Monday, March 28, 2011

OT: First Tier Vs ICC

More and more, I think Gevlon over at the Greedy Goblin has gone off the deep end. In his latest post, he asserts that a Wowprogress chart proves that Cataclysm Raids are as easy as ICC. Here is the chart:

He goes on to say:

I placed some dots on the chart. The green dots represent the current situation of Cataclysm early bosses, the red dots are Cho'gall, Al'Akir, Nefarian. What?! More people killed Nefarian than the Lich King?! Cho'Gall is easier than Sindragosa?! There are 4 bosses (Halfus, Valiona, Magmaw, Omnitron) who are easier than PP?! What the hell is happening here?
What is happening here is that Gevlon has pulled a Nietzsche, staring a bit too long into the M&S Abyss only to have it gaze back at him. As we all know, aside from Gevlon himself apparently, is that ICC was gated content. As you can see from the very chart he posted, Lich King was not even available until almost halfway through the compared time period. If we actually shift the lines back to the beginning to simulate un-gated ICC, the chart suddenly demonstrates in graphics what everyone already knew:

I did not bother listing all the same bosses as Gevlon, because in his bizzaro-world more people hitting 4/12 this tier than 9/12 last tier after the same amount of time is some kind of coup to the argument that Cataclysm started too hard. That's dumb. What's missing from that chart? The lines for Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Lootship, Saurfang, Festergut, Rotface, Blood Princes, and Dreamwalker, any and all of which were easier than Magmaw or Halfus, and got peoples' feet in the raiding door. That top green hash mark is Magmaw, by the way. If you have killed Al'Akir and/or Nef by now, you should have been able to kill 10m Lich King at 0% buff. By the April 5th line in the graph, the ICC buff was 10%.

Remember the missing guilds from Wrath I was talking about? Yeah, the graph proves they're still gone. Speaking of missing...

WarcraftRealms is, well, WarcraftRealms, but it is showing less player activity now than back in April of last year. Remember back in October? Nothing much to do, ICC super stale, etc? Same level of activity right now. I am not trying to say WoW is dying or anything, just that if Firelands comes out at the same difficulty as this tier (or higher!), well... it might be time to start spending a bit of that fortune of gold you have just wasting away in your bags.


  1. I think you're crazy.

    Killing Al'akir does not equate to killing Lich King at 0%

    Also, I don't understand how people can say half of those fights are easier than Magmaw. Magmaw is not fundamentally different from Marrowgar, except for the addition of an adds kiter.

  2. What's missing from the charts are percentages, rather than absolute player counts.

    Nice post, Azuriel.

  3. Al'akir is serious business. Unfortunately I'm not in the same guild I was during ICC so I can't successfully compare the two.

    Also I'd like to see a new graph based on percentage of max level characters, instead of raw numbers, cause the population of WoW has certainly changed and percentage based would be much more enlightening.

  4. You can't compare the last raid tier of a previous expansion versus the first tier of a new expansion - the gear and stat components don't ramp up at the same rate.

    What you can do is accurately compare the the first tier between expansions:

    Gruul's Lair

    Obisdian Sanctum
    Eye of Eternity

    Blackwing Descent
    Bastion of Twilight
    Throne of the Four Winds

    Was Karazhan easier than Naxxramas? Was Naxxramas easier than Blackwing Descent? How was overall guild progession 4 months into each expansion?

    This is probably a more accurate comparison on which to make statements about the overall state of things, but keep in mind that, even with this model, both the game design and the player base have changed dramatically.

  5. Personally, I think the difficulty of raid content has remained the same. As time has progressed, we've become more accustomed to raid encounter mechanics, because we have a longer list of previous experience to compare them to.

    Is kiting and killing Magmaw adds any easier than positioning yourself properly on the Gruul knockback and shatter one-two punch or not moving during Aran's flame wreath ability? What about 1-2 people that always failed to hide behind the iceblock on Sapphiron or caused an icetomb chain on Kel'Thuzad - is that any harder than the inevitable wipe caused by letting a depravity go off or standing in shadow crashes on Cho'gall?

  6. @Shiva

    Less people have killed Al'Akir right now than killed 10m LK at 0% after the same amount of time (e.g. taking into account the gating). That's an indisputable fact. There may be other things going on here than directly analogous difficulty comparisons, but the only real excuse that fits overall is "less people are raiding." Otherwise, Al'Akir is more accessible (only 1 boss before him, zero trash), and by your argument easier, so more people should have killed him. But they haven't. The hilarious thing is that the "more scrubs were able to faceroll LK" argument doesn't even work here because we're specifically looking at 0%-10% LK.

