I really, really didn’t want to write this post. I hate to be a part of the WoW angst machine that gets upset about any change that gets introduced. But this time, I just can’t help myself.
Yesterday the following was posted on the WoW site:
With the final showdown against Deathwing approaching, we’ve been keeping a close eye on players’ progress through the current Firelands raid content. Before patch 4.3 is released, we want groups who are working on Heroic-difficulty content to be able to get as close to Ragnaros as possible, and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can. To achieve these goals, we’ll be toning down the difficulty of both normal and Heroic raids through hotfixes in the coming weeks. In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.
We’re looking forward to seeing more groups of players face off against the firelord in the weeks ahead. However, before we make these changes, we want to give everyone a final shot at the bosses at their current difficulty level — so this is a heads up that we’re planning to apply the difficulty hotfixes beginning the week of September 19.
Stay tuned to the Patch 4.2 Hotfixes blog for these and other live updates to the game as they happen.
What the hell?
This, to me, is both puzzling and infuriating. Puzzling because it’s coming at a very strange time. Tier 11 didn’t get nerfed until after Tier 12 came out (and it was only the normal modes). Tier 6 got nerfed just before the Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out. Why are they nerfing all T12 content only 3 months in? When the PTR for T13 is nowhere in sight? I don’t get it. And we’re getting a whopping 1 week notice before the nerfs happen.
Infuriating because this is a lazy, inelegant way of making the content more accessible. I think my guildie Majik said it best on this week’s episode of Blessing of Frost when he said they’re using a machete instead of a scalpel to fix things.
I’m not against nerfs altogether, but there are better ways to do it.
Where are the progression problems coming from? Do most guilds get stuck on Alysrazor because of tornados? Reduce the damage on those, or slow them down a smidge. Is the biggest sticking point on Ragnaros killing the sons before they get to the hammer? Reduce their health, slow them down or remove one or two of them. Make the biggest problem areas just a little easier – don’t make sweeping damage and health reductions to everything.
Another option would be doing it the ICC way. Use gradual nerfs (or buffs to players) over time. It is possible this is the way the T12 nerfs will go since the post mentions hotfixes over the coming weeks. However, there’s still the problem that no one knew this was coming. The fact that we’d be getting the Strength of Wrynn buff in ICC was known before the raid was even released. I don’t believe the specific date of the first buff was revealed, but everyone knew that buffs were coming.We knew we had a certain amount of time to complete the fights as they were created before they’d get a little easier.
These nerfs are completely unexpected. I assumed (and I’m sure many others did as well) that normal modes would be nerfed when T13 was released and hard modes would be left alone, just like they did for the last tier. Learning that everything will be nerfed while we’re still in there feels like I’ve been hit by Sulfuras.
I really don’t understand the obsession with accessibility and seeing content. I want to see the content, but I want it to be challenging. The normal and hard mode dichotomy was supposed to address the rift between those who just wanted to see the content and those who want to have to work hard to complete it. It certainly hasn’t been a perfect system, but now it’s becomming even worse.
I personally don’t have a strong opinion on nerfs to normal modes – they don’t have much of an effect on me – so I’ll leave that argument to those who are affected. But leave the hard modes alone. I want to wipe on fights until the mechanics are perfected. I want to have to put 100% effort into a new boss kill. I want a challenge. I don’t think a 20% nerf to everything will make all the heroic bosses complete push-overs but it will make them easier than they are supposed to be. Every new kill I get will feel like a pity kill. I’d feel more accomplished with 4/7 hard heroic modes than 6/7 nerfed heroic modes. (*paragraph edited to reduce jerkiness factor – original quoted in comments*)
Last night when the nerfs were announced my guildie Sara said something on Twitter that made me feel extra awful (though I’m positive that wasn’t her intent):
I don’t get why people get mad at nerfs – if we hadn’t been so slow on normal FL we’d be well into pre-nerf heroics.
The first thing I thought was, man, I hate being slow. Though I do think Blizzard is making a mistake pushing unexpected nerfs onto heroic content mid-way through the tier, what she said was true. I’m only at 1/7 heroics in both my guilds. To me, based on what I hope for and expect of myself, that is slow. I’ve always considered myself a very good player, but maybe I’m not so great. And if I’m not so great, I feel like a giant asshole for writing this blog and telling others how to play. Or maybe my expectations based on the amount of time I’m willing to put into the game are too high. Either way, this is the first time in a long time (maybe ever) that an announcement about a video game has made me feel this shitty.
I hope Blizzard will reconsider nerfing the content that is supposed to be challenging by so much.
What do you think of the Firelands nerfs?