Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Did Blizzard Err in the Raid Nerf?

Okay, a slight break from your regularly scheduled Ret Paladin QQ-fest ;).


A significant number of bloggers, pretty much those who have been lucky enough to find and stay in a raid instance which doesn't crash every 5 minutes, have been commenting on how easy raiding has become in 3.0.2. Mr Big Bear Butt esq. says he "can no longer take pride in saying [he] downed something in Kara", echoing this post on Mystic Chicanery bemoaning the ease with which Voidreaver was dropped. Firelights' Guild has downed Illidan and HonorsHammer similarly cleared BT in record time.

The common theme is not criticism of how accessible these Raids have become, though there are many other blogs which have done just that. Instead there is a tendency to lament the fact that these instances simply don't present much of a challenge any more.

This is of course down to the changes brought by the latest Patch. The simplicity is partially due to the sheer DPS increase for some classes in the latest build. Ret Paladins are the most obvious example, but with the possible exception of Warlocks the same appears to be true for all classes. However the most significant impact could be the changes to Burning Crusade Raids brought in with the new patch:

To coincide with the upcoming new talents and mechanic changes for classes in the next patch, we are making some adjustments in existing raid content to provide a smooth transition when the upcoming patch is released. The creatures and bosses in raid dungeons that were introduced in The Burning Crusade will have their health reduced (30% reduction), and most will have their standard melee damage output reduced as well, but their spell and ability damage are not being changed. These changes are being made in all raid dungeons from Karazhan to Sunwell Plateau as well as the outdoor encounters of Doom Lord Kazzak and Doomwalker. On top of this Illidan is also doing his part and will stop casting Shear on players.(Source)

In addition Crushing Blows and the Sunwell Radiance buff were removed, sidestepping many of the gear and timing issues some Raid Encounters presented. The reasoning behind this was simple: the crushing blow mechanic was no longer appropriate given the changes to Warriors and Feral Druids, and with healers anticipating mana issues with the downranking nerf a shorter fight was appropriate. But if the impact of these adjustments have caused players to no longer find the instance a challenge are they good changes?

As video game players, casual or otherwise, all of need both a genuine challenge and a sense of accomplishment when overcoming these challenges in order to stay interested in a game. However one cannot exist without the other, and so if the challenge is gone just how long can we stay interested in a game?

In nerfing the instance to this extent Blizzard may have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot before they release Wrath of the Lich King. Server stability issues (a distinct worry for my in the Beta, and it seems that they have migrated to Live) won't help any, and any imbalance in PvP will only serve to increase the churn amongst those players secure in their position at the top for the last couple of Seasons. The great Achievement Rush of 2008 can't last forever (there aren't enough of them for a start) and there probably isn't enough challenging content to appease the masses. Unless ad-hoc Raid encounters against 20 Ret Paladins count.

The rumoured Pre-Wrath World Event, and Wrath itself, probably can't come soon enough.

Sometimes though, downing a boss still feels awesome.


Paolo 21/10/2008, 15:31  

Absolutely true.

PvE is now boring at best. Ok, my guild managed to go past Felmyst, but challenge is over.

PvP is simply a dps zerg.

Probably I should freeze my account until WotLK release, or try another MMO.

Chrom 21/10/2008, 17:37  

i have read alot of comments about the ease of raiding now. maybe, make some in-game challenges for yourself?
if its so easy why dont you try tanking in mail?
try healing as a retributution spec. do a 10 man raid with 8 players. try to solo somthing you've never soloed before. my point is there are many things we can do to keep our skills up untill the expansion hits. untill then this nerf is allowing alot of casual players see content that they would never dream of seeing.
People keep complaining about this nerf but the lack of creativity really stumps me.
this is the perfect opportunity to get some great gear for an alt with green or quest blue gear.
not everyone can be a hardcore raider. i really think these nerfs are benefiting alot more people than they are hurting.
most of this gear will be obsolete by lvl 74-75 so your really only raiding for the challenge. so get creative and challenge yourself.

Unknown 21/10/2008, 19:23  

Indeed. The crying of the raiders annoys me. This is the chance for everyone to gear up some, get those noobs in your guild geared up so the aren't dragging things down.

I'd love to see content that I haven't seen before, and gearing in the process is great. Nothing like taking my ret pally around to gather a T4+ tanking set, so he can prot when wrath and the dual-spec hits.

Anonymous 21/10/2008, 21:12  

I think this was a great idea because it allows people about a month to experience raid content that will likely get pushed to the side as soon as wotlk hits. I mean really...when was the last time you saw anyone running BWL, old Naxx, or AQ40? I still get pretty bummed when I think about all the dungeons I never even got to see the insides of in vanilla WoW because nobody wanted to (or had a reason to) run them after TBC came out. Just last night in fact, I went into SSC with a pug and downed the Lurker. Not a huge achievement for some people, but hey...at least I got to see it before wotlk, and it was a pretty fun encounter. Plus, SSC was kinda cool inside imo with all the elevators and such...very "watery". I still haven't seen MH/TK/BT or Sunwell. Hopefully I can find some pugs running those before Nov. 13th.

And who says that this "nerf" is going to carry over to the expansion?

Chrom 21/10/2008, 21:46  

and even with the nerf, this allows players to experience the mechanics of different types of fights and how different bosses work. not every boss is a "tank and spank" and alot of bosses share the same mechanic.
people learn from these encounters and who knows the next pug your in could have someone that benefited this experience.

Dradis 21/10/2008, 22:32  

The nerf to raids was needed. If someone comes back to these raids or heroics to snag some gear, say 6 months down the road when they are leveling an alt, it would actually be a challenge to them when they are wearing greens and quest blues. The benefits of the raid nerf far outweigh the issues that some are presenting. Even now it is a benefit, as Chrom pointed out, to many people who have not been geared in the past.

So we have the following pros:
-Easier gearing for players who need it
-Content accessibility for a wider player base
-Instances are now balanced around the the players who will actually be running them in the future
-A chance for players to test out new abilities and specs in a lower stress group environment
-Less time spent raiding means more time to level up professions, do dailies, work on faction, do achievements, enjoy Hallow's End, etc.

Here are the cons:
-Less sense of accomplishment when boss is taken down

Did I miss something? This has win written all over it :P

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