Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
 
Do the most active players shape the opinion of the rest?

A reader wrote me about a comment he had read on my blog, in which someone said that the hardcore players matter because they influence who buys and plays the game. The players who spend the most time in the game, the raiders, are supposedly also the guild leaders, the bloggers, the forum commenters, and so on. The theory is that if Blizzard wouldn't cater towards them, wouldn't spend more development time on their need than their number would suggest, they would leave and take everybody else with them. Do you believe that theory?

I never attributed Blizzard's focus on raids to them wanting to please a small number of opinion shapers. I think the reason is far more mundane, they hired Tigole, who was a big raid leader back in the days of Everquest as their lead designer. Tigole developed the game *he* wanted to play, without spending much thought on what other people wanted to play. If they had hired lets say me, WoW would have a wonderful economy and crafting system. If they had hired Marc Jacobs WoW would have Realm vs. Realm PvP. MMORPGs aren't just one game, they are a collection of many games, and everyone has his favorite.

But because everyone has his favorite and everyone in playing WoW in a different way, I don't believe that there is much of an influence of one group over the others. I do believe that if Blizzard made raiding much, much easier, some hardcore raiders would have all the raid dungeons on farm by now and might quit because there was no more challenge left. But I do not believe that everybody else would follow them. Just the opposite, they would keep playing longer, because suddenly there were all of these easy raid dungeons accessible for them. And I can even argument this assumption with an example from World of Warcraft history: PvP.

Before patch 1.12 PvP used to be just for the hardcore. As there was a relative ranking system, only a small handful of the most dedicated PvP players could rise to the highest rank and get the good rewards. The regular players were condemned to be stuck in the middle ranks forever and didn't get PvP epics. Then Blizzard changed the system and made PvP far more accessible, and with every patch it got easier and easier to get PvP epics. The real hardcore PvP players must find PvP far too easy now, and probably quit. But did that lead to an exodus of WoW players? Not at all. PvP is as popular as never before, and many, many players are in the battlegrounds and arenas for the epics. And they aren't there because they like PvP much more than group play or raiding. They are there because it is currently the easiest way to get rewards. If raiding was made easier, they would go raiding. For every one hardcore player leaving because of boredom, there would be several players swarming the new easy raid dungeons for easy epics. The average longevity of subscriptions would go up, not down. Players are far more easily swayed by in-game rewards than by what somebody says on some game forum.

Is your opinion of World of Warcraft influenced by the opinion of the top guilds?
Comments:
Don't know about 'opinion'... but I'd claim that the most active players influence access to content for the rest.

In my old WoW guild some of the most active players were also raid leaders. They were the people with the interest and the patience to study raid encounters and gear progression, lead men/women, organize dungeon runs, and so on.

Without these fiery souls the majority of the guild (we were a mostly casual guild) would still be doing 5-man dungeons and roleplaying in Goldshire.
 
I really don't see how some guys I have no contact to should influence my opinion ;)
Hell, my whole server doesn't even seem to have hardcore guilds. Which is sometimes a bad thing, having no one who is better than you are makes you arrogant and I hate it when average players get arrogant. Its worse enough if really good players are.
 
I think hardcore gamers would like to believe that they influence the game because they put so much time into it. But the fact is that they make up a very small proportion of the player base.

WoW is a perfect example of who catering to the casual player as actually yielded better results.
 
Was Tigole hired as the lead designer? I thought he joined in a standard position (what with having no game dev experience prior to Blizzard) and was promoted up to lead over time.

Also bear in mind that Rob Pardo was a big Everquest player in the same guild so he probably had a lot more influence over the foundational design of WoW.

In fact, if you think about when work started on WoW there only really was EQ and UO out there. That alone probably had more influence than anything else. There was nothing else (big) to compare it to or any other promising direction to explore.
 
Perhaps an even more important question is where does the genre go from here? While there seems to be almost a weekly proclemation of WoW's imminent demise, we know for certain that there's at least one more expansion on the way. Beyond Wrath of the Lich King, who really knows, but we can surmise that someone, somewhere, is going to develop the "Next Big Thing", and I am truly curious what kind of influences that game might have. In an MMO world dominated by Blizzard, where lies the next horizon?
 
i remember back then at WOW launch that Housing will be coming 'soon'.. then some dev said it will come out when its 'done' .. then the latest comment from a blue poster in blizzard forum (bornakk) said housing isnt the focus because it is considered unimportant or someting like that..

all this comment happen in a time frame where blizzard releasing more and more raid instaces like crazy. and putting gearskillrepitemtrinketcoin block on every raid instance it seems..

why why there is no love for WOW player other than hard core raiders ? (note i mention hardcore, as i was a small fry raider too but dont really enjoy it that much)

what i want is NEW AREA and NEW stuff i can solo at endgame. gosh , new raid instance or new gear update dont concern me at all. some people love repeating ENDLESSY a raid instance just for drop / upgrade.. while i prefer crafting, exploring, and other fluff stuff..

There is a player housing thread in WOW FORUM and while its now in 50th page, it seem blizz dev dont want to add NEW FEATURE that change the codebase / add server burden. let face it, adding a new raid instance mean creating it using existing tool and balancing it. Adding player/guild housing means adding new storage capacity in existing server and maybe changing the codebase for housing hooks.

gosh, and the nerve of blizard on saying 'NEW HAIRCUT , NEW DANCEMOVES' in WOTLK MAJOR FEATURE list.. where is the enormous profits go ? im sure its not going back to the betterment of WOW.... just look at LOTRO DEV, 2month updates, new area, developer that listen to its customers.. arghhh what a difference..
 
I think raid dungeons are money / dev time well spent. Most of them keep people occupied for many months. I love the raid dungeons in WoW. The funny thing is that I have just visited one or two of them. My guild is small, we enjoy a bit of Karazhan or Zul'Aman now and then, but we haven't got the numbers for anything further.

But the idea that there is something else out there, something that for now is inaccesible for me is what keeps me going. I read blogs, I read about raid strats, I drool over loot that I'll probably never see. The very fact that I'm currently not seeing that content is not putting me off. It's actually the other way around, it spurs me on. It makes me want to improve my gear, my skills, my guild. It is basically what keeps me playing. I'm not looking forward to the new daily quests at the Sunwell Plateu (grind, anyone?), I'm looking forward to the videos and the articles about the new raid bosses.

I don't see where more solo content improves a MMO. The whole idea is group play, guilds, playing with your friends or playing with strangers. I think great solo play are generally found in offline, non MMO games.
 
I think coprolit is precisely right. Hardcore raiders aren't influence leaders; that theory has always struck me as silly. However, they are enablers. It's a lot easier for the rest of us to raid simply because the hardcore people blazed through Karazhan in a couple of weeks and wrote up strategies.

