Update: Added Bashiok's follow-up statement.
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Dragon Soul Difficulty Changes
During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of January 31, the Dragon Soul raid will become enveloped by the “Power of the Aspects” spell, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the raid by 5%. This spell will grow progressively stronger over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Looking for Raid difficulty.
The spell can also be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul, if a raid wishes to attempt the encounters without the aid of the Dragon Aspects.
For those of you who raided in Firelands and/or Icecrown you’re no doubt aware that as time goes on we want to keep people progressing by adjusting the difficulty. For any number of reasons a group may be having difficulty on a specific encounter each week, and our intent in adjusting the content is to ensure the ability to keep progressing, enjoying the content, and gearing up. With Icecrown we progressively buffed the players, and while this slow progression (and ability to opt-out of the buff) were both beneficial, it led to an expectation of your characters power, and once you left the raid you could certainly feel less effective. For Firelands we attempted to fix that by nerfing the content instead of buffing players, but we nerfed the content difficulty all at one time, which was counterproductive for players who really didn’t need as severe a change as we made. With Dragon Soul we’re attempting to do the best of both by having a progressive nerf to the content, keeping player power constant while providing small increases in assistance over a long period of time, as well as allowing players to opt-out of the assistance by speaking to Lord Afrasastrasz.
We hope you continue to enjoy Dragon Soul, and that these changes encourage you to attempt a higher difficulty, or just keep pushing to down that next boss.
Dragon Soul Difficulty Changes Follow-up
Believe it or not there are actually guilds and raiding groups that are attempting to progress through Normal and Heroic raids, but are hitting a wall, and have been hitting a wall. We have actually statistical date we base our changes on, we know exactly how many people are clearing these raids each week, we know exactly how many people are able to down just a few bosses, and how many were only able to down a few bosses every week for weeks on end and then stopped raiding altogether.
The issue we're constantly trying to combat is the one where people feel like they're just out of options. One way this is an issue is the content is too easy, they blasted through it, have everything they could possibly want, and have nothing else to do. Ideally that's a small subset of very hardcore players. For everyone else it's a feeling of just being stuck with no possible way to progress. Very few players are willing to suit up, buff up, do all the necessary requirements to raid, jump in, and then do no better than they did last week for hours and hours, only to return next week and do the same.
If a guild doesn't want the help, they're free to opt out of the buff. For those that do it's an approximate 5% change, which is pretty minor, and we expect it to be about a month before we raise it another 5%. This first change will absolutely help the guilds that are just barely scraping by, or just need a tiny bump to cross the next hurdle, but it's just not logical to exclaim that someone will roll into Raid Finder, grab a couple items, then be looting Heroic Deathwing's corpse the next night.
We feel the content has been out for quite a while now, that most people who have progressed and downed Deathwing on Heroic have done so, they've had sufficient time to celebrate in their accomplishments, and these very small progressive alterations will only help guilds that are already doing well in the raid get over some hurdles they may be facing.
If they don't have to be like us, why do they have to have nerfs to get to our position in HM Raiding?
Because they want to and they pay the same amount for the game? I don't know, man. How is it good for the game to have 1% of players parading around for months and months and a 99% sitting around with nothing to do because they're sick and tired of wiping?
Your solution is "Well then they should get better or quit." and that's just not reasonable for a video game comprised of millions of people looking to just have some fun. It's still a computer game.
If there's a easy, normal, and hard difficulty, why tweak normal until it becomes as easy as the easy mode?
Well the nerfs are going to be progressive enough, as I said, I don't see a 5% change being a big enough change for Raid Finder players to suddenly start clearing Normal. We also don't know where we'll end up. We plan to increase the spell by 5% about every month, but we're not sure if we'll need to. If we see a lot of people able to keep progressing and downing bosses, maybe 5% is all we need. It's going to be watching completion numbers and seeing where that gets us. We're not assuming we'll need to go as far as we did with ICC. It's not going to be automatic, our hand is on the dial.
The increase is not automatic or set in its frequency. We will be manually controlling when it increases, if at all. It will be completely based on how many people we see able to complete the raid, and our decision to increase it or not.
Curse Weekly Roundup
Pico is back to tell us about the things you might have missed recently in SWTOR, Minecraft, WoW, and more.