Monday, 20 May 2013

Lollygagging in LFR

Whenever I disagree with Rohan, I always stop and think twice. I greatly respect Rohan's opinion, and so I suspect I might be wrong. So I've been stewing over a post that he wrote last month for a couple of weeks now. But time has not cured me, and experience has just confirmed my feeling. I really hate the Determination buff in Raid Finder. Every time you wipe, you get an extra 5% buff that stacks up to 50%, until the boss dies.

Here's what happens, in my experience, in a typical Throne of Thunder encounter: tanks rush in (often without a ready check), pick up targets, everyone else rushes in and does as much damage as they can. Some of us know the mechanics and try to avoid causing problems, others ignore all fight mechanics and stuff on the floor. Healers keep them up as long as possible, until they can't any more and everyone dies.

We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. Somebody explains the mechanics (often nobody explains them before the first wipe, since nobody wants to appear to be talking down to their comrades in arms). Second attempt: some more people are now trying to properly deal with fight mechanics. Many still aren't. They don't care. They know they don't have to. Next attempt we have two stacks of Determination. What does it matter if they don't kite the orbs out of the main courtyard? What does it matter if they ignore the Loa Spirits? What does it matter if they can't find and follow the maze? What does it matter if all the lollygaggers die? Our Determination will just stack higher and higher until those remaining can defeat the boss anyway.

The lesson this teaches is that we can just ignore fight mechanics. The boss is going down, anyway. For instance, when somebody tries to explain that you shouldn't pull all the Anima Golems at once and AoE them down (or else you'll get all the Large Anima Golems activating at the same time), someone will point out that that's exactly what their raid did, and they were able to AoE down everything in the room. The worst thing is, they are right! The unspoken corollary is that they had 5 stacks of Determination at the time. So the fight starts, and the guys who pretend that they don't have Recount installed AoE down everything, anyway, to get to the top of the charts (they pretend they don't have recount installed so that they can ask "Can anyone link recount?"). For them, getting to the top of the charts is more important than actually downing the boss. He's going down, anyway, in another few minutes, but they'll be spamming recount in guild chat forever.

Blizzard is complicit in all this. When people complain about the difficulty of a fight, Blizzard always ends up nerfing it. I've never seen a case where, when a fight is too easy, Blizzard buffs it; and yet all fights get easier as we outgear them. What's the bet that before the end of this expansion, nobody will be running Durumu's Maze? We'll all be standing in the purple, DPSing and healing as usual. Running from the beam, but that's all. Or maybe by then the beam will also have been nerfed!

Interestingly, when the Cataclysm happened, the new dungeons couldn't be zerged.  For the first time in many months, adventurers had to pull crowd-control abilities onto their action bars and key-binds. The resulting whine from the player-base was so high-pitched that Ghostcrawler responded by writing this article, barely a month after the Cataclysm struck: Wow! Dungeons are hard! In it, he defends their emphasis on thinking over acting. Rohan didn't agree, and said so. A few days later, the nerfs were implemented. For the rest of the expansion (i.e. all but the first month), the fights were all too easy. Now in Pandaria, "heroic" dungeons are an embarrassment to Blizzard, who must see the irony in the name "Heroic", just as they must see the irony in naming LFR loot "Epic".

1 comment:

  1. While on a individual fight knowing that the 5% will eventually stack enough to let you carry the fail. I am not sure it is working as desired on a overall level.

    Durumu what you would expect is a gradually increasing success rate as more people learnt the maze. What actually happened is that success % stopped increasing at the point most groups 1 shot it. With a % of the raid that is almost exclusively dps just using the beam as a suicide mechanic while their minions carry the raid to a success or fail, either is fine because next time they will get the 5% buff.

    80% of the deaths are not to failing at the maze or getting caught by the beam they are to people getting hit because they stood in the beam dieing in a neat little pile of 6-16 bodies.