It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

Posted: 28 April, 2010 in Cataclysm, Raiding
Tags: , ,

It seems to me that amidst all the various Cataclysm announcements, folks are getting stuff awfully out of context with the upcoming changes to classes and raids.  It’s probably worth bearing in mind a few things before we run screaming to the forums to proclaim the end of the world.

1.  Very little in the way of actual fact has yet been announced.  At best all we can determine from the scraps we’ve thus far been fed, is a broad idea of the general direction in which Blizzard intend the game to go.

2.  We can surmise that healing’s going to be less stressful and more fun.  We aren’t going to have to spam our biggest heals on the tanks just to stop them from dying, as they’re almost never going to be in a situation where not getting healed for three seconds means tank death.  Similarly, a dps class isn’t going to get one-shotted if they take too long getting out of The Fire.  I forget who the quote came from, but it went something like this: “I couldn’t keep everyone on full health at the same time, but once I realised that I didn’t need to and no-one was in danger of dying because they weren’t on 100% all the time, I started to relax and have fun.”

3.  Tanking’s going to be more…  well… let’s use the word “interesting” for now until we see where we end up.  The days of running into a pack of mobs and just rounding them all up and AoEing them all down are very likely to be over.  Possibly because tanks won’t have the tools to maintain AoE aggro so easily, possibly because a healer isn’t going to be able to keep a tank up under that kind of onslaught without cooldowns being used, more likely due to a combination of both.   My only concern is that we’ll end up going back to the bad old days where tanks developed carpal tunnel syndrome from the stress of having to swap targets and sunder so often on every single pull because that was the only way to generate enough threat on everything.  But Blizzard are good at this and they’ve been there before.  I remain cautiously optimistic.

4.  As a result of 2 and 3 above, Crowd Control will be making a comeback, and this scares people because facerolling is a lot easier and faster.  Unlucky, bub.  Time to dust off those crowd control buttons and learn how to play your class.  This is going to be a dealbreaker for a lot of people because for a long time there hasn’t been any reason to need to learn how to crowd control.   Not our fault, if it’s easier and faster to zerg, we’re going to zerg.  Simple as that.  Therefore Blizzard are going to make sure the zerging will be fatal, so it’ll be easier and faster to use crowd control and focus fire.  We’ll still end up doing whatever’s easier and faster because that’s how people roll.  All that’s going to change is what is easier and faster.  Zerging and corpse running, or doing it properly the first time?

Other than points 1 to 4 above, we know exactly zip about the details of what’s coming in Cataclysm other than some ideas and hints about how we’re going to get there.  Anything else in the various class previews is subject to change, and the only thing you can lay money on is that anything idly mentioned by a blue that contradicts the four bullet points mentioned above is something that’s probably not going to happen, or at the very least, not survive in its current form.

Having said that, the recent announcement about 10 and 25 man raiding does have me wondering.  Short version for those living under a rock for the last 24 hours is this: Killing a boss in a 10 man raid locks you out of doing that boss again in 25 man.  10 and 25 raid loot will be exactly the same but more will drop in 25s.

Take a second to let that sink in.  Ready?  Okay, first of all, this fixes a genuine problem that Blizzard found themselves in as Icecrown was getting close.  Incremental gear upgrades from all the tiers and half tiers of content preceding Icecrown left them with tanks who had so much health and avoidance that the only way they could balance encounters to be actually challenging was to either have bosses hitting so hard that tanks could be two-shotted if they went three seconds without a heal, or to implement an avoidance debuff like Chill of the Throne to get things back on an even keel.  Obviously option 1 was ludicrous, so they went with option 2, but it was a band aid, pure and simple.  Since Wrath hit the shelves there has effectively been well over a dozen tiers of gear taking into account 10 man versions, hard mode loot and 25 man normal and heroic versions of raids.  Much more than the simple Tier 7, 8, 9 and 10 labels would have you think.  With this change, they can throttle that back to one effective tier of gear for every patch, instead of two or three.  This is a good thing because it means they can plan future patches and raids much more effectively.

