Monday, December 05, 2011

Dragon Soul 25-Normal is Correctly Tuned

There was a lot of chatter in the community last week that normal-mode Dragon Soul is too easy.

I disagree. After experiencing the first six fights (on 25-man), I think that Blizzard has done a solid job and the majority of the fights are correctly tuned for normal mode.

The thing about T11 and T12 is that the difficulty curve was very flat. There was not a lot of difference in difficulty between the non-end bosses. If you can beat Shannox, you can beat any non-Ragnaros boss. I've talked about this before, but I think that was a mistake. An instance works better when there is a clear ramp up in difficulty.

Morchok is pretty easy, true. But he's the first boss. Yor'sahj and Zonnzoznzonznnnz (or whatever his name is) are a solid step up. Hargara is another step up from those two.  Then Ultraxion is large step up from Hargara (possibly a touch overtuned). Warmaster Blackthorn is about the same level, but is a coordination fight instead of pure performance.

There is a very clear slope of difficulty in Dragon Soul. Almost every guild should be able to get Morchok down. Then they can at least farm him and Raid Finder until they can beat the next two.  And so on.

Normal mode Dragon Soul features a real progression in fight difficulty, unlike all the other tiers this expansion. Blizzard has done a good job with tuning this instance, at least in 25s.


  1. I completely Agree. We have been clearing 10 man difficulty. We were raiding HC FL (No raggy kill though) so have ilvl all above 380 and tore through the first 5 bosses in the first night.

    Then the gunship proved hard and took a night in itself. Then Spine of Deathwing was another stepup and took another night to kill.

    Now the Madness of Deathwing we have already spent one night trying to kill, and will go in tonight to try and finish the job before the EU Reset.

    I think they have pitched it perfectly for normal and looking forward to trying Heroics

  2. I wonder what effect the firelands nerf has had on this. Previously it would only be the top ~1000 guilds in the world who entered the raid with full heroic gear from the last tier now it is the top ~10000. This gear makes a huge difference. For example our main run kill ultraxion with almost a minute to spare on the enrage whilst our alt run only managed to kill him by getting healers to help dps early in the fight when there wasn't too much healing to be done.

    Having said that considering the introduction of LFR which allows worse guilds to learn fights and gear up at an easier difficulty I do think normal DS is undertuned. On my server we had 2 guilds at 6/7 heroic before the firelands nerf hit and we already have 10 guilds at 8/8 DS after a week. I am concerned that either heroic modes will be a huge step up and act as a wall for many of these guilds or will be laughable for the very best.

    The advantage of normal mode being hard enough to take the majority of serious raiding guilds some time is that it allows blizzard to initially tune heoic modes at a level which makes the race for world/server firsts interesting. They can then nerf it by the time worse guilds reach it to avoid having a too large a jump for these guilds.

  3. According to wowprogress, 4,048 guilds (16.4%) cleared the whole raid this first week. Firelands, on the other hand, only saw 1300 guilds kill Ragnaros in the first week.

    Deathwing himself is the only semi-challenging fight this raid. The rest are simply coordination/timing fights with no real dps/healing requirements.

    Our guild doesn't care about PTR, and we read the dungeon journal but never watched any videos of fights. In our first 3h raid night we still 1-shot Morchok and Yor'sahj, 2-shot Zon'ozz and Hagara, 6 attempts for Ultraxion, 4 for Gunship, and 6 attempts for Spine. About an hour and a half into our second raid night, we killed Deathwing on our 11th attempt.

    I would much rather see only the top 1-2% clearing the zone the first week, and the rest of the instance spread out evenly as far as kills go. Only around a third of guilds have killed anything other than Shannox in Heroic Firelands, yet 30% of guilds killed Spine of Deathwing the first week.

  4. I would much rather see only the top 1-2% clearing the zone the first week, and the rest of the instance spread out evenly as far as kills go. Only around a third of guilds have killed anything other than Shannox in Heroic Firelands, yet 30% of guilds killed Spine of Deathwing the first week.

    Here's the real question, though: Do you want encounters to be intentionally "broken" and/or excessively difficult simply to gate progress?

    You have to remember, the game as a whole is a lot more advanced. There's a lot more resources out there for people, the mechanics are a lot more transparent, and players are a lot more skilled. All of this even more-so then even the previous expansion, let alone Classic. With this steady progression in overall competency, the expectation that "only" the best 1% can clear it fast is no longer plausible while also designing the encounters to be fair. The only way to limit it like you think it should be is to intentionally make the encounters NOT fair. Make bosses randomly bug out and one-shot guys. Make the damage way higher then it should be. Make them have way too much HP. And that, honestly, is not fun in the slightest.

    I agree with Rohan in this. I found the pacing of the encounters to be pretty well done this time. It doesn't matter to me how many other teams have also cleared it; I'm not on those teams? It only matters what my own group is doing. I play the game to have fun, and I'm not having fun beating my head against an encounter that's intentionally broken so as to artificially gate progress.

  5. While I am more into Arena than raiding, I have been following the progress of several guilds I am in during their attempts at this raid. I would have to agree that it is very well tuned, if a bit easier than first expected. I don't see this as a bad thing however because it presents more opportunities for people to get gear and keeps the in-fighting to a minimum when someone messes up. Only one of my three guilds have actually gotten to 8/8 on normal, but the other two are doing quite well despite several setbacks in tanking and adequate DPS.

  6. I have to agree that it is correctly tuned as well.

    I run with a group that had normal FL on farm decked with mostly 378 gear and a smattering of 38x from Heroic Shannox and Domo.

    We came in and ran right through the first 4 bosses. Moderate challenge once the mechanics were learned. Then we hit Ultraxion. We wiped 10+ times, several due to people learning the hour of twilight mechanic and the similar debuff. The last 3? DPS check. We made it to 2%. So what did we do.. we came back and pre potted and optimized and went on to a very sweet victory. A victory that had nothing to do with dancing in circles with your left foot tied behind you while balancing a gnome on your forehead.

  7. I agree with you, from a 10 man casual guild perspective (we don't have any heroic gear from FL) we were able to beat the first bosses and work the the next two. We will probably get to 4/8 the second week and progress from there.

  8. There is really no doubt that the first 4 bosses of DS on normal are MASSIVELY undertuned when compared to T11 and T12 pre-nerf. There is no disputing that the first 4 are far far easier than almost any previous normal boss this expansion by comparing completion numbers.

    Now if you think the previous tiers were overtuned, that's a different argument, but compared to the two previous tiers this expansion, the first 4 bosses are way undertuned, and is the reason I quit raiding. I, being in a NORMAL mode raiding guild (you have to remember, only the top 20-30% of raiders have killed hardmodes), have no interest in spending several hours a week raiding for only 4 bosses of real content. When I say "real content" I mean fights that take my group 20+ tries to learn, as did virtually all of T11 and T12 normal mode fights.

  9. While I agree that there should be a ramp up I disagree that it was implemented well this tier. Morchok is a glorified 5 man boss and it can be debated if he's too easy but that's not my point. While here is a slight increase in difficulty from him to the next three there is neglibable difference in difficulty in those next three. There is definitely a strep jump to ultraxion, however it wouldn't feel as significant if there was indeed a ramp up from the previous three bosses. I feel ultraxion is properly tuned. Moving forward in the raid difficulty flattens yet again between ultraxion, ship, and maybe a touch step up again in the spine. Again if these ramped up more smoothly in difficulty I don't think the jump to madness would feel as drastic.