WoW Discussion

Why the Firelands Nerfs Aren’t That Horrific

Recently, a fellow blogger who I befriended 7 months ago wrote an article stating his disappointment with the recent nerfs in Firelands, and before reading any further I encourage everyone to go take a look at it, as my post here is in direct response to that article.

Let me state this disclaimer now, while I am writing a counter point to Fannon’s article, I do agree in part with some of his points, however my focus is to provide a look at the other side of the coin.

Patch 4.2 went live on June 29th, introducing the return of Ragnaros along with several dailies at the molten front, it was when this was released that Tier 11 content was nerfed to a state where it became puggable.  Some folks questioned why it was nerfed after Tier 12 was out, and why not sooner?  Some folks even asked why not do a tiered buff to players similar to what they did with ICC.  However Tier 11 was mostly nerfed by 25% (health and damage) across the board.  I was happy that my guild was able to clear this content before the nerfs had happened, however many of our raiders still were not geared completely in Tier 11, and Tier 12 was unforgiving if people were not fully decked out, especially on the DPS side of the house.

When Firelands was released, as the GM and raid leader, I slowed our first steps into Firelands to 1-2 nights a week (3-6 total hours) mostly because several of our raiders couldn’t tackle this content yet and we had to focus on Tier 11 to get people geared up.  This admittedly slowed our progression in Firelands, but my guild being casual friendly, we wanted to have people play with us, and not leave folks behind, its just not who we are.

Though as we step into Firelands, we had to ditch our 25 man ways most nights and focus only on 10 man, as we maybe had 15 folks fully decked out who could even tackle this content.  Also many of the remaining 10 were more of FnF rank and were not consistent raiders, but we pride our guild on having the ability to play with your friends without strict attendance requirements.

Firelands forced us to sit many folks, which we hate to do, but it had to be done if we were to progress.  When the nerfs came on September 20th via a hotfix, many folks in the Warcraft community were very upset or disappointed like my fellow blogger Fannon.  My guild was 3/7 and working on Alysrazor when the nerfs happened.  We were admittedly getting better when the nerfs happened, making better progress in the previous 2 weeks than since the raid was deployed to live realms, we also had just started running 2 10 mans as more of our folks were geared and could handle the content, and both 10 man groups were seeing similar progression.

However when the nerfs came, we decided to push all 25 people into Firelands, which we did and we were able to go 3/7 with everyone in 1 night.  I only had to sit 2 people as before I was sitting 7-15 people.  While some of our more determined raiders commented on the easy nature of the bosses, we heard joking, people having fun on voice chat.  As a GM I have always wanted to create and maintain a guild environment that allows people to have fun but also work on progression.  These nerfs allowed me to not sit as many people, I was able to include more people who sometimes typically do not get to see this content until we do alt runs on the patch that follows.

Now on our progression night we killed Alysrazor, Baleroc and Majordomo with ease, granted this was in 10 man with our most experienced raiders.  We chuckled at the ease we cut through them, and yes the challenge was lost for the most part and a part of me thought, this feels underwhelming, especially since these were the first “guild first” kills in Firelands I personally have been able to participate in due to family commitments.  Then we hit Ragnaros, and this fight we found very challenging still.  We never discussed the mechanics for Rag and just kind of winged it.  I expect him to be challenging for our progression 10 man crew for another week or so, maybe more.  Now for the 10 man we had to sit about 9 folks, we had many folks out for a variety of reasons, sick, work, family commitments, traveling, etc.  But after the raid I told my raid officer to plan on tackling our 3 new kills in a 25 man setting starting the following week.

Fannon mentioned

There is no thrill or enjoyment in beating up crippled children, Blizzard, and that’s what you’ve turned these raid bosses into.

I agree, an achievement not earned through hard work and dedication is no fun and not rewarding.  Something given has no value, something earned does.  Alysrazor, Baleroc and Majordomo were our progression kills, and they felt too easy, I will agree and perhaps the nerfs went too far on these.  Though I feel nerfs were needed, before 4.3 comes out to help those who might be stuck, and wanted to clear the content next patch.  For me I see this as an opportunity to farm the heck out of Firelands so we do not have to go back once 4.3 is back and we can focus on the new raid.  But I do wish the bosses before Ragnaros were a bit more challenging than they were.  The current nerfs I feel went too far, after 4.3 I would agree with the current “nerf level”.