PvP is a bad analogy, because the difficulty level comes from each other. Blizzard made PvP loot easier to get; they didn't make it any easier for two top level PvPers to beat each other. So, yes, there are way more people PvPing, but the hardcore PvPers didn't go anywhere. They're still there.
 
I believe it's absolutely true.

Back in my EQ days, you could see that the 'uber' minority were definitely the loudest voices in the community. I even commented on the fact, several times, on the then very active Ranger Glade indie community board, that the EQ devs who were still participating in the community were walking away with the opinion that everything in the game was great - everyone was happy. The fact was that the silent majority was VERY unhappy, but their voices were drowned out by the much more vocal minority.

Of course the devs only wanted to hear good news, and disregarded anything that didn't fit what they wanted to hear. And because it appeared to be a minority of people posting their unhappiness, they were easily ignored. If things were as good as the uber players made it out to be, I would still be playing EQ today.

You can see the same thing happening today on the WoW boards.

Everytime someone posts about the problems casual players are having with the game, you immediately get a slew of 'learn to play' or 're-roll' or 'this game isn't for you so quit' comments from the very happy raiders - who you accurately pointed out are the minority based on WoWJutsu. Those types of posters will eventually give up trying to be heard, and quit.
 
I do think that the opinions and preconceptions of the devs is what weighs in most. Clearly Pardo and Kaplan enjoyed the EQ raiding experience, but at the same token revolutionized many aspects that were broken with it.

Instancing breaks the spawn camping that plaqued EQ raiding. Expansion-item-mudflation prevents that a select few guilds are guaranteed to utterly control content etc.

I don't think raiding is broken per se, just it's accessibility.

But yeah I do think that the Elitist Jerks forum has more clout with raid devs (Tigole posts there!) than blogs that discuss raiding for a more casual crowd.

I do think that the pre-2.1 dip has tought devs a hard lesson though and I'm really curious to see WotLK and its raiding game.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see raiding for hardcore and casuals in sensible ways in that expansion. And blizz has already promised that the masses will interact with Arthas... they understood that locking away Illidan from the majority is a bad idea.

Then again, I won't be surprised if devs misunderstand what is needed to make stuff both challenging to hardcore and accessible to casuals... so I won't be surprised if there is another setup blunder.

So it'll remain to be seen.
 
I'd love it if dungeons were easier, not because I want "easy epics" but because then I'd get to see them. As it is, I'm unlikely to ever see the inside of Karazhan, much less any of the other BC dungeons, and that makes me sad because it's content I'll never experience. I already missed out on BRS and Molten Core because I was hitting 60 about the time TBC came out, and I just don't have the time to dedicate hours a night to a game--I have a life, up to and including other games to play.

So no, I don't care what the raiders do; I'll never get to do it, so what's the point?
 
in my opinion hardcore players are the backbone of every mmorpg yes.

-most important about them is:
a developer that wants feedback, wants to talk to people that understand the game mechanics, the skills, the math behind calculations and the actual game content.
average joe doesn´t know how much aggro revenge does in contrast to shield slam or sunder armor, he doesn´t know how to pvp with pushing their class to the limits and the surely don´t know most of the encounters blizzards needs feedback to.

-the other thing is that most active players play kexroles in guilds and so on. you listed that already and it is true.

so the hardcore gamers may not change the mind of average joe directly in what he believes is good for the game or not, but indirectly he will affect him cause of point 1.
 
WOW success is because of its ease of entry to MMO world, that mean ordinary ppl / laymen who never played MMO can adjust easily..

forgetting these and focusing on raid as the only viable endgame activity will alienate a large segment of WOW population.
 
IMO, the single best implementation of the TBC was to differentiate PvP gear and PvE gear (most notably with resilience), and to make both sets of roughly equivalent ilvl. It's pretty much established that in the BG or Arena, a toon in PvP gear has a significant advantage over a toon in the same ilvl PvE raiding gear -- but for a raid, the most of the PvP gear has serious shortcomings. (Not only that, but if you're at all serious, you spec for PvP too -- or you're at a disadvantage.)

It seems undeniable that PvP has grown. But I would trace the root of the growth back to the server battlegroup concept that shortened BG queues. Also, in TBC the EOS BG was added, along with Arena 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5. It was nice to see a daily PvP quest added in patch 2.3. Persons in my circle of WoW PvP because of gear, yes -- and because of ease of accessibility (choice of BG/Arena, short queues, auto-grouping) and most notably, because they actually enjoy it (sometimes more than raiding). Because in my experience the people who say they don't enjoy PvP don't do it for very long, if at all.

Another factor is that PvP BGs open up long before the level cap, as early as 10-19.
'Twinking' is still very popular, too, in the 10-19, 20-29, and 30-39 ranges.

On the loot side, it's interesting that you (Tobold) say that 'loot accessibility' is a reason to PvP. In fact, as you've proven yourself, joining a guild with Kara on farm is far faster and easier loot. Because despite assertions to the contrary, people who PvP for gear find that gearing up in PvP takes a lot of hours -- it takes a long time. Loot is a driving factor in PvP, sure -- but IMO no more that the loot incentives for raiding. In contrast, the "leveling game" has almost no loot incentive, yet remains ever-popular. I'd say that for many (such as myself), PvP loot is more like "leveling" for PvP.

Regarding the "hardcore"... the problem is, IMO, that at the 'hardcore' level, PvP is ever-changing because it's a contest between humans, but raid encounters are essentially static. Now, if you like PvE, that's great, except that eventually either you 'beat the game', or burn out trying. But PvP has proven to be variable enough that years-old BGs like WSG and AB are still full.

Thought question:
Did you ever wonder why you can still get into BGs in *any* level range ... but the level-60 raids are pretty much empty?
 
On the loot side, it's interesting that you (Tobold) say that 'loot accessibility' is a reason to PvP. In fact, as you've proven yourself, joining a guild with Kara on farm is far faster and easier loot. Because despite assertions to the contrary, people who PvP for gear find that gearing up in PvP takes a lot of hours -- it takes a long time. Loot is a driving factor in PvP, sure -- but IMO no more that the loot incentives for raiding. In contrast, the "leveling game" has almost no loot incentive, yet remains ever-popular. I'd say that for many (such as myself), PvP loot is more like "leveling" for PvP.

i'm going to guess you have spent your entire time in wow in raiding guilds.

Heres the thing. If you are in a raiding guild you usually get your loot faster. Unless like me you just have insanely bad luck with random drops. then you don't.

In 3 years I've never completed a set. EVER.

But someone who isn't in a raiding guild is better off doing pvp. Its a slow steady way to get his or her stuff. And i Know raiders who have quit raiding because thier luck sucked and went to pvp because they had a clear roadmap to what had to be done to get thier loot. So for the majority of wow players pvp is an easier way to get thier loot.

