I, like many people, was very opinionated on the topic of the Firelands nerfs when they were first announced. I didn’t know the exact extent of the nerfs, or how they would affect me but I was mad, dammit! Now that I’ve actually seen the nerfs first-hand, my opinions have changed slightly.
Let’s start with normals.
Normal Shannox, Beth’tilac and Rhyolith got 15% reductions to health and damage done while Alysrazor, Baleroc, Majordomo and Ragnaros were nerfed by a rather massive 25%. There were also a number of small mechanic tweaks, such as Alysrazor’s tornadoes being slowed down.
My first experience with the normal-mode nerfs was Alysrazor. I must say, I was rather shocked. We went in with our normal comp of 6 healers and there was very little to do. There were no Fieroblasts going out (because they are cast so infrequently now). The Initiates would die well before the next set spawned. On our first phase we ended up with 2 Lava Worms alive at the end because the Hatchlings had died so fast*. The tornados now moved so slowly that running into the back of the one you were chasing became the only real danger. We probably could have killed her shortly after the first ground phase, except someone was doing part of their legendary quest and we needed to draw out the fight for 2 full phases. There was very little for me to do. I had no choice but to amuse myself by healing Kurn’s tank whenever he had Gushing Wound so it never fell off, causing her to yell at all the healers.
*This is the problem with blanket nerfs like this. A 25% reduction to health can break a fight. People shouldn’t have to throttle their dps on the Hatchlings so they’re not killed too fast. Melee dps shouldn’t be left twiddling their thumbs when an Initiate dies and the next one doesn’t spawn for 20 seconds. This has happened on other fights too. Majordomo’s Flame Orbs are no longer a concern – he dies before they have a chance to spawn. The health nerf has effectively removed an entire mechanic from that fight.*
Since that night, I’ve seen all the bosses on normal mode with the exception of Shannox. They all follow the same pattern. For a group who has done the fights before they are ridiculously easy and even if people screw up, you can just brute-force your way to a kill. That said, I don’t really care that much. I can see where people are coming from when they say the kills now feel cheap and hollow, but to me they’re just repeat kills. I know that my raid teams and I worked hard to get those first kills (before nerfs) and I’m proud of them. Not having to work so hard for the 3rd, 6th or 12th kill doesn’t upset me. The normal mode nerfs have had no impact on my personal enjoyment of the game.
As for the heroics, all bosses got a 15% nerf to their health and damage done.
I had killed Shannox a few times before on heroic. It wasn’t a terribly challenging fight for either of my raid groups to begin with, so the nerfs just made it a little bit easier. There is now more margin for error. In my druid’s first post-nerf kill Jagged Tear never dropped on the Shannox tank and it didn’t cause too much of an issue (where I’m sure it would have killed him and resulted in a wipe before). However, the fight wasn’t a complete joke. On my priest’s first experience with post-nerf Shannox it actually took us a few tries to get him down. People getting caught in crystal prison traps or not breaking Face Rage can still lead to wipes. Likewise, I learned on my Druid last night that Shannox gaining Separation Anxiety can still lead to much death and destruction.
The second boss I had experience with was Rhyolith. Apotheosis had put in 40 attempts on him with our best try getting him to 16%. After the nerf it took us another 7 attempts to get the kill. I thought the nerfs made the fight, especially the adds, much more manageable and a little less punishing for bad Volcano spawns. 15% was probably a bit too much though. I think an even 10% nerf would have helped a number of raid groups to get their first kills while still retaining a bit more of the challenge.
The rest of the heroics I never saw before they were nerfed. I’m actually thinking this is a good thing. It means I won’t have a sense of disappointment when I see how the fights have changed. They’re all new to me, nerf or no.
Apotheosis killed Beth’tilac for the first time last night. Even with the nerfs we put in 37 attempts before we killed her. As much as I might feel badly for not killing her before the nerfs, I also shudder to think of how many attempts that would have taken – 75? 100? Perhaps I’m getting soft, but I can’t say I really want to spend 100 attempts on a boss. I’d be okay with that on an end-of-tier boss, but not one of the underlings. Though I’m sure heroic Beth’tilac is now a pushover for those who have killed her before or those who were close to a kill pre-nerf, for my guild who had no experience with her before, she was still reasonably challenging. My priest buudy Kal also wrote about what she thinks of the nerfs now that she’s experienced them.
Arm of Hades has attempted a number of heroic bosses since the nerfs, but has not spent significant time on any of them. My team spent 7 or 8 attempts on Beth’tilac, which still seemed quite challenging. Figuring out how to deal with all the adds is something that’s going to take practise and trial & error. We also spent some time on Baleroc. Our best attempt got us to about 12%, but we hit the enrage timer. One of our other 10-man teams attempted Alysrazor and managed to get her down in only a dozen or so attempts. That seems a little fast to me.
So I guess you could say I’ve calmed down a little since last week. I still think there are better ways to make bosses more killable (changes to specific challenging mechanics, not blanket nerfs) but I’ve come to terms with the nerfs and will do my best to make the most of them and beat all the hard modes.
I’ll also keep my fingers crossed that the upcoming Looking for Raid “easy” difficulty will solve the raid accessibility problem so nerfs like this will never happen again.