Greedy Goblin

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who is responsible for the dance?

Blizzard developers of course. But who were they catering to? Who was the one who demanded them? Who welcomed them?

In Vanilla and BC the raids were perfomance based. Not enough DPS on Patchwerk (original, not the WotLK crap)? Healers OOM. Not enough DPS on Gruul? Grew too large. All the bosses were made to test DPS, HPS and mitigation. They also had some flavor element, which was there to make the boss unique, but was non-obtrusive and obvious for anyone who read the tactics. I mean how hard it is to "don't move during flame wreath". The term "fire-dancing idiot" was formed in those time, referring to someone who obviously refused to read the tactics or had such a tunnel-vision that he did not noticed standing in the fire.

Then came the curse of "making raids accessible" and with it the abomination called WotLK. The performance requirements were decreased to abysmal, allowing us to clear T7, 8, 9 and 8/12 of the last tier in pre-raid blue gear.

Blizzard recognized that they overshot and made Cataclysm harder. Good call. The obvious move would be simply noticing the overshot and set the performance demand higher. At Brutallus you had to do almost perfect performance in BT gear (and a few drops from earlier SWP bosses) to kill him. At ICC, about 50% was enough to a mid-instance boss (blue gear). So set the slider to 80% and be happy!

For some reason they did not choose this way and Cataclysm performance requirements are still too low, to the point of allowing or promoting healer-overstacking. They choose to turn the formally flavor "dance" element into the major difficulty source. Who did they catered to?

Clearly not the M&S. The M&S who managed to die in Marrowgar blue fire or spawned countless big oozes at Rotface. They had no chance in the extreme dance demands of Cataclysm. Even non-M&S, just not so fast players lost their spots and interest, losing lot of older, therefore high community-value players (how many arthasdklols needed to create the same added value as LarĂ­sa?).

Blizzard did exactly what they claimed not to. They catered to the top 0.01%. After Malygos died only 3 days after WotLK release, defeated in mostly 10 levels old stuff, Ensidia openly mocked them, and the development team became a laughing stock on forums and gaming sites. They knew that to avoid it, 80% performance demand won't be enough. The top guilds oneshot a 80% demanding boss just as fast as a 50% demanding. Or a 90% demanding. To make the progression last for more than a week (or 2 with hard modes), they must tune the bosses over 100%, demanding farming of earlier bosses, something they did not want to do in the name of accessibility.

So they figured to change the element that you can't prepare for. Your high damage on Patchwerk is high on Sindragosa too. But your perfect execution of fire-dance on Shannox does not help at all steering Rhyolith. You must learn every boss from scratch. And placing enough dance elements you can create enough nines to the execution demand to keep the top guilds busy. Mission accomplished, only 2K guilds were capable to kill HM Ragnaros pre-nerf, taking even the world first for 3 weeks. The cost was the total destruction of any form of casual raiding. (Granted, not alone, the knowledge that you'll get better gear from the first dungeon in the next patch did not help either.)

Performance demand, tuned to players who don't play 15 hours a day in the first week(s) is oneshottable by a topguild. Blizzard refused to accept it, just like they refused to tell the below-tank arthasdklol to go dance on the postbox naked as he has no place in a heroic 5-man. Blizzard catered to the M&S in WotlK and the very topguilds in Cataclysm, creating an abomination that is totally unfit for anyone who is neither ready to wipe 100 times because someone in the raid sidestepped 0.2 seconds to late, nor satisfied for getting the "l33t epixxlol" 4 months later for showing up.

Blizzard must accept that if they set any, below-100% performance demand, and no obtrusive dance, their new raids will be oneshotted by the world first 100 guilds cleared in the first week by the top 1000. But will provide several months of entertainment, feeling of progression and reason to play to everyone who has 1-4x2-3 hours/week to play, ready to read journal and farm some gear in 5-mans, crafting and LFR.

WotLK shown that you shouldn't cater to the M&S. Cataclysm shown that you shouldn't cater to the top 0.01%. We'll see what they learned from it in Mists of Pandaria.

Tomorrow the Answer to the Ultimate Question of (multiplayer-gaming) Life, the Universe, and Everything. And unlike Deep Thought I tell you the Ultimate Question before the answer (which is surprisingly not 42): What is the necessary (and probably even sufficient) criteria of a fun multi-player game? Don't miss it!


