Boss Tuning

Dungeons, Raids and Scenarios
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Can we please stop using the word overtuned to describe boss fights that our raids are stopped at after 2 days of work?

I'm fairly confident an extremely small percentage of the people on the forums are game designers or play at a high enough level to understand the difference between failures because of player error and failures because of mathematical impossibility.

I'm also fairly confident that Blizzard will be watching the success rates of everyone in the world playing the different raid difficulties, and observe, with a bit more statistical significance than your single raid group, whether or not people are succeeding and failing at an appropriate pace.

Instead of hitting a wall on day 2 and deciding the game is broken, why don't we start with the idea that we're not playing perfectly and ask for some assistance in improving our strategy or execution. And if it turns out that something is, in fact, not tuned correctly, it will be fixed before too long with or without a lot of crying on the forums.
I find those complaints easier if I add "... for me" or "... for my group".

"This boss is overtuned ... for my group"
"Raiding is too easy ... for me"
02/05/2015 09:14 AMPosted by Zothlar
Can we please stop using the word overtuned to describe boss fights that our raids are stopped at after 2 days of work?


Unfortunately, a lot of people have gotten the idea in their head that if they can't kill a boss in 1-5 pulls, the encounter is broken. A big part of this, I think, is players coming back near the end of expansions (for instance, 6 months into Siege of Orgrimmar) when everyone has it on farm status. Add to that how easy the 'starter' raid generally is (Highmaul) and you have a bunch of players that just assume that that's how raiding works.
02/05/2015 09:14 AMPosted by Zothlar
Can we please stop using the word overtuned to describe boss fights that our raids are stopped at after 2 days of work?


Can we please stop assuming anyone who uses the word "overtuned" a few days after release is incorrect.
I'll use Overtuned whenever I damn well please.

Overtuned.
02/05/2015 09:56 AMPosted by Snarlsxavier
I'll use Overtuned whenever I damn well please.

Overtuned.

I don't like your tone. You're overtoned.
02/05/2015 09:29 AMPosted by Taluun
02/05/2015 09:14 AMPosted by Zothlar
Can we please stop using the word overtuned to describe boss fights that our raids are stopped at after 2 days of work?


Can we please stop assuming anyone who uses the word "overtuned" a few days after release is incorrect.

What's overtuned? The only thing I've seen from heroic so far that seemed overtuned was the dps check on Admiral Ga'ran's boat. With 5 strong 680+ dps we were barely making it. That seemed a little silly.
02/05/2015 10:14 AMPosted by Woopei
What's overtuned? The only thing I've seen from heroic so far that seemed overtuned was the dps check on Admiral Ga'ran's boat. With 5 strong 680+ dps we were barely making it. That seemed a little silly.


Where did I say anything about it being overtuned?

My only point is that it being out for a few days has no affect on it being overtuned or not.

I am essentially saying that the OP shouldn't counter bad arguments with other bad arguments.
To be fair, I never said it wasn't overtuned.

What I said is that the overwhelming majority of the people posting aren't qualified to determine whether the tuning is right, and even if for some reason they were, Blizzard will probably rely on their data more than a bunch of forum posts.

I finished by saying that if there is a legitimate tuning problem, it will most likely be fixed before too long.

Nothing in what I said addresses whether or not the tuning is correct. I am also unqualified to judge that, honestly.

It's just annoying having the DRS forums clogged with threads about how every boss from Gruul to Blackhand is "overtuned" because that's where one person's raid group stopped on day 1 and day 2.
1.1m Crippling Suplex is the definition of overtuned

still killed it pre-hotfix
02/05/2015 06:17 PMPosted by Nekonekoneko
1.1m Crippling Suplex is the definition of overtuned

still killed it pre-hotfix


Well, admittedly its pretty hard to die on that fight otherwise so you can save all the rezzes for tanks. (unless you have motion sickness)
At this point, the terms "overtuned" and "undertuned" are mainstays on the forums in the days and weeks following the release of each new raid zone. My best definition for "overtuned" is "harder than it should be"; inversely, "undertuned" means "easier than it should be." But of course everyone has a different idea of should -- of what the tuning target is for a given boss. Some are voicing their own opinion as players, while others are guessing at the developers' intent based on our past history and comments. Unsurprisingly, this lack of context and common ground all too often leads to people talking past each other, accusations of trolling, and other fun forum interactions. To help ground the conversation, I'd like to share a few thoughts and goals about how we approach the difficulty and complexity of our raid bosses.

