This is the skill gap that I warned of. This is dangerous, especially in the year long wait that we're going to have to endure in this short tier. Running out of options this early is fatal. It's good to see Blizzard recognize this. However, in his later comments, and in the actions that Blizzard has decided to take in combating this problem, show that they don't really understand the problem and how it relates to the player base.
Believe it or not there are actually guilds and raiding groups that are attempting to progress through Normal and Heroic raids, but are hitting a wall, and have been hitting a wall. We have actually statistical date we base our changes on, we know exactly how many people are clearing these raids each week, we know exactly how many people are able to down just a few bosses, and how many were only able to down a few bosses every week for weeks on end and then stopped raiding altogether.
The issue we're constantly trying to combat is the one where people feel like they're just out of options. One way this is an issue is the content is too easy, they blasted through it, have everything they could possibly want, and have nothing else to do. Ideally that's a small subset of very hardcore players. For everyone else it's a feeling of just being stuck with no possible way to progress. Very few players are willing to suit up, buff up, do all the necessary requirements to raid, jump in, and then do no better than they did last week for hours and hours, only to return next week and do the same.
The first issue is the timing. From Bashiok:
We feel the content has been out for quite a while now, that most people who have progressed and downed Deathwing on Heroic have done so, they've had sufficient time to celebrate in their accomplishments, and these very small progressive alterations will only help guilds that are already doing well in the raid get over some hurdles they may be facing.Bashiok, let's make this clear: The content will have barely been out for two months when you roll this nerf out. That's 1/3 of the normal six month life span of a raiding tier. Not only that, but one of those months was December. For those guilds that aren't commited enough to raid through Christmas and New Years, the content has only effectively been out for six weeks. Six weeks is not "quite a while".
Furthermore: "Most people who have progressed and downed Deathwing on Heroic have done so", huh? Most people with blonde hair have blonde hair. Obvious statement is obvious. This isn't about the Paragons and Vodkas of the world. This is about the other guilds. The guilds that would progress if given more than six weeks to down all current content that Blizzard also inexplicably expects to last us another eight months. Six weeks is not enough time for any guild with a reasonable amount of skill and who raid on a reasonable schedule to be hitting their limits. The insinuation here is that if you aren't in the 67 guilds that have cleared all content in the first two months of raiding, then you're toiling hopelessly and Blizzard needs to save you from your own incompetence. Not only is this insulting to the guilds who choose not to raid five+ days a week, it's also irreparably damaging. All kills from February onward will be tainted.
The second issue is the implementation. This is not the proper way to go about correcting the skill gap in content. Skill gaps exist because the content was not properly tuned. Each raiding tier should have equivilent difficulty when attempted at the appropriate level and gear. In properly tuned tiers, guilds will see similar progression on a similar timeline. A guild that cleared all heroic content in the first month should be able to clear all heroic content in the first month. A guild that takes six months to clear half the heroics should expect to clear half the heroics in about six months. A guild that struggles to clear normal mode in that six months should expect to take close to six months to clear all the normal content.