Ermak said...

In MoP they will cater for 12 y/o kids that are fans of Kunfu Panda and Pokemon stuff.
But if serious - I'm going to wait until the 5.1 patch and if it's really good (and GW2 is nowhere near) I'll consider buying it. I have very strong doubts though.

JackTheManiac said...

I'd still like blizzard to tell Arthasdklol to go dance naked on a mailbox because he has no business being in 5 man heroics... Troll heroics still take hours to do because people are failures. 4.3 heroics are easy mode, they made them of LK Heroic difficulty, facerollables by anyone and his mother. This makes me sick. At the very least, being able to succeed in 4.0 heroics put me above immolated, killed-by-fire M&S trash.

That said, I can't believe the amount of people who would defend the state of the game tooth and nail. Transmogrification did add some incentive to run old content for some people, but still, the amount of retard is what keeps me away from the game. Also, the lack of solid non instanced content/quests is also a negative point in my opinion.

The game really has nothing going for itself now. If I wasn't finishing my Thunderfury or doing old content with friends, I wouldn't play. I only come to check out the new patches for a month or so, on and off. I already canceled. New content is less accessible for good but casual players. Players who are good are slowed down by the trash from trade.

People say the game is perfect, people say they should be allowed to do what they want casually...

They do not seem to understand it's a MMO. A type of game that demands putting alot of time in. If you can't put the time demand, then it's not a game for you and you should go play something else.

It's not that complicated. Will they actually cry because Diablo 3 Nightmare is too hard? And then Hell... and Inferno?

Don't think they will since they seem fine with raid finder. Still, they' defend the game tooth and nail, saying subscription loss is due to Asian gold farmer bans and subscription problems, saying that most people would leave the game if they'd turn the raiding mechanics back to TBC raiding, etc...

I'm talking about people in trade there.

Another mistake from Blizzard is that they make leveling too easy. In Vanilla, leveling was a game of it's own. You traveled the world and battled evils and getting stronger.

Now, leveling is a joke, an interactive story, a chore in order to come get free loot.

The conceit of the retards is irritating as well. "Oh, look I'm awesome, I bash people in trade" and saying "you're bad, you're level 10" to banker alts.

Dumbass kids should be put in their place. They don't see themselves the way they really are, pathetic little annoying buggers.

Blame the parents from giving free self confidence and special snowflake talk. Blizzard perpetuates that parental "you're my special snowflake, here's a pony" behaviour.

Sigh. I can't help but think alot of problems of player behaviour stems from outside the game, but grows worse in it.

One thing I wonder is if such trash will move to SWTOR. It looks actually interesting... but M&S trash in MMOs turn me off. I can't wait for Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2. I'll be able to play with my friends, we don't need to be 5 persons, we can do actual teamwork there, and we can avoid 100% of the WoW M&S trash.

Riptor said...

Gevlon, sorry but have you actually raided BC? Did you fight these Bosses Prenerf? I have been reading you Blog since mid wotlk (around Ulduar) and if I haven’t missed something before that, your Raid experience consists of some 10 mans in WotlK and now Cataclysm, right?
The “dance” as you described it in yesterday’s comments was present in practically every fight in BC and especially the great one were stacked with them.
In Wotlk Blizzard wanted to make every raiding Tier accessible for the general Populous. Before in BC they already showed signs when they removed the Black Temple entry Quest that required you to kill (among others) Vash and Kael (at the time really pure dance Bosses deemed too difficult for the average Casual). Then they introduced Batches in SWP so the Gear gap between the full T6 Raiders and the T4/S1/Void Reaver T5 Casuals would not be so significant. And still in BC it was clear that only a small percentile of Players would ever see the Final Bosses (you mention 2k Guilds killed Ragnaros hc prenerf.. Kil’Jedan was downed by roughly 120 before the 30% Nerf…) and the Causlas would raid their Content with 1 Dance Move per Boss and casual DPS/HPS requirements.
Blizzard also created you and the PUG in Wotlk. The idea that everybody, from hc to Scrub would be able to raid the same content looked good on Paper but it always failed on the incapability of so many Players to actively press A,W,D on their Keyboard (or had “Turn” instead of “Strafe” bound to A + D). Your setup for the PUG was only made possible by lackluster WotlK Raiding. It even catered to that sort of gameplay. Shouldn’t you be happy that the game you invest hours on end finally changed in comparison to wotlk?

