Is Firelands EZ-Mode?

by on July 13, 2011

There’s some talk on the WoWosphere about whether Firelands is too damn easy.

Certainly, a lot of people have been posting some pretty impressive kill speeds. Most hardcore raiders seem to have splattered through Normal Mode in a week and are now engaging Hard Mode. For me, a fairly casual raider at best, that seems pretty remarkable. And some of the ultra-pro guilds are already at 6/7 bosses on Hard Mode.

But does that mean that we’ve got the equivalent of the Trial of the Crusader on our hands here? Graylo at Gray Matter doesn’t think so:

Let me ask you this. What if a new golf course was opened in your area and as a promotion they had Tiger Woods come and play an early round to generate publicity. Would you say that the course was too easy if Tiger Woods hit 15 under par in that round? If the course was designed to be a championship level course then probably, but if it’s intended to service the local population then maybe not.

If the WoW endgame was intended to test the most elite players then I would agree that Firelands is too easy, but that isn’t the case. The raid encounters are designed with a broader population in mind.

Since e-sports are a comparatively new field, I don’t think most of us have really acclimatised to just how much better the top players are than almost anyone else. I used to play competitive Quake, and I was pretty darn good – ranked 300-ish in Europe, and good enough that me playing a pickup game against casual Quake players was frankly just unfair. At the same time, I used to spend a certain amount of time playing on the same servers as the top 10 players – and I’m still proud of the fact that I once managed to hit Sujoy Roy. Not, you know, actually frag him, just impact him with a projectile that did damage. Because people who are really good are much, much better than those who are just good.

In conventional sports, we get this. I know perfectly well that just because Chuck Liddell can flatten someone in the UFC ring doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be a damp, sticky paste after 3 seconds against the same guy. But in MMOs, we haven’t had the same acclimatisation, we don’t have the TV coverage, we don’t really get the chance to compare ourselves directly. And thus, we don’t fully realise just how much harder content would have to be to prevent Ensidia from flattening it, compared to content which normal raiders would bounce off for months.

What do you think? Is Firelands too easy? Are elite guilds really all that?
Quote taken directly from Graylo’s post.
Find Gray Matter’s homepage at

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ohken July 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Elite guilds also have much better gear. If you only did normal mode in 4.1, and you only have ilvl 359 gear, then normal mode in Firelands is nearly impossible.


Carson July 14, 2011 at 12:46 am

“I don’t think most of us have really acclimatised to just how much better the top players are than almost anyone else”

Could not possibly agree more.

Fact is, if Blizzard tuned these raids to pose any sort of real challenge to the top guilds, then the great majority of players would never beat them. At all. They wouldn’t beat them if they raided every day. They wouldn’t beat them if they raided 24 hours a day. They simply would never beat them.

Yet people don’t get this. They make excuses, like Ohken above me with his “lol I could do it if I had better gears”. These are the guilds, don’t forget, that beat the 4.0 raid content in lightning time. What’s your excuse for that? Can’t say they had better gear.


Hugh Hancock July 14, 2011 at 1:08 am

Carson -Agreed. The best are GOOD. It’s very hard to conceptualise just how good until you see it.

BTW, I’m not sure that “lol I could do it if I had better gears” is an entirely fair way to characterise Ohken’s comment. Be nice, everyone :)

Ohken – interesting. I’ve heard Matthew Rossi over at WoW Insider this week saying that the first 4 bosses of Firelands were very doable in 359s – is that not your experience?


Syl July 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

I commented over at GM already, I must say it did confuse me a little. So on one hand people are rushing to gear up for Firelands and worry they won’t be prepared enough for it, at the same time others feel it will be too easy and finished way too soon…..speaking of paradoxical situations. Then, it always depends on what you look at and where you choose to get your comparisons. The idea to compare yourself with professionalized top guilds is about as useful as teenage kids looking at supermodels on wallpapers. and will make you approximately as happy.

I guess it doesn’t help to say people in general should compare less, look less to their left and right and just focus on their own game. there’s the risk that you actually end up content this way, in good old midground, so no way! ;)


Syl July 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

The longer I am thinking about this, the more I can’t stop wondering about one thing: when did all of this happen – that players do not actually try out encounters themselves anymore before passing judgement, and first go and read up, watch other guilds, videos, forums, prepare for weeks because a list or article says so and whatnot… all BEFORE going in themselves? it’s as if players these days prepare more for the game than playing it.

when did adventuring and “trial – error – adjust” get replaced like that in MMOs? how did it come to this?? (*enter Theoden voice*). Optimization is the devil, mark my words. -.- and I blame the devs bigtime for removing proper content progression, “entry level instance – medium – top” to make for a more natural and guided tour instead of this fear-and-prepare mongering every time instances get released now and then disposed of in a heartbeat next patch.

p.s. Sorry if I started going somewhat OT with this.


Ohken July 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Hugh, yes. I just think the current bosses are perfectly balanced for 359 gear and a 6-9 hour/week raiding schedule. I’m not surprised they seem easy in 372 gear.

On Beth’tilac and on Rhyolith, we are finding that we get behind on the adds and so gradually fall apart. If the adds were dying 2-3 seconds faster then I believe we’d have both of those bosses down. On Shannox, we had a lot of trouble until we learned to kite Rageface over fire traps and away from crystal traps, so that we get more dps on him; with a little more dps (or a little stronger healing) we wouldn’t need that additional trick. On Occu’thar, we initially tried with three healers and just couldn’t reliably kill the orbs in time; we had to switch to two healing it. It was close, though; with slightly better gear our initial strategy would have worked and we would have breezed through it.

That’s where I’m coming from. No disrespect intended for the world’s excellent guilds.


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