However, it raises several questions, first and foremost being, who the hell would want to put themselves through the 25 man grinder when they can raid 10 man instead and get exactly the same loot out of it?  I’ll put my had up right now and admit I don’t actually like raiding 25 mans all that much.  There’s a lot of pressure to perform, it’s easier to screw up and a lot more stressful.  I raid 25 mans because there’s better loot, simple as that.  Take away the better loot and you take away my incentive.  Of course, part of this is because raiding 10 mans is easier.  No, don’t argue, you’re wrong.  It is easier.  Does Lady Deathwhisper do Mind Control in 10 man normal mode?  No she doesn’t.  Is there more space to spread 8 healers and dps around on Blood Queen or 23 healers and dps in the same space?  It’s easier.  Fact.  It doesn’t make you a second class citizen because you’re only doing 10 man raids, but we need to agree that you’re doing easier raiding.  Not easy.  Easier.

Is it going to be easier in Cataclysm?  Blizzard are aiming for it not to be, and that’s going to take some careful balancing but I’m pretty confident that they can do it.  This is part of what’s driving their spreading around of the dispel mechanics and things like giving paladins an aoe heal at last – bring the player, not the class, again.  By the way, I love what they’re doing with paladins and the aoe heal “aura” for want of a better word.  Holy Paladins wear more armour than the USS Missouri, get them into melee where they belong and let them heal from there! Stop standing at the back with the sissy robe wearers!  Get stuck in, you’re paladins!

So in a nutshell, we really need to stop looking at everything that’s on the drawing board from our current perspective and complaining about it for two very good reasons.  What’s being proposed might suck if it was imposed on your class today, but in the context of a Cataclysm raid it may make perfect sense.  And since none of us are playing Cataclysm yet we’ve got no context to claim we understand how the proposed changes are going to actually affect us.  So until we do get a bit of context (and that ain’t going to happen until right before Cataclysm ships and we get the patch with the new talent trees anyway) we might all do well to chug on a nice hot cup of shut the fuck up until we actually know what we’re talking about.

So it is the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine.

But you’ll take my Tree form off me over my cold dead body!

  1. Andy says:

    “…we really need to stop looking at everything that’s on the drawing board from our current perspective and complaining about it for two very good reasons. What’s being proposed might suck if it was imposed on your class today, but in the context of a Cataclysm raid it may make perfect sense. And since none of us are playing Cataclysm yet we’ve got no context to claim we understand how the proposed changes are going to actually affect us.”


    Honestly, I’ve read a ton of QQing about the proposed changes and how they’ll suck, based on wrong-context reasoning.

    • Calli says:

      I do always try to keep some perspective and look on the positive side. It’s been hard, playing as I did a Mage in The Burning Crusade, but I try. 😉

  2. David says:

    the statement about 10’s being easier is painful as a full-time 10’s raider and a part-time 25’s raider to read. I will agree, that most fights, from a logistical point of view are easier on 10’s than 25’s when it comes to things like positioning. But taken as a whole, 10’s are of equal difficulty to 25’s when done in the gear that drops from them.

    Sadly, most people’s experience with 10’s is doing them in a mixture of 25 gear from the previous and the current tier, if not almost fully in the current tier. What this means is they are essentially fighting down 1-2 tiers. So sure, in that situation, 10’s are a heck of a lot easier. Its like saying that naxx is easier than ToC. Of COURSE it is, because it was tuned for players with a lower ilvl gear.

    If you step foot into a 10-man raid wearing tier-appropriate gear I have a distinct feeling you will change your mind about the difficulty of the raid. Furthermore, there are plenty of challenges that 10-man raiders face that 25’s do not. So yes, positioning is GENERALLY easier in 10’s, but there are fights when it is not. Blood Princes is a good example, in 10’s, each tank and dps is only in range of 1 healer most of the time simply because the ONLY 2 healers must spread out to cover the room, whereas in 25’s the healers can more effectively blanket the room.

    Another example would be simply the ratio of dps to the rest of the raid, losing 2 people in a 10, for any reason, death, movement, in-game mechanics such as spikes or whatever is like losing a whole group of 5 in 25’s.

    So yes, I would agree that 10’s are easier than 25’s in the way that naxx is easier than ToC simply because a majority of people running them overgear them.

    I would go so far as to venture a guess that since people cannot run 10’s in gear higher than what the raid was designed for, people will find that 25’s are indeed easier, once the playing field is level.

