements will NOT allow Joe Blow + his 24 buddies to waltz in and kill Illidan.

SolidState said...

@Dyermaker, your argument that Blizzard will now logically nerf the BT/MH bosses since under-geared players will whine about how difficult they are holds no water, even though it is a frequently used argument against the attunments removal on the Blizzard forums.

There is no precedent for Blizzard nerfing raid bosses due to "popular pressure". Yes raid bosses have been made easier, when Blizzard felt they were too hard - usually when top end raiders were having trouble! Gruul was *not* made easier to accommodate people in pre-Kara gear, he was made easier so that post-Kara guilds could have a reasonable chance at him.

I think you need to remember back to a time over a year ago, when TBC
was released and suddenly people were getting green and blue gear that was the equivalent of BWL-level gear. Was all the hard work by raiders tackling BWL for nothing? Of course not! They got to see cutting edge content first, they got better gear first, they had fun! It is no different now. In exactly the same way, will all your current hard work be for nothing when WotLK arrives and with it a new gear reset?

Blizzard have plainly said, this move and many similar moves since TBC was released are aimed at making raiding progression smoother. Blizzard intentionally placed speed-bumps in the path of raiders so that content would not be eaten up too quickly, and are now slowly removing them to allow more people to see the leading-edge content. Don't forget, less than 10% of all WoW players have ever seen the inside of MH/BT!

Yes you have a reason to be proud of having been able to get to BT/MH before patch 2.4 and you can proudly wear the title, "Hand of Ada'l" - which I agree is not as cool sounding as "Champion of the Naruu, but it's a visible sign that you've beaten content that few others have. Don't take that pride and turn it into something ugly, lording it over your fellow players that for whatever reason have not managed to conquer the same content. Are you only happy when you have money and know other people are poor? Or would you rather find a way to help them reach a better station in life?

Unless Blizzard seriously nerf Bt/MH, all they are doing is giving current SSC/TK raiders a slight helping hand. They are not opening BT/MH for Kara raiders...

Best regards,
Solidstate, EU-thunderhorn

Relmstein said...

Quite frankly the entire raiding structure we've experienced since the dawn of Everquest is probably in the middle of being evaluated in Wraith of the Lich King. Lifting the attunements by Blizzard was a quick way of trying to get more players exposed to raid content and "reward bosses" was the unintended side effect.

In the future I expect raiding to make more use of token systems and allow some sort of individual point accumulation. At the moment its too dependent on being lucky with the random number generator and having a fair DKP system.

Padragnis said...

Because there isn't much I we can do to influence Blizzard's actions regarding making the seriously more conducive to casual players, I think there needs to be some greater reward for obtaining the attunements for raid instances before they are nerfed.

I say this because I remember how great it felt to have finally gotten enough people through Heroic Shattered Halls to finally get attuned for Tempest Keep and get a server first VR kill back on Gul'dan-US with my old guild. Then I was filled with such a feeling of inadequacy when they totally did away with the attunement requirement at all. It made me feel that all the work that was put into the process was wasted.

I am wondering why, if Blizzard think that everyone wants to get into the top-end raids, do they still require attunement chains to get into the old 40-man instances? Why not require people to have to rep grind or pay a bunch of gold to get an attunement once the quest requirement is lifted? At least then it isn't like all the work that top-end guilds put in would still be worth something.

Another thing that troubles me is the ability to obtain the titles after the nerf. My paladin "earned" his title before the TK nerf. But I feel that if I was to go and get the title Champion of the Naaru with my alt rogue, who has t5 gear, it wouldn't be the same because everyone would out-gear the content.

I guess what I am getting at is that there needs to be something of real value that can be appreciated by everyone, both hard-core raiders and casuals alike as a sign of true accomplishment--something better than a title. What that could be, I truly have no idea.

Viet said...

Coming from a guild that is working on Vashj and Kael, I am saddened by this change. While it will be great to see BT/MH earlier, it will feel less of an accomplishment when first entering it. I think overall it is a good idea since that content is supposedly amazing and it would be a shame for most of the WoW population to never set foot in it.

