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Where has Infernal Dawn’s Difficulty Gone?

By on May 4, 2012 at 9:13 am, in Featured, RIFT  |  Comments: 19 comments

RIFT has a decently-sized raiding crew, and there’s a good reason why– Trion’s raids are large, expansive, beautiful, and for the most part, contain some pretty awesome fights. The game’s raiding community is made up of all types of players– those who enjoy a more casual approach to raiding and scheduling raids, those who enjoy the competitive raiding scene, and all kinds of folks in between. With Infernal Dawn (ID) out, and a large portion of those raiders delving deep into the new fights, there’s one large, looming problem that multiple people from multiple groups have experienced– Infernal Dawn, so far, is just too easy.

This is a problem, and not just a problem for the “hardcore” community, that is, the players at the top of the food chain, with the maximum amount of planar attunement (PA) and all the best gear from Hammerknell (HK). Many guilds who don’t even consider themselves hardcore or serious are having the same experience. The fights in ID so far simply don’t have the same oomph, the same adrenaline-punched feeling of not knowing whether this attempt will be the one, the feeling of knowing those couple hours of wipes were worth it after downing a tough boss and listening to the guild explode over voice chat.

That feeling’s pretty damn amazing, and a large part of the reason most raiders enjoy raiding. Hammerknell had a ton of fights that produced those feelings, and many players were expecting to feel the same in ID. Guilds spent months upon months farming HK, farming PA, and building just the right raid force. And now they’re finding themselves a bit underwhelmed, a bit discouraged, and quite confused.

So, what gives? Why the major difference in difficulty between ID and HK? There’s a number of issues behind this phenomenon, I think, and not any one in particular is the sole cause of the difficulty swerve. It’s more or less the combination of all these factors.

First of all, it’s important for players to remember Trion’s own vision for the intended difficulty of ID. They’ve stated it a few times during the raid’s months of development. Here is the most recent source, which was discovered during an interview with various fansites. Here’s an important tidbit from that interview, regarding the difficulty of HK, and what Trion has learned from it:

“One of the biggest schematic thing from all of this, is what is the right amount of challenge that is going to be hard enough but still fun? We kind of phrase it a little more bluntly in the office when referring to it. We don’t want to be punching people in the face with the difficulty of the content. And one of the other core things that we are really trying to avoid is creating situations where the success or failure of an entire raid can be messed up by one person…”

Remember the guilds that felt some fights in HK were far too unforgiving, long, and overly difficult? Remember the guilds that broke up shortly after HK came out because players were dropping like flies, and it was increasingly hard to recruit HK-ready players? Trion does, and the effects are seen currently with ID. The developers wished to create a more balanced raid, one that didn’t punish individual players nearly as much as HK did, and didn’t cause players to want to throw their keyboards across the room. I think they’ve succeeded in that respect. The real question is: Did they take the balancing act too far?

To really answer that question, a few more points need to be looked at. Let’s look at gear for a second. The gap between T1 raid gear and HK raid gear was huge. So huge, in fact, that players complained of epic trash items being better than relic items from River of Souls and Greenscale’s Blight. This large gap caused a few things– it created natural “gating” to take place at certain fights in HK, that is, guilds reached stumbling blocks unless their gear was up to par, and it also made some fights extremely difficult for players who didn’t have full BiS from other raids.

Trion didn’t want this, and this was evident when shortly after, they adjusted many of the stats on gear across the board. They wanted players to acquire gear across an even level, and didn’t want one or two items to make such a drastic difference. The continuation of that solution? Yep, that’s right. Creating the next raid with a much smaller gear gap. That’s exactly what we’re seeing.

The problem with taking this route is two-fold. Sure, it’s easy for players to step into ID with half HK gear and do fairly well. On the other hand, it makes it a little too easy for players with full BiS HK gear to steamroll the place. It also completely negates any chance of seeing a natural gating mechanism in ID, which is disappointing to many guilds that looked forward to reaching a difficult fight then having to halt progression in order to take a couple weeks and farm gear from the early fights.

Again, I can see Trion’s obvious intention here with the lack of a gear gap. I can’t, however, see that it’s at the perfect level of balance. There should be a natural gear incline, and players should be encouraged to farm the earlier raids a bit before entering the toughest raid on the block.

