Monday, March 28, 2011

Cataclysm raids are easy as ICC

Tobold said: "A much better design would have offered easier heroics and an easy entry-level raid dungeon, and then made the further raid dungeons harder. While advancing slowly or getting stuck can be frustrating, that is nothing compared with the frustration of not even getting a foot in the door. The average player today has problems even getting accepted into a BoT trash run, with the very existence of "trash runs" telling you a lot about the state of Cataclyms raiding."

This isn't a single voice. The blogosphere is full of such posts. "Cataclysm is too hard!" Now let's see the numbers: I dug out an old chart from wowprogress, about 10-man Icecrown progression (which was easier back then than 25):

I placed some dots on the chart. The green dots represent the current situation of Cataclysm early bosses, the red dots are Cho'gall, Al'Akir, Nefarian. What?! More people killed Nefarian than the Lich King?! Cho'Gall is easier than Sindragosa?! There are 4 bosses (Halfus, Valiona, Magmaw, Omnitron) who are easier than PP?! What the hell is happening here?
  • Nostalgia: when I was a kid, the ice cream was sweeter, the air cleaner, the people nicer. The World is in constant decline!
  • Remembering ICC as it was with full 264 gear, 30% bonus to DPS, heal and HP, and everyone knowing every encounter with eyes closed. People forgot how it was 3 months after launch, in 232-245 with a newbie team without the buff. Let me remind you: "Suffer, mortals, as your pathetic magic betrays you!"
  • Comparing Cataclysm raiding to Naxxramas instead of ICC. Naxxramas belonged to the old, tiered raiding model. Back then they promised that 5-man and Naxxramas badges will only give Naxxramas level loot. They intended Naxxramas to be an easy start, followed by harder and harder instances. They abandoned this idea for social reasons (socials want to be on the top, nowhere else) so introduced the "everyone raids the same place" system. In this system every instance has the same difficulty at start, nerfed slowly and made obsolete by the next.
  • Extrapolating from 5-mans. Many writers of these posts haven't raided at all. They saw the hard 5-mans and say: oh noes, the raids must be LKHM difficulty. No. It is true that a Wrath 5-man was much-much easier than ICC. In Cataclysm they are nearly the same difficulty. If you have the gear and skill to complete Grim Batol and Stonecore HC, you are good to go for the first 4 raidbosses.
  • Blaming raids on losing friends. Many people left his old guild or the game completely. Bitter people blame it on raids instead of the truth: these people were never friends, just colleagues.
Cataclysm raiding is not harder than ICC was. Stop crying!

PS: in early ICC the trade chat was full of "LFM trash run", as ICC trash even gave rep.

44 comments:

Azzur said...

I've been able to complete much of the content (1/13 HM Cata, and 11/12 HM ICC10 with 11/12 0% buff) and this are my experiences:

The data is correct but I disagree with the interpretation - the first 4 bosses for ICC was not difficult and many pugs even managed to kill them. In cata, many guilds are struggling to even kill 1 boss. This is what Tobold is referring to as the easy entry-level raid.

But I do agree that some of the later bosses in ICC (esp LK) was quite difficult. But that was the last boss, so people did expect the difficulty (I consider LK harder than Nefarian).

To make accurate comparisons with ICC and Cata, the first boss in ICC would need to be something like the Prince Council.

Azzur said...

As a further to my previous post - Cata raids have been a dream to the "good raiders". I certainly have been enjoying them very much because of the difficulty. However, for the worser raiders, they certainly can be quite a stumbling block.

Trelocke said...

Except lots of seasoned raiders have made the same "Cataclysm raid content is more challenging" comments. And they weren't saying it in a negative light but actually praising it.

Perhaps the number of people who have killed bosses are greater because more people in general are playing.

Anonymous said...

While I liked the post and it is an interesting comparison, you really haven't contradicted anything Tobold said in the opening quote. He is making an argument for how it *should be* and you counter with this is how it *is*.

Proving that it is a similar difficulty to ICC doesn't prove that it should be that way. Why do you think that is the correct difficulty level?

Anonymous said...

It's a very interesting chart!

One thing is bothering me a little though: if the ICC kills are only for 10 man, are the Cata ones for both 10 and 25? Or only 10 man kills? As far as I know wowprogress and other ranking sites are a little unrealiable on 10 vs 25man, but I could very well be wrong about that.