But yes. If you are a hard core raider or a raider in a hard core guild that is well progressed you will most likely gear up faster.
 
(Hopefully I got the HTML tags right)
[i]"i'm going to guess you have spent your entire time in wow in raiding guilds."[/i]
Actually, no (not that it matters).
But I know several ppl who are, and I'm a good listener :)

You've identified exactly why I started to PvP:
Clear gear path, no dependence on drops.

But it seems that PvE raiding designers are finally starting to get a clue. In patch 2.3 they added a lot of sweet badge gear.

[i]"And i Know raiders who have quit raiding because thier luck sucked and went to pvp because they had a clear roadmap to what had to be done to get thier loot."[/i]
I guess that really puts the finger on what I consider to be an out-of-date design:
The drop model is outmoded.
Not only that, but you can just run into the Hall of Legends (or Alliance equivalent) and map your course. But unless I do some research, I will have no idea which boss drops what.

So yes, I would say that I'm right with those raiders you mentioned.
BUT...
Getting the PvP gear will more likely keep me PvP-ing.
Because with the improved (IMO) design of TBC, my gear will shine in PvP, while those raiders who stuck it out and got the drops and badges will have far better gear than me for raiding.
Thus -- heavily influenced by Blizzard's design decisions -- pretty much scratching serious raiding off my WoW to-do list.
 
Thus -- heavily influenced by Blizzard's design decisions -- pretty much scratching serious raiding off my WoW to-do list.

this is what is starting to bum me out. I really don't like PVP but the PVE game seems to be on the verge of just shattering. Grouping is harder and harder as time goes by. The gap between raiders and everyone else is getting so big it's not a bit motivator anymore.

Maybe the game is just getting stale maybe the devs because of their gaming backgrounds just can't wrap thier heads around thier player base. I'm not sure.

But I really wish they'd get a clue and just completely seperate thier PVP and PVE game. I think it would be much better if when you qued up into PVP your PVP profile kicked in and your spec and gear switched. Of course that won't help if they don't fix PVE and the way it works. I'm not a programmer but can it be that hard to limit the loot table to things the people there can use. That wouldn't totally sove wasted drops but it would help.
 
About the gear gap between raiders and non-raiders.. I think that TBC did address that issue. First of all, you have the PvP gear that vastly surpasses even top-of-the-line raid gear in PvP and is quite decent for generic use. You have badges that now offer you a guaranteed path to some Kara/SSC/TK/ZA level items.

Finally, there's craftable items, which show how small the gear gap really is. I just replaced my Engineering goggles with a drop from Illidan, and I'm still wearing my Frozen Shadoweave Robe. Granted, this is not the case for all classes and all professions, and you're free to criticize Blizzard about that. But I do think that "non-raid-based" endgame is in a better shape than it was at classic WoW.
 
(Hopefully I got the HTML tags right)

No, you didn't. :) HTML uses < > brackets, not square ones.
 
@Sam:
"this is what is starting to bum me out. I really don't like PVP but the PVE game seems to be on the verge of just shattering. Grouping is harder and harder as time goes by."

And this is interesting for someone like myself, who left WoW due to the abundance of raiding and just needing more of an explorer's game..
I went to EQ2, and just have not looked back...no matter how much an old friend of mine begged me.
I feel like I am learning in EQ2 even after 6 months, when in WoW, I knew everything within a week...
Maybe the fact the meta game is the "raid" makes it impossible to avoid..

"We will make the whole game fly by, so you can get to the raid.."

While I play EQ2, I feel my world is more rounded. I have a fuller experience leveling in EQ2, and the aspect of Guild Levels and Building a longer relationship with other people...proves to be more satisfying than worrying about DKP (which will change I am sure...)
Later
 
It's more than a gear gap though. It's a content gap. Patch 2.4 brings us the first 5-man instance introduced in a patch since Dire Maul (3/22/2005), nearly 3 years ago. In the intervening time, players have gotten 3 40-man raids, 2 20-man raids, 1 10-man raid, 1 25-man raid, and an expansion pack (assorted 5-man and raid content).

"But wait! We got a ton of 5-man content in the expansion!" you might counterpoint.

Why must small-group enthusiasts feel forced to buy expansions in order to get new content when the raiders get new content regularly patched in for free?

There's a gear gap. It narrowed with the badge gear, sure. However, the problem is that, if you aren't raiding ZA, you're probably still doing the exact same instance content you were for the previous year since BC launched.

The problem in my eyes wasn't that raiders got the best gear, or that they had bigger e-peens or something. My problem was that, if you don't raid, you get a much more boring game than you would if you did.

--Rawr
 
What is a top guild anyway?
 
(Hopefully I got the HTML tags right)

No, you didn't. :) HTML uses < > brackets, not square ones.


Thanks Tobold! :)
 
@openedge

I thing RAWR nailed it. People that like or have the time to raid all the time have had new content patched in faster than they can consume it. People who like pvp keep getting thier pvp game tweaked and new gear added. People who just like to group and run 5 mans and maybe occasionally raid have gotten nothing in a long time. And the difficulty putting together 5 man groups even on high pop servers is a really good benchmark for how they failed with the PVE implementation for your average player. I think PVP is a success for them but I think if PVE had been implemented better in BC it would not have been nearly as much a success. I know many people who are pvp'ing because they view it as the most efficient way to advance for them. Most of them don't really like it. They just want gear. They talk wistfully of the days of Vanilla wow when raiders would come down and raid the old instances to make a buck or get some alchemy mats. when we had "lite" raids in LBRS, and UBRS and really even MC at the end.

There is really nothing well implemented in the middle in BC. PVP was improved. One could argue Hard Core raiding got improved but the normal PVE game is nearly terminal due to thier being no reason for people who have thier gear to go back to those instances. That says more about thier fun and poor design than anything else. And the fact that everyone is "soloing" to endgame with blizzards blessing because the stuff in the middle isn't the real game anyway according to blue and the raiders.

I hope WOTLK fixes this but I'm fairly certain it won't. Blizzard has gotten spoiled by the asian market and would rather focus on PVP and Raid instances because that's the lazy easy way to keep kicking out content. And it won't really hurt them till someone else puts out a game with PVE as good as wow was at launch.
 
he. The subject of this blog post has been completely hijacked by commenters :)

Since the main subject currently seems to be 'Hardcore vs. Casual: The state of the game', I'd like to add my own comment on this issue:

It has always puzzled me, why on earth WoW never implemented a dynamic scaling algorithm to dungeons/instances...

You could have fixed dungeon layouts, but the monster opposition level (difficulty + amount) would get calculated/populated on entering the dungeon (instance creation) based on the player group (size, classes and gear level).
Loot tables would scale proportionally... heck, add individual loot tables and drops and do away completely with the need/greed & DKP hazzle.

