Why does Blizzard nerf dungeons?

#1 - May 30, 2012, 12:12 p.m.
Blizzard Post
My question is why does Blizzard nerf heroic dungeons, i mean at first they are hard but what people don't realize about them is that you gear up. Hard is good and i'm sure most people don't want an easy game but a hard game that takes skill.
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#64 - June 26, 2012, 8 p.m.
Blizzard Post
05/30/2012 05:12 AMPosted by Zoroff
My question is why does Blizzard nerf heroic dungeons, i mean at first they are hard but what people don't realize about them is that you gear up. Hard is good and i'm sure most people don't want an easy game but a hard game that takes skill.

It's about balance as always. We have a variety of people who play the game and we have to keep in mind what constitutes challenging and what constitutes frustrating and find a way to move frustrating back in line with challenging. Then from there, we run into different ideas of what challenging is.

So, we have to take a look at where the trouble spots are, investigate who is making it through and who is having difficulty. Beyond that, it then gets down to the nitty gritty. Is it simply a class issue? Is it a mechanic issue? Is the dungeon overall just too difficult for a variety of class combinations to get through? At what point do people "give up" or just flat out leave or not even attempt the dungeon to begin with?

Once we determine what is the "core" contributing factor, the designers decide on a course of action. Sometimes that course of action is to alter the dungeon itself and make it more accessible. We want the game to be fun. We want people to feel like they can accomplish the task at hand without it being a painful endeavor. We also ultimately want people to get a chance to see the content to begin with. The idea of creating a "piece of art" is to share it with others. The same is true for the various aspects of the game. While there may be aspects of the game that are less accessible for one reason another to a wide array of people, something that's considered a key aspect of the available gameplay is not something we want to heavily restrict or hold people back from.
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#166 - June 26, 2012, 10:31 p.m.
Blizzard Post
06/26/2012 01:08 PMPosted by Reveries
They were good for 5 man groups. They were not good for 5 random people playing together.

This is a very good statement. I have often said that World of Warcraft has a lot of working parts and part of making development changes and balance is in being able to discern which parts need a little extra greasing to work better. There is also a distinct difference between a random group vs. a guild group or group of friends working together. While skill plays a part, so does understanding the people you're playing with and making what they do/how they play work for the group. If you aren't able to adapt to that, or the mechanics of the dungeon make adjusting too difficult, then it's another flag that perhaps something isn't working as well as it should be to allow that progress.

Again, people do want challenge, but challenge is different for everyone. Understanding where the limits of human patience are is important. For example, I'm more apt to stubbornly keep going up against something until I get it right no matter how long it takes, (give it a break maybe now and then) but go back to it so I can "beat" it. Others may give something a try once or twice then give up. In this case, our tolerance levels for "failure" or anticipation of gaining success at some point are a bit different.
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#182 - June 26, 2012, 11:19 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Im a bit confused with these parts in comparison to that of mechanics. For myself and doing the random groups and succeeding in the majority of them, I found what was usually the key point was players willing to work together and help each other and that those who are unwilling to adapt typically resulted in failure. With that said, are you saying that in the case of players not willing to be team players, the developers will make changes even if its not the fault of the mechanics?

Generally speaking, if a majority of randoms are not succeeding, then there is some potential evidence that it's a mechanics issue either in the classes being used (and their abilities) or the dungeon mechanics being difficult or hard to understand. If we're seeing a margin of error but overall progress is "acceptable" for a large portion of players given time, we may just hang back and watch. The key is in allowing for that reasonable amount of time to go by in order to gather appropriate data to know for sure what it is that's occurring.

So let me turn this around. Does Blizzard think that it's acceptable for a dungeon to be punishing?

Sure, to a degree. We're introducing Challenge Modes in Mists of Pandaria and those will be challenging though I hesitate to use "punishing". Again, we want it to be fun, so if you feel "punished" for trying to do it versus enjoy the challenge, it can be potentially problematic getting more people interested in it. After all, we expect that those who take part are going to be doing it with friends or guildmates which should keep it at "challenging" vs. /beatheadondesk .

