The Price of Pride

So the word is out and everyone’s talking about the new 5% buff raids are getting inside of ICC. Paragon has the world-first 10man Heroic Lich King kill and already cries rain down of “could they have done it without the buff.” Personally, I think so, since they are all in 264 and 277 gear for a boss tuned to 264 gear but I doubt Paragon needs any defending. Last night in raid I didn’t notice the buff so much to be honest. I mean, I noticed I had 60k health instead of 57.5, but that’s barely more than a stoneblood flask at this point. I didn’t bother looking at any logs to see the full extent of a 5% buff to our raid’s overall damage done. I’m very fortunate that I’m in a raiding situation where I don’t often have to worry about killing regular-mode bosses in short order, and most heroic bosses probably won’t stand in our way for very long either. We might hit a snag on gunship though, I heard it’s hard. I still don’t see why we can’t just all jump over there kill them all, crash their gunship into the citadel and then jump back, seems so much easier, but that’s besides the point. But I wasn’t always in a guild situation like this. My first Lady Deathwhisper 25 kill was on a Monday, the last day before the Plagueworks came out and we were so happy because we just knew in our bones that she was going to get nerfed when the new wing came out. It meant a lot to us that we beat her “pre-nerf.” Now it has happened again. I wasn’t expecting this raid-wide buff so soon, but I was expecting it. When we killed the Lich King on 10man, what made me happy was not that I felt I had succeeded under some kind of pressure to do it “pre-nerf” but simply to do it sooner and be ranked higher on my server. But now the buff is here and guilds have to contend with it.
Several bloggers have sounded off about feeling like it came too soon or that it just made them feel too much pressure to keep up and I can sympathize. Yes, you can turn it off. Yes, at the moment it is only 5%. Yes, Blizzard’s catering to the mid-level and lower-level guild progressions is having the unintended side effect of causing some people to feel pressure put on them. I felt the pressure to kill Deathwhisper before the nerf. I felt the pressure to kill the end boss of each new wing before the next one came out so that I would be “caught up” and “on pace.” But I’m in a progression guild. For all their protestations of not being “hardcore” we have a relatively high member turnover as we weed out players for mistakes in raid which cause wipes. We recruit DPS with a floor of 9k but we’d really prefer them to be 11k. “Casual Hardcore” would make us sound way more casual than we are, but we don’t have the progression necessary to take ourselves seriously as a “hardcore” hardcore guild. We are not going to be too proud to keep our raid buff on as we kill LK25-reg (though if we didn’t have the buff, we’d be able to do it if everyone would just show up to raid. I don’t think any amount of raid buffs would make us reliably able to 20-man 25m LK just yet… damn attendance). We’ll very likely keep the buff on for hard modes as there is no in-game way of tracking who did and didn’t use buffs, only published log reports. There are, as yet, no achievements for foregoing the buff. We are also long out of contention for world and server firsts on any of this content (I think heroic-25 Putricide is all that is left alive on our server) so we won’t likely be called sub-par for being realm-2nd or realm-3rd on hardmode content because no one cares after 1st.
As I think more about it, it’s not difficult to see where both sides are coming from on the issue of pride. The top guilds in the world will use it because it will get them the world first. Their detractors will invalidate their accomplishment because they used it, but Blizzard won’t. Soon someone will do world-first without the buff anyway. Guilds near the top, like mine, don’t care because we’re out of contention for the “firsts” but not far enough behind to need it to help us in any way for “progression”. Sure, since it can be used on hard modes, ALL hard modes have just been nerfed a little bit so they will be easier for us than they were for our realm-first peers. Guilds in the tier below us, working on gatekeeper bosses (those who formerly had the attempt counters) should hopefully find themselves being able to get over that last little progression hump if it was their DPS holding them back. Pugs, and guilds who are far more casual, should be able to make further inroads into the instance. But are they happy about it? Some people seem to feel like the buff will make guilds “stop trying.” Will guilds turn off the buff to attempt hardmodes in 10 and 25 the way the first 1000 guilds in the world did it, or will they ride their scaling buff, be it 5%, 15% or 30% all the way to purple rain? If guilds ride the buff will they be doing themselves a disservice? Will they be quitters? Would guilds be able to do it by pushing themselves to challenges or only do it when it’s been “nerfed down to their level?
People always talk about WoW being too easy but those people are usually not world-first raiders (though they complain too sometimes), and they’re usually not people who turn buffs like this off. There is a sense of vicarious letdown, and I know I feel it too, when the last, big boss baddie of an expansion comes out, someone who has been hyped for more than 5 years, and is killed the first week he is made available. It wasn’t me that killed him, and it wasn’t “hard mode,” but he was dead nonetheless. Someone who I was excited to see the challenge of was made a mockery by players far better than myself, and I was deflated because of it. It wasn’t my victory, the content wasn’t too easy for me, but the content felt disappointing to me because it was too easy for them. I’m glad it took Paragon this long to kill him on hard mode, and I’m glad he’s still not dead on 25H. I probably won’t be one of the first 50,000 (top 1000 guilds) people in the world to see him die in 25H, maybe not even one of the first 100,000 (top 2000). That sounds like a lot of people, but if you consider the WoW player base to be 10,000,000+, 100,000 people is still only 1%. I don’t really understand “fandom” around top guilds in the world. I don’t root for Ensidia or Paragon or Vodka to beat each other to anything. But when it comes to be my turn to do the content, where is pride going to factor in, for me? Will I want to use the buff to win as soon as possible? Will I want to challenge myself as if the buff never existed and clear content the way Ensidia and all those other top guilds was forced to clear it (by using saronite bombs)? What if I want to do it without the buff but my guild as a whole decides it is irresponsible not to use it for the betterment of the guild because they are more concerned with clearing the content as soon as possible, with every advantage possible? I guess it just goes to show why it is so hard to find the right guild, everyone has their own opinion of how things could or should be done and it’s hard to get all those to mesh, especially if you see other guilds having success with shortcuts. I’ll talk a little more about that in a future post.
So, back to the buff. Like hidden charges on a cell phone plan, you’re allowed to Opt-out of it. It starts at 5% but we are going to have no control over when it gets bumped to 10% and guilds who might not need 30% buff, but who won’t be able to have success with 0%, might be more than a little disappointed they can’t choose to only have Garrosh halfheartedly sing for a 10% buff or have some diluted Roids from Wrynn for a 20% buff. Would people feel better if the buff was Opt-in instead of Opt-out? Would there be less complaining if people could, with their tail between their legs, grovel before the might of their faction leader and beg for some assistance and be given the choice of just how much assistance they want? Would it really be so hard for Blizzard to program in a chat-option where you talk to your faction leader and say “y’know what, it was too easy last week with 20%, can you tone it down to 15% this week and we’ll see how it goes ol’ buddy?” I think that might make me feel better. I know I’ll be happy to geek out over having 80k+ health with a 30% fee buff just face-rolling my way through hard modes as I collect off-off-offspec gear, but Yogg had 4 keepers, and you could choose to bring any number and any combination, that might be an adjustment worth Blizzard thinking about as the expansion wears on.

