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Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby theckhd » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:19 am

Darielle wrote:I have no doubt that they "tried" to give endgame raiders a challenge by pushing the limits on DPS requirements as much they felt they could get away with. They always do that, and they always plan on adjusting stuff down later. That's been true as far back as I can remember, and even predates institionalised nerfs, and this tier most of all had people who had access to so many Legendary casters and stuff like that.

I'm meaning more in the sense that they didn't actually make the fights ridiculously hard the way they "overtuned" Rag or Spine relative to the rest of the instance, or "overtuned" Baleroc/Staghelm health on 25-man in a way that required them to adjust HP on that version and shouldn't have happened if they'd just used a calculator. Yor'sahj on 25-man release was overtuned, and warranted a hotfix almost immediately. Zon'ozz? He wasn't a pushover, but his dps and healing requirements weren't out of line.


I never said they were tuning them to be impossible. All of the encounters were killable with 0%, as is evidenced by the fact that many of the top guilds did kill them. But the tuning was incredibly tight compared to what they have done for instances which didn't have a progressive nerf system in place. And the only reason the tuning was that tight is because the progressive nerf system was planned ahead of time.

Note also that this applies more to the later bosses of the instance than the earlier ones. There has to be a few bosses that more average guilds can work on during the first month or two before the nerfs. And I think Hagara was mistakenly undertuned compared to where she should have been for 25's. But my guess is that it's true for Ultraxion onwards.

If it weren't for the progressive nerfs, all four of those last bosses would have been tuned to be about 10% easier, give or take. The first four would also have been adjusted to keep the difficulty curve smooth, but may not have needed as significant a nerf. Players who want challenging content should be in favor of the progressive nerf system, because it's the only way that Blizzard can give you multiple bosses per tier that give you the challenge you're after while still keeping their completion targets.

Also note that it's tough to gauge 10-man tuning, because it's clear they don't tune around having a perfect group comp (even though they should). So there's a much bigger variance in how easy a 10-man fight seems based on the class and buff/debuff composition of the groups attempting it.

It sounds like you're saying that you found the instance relatively well-tuned, not overtuned by 10%. That's not the same thing as what I'm saying, though - the difficulty might have been perfectly tuned for you and your guild. But your guild (or mine, or Lieris', etc.) is not the average guild they tune around, either, and we know they're not designing content with the expectation of less than 1-2% completion rate on heroic. They've flat-out said that before.

Some statistics:
Dragon Soul: there were 128 worldwide heroic Madness kills before the nerfs (Jan 31) compared to around ~7900 Yor'sahj kills and ~3500 Zon'ozz kills (and something ludicrous like 17k Morchok kills - 0.75%). That's less than 2% of the subset of guilds that could kill heroic Yor'sahj. Let's be generous and say we had 2 months to work on DS (December and January) before the nerfs.
Firelands: In the first two months of Firelands (July, August), around 75 guilds killed heroic Ragnaros, out of ~1500 that were capable of killing heroic Beth'tilac and around ~4500 capable of heroic Ryolith (Shannox was around 9k - 0.8%).
Now let's look at T11, which didn't have massive raid-wide nerfs. There were 115 guilds that killed Heroic Nef by March 1st, compared to 2000 H. Atramedes kills and 3500 H. Chimaeron kills (between 3% and 5% completion rate). There were 75 heroic Cho'gall kills by March 1st, compared to 214 H. V&T kills, a massive 35% completion rate (there were 7k Halfus kills in that period - a 1% completion rate compared to the farm boss).
T8(25): 37 One-light kills by June 15th, 466 Orbituary kills by the same date (8%), ~790 Lose Your Illusion kills (4.7%), 1232 This Cache Was Rare kills (3%, though keep in mind I think the health nerf pre-dated Jun. 15th).

In other words, heroic completion rates in the first two months before the nerfs were significantly lower than in T11 or T8(25). That's not a coincidence.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Rhiannon » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:45 am

That's almost entirely due to spine though.

