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2-22-2012 @ 6:07AM
In all honesty, look back at the tiers of raiding that most people found most enjoyable. Essentially, look at the Jeff Kaplan era of raid design, which covered the first eight tiers of raiding. BWL, Karazahn, SSC and TK, Black Temple, Ulduar, these are all examples of the model of raid design that blizzard should be trying to return to. While they were not without their flaws on release, Blizzard made some targeted adjustments on encounters such as Chromaggus, Kael, and XT hard mode, which were out of line with where they had intended those encounters to be, and then left the instances alone. Ulduar, in particular, was the manifestation of everything Kaplan's team had learned about raid design. It featured a large number of innovative encounters which spanned the difficulty curve from Flame Leviathan, which was affectionately dubbed "lootmobile" to Alone in the Darkness, a fight so difficult that only 13 guilds managed to defeat it before the release of the next tier of raiding. Guilds would go into Ulduar, and would always have a new challenge that seemed within reach, and while not every group would down Yogg-Saron, it marked the peak of WoW, both in terms of design, and in terms of subscribers.After Ulduar, Kaplan was pulled from the lead game designer on WoW, and was tasked with running Project Titan. He was replace by Tom Chilton, who's list of raid tiers include ToC, Firelands, and Dragon Soul, the smallest, and most some of the least popular raid tiers in the history of the game. Chilton doesn't believe in properly tuning encounters, except in the most egregious examples. He simply hits the instance with blanket nerfs as a catchall. He has presided over a design team that has released less content over time than any time in the history of the game, and on his watch, the game has diminished, both in terms of quality and in terms of subscriptions. Blizzard needs to get back to the Ulduar style of raid design, properly tuned instances with a smooth difficulty curve that ensures that all guilds will have encounters that will challenge and entertain them. They need to get away from the ToC, FL, DS model of small instances with a difficulty curve akin to to running into a brick wall where guilds lazily sashay their way through the instance until they hit Heroic Anub, or Heroic Lich King, or Heroic rag, or Heroic Spine, and they realize that despite how easy the previous boss was, this next encounter is completely beyond their abilities, and there's nothing else to work on, only to be stuck waiting until Chilton deigns to lower the next rung to within their reach.
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