/cast Hellscream’s Buff of Pity (Rank 1)
Welcome to the new Icecrown Citadel…this week, the new zonewide raid buff has gone live. Hellscream’s Warsong (or Strength of Wrynn, for you Chin-following types) will grant your 10- or 25-man ICC raid group a flat +5% to health, healing done, and damage. Over time, this buff will slowly increase in strength–the maximum isn’t definite, but Wowhead has it listed up to a +30% increase.
Now, if you’ve been around the WoW community anytime, you know that one thing we’re really good at is looking gift horses in the mouth, and this is no exception. A lot of people are, surprisingly, disappointed that this buff has come along this soon. It’s understandable, I guess; nobody really wants to think that their raid had to get helped along by an artificial boost from the game developers. But as a member of a raid that’s been hammering on Festergut for a month now and has wiped multiple times by him hitting the enrage timer at between 4 and 6 percent health? That +5% damage output is looking mighty darn tasty right about now. I want to see us move forward to play with Professor Putricide, and I want to see us move forward on getting somebody in the raid a Shadowmourne.
It’s pretty obvious that Blizzard realizes they had a bit of a problem with the previous expansion-ending raids, Naxxramas v1.0 and Sunwell Plateau. The entry requirements for both of them were very steep, and in both cases, the number of people who actually were able to see the content and at least get a good shot at completing it were very low. (Personally, I’ve still never seen one inch of the inside of Sunwell Plateau–I missed the “retro raids” we did back through there several months ago.) They don’t want to spend dozens of man-months and a ton of money to create a big, intricate instance like Icecrown Citadel and have it end up visited by a fraction of one percent of the playerbase.
So think of the buff as the logical progression of the other things they’re doing, such as making Tier 9 gear rain from the sky via the LFD system. They want more people to say that they gave the Lich King the ass-kicking he so richly deserves than ever got to save the world from Kil’jaeden or Kel’thuzad the first time around. The hardcore, high-speed raiding guilds have pushed through the content on normal, killed Arthas, and are now working on heroics. With the buff, you will now see the “second wave” of raids, the ones like The Anvil, coming through the content and working our way toward the end, so we too can say we were there on top of the spire when Cutscene Happened.
And one more thing–Blizzard left one nice feature in regarding these buffs. You can turn them off. Personally, when the buffs reach higher levels, I think there should be achievements or perhaps an extra cache or something similar for completing the instance without the buff–sort of an overdrive gear for the guilds working on heroic mode.
In the meantime, The Anvil will walk into Icecrown tonight, fortified by not only the 11-foot-tall presence of Tirion Fordring (seriously, wtf, did he get exposed to Gnomeregan radiation or something?), but by Hellscream’s Warsong. And we’ll take that buff and stomp Festergut with it…
…even if we’d really rather it was called Basic Campfire’s Warsong.