Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Firelands Nerfs and Difficulty

Firelands Nerf

I have to say that I was expecting Blizzard to nerf more gradually. 5% to 10% nerfs, not 15% to 25%.  Ah well, it is what it is. Let's see if this idea works out or not. I don't think it will, but you never know.

Firelands Difficulty

The Renaissance Man comments:
Shannox isn't any harder than halfus, who wasn't any harder than Lord Marrowgar 25 at 0%.
I think this is absurd. Let's look at the two fights.

  • One mob
  • Tanks stack on each other to split damage
  • Avoid fire
  • Dodge bonestorm 
  • Kill bonespikes
  • Three mobs
  • Dodge traps
  • Burst one add with large spells
  • Heal one random target who takes high damage
  • Trap and kite one add until a stacking debuff wears off, failing this increases tank damage
  • Avoid aoe spear damage
  • Damage increases significantly as fight progresses
By any measurement, Shannox is a clear step up in complexity from Marrowgar. There are many more mobs to keep track off. There is much more movement. The tank's job is significantly harder. The only way Marrowgar would have been equal to Shannox in difficulty is if Marrowgar was an extremely stringent healing/DPS check. And Marrowgar most certainly was not that.

A raid that can kill Shannox would not even bat an eye at Marrowgar.


  1. You're thinking heroic Shannox. Normal Shannox is just don't stand in fire, Burn mob one, burn mob two, burn mob three with a soft enrage.

    Face Rage more or less doesn't exist as a mechanic on normal because all the DPS is on Rageface from the start. Without the stacking buff in heroic, face rage damage is comperable to bone spike damage. Opening at 30k on a single target is about 20% of the targets health, rather than 10% on 3 targets.

    In terms of complexity, Shannox is a complex encounter, but the tuning is low, and in terms of raw complexity, it's less complex than Halfus or Beasts if we're talking about opening encounters in recent tiers, and not very far ahead of marrowgar or flame leviathan.

    Complexity does not equal difficulty. Shannox is a much more complex encounter than Baleroc, but no one would consider baleroc easier.

  2. Marrowgar had one fatal flaw: players could trivialize not one, but two mechanics by stacking the entire raid inside his model.

    If players had to spread all over the room, and thus were forced to actually dodge Coldflames and seek out Bone Spikes, then Marrowgar's difficulty would be much closer to Shannox.

  3. Also, complexity is quite often only a relevant factor for the raid leader(s) or selected people....not for the majority of the raid

    Lets stick with Shannox vs Marrowgar as it illustrates my point quite well

    From a raid leaders point of view, Shannox is more complicated, you have to assign tanks to Riplimb and the boss, you have to assign healer(s) to look after those tanks so you dont have range issues, you have to assign dps to either have a kill order, or split the dps into mini teams each with a target....

    From the point of view of a dps player....
    For Shannox (normal), I get assigned a target to dps and I have to do that until it dies (or reaches a certain %) then switch targets...all the time avoiding the traps... Thats not complicated at all
    On Marrowgar, I have to nuke the boss, move from the blue fire, switch and quikcly nuke the bone spikes, and then avoid being killed in p2 by adjusting position where needed

    While neither fight is very hard...I would argue that for a dps at least, Marrowgar had more that could go wrong...

    From a healer point of view, the fights are pretty similar in terms of complexity
    Stay in range/heal your assigned people, avoid the fire/traps, and react quickly enough to heal people in bone spikes/facerage....

    I accept that for tanks, Marrowgar was far simple though...

    Personally, from a raid leaders point of view, I always thought that Halfus was incredibly complicated for a first encounter...for a start, in the early days before the order was widely known, you didnt even know what the encounter would look like as you didnt know which adds would be there, so you couldnt even formulate a proper strategy until you got there....
    But from an individuals point of view, once the raid leader(s) had assigned the kill order/who&when which add was getting released/who was tanking what etc, it wasnt complicated

    Anyway, as usual I've rambled a bit, but I think it's important to assess complexity from differnt angles....because often, differnt roles see a totally different fight...

  4. You are talking about different things.

    Shannox doesn't need higher DPS or HPS than Marrowgar (compared to level, skills and gear relevant).

    Shannox need much more movement.

    For dancers, shannox is fun and easy, for non-dancers, shannox is hard until you learn, annoying after.

  5. Shannox is easy now, but it took our raid much longer to get him down than it took us for either Marrowgar or Halfus. That fact alone makes me agree that Shannox is the more difficult fight. But look at pugs - none that I've joined have ever downed Shannox (they always go Beth/Rhyo), whereas I did many that got well past Marrowgar.

  6. You could kill Marrowgar with half your raid dead (just have to keep getting spikes down).

    Same is not true for Shannox. At least not in 359 gear.

    Part of this is the new healing model. Every mistake strains a finite resource. Infinite mana in Wrath meant you could brute force your way through some mistakes.

    If you are the kind of guild that is carrying a few people, you feel that much more then in the past.

    PS - I think it's incorrect to view Halfus as the entry boss of the previous tier. We 2 shot Magmaw and had ODS down the first night. Halfus took us a couple weeks. For context, we rolled the first 3 in ICC the first night, and had Saurfang down second night. Shannox wrecked our guild - after 3 weeks with no progress we disbanded.

  7. Having fought both fights, I would have to agree with both the blogger and The Renaissance Man.

    Shannox (H) > Marrowgar > Shannox (N)

  8. Lerbic, I disagree with your assessment for healers. Marrowgar had two phases, a healing phase with limited (or none at all if you stack inside him) movement and a movement phase with little healing unless someone eats a flame. Shannox required you to keep up with your targets, avoiding traps and spear while they receive damage that needs to be healed.

  9. @Imakulata
    You may well be right, I was a dps player then, and only healed it in alt-runs, so was basing my comment on my own experience...

    Its interesting reading stuff like this...until readng this blog post and its comments, I didnt even know that was a commonly used tactic..
    The guild I was in at the time certainly never used it, so there was a fair amount of damage going on in phase 1 as people got hit by the fires...