It's not a big deal probably as most people with 25 man kills in ICC would also have had them in 10 man (which is not necessarily true now due to shared locks though), just being curious.

Holly said...

It's a lot easier to just look at the stats of bosses downed and a set number after 'release' but there are some variables you're missing. The most important being that nearly all of the raid content was in the beta, and strategies were formed -in the beta- prior to launch, whereas ICC even came out gated, so your stats for the lich king himself (and the previous tier bosses save for saurfang) are also slightly skewed unless you took into consideration the gating and added appropriate time (ie: 3 months after the lich king became available.) The prep time, particularly in forming strategies could really skew your results, I'm sorry, I have to stamp it 'unreliable data.'

Anonymous said...

Except that Cataclysm hasn't been tiered the way that Ice Crown was. Remember doing the first four bosses in ICC for several weeks before the next wing even opened?

If you compare progress against time-accessible, you might have a different story.

Even then, the gear accumulation from those several weeks where no further progression was attainable made things easier, muddying up the comparison even more.

I think Cataclysm raiding is harding than ICC, and I think its a very good thing. The problem is so many people don't want to really have to work to progress quickly.

Carson 63000 said...

Hang on, why is it noteworthy that four Cataclysm bosses are easier than Putricide was, when there were seven (I think? memory is rusty) ICC bosses easier than him?

Anonymous said...

The difference is in the entry bosses. From Marrowgar to Deathbringer the challenge is very low. Bwd instead starts right off the bat with more difficult encounters, at least for pug-quality groups.

In my opinion the encounters in normal are of a similar difficulty that the ICC upper spire, but there is no lower spire for low quality raids to play into.

Mikra said...

These are some stats that I can agree with. The general perception of raiding being hard has never really matched up with the wowprogress figures, certainly for normal modes in any case. I would be interested to see the same chart for hard modes, as there is i think a stronger perception that the hard modes are much harder this time around.

Anonymous said...

When I read the "Cata is hard" comments in general (not specific analysis of boss mechanics which could have some merit) I cant help but think that people are suffering from mass delusion, brought on by two factors:

Firstly, Blizzard and Ghostcrawler himself who announced "Cata raiding is harder". Because people do tend to dramatize in real life too, as you Gevlon similarly said, that "life is harder" (overall, it really isnt) "weather is so much hotter" (no, those rises in temperatures over the decade cannot be realistically felt by humans), "there is so much more violent crime" (no, numbers are down in almost all aspects of violent crimes, the media just talks about it more and more and there *are* more television series that depict violence), etcetc. There are so many examples of this. People repeat the easiest explanation for their own misconceptions.

The reason there are fewer PuGs is that, in a vicious circle, potential RLs believe that it cant be done, so they dont try; this in turn paints a picture that it isnt possible.

The second reason is that unlike WotLK, 5 man heroics did not "give" purples. This is also a psychological game: were the heroic version purple (but with same stats and with exactly same bosses) I would be ready to bet all my gold that crying&whining would be on a much much lesser scale.

Finally I agree that Cata raiding *IS* harder: but just for those that started raiding in Naxx 2.0 - for everyone else, this was logical progression in complexity. For this population it was WotLK that *was* the exception, not the other way round.

Anonymous said...

You appear to have missed out one key point - the final wing of ICC was not even accessible until mid-February.

zenga said...

I completely agree that people remember ICC after 4.0.1 making every boss easymode. Reality was that with 232 gear festergut & marrowgar would hit you like a truc.

Stating that cataclysm raiding = icc raiding is being ignortant.

- 264 epic gear was easily obtainable, from badge gear and 4 easy pug-able 25m encounters
- 2 lockouts vs 1 now (5k first guilds had both 10 & 25m lockout per week whereas the first 5k now to be split, so can't be compared at all
- the first days of releasing heroics top guilds went 11/12 hard mode in icc, took them now roughly 1 + 1/2 month to reach the same, says enough
- existence of pugs explains a lot back in icc; the amount of m&s that wanted to raid was bigger than nowadays, since they were able to be carried and this is no longer true

Current tier of raiding is way harder, from performance requirements to fight mechanice. Evey boss, except the Lich King Hard Mode who tops cho'gall, neff, al'akir & sinestra

Chris said...

