Nerfing Heroics: Clocks go forwards early for Blizzard

So today (tomorrow for the EU) sees the next big patch of the Cataclysm era. Patch notes are here.

There is a massive amount of class tweaking, and all raiders will be happy to hear that the components for flasks have been toned down. There are further tweaks to Tol Barad, which I’ve written about previously.

And the big news this week is that Blizzard are also planning to make random heroics more appealing by adding an extra buff to damage/ healing/ stamina if you zone in with random members in the group. This is similar in spirit to the Icecrown Citadel buff, which was increased over time in that raid instance. The idea being that the hardcore would power through the raid with no buff and the increasing buff over weeks would gradually make the instance more accessible to the rest of us.

Also, there is supposed to be a small buff for random heroics, which ran at 5% in Wrath. That apparently has never been working in Cataclysm, which is one minor reason that the instances may have felt harder.

I think the Icecrown Citadel buff, whilst initially viewed with suspicion, actually worked quite well and people were fairly happy with it. The hardcore had their bragging rights and more casual raiders got to finish the instance more slowly. Everyone’s happy, right?

And yet there’s quite a big outcry about the forthcoming heroic buff. I think it makes more sense if you imagine what heroics were like towards the end of Wrath. They were popular. They were easy enough to run smoothly, if only because the emblem gear given out was so much higher level than the actual instances themselves. High end raiders and new 80s alike queued up in randoms and it all seemed to work fairly well. People did complain that they were too easy but they also ran them.

Compare that with now. Heroics are longer, contain more trash, and random groups are as likely to fail as to succeed. The rewards they give are no better than drop in raid instances. Queues are fairly long for dps because tanks (in particular) don’t seem to be queueing for randoms – I know I certainly don’t. And they’re long enough that doing one daily is likely to be a drag. They’re fun in organised groups. No fun in randoms unless you get lucky (I’ve had good random groups, usually early in the morning.)

Ghostcrawler commented, on the buff:

in general, Heroic dungeons are of appropriate difficulty for organized groups, but just brutal on Dungeon Finder groups. Players wonder, and rightly so, why Dungeon Finder supports Cataclysm Heroic dungeons at all when the chance of success is so low.

To my mind, effectively what Blizzard are trying to do is turn the clocks forwards. We all know that in a few months time, after the next big content patch when all the badge gear gets upgraded, heroics will be much easier after everyone is overgeared. That’s the same effect this buff will have. So if you had decided to not bother with heroics until that happened, you don’t have to wait any longer.

The only big surprise is that they’ve decided to give a buff of up to 15% (if you have 3 random people in your group) which is a huge boost over the old 5% heroic random buff. We’ll see whether it is enough.

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20 thoughts on “Nerfing Heroics: Clocks go forwards early for Blizzard

  1. That doesn’t change the fact that they are not rewarding enough. You’re geared out fast with the crappy JP stuff and the VP stuff is not realistically reachable with only 70 VP per day.

    Why should a tank which is complete 346 continue to run heorics? With 70 VP per random the carrot is to far away.

    • Because VP is the only way to get the Tier chest.

      Because Argaloth has 134 possible drops and they can repeat. He will not necessarily drop your Tier hands or pants, AND you will not necessarily win them when he does.

      Why wouldn’t you want your Tier?

      • For all three parts of T11 you need 6050 VP (2200+2200+1650) which requires 87 random heroics. That’s nearly 3 month if you do the random every day.

        I assume that in 3 month the next patch will be here and you can get the 3 parts for 6050 JP. 4000 you’ll have saved up till then which requires only 2050 JP more, that’s about 6 heroics.

        There is no reason to walk uphill in the snow to get your T11, this is WoW.

      • Why wouldn’t I want my tier? Because the bonus is crap. My time is much better spent raiding than running endless heroics. I’ve stopped doing heroics and don’t see this buff as any sort of incentive to queue again.

  2. I think that it’s the fact that the buff is patently unfair which causes the problem – it’s a buff to the worst players, explicitly to give them access to the gear that guilded players have to work harder for.

    Rightly or wrongly people define their character through their gear and achievements (as these are pretty much the only way to customise your character except via high end raiding) and seeing your hard won gear or achievements trivialised so soon is disappointing.

    In a way, it’s like the emblem/valor point shift we get each major patch, except this time it’s happening after about 2 months.