I disagree with raiders needing anything more than a title for getting to BT/MH before the patch comes. You have the pride of getting there and the title to show it. You don't need anything tangible. WoW is an evolving game. What you did yesterday, today or tomorrow will mean nothing gear-wise once the next level raise comes. It will mean nothing to everyone else as well except for you that accomplished it. Be happy with your title. =D

Dazanna said...

From my personal experience in both of the mentioned instances I can easily say that casual players will not get their wish of "seeing content". Though the first 3 bosses of Hyjal are little more than tank'n spanks with small gimmicks, the trash will easily destroy any non-tier 5 tank unless you have really stellar healers. Black Temple is no better. Guilds in Kara and Badge loot will not have anywhere near the healing longevity/throughput, coordination, or even stamina to last through Naj'entus, not to mention the upwards difficulty scale from there.

So nothing will happen until the instances get nerfed. And they will. Whether you believe it or not, Blizzard has a history of nerfing bosses after a large pubic outcry about how hard they are happens on the forums. Look at Magtheridon, which used to be one of the most challenging encounters in the game, now a shallow shell of himself (incidentally the trash is now nearly as hard as the boss, though I expect that will be nerfed as well next). Or even Kael, who (IMO) is the most incredible encounter TBC has yet to offer. Three patches in a row now he has been steadily nerfed so that much of the challenge in the fight is lost.

Mount Hyjal and Black Temple were designed for the best. They require skill, gear, and above all coordination. You have to move and act as a unit in these instances, especially on fights like Bloodboil, Archimonde, and RoS. The instances were designed with the belief that you had gone through the hardest the game has to offer and were prepared for these new instances. You can not waltz into either one and expect to get anywhere. They require huge amounts of time and effort to progress through.

I personally think removing the locks on Vashj and Kael was a good move. Not only does it make it easier for guilds such as my own to atune new recruits (which at the moment is a bloody pain), but it allows guilds who are working on that atunement to spend as much time as possible getting those bosses down.

I really do wish everyone good luck. BT and Hyjal are spectacular instances, from both a lore and design perspective. But it is important to remember that these instances were not designed for Kara/Lurker/VR guilds. Don't cry when an abom 2-shots your tank.

And as a final note, "easy" boss is quite relative. Winterchill can still easily wipe your raid if you don't have fast healers with the throughput to keep people up through Ice Bolts. Easy for someone who kills Kael is still very difficult by most other standards.

Dyermaker said...

I am sorry, but there is a very long list of bosses that have been nerfed because of complaints. My guild was the last on Mannoroth to down Magtheridon before the nerf, he became a complete joke afterward. With the removal of the SSC/TK attunement requiring Magtheridon, and the lack of challenge, and the lack of reward, no one does that encounter any more. The guild will still choke down a Gruul's kill from time to time because people enjoy the fight and there is that precious DST that is still worthwhile for many. But Magtheridon? It might as well no longer exist. Even newer guilds just skip the encounter, why spend a couple hours struggling on Magtheridon when you can go reap the easy rewards of Void Reaver?

For the people who say that people in blues/greens will know they cannot bother with BT/Hyjal, I wish there was a way that I could show you the recruitment applications that I sift through. There was a recent applicant, a paladin, who was not only in pre-kara gear applying to a T6 guild, but it was cloth gear too. As far as I could tell from his gear, he had never won a single item from Karazhan and thought he was ready for these encounters. Less than 8K health fully raid buffed, but he and his friends already in the guild insisted that he be given a chance. Luckily, people came to their senses but the point is... these are problems that need not happen. The guy was a solid player, and really would have been a wonderful asset to a Karazhan/SSC/TK guild. But instead, he thought he was ready for the top of the game and it caused nothing but arguments.

What about an issue we see with older content quite a bit now... members who stop wanting to bring their mains to a raid because they have whatever that boss drops for them. Suddenly, your roster of 30-40 raiders becomes a pool of 60-70 who all want to compete for the same 25 spots. If your T6 guild can carry one or two sub-raiders, how do you balance? People who have put in no effort for their alts are just as ready as people who have fielded their alts on their own time and balanced the needs of the guild for months.