Can't assemble a full raid party tonight? We're too many for a raid? We're a couple of friends just online for some quick fun? No problem. Enter the same dungeon and get a challenge tailor made for your current setup.

It's just a game, goddammit. Make it easy to have fun :)
 
LOL yeah I guess we did. But not that far off topic really. I think part of the issue is that PVP and Raiding are easy to understand and tweak from a development point of view.

The big masses in the middle are a harder nut to crack. I think the devs initial success was an accident. I didn't use to believe this but as I watch them fumble with the right balance over and over I really do believe they listen too much to the PVP and Raiding camps because that is what they are used too and because they give them easy quantifiable issues to fix.

We just want to group and have fun. Sounds easy but not as clear cut and simple as the other two.
 
Actually.. Blizzard did dabble with dynamic PvE content scaling in Diablo 2, but didn't scale loot. Sure, you could bring 8 clear out a map but the mobs would still drop only those few items. In the end, it was more worthwhile to solo, since it wasn't significantly harder and you could keep everything.

I'm not saying that Diablo 2 proved that dynamic scaling won't work, since it was the implementation that was flawed, not the idea. However, it did show that players are quite apt in finding the "sweet spot" and (ab)use any flaws in balancing quickly.

Anyway..

To answer Tobold's original question: It depends. If members of those top guilds have informed and well-justified opinions, yes. But wearing Tier 6 gear doesn't make you an expert game designer by default, not by a long shot.
 
@COPROLIT

You win at this conversation...
This is what the whole discussion boils down to....

If someone could just come up with a way to scale content according to the group or player...what an experience that would be...I would so play THAT game...
But, when games try to do this, they also get the sharp end of the stick
(Oblivion ring a bell?)
People went in and modded the game to not scale like what you speak of, so that as you enter different area's, the difficulty was matched..i.e: go to this region, and it is harder than the beginning area...kinda like MMO's right now..
Of course, the end game COULD benefit from this though...

Really...NO ONE will be 100% satisfied with particular games (i.e: LOTRO I felt was total crap, yet people still think it is awesome...WHY!!!@???)
So, whoever is shaping THAT games playstyle should quit...cause it sucks!

Sorry...whew...but, now back to the issue at hand.
Scaled gameplay is a preference to me...wish it could be done...right!

Later
 
@ Openedge1

Yeah, I'm talking about endgame (instanced content) only. And this solution only applies to a so heavily gear-dependent genre as current MMORPGs.

People went in and modded the game to not scale like what you speak of...

I'm sure this can be countered. I mean, all important numerical values about the avatar are stored on local company-owned servers. No way to get around that.

@ shalkis

However, it did show that players are quite apt in finding the "sweet spot" and (ab)use any flaws in balancing quickly.

As is now, Blizzard is continually tweaking their static content to balance it, so don't see tweaking a dynamic algorithm as a huge problem.

In my oppinion, the benefits of dynamic scaling would far outweight the current static system...
 
I think people are forgetting the major portion of the player base.

The majority of the player base (I believe, so it's all opinion) lies in the middle. They are not hardcore, 10+ hours a week raiding specific days, times, requirements, preparation, etc. They are not on the extreme end of casual either, people who solo or create 10 alts, hop servers, PvP in Battlegrounds, never level a character to 70, etc.

Blizzard needs to focus on the middle. These are people who can spend 5-10 hours a week on videogaming, but different times each week, different schedules, with no particular desire or knowledge about perfect talent specs, farming consumables, etc. How about catering to the mid-30s mom who likes to play on weekday evenings? She's a smart individual, she manages a household, holds down a part-time job, ferries kids to soccer and baseball on the weekends.

I think a lot of the more "technological" of us may look down on such a person, but they are the people who have the money to play, and have kids, friends, spouses that all play, contributing 5x the money that the loner loser does. They are generally happy with most of the game, but they can't be a hardcore person.

Design a game that's fun and doable for even them, and 10 million plus will be far in the rearview mirror. Imagine a World of Warcraft more popular than a Nintendo Wii.
 
Ok, to bring this discussion back on track, and going back to the original question...

Speaking as a developer (wow, 7 years in this industry!), I like clear, concise feedback. I like feedback that is specific, direct, and has been thought out well. I like people stating the problem to me, so I can come up with a solution.

Granted, some proposed solutions aren't that bad either, but most of the time the proposed solutions lack full knowledge of how the system works, so usually are ignored.

Now... which group of gamers would be more likely to give the type of feedback I would find useful?

I'd say that the #1 group of gamers who provide the kind of feedback in the form that I want is the hardcore crowd. They will argue and squabble and fight, but they will do their homework. They can tell me exactly when, where, how and under what circumstances bug A occurred. They can tell me exactly why they think that the Evil Wombat of Doom is over/underpowered, or the Nosepicker of a Thousand Green Tentacles is broken, or this, or that or the other thing.

When I brought in some casual gamer friends to my office to do some focus testing on the game I'm currently working on, getting meaningful feedback was almost like pulling teeth.

"Did you like it?"

"Yeah, it was fun."

"What did you like about it?"

"I dunno"

"Well, what could we improve?"

"I dunno"

...etc.

That kind of feedback isn't helpful, because it isn't much feedback at all. The hard part is differentiating fixing the problems and letting the hardcore feedback steer the game's overall design in a certain direction. The hardcore are often like the industry's QA. They tell you what's wrong, and often make suggestions, but for the most part they aren't trained or have the kind of real experience necessary to realize the longer-term goals the game may have. Sometimes you get a few gems in the bunch (who eventually get hired as developers themselves), but the signal to noise ratio is very large.

--Rawr
 
In almost every MMORPG that I have played the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And its the hardcore players that never give up lobbying the devs to change the game to make it more fun for them. Most casual players don't frequent game forums, organize petitions, track down devs ... etc. The only voice that casual players have is the exit poll that they fill out when they quit the game, and at that stage its pretty hard to get them to come back.
 
i think LOTRO's constant update for casual player (eg new area , new fluff like housing etc) should be copied by blizzard. and it seem blizzard is copying few nifty lotro feature and implementing it in their latest major patch (showing quest giver on radar etc).. i bet deed and trait will be copied too in some form heh.

im glad blizzard is feeling the heat of competition , sadly it takes a competitor to push blizzard into action, not player's request / suggestion. Also i cannot comprehend what is this raider love with those free raid instance release even while they admit that raiding is only for a small segment of player.. where is the casual player stuff / fluff ? and how hard it is to add new haircut/new dance into a patch instead of putting them on a PAID expansion ???? IIRC LOTRO will add new haircut in BOOK 12 free update.. it seem massive profit =/= massive update.. more like massive greed on blizzard part..