NetherLands said...

The notion that what constitutes 'the game' for many players ('Tobold's wife' is a lot more common than some people might think) has been massacred on the altar of 'end-cap ASAP so I can Raid with my Guildies with the #alt', has been noted before (eg Nils ) and I still subscribe to that.

So I obviously agree with your post, though it would be golden if you could dig up the 'Ensidia mocking' from one of the Forum-archive sites.

Interestingly, Zarhym is now all huffy-puffy about 'Elitist-Raid jerks' and gives a number of only 2% of the playerbase Raiding before LFR (making the catering you noted even sillier).

You could also extend it to PvP, as far as the WSG GY change is concerned: while it started out as to prevent 'normal' GY farming people actually took issue with, once the current GY campfest abomination hit the Blues made a 180 and said it was done to help Rated BG's - another 3% (of the PvP populance, no less; given WoW's PvE focus we might be staring at 1% or so).

Carson 63000 said...

I'm with Riptor - indeed, I'd go back before TBC. I remember raiding Blackwing Lair in late 2005, it was absolutely stuffed with "execution" fights, or as you would call them now, "dance" fights.

Razorgore? Huge execution demands, although thankfully the real pressure was piled on two controllers not random raid members.

Vael? Demanded perfect threat-juggling execution between five tanks, and this was in the days before threatmeters. And also one mistake from a player who got bombed would be a wipe.

Firemaw? Granddaddy of in-and-out line-of-sight dancing. Ebonroc? More tank switching. Flamegor? Return of the good old tranq shot.

Chromaggus? An amusing one, sometimes it was an execution test and sometimes it wasn't, depending on whether bronze was one of his two breaths or not. Just to keep you on your toes.

And Nefarian? Three phases, raid splitting, kiting, random selection of classes to be targetted by effects - massive execution demands.

No, I'm sorry, I've said it before and I'll say it again, all this talk about raids been dances now is purest nonsense, and it really does make it look like you haven't been playing WoW for very long and have this crazy idealized concept of "the old days."

Gevlon said...

@Carson: I never told that old instances were dance-free. I used the term "non-obtrusive", meaning:
* not everyone had to do it but selected people or it was a raid-wide "everyone run now" action
* when you had the "dance job" you did not have to do anything else (as opposed to you have to dance all the fight while damaging/healing)
* failing in the dance of one RANDOM player did not mean instant wipe

Just think of Aran: you had to run out, avoid the blizzard and not move. These are dance moves. However you did not have to dance all time, the move (or rather the non-move) was obvious and callable.

Anonymous said...

Wether you like dance raids or not is for me not as important if you want to look for the subscription losses of WoW.
Main problem is the 'Raid or Bust' mentality of the game:
Since they compeltely destroyed the levelling experience (making the old world overhaul double unnecessary) the game lost 50% of the core purpose of a RPG. It is not a rewarding experiement with your class against the environment getting stronger and progressing, but a nuissance before 'you can finally play the game'.
The same goes for every other PvE activity, it all carters towards the raids without any value and importance in its own.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree here with Gevlon: Old raids were not dance free, but it did hardly require each and everyone to dance on their own. You had very few people who had to to a dance, while the rest of the raid happily dps/heal'd. Kiting, being a marker for all others where to stand and where to move, throwing globes to the next player. Therefor you had your assigned people to do this or that: 1 monkey is easier to train than 10.
Raids nowadays is like playing Super Mario Brothers on an old NES, but 10 players on one screen and if one person misses a jump in world 4-3 its back to 1-0 for all.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, your lack of experience in HC Firelands is showing. Besides Aly, literally none of the fights had your 99% dance-execution demand, while many many more had the performance-dps-hps-mitigation demands (Domo, Baleroc, Ragnaros, Betty, even the Ryo fight that you hate so much is really a dps check, not a stearing check. While we were learning the HC version we failed maybe twice coz of stearing, and probably 30ish times coz of dps and him getting Superheated prematurely. And even the fails in stearing were actually dps fails (people died on legs for lack of healing or basic move out of fire-lines on the ground, not enough dps to turn him, BAM, he drinks. Get your facts straight).

