MMO Blogosphere Review Of The Year 2011 – September: Firelands Nerf Rage, EVE is pwned … maybe and the community debates 2-healing

by on January 2, 2012


In September, it appeared that no games company was having a particularly good time of it. From Blizzard rolling out one final change that made the hate flow in waves, to the announcement that the espionage-obsessed players of EVE Online had pwned the game’s developers, it was a Bad Month To Be A Dev.

Meanwhile, with tons of great discussions and fascinating thinking going on in the blogosphere, it was a fantastic time to be an MMO enthusiast – just provided you weren’t in the employ of a large games company.

Let’s dig in.

Gaming Affairs: Fire No Longer Hot

After August’s storming month of total discussion domination, the PR people at Blizzard must have been feeling pretty cocky. They had one last announcement up their sleeve, and boy, it was a doozy. It would crush Rise of Isengard in its tracks.

The Firelands, they announced, were getting nerfed. And not just a bit – they’d gotten Greg Street’s old nerfbat out again. They were getting nerfed to the ground, baby. To the ground.

Well, it may certainly be said that we subsequently weren’t talking about anything else. But not in a good way.

The reaction from the blogosphere and the WoW community may safely be described as “apoplectic”. Kurn wrote a blog post so searingly furious it nearly burned itself into my monitor permanently

“If this nerfing of current content doesn’t stop, there is absolutely no point in my continuing to play. I can’t imagine Blizzard WANTS to drive away someone like me. I’m a guild leader, a raider, I have multiple max-level toons, I have a blog dedicated to the game and I act as a resource for a particular class/spec. I would say that I am someone that Blizzard should WANT to keep playing. Guess what? Dumbing down the game IS NOT THE FUCKING ANSWER.”

And she wasn’t alone. Cannot Be Tamed – not known for the QQ – was right there with her. Marks 365 was uncertain and worried. Righteous Defense said ‘It feels like the place has been outright cheapened’. And on and on it went.

Not everyone was entirely anti-nerf. I Like Bubbles was actively relieved by the changes. But of all the comments I’ve reviewed whilst writing this post, she’s the only one who was totally in favour.

Meanwhile, the nerf also prompted a number of really interesting questions. Beruthiel of Falling Leaves and Wings asked Why does every raid tier have to push the envelope?, whilst Tobold had, to my mind, the final word on the nerfs

“Right now, if somebody asks you the question whether raiding is hard in World of Warcraft, you need to reach for a calendar to give an answer.”

Lest other gaming companies laugh at Blizzard’s misfortune, the Gods Of Having A Bad Time Of It were watching over them, too.

EVE Online had a particularly rough time earlier in the month when The Mittani, Spymaster of the Goonswarm, one of the biggest Corporations (read guilds) in the game, and also scions of the infamous website Something Awful, claimed to have infiltrated and controlled the game’s developers. We still don’t know what was up with that particular piece of news – which Stabbed Up wrote an excellent overview of – or why The Mittani decided to make the announcements he did. Just another murky day in EVE’s insterstellar politics!

And Bioware hit a bump in the road to absolute MMO domination, with the news that sex in the game would be a Dark Side choice meshing with the news that there would be no option for same-sex relationships to give them a brief Bad News Day. Bioware have subsequently addressed the latter problem, promising that same-sex relationships will appear in future patches, but not before our own Johnnie Ingram took them (and Blizzard) to task

Around The Blogosphere

In the blogosphere, meanwhile, we had several passionate back-and-forward debates start.

Firstly, what became known as the two-healing affair kicked off early in the month. It all started with Zelmaru of Murloc Parliament’s post bemoaning the decision to move to two-healing some fights – “You’re doing well, so here’s some more work!”. Lono of Screaming Monkeys responded with a passionate defence of the concept, calling it a “tribute” to the skill of the healers.

From there, the debate became quite heated in comments, before cooling off, as these things tend to, into some interesting theoretical discussions – notably from Tobold, who was really on fire this month

““It is an inherent flaw of the system that any excess of healing or aggro management is a waste, but any excess of damage serves to speed up the fight. If you had a raid team which was perfectly able to take down a boss and the game would allow you to take one more person on the raid, you would always chose a damage dealer. There is such a thing as “enough” tanking and healing, but there is never enough damage output.””