* BACK TO TOPIC *

i have ask a lot of these stuff (casual love and horizontal expansion) in blizzard forum and the only respond from blizard (on player housing) is that the dev dont see it as a feature that ppl wants.. and the rest of WOW community is so stupid and so immature that the only respond i see is 'you fail' 'no' 'just quit'.. its like the WOW forum community is filled with ppl waiting to pounce on a legitimate poster..
 
addenum

What i found in blizzard forum is that there is a LOT of apologist for blizzard, ppl that sounds like they having Stockholm syndrome..

if i ask bliz to add housing , they will respond 'housing will take time to develop' 'housing will delay expansion' 'housing take too much time' 'housing will add burden to current server'

its like people dont want new feature because they are so afraid to add more work to blizzard dev. shouldnt we as customer ask for more feature ? afaik other than new raid , new gear , new rep , there is no new feature in WOW. Even TBC is just more-of-the-same in PAID expansion.
 
First up, and I hope he reads this!

Tigole is a nonse!

He stated: "Zul'Aman will be more casual than Karazhan".

This is obviously why we see more players with ZA loot over Kara loot. I'm still laughing my ass off.

It's a raid dungeon for Tigole and his hardcore raiding croonies!

Aimed at "Rawrasaur".

I like your post, but you make a big mistake in the type of feedback you like the most.

Take another industry.

You need feedback from users of your broadband internet service. Do you market research your big bandwidth users who cover about 5 to 10% of your income or do you market research your main customer base, the 70% ish who pay the same monthly fees?

Your research will go on to provide a better service and hopefully attract more paying customers. You aim your research at the largest portion of the customer population in order to make the product better and thus attract more paying customers.

So why is the opinion of the hardcore more valuable than that of the more casual player demographic?

For sure they are the loudest. They are loudest because by their very nature able to be vocal... they make this game their lives, they understand every facet of it... they are in place to moan when something isn't right because they are fanatics of the game.

Mrs Jones with 2.4 children, Mr Smith with a 50 hour a week job and the kid trying to get through school couldn't give a crap about logging onto forums and moaning about the state of play.

Me I'm a casual... in every sense of the word. I've been to Kara once despite having been attuned for over 6 months.

Why do I want to raid?

RAIDING is a natural progression on from PvE. Battlegrounds clearly are not. A raid is an effort between yourself and a few friends or guild in a scripted PvE environment. It adds story and richness to the world and allows a players' toon to do something heroic in that storyline.

What I see more and more is this argument:

Raiding is for the hardcore... it isn't for the casual player! It's about hardwork, intelligence, dedication, co-ordination, learning to play... etc

That is nonsense.

Casual players have the above, but lack the fanatical time or guilds to do it.

Do raiders shape the game?

You'd be stupid to think otherwise!

With the next patch "Too Point-less" around the corner we will see Bliz champion another milestone in raiding! A bunch of no-lifers will race to be the first to trash the dungeon. 6 months later we might see 5% of the gamer population complete it.

If that isn't dev for the hardcore then I have no idea what is.

Hey... another 5 man for the wannabes... Yawn!

If you want to know what would make end game more accessible then I would be happy to bore the hind legs off a cow in explaining how to do so. To do it here, would abuse this thread and make the post far too long. I am serious, want serious feedback, just ask! Provide a way... to get the info and it is all yours.

If you have no casual and decent feedback then let me fill that void.
 
Tigole is a nonse! He stated: "Zul'Aman will be more casual than Karazhan".
Provide a link to the quote, please. As far as I recall, Zul'Aman was always said to start at Prince Malchezaar / Nightbane (read: end of Karazhan) difficulty and work up from there.

So why is the opinion of the hardcore more valuable than that of the more casual player demographic?
It's not more valuable per se. It's simply easier to act upon. Compare:
"The Internet is slow."
"Here's a traceroute. As you can see, latency and packet loss shoots up between hops 5 and 6, which is the link between you and company X. It's most likely that you'll find the problem there."

A bunch of no-lifers will race to be the first to trash the dungeon. 6 months later we might see 5% of the gamer population complete it.
You seem to be under the misconception that raiding at top level requires so much time that you need to forsake other aspects of living. It's not. Our average raid takes 3 hours (plus ~45 mins for preparation). There's 4 raids per week and you can refrain from signing up to them if you want. I'm pretty certain that an average person spends more time than that watching TV.

The problem with raid accessibility is not time. Aside from a few encounters, it's not gear either. Gear only increases your available margin of error. Like Tobold has pointed out, the main difficulty in raiding is to coordinate 39/24/19/9 other people instead of four or zero. In other words, the multiplayer part. And it was/is worse in other games. As far as I know, City of Heroes/Villains has some bosses that require more than a hundred players to kill. EvE Online fleets can include thousands of ships.
 
An afterthrought: The only possible angle in how Zul'Aman could be described as more "casual" or "accessible" than Karazhan is that it doesn't require an attunement quest. However, this is largely irrelevant since you won't be killing anything more than Nalorakk if you have worse gear than you could have gotten from completing the 5-man dungeons required for Karazhan attunement.
 
I've read a lot of comments from people asking for the end-game content to be made easier, or more accessible to the casual gamer. I for one hope that is something that Blizzard never does, because as soon as they do I imagine the game will become boring and mundane for nearly everyone.

I understand that a lot of players will never see end-game content, but I think the fact that it exists, and the fact that some "top" guilds out there are doing it, inspire a lot of people to keep playing and keep striving forward. I'm sure this model has a name in the MMORPG world, I have no idea what it is, but I've been using the phrase "aspirational model" whenever I talk to other players. I think it goes some way to explaining WoWs success.

I've been playing WoW for a couple years, and in that time I've become frustrated and taken time off from the game and tried other MMORPGS. None of them were able to keep my attention like WoW could however and both times I returned. Once I left for a couple months to try DDO, the other to try TR. In both games the end-game content was easily accessible to everyone, was completed by a large number of players, and consequently large numbers of players left before new content could come out. In the case of DDO, whenever new content did come out it was so simplistic it was completed in just a couple of weeks and the player-base became bored again.

I like that WoW doesn't suffer from that problem. There's always something more to do in WoW even if you personally can't see yourself doing it and/or are frustrated at the ceiling you've hit. If you leave out of frustration, you'll probably end up coming back when you think of some other part of the game you'd like to try. A new alt, the horde, maybe go down the PvP route, or maybe find a casual PvE raiding guild who *is* doing the 25 man content.

TBH, I'm not 100% convinced that casual players can't access the end-game content if they really want to. I personally shopped the realm forums, found guilds who were in the end-game content or about to start, and hit their websites until I found the ones who had mature players, didn't want to burn out by raiding every night, and didn't go to the early hours of the morning. I then applied, was accepted, server transferred -- and voila, I was raiding 25 man content 3 nights a week, 4 hours a night. That particular example might be more than the casual player would like, but I'm sure there other guilds with even lighter raiding schedules out there.