As for the challenge, look if your guild was hardcore you probably finished Firelands early, you earned your stripes and can say I cleared it before the nerfs, even some of you on heroic mode.  Then there is the rest of us, we work, we go to school we have little time to dedicate to being as focused as the other hardcore players but still want to see the content completed.  That is what this nerf represents, a way for the rest of the community to see the content.  Did the nerfs go too far and trivialize some of the mechanics, absolutely.  Should this level of nerf be reserved for after 4.3?  Yes it should have.  Are these nerfs game breaking?  No they are not. In the 3 months Firelands has been out, many raiding guilds cleared T12, many times over, many have even gotten the legendary staff, and working on their second, others are farming heroic already.  Then there are the more casual guilds still working our way through.  Some say T12 was easier than T11, but honestly easy vs hard is truly a matter of perspective.  I will say a more gradual nerfing or even buffing to players probably would have been a more preferable approach to keep more of the challenge.  Also heroic modes offer more of a challenge as well, and Firelands heroics are more accessible with the larger nerfs to normal mode.  However I am happy as a GM of a very casual guild that I will be able to include more people on raid nights, and hear the sound of many of my members having fun raiding.

I have been raiding since Vanilla, I remember clearing MC, Ony, BWL.  But this was also when I was younger, less progressed in my career, I didn’t have a wife, or a child who I needed to dedicate my time to.  These nerfs let me see the content before the next content is out, which I enjoy.  What I do not enjoy is being handed raiding achievements, so to that end I would have liked to see either more time at the current difficulty, or a more gradual step down nerfing schedule.  So yes the nerfs trivialize the encounters for those who know what we are doing, but also makes the content accessible to those who previously saw a barrier to entry.  There can be balance between accessibility and challenging content, I have faith that Blizzard can find it.


17 Comments on Why the Firelands Nerfs Aren’t That Horrific

  1. Percy

    The Firelands nerf is early and heavy handed, there is no real defense for that. Your guild is quite a bit below average so you are not really getting the full effect. (Only 3/7 normal pre-nerf is poor regardless of play-time commitment).

    In the future of 4.3 the LFR mode is made for guilds like yours, hopefully it helps keep the players separated into their own play pens with less overflow. This nerf is potentially devastating to the psyche of players that were working on more difficult content such as Ragnaros or a heroic mode as it raises the question: “Why spend X hours wiping tonight when we can just wait a few months for the mega nerf?”

    • Ceraphus

      I think you underestimate how many teams out there are casual and didn’t put their all into Firelands yet. 3/7 is a lot of guilds, I do not think those guilds who are at 3/7 is due to poor raiders, for example our reason for being 3/7 is focusing on gearing up other players to also get them involved in Firelands so we could run 25s instead of 10s, that is directly related to the nature of a casual guild wanting to get the most amount of people involved. Now in the past 2 weeks we have downed a new boss each week, as we have focused our attention there, and we felt confident that the week they nerfed content we would get Alysrazor, though we did, it was with the nerfs, many in our guild thought we could get Baleroc before Alys due to him being easier but we chose to go the tougher boss first, which also slowed us somewhat.

      Progression worldwide if you look at the 34K guilds who have killed Shannox, only 26K killed Alysrazor, 25K killed Majordomo, and a mere 16K killed Rag. Its probably some of these numbers is why Blizzard went heavy handed, but indeed it was too much, too soon. I agree.

      As for LFR, the design intent is for pugs, a way for pugs to organize. Normal modes are meant for any organized raid team, heroics are meant for the more hardcore progression minded guilds. I think if you start trying to segregate people in “play pens”, you wind up where you were in vanilla, which was the mindset there were raiders and casuals. My guild was one of the few who kept the casual atmosphere and still raided.

      While as I stated the nerfs were harsh, I think the level of the nerf could have been reserved for post patch 4.3 and a more steady decline could have been warranted if they wanted to make it more accessible. Though from my viewpoint I will be able to get more of my guildies involved sooner with Firelands, which is a good thing, but I do wish there was more challenge for my folks

      Thanks for your feedback and comment, I appreciate good counter points and discussion.