    • @Everblue
      I will toot my own horn for the sake of this argument, and will tell you that I do 15-18k dps solo target on non-gimmick bosses in h 5 mans (by non-gimmick, I mean those that don’t give you some cheesy dps buff such as the forge boss). I go through the usual mechanics of CCing, not standing in fire, etc. fine.

      I am not unskilled, is what I am getting at. And I welcome this buff.

      Not everyone has the luxury of grouping with their guildies or friends. Some of us have to work at odd hours, and need to PUG when everyone in the guild/ buddy list is sound asleep during the weekdays.

      The buff is a great help to everyone and not just to your termed “worst players”. Why? Because we all benefit by finishing the run faster and hopefully, smoother. It isn’t like the “worst players” will finish ahead of you in the same run.

      Unless you’re implying that everyone who isn’t able to use LFG with his guild everyday must automatically be a “worst player”.

      In which case, you need to get a clue and venture out of your narrow-minded world.

      • I’m not saying that everyone who uses the LFD tool is bad. Please point to where it says that in my post!

        The point of my post is that *some people* (not necessarily me) might feel that they ARE affected by this even if the dungeon buff doesn’t help them much. The reason for this is that their carefully customised character with hard won gear is being dragged back to being merely average when the heroic dungeon gear and achievements are being given out for free to everyone else.

        In addition, because we don’t have a major patch now, we effectively have a gear reset between patches, which is a first in warcraft’s recent history – there is no way for your non-raider to improve over heroic dungeon/rep gear. Everyone’s gear will be the same.

        The problem is not the “horrible community” that Stabs mentions – the problem is that you can’t differentiate your character from everyone else’s. Talent specs are so narrow now that unless you have some title or fancy mount, the only way of doing so is your gear and achievements (and the latter is not even visible unless people look you up). People identify with their toon, and want to be rewarded for doing stuff that is difficult.

      • To be brutally honest if you were server first or better still world first no one can take that away and if you weren’t then your achievements were always trivial.

        You may feel bitter that there are people worse than you who will get the same stuff, there are no doubt people better than you who feel bitter that stuff is dumbed down to your level.

      • I think the main aim of this nerf is to encourage the raiders, well geared people, and good players who know the instances to queue with the randoms for their daily badge run.

        It’s not really about giving rewards to random players (although that will happen as a result) but it should be a bonus also for ‘good’ players who don’t want to wait for 4 other people in their guild to be on to get their heroic done.

      • Stabs – that’s like saying unless you play football for England and score the winning goal in the world cup final, any goal you score is trivial and not worth celebrating.

        I’m not arguing about absolute difficulty, but relative difficulty.

  3. It’s not even going to work. The reason why random groups fail it not 15% more or less damage or healing. The reasons are DPS who can’t CC a critical mob or don’t move out of shit or don’t follow the boss mechanics. In most heroics there will be at least one Boss which can’t be defeated by those people with even 100% more damage…

    This buff is a convenience for good groups and does nothing for bad ones.

    • It is going to work. WotLK demonstrated that people with big enough numbers can simply brute force their way through despite not using cc or moving out of fires.

  4. Everblue, being in a guild does not mean you are skilled. Your dismissive attitude about non-guilded players is ignorant and plain wrong. Many great players have to use the Dungeon Finder, because they play at odd hours, they are in small guilds, or their friends/guildmates are busy.

    All this complaining is absurd, anyway. You’re in a guild who runs Heroics in guild groups and never has any problems? Great! Guess what – you’re completely unaffected. The only reason you could care about the pugging players is if you’re jealous of their gear and success, which – if you are – says a lot about you.

  5. I found the “The only big surprise is that they’ve decided to give a buff of up to 15% (if you have 3 random people in your group) which is a huge boost over the old 5% heroic random buff.” line really interesting.

    I would agree – 10% more dps sounds amazing. However, the spread in the random dungeon finder is about the same as it was when WotLK heroics first were in my grasp.

    Back then, we had good players, who did around 2000 dps. We also had bad player who were struggling to break 800 (good and bad refer to the position on the dps meter, not neccessarily to the player as such).

    Currently I see good players around 12k dps, bad ones around 4.5k. The distribution is almost the same as at the start of Wrath. 10% more for the high end people will give the group an enormous boost – even more so if there are two of those dps about. 10% more at the lower end of the spectrum might be enough for some of the DPS races (gauntlet boss in HoO, for instance) – but I’m not actually certain there.