Later on in the month, we also saw a spirited debate of Free To Play, with Nils taking the view that the current F2P models are “exploitative”, whilst Syl of Raging Monkey’s argued that they are “open to all”. And finally, at the start of the month we saw some really great thinking from all sorts of people on the subject of how to fix current MMOspart 2 here

New Blogs

September saw the addition of a notable new voice to the MMO blogging community, as Bravetank joined us with her unique mixture of very personal, funny and insightful blogging. The first post of hers we featured dealt with the fear of rolling Need – a great piece still!

Other great writing from September

September was another particularly good month for great writing – I suspect the general feeling of malaise, coupled with New THings on the horizon, was inspiring everyone to deep thoughts.

Tomorrow, it’s October time, and that means… Blizzcon. And other stuff too.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: Eve Online,General MMO Interest,Star Wars: The Old Republic,World of Warcraft

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul January 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm

The explanation for the FL nerfs came in November, when the sub numbers for Q3 were released. Ouch. And of course Kurn didn’t quit, even though FL saw additional nerfs (to Rag), and DS normal came in pre-nerfed in comparison to T11 and T12.

At this point the bloggers need to be worrying not that WoW end game is being nerfed, but whether WoW itself can survive.

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Syl January 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

small correction: Syl of Raging Monkey’s :) (also still a ‘she’ in reference to July roundup) cheers and keep the great summaries coming! it’s really astonishing how much has been going on all year and a great chance to check what you’ve missed out on.

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Hugh Hancock January 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

@Syl – Thanks, I’ll correct that!

@Paul – I’m expecting to see some articles on that very subject in the New Year, actually. From my own experience with the Pot’s traffic numbers, I’d say SW:TOR has taken a bigger chunk out of WoW than anything else, ever. The question now is a) if it can sustain its player base and b) if Blizzard have anything up their sleeves.

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Paul January 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

@Hugh: I’m going to predict that SW:TOR cannot sustain its attack. There are major flaws in the game that will become more obtrusive as time goes on.

This doesn’t mean WoW will recover its losses, though. Some people just drift away entirely, particularly if their friends do as well.

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Hugh Hancock January 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm

@Paul – Interesting! What flaws do you see being SW:TOR’s downfall?

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Kurn January 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Originally Posted By PaulThe explanation for the FL nerfs came in November, when the sub numbers for Q3 were released. Ouch. And of course Kurn didn’t quit, even though FL saw additional nerfs (to Rag), and DS normal came in pre-nerfed in comparison to T11 and T12.

I believe I stated quite clearly in the linked post that I would go through Cataclysm as I have a duty to my guild and my friends to continue on. It’s actually the first part of the paragraph that Hugh quoted:

I’m not leaving now. I may not leave for quite some time. But I’m seriously considering leaving after Cataclysm. Through Cata, I have an obligation to my guild. I am the GM and I owe it to everyone to keep things going and to continue raiding. If this nerfing of current content doesn’t stop, there is absolutely no point in my continuing to play.

So no, I haven’t quit, but I didn’t say that I would quit NOW — I said that this would call into question my decisions for the next expansion. My original post is littered with Hugh’s quote is a bit misleading because, I suspect, it sounds more dramatic, which is a creative liberty many media writers (myself included) often take.

If you’d read the post in question, you’d have seen that it was all contingent on IF things like this continued, ending with:

I’m a responsible person and I have a duty to my guild and to my guildies, many of whom I’m rather fond of. As such, I’m in this until 5.0 comes out or the expansion comes out, depending on what Apotheosis is up to.

But after that?

If this bullshit continues, I am out of here.

So I’d kindly ask you not to make me sound as though I’m a hypocrite when I was extremely clear in my original post about my long-term intentions. Thanks.

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Kurn January 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Ugh, “littered with ‘ifs’.” is what is missing up there.

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Paul January 4, 2012 at 12:16 am

Interesting! What flaws do you see being SW:TOR’s downfall?

The big one that killed it for me — and killed it quickly — is the feel of the combat system. Nils nailed this pretty well.

I have serious doubts about the quality/quantity of end game content, the state of PvP, and the replayability of the quests (and the ability of BW to churn out more voiced quest content.)

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