There’s also the fact that Trion isn’t the only group of people that learned a lot in between the time of HK’s release and now. Players have also learned a lot. Guilds have became solidified, strong teams who are comfortable with RIFT’s mechanics, every soul combination, and every buff and debuff. The longer an MMORPG is out, the more time players have to grow comfortable, familiar, and skilled within its world. Trion may need to take this into consideration the next time around, and realize that RIFT’s players are becoming a skilled bunch, and may need more challenging fights as time goes on.

Planar attunement may also be at fault here, at least partially. Trion may not wish to admit that just yet, but I think it’s important they consider the possibility. The pure stat increments are nothing to sneeze at, and let’s face it– RIFT’s all about stats. Stats do make a difference. DPS timers and the health of our tanks do make a difference. Toss enough minor stat adjustments together, and suddenly, the difference isn’t so minor. And we weren’t even given the third tier yet. I’d personally like to see the stat PA nodes toned down considerably, or replaced with something different altogether.

Dragon

At the end of this bucket list of sorts, I think that’s what the difficulty loss of ID really comes down to. The loss of a gear gap, combined with PA, the fact that many players are fully geared from HK, and the fact that players are more familiar with the game and thus skilled creates a sort of landslide of factors that are currently making a lot of guilds out there cringe.

Did Trion go too far with many of the intended changes? I think so. Is there a happy, balanced medium, where players can experience challenging raids yet not end up wanting to pull their hair out? Probably, but it’s always impossible to please everyone. Many players are discussing the possibility of Trion adding master mode raids, harder versions of the same raids, in order to please all types of raiders. I guess that’s one possible route, but personally, I’d rather not see multiple versions of the same raid. I’d much rather see new content, with more creativity, and a little better tuning.

It’s also important, of course, to remember that there are still a few fights in ID to check out. Maybe our opinions will change after getting to see them. Here’s hoping.

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  • http://www.mehpempobolt.hu/ Méhpempő

    Many guilds who don’t even consider themselves hardcore or serious are having the same experience with this game!

  • David Johnson

    Another big reason that the ‘lower’ guilds (not top ranked) are finding success in ID is due to the top guilds releasing videos and strats detailing the encounters in great detail. I’m not knocking it because we do it was well, but that is just another reason for the early success of some.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Hardgrave/100000713622505 Laura Hardgrave

       That’s very possible too.

  • Lisa

    ಠ_ಠ
    “Sure, it’s easy for players to step into ID with half HK gear and do fairly well.” Please let me know when you take in an undergeared group of 20 people to Ituziel and you meet the minimum 40k DPS requirement to not wipe on the enrage timer or have tanks that can take the incoming damage.

    Then I’ll believe you’ve actually raided in Rift.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Hardgrave/100000713622505 Laura Hardgrave

       That “fairly well” wouldn’t be the case for all fights, which is definitely a good thing.

      • Lisa

        So what fights are you trying to talk about being easy then? Or rather: Which have you already completed with your guild? Or are you just basing your statements off of what you’ve seen other people say elsewhere (on the forums.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Hardgrave/100000713622505 Laura Hardgrave

           I’m no stranger to RIFT raiding, but for the most part, my opinions come from a variety of sources, including community feedback. I’m not saying the raid’s too easy for everyone. I’m saying multiple people in multiple types of guilds are finding that to be the case, and that interested me. I’m not so much interested in arguing about whether it’s really too easy or not– I’m more interested in the possible reasons for this to possibly be the case. Hence the editorial.

          This whole thing, of course, is just my opinion. You’re free to not agree.

  • Pirewall

    I have no idea what you find “too easy”. Spending quite some time on Ituziel even.

    • Quinnm34

       The only thing that is “hard” about Ituziel is the enrage timer.  Maklamos is prob the worst raid boss ever.  Theres no creativity and nothing complex about it, run to the color debuff you have and you win.  That fight should be in an expert of a t1 raid rift.

  • http://profiles.google.com/exim.test exim storm

    right now there is 3 tiers of raids out there, The first tier you can definitively just pug now. easy as pie and you can just ask for lfm to gsb / ros / what ever and it will get done in a reasonble amount of time with out to much hassle. Hk is a step up (or rotp for that mather) it is excellent now for the start up guild to bond over and progress trough if you can see beside the fact that there is ID now. 