The thing is why make harder content for the ones you call hardcore players just to nerf it later for others to get in?

Usually the changes are done after a period of time has gone by in which most of those "hardcore" players have done the content. That's cool and all, but again, getting others the opportunity experience the content isn't a bad thing either.
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#317 - June 27, 2012, 3 p.m.
Blizzard Post

Balnce you mean you guys actually balance this game thats the first i heard of this. Right now we will hear how you are trying to balance the new expansion. I will bet my life on it that the monks and the new cuddly utterly hateable pandas will be either so weak or way over powered. Your developers never seem to get it right when it comes to balance.

Let's get one thing straight here. World of Warcraft (and all MMOs) are in a constant state of being balanced and tweaked. As more content or more game changes are added, so too must additional balancing be done. There is no such thing as a "finished" MMO. That is the nature of them. Balance, is an ongoing work. Also, what you may think is "right" may not be either. It's pretty easy to sit on the other side of the fence and say, "Get it right!" But there are so many variables at play that it's never that simple.

Also, it seems there are several discussions going on here. My comments have been directed at Heroic Dungeons and dungeons in general. I wasn't commenting on Dragon Soul.

In regard to Dragon Soul: I work on a global community report each week in which every week I see a mix of people that are upset about the buff, and those that are thankful for the buff so that they can progress. It's not a black and white issue. We did something similar in Wrath of the Lich King and we changed it again for Dragon Soul. Who knows what we'll do in future raids.

Yes, people can experience the Raid with the Raid Finder, but that doesn't mean their guild isn't interested in accomplishing the Raid together either. I think there is also an assumption that "everyone has seen it/done it" and that's not exactly true either.

As to whether or not we will "nerf" Challenge Modes, I couldn't say. I can say we will balance the dungeons that they occur in. But they are intended to be very challenging for organized groups. There is no Challenge Mode Finder by which you can make a new group and go in with strangers.

I see a lot of people upset about how this hurts their own experiences. How by making it too easy, you're getting people who may not fully understand the mechanics of some of the encounters or may not play at the top of their game. On the flip side, if only a small portion of people can get through that content, it gives you a very very limited pool of folks to be able to play with.

Again, we're not in a black and white situation here.

That all said, /broken record on-

We are always open to constructive feedback on how you think the system could work better. No one on our side has packed up a suitcase and walked out of the studio because their work is "done". We have a large team of folks who have been working their tails off to get the next expansion ready and out to you. They have been reading over the forums, listening to the community team, reading outside the forums, and still putting in their time to work on a variety of thoughts and ideas whether they came from without or within.

Will things potentially be "out of balance" with the release of Mists of Pandaria? It's possible. Beta can only tell us so much. Even with such a large pool of people taking part, there is always a difference when it comes to the live environment. The developers do the best they can to make sure the choices they make are for the betterment of the game.

Back to the topic at hand, we're back to the simplicity of the original statement I made-- Challenging is different for everyone.

I would also caution people to avoid these statements, "If only Blizzard had had their eyes open and brains engaged." This is not thoughtful or helpful in any way shape or form, nor is it constructive. If the developers don't agree with your ideas, that does not mean they don't have their "eyes or brains engaged".
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#324 - June 27, 2012, 3:12 p.m.
Blizzard Post
A little experience that i had on my paladin.

I was going through heroic deadmines with a few of my guildies. It was my first 85 heroic, so i didnt really know all the mechanics.

between my general lack of sufficient HP as the tank, the healer being caught in Gubtok's Firewall, or the DPS just being plain stupid, we wiped, A LOT.

Took us 2 hours to complete it. It was around 2 in the morning when we finally got out. It was brutal.

But was it a good experience? HEll YEA!!
Not only was it amusing, but it was also very educational, even for a 4-year veteran.