You can't compare Tier 10 - 10 man and Tier 11 - 10 man.

We have MUCH more 10 man raiding guilds than in ICC, just because 10 & 25 are equal in terms of Loot.

I didn't check this myself, but if you would look for data in 25 man, my guess is that you would have fewer guilds killing bosses than in ICC, just because there are fewer 25 man guilds.

Even on my realm, there are only a few serious 25 man guilds. So all these people raiding 25 Man in ICC resulted in about 2 additional 10 man guilds (and yes, there were LOTS of guilds disbanding).

And of course, most people don't keep the 30% Buff in mind, which does a lot, especially the advanced lifepools and bigger heals/shields helped a lot!

ICC would have been very hard, if we didn't have that buff.

Ephemeron said...

I'd say that Cataclysm raids are on par with the first tier of TBC. The lack of attunement chains is balanced by the absence of entry-level Karazhan equivalent.

Scott said...

I'm not 100% clear on what your graph is showing there tbh.

Are you comparing number of people killing ICC 10-man bosses, to number of people that killed Cata Bosses ?
If so, I think one important thing to factor in is that in ICC, a lot more people will have been doing 25-man only, whereas now you will have more people doing 10-man only, this could easily be skewing your data.

What you need to compare is total kills vs total kills, without seperating 10 and 25 in ICC

Gevlon said...

@Scott: There were 3 times more 10 man kills than 25, check the data http://www.wowprogress.com/rating.tier10_25. Also, since they were separate lockouts, every 25-men guild had a 10-men group, or more.

Jumina said...

If you are comparing data from normal modes than you are correct. Normal cata raids have the same difficulty as ICC had at the start. Hard modes are different story. Except LK HC cata raids are harder than ICC. And you must collect gear from normal modes first unless you are from Paragon.

Anyway I think the real problem is cata encounters have more interesting design which require players not only to push 4 buttons but also understanding of the mechanism and being able to move properly.

Yiannis said...

The reason your data is hard is the size of the instance. Getting to LK meant killing 11 bosses, including wipes. Extending an instance means less loot, so its a no-no for most guilds (bar the best). Killing nefarian means I have to kill 5 bosses. Personally we clear BWD in one day. That was near to imposible in early ICC days. If you relate the facts most guilds raid 3 days a week. with the fact that attendance drops as the week goes on, killing LK is signifigantly harder due to logistics in the numbers and time it takes to actually reach him, over the time/effort it takes to reach nefarian per se.

Krytus said...

As far as I understand, wowprogress charts guild progression not personal kills.

In order to maintain a steady progress my guild changed its formation rules avoiding to bring casual players and alts. So, even when our progress as a guild is similar to the one we had back in ICC, the % of the members raiding is much lower.

Another thing to notice is that Saurfang was the 1st gear check, so even when you were a little undergeared, you were able to do 3 bosses. Cata is a lot less forgiving with gear -you'll reach the enrage timers or get insta-gibbed. And since there is no loot-piñata boss, you'll be forced to farm several hours for pre-raid gear.

Gear aside, Halfus, Omnotron and CoW mechanics are far more complex than Marrowgar's imo.

Squishalot said...

Time accessible is the big thing.

To portray the chart properly, you'll need to extract the lines and put them all at the same start date. That means pulling Sindragosa back by a month and a half, for instance. Once you do that, you'll find that Sindragosa, in fact, was cleared by more people than Cho'gall, as people were suggesting, and that Nefarian progress is more limited than the Lich King's (although, in fairness, that may be due to the lack of guilds getting through prior bosses).

On that last point, the data only shows progress, not how difficult any given fight is. The gap between dots should reflect the difficulty of different fights. (i.e. everyone who gets past boss X is also able to get past boss X+1, means that X+1 is very easy to defeat.) In that respect, it is difficult to make comparisons between tiers based on data like this, since the slow-release of bosses stuffs around with such analysis.

Honza said...

@ Zenga
"I completely agree that people remember ICC after 4.0.1 making every boss easymode. Reality was that with 232 gear festergut & marrowgar would hit you like a truc."

For Festergut/Rotface, 10 mans had already lots of 251 gear from 1st wing which was opened a month before.
At that point you also had lots of emblem and crafted 264 gear available

Anonymous said...