And in general I don't see those statistics as particularly relevant. Ok, a lot of the guilds that were able to kill V&T heroic were able to kill Cho'gall heroic, but that's because V&T heroic was pretty damn hard initially. Pre-nerf V&T was harder than Cho'gall, so it's hardly surprising that a larger proportion of guilds that could kill it early could get Cho'gall down.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby theckhd » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:05 am

The V&T statistic is obviously highly inflated thanks to the difficulty of V&T pre-nerf. But all of the other statistics show a 3-5% completion rate, nearly double what we're seeing in pre-nerf FL or DS.

I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, the other reason I'm pretty sure they're doing this is that Greg Street told us as much when Mel and I talked with him at BlizzCon. I was going to try and keep that out of the conversation, but it's not exactly a secret since I've already blogged about it. And I can't realistically claim to be able to quote him on anything, since I was a little tipsy already by that point. But here's a rough paraphrasing of the conversation:

One of the things that Mel was drunkenly ranting at GC about was how terrible the sudden Firelands nerfs were. GC said that basically they agreed, and that future nerfs would be done more like the ICC buff - slowly and predictably. But he said they definitely wanted to have some sort of nerf system, because it allowed them to put some significantly harder encounters in place for the top guilds, while not putting those same encounters completely out of reach for more average guilds.

Based on that conversation, I can almost guarantee that this is what they're doing. Without the nerfs, guilds like yours would be clearing the place in the first week and complaining about how easy the content while the bulk of the subscriber base smashes their heads against a wall, gets frustrated, and unsubs. With the nerfs, they give you guys challenging content to work on for a few weeks, while still giving the weaker guilds a chance to progress and eventually kill the tough bosses at a more reasonable tuning level.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby benebarba » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:25 am

theckhd wrote:The V&T statistic is obviously highly inflated thanks to the difficulty of V&T pre-nerf. But all of the other statistics show a 3-5% completion rate, nearly double what we're seeing in pre-nerf FL or DS.

I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, the other reason I'm pretty sure they're doing this is that Greg Street told us as much when Mel and I talked with him at BlizzCon. I was going to try and keep that out of the conversation, but it's not exactly a secret since I've already blogged about it. And I can't realistically claim to be able to quote him on anything, since I was a little tipsy already by that point. But here's a rough paraphrasing of the conversation:

One of the things that Mel was drunkenly ranting at GC about was how terrible the sudden Firelands nerfs were. GC said that basically they agreed, and that future nerfs would be done more like the ICC buff - slowly and predictably. But he said they definitely wanted to have some sort of nerf system, because it allowed them to put some significantly harder encounters in place for the top guilds, while not putting those same encounters completely out of reach for more average guilds.

Based on that conversation, I can almost guarantee that this is what they're doing. Without the nerfs, guilds like yours would be clearing the place in the first week and complaining about how easy the content while the bulk of the subscriber base smashes their heads against a wall, gets frustrated, and unsubs. With the nerfs, they give you guys challenging content to work on for a few weeks, while still giving the weaker guilds a chance to progress and eventually kill the tough bosses at a more reasonable tuning level.


I just wanted to chime into say that I find it equal parts hilarious and awesome how many bloggers who talk with blizz folks preceed things with something like 'we were pretty tipsy by this point, and this is what I'm pretty sure happened'.

That said, if they actually continue to use the ramping nerf idea (as in they do it for all the tiers in MoP, rather than flop back and forth), I have a feeling folks may have slightly different opinions of it (granted I doubt the complaints will ever cease) at the end of the expansion. It's one thing when it seems like it comes out of nowhere, or is a 'duh, it's the last tier! Of course we get a nerfwell radiance!', but another thing when it's simply how things are designed to actually provide challenging content to a very wide base of players.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Rhiannon » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:51 am