      • Percy

        I was basing the 3/7 being poor comment on the stats I saved off of WoWProgress Tuesday Morning of nerf-day.

        As of 9/20/2011, Looking at US numbers only.
        13222 (99.47%) killed Shannox (so major loot pinata)
        11929 (89.74%) killed Beth’tilac
        11356 (85.43%) killed Lord Rhyolith

        Next is 10484 (78.87%) for Baleroc.

        So being only 3/7 pre-nerf is being in the bottom ~22% of Raiders. Baddd

        To be fair I do have high standards. I wouldn’t consider a raiding guild to be competent unless they’ve killed Ragnaros (4598 34.59% pre-nerf). Which seems quite fair to me really.

    • This nerf is potentially devastating to the psyche of players that were working on more difficult content such as Ragnaros or a heroic mode as it raises the question: “Why spend X hours wiping tonight when we can just wait a few months for the mega nerf?”

      To answer that, you have to answer first why you raid.

      If you raid to actually test your hand at challenging content, then the answer is obvious – you spend the hours wiping tonight because that’s what you want to be doing.

      If all you give a shit about is loot, well, feel free to wait, I guess.

      This mindset is so ridiculously toxic to the community, and the rest of your post is the same sort of elitist dredge that makes me embarrassed to admit I was ever a progression raider in WoW.

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  3. I actually like that they nerfed FL before the next tier came out (though I think raiders more serious than my team would be better served with a week or two of nerfed content before the next release, rather than what we anticipate will be months).

    My previous guild had huge arguements raging about whether to spend time in nerfed T11 (where people were bored, even though many hadn’t killed the end bosses) or to see NEW CONTENT in T12, even though the team wasn’t fully kited out in 359 gear. Having a short period of time to fill in holes on gear from bosses that had been unobtainable before the nerfs would definitely help morale when going into the new content.

    My current guild is struggling to get 2/7 POST NERF (and I posted about it recently), so that will tell you about my perspective. One of the teams is trying to get more serious, so we’ll see how that goes.
    Zaralynda´s last blog post ..Super Casual Guild and Raiding

    • Ceraphus

      its tough to balance, my group was lucky in that my members are very team oriented and while many wanted to get into firelands immediately they also knew we had to spend some time gearing up the troops to make sure we were successful, overall you all did the right thing gearing folks up, and now I suspect with the nerfs you will be able to make decent progress in Firelands, which will certainly improve morale.

      While the nerfs mitigated some of the mechanics, there is still some mechanics you must follow in order to progress, once you have that you are good to go.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • I think I wasn’t clear. The guild I was in during the T11-T12 transition lost a whole raid team (they had 2 10s) because of the decision to gear up folks (in T11). I didn’t like things that the whole kurfluffle said about the management, so stopped raiding and eventually joined another guild (and now I’m getting talked (suckered) into joining a team in that guild).

        Had the nerfs been earlier, perhaps that guild drama could have been avoided (or maybe it would have exploded for a different reason, who knows?).

        The current guild’s issues are a different matter entirely, and I’m not sure what happened during the T11 nerfs for them, since I wasn’t in this guild during the transition.
        Zaralynda´s last blog post ..Super Casual Guild and Raiding

  4. Our guild is kind of in the middle as far as the effect of the hotfixes. We weren’t at the bottom, really, and we weren’t 6/7HM before the changes, either. We finally killed Alysrazor on heroic after getting her to 8 percent the week before, but people also played a lot better. Maybe the nerfs have a “placebo effect” in that people have higher confidence. Who knows. We never pulled Beth’tilac pre-nerf, and we only got a little work in on Baleroc.

    Am I glad we are 6/7 now? Sure. Do I feel like we earned all of it? Maybe not. I still think an ICC-style, gradual buff would have been much better, but alas, I don’t work for Blizzard. 😛

    • Ceraphus

      totally agree, a more gradual buff like ICC or even a gradual nerf would say we know you aren’t there yet, so lets give you a little help, but not trivialize stuff.

