Okay. As we all agree, this is pretty much the hugest news of last days and everyone is blogging about it left and right, so I guess I will ride the wave too. We all knew it was coming but I guess we were all caught with our pants down anyways. I don’t really know what the Cataclysm release date is, but I am convinced the buffs started way too soon. From a strict-10 perspective, most of us are still trying to down Sindragosa, who is proving to be the current wall in the path of 10M progress. And we are given the buff that will somehow change all we tried so far, all we came up with for next progress night. And I am not sure I like it.
But it’s just 5%, dude…
And 5% is huge difference. And that’s just starting. The final buff is supposed to be 30% damn percent. But let’s get back to 5%. I read on few forums that 5% is nothing to be thrilled about. Well, think again. I will go from this base assumption:
- 2 tanks, 50-55K healthpoints each
- 2 healers, 3K effective hps each
- 6 dps, averaged to 5K dps per person
Now, let’s apply the little 5% buff. Let’s go to healers first – I believe there is no need to mention that 5% more hitpoints raid wide and 5% more healing output combined do help a lot. It may see as tiny room for error, but if you ever healed, you know what I am talking about. Moving on. 5% more dps, that’s 250dps per person times six. That ups the raid dps by 1500 (which is a lot in 10M), and come on, it will be a lot more. And repeating again, that’s just starting buff. Tanks? Do I really have to get there? That’s 3Kish increase in raw health. Do you know how that affects effective health and survivability? Pffff. Fine. Three small buffs, add them up. Still convinced this is just like, yanno, minor buff and not a flat ICC nerf? Lemme do quick rundown of the 30% buff, and even assuming no gear upgrade comes till that time: 9K raid wide dps, 30% more hitpoints raid wide with 30% more effective healing, meaning way less buttons to push and frikkin 16,5K healtpoints more on tank. Go figure.
The buff mechanics…
So, I can see the upsides of the buff and all, making farm bosses quicker so you have a lot more time for progress bosses, you can opt to turn it off too and weeyay, it increases the number of tries available on heroic mode.
- Turning the buff off – you can turn it off, and apparently anyone in your raid can do it. And it seems that once deactivated, it can’t be popped back on in that raid ID. So yeah. Be really careful and think a lot about talking to any NPCs or switching it off.
- Heroic version – has the % buff too. That is probably the biggest letdown of all this. I agree that Blizzard makes the ICC accessible to everyone and there is frankly no better way than flat nerfing instance with this flat buff. But – and that’s huge but for me, they are nerfing heroic mode too. What is left for hardcore raiders then? (please take this point with grain of salt, as I’ve yet to set foot in ICC-10-HM, might as well be blogging in few weeks squeeling about how awesome it is to have the buff to kill at least trash in HM :) )
- Buff phasing and timing – is quite unfortunate. If we believe Blizzard, there are gonna be 6 ranks of this buff, release plan is one per month. That gives us at least 6 months till Cataclysm. Timing is quite hasted too in my opinion – the hardmode scene for both 10 and 25 raids is still starting to establish.
- General community impact – as oldschool competent raider it pains me that by the Cataclysm opening, the competent raider recruitment pool will hardly be existing – people tend to get comfortable with slacking off, which is exactly what this buff is offering. We all can watch the general attitude getting downhill, and making ICC supposedly “faceroll” content won’t help either. I am not saying this is end of raiding scene or hardcore raiding scene, but the community impact scares me.
The buff politics…
Probably the most tricky point – to turn it off or to not turn it off? I believe my raid leaders and guild leaders have their heads spinning around about this – there is pressure from your guild to move on, there is pressure for not falling behind other guilds using the buff in case you don’t want to.
There is this great epeen elitism issue – if we decide to progress it without the buff to actually do the encounter “as intended” and then it leaks out we did it without the buff, we are definitely going to be called names and dragged through trade channel for being elitist epeen no-lifers who have to brag about their pixel achievements. Which is not the cause, but you know, once your precious guild name gets stamped you will never get rid of it.
As for my guild, there is quite heated debate going on since morning about the buff. Let me illustrate by few quotes to see in what mess your guild and raid leaders are at the moment. The quotes are not credited as it’s enough I am ripping off guild forums for blog, let alone I did it with names. First voice goes in with relative progress race concerns. I understand, we are playing a game and we are competitive:
But should we actually gimp ourselves for no reward or recognition of any sort? And gimp our progress relative to other guilds? I mean disabling the buff would just be like not using heroism…or running content without enchants. Surely it’d be harder and the reward for extra difficulty would be the same!
What about switching the buffs?
About the buff, I also wouldn’t mind using it. The faster we get through normal the better. It’s the heroic mode that will matter anyway.
I’d see the buff as a tool to give some freedom on ‘learning’ the fight. After one kill you can switch off the buff for the next time to have a ‘clean’-kill for the record.
Isn’t that taking the most fun part from the game? This is my reply early on. Things have changed since then:
I heavily disagree there. The most fun is in learning the encounter and the feeling you BEAT it with just what you have at hand, no external buffs and help. That’s why, if anything, we are going to use the buff for FARM ONLY, and progress encounters as intended.
ie: I don’t mind using the buff on stuff we learned and is cakewalk, to speed up clear and get more time on progress targets, but as a cane for progress stuff, that’s off limits.
And the debate turning point by lunchtime:
I am cool either way, though nobody will give us a medal for not using the buff. On contrary, if we let it slip, we’ll be called elitist, arrogant, etc. by everybody (or almost everybody).
And lets make no mistake, 5% all around buff is HUGE! DPS itself, assuming you make just 5k…you get 250 extra…to get that kind of improvement on high gear level (that you upgrade from 245 to 251 or just sidegrade around hit) you need 2-3 or more decent upgrades!
But the real difference will come in survivability. HP and healing bonus mean less casts needed, less emergencies, less “Sophie’s choices”, etc. etc. Add to that DPS bonus (adds / spikes / tombs dying faster and thus doing less damage) and it really will scale.
The debate still goes on. But you know what? Totally off topic, no matter how this will be decided, I learned a great deal about people I raid with and they ensured me they are in the guild for all the right reasons.
That’s all folks…
At least for now. As a player with my personality, I am not liking the buff at all; the way it flat applies to everything. As a progression raider I am not against it much, though I think 15% should be full stop there. Maybe only 10%. As a Guild and raid leader responsible for well being of my lemmings, I am cautious. It will help us overcome tough times and move on, but at what price? So what about you? Did you guild had hard time deciding about this buff? And what was your conclusion?
PS: Bear with your leaders through this people; they are busy sorting it out I believe so if there is any discussion open, try to be constructive and mature.