I did have a different post lined up for today, but came across some interesting comments on today's post over at Tobold's MMORPG Blog. The post itself was regarding the justice points changes coming up in patch 4.0.6, but in the comments the topic of the 4.0.6 heroic "nerfs" came up.
While initially the list of changes may seem like flat nerfs, on closer inspection I do not believe that is the case. While the encounters would be easier, I think that a high number of these changes are designed to make them work as they were initially designed. At the very least, these changes are being made so that when you do fail, it's because you were beaten by the boss mechanics and not some other reason. Making certain bosses bigger so that you can actually see them over the adds is an example of this.
Let's take Stonecore as an example. Each of the bosses will have changes in 4.0.6. The killer special attacks in question will do the same damage, but now should give players a fairer chance of correctly avoiding them. Currently on the Slabhide fight, you must hide behind pillars to avoid his LOS attack. The problem with this is, some of those pillars are inside his hit box. This means that you will get hit even if you appear to be out of the way. I don't believe this was the design intention, and the patch will mean fewer of the pillars dropping. I believe that specifically there will be less dropping directly around him.
Ozruk is another. His Shatter ability has been wiping groups since the start of the expansion, and I struggled initially. If you start to run when you see Shatter being cast, you will most likely die. You need to start to run as you see the previous cast, Paralyse, finishing. This is something that you are expected to know. On top of that, you need to make sure you have an active DoT to stop you being paralysed.
I think that sort of knowledge and execution is far more suited to raids than heroics. From a tanking perspective, that boss is harder than a few of the entry level raid bosses. The cast time has been increased slightly to compensate, which I think is the right move. It will still be an issue, but now you can run when Shatter gets cast, and not paralyse.
True, there are a few nerfs (and a few buffs!) but not the mass dumbing-down of content that some are saying.