On the flip side, I do concede the point that serious attempts at the 25 man content require a lot of class forum reading, strat reading, the installation of a seriously stupid number of mods, and other things that the truly casual player probably can't be stuffed with. The hours I've spent doing the required reading I haven't included in the 12 hours I mentioned above. And the server transfer wasn't cheap either. Maybe the end-game is all ridiculously out of reach of the masses. Or maybe the fact that it exists keeps everyone interested to some degree -- whether you're doing it or not.
 
On the flip side, I do concede the point that serious attempts at the 25 man content require a lot of class forum reading, strat reading, the installation of a seriously stupid number of mods, and other things that the truly casual player probably can't be stuffed with.
A good point that I somehow managed to miss. The key to maintaining a relaxed raid schedule is that people know what they are doing. The less time you spend with waiting people to arrive at the instance, buff up, resurrect people, explaining tactics, roles, skills etc.. the more raiding you get done.
 

Rawrasaur said...

It's more than a gear gap though. It's a content gap. Patch 2.4 brings us the first 5-man instance introduced in a patch since Dire Maul (3/22/2005), nearly 3 years ago. In the intervening time, players have gotten 3 40-man raids, 2 20-man raids, 1 10-man raid, 1 25-man raid, and an expansion pack (assorted 5-man and raid content).

"But wait! We got a ton of 5-man content in the expansion!" you might counterpoint.

Why must small-group enthusiasts feel forced to buy expansions in order to get new content when the raiders get new content regularly patched in for free?


Devastating summary of what many casuals perceive as a raid bias.

I'm convinced that the future of mmorpgs is the ability for any instance to be completed 1. solo 2. five man 3. raid, with only the rewards being different.
 
there is no raid bias. some ppl who dont like pvp and dont like raid just want OTHER ALTERNATIVE for endgame activities.

i dont care if blizz add more raid instance or pvp bg and ppl enjoying it.. but i do want blizzard to cater to ppl who dont raid/pvp. as of now there is no real stuff for ppl who dont want to raid at level caps..

guild hall with its own leveling can be fun for community / team effort. everyone can chip in to level up a guild.

player housing can be fun too for some ppl and yet some ppl wont bother to even look at housing.. so what ? some ppl dont bother to raid either..

where is the horizontal advancement at level caps ? none
 
Devastating summary of what many casuals perceive as a raid bias.
While I agree on the lack of five-mans instances, outdoor content has not been stagnant. Searing Gorge, Silithus, Eastern Plaguelands, Dustwallow Marsh, Ashenvale, Terokkar, Blade's Edge, Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm have all been significantly revamped in that time period. Blade's Edge probably gained the most, with content ranging from solo to a combined solo/5-man/raid encounter. You even get to solo a multi-stage encounter at the complexity level of a raid. And yes, you can get epics for your trouble.
 
@Shalkis

That is a great blog post you linked above :) Pretty much sums up my thoughts on raiding.

@ Anon

I'm convinced that the future of mmorpgs is the ability for any instance to be completed 1. solo 2. five man 3. raid, with only the rewards being different.

That is no solution at all. From a design point of view creating 3 such different uses of the same location is in effect the same as creating 3 totally separate locations and just re-using the art assets. If anything you're likely to end up with a blander, more compromised location as a result because you spent so much time adjusting size, pacing, structure, placement etc. for totally different numbers of players.
 
@ Stephen

...because you spent so much time adjusting size, pacing, structure, placement etc. for totally different numbers of players.

Do you know this for a fact, or is it pure speculation?
I reckon it depends on how flexible you make the instance layout.

And why MUST instance experiences be so fine-tuned, tightly balanced, intricate... and static?? (yawn...)

Randomness (in pacing, structure, placement, mobs and so on) makes for changing challenges, the need to adapt, less 'grindy' farming... well, it adds replayability for crying out loud.

Get out that ol' dynamic dungeon scaling algoritm from Diablo, refine it, enhance it, use it.

In the long run, it means more content for less developing resources.
 
ZA is more casual in accessibility, but not in gear requirement than Kara. ZA is also more accessible in boss choice. I.e. a raid group can pick bosses to fit their setup. While Kara has some optional bosses, there is a core linear progression.

ZA is short, the timed event gives an idea what the tuning length of the place is, Kara isn't short like that.

As for time management, anyone who has run a "more casual" raid group has long done this. It doesn't solve the problems. The 30 mins you save will give you 1-2 boss attempts. Yes this is massive if you only have 3 raiding days, so any casual raid group will ask people to be punctual and prepared.

I have yet to hear of a 3 day raiding group down Illidan though. Any group I know personally who has cleared BT has at least 5 raid days. I do believe that 3 day raiding groups have a shot at downing Illidan by the expansion, but some won't and not because of their fault, but because they got ground up mid-way by mid-attunement attritions at Kael/Vashj for example, at no fault to them.

Yet I actually believe that raiding should be possible on a 2-day schedule (one day farm, one day progression). Current content makes that virtually impossible given the spread of attunements (seriously going to farm Vashj + Kael in 4 hours?)

Whenever I hear "time-management" argument I basically hear stuff we are doing since vanilla. It's another stereotype of casual raiders, that they are "less organuised". All casual raid groups that want to progress have very high degree of organisation, often more than the core because they have much higher recruitment pressures to deal with (not getting multiple applicants a week, never ever seen a x-server applicant, higher attrition to more progressed groups, more RL interference to manage, larger group to manage, more helping with attunement chains etc etc).

I read somewhere, I think it was on EJ a while back that management effort and attunements scale worse than linear for casuals. This is true, and an often overlooked problem in raiding content.

How long does Vashj/Kael attunement take a group with 90% attendance? And how long for a group with 45%? In the typical case it's more than twice as long (try the math). Of course there are more members to attune as well.

Funny enough hardcore have some things "easier" than more casual groups. And that in a very real way.

Any "casual" raid group who wants to progress has long stopped progressing if they are not managing the above. So "management arguments" are important because they go into the equation, but rather than solving the problem, they kind of highlight them.
 
I reckon it depends on how flexible you make the instance layout.

Flexible is another way of saying bland or generic :) Especially when:

fine-tuned, tightly balanced, intricate

Is what Blizzard get praised so much for in their instance design. If you want an example of randomly generated instances then look at Everquest's attempt - random layout, different difficulties, different rewards. They got criticised for being bland (same art just in different combinations), illogical (both in layout and the fact that the mobs were the same but had vastly different abilities at different difficulties) and ultimately un-fun. And they were just doing random instances for the same group size. Imagine that for 1-25 people.

You will always have the best experience in a hand constructed, tightly tuned and tightly themed instance aimed at a very specific group size and level range.
 
@ Stephen

I certainly see your point - that random leads to bland.
But I'll claim it's a matter of implementation - the quality of implementation.

WoW's current instances might be of a high level of quality, but as this blog post (and long comment thread) indicates, it comes with a cost...
 