Tuning in general is a very interesting topic, and one that sees a huge amount of discussion around the office, whether in formal planning meetings early in the design process, or yesterday morning when a coworker stopped by our office to offer a stern glare and some choice words about Oregorger.

As background, Blackrock Foundry itself is a bit of an experiment with a significant split-release initial raid tier. In Cataclysm, the initial 4.0 patch had three raid zones that opened immediately, with a total of 13 bosses (14 on Heroic), and the amount of content felt overwhelming to many. In response, in Mists we partitioned 16 bosses into two separate releases, with Mogu'shan Vaults opening the second week of the expansion, and Heart of Fear and Terrace following a month later. While this helped somewhat, many players still felt rushed, with new bosses unlocking far faster than they could keep up.

And so for Warlords, we added a more significant two-month gap between Highmaul and Foundry, allowing a significant portion of the playerbase to make real headway in Highmaul before we unveiled the remainder of the initial raid content. But that larger gap, while offering what we consider improved pacing, also made Foundry feel like a whole separate tier, which changed expectations slightly. If you quickly cleared half of Normal Highmaul the week of release, would you be able to clear half of Foundry just as quickly? If you had finished working your way through Normal Highmaul and had moved on to Heroic Highmaul when Foundry opened, would Normal Foundry be comparatively easy since you've now been raiding Heroic content?

In several ways, we intended Foundry to complement, rather than supplant, Highmaul. If we had wanted Foundry to be a fresh start and a clean slate, we would have had it completely obsolete all Highmaul gear, the way Normal Jin'rokh dropped items that were 13 item levels better than loot from Heroic Sha of Fear. But Highmaul remains relevant, and Foundry exists as a direct continuation of that progression. While Normal Highmaul was designed with the expectation that players would arrive with dungeon items, Normal Foundry expects players who are mostly Highmaul geared. Thus the numerical targets, in terms of healing and damage throughput, for even an early boss like Gruul or Beastlord Darmac, are comparable to what Ko'ragh demands in Highmaul. So just because you now find Kargath to be simple, does not mean that Oregorger will be equally easy prey. But players who had success in Highmaul should all be able to continue into Foundry, stake a foothold there, and continue to progress in their difficulty of choice. And those who are still working their way through Highmaul will continue to find invaluable items there, which will help them eventually delve deeper into the Foundry.

As for the structure of the zone, Foundry is a winged instance, in the style of Naxxramas or Icecrown Citadel in the past, and we intend for bosses to become more challenging the deeper into a given wing you go, but for the different wings to be largely equal in overall difficulty. Groups who jumped right into the Blast Furnace encounter after downing Gruul and Oregorger likely found themselves in over their heads, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the Furnace encounter is "overtuned" -- rather, in essence, you were skipping from bosses 1-3 all the way to bosses 7-9. The early bosses of other wings will offer a more suitable challenge, and will offer valuable item upgrades to help prepare you for the end bosses of each wing, and of course for Blackhand himself.

