Last night we managed to kill Sindragosa. On normal. It took us 3 hours and 12 wipes total from the moment we first saw her. It was epic and the RL on vent saying perfect while people were standing on their proper positions while being frozen was becoming trivial. So – she is dead now, and I am very pleased that we were able to pull it off before the buff. I think that the buff is in the “nice idea, horrible implementation” category. Why? Well here is my opinion on it:
It affects hard modes. Now – nerfing content so all can see it is good idea. But heroic difficulty was supposed to be the elite guilds’ sandbox where they are the only players. So – if my guild kills heroic Saurfang with no buff – it will be the same encounter which Paragon did 3 weeks ago. The community already saw first heroic LK 10 man with the buff. Congrats to Paragon for doing that. And admitting they used the buff. But here comes speculation – was the kill really in their grasp, would they have been able to down it if the buff was not implemented and so on.
There is no way to prove that your kill was pure – no achievements, no nothing. So every hard mode from now on will be discriminated by its date – you are guilty till proven innocent. Everyone will assume you have used the buff.
It is a guild breaker – what happens when half of the guild wants the buff and half of the guild doesn’t? Drama – that’s what. This is curse of choice – if blizzard just shoved the buff down our throats and said deal with it – it would have been better. Right now every new lockdown will be a source of friction between people that want challenge and people that want progression. Decoupling progression from challenge is another bad side effect. Which guild is more progressed the 8/12 with no buff or the 9/12 with it? And it requires immense amount of will not to use it.
It is way too powerful – 5% is huge – it decreases the encounter difficulty by almost 20%. 30% = insane. It will make even some of the hard modes easier for pugs and trivial for guilds.
It is pointless – it will not make the content more accessible – one person in pug is enough to chain freeze the whole raid while fighting Sindragosa. One person in melee with afk brain will wipe all of melee when fighting the Blood Queen and he gets the blood link. And the bite order will still be problematic. The raid will still wipe on the Professor if tanks don’t kite and rotate properly in third phase. Assuming they get past Rotface – which is the pug grinder currently. These big oozes will still one shot people. No matter what. And healers will still have to harvest buff stacks on Dreamwalker.
Who is this buff aimed at? It doesn’t help the elite – they prefer level playing field, it doesn’t help pugs much – not all encounters become brute force tank and spank. It decreases the firepower requirement but not the skill one. So it only help casual guilds that can stay out of the fire, but lack the DPS to make the enrage timer – are there really so much of them ?
A better solution?
How would I have done it – well simple – keep the buff away from hard modes for 2 or 3 more months – this way more of the really good guilds would have had a fair shot at them. After that create some kind of pure achievements for normal and heroic – if you down the boss with no buff – you get one of them. If you down the boss with the gear level encounter was designed for – you get the second achievement and the mount of überness.
P.S. Lich king – beware – I am coming after you. Hopefully without buff.
I can see where you're coming from. This is yet another version of the nerf countdown we've been fighting so many times before. I remember the pride we felt as we downed Mother Shiraz pre-nerf in Black Temple. And the disappointment that we didn't get another few weeks before the final mega-patch, which made all our shadow resist gear we so painfully had gathered suddenly become unnecessary over night. We knew we could have made it to Illidan without the nerf. We just never got the chance to prove it.
Agreeable, this way of putting up the nerfs is way better than how it used to be. At least you have a choice now. You CAN get rid of the buff, although I doubt that more than a handful of guilds really will come around and do it. The temptation to get the bosses down a bit easier is just too big, since there's absolutely no incentive at all not to use it. If we only could have gotten some way to distinguish a guild that didn't use the buff from a guild that took advantage of it, for instance by an achievement, like you suggest, or by some particular sort of gear drop, it would have been an entirely different question. But as it is now, no one will ever know. And since most guilds that are fairly serious about raiding also have a competitive side, comparing themselves to other guilds on their server, it's quite unlikely that they'll cripple themselves in the hunt for their first kills, without any reward for it whatsoever.
However, I'm not totally against the concept of making the instances a bit more accessible after a couple of months. The ranking site Guildprogress, which keeps track of 125 000 guilds worldwide suggests that somewhere between 3 and 4 percent of the guilds have killed Putricide in 25 man. 85 percent of the guilds haven't gotten as far as downing Saurfang. Mind you, there are several sources of error in this. I have no idea about how relevant their database over guilds is; many of those guilds might have ceased to exist and hence aren't progressing anymore. Then there are other guilds which might have killed a couple of bosses back in time, guilds that are still ranked, but in reality have lost their interest for raiding.
Still I think the tendency is correct, judging from what I see in recruitment ads on the forums and in the general chat; very few guilds have progressed at all further than the first four bosses in ICC, two months after it was released. It's no wonder that Blizzard wants to push the general progression a bit further. Doing the same four bosses over and over and over again certainly give you some badges and a shiny reputation ring, but it's kind of boring in the long run. So I think that we just have to live with nerfs in one form or the other.
Two things could have been made to make the ICC buff work as intended without being forced down the throat of every single raiding guild, either they needed it or not. One thing has already been mentioned: to somehow recognize the non-using of the buff. This would have given us three available difficulty levels of the encounters: buffed mode, normal mode and hard mode. It's just like taco sauce: some like it mild, others want it spicy and then there are all those boring medium types, like me. Something for everyone.
The other thing I'd like to change is to switch around, so that you don't get the buff by default. You shouldn't have to talk to an NPC to get rid of the buff. You should have to talk to him to GET it. I believe that this would make guilds think twice before using it; do we really need this or can we do without?
It's just like with children. You can't hand out candy and then tell them to think over if they really want to keep it. It's easier to say no when you don't feel the chocolate smell in your nostrils.