3 Responses to “The Price of Pride”

  1. Sarlalian Says:

    There is an interview with one of the hunters in Paragon’s world first Litch King kill, and it’s worth listening to for everyone who thinks it was too easy. He equated the kill somewhat to Yogg+0, only not quite that hard, and said that the Hard Mode 25man kill scared him some with how hard the normal mode kill was.

    Part of what makes WoTLK easier is that the bosses don’t require raid stacking, and are usually mathematically kill able. Many of the old bosses had to be nerfed before they could be killed, and were killed rather quickly after nerfs were made, and many more had to have the encounters fixed before they could be beaten. I expect that had all the old content been tuned correctly, and not buggy, that the server / world firsts back in the day would have come much more quickly, particularly in BC, where we as a community were starting to have the tools in the game that we do now.

    The tools and the community have come such a LONG way, and progression guilds have accomplished so much in the way of coordination and communication. Also, over the years, the best players have continued to move towards those guilds so that now days the difference in skill between the top guilds and the bottom guilds is quite significant.

  2. The thing to remember about the buff is that, while it is there and it is enflating your dps, there is really no reason that you should not use it if you still have bosses to kill.

    The difference between the first few 100 guilds and the rest is quite substantial. You have to remember that top 100-200 guilds clear content in the previous tier of gear. The buff is the same as being a few weeks behind. The relative gain in raid dps/healing/ tank survival increases every week with the introduction of gear.

    Think of the buff as that perfect week of gear dropping for you.

  3. […] guilds in the world, but what about the rest of the guilds? Tengen over at Firstandtengen wrote a very nice post about the recent buff that Blizzard added to ICC. In his Price of Pride post, he outlines the […]

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