(continued)
Our expectations regarding item progression through a zone also may not be obvious, and may contribute to perceptions of "overtuned" encounters. We generally assume that our target audience for a given piece of content is starting out largely (but not entirely) geared with items from the prior difficulty and/or zone. So Normal Foundry was designed to feel appropriately challenging for a group that enters the zone with a fair amount of Normal Highmaul gear. Heroic Foundry expects some amount of either or both Heroic Highmaul or Normal Foundry items. But that's just for the start of the zone. Guilds that are squarely in the target audience for a given difficulty aren't the ones who blaze a trail to the end of a zone: they progress steadily and surely through it, downing a boss or two each week and accumulating a significant amount of loot along the way. Thus, the deeper into the zone you get, the higher the item level we imagine you are likely to have. This, too, often causes guilds to feel that some bosses are "overtuned."

For example, imagine a guild that had fully cleared Heroic Highmaul and had 2 Mythic bosses down, coming straight into Heroic Foundry with an average item level of 672. This guild, being both skilled and somewhat overgeared (compared to the 665ish item level we might imagine for a typical guild entering Heroic Foundry), might steamroll through the first portions of Foundry. They're getting some item level 680 upgrades along the way, but one partial clear's worth of loot isn't enough to drastically change their overall power. But then, before they know it, they're face to face with wing bosses or even Blackhand, which were designed with the expectation that raids would have acquired a significant amount of ilvl 680 Foundry loot, perhaps with some tier set bonuses in play. And so those encounters might be unexpectedly challenging. But the seemingly sudden jump in difficulty isn't due to a tuning error, but rather because this group of trailblazers cleared so quickly that they went from being overgeared for early bosses to actually undergeared for the later ones!

All of the above said, that doesn't mean that we feel every boss in Foundry is perfectly tuned according to our goals. Blackhand is almost certainly a bit too demanding (though not drastically so - he's supposed to be hard!) and will likely see some adjustments going into the new raid lockout next week. And we're keeping a very close eye on raid-size scaling issues that may make certain fights excessively difficult with too few or too many players, and have adjusted a few such mechanics already. But in general, we're satisfied with how things are shaping up so far.

Thanks for reading through all this, and feel free to return to the tuning debates. It wouldn't be the Raids & Dungeons forum without them. But hopefully this shed some light on how we approach the topic on our end.
Sticky requested.
Thanks for the post Watcher. Definitely very informative and captures the feelings of different raiders quite well.

I think a lot of players also just don't understand the concept of progression and how a group's ilvl gradually increases over repeated runs.
So far, I can't complain. Except for Karnor the Cruel. If we have to blow Time Warp and raid CDs to kill him, he should at least drop something.

Sure, the fights are harder and more demanding, but you gave us what ToT did not: options. Having a rough night on Oreogorger (that's my name for him, don't judge me!), go poke at another boss.
Thanks for the clarification. One thing that seems to maybe go against your statement though is how steep things went from Korgath to Imperator on mythic. But that's just my opinion.
02/06/2015 12:09 PMPosted by Watcher
Thanks for reading through all this, and feel free to return to the tuning debates. It wouldn't be the Raids & Dungeons forum without them. But hopefully this shed some light on how we approach the topic on our end.


Well-said, and it certainly will help some better understand the intent behind large differences in boss difficulty.
02/05/2015 10:18 AMPosted by Taluun
02/05/2015 10:14 AMPosted by Woopei
What's overtuned? The only thing I've seen from heroic so far that seemed overtuned was the dps check on Admiral Ga'ran's boat. With 5 strong 680+ dps we were barely making it. That seemed a little silly.


Where did I say anything about it being overtuned?

My only point is that it being out for a few days has no affect on it being overtuned or not.

I am essentially saying that the OP shouldn't counter bad arguments with other bad arguments.

Doesn't help that one guy said the fights were overtuned because his guildies were failing on the mechanics.

And that one said fights were mathematically impossible, and ran away when asked to provide said maths.

But I do get your point.
I've had a lot of fun in BRF so far, Ion, and I have to say that Blast Furnace was one of the most perfectly tuned bosses that our raid team encountered leading it to be one of the most fun for our gear level and relative "newness" of our raid team. So, props to your team on that. Iron Maidens was also very well done and have yet to experience far into Blackhand. So far this is the best raid I've done in WoW so far.

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