On January 31st, Blizzard will be releasing a small patch for World of Warcraft, Patch 4.3.2. Along with this patch, which includes minor class balance changes, Blizzard will also be implementing a “nerf” to the Dragon Soul raid. This nerf comes in a form of how Icecrown Citadel was nerfed; however, this time, instead of buffing the players, Blizzard has decided to nerf the encounters. Upon entering Dragon Soul, players will receive a buff called Power of the Aspects. This buff will reduce health and damage of all enemies by 5%. Blizzard has announced that they will also be increasing the buff, by increments of 5 most likely, every couple of weeks. This buff can also be turned off, if the raiders choose to, by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of the raid.
Like normal, when Blizzard implements a nerf to the current raid content, people get upset about it. Many people feel Blizzard is making the content too easy by implementing this change. However, the fact of the matter is that this raid has been out for over a month and most of the regular raid teams that have not cleared this content have hit a certain encounter that they simply can not beat. It is true that as they gear up more, it will become easier, but that is a long process and many players do not want to work for another month just to get one boss down. The buff only being 5% at first is a good decision by Blizzard. This allows progression through the raid to continue at a steady pace, without making the raiders feel like the encounters were ridiculously easy.
Blizzard made the right call with this nerf. First of all, it was the right time to nerf it. Most of the raid teams that will be able to clear all of the content have already done so, and those who are close can simply choose not to play with the buff activated. Secondly, Blizzard implemented the nerf in a good way. Similar to Ice Crown, they decided to have a buff that starts of small and gets bigger as time passes. This makes progression move smoothly. The downside to Ice Crown’s nerf was that it buffed player damage. This made player pull more DPS, and when they progressed to the next tier of raiding, the DPS was lower since players did not have the buff. I believe slowly nerfing the raid over time is the right thing for Blizzard to do, but we will have to wait until Jan. 31st to find out.