Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dancing

Note: All Cataclysm fights being discussed in this post are pre-nerf.

I've been pondering Gevlon's assertion that Cataclysm raiding is no longer about improving your ability to play your character, but about mastering the "dance steps" of each fight.

I think he has a definite point, at least as it pertains to Normal modes.

I believe I've discussed it before, but I do think that the difficulty level of Normal mode fights this expansion has existed in a very narrow band. To me, pretty much all the fights this expansion have hovered around the same difficulty as the Icecrown Citadel wings.

It's easiest to look at DPS. If your guild can meet the DPS requirements to kill Shannox, then you can meet the DPS requirements to kill the other Normal mode bosses, save only Baleroc and Ragnaros, which have slightly higher requirements.

It feels like all Normal mode fights are being designed around about 60% of maximum theoretical DPS. If you can meet that, then you can meet the DPS requirements of any of the other Normal mode fights. It might rise to 70% for the final boss.

But if the DPS requirements stay constant, then all that's left to master are the specific abilities of each boss, the "dance steps", as Gevlon puts it.

Hard modes, on the other hand seem to have a larger range. The first bosses come in at about 75% or so, but the DPS requirements do rise as well. I remember that our problem with Heroic Ryolith was hitting the Superheated timer, and that was a pure DPS problem, not any issues with "dancing".

I'm not too sure what Blizzard could do about this. If they keep raising the DPS requirements, then groups start dropping out as they become unable to meet the latest requirements. The difficulty of increasing DPS requirements is non-linear as well. It's much more difficult to go from 80% to 90% of the theoretical maximum than it is to go from 60% to 70%.

A lot of the problem does go away once you start pushing into hard modes. There's more than enough challenge on all levels, including basic class performance, to satisfy everyone.

Perhaps it would have been better for Blizzard to start raiding at a lower difficulty. If T11 was aimed at 40%, T12 at 50%, and T13 at 60%.  Or perhaps a greater gradient within a tier. Perhaps starting Shannox off at 40%, and having the DPS requirements rise within the tier until you hit Ragnaros at 70% would have been the better way to go.

6 comments:

Darthregis said...

Admittedly, I haven't exactly raided much since Wrath, but since no one asked, I'll share my two cents. :P

I would debate two things:

Firstly, that the "dance moves" are what make the boss encounters fun. While "dps race" (eg: Patchwerk) bosses have their place, they are usually a lot less fun or interesting than the more elaborate bosses.

Secondly, the more elaborate and complicated the "dance moves" get, the harder it is to meet the dps requirements for a boss. Everyone loses dps in heavy movement fights (some more than others, of course).

Yeah, boss fights really are just "dancing". So what? You step on a toe, you may still make it. You flat out trip your partner, you're screwed. I don't think that's a design problem.

Although, pushing the dps requirements as you progress through a raid isn't a bad idea, either. Maybe something more gradual? Start at 50% and increase 5% over six bosses and you'll have to churn out 75% at the end of it...and still be able to tango through the fight.

Jeremy said...

First of all, let me jsut say that our team really struggled with Firelands and found even the normal mode very difficult. We had changes of personel and a sub for the entire summer.

But... I feel like the mechanics and nuances of the fights are what make raiding fun. Tank and spank bosses just suck. I agree maybe the opening bosses of firelands (maybe the level of lady deathwhisper or Saurafang- both had mechanics and moving and personal responsibilities but were almost too easy) could have maybe been made a little easier but it isn't the first raid of the expansion. Raiders have plenty of gear right now. And if you don't have it, get it. It's okay to still be on t11, if that's where yoou are at have fun with it.

One more thing about people talking about "dancing". I think the interesting mechanics people are referring too are just the things that make the fight interactive and equally difficult/challenging for everyone. If dps don't have to worry about "dancing", a boss is little more than a target dummy with an enrage timer. As a healer, if there's no "dancing" you're raid time is spent looking at a bunch of health bars.

This is one of those things where I feel Blizz can't win. In T7 everyone bitched about how easy the raids were. T10-t11 they were too hard... In my humble opinion, Firelands isn't the best (nothing will top Ulduar for me-the lore of if, the challenge of the hard modes, the best looking drakes in the game), but it's not the worst. The trash is quick and manageable. You hop from boss to boss with relative ease, and the fights are fun. Before the nerf, the big challenge for us was Alysrazor (before the two end ones). The other fights were reasonable difficulty and lots of fun.

Masith said...

For me the issue with Gevlons current theory is that raiding has always involved a "dance" even as far back as BWL, Razorgore anyone?

I think what Gevlon is finding is that he is raiding with a transient group of good players in his PUG guild. The transient nature of his raid group inevitably means that the part of raiding that is going to slow them down is the "dance".

If his raid group was more stable then he would of been held up by reaching superheated on rhyolith heroic, not killing adds fast enough on beth'tilac heroic, the enrage timer on baleroc heroic etc..

Rohan said...

Masith, raiding has always involved a dance. But at the same time, the "core gameplay" requirements have always increased too. In addition to learning the boss moves, you needed to improve your DPS as you moved up.

That "improve your DPS" element has mostly disappeared in Normal modes, leaving only learning the dance moves.

In Heroics, the "core gameplay" requirements are higher, making them a more important part of the experience, and not just the dance.

Personally, I think Gevlon is making too much of a big deal about it. As you say, a lot of the issue is the nature of his guild. I do think he would be much happier with WoW if he could find an Aristocratic guild he could live with.

But there is a solid kernel of truth at the heart of his complaints, and that is worth looking at.

Anonymous said...

You wanted a dance studio, you got a dance studio.

Is called raiding in Cataclysm.

Anonymous said...

I think people are missing the point.

Without the dps test, all that matters is the dance. Skill at playing your class is irrelevant.

No dps test means you can overload healers. Overloading healers means they don't have to play well.

And, of course, the dps don't have to play well either because their dps isn't really all that crucial.

Couple this with tanks essentially gaining 'auto-threat', and you can basically sleepwalk through Cataclysm raids. Once you learn the dance, that's all you need.

It's not a matter of "let's just do a tank and spank dps test". It's an issue of removing anything that might be a skill test.