Maybe yours and mine definition of dance-execution is different, but I honestly do not see a big difference between several people avoiding cat jumps fire zones on Domo and avoiding KTs mana draining thing.

Remembering Vashj and especially Archimnonde still makes me tear up from frustration. You think people failing on Aly's tornadoes area is a big deal? Try explaining to that same person how did Doomfire's work. Tornadoes are *nothing* compared to Doomfires, since former have 100% predictable patterns.

Week after week you hate the dance and ask for performance. Week after week people tell you it all comes down to performance after first 3 pulls and understanding the gimmick.

There is no dance problem. There is just more and more people blaming the dance on their failures, and many others repeating the mantra without thinking. Its just another FotM excuse.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many People claim that raiding in Classic or BC was better than now, that havnt raided in classic bc.
Gevlon did you? If not, how can you say, what is better?

You dont see the history. The circumstances, other player's. Mostly 25man. No Hardmodes.
And casual player cleared only 5m, maybe karazhan.

So as we can see, that casuals that couldnt raid because of the difficult in BC, now complain in Cataclysm that the encounter's are to difficult and we should go back to a model, where it was even more impossible to kill bosses.

I forgot most of the boss names of BC, sorry. But look at vashy and kael thas, achimonde. Those were much more complex fights, than most current fights!

Also saying that bc fights were about performance. Yes they were a bit more about performance (pre nerf) because the pre nerf fights, where what hardmodes are today.
And just for your info, current hardmodes are also performance based.

But to name other fights. Look at karazhan (pre nerf!). No dance at maiden, the theather event, the dragon befor the prince.

And all the "you are the bomb" bosses, were 1 mistake by a random player killed the whole raid.

BT, where you had to controll the ghosts?

Difficulty of Sunwell?

Dont think that raiding in BC was better or easier!

Zul Aman, the bird where you have to move under him? the 4 th boss with fire on the floor? The doktor, that had so many different skills (depending on the player he choose).

But look at your definition:

* not everyone had to do it but selected people or it was a raid-wide "everyone run now" action
* when you had the "dance job" you did not have to do anything else (as opposed to you have to dance all the fight while damaging/healing)
* failing in the dance of one RANDOM player did not mean instant wipe

Just think of Aran: you had to run out, avoid the blizzard and not move. These are dance moves. However you did not have to dance all time, the move (or rather the non-move) was obvious and callable.

beth: 3. random player death was no problem, 1. when you had to go upstairs, you didnt have to kill anything, just go up. 2.Also only selected ppl. 4. and the dance wasnt all the time.

So beth has every point you mentioned! So he isnt a dance fight, you complain at.

Please blog about thinks you have knowledge about or do more research.

Anonymous said...

your reply to Carson:

Not true, not true, not totally true.

Examples of the top of my head: Heigan, dancing the minus and plus. All had to do it, and one person could wipe the raid.

In the Eye, Solarian, all had to do it, and because people were failing so much other smart people even made a retard-proof mod.

Gruul: all had to do it. healers would so easily wipe themselves by bunching up.

Maghtheridon: omfg that was the pinnacle of gimmicky. clicking the boxes in 2 groups, avoiding being pushed in front of him, avoiding the quake from above.

Vashj: all had to do it, those that didnt, had several dps requirements to reach.

The only relaxation from "dance" execution came in Ulduar/ToC really - but even there some fights still had massive personal responsibility demands (Yogg with madness, with the link, with dispelling, with portals, with clouds)... or lets talk Mimiron, on normal, let alone heroic version.

the only older boss i can think of that allowed for just doing the dance and nothing else is Gluth in Naxx, if you were the kiter. And of course the orb-touchers on Razgore.

Failing in the dance did not in fact mean instant wipe, but fights were tuned with much more lax than today. One person usually did not mean a wipe anyway.

Riptor said...

