How Did the 3 Untested Bosses of Sepulcher of the First Ones Turn Out? - BDGG Discusses
05.06.2022 um 04:49
With the Race to World First now safely in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look back and examine the biggest change Blizzard made for this tier – hiding the last three bosses. I spoke with a couple of members of
to get their impression of this new approach from Blizzard.
When Blizzard announced their proposed schedule for the Sepulcher of the First Ones raid, they introduced a twist that they hadn’t tried before in the modern era of WoW; they split up the raid so that not all bosses would be available on week one of heroic. This was done for on-theme lore reasons related to the “cryptic” nature of the patch, and served to elevate those last 3 bosses in status by separating them from the other heroic bosses.
After seeing this decision, many community members loved the idea as a way to introduce a unique twist into a tier and “spice things up”. This, in turn, spurred ideas that Blizzard should double-down and keep these 3 bosses from being tested on the Public Test Realm as well, as a way to additionally amplify their difficulty. Blizzard did end up leaning into this idea, and we got a Sepulcher launch with 3 bosses that hadn’t been tested, and wouldn’t be seen until the week of Mythic.
Impact of the Staggered Tier Release
Due to being a novel feature of the tier, there were many unforeseen consequences of this decision. The largest impact, by far, in delaying the launch of these 3 bosses, was the effect it had on tier acquisition. Because these bosses weren’t available on any of the 4 difficulties until mythic week, and they had two of the five tier pieces, it meant that there was no way for players to secure a 4-piece tier set until week two at the least.
Earth - DK
I'd prefer if they did staggered releases with more weight behind them, i.e. releasing 1-8 this raid as a singular raid, then doing a very hard 3 boss raid in a few months time. If they're not going to do that, then this method is extremely frustrating as it locked out 2/5 pieces of tier for the first week, further hampering people via rng.
Even more importantly, it meant that there was one fewer reset to accumulate these slots to enable trading on lower difficulties. Due to the nature of cascading loot trading, this “lost” reset meant that characters who wanted to complete a 4-set on the first week of mythic were required to loot one of the tier items off Lords of Dread or Rygelon.
This, in turn, introduced a bottleneck for raiders wishing to compete in the Race to World First that was similar to the Shards of Domination system in 9.1, where completing a shard set was the difference between a character being usable on progression or not. Because completing a 4-set was one of the single biggest increases in character power, and having only one week to loot these items, it meant that their loot was the single most important factor in gearing for the entire race.
Pictured here: @LiquidGuild advertising for help in their Sepulcher split runs, offering 10 million gold for normal tier items from Rygelon or Lords of Dread
Finally, one large effect of delaying these three bosses, is that by the time they went public, there were bosses that already had higher item level. With the early mythic bosses dropping 278 item-level gear, and these three bosses dropping 272 item-level gear, it meant that the only relevant reason for doing them was to acquire tier sets. Unfortunately, this resulted in very few guilds even attempting to kill The Jailer on Heroic difficulty until they were exceptionally deep into the tier, as a way of avoiding any wasted time on a boss that didn’t have much in the way of rewards. Even to this day, there are more guilds that have killed 4/11 Mythic Bosses than have killed Heroic Jailer.
I think delaying the three fights one week affected the tier negatively because two of them dropped tier sets and there was little incentive to even pull The Jailer after he unlocked on Heroic. However, I don't think not testing the bosses caused any issues
Impact of Hiding the Bosses
Putting the loot acquisition aside, hiding these three bosses from the player base had another interesting effect on the raid as a whole - preparation and planning was, at best, speculative. Because any information about these three bosses was limited to whatever was available in the dungeon journal alone, there were very few ways to develop extensive strategies, compositions, and even WeakAuras to solve these bosses that were guaranteed to be challenging.
Lozy - Tank
I think I mind the old way more, as I enjoy more prep-focused, iterative stuff than having to find "good enough" solutions on the fly. I don't think I'm willing to die on that hill though.
It also meant that these bosses had the very real possibility of being exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, with any missteps in tuning/bug testing from Blizzard. Because there was no player testing on the public test realm, all testing had to be done in-house by Blizzard's testing team to make sure that these bosses could reach live servers without any major bugs. Thankfully they did an exceptional job, with very few impactful bugs (we’ll just ignore the Jailer’s shield on mythic here).
Dorovon - Mage
I'm mostly indifferent on this, but I lean slightly towards having raid testing.
I personally find raid testing on Beta/PTRs to be a lot of fun because everyone who is testing gets a chance to see the bosses for the first time and it still typically doesn't get streamed by many of the best guilds, which allows for more unique strategies to develop.
This was very clearly an interesting and worthwhile experiment, especially in the context of the modern era of WoW and the competitiveness of the Race to World First. This being the case, the big question becomes - will Blizzard continue this trend going forward? Or will they return to the old status quo, launching all heroic bosses on heroic week, as well as putting all bosses on the public test realm? Maybe there’s a middle ground with introducing this as a feature for specific tiers when they want to introduce a little extra difficulty.
In the case of this tier they specifically leaned in this direction for lore-related reasons, but perhaps there’s a future that maintains more secrecy with regards to future raids. For a long time there have been many calls from the community to increase the difficulty of WoW raids by no longer allowing guilds to test these bosses on the test realm, as well as cracking down on what WeakAuras are allowed to accomplish. Perhaps with the rising interest in the competitive raiding scene, these are avenues that Blizzard will explore in the future.
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