So as a follow up to Majicman’s talk on LFR (and slightly on Vanilla servers) I thought I would expand on the situation and talk about raiding as a whole.
Number or raids and raid bosses:
Right now raiding in WoD is three raids and four world bosses. Now that might not look like much but when it comes down to it, WoD actually has more raid bosses than Cataclysm. In the three raids WoD produced thirty four raid bosses (Not counting different difficulty levels) while Cataclysm produced thirty one. Now this is not an argument about quality of boss fights which is subjective on the person or the status of non raid content, in which Cataclysm clearly had more and produced more as time went on. (For the record every other expansion had more raid bosses).
Now the reason why I am talking about both WoD and Cataclysm is that when it comes to raids they are similar in overall boss amount. It is the amount of different raids that brings the argument. Is two large and one medium size raid better than four medium and one small. For me the answer is that I would have preferred perhaps BRF and HFC to have both been split into two raids. Even if each raid both has wings which you could choose your direction, more so in BRF since HFC does have a linearity to it. Having them in different instances does give more of a perception that there is more to do and gives people a choice on how to progress, just like in the first tier of Cataclysm where you had three raids and a choice in which to go in. Also a shout out to Highmaul for bringing back optional bosses. Sometimes I think that can work wonders in a raid.
Ok here comes the big topic. The difficulty of the raid itself. For me every expansion the raids have become more complex and difficult. While I am not talking about LFR (Which I feel hit their sweet spot in MoP), comparing present day difficulty levels with their previous counter parts (Flex > Normal, Normal > Heroic, Heroic > Mythic) I feel that generally difficulty has increased.
This also comes about by looking at mechanics from old raids to present day. Even up to ICC you had bosses that had very little to do mechanics wise, though there are some nice unique bosses (Dreamwalker.) many others could be considered little more than tank and spank. Blizzard themselves have brought this up indicating they do not make raids anymore without having the thought that everyone and their mother goes into the raid instance with raid addons like DBM or weak auras etc. I say compare Archimonde Hyjal to Archimonde HFC. HFC Archimonde has more mechanics and more that can one shot than his Hyjal counterpart. Now I know people will say “But we can breeze through HFC, we couldn’t with BT or Hyjal back in the day.” and I will address this argument.
This leads on to an issue, has raiding become too complex, also are there too many difficulty levels? For me the answer is eeeh maybe. I can understand the argument on both sides but in the end I feel I fall on the no side. Not that I ask for more difficulty levels I just feel that people can progress at their own pace, take a game series I have loved since the Civilization series. Back during Civ 1 and 2 era I was young and stuck with Chieftain, my father a much better player at a much higher level. We both enjoyed the game, while I kept low maybe heading to warlord, he kept going up until he was at Emperor/Deity.
After growing up a bit more for me a new difficulty level in a game meant something new, even if the game was generally the same, it felt like I was seeing newer content. In Civ I was now pushing the Prince and King levels. In Resident Evil I was going for the pushing for the most difficult levels. Hell I even did Silent Hill 3 in highest puzzle and monster difficulty. The latter I don’t suggest unless you have the complete works of Shakespeare. But that is how I see difficulty levels with raids, but I still understand the people that think “I’ve done it on Normal I’ve done it all.” even if I don’t agree with it.
A small word on LFR though. I know how some people hate it and consider it a poison to the game. But the fact of LFR is that as big as wow got, Blizzard could not legitimize the costs of building raids without LFR. Making parts of a game in which only 5-10% of the playerbase sees is bad for business. With also no other means of fighting iconic enemies like
Mythic mode also brings in an issue. A lot of guilds claim to have been hurt by making it 20 man only (Paragon). I personally think 20 man was the best number they could go with. Having two different sizes have a problem. Mythics by and large need to be perfectly balanced and a one size is the best way to do it. Not only that but Blizzard didn’t make mythic mode without warning. Raiding teams had a full year (Actually 14 months) to prepare. There really was no excuse.
Catch up mechanics:
The big one, the one I feel has split the player base. Arguments on both sides raging from there should be none and that players should go through each raid as a progression even if they come in late. To one person on a certain fan forum screaming that full mythic gear with every tier item and trinkets should be available almost free over world. The latter of course is ridiculous the former I feel has merit but is flawed.
As much as I feel a person should see every raid, I understand how not having catch up mechanics can hurt teams. Tanks were poached quite often as well as healers or even the person you geared up. Not just that but bringing in a friend into the game would mean they would need to be geared too. So for me there does need to be catch up mechanics, but a sensible one. Even WoD catch up was too high, too fast. I was able once I reached level one hundred to get to 707 ilevel within a couple days. That’s essentially out gearing normal HFC which is far too high, far too fast. Yes I will admit that is pvp gear but knowing the secondaries I needed I was able to pick my gear outside of trinkets, which I was able to find in one extra day.
So what should happen? Well I feel each raid catch up should give gear just below the normal difficulty ilevel linked behind dailies and other out world farming, VP from dungeons. The gear should be of decent secondaries as well. But tier and main trinkets should remain within the raids, without them as loot from bosses the reward structure is just too easy. The carrot and stick if you will.
This also brings in to the “We can breeze through x raid now.” with the over powered rewards you can easily out gear normal and maybe even heroic HFC excluding tiers and trinkets, making it so certain mechanics are not necessary. While if you did normal HFC in a team full of normal BRF gear it would be a higher level of difficulty.
In conclusion I feel while the raids themselves in HFC are as good as they ever have been, outside instances have put them below what they were in MoP. Too easy catch up mechanics making essentially everything up to latter end normal HFC trivial has hurt the raiding scene. With different ways to gear up in Legion it seems that it could turn around once again. Especially with Blizzard hinting at a 3 tier expansion coming up. So there is hope again.
Agree/Disagree comment below