True, often one could split the Dance Jobs among a selected group of Players. This is also why in most Vanilla/BC and even WotlK you had a solid Core of Players in every Guild. 10-15 Players that were capable of doing all the Encounter specific Dance Jobs and the remaining Slots were filled with capable (but replaceable) Players that could deliver DPS/HPS/Movement/Dmg Avoidance on the Level requested by the Guild. Even in Worldrank Top 10 you had Players that were essentially carried through Content. Although they performed exceptionally in the four Categories mentioned above, they were incapable /unwilling to perform the special dances and were thus also replaceable. This is also the reason why I mention Bosses like Kael. There, the true level of a Raiding Guild would be tested because killing the Boss meant that all 25 Players were capable of dancing.
In that regard raiding must have improved in Cata actually. If you kill a Boss now it means that your Raid is capable and not that there are just a select few very good Players in your Guild

As for your other Arguments: Yes Kara had somewhat simple dance Moves but never the less it had (think of the Prince without fighting at the door.. Dancing all the way already) them. As explained above, it now just takes more people to dance.. also, you’re not in the first Tier of the expansion, you’re in the final tier.. you are now raiding the “equivalent” of Classic Blackwing/Black Temple/SWP. This is not supposed to be easy…

As for the wipes… Those were 25 man raids (Zul Aman with T4/T5 gear = one Faildeath and a Boss became unkillable…). Of course usually one death did not mean instant wipe (usually.. there were a lot of exceptions, especially on higher Tiers).
By the logic of core Players mentioned above, if 10 man are supposed to be equal to 25s it should be tuned towards the Core Raides raiding together and not 4 of them carrying 6 others.

*vlad* said...

Dance fights are great. Give me dance fights over your boring Ultraxion any day.
As for BC, like a lot of people are saying, they WERE dance fights, bar the odd exception, but not only that, they were often punishing to the nth degree. That's why so many guilds failed on Vashj and Kalethas, and couldn't get past them. Try to get 25 people to learn the dances, or die.

Kurt said...

Lot of cherry picking responses here. I can do that too, how many guilds downed LK heroic 25 man before the buff got turned to 5% Zero, I think? Guess WOTLK was the hardest expansion of all, since zero is the smallest number quoted by anyone for boss kills?

No, it wasn't.

Hint to everyone replying how BC was soooo hard, and normal mode instances now are easy: the correct comparison is BC normal mode raids, and current heroic instances prenerfs. Current normal mode raiding is analogous to running 5 man heroics in BC. Please stop embarrassing yourself by assuming otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Alot of people keep going on about how the all these dance elements were always there. I'll be honest and say that it is rare when Blizzard actually releases a mechanic that is genuinely new. For the most part they mix and match old mechanics to make each boss unique.

The problem is that the dance mechanics are overtuned in terms of reaction time and when one person is killed there is an increased chance, compared to other expansion bosses, that you will wipe.

Since the emphasis on reaction time heroics have become rather annoying to do since you would usually hit a stonewall where you couldn't carry someone through. Generally these people have been dps but there were lower skilled healers too who couldn't adjust to the mana management who weren encountered too. This lead to the aggravating of higher percentage of tanks who refused to tank lfg and went with a premade group. This drastically increased the gue time for a large percentage of the playerbase.

The dance focused raids split the playerbase in a way in had not been split before. Raiding for the most part has always been hard at the top end. There were always reaction times needed and usually extremely good dps/miti/hps. When they brought the reaction time requirements to all the bosses it segmented the playerbase of the non top end raiders. They use to get by from simply learning the encounter, whether from reading or beating their heads against it. Instead of a we can learn it together and become better it became either you're good enough or you're not.

The Renaissance Man said...

One person fails at the bomb on Baron Geddon, the raid wipes.

Can't switch shields on Domo? Fail.

Let sons get into your casters on rag? Wipe.

Can't train on Razorgore? You're toast.

One person drops Adrenaline in the wrong place on Vael, the raid wipes. Stand too close to the wrong player, congrats, you killed the whole raid with a cleave.

Too stupid to LOS Firemaw? game over.

Didn't get Mortal Strike off in time on Ebonroc? wipe.

Didn't Tranq flamegor? Wipe.

Didn't put the Drakonids in the right place on Nefarian? Wipe.

One person fails at sands on Chrommagus, the raid wipes.

Killed Kri when a fear went out? wipe.

Fail to kite Sartura? Wipe.

Don't kill worms in time on Fankriss? Wipe.

Don't notice the single bolt on Viccidus? Wipe.

Didn't Traq Princess? Wipe.

Oops, twin emps healed to full because one idiot lock couldn't keep his shadowbolt in check for 2 seconds.

One person stands to close to another person on C'thun, or fails at handling the stomach, the raid wipes.

One person stands in the wrong place on Grob, raid wipes.

One person fails to kite on Gluth, raid wipes.

