I can't really comment on the whole 'casualisation of hardcore raiding' thing having only started playing at the back end of wrath, and only really started hardcore raiding in 4.3, but the one thing I do agree with Lore on is the Dragon Soul Nerfs, and how while the original was about at the right time the successive nerfs have probably come a bit too fast. This has had an effect on me being in a middle of the road guild (6/8hc atm) and especially this latest 20% nerf has felt far too soon I would have been perfectly happy to continue with the 15% nerf for another month or so. But I suppose we do have to consider that we are the minority of the WOW playerbase, and a significant amount of the remaining players may need these nerfs to be able to progress even through normal mode Dragon Soul.
What can be said can always be unsaid. If there is one thing Blizzard is notorious about, it's doing changes after saying they won't. Look at the history of the game to understand that.
It's a possibility, albeit a far fetched one.
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"Damnit!" - Jack Bauer, 24
Agree with some, but just a quick thought or two...
1. Add-ons, or more specificaly the advancements in the UI that have occurred in the past several years. While add-ons have been around since classic, they are now far more prevelant and more sophisticated. As a raider I'm sure you agree that a large part of raiding is deciphering the massive amounts of data presented to you and acting correctly. Add-ons, and the many UI advancements in recent years, have helped bridge the gap between 'average' and 'good' for many players. Ultimately this has added to the psychological apperance that things have gotten easier. In reality however, the true difficulty hasn't changed as much as one might think, but rather the median line of 'average player' has simply risen faster that the difficulty of the content.
In short, players are simply better informed, and have more tools now than they did 6 years ago, this means that players that would have been considered not skilled enough in Classic/BC can now complete content even without that content being "easier"...
2. Gear inflation. This one's the biggie... It started in WotLK, and has continued to spiral out of control. Yes I know they were talking about it for MOP, but it looks like we've got to suffer through at least one more Tier before anything happens. They took a step in the right direction with equalizing gear in 10/25, but in reality what they need to look at doing is equalizing gear across ALL levels. Follow me for a moment here... While this may sound out of sorts, it is a fact that we are back to 3 gear levels (LFR, Norm, Heroic) Hmmm, Just like ICC with 10N, 10H/25N, 25H...
Three gear levels will continue to create issues if something doesn't change. Now this may not be a popular opinion, or even the right one, but having one set of gear does solve almost all issues in relation to difficulty. To put it another way, imagine if LFR gear was the BiS gear for DS.... think about it for just a moment, really think about if LFR was BiS. How many players would still be able to complete normal DS, or more importantly heroic DS? How many would even try if there was no better gear to be had?... (I'm not advocating LFR gear should be made BiS in MOP, FYI, but rather just presenting an idea)
TBH, heroic Ultraxion/Spine might not even be mathmatically possible with only LFR gear and no Aspect Nerf... and therein lies the rub. Blizz has to jack up the bosses life/damage/etc so much for every gear boost that previous modes become obsolete almost over night. Players in Heroic FL gear didn't progress through normal DS as much as plowed through because they outgeared it. This led to feelings of "Normals are too easy, why do heroic raiders even have to do them". You mentioned this yourself on several occasions, and yes, like others mentioned, everyone still did/would do (training wheel mode) but you, and many others, had those "too easy, why do?" thoughts. Those feelings then drive people to believe that Heroic Raids are the 'true' content, when what should be happening is that the people should be playing to their skill level and not have to feel like they're "missing out" on content if they don't do heroic raids.
Unfortunatly however the drive for gear is so ingrained in this game that instead of viewing heroics as a difficulty level to be conquered by those seeking the ultimate challenge, it is seen as the final gear step to upgrading your toon. To put this another way, think about how "hard" heroics were at the beginning of Cata, and yet now run through them with a full DS heroic geared crew and... yeah, kinda feels like the end of WotLK doesn't it... those 5 mans are a joke again, why? Simple, overgearing. This situation didn't occur in classic/BC because there wasn't such a huge gear jump.
