Heroic “nerfs” addendum

For one, for the sake of completeness and because the Dungeon Finder finally sent us there yesterday:

Shadowfang Keep

Baron Ashbury
Sadly, in his hubris he has forgotten how to Mend Rotten Flesh.

That’s the controversial one. Undoubtedly, this makes the encounter simpler. But as with Beauty, we have to ask: in what way? The difficulty of the Beauty encounter scales inversely with the number of CC-capable party members; Ashbury’s difficulty scales inversely with the number of interrupt-capable party members. The key, the bread and butter of the fight is the Asphyxiate / Stay of Execution mechanic, which requires not just interrupting but specifically timed interrupting. That’s what it’s all about. If we had a dungeon boss who did that and would otherwise simply melee the tank we’d call it an interesting encounter design already. Ashbury however also casts Pain and Suffering and (yet) Mend Rotting Flesh, both also interruptable. Of course, undoubtedly, Mend Rotting Flesh adds difficulty to the fight, but not so much in itself as mainly by making it more risky to blow interrupt cooldowns on Pain and Suffering, an indirect threat so to speak. But that is, again, simply a numbers game. Got 3 interrupters? Give everyone one spell to take care of (as a tank I like to watch over Stay of Execution, as I can monitor my own health and react accordingly) and that’s it. Taking Mend Rotten Flesh out of the equation, as in the case of Beauty, simply means that the encounter difficulty scales less dramatically with group composition.

Lord Godfrey
He should now face a random target when casting Pistol Barrage.

That’s a buff compared to him currently always doing it in the direction of the tank. A needed buff too, as in its current form the ability is not much of a threat and he seems generally undertuned for the end-boss anyway.

Lord Walden
Conjure Poisonous Mixture now deals more initial damage.
Frost Mixture is now area-of-effect damage.
Toxic Catalyst now deals less damage over time.

A bit more here, a bit less there, mechanical adjustment yonder. Neutral change, key mechanic untouched.

Overall, Ashbury gets a bis simpler, Godfrey gets a bit harder, makes for a better difficulty curve for the dungeon overall.

What keeps amazing me and triggering two posts in two days is that the community at large seems to have totally assumed and accepted that with this patch Blizzard is nerfing the dungeons to the ground. It’s a foregone conclusion. Some like it, some don’t, some justify it, some criticise it, and one particularly remarkable specimen comments on Larisa’s post I linked yesterday:

These changes are too little, too late. I think most players have given up on heroic 5 mans, never mind raids, and are just kind of milling around waiting for the boredom to get strong enough to allow them to penetrate their WoW addictions and cancel.

This is such a remarkable mix of doomsaying, incompetence, resignation and generalisation as well as “Anonymous”, I could not resist the urge to quote.

Hardly anyone challenges the notion. Does anyone actually read those patch notes before forming an opinion on them? Or do we all get our information about the game from blogs who opinionatedly repost opinionated impressions they gathered at other blogs, creating a snowball-opinion-effect of sorts? That’s what troubles me – it’s urban legend now. An adopted fact. And due to how the game works, that impression will not be contradicted, simply because heroics start getting easier already, because we already start overgearing them and even alts come in with a much higher competence regarding both the dungeon and the game mechanics, as well as inevitably being twinked ever so slightly. December heroics were really, really hard because we crawled into them barely equipped, too curious to wait, still coming to terms with how our classes work now and barely learning to read those new environments. That’s gone. But the urban legend will stay. And a year from now, when we’ll be raiding T14 and waiting for infos about the next expansion, “Blizzard nerfed heroics to hell in 4.0.6” will be treated as historical fact and a point after which life never was the same. Those Cata-babies just don’t know what it was back when the game still felt epic, amirite?

Back to Ghostcrawler and the supposedly “unfortunate” timing of his Wow, dungeons are hard blog post coinciding with the supposed nerfs. The apparent contradiction of messages is being criticised. There is no contradiction at all. What both Ghostcrawler and various CMs always said whenever the subject of dungeon difficulty was raised was, and I’m quoting from memory but nearly word for word: we will make adjustments where we think the encounters are not working as intended, but we will not issue blanket difficulty nerfs (at least not at this stage of the game). That blog post reiterated it. And this is exactly what they did (or are going to do).

They adjust encounters they think are not working as intended. Some mechanics are getting buffed because they proved negligible. Some mechanics are getting changed because they ended up being difficult in unintended ways. Both things happen in this patch. Fine adjustments to get the encounters to where Blizzard envisions them to be. Not some sort of “health and damage output of all dungeon creatures and bosses reduced by 20%” you’d think was in the patch notes based on the community response. That would have been a nerf “across the board” – let’s keep our terms clear. What we get is something completely different, and it’s called adjustments and fine-tuning. I wish we, as a community, would not have immediately jumped into our pre-programmed doomsay-mode.

4 thoughts on “Heroic “nerfs” addendum

  1. theanorak

    But I have this special helmet that protects me when the sky falls in — whatever will I do if the sky isn’t falling in?!

    The sky’s falling in, I say. And have you seen my fine hat?

    1. Colt

      “The sky’s falling in, I say. And have you seen my fine hat?”

      Such a fab line!
      It should be on a t-shirt, or a signature, or a Guild announcement.

  2. Scraddog

    All in all the heroic 5 man changes are small and just reducing requirements for ideal composition here and there.

    The real bind must have been for the guys fighting Lady Sinestra first time as things were hotfixed between pulls more or less and changes were being made rapidly to prevent some very odd things from happenning.

    and on the subject of change you know change is bad and most people don’t like it 😉


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