    Now to my question, Why do there need to be 2 fairly easy raids at the top end granted we haven’t seen the last fights in there but so far the top guilds have cleared it with in hours of the wing being unlocked. (unless the encounter has been so buggy) 

    Im not any were near hardcore my self i and i have only done 2 bosses in there so far but what i have seen so far it is not anything i havent seen in rift or another mmo before the mechanics i not new in any shape or form.and thats maybe because there arent any real mechanics you can implement that isent already invented. i would still like to be challenged. warlord is just joke and kinda silly mechanics that is basically don’t do anything stupid. (like stand in crap to close to mobs or the guy thats on fire.) Ituziel there werent any hard mechanics just annoying ones and a quite silly enrage timer (if it is supose to be done by people in half hk)  

    No Trion … hope you hurry with the next 20 man raid because 9 months wait for the next one and all raiders that ever played this game will be gone. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Rizzo/1806263396 Paul Rizzo

    Not to be mean to the raiders here, but if most of you actually came out and said what WoW guild some of you are in and why you are playing Rift now over Pandaland maybe it would convince Trion that hardcore raiding is worth it.

    As far as most of us know you guys are a extremely niche group and the difficulty level is good for the rest of us.

  • Marc Desjardins

    Maybe it’s not that ID is easy but everyone is well prepare for it. Just remember that HK and RotP was hard and now everyone know what to expect from newer raids. I think it’s not because it’s easy, but because ppl knows what to do. Take a guild from WoW and put it right into ID and you will see that it’s not going to be easy and they’re going to abandon after the 1st-2nd boss.

    I’m saying, grats to RIFT raiders.

  • Iferious

    I think they should release an hardcore mode. Due to the people in full HK gear and the PA. One of the things that makes this game so great is that they have so many ways to make your character stronger. Any time you alow so much of a range of character strenght you need to add ways to compensate and give those guys at the top a challange they should realease a set of T3.5 gears for those on hard core. That would alow everyone to be happen and give everyone more things to accomplish until the next patch comes out.

  • Vydark

    People get so upset about how hard HK was but in the end think that what made rift so bad ass. I want to play a game where when i say I am in the top tier gear. It means something. So what if some people leave Rift because it to hard. I have many friend play SWTOR right now and the only thing that has them looking at rift is to see how complex and hard the end game content. People want a raid that takes a while to get threw. Where you have to have a few piece of t3 on every character in the raid before you would even think about trying some of the last bosses. There are plunty of other games out there that you can play if you want something that you can just click a few buttons and win. Challenge us and make us really feel like whe done something when kill the boss.

  • Iferious

    People get so upset about how hard HK was but in the end think that what made rift so bad ass. I want to play a game where when i say I am in the top tier gear. It means something. So what if some people leave Rift because it to hard. I have many friend play SWTOR right now and the only thing that has them looking at rift is to see how complex and hard the end game content. People want a raid that takes a while to get threw. Where you have to have a few piece of t3 on every character in the raid before you would even think about trying some of the last bosses. There are plunty of other games out there that you can play if you want something that you can just click a few buttons and win. Challenge us and make us really feel like whe done something when kill the boss.

  • Guest

    This article is a cool viewpoint that is shared by .01% of the playerbase.  I sincerely hope that TRION doesn’t listen to this garbage and over-tune encounters in ID to appease the masochist no-lifers.  Hopefully TRION will look at the 100+ guilds stuck on Ituziel and acknowledge that things are just right, if not too difficult in there current state.  I consider my guild average in every way and we are 3/8 (haven’t had much face time on Scryer yet).

    • Iferious

      I dont think guild should even be in ID unless most or there guild is in full HK

  • Withless007

    dont know what people are upset about im glad it a bit”easier.”im still waiting to step foot into hk,i being playing since game started but not being able to get into a group or guild that was into raiding and when i did they went without me(i was ill)then they disbanded,I welcome easy raids in id and hk as it give me hope to one day set foot in there.

  • cj

    You use the term no lifer to refer to players with actual skill at the game?.Give me a break with your “I dont want to put in the time to get good but want to reap all the benefits”attitude. that is what has ruined wow.Its a shame because a big % of rifts player base comes from people like myself and other friends that are fed up with WOW and how facerol everything is and how the game is 99% for casuals now.Go ahead trion take the one thing that made you different from the game you copied away and see if people don’t go right back to wow.Rift’s raiding community is made up of all old wow players that liked wow in the BC days and Rift is frequently compared to that and it is the same thing iv said to get wow players over here that hate 4.3..If they start making there raids faceroll I honestly cant think of one selling point of the game and may as well go back to wow

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