|Look. We Won :D|
Last night, we progressed.
Regardless on how you view the game, we got help. Last week this help did not exist in the game files, this week it did. We didn't do anything different: everyone had flasks and food buffs. People had geared in LFR. I had 5/5 Tier!Lite and some additional buffs. We were still close to a wipe, but the facts speak for themselves. Ultraxion died, we progressed, and Blizzard's numbers will show that yes, guilds like us who couldn't do the encounter as designed pre-nerf can do it now. Just.
For the record, it's just as satisfying, because 5% is not huge, but it's enough. It's not too much because we far from walked it, there were wipes. Purists however do not judge such criteria as significant, we did this post-nerf, and it doesn't count as progression. Odd really, because that's just what it felt like to me. Just because we didn't do it 'as intended' doesn't mean it doesn't have a measure of meaning or significance. It's the individual consciences of the ten people involved that matter most, it seems to me: I firmly believe nobody in that raid felt they didn't make an effort to make it happen. No-one slacked. Nobody was carried, everyone gave 110%. As a result, it holds an air of legitimacy.
When, therefore, does 'help' count as legitimate, and when does it dip into the realm of 'exploitation'?
The Retri DPS 'buff' wasn't planned. You couldn't turn it off if you wanted to. It was a consequence of something else, totally unrelated, and because it was not formally announced or expected, it became for many, cheating. The game is all about transparency, after all. If you're told, you're golden. So, if you raided with this and knew it was there, and you could see the effect it was having on your progression, does this belittle it or make it less significant? I think that happens in your head, frankly. The 'official' nerf that was put in place has already ensured that 'strict' progression is a thing of the past so this was a bit of a bonus. Now it's gone, as long as you didn't make 30,000g from it or claim summat like a drake for blitzing an entire instance on Heroic, you're okay. If it bothers you that you used it, that's nothing to do with the game and everything to do with your conscience.
Success is measured by a vast number of factors across our society. Trophies and rankings work for sport, lives saved works for medicine. Happiness is a tad harder to accurately quantify, but it's a great deal easier to express. Last night's 5% nerf made many, many people happy and (if there's a plan) will allow a lot more people to progress to the next obstacle in their journey to clearing Dragon Soul on Normal. The paladin bug also made lots of people happy, and those who've played the game for long enough will simply put it's brief blip down to 'one of those things', which many will look back on fondly in the same way they did as that time that 10/25 people all died simultaneously to something utterly stupid on their way to completing the content. However, neither of these takes away from the immovable: the content is no longer strict. The Hardcore have had their final day in the sun this expansion. The next time we get content that will be the yardstick for anyone to accurately measure their abilities in beating the game in terms of the 'Rules' Blizzard sets out to do so, it will come with a Panda accompaniment.
These are the beginnings of the Last Days of Cataclysm. Frankly, the real End cannot come soon enough...