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WoW Boss Tuning

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Last Friday, Ion 'Watcher' Hazzikostas posted on the World of Warcraft forums to try and provide some perspective and context for the design team's goals and process for balancing raid encounter content. Some examples are given to explain the mindset that Blizzard uses when evaluating whether a boss or zone is appropriately tuned or not, and there are some interesting lessons in here.

 

Anyone who has been raiding for any amount of time has inevitably had the experience of feeling as though an encounter they struggled with, for whatever reason, was too hard. Few people are willing to admit when they beat a boss without any challenge whatsoever that it is too easy. Across the spectrum, however, it has been rare to engage in a conversation on the subject that had any meaningful parameters, because Blizzard's motivations were somewhat opaque.

 

This frank discussion of not only what the expectations are for gear and difficulty, but why those expectations are the way they are, is a great look at what the raid and dungeon developers actually had in mind for benchmarks in BRF, and understanding that frame of reference can make it a lot easier to evaluate not only BRF, but a wide variety of WoW content.

 

Amidst all of the little examples and thoughts on the raid's structure, boss order, etc., one thing really sticks out - the specific call-out to a given difficulty level's "target audience". For guilds who are at the correct points on the gear/encounter yard sticks, Blizzard is openly confirming that their goal is to build raids that will allow guilds who are acquiring the contemporary gear to progress at a rate of 1-2 new bosses per week.

 

If you haven't already, read Ion's complete post here. It's a valuable peek behind the curtain, and a great taste of the honest back-and-forth Blizzard is having with their players these days.

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Blackrock Foundry as a whole isn't overtuned as many people are saying, it is just that Blizzards tuning goal for it is higher than most expected. I'll admit that even I expected Black Rock Foundry to be similar difficulty to High Maul, so coming from a guild that was 7/7H and building our roster to start mythic progression I expected heroic Black Rock to be a faceroll for us and then we'd continue filling key spots to start mythic in a week or two.

 

However Black Rock is tuned much closer to being an entirely new tier than it is to being the second half of T17. This makes sense given that I've heard Blizzard only wants 2 raid tiers this expansion, and to have the next expansion ready for release within a year. If everyone easily jumped right into 10/10H in the first week, and started progressing quickly through mythic this week then there's no way Black Rock would hold people's interest for 3-4 more months until the next dungeon is ready.

 

I think a few of the fights in particular are very well designed. I love the way the environment plays into fights like Operator, and Hanz & Franz. Oregorger can be a pain, but the second phase is unique. The only fights I haven't seen first hand yet are Iron Maidens and Blackhand.

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Blackrock Foundry as a whole isn't overtuned as many people are saying, it is just that Blizzards tuning goal for it is higher than most expected. I'll admit that even I expected Black Rock Foundry to be similar difficulty to High Maul, so coming from a guild that was 7/7H and building our roster to start mythic progression I expected heroic Black Rock to be a faceroll for us and then we'd continue filling key spots to start mythic in a week or two.

 

However Black Rock is tuned much closer to being an entirely new tier than it is to being the second half of T17. This makes sense given that I've heard Blizzard only wants 2 raid tiers this expansion, and to have the next expansion ready for release within a year. If everyone easily jumped right into 10/10H in the first week, and started progressing quickly through mythic this week then there's no way Black Rock would hold people's interest for 3-4 more months until the next dungeon is ready.

 

I think a few of the fights in particular are very well designed. I love the way the environment plays into fights like Operator, and Hanz & Franz. Oregorger can be a pain, but the second phase is unique. The only fights I haven't seen first hand yet are Iron Maidens and Blackhand.

 Just wait for Blackhand. Best..... fight........ ever

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