Changing SSC/TK to allow guilds who wish to pass specific bosses and work on the big bosses should have addressed the needs. Guilds that are on the cusp of Kael and Vashj kills will benefit tremendously from this change and guilds who just want to get in and attune someone will likewise have a great time saver. Instead of asking people to give up three hours to get through SSC/TK, an hour for just the bosses is a wonderful time saver.

There is nothing wrong with progression. It helps to pace guilds so that their members have the equipment and skill to succeed in the next challenge. Without these speedbumps guilds will struggle needlessly. The content itself will be changed to accommodate a challenge level that should not exist.

Also, attunements force guilds to work as a unit. One person in the guild is ready for the next phase when the rest of the guild is ready for the next phase. When you have 25 people ready for the next raid, you schedule the next raid. Its simple and meaningful, it actually encourages people to want those around them to succeed as well.

Dyermaker said...

@ viet

There is a reason I have a full set of Tier 2 gear sitting in the bank. The time and effort to obtain that reward was meaningful. I may never use those items again, it might forever be nothing more than something I pull out when being nostalgic, but it is a hell of a lot more meaningful than a title.

Until Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Onyxia's Lair, Naxxramus and Karazghan no longer require attunements the argument of "people just want to see" does not work. People want more than just to walk into these zones, they want to succeed. They cannot, so Blizzard will be forced to water the flavor down.

Vaerlin said...

I think it's a good move on Blizzard's part to remove the attunement process for the preceding raid dungeons.

New Badge rewards + easier to get PvP rewards (to fill in a few gear slots for healers/dps) along with attunement removals help more casual guilds advance and see areas they may not too more quickly. On my Pally tank, I don't know how many times gear has been used as an excuse to say he can't get into a raid (in some places I agree). That (perceived or otherwise) gear limit gets kicked back a little bit by these changes and allows guilds that may be completely bored of Kara, Gruul, and Mag that are working on SSC/TK the ability to mix it up a little bit by trying a few events in Hyjall/BT. They may not succeed, but they get a taste of what to expect... I wish my guild had never broken up so I could have seen done the instances and fights...

With the frequency that the new raiding content is being released, they need mechanisms that allow for faster progression of younger guilds and newer characters... at least I feel that's how it should be. ;)

Same reason they make older arena gear easier and easier to get. It allows for the newer players to become competitive in new content/higher brackets more quickly.

To be fair, I did Mag back before the nerf... that fight was unnecessarily complicated and far to difficult for a Kara/Gruul level boss.

ZA and new badge rewards + attunement removals in 2.3 were great... if the game had been released as it is now, I'd still be raiding.

Rohan said...

dyermaker, the WoW 1.0 attunements were so trivial that they may have well not existed. The Karazhan attunement is harder than them all.

Further, AQ40 required no attunement, and that did not hamper or trivialize that instance.

So using WoW 1.0 to justify TBC-style attunements just does not fly, in my opinion.

Azreal said...

First 2 guilds to beat Kal and Brut used Ret.

Azreal said...

Removing Attunements is essential for the game. If someone from a raiding guild leaves, they need to be replaced in order for that guild to continue raiding. The pool of potential replacements is usually very small for all but the top of the line guilds, and therefore being able bring someone up to speed quickly becomes essential. Removing attunements helps both struggling guilds who need the bit of extra gear or motivation, and the elite guilds that need players to fuel their raiding machine.

As new gear becomes available, players are able to catch up much faster, and skip a lot of older content. The less time you have to devote to the game to succeed, the better.

Dyermaker said...

I disagree with the idea that the early WoW attunements were trivial. In those days I was a guildmaster of a friends/family guild. I did BRD hundreds, and I literally mean hundreds of times, to get people through.

Simply, if the viewing of content is important, than all of these useless attunements would also be removed. Naxx attunement could be solo'ed by anyone who wanted to make it happen, it was really nothing more than factioning. But who would take a new 60 through the instances where faction is obtained? This is a needless roadblock, people just want to see Naxx.

The real sticking point with me, you have a new player that just hits 70. They decide they want to raid. What's available to them...

Logically, you'd say Karazhan, but that requires a long quest that includes obtaining a flying mount, running a bunch of different instances and all the running around through Outlands and Azeroth that goes with it.

Or, they could just walk into Black Temple...