  5. Nice post. I have to say our guild was super casual and our record into Fireland’s was only 1/7 but we had the potential to go much farther we just lacked the knowledge and despite our raid comp not being of the best specs or best geared for the fights. We was making progress I will say the nerfs while quite heavy but it really opens the raid up to guilds like mine who was struggling to complete the content Blizzard doesn’t want content to only be seen by 30% of the raiders that attempt. Blizzard want’s 80 or 90% to at least see the content. They want the product to be fun and while sure I wish it was a tad tougher I have to say that FL is now at a level where my guild can and guilds like mine can now do the content and not be frustrated, but be giving a good challenge.

  6. Pliers

    I understand how it benefited your guild personally, but I think it’s a tenuous connection to say that the nerfs allowed you to stop sitting 7-15 people. You can do 2 10 mans, or pick up a few pugs until you have a full 25 in guild, and then use a 10m to progress after the farm bosses are dead. It certainly isn’t easy, but doesn’t require nerfing the fights to the ground.

    Most of your post seems to basically say “I’m in favor of the nerfs. It was too much, too soon, and too much at once, but I think it’s a good idea.” Naysayers are saying “I’m against the nerfs, because was too much, too soon, and shouldn’t have been all at once.” It’s virtually the same thing. Nerfs can be done right, even this early in the patch, but were done about as poorly as they could have been. And that’s the problem. :/

    • Ceraphus

      The problem with just do 2 10s, is that in 25s you really only need 2 tanks, in 1 10 man you only need 2 tanks. in 1 25 you need about 7-8 healers, in 1 10 man you need 2-3 depending on how geared/skilled they are. So immediately you have an issue, so if you were running a lean 25, which is about 3 tanks, you don’t have enough tanks, and dropping down to 2 10s you need to sit 2-3 healers.

      Next with 25s you are typically running 15 DPS, in 2 10s you only need 10-12, so there is 3-5 dps you are sitting. This obviously doesn’t count any overflow. Also you really do not want to take more than 2 melee in 10s, so once again you are potentially sitting people. But this brings up more of an issue with the “bring the player not the class” philosophy that it sounds like Blizz is fixing.

      Did this benefit our guild to an extent, but I truly believe our guild would have preferred a slower nerf schedule if anything. I could also argue that heroics probably didn’t need to be nerfed at all here, because T11 wasn’t.

      Most naysayers are saying the nerfs killed raiding, not necessarily Fannon, who I reference. But I am saying while the nerfs were extreme, its not that bad. You still have challenging content in heroic modes, even with the nerf they are still challenging to many folks. So its not the end of the world.

      Thanks for your post and the discussion.

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  8. Fluffy

    I’ll give you some numbers for my realm (US – Kilrogg).

    Guild Ox lists 100 guilds with at least 1/7 in Firelands 10 Normal
    Pre-nerf, there was a fairly even spread from spot 30 down to 100 mixed fairly evenly between 1/7-6/7. I don’t have exact numbers, but still, 70% of the guilds raiding Firelands listed on Guild Ox had not cleared Ragnaros normal, and a solid 50% were still having trouble getting to 5/7 or better pre-nerf.

    As of now, there are
    35 guilds at 1/7 HM or better
    14 guilds at 7/7
    32 guilds at 6/7
    3 at 5/7
    3 at 4/7
    7 at 3/7
    and 6 at 1/7

    Of the 19 guilds that are not 6/7 Normal, 11 haven’t raided in a month or more. Of the 32 guilds at 6/7, fully 22 of them got there post nerf, most with a jump from 3/7 or 4/7 to 6/7. My guild went from 4/7 N to 6/7 N in a 6 hour raid week, and STILL got 10 attempts in on Ragnaros with a 30% time in fight for the full progression night.

    At least on US-Kilrogg, there is no longer a normal 10s guild raiding path to speak of. You’re either in a guild that is 6/7 or higher, or you’re in a guild that JUST started Firelands in the last couple weeks.

    • Paul

      If I go to and look at US-Kilrogg in tier 10 (10 man), 227 guilds are listed.

      Consider the nerfs in this light. A large number of people who raided in Wrath must be 0/7 in FL now, if they are still playing at all.

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