    • Calli says:

      See, this is what i love about blogging, the quality of the comments. 🙂

      I realise that the issue of 10 mans vs 25 mans is a very contentious one, and when I say 10 mans are easier I mean purely from the perspective that certain of the boss fight mechanics are simplified purely to make doing them with 10 players possible. I certainly by no means am saying that 10 man raids are easymode, far from it. I do raid 10 mans with tier-appropriate gear on my alts (and have a lot of fun doing it!), and they’re far from easy, I can’t disagree with you there. But if they had exactly the same mechanics as the 25 man versions, with the bosses hitting as hard and having as much health, we have to admit that they’d be a lot harder in most cases. Of course they’re not going to have that much health or hit as hard because they’re tuned for people in gear appropriate to the instance, which is the whole point, and why they hit harder in 25 mans. From that perspective there’s certainly no difference between the two raids in relative difficulty. In absolute difficulty, yes, but relatively they’re exactly the same. The only real difference becomes the extra mechanics that are present in some 25 man fights, and that’s the ONLY thing that makes them harder.

      Luckily for everyone, this is going away completely in Cataclysm. The ONLY difference between a 10 and a 25 man raider will be the mumber of people in their raids. This can only be a good thing for the 10 man raid teams.

  3. Manxome says:

    Excellent article and I plan to link to it in our guild forums as a well-thought summary of what the changes don’t mean and seem to indicate as a direction for Cataclysm.

    As a 10 man raider, I have to (begrudgingly) agree with your assessment of the 10 man’s being easier (but not *easy*). I’d like to point out, however, that my experience was that the early raids (Naxx and Ulduar) the shoe seemed to be on the other foot. With the gear available, it seemed that the 25’s were more forgiving and the 10’s hinged on the more-stressful individuals getting it right.

    A reasonable explanation for this also points out another problem that should be fixed by the 10/25 convergence of gear: namely that balancing the challenge when gear from the OTHER run may or may not be available is quite difficult. It is obvious that the ICC25 encounters have mechanics that don’t exist in the 25’s and that significantly ups the challenge there. But I suspect most 10’s (certainly ours) have many members running with 25 man gear and that puts the encounter balancing out of whack and makes it easier.

    I would think that converging the two allows for a more consistent experience at both raid levels throughout this next expansion and makes things significantly easier to balance.

    • Calli says:

      Yes, can’t find fault with anything you said, very good points all round and I agree whole-heartedly. One example that I like to use about this relative difficulty between 10s and 25s where the shoe is most definitely on the other foot, is Sartharion 3D, done the proper way, not zerging it. Sarth3D was an order of magnitude harder in 10s than it was in 25s, even with 25man gear, simply because with 10 people you just don’t have enough warm bodies to do everything that needed to be done. You needed three tanks and three healers which left only 4 dps who had to do a job that really needed 5 or 6 dps to do it safely. A hellishly difficult fight in 10s, not that it was easy in 25s, but it was far more forgiving.

  4. Kurnak says:

    I disagree on 10mans being easier. Sure, easier to organize the party and position the people, bosses have simplified (not that much) strats… but, and this is a very big but, you can’t afford losing people, specially a healer or the OT. Make the slighties mistake and you can just give up and wipe. Remember the old times what happened if OT died in Kel’Thuzad encounter during p3… now a single tank can resist both KT and the scarabs thanks to overgearing (I did it with my warrior and his prot gear is not that great). Imagine losing the OT on ToC Worms or Jaraxxus.
    I agree on bringing holy pallies to the front, in fact I wrote some time ago a post about that. Also I like the idea of the paladin smithing foes in the line of scrimmage and not jus standing at the back like a priest in sissy robe (oh hello Tam!). I never tried it, but I read the paladin in WAR needs to hit mobs in order to get power to cast heals. That’s a paladin!

    • Calli says:

      At the risk of repeating my replies to the earlier comments above, I still say that there are elements of 25 mans that are relatively harder than the equivalent 10 man raids. But the point is that any further differences are going away in Cataclysm, which has got to be good news for 10 man raiders.

      I like the concept of paladins in Warhammer, would love to see a similar mechanic in Wow if possible. Blizzard aren’t above stealing ideas from other games, they just tend to make them better than the original!

  5. dwism says:

    Great post.
    I do not agree with you on the hardness of 10 v 25, but I think that has been debated strongly already in the comments.

    I would not be me, if that would make me shut up, however…
    zero LK hard on 10 manned in appropriate gear
    nine LK hard on 25 in appropriate gear.

    having said that, I think that this will strengthen both 10 and 25 manned raiding.

    Hopefully the lock between the two will be of bosses and not instances. From what I’ve read it’s instances. Fingers crossed you are right!

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