On Tuesday, I post a quick response to the blue announcement about the 4.2 nerfage. At the time, I had just skimmed and was musing about how the details would shape up. Since then, it seems like a lot of e-words have been written about the subject, both for and against the change. I guess I didn't realize it was going to be a hot topic.
Since it apparently is, I wanted to go a little more in depth about my feelings.
First of all, I guess I wanted to point out that there are several changes coming that are effectively nerfing raid content. The blogosphere seems mostly focus on the 20% boss nerf, which is only one small part. This is a very important fact when one begins to debate development strategies. Blizzard is not simply pursuing one avenue de nerfage, they seem to be pulling out all the stops.
One could argue that a small effective nerf already happened with the release of the Zx instances and the change from daily to weekly Valor Point rewards. Together, these improve the average level of gear across the board. I was all for that routing. In fact, I am still for it as proposed in 4.2. Make no mistake, gear levels will rise as a result of the release of T12 gear, and the availability of T11 gear gets shifted down for us. Such a change was expected, I think, all along, and is most welcome.
So far, in Cataclysm, I like how they've done gearing. The stat changes seem well thought out. The speed with which you gear up from greens, to blues, to purples is actually distinct and meaningful. Sometimes it might seem a bit slow, but I'll trade speed for satisfaction any day of the week (to a certain reasonable extent).
I would even go so far as to argue that we've got a good, healthy spread of guilds progressing through content. The bleeding edge might find itself a bit bored, and those of us that have struggled with time concerns feel a bit rushed, but you can't please everyone. The approach so far seems pretty fair to me.
The issue I take with the proposed changes for 4.2 is that it seems like they're trying to fix something that isn't broken. Yes, I'm talking specifically about the 20% nerf that feels like it was simply tossed in on top of the pre-existing flow strategies. And I have to ask: Why the rush?
The articles I've read that have been "for" this 20% nerf seem to revolve around the common theme of "raid tourism." That is, they seem to think it's a smart decision for Blizzard to encourage everyone to burn through "outdated" content as fast as possible. Why linger? The new hotness is here! (Get it? Firelands. New Hotness. HA.) Yet, to me, it seems like they're needlessly taking a strategy that is already working (namely: a successfully paced gear progression path) and throwing more on top of it. In addition, they're completely ignoring the lessons learned in Wrath (namely: the success of the ICC stacking buff).
I guess, at the end of the day, I simply don't agree with forcibly nerfing all of the previous raid content for everyone. Especially when there exists such a simple, proven alternative. Granted, maybe some bosses need a slight tweak to an ability or two, that'd be fine, but an across the board nerf? Why not turn that into an across the board, de-clickable buff. What's the difference? What am I missing here? Let each raid group choose. Furthermore, why start at 20%? Speaking from a casual raid group that generally brings up the rear in terms of staying in when we down bosses, the ICC buff added an extra element of fun and challenge to that raid.
It was great. It was like every two weeks there was another push to "get this guy down before the buff increases." It gave us natural, mini-meta goals to shoot for. It helped us parse out the long raid. And 5% always seemed like just enough to get us over that next hump. We'd down a few more bosses, hit the next progression wall, and struggle to try to Beat the Buff. It was awesome, made even moreso by our success at finishing the content prior to the expansion (just barely).
We also used to click off the buff on "farm" nights. I know that sounds crazy, but by the time you were near the end of ICC, you so overgeared the first wing that it was a joke. It provided another fun mini-goal to try bosses without the buff as you gained the grace of gear.
Why are we throwing this idea to the Gilneans? If they wanted to be at 20% now, why not start with 5% increments two months ago? Why not let the nerf be a choice in the form of a buff? Isn't that a lot closer to "pleasing everyone" than forcing an unneeded change down our throats?
In response to the raiding tourist crowd, there have to be better ways to accomplish the goal of seeing the content than this. The buff is one idea. Simple gearing should help. It's like we're killing a fly with a sledgehammer here. I like the old squishy nerf bats, not this new Fel on your Face version. And I see a good many people out there that agree with me.
At the end of the day, I just don't get it. Hopefully, this is just PTR shenanigans that won't make it live like this. Stranger things have been known to happen. It's also not the end of the world if it does go live, it will just sort of cheapen the experience we've fought tooth and nail to create. You'll still find us in Firelands, one way or the other, we just might be a little grouchier and untempered this way.
And trust me, you don't want to subject untempered metal to extreme pressure. (Then again, maybe that's why they went solely with the fire theme).
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