Friday, May 1, 2009

Running against the Nerf Enrage Timer

Normally I like enrage timers in raiding encounters. They put some pressure on the dps squad, forcing us to be on our toes. We can’t just play for safe, we have to take calculated risks as well, pushing towards (but not over) the threat cap. The enrage timers make my heart beat a bit faster. Sometimes it’s frustrating, when you fail with the margin of a few seconds. But most of all it’s fun.

The Nerf Enrage Timer
However, there’s another kind of enrage timer that I don’t feel as happy about. I’m talking about the Nerf Enrage Timer. Ulduar has been out for two weeks, and they’ve already started to nerf some of the bosses. This makes me nervous. And don’t get me wrong now. I don’t care if they do minor changes to the bosses we’ve already downed (in the moment I’m writing there’s seven of them.) It doesn’t in any way diminish my satisfaction of having killed them if other guilds, that started working on them at a later point, will have an easier ride than we did. I know what we’ve done and that knowledge is enough for me. What worries me is the nerf of bosses we haven’t yet come around to kill.

Ensidia cleared the whole instance right away and that others have followed. I know that our guild isn’t capable of clearing it as fast as they have. But seven bosses in two weeks isn’t too shabby, considering we’re only raiding three times a week. I’m convinced we would be able to clear all of the bosses at the same level of difficulty as they were when Ensidia did them – if we were only given the chance. Now it’s taken away from us. If they keep nerfing the bosses we will clear another instance than they did. And that makes me frustrated.

The 3.0 nerf
As far as I can tell the nerfs that have been made so far aren’t huge. It’s not like the final 3.0 patch in TBC, which became a mile stone, where everything downed before the nerf was considered a “real kill” and everything after was a “sightseeing tour”, offered to all players so that they could “see the content”. The real challenge was taken away from us. We knew the timer was counting down and worked against it. I’m happy to say that we did Mother Shahraz before it hit. We did get use of the insane amounts of shadow resist gear that we had crafted. A week later it was unnecessary. Was this wasted effort from our side, thinking about all this gear that we only used a couple of times and then left rottening in the bank? Not in my opinion. The feeling of accomplishment was completely different before and after the nerf. I could proudly say that we did this boss properly.

The nerfs we’re facing now aren’t game changing 3.0-sort of nerfs. They’re subtle. But they still make me worried. Will we see a constant flow of nerfs in the weeks to come? Will Ulduar gradually get easier and easier until it’s more or less Naxx 2? When will this stop?

I want to get the chance to bang my head against some walls in there. We’ve longed for this wall for long now and we don’t want you to start smashing and moving it away in front of our eyes before we’ve even had the opportunity to touch it.

Summer incoming
We’re running against two timers right now. One is the threat of Blizzard nerfing things too quickly since they think that the raiding population isn’t progressing quickly enough in Ulduar. The other timer is the upcoming summer vacation. From mid June and two months onwards I don’t expect anything but struggles to fill the 25 man raids. Last year we managed to raid through the summer thanks to cooperation with another guild in a similar situation. It remains to see how we’ll solve it this summer. If we decide to make a halt to raiding for a few weeks we’d better clear the place before the break. Because when we come back we may face crimpled raid bosses, nerfed to the ground too early.

Yeah, I know we’ll always have the hard modes to test our skills against later on. But I’d like the normal mode to be left as it is at least a little while longer.


Anonymous said...

Now be fair Larisa, if you can't one-shot new bosses wearing a mix of level 70 green items (I would have said spirit items previously... but they might actually increase your dps), then the game just isn't worth playing...

Err joke...

Seriously I have heard that lots of people are /raid quitting if they don't one-shot raid bosses. We copped a bit of this the other night with KT, where a PUG Hunter got a swift kick up the interface.

Think of it as a new Achievement.... go hard!

Tristan said...

also after all these nerfs they bugged Mimiron on Tuesday so he was owning people in stage 3, GG

rubymelon said...

I remember one of my guilds falling apart when the main tank when on vacation for the summer=/

Gevlon said...

This will never stop. Blizzard does not want the "My real life schedule does not let me get out of the fire" players to be frustrated and leave.

That's why you MUST be in a topguild or you see nothing.

Klepsacovic said...

We saw this pattern in BC: nerf content as a certain percentage of players hit a wall in order to keep them playing. I wouldn't have expected nerfs for at least a couple months. Unfortunately Naxx was too easy, so expectations for difficulty ended up too low and people may be hitting a perceived wall too soon as they wipe, get frustrated, and leave. Hopefully Blizzard will learn from this.

