Raid Update: Is this what the hardcore feel like?

Have you noticed how bloggers always write “We’re not hardcore but …'” before they relate recent guild activities which sound unbelievably hardcore to the reader? There’s a lot of truth in the saying that hardcore is anyone who plays more than you, and casual is anyone who plays less.

Or in other words, players  actually have no idea how hardcore we are. And only a vague idea what that means anyway.

This came home to me over the last couple of weeks. The last time I wrote about our alliance’s raid progress, I said that I thought Ulduar was tuned perfectly for us. And then they nerfed it.

Everyone who expressed an opinion on the private forums was disappointed. This was an unusual situation for us, we’re not usually in a position to be complaining that raids aren’t hard enough. I had a pang of empathy for the hardcore (I mean the real hardcore obviously, not me) who complained when Sunwell was nerfed.

We haven’t cleared the place yet and there’s plenty of challenges left. Plus when we do there are still hard modes. But I think we’d all shared that feeling that the place was perfect the way it was.

Were Blizzard right to nerf Ulduar?

They were absolutely right.

Whatever else it is, Ulduar needs to be accessible. And that means accessible to irregular raiders, raids with a few sub-par dps, and people who found Naxx challenging but will soon be finished with it.

The new paradigm says that the extra optional difficulty will be in the hard modes, and in a sop to the hardcore there’s an extra boss that requires completing all those hard modes to unlock.

Optional is a very key word here. With Wrath, difficulty became optional and we haven’t yet seen the results play out. How many players, if given the choice between raiding 4 nights a week and 1 night a week would decide that they’d rather have the extra free time than the hard mode achievements?

There will be inevitable jibes about people being poor players (I’m being kind here because I detest the retarded jibes — it’s neither retarded nor fair to the mentally disabled to plonk people in that category because they want to play less) if they decide that hard modes don’t motivate them.

Also the only real reward for being hardcore in the current environment is that you get to power through the content, possibly get boasting rights that a lot of people don’t care about any more, and then be bored for longer than the more casual raids.

Expect to see a lot more pressure on hardcore guilds to keep recruiting, because it’s going to be harder than it ever has been before. Give it a couple of months or so, I think a lot of them will be breaking apart. The game simply no longer provides the sort of content that they were created to beat.

Two more bosses down

My alliance usually runs 2-3 raids per week of three hours duration each. Two weekly raids is more common, and that’s what we did this week.

So we got the Iron Council and Kologarn for the first time, as well as all the previous bosses, and had some good attempts on Auriaya (nicknamed Maiden of Biscuits by the raid and I’m still not entirely sure why). Another achievement for us because it was the first week in ages that our main raid leader was away and I think it was good for confidence (and I’m sure he’ll be delighted also) that we still got stuck in there and made good progress.

Despite all this, although there was a third raid scheduled for Sunday we didn’t make the numbers. And we’re starting to see people drift away. One friend transferred to a PvP server, and another decided that he wanted a break (he says until the next expansion).

I don’t think this is specific to my alliance, it’s more illustrative of a general malaise. Also MMOs always lose numbers during the summer, I don’t think I have ever played a game that didn’t.

We also pulled a 10 man raid together last week and waltzed through the outer and antechamber bosses, picking up achievements on Razorscale and Flame Leviathan on the way. I’m not able to run them on weekends at the moment which severely limits the time we have in the instance (3 hours per week). So we really have to pick our goals so as to maximise the time available. I’ll probably write more about that later this week.

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7 thoughts on “Raid Update: Is this what the hardcore feel like?

  1. So we got the Iron Council and Kologarn for the first time, as well as all the previous bosses, and had some good attempts on Auriaya (nicknamed Maiden of Biscuits by the raid and I’m still not entirely sure why)

    lol! Auriya is like Karazhan’s younger and slightly hotter sister that you wish you knew about before you started dating Maiden. <3

    Yeah, I’ve been playing a bit of Ulduar recently, and I find it just right. I’m not sure if what I’ve played was all post nerf or not, I haven’t been following the Nerf News recently, so I’m not sure when it happened.

    Everything feels good, though. 25 is a nice challenge, and I joined a 10 man PUG that was ridiculously solid, and we banged out everything from flame lev through Auriya, and then I had to log. I imagine it just kept going without me, but not sure how far.

    I like it.

  2. I agree there will be a lot more success for more casual raid groups going forward, with everything being made accessible and easier. My first impressions of Ulduar 10 were that it was pretty well-tuned for my raid group (if a bit easy, save for Ignis), but far too hard for most people in just naxx 10 gear. Now they nerfed it down and we blow through 7-8 bosses the first night, but at least more people can see it.

    We’re an 11-person guild that raids hardcore, but has a similar schedule to yours (3 raid nights a week, 3-4 hours each).

    One thing you didn’t think of: the main benefit to being in a more “hardcore” group for me is that I don’t have to drag that sub-par dps through the instance. After years of doing it, I’m just done carrying people. So I only want to raid with a group that is entirely full of people around my skill level. Beating the content faster is more a side effect of not having to carry anyone than it is the end goal. But we’re just one type of guild. We won’t fall apart, but I’m sure guilds built solely around getting the best loot and bragging rights will start to see serious attrition, and what I used to call “Kara guilds” will get to see a lot more content and remain very active.

  3. I’m honestly surprised that an intelligent person like you reiterates the nonsense that “playing success depend mostly on playing time”. While there is obviously a correlation, it’s pretty weak. No matter how unhealthy time a moron spend in the fires of Naxx, he won’t be any better. While there are players who play too much for their own good, most of them are quite unsuccessful in raiding (achievement whores for example).

    Skill > gear = game time.

  4. @Gevlon

    You can’t conceive of a situation where a less skilled group might make more progress than a more skilled group, simply by virtue of being able to raid 4 nights a week compared to 2?

    With all other things, including skill, being equal, then game time must indeed be the most important factor in success.

  5. Hatch: You’re right and it is one of the biggest benefits to being in a hardcore guild that you get to play with players who are good and take the game seriously.

    But I do think most serious guilds will be on at least 3 night a week schedule with high attendance requirements, plus there’s often extra pressure to do extra nights (maybe one night for dailies/ farming to pay for repairs, one night for 10 mans if you’re in a 25 man guild, etc) because people are competitive and want every competitive advantage.

    I should note that I usually raid 1 night a week with the 25 man team and they’re cool with that. They even let me MT. I try to fit in a second 10 man raid night because I love running the raids, plus when you are organising you can fit it to your own schedule.

    So I am biased by what I personally see and do, granted.

    Gevlon: OK, time isn’t the only requirement :) But I’m just looking at my server and all of the successful hardcore guilds have fairly heavy schedules during progression.

    Also if you assume 2 guilds of similar skill, the one that raids 3 nights a week makes much faster progress than the one that raids 2 nights. Not only do they have an extra night to learn but they also gear up faster, it’s a vicious circle.

    And this bit is key: because the 3 night a week raid progresses faster, they have a much better chance at snagging any potential hardcore recruits than the 2 night a week guild (who will mostly be getting hardcoreish players who specifically want a lighter schedule). Successful 25 man raiding is eventually all about recruiting IMO.

    They may ease of when the raids are on farm but that leaves you with a few choices IF keeping the playing nights down is a priority:
    1/ Join a raid with relaxed attendance requirements (unlikely to be hardcore unless you have good friends there, play a healer, or have some special arrangement)
    2/ Join a hardcore guild after a raid is on farm. This will get you sneered at, but also means you miss the actual progression which for many people is the only interesting part of raiding.
    3/ Don’t raid. Or only raid with PUGs.

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