However you look at it, pre-nerf spine was a massive outlier compared to the rest of the instance. We killed every other boss in the instance in at most 10-15 hours, most in under 5, Spine we were stuck on for 3-4 resets. We're not one of the ultra hardcore 40 hour/week during progression guilds (generally we stick with 5 x 5-6 hour raids), we didn't have an alt roster full of legendaries, and still we were 6/8 8 days after heroics became available. Madness would have admittedly been somewhat more difficult without the extra resets of gear we had to farm to down Spine, and yes, ok they achieved the effect of not allowing guilds to clear it in the first week by making one encounter require an utterly absurd dps profile compared to the rest of the instance, but tuning the knobs on one encounter out of eight does not really equate to making lots of hard encounters and then gradually nerfing them. Dragon Soul and Firelands progression were both pretty unsatisfying in my opinion, both tiers only particularly difficult due to one encounter (ok, Baleroc first/second reset was pretty tough on 25) with very little difficulty ramp up prior to that. Tier 11 had a lot of difficult encounters, admittedly some very broken ones too, but it was a lot more interesting because it wasn't a case of zerging through a bunch of fairly straightforward encounters and then hitting a wall on one encounter.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby theckhd » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:20 am

Rhiannon wrote:However you look at it, pre-nerf spine was a massive outlier compared to the rest of the instance. We killed every other boss in the instance in at most 10-15 hours, most in under 5, Spine we were stuck on for 3-4 resets. We're not one of the ultra hardcore 40 hour/week during progression guilds (generally we stick with 5 x 5-6 hour raids), we didn't have an alt roster full of legendaries, and still we were 6/8 8 days after heroics became available. Madness would have admittedly been somewhat more difficult without the extra resets of gear we had to farm to down Spine, and yes, ok they achieved the effect of not allowing guilds to clear it in the first week by making one encounter require an utterly absurd dps profile compared to the rest of the instance, but tuning the knobs on one encounter out of eight does not really equate to making lots of hard encounters and then gradually nerfing them. Dragon Soul and Firelands progression were both pretty unsatisfying in my opinion, both tiers only particularly difficult due to one encounter (ok, Baleroc first/second reset was pretty tough on 25) with very little difficulty ramp up prior to that. Tier 11 had a lot of difficult encounters, admittedly some very broken ones too, but it was a lot more interesting because it wasn't a case of zerging through a bunch of fairly straightforward encounters and then hitting a wall on one encounter.


Well, maybe they didn't succeed then, or maybe the increase isn't the 10% I'm estimating. But keep in mind that "the encounters weren't that difficult" doesn't mean much coming from a top guild, because you're inherently biased. Nothing short of the absurd difficulty of pre-nerf Spine is going to give you a real challenge that takes weeks to complete. You're far, far above the average, and Blizzard is designing the instance expecting the average group to make some headway on heroic modes. One has to consider the statistical data (i.e., how many guilds are killing how many bosses at each week during progression, and compared to the same data for other tiers of content) to really get an idea of their overall tuning goals.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Darielle » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:20 pm

I never said they were tuning them to be impossible. All of the encounters were killable with 0%, as is evidenced by the fact that many of the top guilds did kill them. But the tuning was incredibly tight compared to what they have done for instances which didn't have a progressive nerf system in place. And the only reason the tuning was that tight is because the progressive nerf system was planned ahead of time.

Note also that this applies more to the later bosses of the instance than the earlier ones. There has to be a few bosses that more average guilds can work on during the first month or two before the nerfs. And I think Hagara was mistakenly undertuned compared to where she should have been for 25's. But my guess is that it's true for Ultraxion onwards.

If it weren't for the progressive nerfs, all four of those last bosses would have been tuned to be about 10% easier, give or take. The first four would also have been adjusted to keep the difficulty curve smooth, but may not have needed as significant a nerf. Players who want challenging content should be in favor of the progressive nerf system, because it's the only way that Blizzard can give you multiple bosses per tier that give you the challenge you're after while still keeping their completion targets.


I'm not talking about top guilds. The instance is supposed to last until September/October.