One person fails at polarity on Thaddius, raid wipes.

Priest doesn't master tanking in a hurry on Raz? Wipe.

One missed shackle on Gothik? Wipe.

One missed taunt on 4H? Wipe.

Miss the suicide timing on Faerlina? Raid's dead.

Fail the CC on Noth's adds? Enjoy the ultra cleave.

Heigan dance?

Absurd consumable farming on Loetheb. Click your shadow resist pot too late? Taste the floor. Forgot to bring a shadow resist pot? At least you'll be expecting it.

Can't find the tomb on Sapphiron? Frost Bomb is binary, you're safe or you're dead.

Missed one of 24 shackle casts on KT? Raid wipes. Stand in the wrong place when the frost tomb goes out, you just wiped out the ranged DPS.

That's in Vanilla alone. Welcome to raiding, Gevlon.

Ben Kennedy said...

Fights are easy to learn. It is uncommon nowadays for there to be a fight mechanic where a "dance fail" results in a wipe. Pretty much everything can be recovered from. Personally, I like it this way, though I can see why some people prefer it harder, and that's what heroic modes are for. Plus, heroic modes are very much performance based. My 7/7 team that would 1-shot all of normal FL was quite challenged by heroic FL, not because of the variations in mechanics but because of the greater output requirements.

So all this complaining about "the dance" needs to be taken int he context of normal, heroic, and now LFR raiding modes. You can pick deadly, high performance raiding or you can pick casual, decent performance raiding or you can pick "M&S" low performance raiding.

Riptor said...

@ Kurt: WOTLK had some really great and difficult Fights. We are not talking about difficult expansions but rather Bossfights and their design/impact on raiding .

By the way: LK 25 hc was firstkilled after the 5% buff. Paragon later returned and smacked him with the Buff turned off, but of course, one might argue that they already had the weapons dropped by him and thus were overpowered.. Anyway, LK25hc was a hard fight. Dance and performance wise it is right up there with the other greats (to me at least. I have however heard from friends that still play, that Ragnaros 25hc set the Bar even higher ). Yogg +0 and Mimiron hc were also great, very difficult fights that gave that warm fuzzy feeling when killing them for the first time after hours and hours and hours of wiping.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon - love your blog and I read it daily but your lack Of experience is really showing here. I've been raiding for 8 years now (Everquest and then WoW in 2005) and I've been running a wow guild for the last 4 years.

We run 25 mans and we raid 10 hours a week (3 raids per week of about 3 hours and 15 or so minutes). We did not raid on the PTR at all. We managed to full clear Dragonsoul in only two nights with the final encounter Madness of Deathwing taking only 3 attempts. The Instance is really really forgiving of "dance fails" and undertuned.

You can ignore the purple swirly things on the gunship and still beat it. Heck, once the warmaster comes down half of your raid can die to shockwave and still win. When you wrote that this took your guild 100 attempts I was absolutely shocked.

Just go back and look at EVERY encounter ever - but in context of when they were current! Try and look at what bossmods and resources were available (remember CTRaid Assist?). Every single raid instance had at least a couple boss fights where one person could wipe you.

Onyxia - tail lashed into the eggs by one player could easily wipe the raid, phase 2 deep breath, etc.

Magmadar - fail to tranq shot would kill your tanks (and probably wipe), lots of fire to move from, etc.

Gehennes - Rain of Fire ....

Baron Geddon - if the random person with the Bomb stood in the raid ... Wipe. Not to mention the debuff that burned all of your mana that needed to get dispelled (before addons existed that helped with that)

Vaelestraz - one person with Burning Adrenaline could instant wipe you.

C'thun - one jerk stacking in the wrong spot got your whole raid killed by eye beam. And who can forget the famous "I got ground ruptured into Dark Glare nothing I could do!"

Naxxramas had "dance" on every encounter ... Heigan was literally exclusively that (plus the awesome tunnel of death you got ported into).

Thaddeus - you could run your polarity to the wrong side and kill everyone!

Sapphiron - Deep Breaths where poor ice tomb placement would kill everyone

Kel'thuzad - void zones, again with the Ice Tombs that chained ....

I could do more examples. Every single encounter has them. What it sounds like you want is every single boss to be a big reskinned Target Dummy. Everyone can stand perfectly still and tunnel vision.