Ponder this, the difference between a Classic 5 man geared players DPS and a Naxx 1.0 geared players DPS wasn't even close to the % difference between a 346 geared player and a 400+ geared player today. This has other implications as well. 5 mans remained viable for much longer, as did older raids, and as an above poster mentioned, in todays WOW, it's raid or PVP... there are no other endgame choices, no other character progression routes... if you PVE it's raid or nothing. 5 mans are now just VP boosts for people that missed raid night or alts. (there are a few other facors in this, but you get the idea)
To that end, think about this...If completing heroic DS was just an achievment, or just a title and LFR gear was BiS, would we still be having this conversation? Or would only the best of the best even be trying it? Would they even need to nerf it? Or could they simply say, "look, it's suppose to be that hard, that's why it's called heroic. If you can't do it, it's not made for you. You can't get anymore gear so either you complete it as is, or you don't get it done. "
If LFR gear was BiS, how many people would have already maxxed out their skill level progessing (yes actually progressing) through normal DS? This of course is the trap. With no more gear there's no more carrot, other than pride, and with nothing else to do... well you can see Blizz's dilema. Ther are many facets to this, but arguably one gear level would resolve the "Casualization of Hardcore" issue. Not having enough to do is another issue entirely.
My first post here, so please be gentle.
I think preserving the hardcore experience for those who want the stiffer challenge could be as simple as restricting raid difficulty nerfs to normal mode, and leaving heroics untouched, or at least until normal mode nerfs had reach their easiest point.
That allows more casual raiders to progress through normal mode without feeling like they're terrible players, and keeps the challenge in heroics.
Good idea? Bad idea?
Quite the opposite. I think Blizzard has been testing the waters and slowly learning that they can get away with not putting so many resources into the pain in the ass that is high-level raid creation/balance and the game will still do just fine.You think maybe with the addition of pet battles and other things that were placed in for MoP should be enough to actually cater to the casual base, they are actually planning on revving up the Raiding scene back to 'hardcore' status?
No mention of consumables? I feel like the removal of buff stacking by introducing guardian/battle elixir categories, the removal of chain chugging potions, and even the introduction of feasts and cauldrons have all been significant steps towards reducing the time/resource cost of top-tier raiding (which is a big part of what makes it unapproachable to a lot of people).
Months Behind sounds pretty close, in general, to my guild for progression. We didn't quite kill heroic Rag before DS came out, but it felt close. We're farming heroic DS now. I feel like any tier where we have months to farm full heroics, given our particular level of skill and time investment, is probably undertuned. Firelands felt like a pretty appropriate amount of total progression time, since we were almost but not quite done when the next tier came out. The problem there was that way too much of that time was on Rag. Tier 11, we were still several bosses away from being done, and it did indeed feel overtuned - not just initially, but particularly later on, when (if I'm not mistaken) heroics were never nerfed at all when normal modes were. Looking back on Lich King, I see similar patterns on what we could finish - short (TOC) or just very few hard encounters (T7), or with an abnormally long time to try (ICC) - and what we couldn't (Ulduar, long and challenging). The thing is, I don't see any patterns there in the overall difficulty at a design level. Our time commitment and skill level hasn't fluctuated much on a long term average, and everything we've finished or failed to finish can probably be pinned on much more specific factors.
To be blunt, don't you think you're projecting a little? Do you really think that there's any significant number of people that have as much blind hate toward you as you seem to have toward "them" in this post?Amen Lore. But unfortunately the vocal (minority) community has such a blind passive/aggressive hatred for anyone in hardcore guilds, and any talk of hardcore guilds, that they will literally quit, and encourage others to quit to drop numbers to influence the change they want. And in turn that takes a stab at the type of players that they hate. And that brings them joy. And that's what all of this has become. A fight for Blizzard's ear. Most of the difficulty arguments in the game have very little to do with the actual content. As many of the players demanding an easier game don't even set foot into raids. They just want to give a middle finger to they kinds of players that they somehow in their mind have built up to be bullies.