I would extrapolate when Greg Street is talking about tuning encounters slightly harder - he's talking Ultraxion release level. Take the DPS requirements and assume the higher end - even top end guilds are getting kills right as he's casting DOOMKABOOM. Assume people will be in an average 403 instead of the mostly 391/397 they were in. They did do the same thing in Firelands too - I doubt I will ever find it, but there was something where someone said something about the tuning being for late 380's. So in terms of whether they "overtuned" Dragon Soul HARDER than they "overtuned" Firelands, it doesn't seem to be significantly true at the end result, except for their tuning in DS having to assume LEgendaries, OP 4-sets and so on.

I'm not even sure that T11 or T8 are decent comparisons since they were rife with bugs and tuning issues - like unkillable Hodir, bugged Atramedes, V&T and Magmaw needing an overhaul, Cho'gall being easier than AC, but being accessible before AC etc.

But like I said, this instance is supposed to last until September/October or around then whenever Pandaria comes - the "average guild" making headway should be expected to be 2/8, 3/8, possibly getting Ultraxion down at this point? Unless the plan is to propel "average" guilds to 8/8 by May. Plus we're about to hit 15% next week, Ultraxion has already been massively hit, Warmaster's already been hit hard enough to where Barrages are ALMOST irrelevant, at 15% the ship probably won't explode if no one stands in Barrage ever, Spine is Spine ... the MECHANICS of the fight, not just the tuning are being massively hit here.

I mean, I'm not saying the encounters weren't too difficult as a Top 200 guild who's 8/8 and all that jazz. >We< still haven't got Spine yet (various reasons). I'm saying the encounters weren't too difficult from an objective view of the damage, healing and coordination requirements involved in getting the encounters down at 0%. For example, after Yor'sahj's hit points got adjusted via hotfix, the dps requirements were well within the reach of anyone at the gear level to be considering Yor'sahj, the only healing curve on the fight was Purple and the tanking was .... only going to get easier. Zon'ozz once you got the ball and the add parts sorted was a fairly simple "use cooldowns entering black phase, burn hard". He didn't have an absurd requirement as long as you played the Void Diffusion properly - he got exponentially harder if you weren't playing Ping Pong correctly, but he wasn't "requires everyone at 40k dps average" level, and considering in full 391's we were in mid-30's in Firelands, that's not some massive expectation there.

So if they literally tuned the bosses, then decided that they should add 10% or something, and this is what they had - I have no idea what they wanted to make HEROIC mode on release? Morchok was already 4-healable on 10-man, and 8-healable on 25-man without a concern for the Berserk. Yor'sahj was 2-tanked and 3-healable on 10-man before 5%, after his HP adjustment he was ok for 25-man, if their target for tuning for HEROIC mode is that they want people doing far below their class' level going deep into Heroic modes, and LFR is the easy mode, I really have to ask what the hell their purpose for NORMAL mode is?
Last edited by Darielle on Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby theckhd » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:30 pm

I'd be surprised if Mists wasn't out by the end of August, actually, but you never know with Blizzard.

That said, I think the "average" heroic raiding guild is going to finish DS by the time Mists come out. They wouldn't necessarily if the debuff had stopped at 10%, but with it continuing to 15% and 20%, I think it'll drop below the expected tuning value.

That said, it's anyone's guess what they actually expect their completion rates to be. I'm sure they're over-shooting with the debuff, so it's going to be much higher by the time Mists comes out than it ever has been before, even in ICC. Spine is already easier than HLK, IMO.

But anyway, that wasn't really my original point, it was that the progressive debuff allows them to give you more challenging content initially than they would feel comfortable with. If you're truly raiding to experience challenging content, then the debuff is actually a good thing, because it means you get two months worth of harder content to play with.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Darielle » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:34 pm

But anyway, that wasn't really my original point, it was that the progressive debuff allows them to give you more challenging content initially than they would feel comfortable with. If you're truly raiding to experience challenging content, then the debuff is actually a good thing, because it means you get two months worth of harder content to play with.