Anonymous said...

It's a funny thing but when we heard about the most recent round of nerfs, everyone from my raid group (who gave a reaction) was disappointed. We'd thought it was tuned perfectly for us before.

And it's an odd situation for me because we're not remotely hardcore. And maybe now I understand better how the hardcore felt when Sunwell was nerfed.

It's so strange that they started with the nerfs so quickly. I don't even know what to think yet. And it's not really going to help them because if guilds like mine get through normal mode quickly, we still probably don't have the dps for hardmode so people still get bored and leave (plus its summer coming up, as you said.)

Shy said...

Normal mode was made slightly easier, hard mode was made harder in most cases.

Go do hard mode if you feel that making it easier is a bad thing ;)

*vlad* said...

I don't see why they started introducing nerfs so quickly.

The enrage timer on XT 002 for example, was a tight one for us, and we did fail to beat the enrage timer on the first couple of visits there, but not by much.

With a bit more practice we got it done, and it was a close run thing, but this week, despite letting some scrap bots get through, we managed to one-shot it with plenty of time left.
The challenge for this boss has suddenly gone.

Firespirit said...


I think these nerfs were a situation where 10 man's were squarely in sight, and 25 mans got hit.

I run with an absolute fantastic group of 9 other players. We all come from different guilds, and as such, we are not tracked in progression threads (not that it matters), but I am firmly convinced we are one of the top 10 man squads on the server (full clear of Naxx in 2.0 hours, maybe a touch less). What does matter, is that we are solely focused on 10 man content. We have no desire, nor time to put in major 25 man raid attendance (not to say that some of us haven't ventured in a time or two).

Long story short, we had Best in slot from 10 man raiding (save Malygos - we got him down to 10% before Ulduar came out, and haven't been back because of scheduling).

Simple fact of the matter is that with the best purps and some of the most skilled players I have ever managed to play with in the game. And guess what? We couldn't get past the gear check that is XT-002. The heals were just not there.

It really felt that Ulduar was more a step up from 25 man raiding - IE Naxx10 > Naxx 25 > Ulduar 10

All of that being taken into consideration, Im looking at the nerfs and wondering if they haven't gone a bit *too* far. Our next shot at Ulduar is on Monday (*weep, our raid leader is moving). Honestly, It looks like we are going to be able to go back in and one shot all of the first 4 bosses.

Larísa said...

I really don't know where this idea about one-shotting bosses came from. But I guess it's as many have pointed out - Naxx gave another sort of expectation on raiding.

@Tristan: oh, haven't come that far. Hope they'll fix it then!

@Rubymelon: well, I don't think we'll run into that kind of problem. But yeah, it really is a struggle to many guilds. You don't all go on vacation at the same time, which will mean that this period will be pretty long.

@Gevlon: yeah, it's just a bit annoying that you have to be THAT quick to not be outrun in the race against the nerf timer. They should give us a little bit more time. But I guess it's all about profit. You have some goblin collegues there at Blizzard...

@Klepsacovic: I thought they had found a good level now, perfectly tuned, but apparently it is as you say - too many players think it's too difficult and they have to act accordingly.

@Spinksville: well, it remains to see how the hard modes will be. Maybe they'll be just right. I loved the sarth+3d fight. Perhaps will get a bunch of those when we start exploring them?

@Shy: I like the idea of easy and hard modes, but I'd like to be able to clear it on normal mode at the same level of difficulty as the guilds who did it first.

@Vlad: exactly my experience. It really wasn't necessary to nerf it that quick.

@Firesprit: but they surely should be able to seperate 10 man and 25 man raids? They don't have to nerf everything. And not that quickly! They only gave us two weeks. The next raid instance won't be out until next autumn. We really don't have to clear everthing at once. We could gradually work our way through this, just as we did in BT for instance.

gcbirzan said...

To be fair, Ulduar 'easy' modes were easy to begin with. Except Ignis, which was just bugged (and maybe a bit overtuned). And, of course, the Mimiron trash :-(.
And, yes, maybe I'm lucky to have experienced most fights before they got nerfed. Still, I don't really think any boss you can kill after 3-4 attempts of reading tooltips and trying to figure out what to do is 'hard', or 'well tuned'.
Hard modes... Well, yeah, different story. They are supposed to be hard, and I think if anything, the only problem is that you don't get extra loot from hard modes (except the hardest mode), just extra emblems.