Tanks will do what exactly? You often mention that tanks should focus on mitigation .... That has never ever been the mark of a good tank. For all of classic and BC all warriors had to do was mash Shield Block every 5 seconds. The mark of a good tank was simply one who remembered to use Shield Slam and Revenge (and knew how Taunt actually worked). This is still true today. We simply have more defensive buttons (Shield Wall used to be a 30 minute cool down and was rarely used).

You are wrong that encounters do not test DPS and only test "dance." Yes, five mans post nerf do not test dps. Firelands post nerf on normal mode does not test dps. But these are kiddie mode raids designed so trade pugs can beat them. Try the DPS check on pre nerf Heroic Baleroc or even current Heroic Ragnaros with ilevel 403 gear. Heroic Bethtilac has real dps checks on adds and on the boss.

Look at BC ... Fights like Brutallus were Severe DPS checks AND dance. On Brutallus ... You needed everyone to do 90% of optimal dps WHILE paying attention to burn and spacing! Just one person being clueless with Burn could instant wipe the raid.

If every boss is the way you want it - I wouldnt play this game. Raiding would be ridiculously boring. If you want to write about Inscription or Euro Politics that's cool but please don't make these sweeping generalizations about things where you have very little experience.

Anonymous said...

I think the Gevlon is generally correct that there are more dance elements and more emphasis on the dance elements being the source of difficulty in Cataclysm.

However I do think that he exaggerates the degree of the change. (though, not, I think, deliberately, more selection bias)

For example, let's assume a 1 to 10 scale.
1: fight requiring perfect DPS/HPS/mitigation, but no dance moves at all (pure tank and spank)
10: you can down the boss with white damage and a few hots, but if everyone isn't in the right place at exactly the right times, you wipe

To hear Gevlon tell it, Vanilla was a "2" and Cataclysm is an "8" on this scale.

But I think the truth is more like we've moved from a "4" to a "6".

Andrei said...

I don't quite agree that "dance heavy" boss fights were result of catering to the top guilds. It just a natural evolution of the Blizzard's game design philosophy with focus on class balance and homogenization. Dance is class neutral - it is "bring the player on the class" idea in its extreme. Vanilla and to a degree BC raiding was based on a different aproach. Players (at least successfull raiders) were expected to understand their class unique strengths and challenges and be able to leverage/mitigate them. It went beyond basic dps/hps execution. In order to defeat the boss you were also expected to decurse, dispell, interrupt, crowd control and manage threat or mana. There were some dance elements but they were for the most part secondary fight mechanics. In other words you had to know all your class abilities really well and use them close to perfection on the most difficult boss fights. This created huge class imbalance problems and forced Blizzard to change their design philosophy in later expansions.

Brian said...

To make a few points here. I started in BC and made it up to Felmyst pre-nerf.
-A lot of classic and BC fight jokes were dance fights but not focused on the dance where only a few people had to do their thing. Some of the bosses were simply dps checks and had no dance at all. Void reaver had a dance but was such a joke that he was renamed loot reaver. I don't think that a boss has been as simple as he was until Morchok.
-Because of the way some fights were tuned, even hardcore progression raiders didn't get to see some fights until they were on serious farm status simply because of raid stacking. Sunwell pre-nerf was ridiculous. There was 1 fight that required so much healing that I think 9 out 25 players had to be a healing spec and the VERY NEXT boss required so much dps that you could only bring 5 healers (my numbers might be off, I seem to remember that the world first used 11 healers not 9 but I didn't fact check). And this was all before dual-spec. Add to that if you weren't a resto shaman, you weren't getting an invite to muru as a healer.

Let's take brutallus because you seem to love it so much as an example boss. Brutallus was a guild killer - the dps requirements were 101% above BT level gear and the mechanics on it so tight that 1 idiot running through the raid with fire was a wipe. There were serious dance moves on brut, and moves affecting EVERY raider at random, not just a few people. Look at the original strat for it - a "burn" pit with dedicated healers, 2 "spread out the perfect amount of yardage" groups for his frontal aoe, and then people who had the debuff needed to make it out without coming in contact with anyone else. BRUTALlus indeed. (FYI I loved the fight, it was amazing).
As a last example, let's take Shannox normal - a dance fight but one where only about 3 people need to know how to dance, both tanks and a healer. Other than that, it's simply staying out of the traps for everyone else. Certainly you don't consider that a dance, do you? Staying out of the fire is a time honored wow tradition, not a dance mechanic.

