Friday, September 16, 2011

Upcoming Firelands Nerfs

So Blizzard has informed us that Firelands will start seeing nerfs shortly. Unlike T11 content, these nerfs are coming in advance of 4.3, and not after. Predictably there is a lot of anguish in the community.

I don't really know how I feel about these nerfs. First, I think an ICC-style stacking buff is the better way to go than actual nerfs. Even if you can't turn off the buff, I think people would respond to that better. 10% damage/healing/health a month is a good buff.

Objectively, 3 months from content release is a good time for the buff to start. A content patch usually lasts from 4 to 6 months, so having a buff come in at 10% for month 4, then rising to 30% by month 6 sounds about right to me. So I'm not really against the timing of these nerfs in the abstract.

On the other hand, my guild, and what seemed to be a lot of other guilds, had a pretty rough summer. Some canceled raids, some 23-man raids, some splitting into 2 10-mans, higher than normal turnover, etc. It feels like we've finally recovered from that and are just getting back into gear again when we're faced with the nerfs.

As well, I don't think Blizzard has the tuning of raids this expansion quite right. I think the end bosses on Normal are the correct difficulty, or maybe a touch too hard. But the beginning bosses on Normal are definitely too hard. For both T11 and T12 content, it felt like raiding difficulty started just below the wing bosses of ICC (Putricide/Blood Queen).

I think that's too difficult for the first few bosses of a tier. Bethilac, Shannox, and Ryholith should be easier, with the raid having a larger difference in difficulty from start to finish. Same with Magmaw, Omnotron Council, Halfus and Valiona in T11.

But other than those concerns, it's probably about the correct time for a nerf to content. We've had three months to establish our position, and now it's time for 2 to 3 months of cleaning up content.


  1. It's not the difficulty level. It's the entire concept. No boss has any difficulty with regard to playing your class. It's all a big game of Simon with awesome graphics. This happens, fly through this hoop. Get out of this fire, get in this fire.

    You know what might just be a guildkiller at this point? A spank and tank Patchwerk where people had to actually know their rotations.

  2. One thing they could do now, with the switch from badges to points, is scale the VP award with the buff level. So you turn off the buff and get VP capped, or run with it and have to do some trolls after. Gives an incentive to turn off the buff.

    @Phelps: I think it would expose cracks, but just different ones to those we see now. We have a raider who does good consistent dps, but only managed to live through all the tornadoes on Alys for the first time this week.

  3. Honestly, I think Blizzard should introduce a Patchwerk style fight in each tier, if only to get people to be quiet about how it's only about the dance and not about your class, and show everyone just how boring fights are without some sort of interaction.

    Yes, the dance does make things more difficult, but frankly, if you cannot play your class, you aren't going to down the current bosses with a dance, let alone without a dance.

    AS far as the nerfs go, I think they decided not to put dev time in an ICC style buff/nerf because no one used the ICC toggle. So instead, they're just going to nerf it across the board a little at a time. Note their post on the matter didn't say they were going to nerf the bosses all at once.

  4. My guild had similar issues this summer. You would think that after years of doing this Blizzard would realize that releasing a new raid at the start of the summer or right before Thanksgiving is a bad idea. For most adults, these are times when we have a lot of outside commitments and can't commit the time necessary for new raid content.

    I agree that a gradually scaling buff is a better option than an instant nerf.

    There are lots of ways to make interesting fights without having so many mechanics in each one. I think each raid tier should have one boss that is fun (chess) or "just" a race (Patchwerk) that's sort of a reward for getting that far. Every raider occasionally needs a break from the "OMG! Fire! Stomp! Lava lines! Spiders! Falling! Cooldown! No mana! #*^%?+!" panic once in a while. :)

  5. Jesus, people begging for a patchwerk "L2P your class" encounter over and over, but it's staring them all right in the face! What is difficult about Baelroc Normal Mode? NOTHING. short enrage, lots of HP. that's the definition of a L2P encounter :P come on guys, don't beg for what you have. if you can't get to baelroc, that means you can't clear trash. so you shouldn't be there. I digress. The nerfs are dissapointingly early, but necessary. they have to keep their not-so-keen players involved too, which is the reason for all the nerfs.

  6. The first boss of an instance (tier) should be easily done with normal gear from the previous tier. You have to be able to get your foot in the door.

    If you can't get that first boss down, your gear stagnates. There really isn't much hope for improvement.

    I really thought they were on to something with the tuning in ICC.

    With the easy first wing if a guild had problems with a gear check on Festergut or something like that, you knew you were looting those first 4 bosses each week, and could see the output going up. It also lead to alot of pug and alt play.

    I'm a little surprised they abandoned that model in Cat.

  7. Shannox isn't any harder than halfus, who wasn't any harder than Lord Marrowgar 25 at 0%. They're all easily doable in normal mode gear from the previous tier. The problem is that blanket nerfs and the ICC buff has created inflated expectations amongst raiders.