ICC was gated content, it didn't all come out at the same time.

you're comparing apples to oranges and i think you know that.

personally i think the difference is not the "difficulty" but the punishment for making mistakes. we're not being asked to do anything particularly complicated in this tier of raiding but a single person failing to do the correct thing will be a wipe or at least kill that person outright. ICC was just more forgiving and well geared healers could spam their way through a lot of small mistakes.

Honza said...

Comparing two sets of irrelevant data doesnt make the result relevant to be honest

Below is a list af flaws to your comparison

1) in ICC 10 raiders had better gear than instances was tuned for.

2) Gating in ICC. You need to shift all ICC end bosses to the beginning of the axis

3) Limited attempts: you only had shared 10 attempts for Saurfang + Putricide in week 5&6 of ICC. Shared 15 attempts for these two bosses + Lana'thel in week 7&8. Shared 20 attempts for these three bosses + Sindragosa and Lich King for another couple of weeks. Where is that in your graph?

Even without these factors taken into acount your graph shows that 5 Cataclysm bosses have been killed by less guilds than 1 ICC end boss.
I dont think that would entitle me to claim that Cataclysm raiding isnt harder...

Sven said...

I'm not sure it's appropriate to compare the starter raid of Cataclysm to the end raid of Wrath. If you're talking about people being able to start on content (as Tobold was), it's the first raid that matters.

How do the figures compare for Naxx?

Brian said...

I was going to disagree with Gevlon here, because my guild was 11/12 HM ICC 25 by August 2010, and looking back it seemed like we progressed quicker than in Cata. But then I looked back at our wowprogress page and noticed something very interesting.

We've been raiding Cata 25s for almost 3 months now, and we're 11/12 regular modes. 3 months into ICC and we were only 9/12 regular modes. No Blood Queen, no Sindragosa, no Lich King. It's hard to directly compare the fights, but all we have left in Cata is Al'akir, who I'm guessing we'll kill within the next week or so. In ICC, that time frame would STILL not see us down Blood Queen. So if anything, we're well ahead of where we were back in ICC.

I think the big problem with remembering ICC is the time frame. ICC was out for a LONG time, so many people were eventually able to grind out pretty good progression in ICC. For us, we're only a third of the way through the time period we used to progress in ICC. That's the issue with making a direct comparison that I think people forget.

Anonymous said...

It's not just about easy and hard, it's about what makes it easy or hard.
The ICC was designed to be pugable, so the encounters required little or no coordination, as long as a player knew what his job was he did not have to care about anyone else. The bosses required some tactics to down, but the margin of error was huge.
Cataclysm raids are designed for guild groups. with a poorly geared group, if one ranged stands in the wrong place on magmaw he can wipe the raid as no one can clean up his mess. The tactics are not harder, but the tolerance for failure to follow them is much lower than in ICC.

This is annoying to socials because if they raid in a guild where someones friend who really sucks gets a spot, he can wipe the raid on his own. Like he could on Thaddius or Kel Tuzad.

Tazar said...

I was running the same 10 man only guild in WOTLK and now in cataclysm. In WOTLK we were raiding without any tactics learned before first pull. Now we are even watching tankspot videos.

Still in our very first attempt in ICC after it came up we killed 3 bosses and had decent attempts on Saurfang in 2 and half hour.

Now in Cataclysm we spend 1st week without any boss kill (7.5 hour) Part of that was because we used only 2 healers as we did in WOTLK but still. Raid mechanics are MUCH less forgiving now. That makes fights harder.

Imagine that failing to release a person at Marowgar in 6 sec will result in raid wipe, or failing to move away from exploding ghost on Lady Deadwhisper will be a raid wipe. Than you will be much closer to the difficulty we have right now. (Because 1 dps death will result in raid wipe in the end)

*vlad* said...

Tobold was pushing this same argument in Wrath, too: give people easy raids. As I said back then - fine, you want easy raids, raid the previous tier's content, but of course people don't want to, because they don't get gear upgrades doing that.
Is Cata content too hard? No. Just because Marrogar was an absolute push-over in Wrath doesn't mean every new raid boss should be the same.
Hydross and the Lurker were just as hard if not harder than Magmaw or Halfus, and don't forget you had to do attunements in heroic dungeons (that were harder than current heroics) before you could even attempt them.
If you can do Cata heroics, you can do Cata raiding. To me the biggest difficulty is going from cata normals to cata heroics - that is a much steeper learning curve.