    If you cannot see the difference between Marrowgar and Magmaw, I don't know what to tell you. Even Day 1 Marrowgar that did the same amount of damage in 10m as 25m and was taunt-immune was easier by miles than Magmaw. How many things will lead to an instant wipe in Magmaw? Flame Pillars, the steam attack, the people doing Chains failing to coordinate more than twice, not enough ranged DPS on the parasites, people getting infected by said parasites, poorly done AoE snares on the parasites, people not getting healed through the fairly absurd amount of unavoidable damage going out, etc etc etc. Once the "red-box strat" (everyone stand inside the boss model) was worked out for Marrowgar, the fight was literally Patchwerk with a "cleave the spike" and "run around" phase.

    The first real fight in ICC was Saurfang, and what was that? Oh, a fight where ranged DPS had an important job of snaring, kiting, and killing adds before they hit anyone. Sorta like Magmaw... minus the movement (!), the vehicle mechanic, serious AoE damage (until more than 1 Mark went out), and so on.

    The first six bosses in ICC were easier than Magmaw, based on mechanics and based on kill numbers after X amount of time.

  7. @Anon

    You can't compare the last raid tier of a previous expansion versus the first tier of a new expansion - the gear and stat components don't ramp up at the same rate.

    I would generally agree with you on this; Gevlon made the original argument, and this post was deconstructing that. That said, considering ICC had gating to contend with, I think it is a more legitimate comparison than usual.

    I was not around to experience pre-nerf Karazhan (I bought WoW for the first time shortly before 2.1), so I cannot really even theorize on its difficulty, but... I fight it hard to believe that Attumen wasn't Attumen, Moroes wasn't Moroes, etc. Or, hell, look at the bear boss or eagle boss of ZA versus Magmaw. There really isn't any argument, in my estimation, that this tier is NOT filled with 7+/12-esque ICC bosses right from the get-go.

    I do not see this sort of raiding model as sustainable moving forward, as it can only really get more difficult by design and we already have binary pass/fail mechanics in normal-mode. What more can they do, aside from adding layers of binary pass/fails?

    @2nd Anon

    Certain amounts of difficulty creep are inevitable between the Blizzard coding wizards getting better at adding new tech to the game (e.g. vehicles, sound bars, etc) and encounter designers questing to find new mechanics to challenge us with. But again, I find it impossible to believe anyone could say Magmaw and Noth or Patchwerk or Attumen or Flame Leviathan or Marrowgar or honestly any first boss of any raid anywhere is comparable. A brand new player doesn't have that list of previous experiences to draw upon, and it's a significant danger to design the endgame only around the veterans, who are always going to be an ever-dwindling group.

  8. Let's be honest, Gevlon went off the deep end when GG ceased to be a fun, grumpy little blog about exploiting the AH, and became a combination of him describing the weird sociological experiments he conducts on his server and generally ranting about misanthropic ideas unrelated to WoW.

  9. I can't help but notice that 99% of the time (Statistic made up, but I think it's a good estimate!) the people who said ICC/Wrath was too easy never pushed themselves. I run a weekly ICC 25 now trying to get my Shadowmourne and while at least 10 people have commented that on-level ICC was too easy, I know that none of them even experienced HM LK, let alone most of the HM wing bosses.

    I personally feel that the difficultly available in ICC vs. the difficulty available in Cata are roughly the same: A lot of people just didn't realize they never left the Bunny Hill to play with the big kids in Wrath.

  10. I agree with Faid's theory, sans statistics.

    10 man hardmodes in ICC demanded perfect performances from everyone. 25 man hardmodes were always easier because of sheer numbers - you could lose 1-2 people and still pull off a kill. Pure 10 man guilds were the most leet of all, because they were pushing 10 man heroic content with 10 man (ilevel 251) gear, as opposed to 25 man guilds doing 10 man heroic content with ilevel 264 gear.

    I personally contend that 10 man heroic Lich King is still one of the most complex and unforgiving encounters in the entire game (even compared with Cata).

  11. Hmmm for some reason only half the post can be seen. I tried reloading but still same.

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