It seems like poor game design when you have three different difficulties, and you nerf the hardest two. You don't pick up a game, say halo, and expect to have legendary mode nerfed. You start at the mode that you are most comfortable at, and you work your way up.
People complain about not being able to see content. Well, you can see content in LFR, and even normal difficulty.
People simply want gear. Gear is content to them. Take away gear drops away from bosses, and the raiding population almost goes to 0.
I miss the days when people were genuinely excited to tackle new content.
Wait, I thought this horse was dead.
Blizzard has painted themselves into the "raiding = end game" corner, but to an extent it has to be that way because of the way the story progresses. Heroes need to be heroes and kill bad things that pose a threat. Heroes don't go through a story to farm herbs at the end. So they're faced with the issue of how do you give your customers a chance to see/live the end of the story; again heroes want to be heroes and do heroic things. The corner they get painted into is how do you let all your customers have access to the end of the story and, which ending of the story do give them access to?
At this point there are three different endings, lfr, normal and heroic and Blizzard, through nerfs, is trying to allow people to move up to see the ending above their level of play. Think of it as gearing people to see the next ending. The nerfs give the people running lfr the opportunity to see the story that leads to the normal ending and the people running normal the opportunity to see the story that leads to the heroic ending. "The story that leads" being the fights leading up to the ending, 'cause we all know it's the same ending on all three levels.
The issue to me is not the nerfs per se, those are fine with me and it's not even 10 v. 25 man for encounter design; it's lfr is effecting normal/heroic encounter design. Don't get me wrong I like lfr, but having to make fights easy for all players does that limit the creativity in the normal/heroic encounter design? Are there fun/creative things that the designers can't do just because you can't tune them to lfr? If yes, then I feel short changed; if no, then this is just spitting into the wind.
The other sad effect, to me of raiding being the whole focus of end game is that professions get short changed. I like the professions and things like Inscript, Eng and Alchemy get left for dead after the first patch. Why can't there be more Darkmoon Cards each ilvl or a new Alchemest Stone or why can't Engineers tinker their gear to use Cogswheels, like JC gets the JC gems. Good fun ideas get dropped or just never thought of. Why can't there be new buff food receipes with the patches. Why dont' Blacksmiths have to, say rely on something a JC makes to make their newest piece of plate?
Things to do other than raid. They could make commerce and the world much more vibrant; but now it's get gear, raid, get gear, raid, get gear, raid.....
This expansion started off great. T11 was probably the best tier of raiding we've had since Ulduar (which excluding trash, had some of the most awesome encounters ever). Difficulty was fine once class balance and bugs were fixed. Then started a massive downward spiral.
Dragon Soul in particular had a few problems:
1) Set bonuses (particularly 4pc Tank bonuses) were so good that they were required for heroic raiding. This meant a return to the gear farming of ICC/ToC where you would complete your main raid and then move on to farm LFR for set bonus items. That was terrible design.
2) Spine. Requiring Legendary items from the previous tier to complete an encounter is absolutely terrible.
3) Madness < Spine. That didn't make much sense.
4) No "reward" for completing HDS pre-nerf. There should be an incentive for doing so, and/or disabling the "nerf" after it was initiated. Having LFR in the first place means the nerf either shouldn't exist in Heroic (my preference) or there should be some sort of reward (Feat of Strength, title, mount, something) for completing the encounters before any "global nerfs" happen.
There are so many factors at play here.
The majority of the player base don't want to work for their rewards, but if they aren't given access to them despite that, they will likely quit the game. I know players who quit in t11 because they felt it was too hard and the game wasn't fun for them anymore. Quitting was an easier option for them than improving, which to me is disappointing, but let's face it, not everyone wants to challenge themselves that way. Blizzard has now told these players, through game design, that if they wait, they don't have to improve, so they will then wait for access to rewards that people used to have to improve their play to gain. Blizzard brings the content to their level, so why would they invest the time to bring their level to the content.