I understand that a lot of players will never see end-game content, but I think the fact that it exists, and the fact that some "top" guilds out there are doing it, inspire a lot of people to keep playing and keep striving forward.

The other option is to just give up, which is what I've done. I have accepted that I'll never see Karazhan (or, for that matter, Ragnaros), and that's that. If I want to have fun, I have to find other things to do.

Increasingly, the "other things" involve not logging in to WoW, and if this trend keeps up I'm gonna stop paying for my subscription.
 
Do the most active commenting readers shape the opinion of this blog?

What I'd like to see is an analysis like the following:

• People who play WOW: 10 mln
• People who play WOW & post on official forum: 1 mln (tops)
• People who play WOW & post on official forum & are active raiders: 0.3 mln
• People who just play WOW: 9 mln
 
there is no raid bias. some ppl who dont like pvp and dont like raid just want OTHER ALTERNATIVE for endgame activities.

I see these comments and have made some myself. But I think blizzards expansion model is mostly to blame for this feeling not enough to do.

Pre expansion I as a former hard core raider turned casual. I could log on and run 5 mans. getting groups was pretty easy. I could PUG raid lbrs, ubrs, AQ20, ZG , or mc.
The option was always there to suck it up and raid hardcore in BWL or NAX. Or I could farm faction mats etc.

Post BC most of those options while technically there are completly unavailable. The 5 mans because they tied them to faction became the place no one wanted to go back too once the got thier faction. Add that to the fact that most 5 man runs do not make money and those groups are hard to get. Then they destroyed grouping for levelers even more than it was by making soloing super efficient.

With every attempt to make the game more accessable they make it more soloable and less and less groups are formed. And as a result the game is stagnating socially. If they don't come up with a plan to encourage people to group more it will just get worse.
 
Well, some very good points have been brought up on both sides.

Some of the problems:
- Raiding tends to need outside-the-game information/research, and add-ons (which, IMO, have always smelled like the 'cheat codes' of other games, but that's another topic :) )
- Raiding content was patched in for the life-cycle of TBC, but additional 5-man content has been conspicuously missing -- and no new BGs either, nor real solution for AFK (expecting the players -- who are supposed to be PvP-ing -- to police their counterparts was, in retrospect, a rather absurd "solution"), or a fix for BGs starting with one side outnumbered 2-1...
- Instance and raid content are static (this one particularly bothers me as a guy in his 40's who remembers that video games *20 years ago* used various techniques to, for instance, dynamically spawn in-game layouts) -- Is there really no way to create 'smarter' encounters than to have mobs that strictly obey threat rules, timers, etc that are conveniently tracked by player add-ons...?
- Overall, patch content seems to be in a rut; new raids for the hardcore, new zones & dailies for the casuals, new season / PvP reward upgrades for the PvP set...

I've always wondered why even basic video games allow for, say, 1-4 players, but a MMO designed and coded in the last 5 years has statically-tuned solo, 5-man, 10-man, etc., content.
Dynamically spawned and scaled content is way overdue. I can't image that a scaled or randomized SH or SL could be more stale than grinding the static version over and over until exalted...

It was nice to see upgrades to the interface and in-game chat -- but some would say that was just moving things that were already available from outside sources into the game.
It was nice to the Dustwallow Marsh quest lines that were added; though some would say that was rather minimal (I haven't even done all of them yet because I don't have an alt in that rather narrow level range).
It was great that the old-world instance drops were updated, but if that was supposed to revitalize 10-60 instance grouping in Azeroth, I doubt it had that effect (partly because the only way to even know who drops what is outside the game, and most people in that range are leveling, not gearing up, and twinks will just get a run-through)
The consensus is probably that the change to faster leveling is a good change, but it does tend to reinforce the criticism that WoW seems to be moving in the direction of an end-game-centered MMO -- just hurry up and get to 70 where the game is, already...

Overall, though, it would seem that WoW is still the best thing out there.
I've not run out of stuff to do.
 
As for time management, anyone who has run a "more casual" raid group has long done this. It doesn't solve the problems. The 30 mins you save will give you 1-2 boss attempts. Yes this is massive if you only have 3 raiding days, so any casual raid group will ask people to be punctual and prepared.
It's not just about time. The goal isn't to get 1-2 more attempts, it's to learn enough of the encounter to understand it and fine-tune the execution of your tactic. Learning can be done beforehand and in small increments (read: casually). That leaves just the execution.

We've even cut several raids short because were weren't progressing, and our raid leader will kick you from the raid if you keep making the same mistake over and over again.

However, you do make some good points. Kael'thas (and to a lesser extent, Vashj) is/are major roadblocks. And if you're struggling to get raids together or have a huge number of semi-active players, you can't be too picky. A threat of getting kicked from the raid will be hollow if there aren't any reserves standing by.

I have yet to hear of a 3 day raiding group down Illidan though.
We have four raid days. Three-hour raids on workdays, and one four-hour raid on Sunday. Close enough?

However, we're not really splitting our raiding days between farming raids and progress raids. After you've gotten 25 people attuned to Hyjal and Black Temple, there's little need to go back to Serpentshrine Cavern or the Eye.
 
Personally, I *did* care about the hardcore raiders' feedback during the pre-2.1 TBC era. Mostly because it sounded like the instances they were encountering were buggy and/or unfinished, and because the retarded consumable farming paradigm at the time (which almost all of them hated too) meant I would have absolutely no chance to get my feet wet in 25-man stuff.

Otherwise, I don't really care.
 
And if you're struggling to get raids together or have a huge number of semi-active players, you can't be too picky. A threat of getting kicked from the raid will be hollow if there aren't any reserves standing by.

Well, and you won't kick your best RL friend or your spouse for that matter. Tobold had a link to some blog that discussed "social" raiding. Nihilum style kick tactics is distinctly anti-social, but extremely progressive. But that's the point really. Raiding should be more accessible and less punishing hence not be so anti-social.

Also if you say you raid 4 days a week but expect extreme preparation, this is a lot more time spend "raiding" than your numbers say. Because people have to prep sometime...

But don't get me wrong. I used to do tactics for my raid group exactly to move time from in-game raiding to off-line prepping, so that part isn't new either.

Except I did this in order to _never have to kick friends_. Which I simply won't accept. If a game suggests that, the game is broken, not my attitude towards my friends.

Simply the word "kick" has no place in a "game". Did you "kick" people from playing a friendly soccer game in the back yard? I hope not.

The word "kick" is anti-social, but that's what has come of raiding, the most "social" (by group size) activity in WoW.

The word "semi-active" should probably be replaced with "people who have real lives to consider".

But it's really us raider's fault. We push Blizz so hard, by throwing 4-7 days of our evenings at raiding and spend some good extra time prepping and _not_ complain that that it's too much. 2-4 should be the typical tuning span in my book.