The problem with that assessment is that, not talking for other people, I would find Spine/Madness tuned 10% below, and the instance actually ramping up to that level, with no progressive nerf system ever existing, to be more interesting and challenging content than a bunch of gimmes followed by a Brick Wall.
It's the same deal with Firelands - a bunch of bosses that take <2 nights and you can 23-man progression on (which we did) followed by looking at 300 attempts on Rag, then the 15% nerf hits and propels everyone through to still wipe on Rag isn't "challenging", it's just "annoying".

So the way I see it, progressive nerfs aren't giving me challenging content. They're giving me brick walls to prevent us from finishing the instance early and then a bunch of nerfs to trivialise the instance to where mechanics can be completely ignored. I don't like EITHER of those. "Top" guilds are expected to finish the instance early - that's what they do; I don't want to have to be in a top 200 guild to just beat the 6-week window to nerfville.

And this isn't slippery slope "Well, if they'd delayed it 3 more weeks, these top 1000 people wouldn't have beaten the nerfs" type deal. If they require 1 week to clear Normal to access Heroic, and expect 2-3 nights per boss (as opposed to a Top guild who'll go 6/8 in week 1), then put in a boss that should take 2 resets - then they SHOULD actually set that kind of time and a week or two before they start rolling nerfs in, instead of rolling nerfs in the moment the "expected" guild is just at Ultraxion or Spine. Other alternatives such as not forcing people to waste a week in Normal would also help somewhat in that regard. But it shouldn't be so tight that you're basically required to be in a Top 200 guild (typically 16 hours+ a week) to beat this window. That's my take on the matter (and of course Blizzard being Blizzard will happily do what they want).

And with Normal also getting nerfed, it still puzzles me what Normal mode is even doing if it's getting nerfed to become barely LFR level.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Dantriges » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:13 am

Where did you get this september/october release date for MoP from? Extrapolation? Announcement?
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Lieris » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:25 am

I don't think releasing an MMO expansion in summer would be a good idea. The release date has to be September.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby benebarba » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:30 am

Lieris wrote:I don't think releasing an MMO expansion in summer would be a good idea. The release date has to be September.


Kinda like releasing a new tier just before one of the largest holiday periods?
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Lieris » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:30 am

benebarba wrote:
Lieris wrote:I don't think releasing an MMO expansion in summer would be a good idea. The release date has to be September.


Kinda like releasing a new tier just before one of the largest holiday periods?


Touche! :lol:
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby Treck » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:06 am

And firelands was mid summer patch, so id scratch that tbh.
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Re: Coming soon, to a Dragon Soul near you...

Postby theckhd » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:12 am

Darielle wrote:The problem with that assessment is that, not talking for other people, I would find Spine/Madness tuned 10% below, and the instance actually ramping up to that level, with no progressive nerf system ever existing, to be more interesting and challenging content than a bunch of gimmes followed by a Brick Wall.
It's the same deal with Firelands - a bunch of bosses that take <2 nights and you can 23-man progression on (which we did) followed by looking at 300 attempts on Rag, then the 15% nerf hits and propels everyone through to still wipe on Rag isn't "challenging", it's just "annoying".


I'm not defending the "brick wall" encounters like Spine and Rag, but I think you're confusing two separate issues. Rag and Spine were overtuned even beyond intended, which is why they were hotfixed. The 15% spine nerf and the original Rag health nerf were essentially hotfixes to correct tuning. I think that had Spine been released with the 15% tendon nerf baked in, it wouldn't have been the brick wall that most guilds found it to be. Similarly with Rag.

So, two separate issues. The progressive nerfs allow them to release harder content. But they can (and did) screw up the tuning on individual bosses, which gets hotfixed. There shouldn't be "brick-wall" encounters at all, ideally. Coincidentally, that's another thing that came up in the conversation with GC, but I don't remember many of the details apart from him agreeing that brick walls were bad. Probably because most of the conversation was just Mel drunkenly ranting, and that's all the words GC could get in edgewise. :P
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