#1 - 2011/09/03 11:35:00 PM
1. The Issue
There's a very vocal minority, who may or may not represent the actual player majority, who are outspoken in requesting easier raid content. It would be appropriate to say this originates with the last expansion, where 10-man raids were a half-tier behind 25-man raids (and generally easier besides).
The argument generally unfolds that Cataclysm-style raiding is exceptionally challenging compared to Wrath, and there are players who enjoy PvE but do not have the time or interest to make the sort of time investment required to min/max their character to that extent (or spend hours studying boss strats).
Additionally, there's a feeling that there's not an ingame way to make the transition between 5-man dungeons and raiding content for new players. It's a significant step up in difficulty and logistics, which some players seem to find daunting. It's also hard to get into raids when you don't have raid experience.
- Cataclysm-style raids are tuned to a particularly high difficulty level.
- There's a harsh difficulty cap between heroic 5-mans and normal 10/25-man raids.
- There's not an easy way for new players to make the transition into raiding.
2. Previously Proffered Solutions
The most frequent outcry has been to nerf content, to make it easier. Blizzard acquiesced by reducing the difficulty of the T11 raids on normal mode, making normal mode T12 easier, and by making gear easier to access outside raids. In addition, people are postulating adding a third, easier raid setting.
I don't like nerfing raids, to be honest. I think T11 was overtuned, but a properly tuned raid should be accessible. This is my opinion. I like it when raids are hard and challenging, it makes the focus of raiding on enjoying raiding and beating bosses, not getting in and out and back to your capital city.
I don't like a third difficulty setting, either. First, because it would trivialize raid content, and second from a point of logistics. It's taken Blizzard three years to roughly balance two difficulty settings, so adding a third seems asinine given that track record. Then there's the time and resources involved.
- Raids could be made more accessible by making them easier.
- Raids could be made more accessible by making an easier difficulty setting for them.
- I think both these ideas are silly and would be a waste of Blizzard's time.
3. The Alternative
At present, we have normal 5-man dungeons leading into heroic 5-man dungeons, which lead into normal 10/25-man raids, which lead into heroic 10/25-man raids. The weak link which some forumgoers claim exists is the step between heroic 5-man dungeons and normal 10/25-man raids.
I would like to offer heroic-only, 10-man dungeons as an alternative to this apparent problem.
Normal Dungeons → Heroic Dungeons → Normal Raids → Heroic Raids
10-man Dungeons → Normal Raids → Heroic Raids
Please, please read the rest before running off on a tangent with that sentence.
These dungeons would require 10 players, would drop loot below normal mode raids, and would introduce players to grander-scale encounters than normal/heroic 5-mans can offer. Cataclysm went live with seven 5-man dungeons, logistically you could take the work from 1-3 of them for a 10-man or two.
Halls of Origination is an example of a Cataclysm 5-man that could've been a 10-man, heroic-only dungeon. Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman would also be ideal, as they originated as 10-man raids. These dungeons would be easier than raids, and drop heroic 5-man equivalent loot with a few epics.
I want to stress that these 10-man heroic dungeons would NOT be a repeat of the Karazhan raiding model from Burning Crusade. You would not need to visit them before raiding, they are there for people to learn the ropes, and have some fun in a less-stressful environment without huge time requirements.
- There's an intermediate gap between heroic 5-mans and normal 10/25-man raids.
- Heroic-only, 10-man dungeons could be designed to fill this niche.
- This would not be a repeat of the 'Karazhan model' since you can skip them if you want to.