I think another thing to examine when looking at raid difficulty is the gradual polarization of raid groups. Over time the strong players and the weaker players have become more polarized. The skill level of even the best guilds has become more closely matched from player to player, so the best guilds now are probably stronger from 1-25 than they were in BC. It's just a natural progression. The problem is that it makes it harder to tune content for everyone, when you have to create a challenge for the best guilds and they are probably farther ahead of the average guild skill wise than was the case 5 years ago.
In the end, the problem I see is that if they take too much challenge out of the game, it becomes entirely about the loot rewards and not about the thrill of the kill anymore.
There needs to be progression again. The fights need to ramp up as you progress through the instance and then into heroic, and Blizzard needs to put the time into tuning them to feel like you are progressing. The last bosses on normal need to ramp up linearly to the first boss in heroic so there are no huge jumps in skill required for a kill, like the the jump to H-Rag. If they pull this off, then groups won't hit those walls in progress that Blizzard seems to feel requires them to nerf content. If you can progress in a nice linear difficulty curve, you don't get frustrated, because you know that if you killed the last boss, a little more gear and a slight improvement in skill will get you through the next one. The taste of the next kill keeps you going, not the wait for the next nerf.
What I find interesting is Lore's complaint that whilst the initial 5% nerf came at the right time, the subsequent ramping up of the nerf happened too rapidly.
I believe Ghostcrawler said in an interview with Lore that they monitor progression rates (amount of new kills of boss X each week) and the number of raid teams simply giving up and quitting.
Surely the rate at which they ramped up the nerf was down to Blizzard seeing a lack of new boss kills despite the 5% nerf and of course large numbers of guilds giving up.
The question is how long do guilds like Lores want to be given before the nerfs are ramped up and how many other guilds will be "sacrificed" in the process. I guess Blizzard have to strike a balance. There are many guilds on the same level as Lores in terms of ability but those guilds may not have the same level of patience or resilience. Lore might be prepared to wipe for three months on the same boss, but maybe ten times as many guilds will quit after three weeks with no progression as their active rosters start to thin out.
Or I wonder if Lore believes that Blizzard did not ramp up the nerfs in response to their internal statistics and that the rate at which the nerfs ramped up was completely arbitrary? If that turns out to be true would Lore be happier if Blizzard said that they would only nerf in relation to the progression/quitting stats...regardless of what nerf rate that led to??
As a result of Ghostcrawlers statement I have always felt that nerfs to HC modes were in the hands of the players themselves. If you fail a lot and quit a lot then Blizzard will nerf a lot because presumably the majority of people at that particular level of "hardcoreness" (if that is a real word) need/want those nerfs. If everyone was merrily playing away and handing over their money each month I doubt Blizzard would nerf anything.
To what extent does this Marmot and the comments in this thread reflect the opinions of the majority of mid-level hardcore guilds?
Right now, if you're in a "world first" or even "server first on a high pop/competitive realm" guild then the idea of when nerfs come is irrelevant to you, because you're GOING to beat it before then...you'll do attempts until you can't see...you'll poop in a sock...whatever. If it takes you 500 attempts to kill it...then 500 attempts there will be.
If you're in a "casual" (for "in it for fun, not a challenge and not for competition" values of "casual") guild then you also don't care...because you're progressing at whatever rate you can and having fun doing it (presumably). If it gets nerfed before you kill it...oh well, you probably don't even care.
If you're in guilds that are like Lore's (and, to an extent, mine) then you play N amount of hours a week but are looking for a challenge...it's not FUN if it's not challenging. If those N hours mean you get in...say 50 attempts on a boss before they nerf it, but it would have taken you 60 un-nerfed attempts to kill it...you're kind of getting screwed over. If you were willing to put in a bit more time before the nerf then you would have gotten it, but because of the nature of your guild and the choice your guild has made to do N hours a week...you end up with the unsatisfying nerfed kill (and again...you can say "you can turn off the nerf", but that just never happens...you are ALSO still in competition for #2 (or whatever) through #X on your server so you can maintain a roster by being decently competitive on your server...you can't just throw the nerf out the window when the people behind you won't be).
