Blizzard Blue Nethaera posted yesterday to inform the player base that Blizzard was further delaying the release of the upcoming Mists of Pandaria raids.
“To help raiders prepare their schedules for next week, we wanted to give everyone a brief heads-up that the Normal mode Heart of Fear will be debuting alone on Tuesday, and the Normal mode Terrace of Endless Spring will now open two weeks following the release of Normal Heart of Fear.
“To help players focus on tackling these new encounters without feeling overwhelmed, we’ve decided to stagger the release of the two remaining raid zones. Heart of Fear should prove to be a challenging zone that will take the typical group some time to master, and players must defeat the Grand Empress Shek’zeer at the end of Heart of Fear before they may move on to Terrace of Endless Spring once that zone unlocks.
“The unlock schedule for Looking For Raid modes for Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring is unaffected by this change. Heroic Heart of Fear will still be accessible to players who have cleared the zone on Normal difficulty.”
That equates to the following schedule:
- Oct 30: Heart of Fear (Normal)
- Nov 6: Heart of Fear Part 1 (LFR), Heart of Fear (Heroic)
- Nov 13: Terrace of Endless Spring (Normal), Heart of Fear Part 2 (LFR)
- Nov 20: Terrace of Endless Spring (LFR), Terrace of Endless Spring (Heroic)
Blizzard had originally promised the release of Terrace of Endless Spring at the same time as Heart of Fear, and the two were available to be played on the Beta. Blizzard asserts that the reason behind this change is to prevent player burnout, saying that players may feel overwhelmed at the amount of content available to them. The original schedule was as follows:
- Oct 30: Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (Normal)
- Nov 6: Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (LFR, Heroic)
What’s really going on here? It seems like an odd concern, especially given Blizzard’s other moves during this expansion, such as removing the daily cap. Vaneras posted about this way back in August, saying “We saw a lot of evidence and heard a lot of feedback which indicated that raid content was a little overwhelming at the beginning of Cataclysm. Our goal is to smooth that out a bit in Mists of Pandaria.” Progression-orientated players must have been wondering how they would find the time to clear 16 bosses per week, so perhaps this will give them time to clear out Mogushan Vaults before Terrace releases, but it seems unlikely that this effect will last long, and the more casual guilds will still have the same requirements placed upon them.
Perhaps it relates to the elevated item level requirement for entry into the new raids, and Blizzard’s fear that players may not be able to attain it in time. LFR item level requirement is 470 for both raids, and the same appears to apply for the normal and heroic modes. Given that heroic mode dungeons drop item level 463 gear, this item levels asks that players have loot from either the Raid Finder (476), a holiday boss piece or two (470), some Conquest PvP gear (483). Progression guilds will have no trouble with this item level, but the more casual players may struggle a little more.
That being said, casual guilds are not going to be pushing progress into the latter raids. The obstruction for casual, or non-hardcore progression, guilds is likely to be the necessity to clear Heart of Fear to enter Terrace of Endless Spring. As a member of a casual guild myself as far as raiding goes, one of the issues is that if we get stuck on a boss, the lack of progress gets frustrating. In Cataclysm, the option existed to simply head across to another raid and try something different.
What is your take on this? Is it genuinely Blizzard’s concern for players’ sanity? Or is something else going on?