I don’t know about all of you, but for me Firelands and in a broader sense, Cataclysm progression, have failed horribly. As with anything perception based, your mileage may vary but so far I have not found a single person who has come out and said they love Firelands with a passion. Going with the very unscientific method of asking people around me and reading blogs, most people impressions of Firelands range from very mild enthusiasm to utter disgust and quite a few people have talked about how they’re reminded of Tournament of Champions, arguably one of the most hated patches ever.
So, I’ve decided to put on my detective hat once more and try to find out exactly what’s bugging us so much about this patch.
First clue: The progression path is not what we expected
If you’re anything like me, you would reason the following when it came to raid progression:
T11 normal –> T12 normal
T11 heroic –> T12 heroic
But it’s not what we got. Turns out that Firelands was initialy tuned with T11 heroic gear in mind plus what you’d get from dailies and VPs. Don’t believe me? Blizzard let it slipped recently when it announced the nerf to the Firelands
…and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can.
What I get from this is that if you were coming in from normal T11 progression and tried to do Firelands normal right away, as we did in Eff, you were looking at a very steep curve in difficulty. While that progression might have been fine for the more advanced guilds, middle of the road guilds like Eff have been struggling more as a result.
In the end, having Normal mode Firelands be a continuation of T11 heroics made raiding less accessible and brought us back to the days of Vanilla and BC where raiding past the introduction tier was only accessible to a minority of players… something Blizzard has admitted they are trying to get away from.
Second clue: The VP and dailies discussions
The one topic we’ve seen the most debated about Firelands is how badly you need to grind VPs and dailies. One camp, which I’ll call the moderates, argued that you should grind some, but that you could get by using the T11 normal gear. In short, play as usual, grind some stuff and it will all work out, like it did in the past. Another group, which I’ll call the maxers argued that you should max VPs and dailies all the time because it was needed to complete content.
Who was right? Well a few months in I’d say the maxers had it right if only because of the mix up in progression difficulty, doubly so if you were coming off normal modes. For a lot of players including me, the thought of having to regrind heroics all over again for points is not the definition of fun. In fact it’s as far away as you can get from fun.
In the end, our efforts were for nothing and no one told us
I think this is why Firelands if coming across as a bad patch. When 4.2 was launched, Blizzard effectively wiped all the progress of those who had done normal modes and to an extent, the work of those who had T11 heroic too. Suddenly, we had to grind all over again to be able to beat content. It was like being slammed with a new expansion only this time, we didn’t realize it at first.
Eff, as well as many other moderate guilds, hit Firelands the week it came out thinking we could carry on with the same kind of progression we had in the past and we were denied. Instead of good times, Firelands has been a source of frustration and burnout. Frustration at struggling and not fully understanding why and burnout because redoing heroics all over again is not our definition of fun.
I wanted, like many others, that the efforts I had put into T11 would carry on in Firelands and it didn’t. I think that this, more than anything else, explains why there’s so many of us dissatisfied with the 4.2 patch. Hopefully, Blizzard will learn from this for patch 4.3 and tune it so that T12 normal leads to T13 normal mode.
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