Eh, I don't like the "nerf it over time until even little Jimmy's grandma can beat it on a 4hr/week schedule". Leave hardmodes ALONE...let them CONTINUE to be hard. Jimmy's grandma can do normal modes if they're too hard for her. If they want people seeing ALL of their content...there's no equitable solution there. You can't have both...you can have "hard" content or you can have "content that everyone can see." LFR should be the "seeing the content" version...even normal modes...it makes no sense to create a hardmode and then, over time, make it easier than the "normal" version was originally.
Thirteen weeks ago (1/31/12), the 5% nerf was implemented. I recall that Lore mentioned on one of the shows (Marmot, PST, Legendary; I forget) that this 5% nerf had perfect timing.
Does Lore have data for 13 weeks worth of raiding? Even anecdotal data matters.
1) How much has thirteen weeks of gear inflation helped your raid? Even though the boss got nerfed, Blizzard was *very smart* to not affect damage taken by the mob. This means that if Lore remembers the DPS number of some person in his raid (maybe his top caster or top melee) thirteen weeks ago, he can compare this to the DPS number of the same person 13 weeks later. Remember, the nerf to boss health affects the time to die -- it should not affect individual player DPS until perhaps the tertiary level (e.g., you modify the raid strategy so that people spend less time moving since you can just eat a damaging attack nerfed by 20%).
2) How much raid turnover have you experienced in thirteen weeks? How many people have stopped raiding that you had to replace with another recruit? Was the replacement at a lower gear level (thereby offsetting the gain from natural gear inflation over time)? Was the replacement at a higher gear level?
2a) Of the people that stopped raiding, how many stopped because you as a raid leader decided that their performance wasn't up to snuff and they were moved to the bench? How many stopped raiding because they were dissatisfied with raid progress?
With those two pieces of anecdotal data, let's pose the following question:
What would have happened to Months Behind if the nerf were left at 5% for thirteen weeks?
If the nerf is frozen, the only way left for you to improve is natural gear inflation and player skill improvement (via repetition and strategy adjustments). You have a number for natural gear inflation -- it is the DPS improvement of someone that you remembered over 13 weeks. How much repetition can the raid stand for thirteen weeks? You stated that your raid in Sunwell eventually reached a stopping point where you decided it wasn't worth it anymore -- would that have happened in Dragon Soul frozen at 5%? Would your raid turnover increase along the way (perhaps from you deciding that some of your raiders couldn't cut it at 5%)?
Now that you have answered the question for Months Behind, what would have happened to all of the guilds 'worse' than Months Behind? Would freezing Dragon Soul at 5% break them? You also mention that you prefer targeted nerfs -- what if the guilds worse than Months Behind have excellent tanks + healers, but terrible DPS? Maybe those people would need a 5% boss damage debuff + 15% boss health debuff to tune the fight solely for their terrible DPS. What if the guilds worse than Months Behind have excellent DPS, but terrible healers? Maybe those people would need a 15% boss damage debuff + 5% boss health debuff.
I do agree with your thoughts on adding some sort of incentive to turning off the zone debuff. Perhaps have the meta achievement for the mount tied to it. That way, a guild's natural progression would be:
1) Clear normal mode Dragon Soul in the first week.
2) Try to clear heroic mode Dragon Soul before any nerfs hit -- this rewards your players with bragging rights for being in the tip top tier of raiders.
3) Try to clear heroic mode Dragon Soul with progressive nerfs -- this rewards your players with the feeling of accomplishment for killing heroic Deathwing and a title.