    For me, hardly anything will change. It’s now actually interesting, though, to go with 4 guildies + 1 pugee – and get both the guild rep and the 5% (fixed) damage boost for everyone.

  6. “nothing has changed if you’re already rushing through heroics in premades”
    Well, exactly that’s the problem. It’s an unfair nerf for those who struggle at the dungeons, while premades still have to do the same hard work. If it would be 15% for everyone, regardless if premades or not, I would be fine with it.
    Would be the same if blizz comes and say “hey, we noticed that player who struggle to make gold can’t pay repair bills. So now you don’t have to pay anything as long as you have less then 5000g!”
    The conclusion is, the “bads” gets exactly the same reward then the “goods” for less work. Usually the “goods” profits just as much from nerfs/buffs then the “bads”, but not now. And that’s something new that never happend before in WoW.

    • Actually, a heroic is easier if you know your 4 group mates then with 4 strangers.

      If the people know each other, the tank knows exactly where the heal is going to stand and how the healer is going to react when something happens. He knows exactly where to pick up the adds that spawned and how he can turn the boss without endangering the healer.

      The healer knows exactly how the tanks plays. If he’s going to pull the next pack back or if he’s going to charge into it. How far away he can stand without getting out of range.

      And for a DD it’s very valuable if you know how fats your tank builds up threat. And if your tank is able to create AE threat or not. And if you have to swap a target if your tank swaps target or if he’ll return to your target after hitting another mob or not.

      And the mage knows if he has to cancel his fireball to counter spell or if the rogue will have enough energy to interrupt the mob.

      That’s all stuff that increases the efficiency of a GOOD premade group that knows each other.

      And even 5 amazing player will be more efficient after a few runs then on their first heroic they play together.

      Maybe the 15% was just added to compensate for the fact that a group which doesn’t know each other will be less efficient then a premade. Scary theory but maybe, just maybe that was the idea of the buff.

  7. Heroics do seem under-rewarding right now.

    The 15% buff is high but then 3 Puggers is a real risk of a wipe fest eating possibly hours of your time.

    I have very mixed feelings regarding heroics. I’m glad they’re hard. Back in Wrath past the first few weeks it really was just a zerg fest and it felt like the only way to learn to play PvE was in a raid. I like to have my game sorted before I zone into a raid so that felt very wrong, especially when trying out new specs/alts.

    I’m not glad they’re so long. Basicaly between concentration and available time I can do 1-2 heroics of an evening at most. Pressing LFG or agreeing to do ‘just one more run’ can be a 2 hour commitment of time. I’m not asking for wrath 15 minute zergs but given how short some of the raid instances are it feels odd that you can clear 4-5 raid bosses in the time it takes to do 2 heroics!

    But the buff wont make any difference to me as its very rare I pug more than the odd single DPSer. If I dont have a known tank/healer combo then I’m basicaly not prepared to waste my time….and thats a issue for the comunity at large as although I’m allright Jack that newbie player isnt….

  8. It’s elegant design. Lots of forum goers were complaining about how awful it was trying to do a daily heroic with 4 random numpties while more accomplished players were asking that the content shouldn’t be dumbed down because they love a challenge. This, on the face of it, satisfies both camps.

    However, and this is the tragedy of modern WoW, it doesn’t and the reason it doesn’t is because of WoW’s horrible players. The truth of the matter is WoW players on the forums at least treat everything that doesn’t directly benefit them as some kind of heinous slap in the face and are immensely bitter that asocial players are being boosted. And of course the various types of LFD abuse will rise, with heroics becoming easier expect to see people afk and expect to be carried.

    Another elegance of the design is that people judge others on the meters. This gives 15% more damage, or even greater if one takes into account higher threat too. So that guy who was mocked for doing 6k dps will become acceptable on 7k dps without anything changing except this buff.

    I have to say though that as a blue-geared DK who dinged 2 weeks ago I’ve had very little problem with heroics. I see a lot of people bail in disgust at the slightest set-back – maybe they are the ones who have been complaining. But if you don’t leave your group you almost always get the heroic done in the end.

  9. instead of nerfing, they should buff the rewards you get, like giving more VP or adding one ilvl 350 epic per dungeon (something between dungeon loot and raid loot) . That would be more encouraging.

    But no, they want to make the losers, unskilled, M&S, whatever you want to call it, stop crying and keep playing the game.

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