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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nerfs over time

Rohan at Blessing of Kings recently wrote a piece on why nerfs are good for the game and in the comments I asked why it matters to more serious raiders if this optional debuff exists. 

The Anonymous commenter replied that it is because the debuff isn’t actually optional to these hardcore raids if they want to maintain their server position and thus recruitment. I have never been in a hardcore progression guild, but aside from the “World/Server firsts” I don’t see much excitement in the community about who got second place or third or fourth and so on. The Anonymous commenter noted that within the 10-20 guilds recruitment is important, so perhaps the prize they are going for is recruits. To which I ask; wouldn’t recruits looking for a “cutting edge” or “high skill” guild have more respect for a guild that might be 7/8 heroic but can claim (and prove with screenshots) that they did it without the debuff, over a guild that’s 8/8 but used the debuff? If they aren’t, then you have ask yourself what these recruits are really looking for in a raid. If the usage of the debuff doesn’t matter then they aren’t looking for challenge or accomplishment, they are looking at the easiest means to an end. This end could just as easily be gear, titles or mounts, but it shows that the recruits that only care about the X/8 aren’t actually in it to be the best.
                This also brings up another question; the Anonymous is basically saying to me that the hardcore raids are concerned about recruitment numbers; but decreasing the difficulty also means some raids that might not have been successful will be, and if most recruits only care about X/8 then it means more competition for those recruits. I think Blizzard in general feels that a competitive, large guild market place is better for the game than a group of high end guilds having their pick of the litter. As Rohan pointed out; broken guilds lose subscribers. I cannot prove it but I am of the persuasion that most people play games like WoW for the social aspect; they play because they like their guild or the people they interact with. When those people hit walls and get frustrated they quit and move on to lightsaber lined pastures. When those social links are broken people have less a reason to stay and if enough go then so do they.
                In the end I agree with Rohan that gradual nerfs are good for the game; Blizzard does not want players hitting those walls because when it comes right down to it players want to win. They want to win with a decent challenge but not everyone wants to put in 400 wipes just to down a boss. The hardcore certainly were a pivotal market early in WoW; but the times have changed and Blizzard can’t ignore the largest part of its customer base.

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