Sometimes, you dont need to "balance" the game to make casuals feel welcome. You need to throw in a curveball every so often, especially with later content, where you're supposed to be challenged.
But it's slowly turning from "gather around the buff tables and lets discuss how we beat this guy" like it has been since vanilla, to "Herro, lets do dis quicklike cuz blizz made it easy for me!".

I'm glad you had a great experience. I do think people are mistaking balancing for "casuals" with just providing balance in general. When we balance, we're not going, "hey this guy can't get through the dungeon, we need to nerf that". We're looking at, "hey a lot of people are getting stuck right here. Why is that?" Sometimes, there's just a rough spot that we need to smooth out. That's simply it. Challenging does not mean we want people banging their heads on their desks. It means, we want them to feel that there is a challenge that they can rise to and have a chance of overcoming if they work at it. Again, it's back to the difference between frustrating (I give up) and challenging (let's go at it again).
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#598 - June 28, 2012, 5:05 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Let's please agree to avoid making this into a "hardcore vs. casual" debate.

The long and short of it is simply we want to make sure that we provide opportunities for as many people as possible to see the content. As I mentioned previously, most people who are "cutting edge" are through the content before it ever gets any adjustments. From there, it's about getting more people through the content (as appropriate). It really doesn't do us a lot of good to create content that only a very small portion of the community will ever get to see.

Yes, Raid Finder is there to help people who want to see that content, but many like to also move on from there into Normal and Heroic as a part of their gear progression as well. Giving them the opportunity isn't necessarily a bad thing.

We have a variety of discussions going on here and what I'm seeing boils down to this:

  • People feel their own accomplishments are diminished if others are given the opportunity at a "lesser" difficulty to do the same thing.
  • People feel that players who are given a "leg up" will be less capable of doing the more difficult content because they were given the leg up to begin with.
  • People are concerned about not getting the challenge they seek.

Accomplishments often can be seen by the type of gear you've managed to get, or the Achievements you've earned. Those can't be taken away from you and if someone else happens to earn those, then great. While the game has a competitive nature at points, not everyone is going to be "first", but hopefully most everyone will get a shot at being able to take part in the experience anyway. Challenge modes will be available for those that want to show off their ability as solid players. The bonuses though, will be purely cosmetic. It's all about the bragging rights and transmog gear. (We'll be able to put out more information on all of this before long to remind everyone of it.)

On the second issue, if we don't get people the chance to try to begin with, then they will never have the opportunity to improve. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of a sort for many players who automatically believe that someone isn't trying just because they may have rusty skills (from taking time away) or may not know their class well enough because they haven't had the time to truly learn it or a variety of other issues. What it comes down to though, is that if you don't give them the shot, they will never learn at all. They may not even want to learn if their experience in attempting to do so has been a poor one. You've got to let someone up now and then instead of keeping them knocked down if you want them to rise to the occasion. What you may think is a "bad" player may just be inexperienced. You won't know until they are given the chance. Are there people who may not catch on as quickly or who may not necessarily try? Sure. But that is not the majority. It's just select "bad" experiences or your own mindset setting you up for bad that makes this so.

Last, the challenge will be there if you take it for yourself. If you can't be first, you can at least be one of the first. And beyond that, there will be challenge modes or Achievements worth getting.

So yes, we will make adjustments to the difficulty to give more people the opportunity to progress whether they are casual, hardcore, experienced, new, veteran, returning players, what have you. We want people to be able to play the game that so many have invested so much time and effort into developing.
Forum Avatar
Community Manager
#607 - June 28, 2012, 10:02 p.m.
Blizzard Post
I think this topic clearly explains why blizzard nerfs dungeons. A lot of non related topics have come up as well like nerfing heroic raid content and possible challenge mode nerfs.

Its great to see you so active in the forums it kind of felt like all the employees have been away the past few weeks :)

Cant wait for more info :)

Thanks. I get in when I can depending on other duties. I felt I needed to do some reconnecting though. We'll be sharing more with everyone "soon ish". We are "getting there" and I'm hoping no one makes me turn this car around.