4) Turn off the zone debuff and try to clear heroic mode Dragon soul -- this rewards your players with the feeling of accomplishment for killing unnerfed heroic Deathwing with primarily the help of gear inflation and a mount.
Can you convince 25 people in your raid (including yourself), now that heroic Deathwing has been cleared and is behind them, to see just how good they are by turning off the zone debuff? Would they be willing to put in additional time to find out what boss would eventually block you from further progression with 0% debuff? I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard is taking metrics on how many people are turning off that zone debuff on a week by week basis. If Blizzard sees players stop raiding after they clear heroic Deathwing, they know that the act of killing the boss is the primary incentive. If Blizzard sees players stop raiding after they farm heroic Deathwing for their best in slot weapon (convenient how Blizzard placed them on the last boss), they know that gear is the primary incentive. If Blizzard sees people turn off the zone debuff after they clear heroic Deathwing, they know that challenge is the primary incentive. Don't you think this is a much more clever way of polling raid psychology instead of vocal minorities on the forums?
Last edited by hp2; 05-02-2012 at 12:06 PM.
I think that a lot of the idea that normal is easy comes from the gear difference from normal to heroic. When the heroic version of the tier previous is within a quarter of a level of the gear that comes from the normal version of the following tier it trivializes it for the better raiders. I think that the best idea is to get rid of the "must clear normal to do heroic" rule and just let those who wish to do it jump straight to heroics. At the same time making the toggle between normal and heroic a hard switch at the beginning of the raid week. This will allow the flow of the instance to match what the devs want in challenge and pacing and keep people from cherry picking heroic bosses while clearing normal modes.
As far as gear is concerned, close the gap between each level. Should there really be 13ilevels between each type of raid, or would 6 do? Then again, if you are only raiding to show off gear, you are missing the point of the experience of raiding.
The biggest change to me when it comes to the "casualiztion" of raiding is the support work that used to go into it. When I raided for server first kills, I spent all of my non-raiding game time farming mats for mana potions, health potions, elixirs and food. Not to mention the amount of gold it would take for repairs and keeping my ammunition from running out. Now, to raid, all you have to do is log on when your group is ready to go. Selling BOE's and the other guild perks give enough money that feasts and cauldrons are provided so there really is no individual work that happens to make sure you are "raid ready".
I removed the rest because it's hard to take you seriously when you start with such a statement. Please.... you're not helping the cause you're trying to champion when you bring vitriol like this into the conversation. You're just trying to start a "fight".
On the flip side.......... THIS.......
..... is f**king brilliance in my opinion.
I couldn't agree more. The whole essence of what you say here Ion just makes sense. This is probably one of the strongest "arguments" I've ever seen on here. I really want to draw attention to this portion specifically........
Really, can't say it much better. LFR to see content. Maybe.... maybe..... nerf normal. Don't screw with hard mode. Leave the challenge intact as designed for the players it was intended for. I have never understood why they have "nerfed" hard modes, unless there was some serious design flaw (H-Rag health being at a point where he's functionally invincible for example). Really, that's the only time they should adjust hard mode or heroic modes in my opinion.... and that's to fix a mechanic or something that was functionally just flat-out wrong.
Why can't Blizzard do that?
No one tanks in a void.........
Turn the debuff off.
As for the cause I'm trying to champion, there isn't one other than having a smooth progression path so that all skill levels can be progressing without blizzard having to hit us with blanket nerfs. People get frustrated when they get to a fight they feel they can't beat. If the progression was smoother, there would be less of these moments and less need for blanket nerfs. At the same time, they could examine a fight that was causing progression blockages and target the aspects of that fight that seem to be problematic rather than just saying, here you go, everything is 5% easier. I had way more fun progressing to 3/12 H in t11 than I did progressing to 6/7 in FL or 6/8 in DS, because the progression curve felt right. We killed stuff when we were ready, not when Blizzard decided we should.
Last edited by Mwawka; 05-02-2012 at 12:53 PM.