Anonymous said...

Is this data normalized to the number of people attempting the bosses? If not, your conclusions are unsubstantiated and premature. (They could be right or wrong, but you don't know until you get more information.) You can't draw conclusions on boss difficulty without some attempt to determine a success ratio.

Ðesolate said...

In ICC every idiot could clear the first wing. Maybe that's why people think that cata is harder. You need at least some people with brains to down magmaw / ODS. Well at least the "fun" Boss (BF) is in the taste of some...

chewy said...

My immediate thought was why does it matter ?

I don't agree with Tobold's idea that they need to change, but I don't agree that they are harder or easier, they're just different.

I prefer the tier approach of Cata because it gives a greater sense of achievement and if you can't do them, well, that's just unfortunate for you.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the difference in perception is the relative difference between the hard modes, not so much the normal modes. When my guild finally killed the lich king, we switched to hard modes the next week and were immediately 6-7 bosses killed in hard modes as well. In fact *most* of the bosses in ICC hardmode were easier than LK.

But I don't think the same can be said of this current tier of raiding. The hard modes, compared to the normal modes, seem much harder. Almost anything hard mode is more difficult than any easy mode, with the possible exception of halfus and maybe chimaeron.

Also I think it's a good point that others have made that the entry bosses in the current tier are relatively more difficult than the entry bosses in the ICC tier.

Lastly, I wonder if you took into account the fact that ICC was gated, as well as the fact that ICC had an increasing buff over time. Surely that buff helped most guilds progress further than they otherwise would have (and helped ALL guilds clear bosses faster than they otherwise would have - Paragon included, who killed LK HM with the 5% buff initially)

Anonymous said...

It's just that players fail to register the nerf into their skull. They fail to know that the game is even nerf. If the game is not nerf at all, then the difficulty level will be the same. But the nerf makes the game "feels" harder than what it really is. By the way, if you can't 6 man a 10 man dungeon, or 12 man a 25 man dungeon with the nerf, then you won't be able to win those dungeons before nerfs to those dungeons. The strong players knows the game does not get harder, it's only the that players get used to the nerfs believe it gets harder.

Anonymous said...

You're entirely correct in saying that LK is harder than Nefarian and Al'Akir/Cho'gall are probably on par with Sindragosa, but not mentioning the difference: ICC had 3 joke bosses in the first wing plus a "free loot" button. Cata raids don't have that.

I did first wing in a pug on week two after ICC was out. Once people got some badge gear + buff started rolling in, any drooling idiot could walk into ICC and kill Saurfang and occasionally Festergut (if nobody ninjaed the tier tokens). I don't think that will be the case in Cata.

Sure, there are 4 bosses that are easier than Putricide, but most pugs would still fail at Putricide with 30% and 4.0 talents due to a simple lack of coordination, something that EVERY boss in cata requires. Well, maybe not chimaeron, but pugs can't get to him, so that's a moot point.

So, while the top is about equal, the bottom is vastly different. Since most players are at the bottom, it's creating the QQ.

spinksville said...

I think you're probably right. If people are drifting away, it's not the difficulty that is driving them off. (Really I wonder how many 25 man guilds have broken up due to 10 man drama.)

Anonymous said...

First, your graph is wrong. No one killed PP on Dec 5th, ICC wasn't even open on live realms.

ICC opened on Dec 8th 09, Plague Wing wasn't available until Jan. 5th. That alone makes me doubt all credibility of the graph, but let's continue on, regardless.

Your graph is also failing to account for three further things; Gating, Limited Attempts and ICC 10 being outgeared before it even opened.

While they were increased and eventually removed for normal mode progression, ICC opened with limited attempts on End Wing bosses. On January 5th, when Plague opened, players had FIVE attempts to kill Putridice. When the Frostwrym Halls opened, players had 15 wipes on all wing end bosses and LK, combined.

Many of the people who cleared ICC 10 quickly stepped into ICC in full 258+ gear from HC ToC, and the drops from 10m were downgrades from their current gear.

In essence, 10m ICC was outgeared before it opened, and the only thing that slowed anyone down was gating and limited attempts.

Azuriel said...