To me, a good mix of both types of fights are fantastic. Ultraxion combines a healthy dose of "everyone has to be on their toes" with "95% dps requirement".

My biggest pet peeve with 4.3... Do we actually fight deathwing? Sure doesn't feel like it. As a tank, every other dragon I have faced, including nefarion BWL edition, I've in their face, mono a mono (with 9, 24, or 39 other people there), and in these 2 expansion-capping fights all I get to do are kite adds. WTF.

Steel said...

well, at least they catered to the 0.01%. I felt some perverse pleasure reading the tears that Paragon and Method were posting on manaflask around T11:

"All in all, this tier of raiding in my opinion has been the hardest tier of raiding overall. There haven’t been many pushover bosses on Heroic difficulty, there hasn’t been any gating, there haven’t been any attunements and such - it has just been one big absolutely brutal grind."

More tears from Method:

"I never imagined the progress length of tier 11 content to be so long. The bosses were very challenging with the gear we had available at that point. It became obvious after the first week of hard modes that progress would take a long time. You needed loads of gear to get past several bosses that you simply couldn’t do with a full blue-geared raid, and other bosses that required a fairly good geared raid to get beaten (Ascendant Council, phase 3 anyone?). I would welcome a gating system or just the fights to be generally a bit easier and more doable with less gear. Not easy to the level that Naxxramas 25 was, but something closer to Sartharion 3 drakes I’d say."

'Not easy to the level that Naxxramas 25 was' Noooo, you don't say! Can I 'l.o.l. @ noobs' just a bit here Gevlon?

Bristal said...

I spent almost 3 hours last night wiping on deathwing in LFR. Maybe 5 original players stuck with it the whole way.

So much rage and hate and some mass desertions, and I kept thinking, isn't this what raiding is like in a guild?

I loved it. I was freaking raiding on my own schedule and learning a great fight. Sure it was frustrating, so is golf but I don't throw a tantrum and stalk off the course after a bad round. Well, maybe once.

Holy crap we're pugging the brand new end boss of an expansion and people are raging that it's not going like a random heroic. It's a complicated damn encounter and it takes PRACTICE.

I'm just not sure what the problem is. Lack of patience in learning a complex encounter (dance?) is the definition of slacker to me.

Perhaps people just can't stand that their outcome may be tied to other's performance? Well guess what? My outcome is also tied to YOUR performance so focus on your own damn job or give some constructive analysis instead of casting blame.

Chad said...

Using your terminology, do you think it is a feasible design to have the LFR raid design be like WotLK (cater to the M&S), the heroic raid design be like Cata (cater to the top 0.01%), and the normal raids design be the "right" way (catering to the rest of us)?

Rodos said...

I feel a lot like Gevlon does here. I think normal modes would be better served by turning the complexity level down closer to LFR, but increasing the output (and/or gear) requirements somewhat from where they currently are.

The fights in DS, and many in FL also, feel far too binary. You wipe and wipe while every person in your raid learns the movement and timing (and fixes their UI to actually show all the extra boss-specific bits that have been added), then suddenly you win and after that it feels trivial and there's no incentive to get better at playing your class or gear up. I think it feels more fun to actually progress against a boss - getting further before the enrage comes, or the healers go OOM - by actually improving your character. WoW is an RPG, my character's power should be the most relevant factor, not my reaction time as a player.

GrayzBDF said...

Very interesting comments. I'll play WoW as I see fit. LFR when I have lack of time, normals when my guild can do some runs and heroics with The PuG when I feel comfortable enough. I haven't been playing for months so I don't know if The PuG even does hard modes anymore. If not, i'll come up with another solution on my main's realm. Thanks to LFR I can now spend less time grinding for gear and see more of the endgame. The plan is simply to see the content thru all perspectives; M&S, Casual, Hardcore.

Reading that Method and paragon thought it was hard felt good. If I raided at that level that's exactly what i'd want. No one killing LK pre nerf is also interesting.

I raided in TBC and i've been against hard modes since i'd rather have new content, but after almost two expansions i've opened myself to the possibilities; Hard modes most likely bring back that TBC feel, with a new twist? Oh well, good discussions!