I'd rather be overgeared

| Wednesday, March 3, 2010
All content is designed for a certain level of gear and skill. Most of us fail at that level of skill, so we compensate with more gear. Or we have inferior computers; framerates can really hurt performance. Whatever it is, for the most part we go into content 'overgeared' and don't think much of it.

Sometimes Blizzard decides a boss is overtuned and nerfs it. We saw this a lot in BC, with many fights receiving major nerfs weeks or months after they were released. And then near the end BT was nerfed heavily, presumably so people could see it before we stopped caring.

I don't mind either of these. Overgearing just seems natural; gear is central to the game, part of the process of gaining strength to take on bigger challenges. A hamster wheel, but that's life. The big nerf, that feels like Blizzard looked at how fights were going and said "oops, too hard." It's a balance decision.

This 5% stacking buff feels more like "Oh you poor slow guilds, here's a cookie. And some unearned damage, healing, and health. Don't forget your homework on the way out!" It feels almost insulting. Overgearing, at least that's something we earned and worked towards.

I'd mind it less if it wasn't on by default. That would allow guilds to individually say "We're not getting anywhere, let's see what this can do for us." Or to say "We almost have this, let's give it a few more weeks."

When it's on by default, it's far harder for a guild to say "We want to refuse this buff to keep trying as we are, and keep wiping." I know that in effect they are the same, but the mind is a weird thing. Who is going to say "Let's make this harder than it has to be"?

Last night we did a lot better on Valithria. How much better? It's hard to say. 5% more healing is easy to calculate (if we assume no one died to lack of healing, which I'm willing to assume to simplify things). 5% more damage? That's harder. Getting suppressors down a little bit sooner can have a big impact on healing; especially if you consider that a suppressor at 4% health is so close to 0%, but is still debuffing her. And if we do take into account player deaths due to lack of healing; consider the blazing skeletons; killing them sooner makes them easier to heal through, as does the buffed healing, which combine to give more time to heal her and more players alive to kill suppressors faster meaning more healing on her... You get the picture.

If you were 1% from beating her, you can say you got 1% better. But what if you're going from 65% to 80%? Clearly that's more than the 5% healing, but 5% damage, 5% health, those multiply the healing. Maybe you only truly improved 65% to 70% and the rest is just a handout.


It's kinda killing ICC for me. The sense of improvement is weakened. Just stand around and it will get easier.

[edit] And as fate would have it, I wrote about overgearing (and difficulty) over a year ago. Though with a different angle. I guess it's a "If you liked this you might also enjoy..."


Anonymous said...

I agree totally. The stacking buff should have only been used towards the end of the expansion just before cataclysm is released.

Obviously blizzard want every player to have a chance at killing the lich king, but my guild has only had 1 night of attempts on him so far and now the buff has been enabled we'll never be able to say we killed him "pre-nerf".

LarĂ­sa said...

But unlikely the nerfs they've used earlier it's optional. You CAN do without it. You just have to be strong to take such a decision.

Tam said...

I feel quite ambivalent about the Pity Buff (as Miss Medicina calls it) - I know it's optional but I think it's unfair to ask players to make their own life more difficult. And, you're right, over-gearing is a sort of inherent self-balancing mechanism ... but the "have a cookie buff" ... hmmm...*dubious*

Anonymous said...

I was actually surprised that more people in my guild didn't insist, "We are definitely turning this off!" To put it in the words of one of our tanks, "Pride is for world firsts."

And I sort of get where he's coming from. We've only had a short amount of time on The Lich King so far and I would've liked to see how far we could get without the buff... but does it matter to me enough to turn that buff off? At least now it's only 5%. By August it's going to be 30, a mind-boggling boost, really. It's hard to imagine TLK being puggable, but that'll be the reality, I think.

The Renaissance Man said...

Did you like it better with the burning crusade model? Where blizzard would let you smash your heard against a boss for a while, and then nerf the boss hard, on the orber of a 20% health nerf, without the option of undoing it? That way you never get the chance to know if you could down it in it's intended form.

Jasyla said...