This has to be one of the most embarrassingly bad posts I have ever seen on this site.

1) Your chart is wrong. ICC was gated, with LK et tal not even able to be pulled until their corresponding marks on the graph. If you pull them all to the beginning (to simulate the ungated nature of this tier), and then make your marks, you can see how factually incorrect you are. Here, I did it for you:

http://min.us/lmtyyK
http://img191.imageshack.us/i/modifiediccprogress2.jpg/

First one is from Minus, which is what Wowhead allows in its comments; second is from Image Shack.

As you can see, more people downed 10m LK by this point last expansion than have downed Al'Akir and Nef. I was going to put more than just Magmaw and Omnotron in green at the top when I occurred to me that it would be a waste of time. Why? Because...

2) In what bizzaro-land does comparing Halfus, Valiona, Magmaw, Omnitron (e.g. 4/12) to Professor Putricide (9/12) make any goddamn sense? Even if we don't assume a Putricide kill comes after Blood Princes and Dreamwalker, you are still comparing the FIRST bosses of Cata with the SEVENTH boss in ICC. How does that support an argument that Cataclysm is as hard as or easier than ICC? Where the hell is Marrowgar/Deathwhisper/Lootship/Saurfang on the graph?

The entire point of Tobold, etc, is that apparently the Marrowgar-to-Saurfang beginning bosses no longer exist. By your own ridiculous argument, players start right on a Professor Putricide level and work their way up.

Anonymous said...

The major difference between now an than is personal responsibility. As a healer, I could heal through most mistakes. (Except defile, which is why I loved it)

Now, if a single person makes a mistake, it most likely leads to a wipe.

My gear throughput would have to be nearly double what is now, to heal through the same mistakes. That kind of upgrade isn't going to come from farming earlier bosses.

Is this a bad thing? That is up to the person playing, and who s/he wants to raid with. Certainly makes things less pugable, that is for certain.

Anonymous said...

For many, the wing end bosses of ICC (and LK) were overtuned also. A lot of guilds imploded due to inadequate progress in ICC. I'd argue the low completion numbers on Halion and Cata raids relative to earlier raids in WotLK followed from the guilds failures that started in ICC.

(Halion, in particular, was the dog that didn't bark. Maybe the devs should have paid some attention to how little attention it received.)

Coralina said...

As others have said it is about the specific nature of the encounters.

In my social/casual guild we frequently had problems in Wrath raids due to a sheer lack of outputs from some of our raid members. As a social guild however we couldn’t kick and replace them as they are “friends” as opposed to “team mates”. Fortunately the better members like me could compensate for them due to being able to out gear the 10 man.

This was fine until we got to Rotface or the Prof. At that point these weaker players could put a complete block on our progress due to individual failings on mechanics that have harsh consequences for the raid. I like the example someone else made about Thaddius or KT in Naxx – it was the same issue there.

The problem with Cataclysm is that the bosses start like this from the word go. So on top of our existing lack of output issues (for which I can't outgear and compensate for anymore) we now have a situation where a number of our friends repeatedly block any chance to progress. Sure we try to help them but some people just never get it. The end result is that we just stop playing – remember we don’t have the “kick and replace” option. We are a social group and not a pro sports team. Rather then people changing guilds (we don’t screw over our friends) they just stop logging on. This is what I see on the ground and my friends in other guilds/realms report the same.

I simply don’t buy the statistics sorry. Of course I make the above sound like a "bad thing". It may not be. The hardcore players actually prefer it this way which is fine by me (I am now playing the "other game" and my WOW account has expired). Ultimately though it will be Blizzards investors that have to make a final decision on whether this is a positive or negative change.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Coralina.

Long story time, skip to last paragraph if you don't care.

I always played in a laid-back guild "casual" if you will. Heck a few of our members were M&S and great examples of M&S too. But I didn't mind, they were the minority and our semi-hardcore group could perform well without them in a raid. Near the end of WotLK we were burning through the raids easymode due to 30% buff, overgear etc.

When some of our core started leaving, it didn't really hurt us as much, since we could easily make up for the weaker players we inevitably had to invite. Sometimes we couldn't kill LK because of them failing Defile, but nobody really cared since everyone had all the gear anyway, nobody bothered with flasks/foods, and repairs were a non-issue. They were fun nights on vent, and we had some good times. However due to the long wait between endgame WotLK and Cata release, a lot of the core members quit playing.

