Seri sez: Raid progression in 3.3 — The shot heard ’round the world.November 19, 2009
Yesterday, Blizzard announced their plan for opening up Icecrown Citadel in 3.3. While I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, this is going to be extremely unpopular with the top raid guilds.” However, I have to admit… this wasn’t exactly out of the blue. Blizzard has been firing warning shots across the bows of said vessels for the last year, introducing a lot of changes that have been less than popular with the ‘serious’ raiding population. Unfortunately, now it seems more like they’re shooting to kill.
Let me outline, in brief, The Plan™:
- Icecrown Citadel (ICC) will not be fully open immediately at patch launch. Instead, its four sections (The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls) will open independently with one or more weeks in between. Each section contains several boss encounters, plus trash.
- Sections 2, 3 & 4 each contain a ‘final’ boss that must be killed in order to unlock the Lich King encounter for that raid instance.
- Raid teams will have a limited number of cumulative attempts to defeat these bosses as well as the Lich King.
- The number of attempts starts small (5) but increases to, eventually, 15 once all the content is released.
- Heroic modes are toggled on/of on a per-boss basis, but are not available until after the Lich King has been defeated once on Normal mode.
- At some point after ICC is fully unlocked, the number of attempts per week will gradually increase.
- Also at some point after ICC is fully unlocked, an instance-wide buff that increases the raid team’s damage/healing/hit points will be introduced. This buff will also scale up over time, essentially ‘nerfing’ the instance to make it easier to defeat. This buff can be disabled.
So, basically, it’s Trial of the Crusader plus Algalon plus Sunwell with an added sprinkling of magic ‘make the casuals happy’ dust. Pardon me while I bash my head repeatedly against my desk.
Ok, moving on.
Blizzard seems to be attempting to put the brakes on raid progression in ICC, for reasons that I can only speculate upon. What cracks me up is this, which is a direct quote from their announcement:
“We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.”
Wow, really? Since when did it become Blizzard’s job to determine what sort of pace is most enjoyable for me? What’s next, timed raid instances? You have 2 hours to work on this raid instance today… really, it will be much more enjoyable for you that way. Call me paranoid, but the code already exists in the game to despawn bosses and teleport people out based on a timer. (VoA, anyone?)
On the whole, I really am discouraged by this announcement and concerned for the health of already-struggling raid guilds around the world. Long-time raiders seem to be becoming more and more disenchanted with raiding and the game in general, and while I’m not usually one to go all Chicken Little I would definitely say there has been something of a mass exodus going on. For the last year, Blizzard has made great strides toward bringing endgame content to the casual player. (Something that has not been terribly well-received by the raid guilds.) However, with ICC it seems like they’re shifting from bringing the casual players up to raid level to bringing the raid level down to them. The repercussions have yet to be felt, but I worry they will be significant.
- How limited attempts risk to make raiding more dull. – The Pink Pigtail Inn
- Icecrown: The self-nerfing raid. – Welcome to Spinksville
- Disappointing news for raid progression in Icecrown. – StratFu