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WoWJun 8, 2021 2:00 pm CT

How late is too late to tune an encounter?

On June 1, Blizzard made an adjustment to Mythic Sire Denathrius, which isn’t amazingly notable, but when you consider that Castle Nathria has been out since December 8, 2020 and Complexity Limit killed him that same month, it’s interesting to see tuning changes this far into the life of the raid. Should we be surprised? Even if the most optimistic predictions for patch 9.1 are true and it comes out in June — which I do not believe likely at this point — this is still the only raid in town right now. But it’s still a raid that’s over seven months old by this point, and an encounter that’s been down since 2020.

Is it strange to see it get a tuning change now? Is it ever too late to tune an encounter like this?

classic nefarian


I don’t think it’s ever too late to make a tuning change, not even when a raid is no longer new, not even when a raid is no longer even the current raid everyone’s doing. In my opinion, tuning changes aren’t just to make a raid more easy. Lots of things make raids more easy — gaining levels, getting better gear, unrelated ability changes — these can outright trivialize a raid encounter.

The purpose of a raid tuning change is to address a circumstance of the encounter that is not working as intended, and that can mean a lot of different things.

Originally Posted by Kaivax (Official Post)

JUNE 1, 2021

Dungeons and Raids

  • Castle Nathria
    • Sire Denathrius
      • Phase Two now ends when Denathrius’ health reaches 37% (was 40%) or after 225 seconds (was 210 seconds) on Mythic difficulty.
        • Developers’ note: Our goal with this adjustment is to make Denathrius’ final phase a bit more forgiving on Mythic. We considered simply reducing his health, but felt that could be needlessly disruptive during his first two phases, so we’re instead opting for a more targeted approach.

Yes, in the case of this particular change, the goal is to make the fight slightly easier. Specifically, the last phase, which was much more difficult than the entire rest of the encounter. By giving groups more time to deal less damage in that phase and still be able to complete it, you’re bringing the difficulty more in line with the rest of the fight. At this point in the expansion, with groups trying to get through Mythic Denathrius before 9.1 comes out, it’s absolutely a move to help guilds that are just on the cusp of getting the fight down over the last hurdle, and I have no difficulty with that idea. We’ve seen similar changes in other raid fights over the years. Mythic Nighthold saw similar back in Legion, for example.

Another example of a raid fight being adjusted long after its period of relevance is Nefarian in Blackwing Lair. Nefarian gets a new class call for every new class that’s added to World of Warcraft. Yes, even Demon Hunters. Now, is this a particularly relevant change? Absolutely not. Demon Hunters aren’t going to go in to Blackwing Lair at a level where the raid can possibly challenge them. But the fight still got the adjustment, and frankly, I’m thrilled it did — it’s part of WoW and it should be continued for every class.

Different groups clear content at different speeds

Yes, Castle Nathria is a fairly old raid by this point, but it’s still technically current content, being cleared by some groups. The reasons why are as numerous as the guilds still making that progress. Some groups just raid slower. Some are newly formed and progressing late because they weren’t together when the raid started. Others only recently got enough players to reliably raid Castle Nathria, or they merged with another group to get those numbers. Still others they took some time off raiding for a variety of reasons, or they weren’t even going to try Mythic but then they did after a long time on Heroic and now they’re finding themselves doing Mythic Denathrius even though they’d never intended to.

Sure, Complexity-Limit conquered it first back in December, but we’re not all Complexity Limit — everyone plays the game at their own pace. But that doesn’t mean that the encounters shouldn’t be maintained and balanced for the people who are still doing them.

Yes, there should be bug fixes and tuning changes and even outright nerfs when that suits the purpose of keep the raids as fun and well-balanced as possible, even months — perhaps even years — after a raid first drops. The fact that it’s been almost eight months since Shadowlands dropped doesn’t change the fact that people are playing it right now, and it’s a good thing that the development team keeps working on keeping encounters going as smoothly as possible.

It’s never too late to make adjustments.

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