I find ICC buff much more agreeable than the nerf route used in the past. Nerfs can't be switched off and more often than not effect fight mechanics just as much as boss health.

Ngita said...

Blizzard has said in the past they want all guilds to be able to see content.

Now to achieve this what else can they do? They can make us overgeared by giving a new instance tier or a badge fest ala the end of sunwell, but to a degree they have already done this via frost emblems and voa, and their are no further tiers planned this expansion.

They can nerf the content and they have done this a little with things like change changing the buff on dreamwalker from 35 to 40 seconds. But this can be aggravating as well,when you watch people completely ignore what used to be integral parts of the fight and leave it to the healers to remedy.

This % buff is more obvious but it really is the same thing and preferable to bashing your heads against twin emps for 6 months because its designed to be a challenge for better players then us.

Klepsacovic said...

@Anonymous: The buff is supposed to be helping slower guilds, but instead it's hurting some. I share your pain.

@Larisa: But I'd rather make the decision in the other direction, since at all are as strong.

@Tam: I like the sound of that, Pity Buff. I pray no dicks start referring to it as the "welfare buff". Bah, it's probably too late already.

@paggingpally: Maybe this is Blizzard's plan for how to return a sense of a mystery.

@The Renaissance Man: I have to concede; you're right. This is still better than the non-optional nerfs, especially when they took place well after Blizzard should have been able to determine their difficulty.

@Jasyla: It is more agreeable, I do still wish it was off instead of on. But this is what happens when you give a mouse a cookie.

@Ngita: When I said overgeared, I'm going from the standpoint that we aren't expected to have every drop off Marrowgarr to kill Lady, or every drop off her for Gunship, and so on. Maybe we're expected to have 2/4-T10 for Arthas, but we're not expected to have every drop from ICC and fully upgraded T10 and whatever else. We can overgeared content within the content, since it's all designed for gear before it.

Issy said...

Hmm a few people have said, well, it saves me using a flask/buff food. I am not bothered either way about the buff though, tbh.

Stabs said...

Regarding Larissa's point about it being optional I don't agree.

If one person, even an officer or a guild leader says screw this buff, we're going to do it on hard it will split the guild.

Some people will see it as pointless masochism.

Unless you are in a really hardcore guild and had almost cleared the content before the buff you won't be able to convince the tenuous alliance of conflicting personalities that is your typical raid guild to want to play sub-optimally.

People care about guild rankings, loot etc. All of which you're tossing away for yourself and 24 other people if you decide to click the buff off.

Good luck finding a team to support you in that.

Chastity said...

I agree that it should have been off-by-default, but otherwise I'm very much in favour of it.

I think it's because I'd rather see MMOs work more like conventional games, and manually variable difficulty settings just seems like common sense to me.

Klepsacovic said...

@Issy: I suppose one could look at it as 'free flasks'.

@Stabs: I don't think it will split many guilds. But I do think we'll see more people silently unhappy and possibly raiding less. That might be offset by more people deciding to raid now that it's easier.

@Chastity: Seeing as I just restarted a Civilization game with a lower difficulty setting, I'm inclined to agree with variable difficulty. But then our minds start considering fairness and saying "why are they getting the same loot when the fights are all easier?" Drama ensues.

Dwism said...

It is a great thing. You do not have to study patchnotes to determine what just happended to the boss, you do not need to use the buff if you are a maschochist. The only weird thing is that it is a bit soon. Most guilds are just setting foot inside hardmode fights, so it is a wee bit early to add the buff (especcially since the big guy aint dead yet), but (and this is a big butt) it is -it must be- a huge hint from Blizzard that Cataclysm is way closer than we originally thought it would be. Why else bring in a nerf to an instance before there really is a need for it?

So, be happy :D (at least if you look forward to Cataclysm)

Echo said...

It's kicked in just at the right time for my guild.

Just as we start hitting 25m Hardmodes.

I think anyone wanting to kill stuff without it should be allowed however I'm really looking forward to my alt runs now. They are just for a giggle and we tend to clear up to putricide then go wipe on Blood Princes. Free looooot!

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