When Cata finally released, it was pretty certain we would have to downgrade to 10man. Not a terrible issue at first since gear is the same anyway. But at this point, we didn't have enough core members to make up for the failing part of the raid. In WotLK you could have 6 or 7 boosters in a 25man and it would go fine. Half the raid could wipe and we'd still make it. Now if 1 or 2 members screw up, it's game over.

Aside from failing at tactics, we really started to notice a general failure in performance. Looow DPS numbers, low/slow to react healing, running out of mana, in part due to inability to use tank CD's effectively, the list goes on.

The thing is, that these kinds of problems were never an issue before, simply because we didn't hit a brick wall in progression. After 3 hours of wiping "at least we killed Spider Quarter/Auriaya/Twins/Lower Spire" sounds a lot better than "we killed nothing but at least gained some practice". Core main group stayed optimistic, and knew that if the next time we had more core members, progression would take us a lot further.

Many 'casual' guilds like mine now fail horribly and/or disband. This is due to progression being slow or non-existant. People inevitably have to point out other's mistakes (and rightfully so) and as a result get labeled the "bad guy", not a 'team player', 'too hardcore' etc. A lot of this behaviour has already been pointed out by Gevlon in earlier posts.

Our core main group has now basically quit playing. Many simply don't want to log on anymore. They were the ones that fueled the progression in WotLK, but now feel like they are doing nothing but boosting a bunch of ungrateful noobs while THEY call HIM the bad guy. Some quit WoW alltogether, some left for other guilds. The M&S group left due to nobody being able to boost them. The only people being online at the moment are the "hardcore casuals" that farm some achieves, or get some pets or mounts.

This post is becoming huge so I'll just summarise here:

Cata raids are harder, not necessarily by design, but due to the inability for the stronger players to compensate the weaker ones. Raiding went from 'raid performance = average member performance' to 'raid performance = performance of the weakest link'. Every "casual" guild that was average or even above average in WotLK, now horribly fails, while 'real' raiding guilds have taken much less of a hit.

Coralina said...

"Raiding went from 'raid performance = average member performance' to 'raid performance = performance of the weakest link'."

Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I think you got it dead right there with that phrase.

It is what I call "zero tolerance" mechanics. In the past I associated these mechanics with the hard/HC modes of raids and they are totally unsuitable for social/casual/pug groups. Many of the 5 man HC bosses have/had (before the nerfs) zero tolerance mechanics and look at the massive group failures they caused! Four guys playing perfectly and one repeatedly failing leads to frustration and disbands.

Have to say though that my social guild didn't suffer the same problems as your guild. We didn't have "bad guys" or "ungrateful n00bs". We liked to think of ourselves as a family friendly guild. Fathers and their 12 year old kids playing together, middle aged married women and their sisters, in fact very few of stereotypes you typically associate with raiding.

You see in that type of group when one person (I repeat ONE person) prevents us from making any progress we don't hate on that person. Hell no! We would never do that, totally out of the question. You don't turn on close friends like that. Instead we hate on the game for its uncompromising design.

I repeat again though - our exclusion is not necessarily a bad thing. It isn't for me to say whether it is or is not. Maybe we should buzz off and play another game? Maybe allowing people like us to raid is bad for the game as it creates dull content for the hardcore long time players. Maybe every raid member should pull their weight and if ONE fails then it should be a wipe. Why should someone get purples if they had failed and died for example?

I can't answer those questions and neither can the hardcore players. As a commercial product and not a piece of government welfare it is up to the men in suits sat in Blizzards boardroom and not us. It is their business and their salaries, they have the real server stats and I am sure they will make the right decisions to maximise their profits.

Anna Savoy said...

I'm very new to Warcraft and I enjoy the game very much. My experiences with groups, thus far, had been disappointing. There was one weak link 3 or 4 instances I've been on, and that was me. And boy, was I disrespected, even after explaining that I am a noob, and apologizing for it. Some real lude comments were made and it has made me "gun shy" about doing any more. Yet, I'd like to improve. If one never gets to practice, how can their game improve? All games, not just video, require practice. Any direction, or advice, would be greatly appreciated.

Subscribe to the goblinish wisdom