My raid group has successfully raided in vanilla on 3 raid days. In TBC we are up to 4 (we had to or we'd fallen apart) and we will likely down Illidan (we are currently in the post Kael rush of dropping bosses like flies.). But I cannot say I'm happy about that development. I was hoping that the pace stays vanilla-like or even gets a tad more relaxing. Instead TBC raiding despite all the changes and retuning is more time consuming.

That's the problem. We are not talking massive changes here, just minor changes can make the raiding game way more accessible.

Stuff that needs to be reconsidered: Attunement, vanilla had this pretty neat. TBC a disaster. Gear scaling. Again Vanilla had this neatly. If you have a tank in normal 5-man blues, he is going to get crushed as raid tank. That's broken progression.

ZA helps some though, and gear progression is alright once a group has established itself in SSC. (Except that people farm PVP for Archimonde is still kinda broken).

More random-access raid instances and overall shorter design, i.e. more ZA and less Karazhan (which should have been Upper and Lower Karazhan really [it was planned that way I hear]).

More group attunements or soft attunements or attunements one can sensibly solo or easily group. Think MC/BWL attunement compared to what was the insult of SSC/TK attunements.

I wasn't surprised that blizzard removed them. These attunements were in the process of destroying the early 25-man game.

Most classes could solo MC attunement, BWL attunement was just one UBRS run, which was farmed by pugs daily.

Noone, could ever even consider attuning for SSC let alone TK without massive help and considerable time investment.

The answer I still haven't gotten from any "TBC raiding game is OK" defender is this: What was wrong with Vanilla's way of doing certain things?

My answer is: There was nothing wrong with it. It was _good_ that everybody could zone into AQ40 and it was alright that Naxx attunement was soloable.

Kael/Vashj vials + Ashtongue sequence for BT? A ridiculous anti-accessible funnel, that I hope to never see in any expansion again. These kinds of accessibility blocks are true abominations and people in my mind are not yelling at Blizzard hard enough how messed up their design is with respect to accessibility.

Do you notice that I don't talk about retuning encounters at all (even though Gruul truly needed massive retuning, just to mention one overtuned encounter of many)?

That's not the point: TBC raiding was originally designed inaccessible totally independent of the also important question of tuning. They had to massively nerf attunement to fix that situation re SSC/TK but it remains that many traces of that original blunder still remain, like the length of Karazhan attunement, which really should be no worse than MC (easy keying) or UBRS (group keying).

Currently for a late leveler it's almost impossible to do Kara attunement btw, because Durnholde groups have all but died out (at least on my servers, were virtually all normal 5-mans are dead, but the ones before lvl 70 are really dead).

What's broken about Karazhan? Some people cannot get in.

Hence again ZA>Kara in terms of accessible design (ignoring the tuning question).
 
The last post by Abel is by far the most spot on post in this thread.

The original plan/progress for raiding in tBC should make it very clear that endgame is designed for and by hardcore players!

As for comments about raid 3 or 4 times a week as casual... that isn't casual. That's 4 nights a week of ignoring your partner!

I raid if I am lucky once a week perhaps every 2 weeks.

The current set up allows me to get nowhere at all...

I don't think any casual player is asking for the whole endgame system to suit them... simply to just give them a foot in the door with the first raid content area.

Really! How hard would it have been to create a 10 man - 8 boss instance that could be done in 3 hours with no attunement or gear checks?

I'm sick to death of running 5 man content... my guild is ready to go with about 5 Kara attuned players. The rest wont be ready for about 3 or 4 months. Simply because we get together once a week if we are lucky. I wont PUG and I'm not leaving my guild/friends behind.

A pretty please to Tigole despite my dig at him! Stop this hardcore runaway train and delete the next patch "too pointless".
 
Raiding should be more accessible and less punishing hence not be so anti-social.
Being social goes both ways.

Did you "kick" people from playing a friendly soccer game in the back yard? I hope not.
Nope, but then again I didn't expect that soccer team being able to play in the major arenas of my city, let alone play in the world championships. Nor did I expect my more professional friends to give me a spot in their team to be able to play in a charity match played in one of the major arenas.

Attunement: I kind of agree, but only because Kael'thas is vastly harder than the first bosses of Hyjal/Black Temple. I'd say that BWL attunement was a bit too easy when compared to the difficulty level of Blackwing Lair. If you had really skillful players in best blues you might be able to kill Razorgore, but Vaelastraz? Not without that Fire Resistance gear from MC, complete with the best low-drop-chance blues available. MC attunement was spot on, though. If you can't manage a mostly-complete Blackrock Depths run, you don't have a snowball's chance of hell in Molten Core.

I find it funny that people are judging Blizzard on vanilla TBC, not as it is now. Yes, they did see that SSC/Eye attunements were excessive. They did see that Revered reputation requirement for Heroics was excessive. Although if you hit a heroic the moment you ding Honored and are wearing only random greens, you're still going to get smeared all over the walls.. Feel free to blame Blizzard for all of the stuff that they haven't fixed, but do give them credit when they occassionally get something right.

While it's true that preparation takes time, that was not the point. Preparation time used before the raid is vastly more effective than being unprepared and reading tactics on the fly. 5-10 minutes reading tactics can save you hours, even days of raid time. Spending those 45 minutes getting consumables is the equivalent of a few gear upgrades, even more early on. Skipping preparation because you "need" that hour for actual raiding is simply shooting yourself in the foot.
 
This whole discussion -with the exception of few comments- disregard the group I belong to: the newcomer-casuals, who want to see the content.

Raiding, however hard or 'major league', is part of the content, what ever way you look at it. The former Old World raid instances -along with most of the Old World instance- are forgotten by both Blizzard and players. I cannot access except the few instances which are crucial for some class quest, because there are no players who want to group for them.

When the hardcore raiders start to burn out and the replacements become ever harder to find, the raiding will stall. I suppose that will be the day that Blizzard notices that the raiding and grouping tutorial (levelling game) is broken and something drastic that should have been done years ago can't be done anymore.

How the heck can anyone expect the new players will get even interested about the end game raiding, if they have never had to learn to play their class to max, learn the group and/or raid mechanics and learn the social aspects of the game?

This discussion has IMHO proven the point Tobold was making in the original post: top raid guilds have had too much influence on the development of BC and thus the whole game.

And it's starting to seem I play the game wrong because I explore and use the content instead grinding the darn instances or power-levelling... resulting the fact that I'm missing about half of the game content already below lv50 range on a faction.

Cheers and hurrah for the raiding.

Copra
 
Copra, I worried about tactics progression before, but fortunately the TBC instances did address that. Many of the non-raid bosses use a game mechanic or two that was only encountered in raids. However, I fully agree on that old content has been neglected. Even if you factor out the effect of nostalgy, Blizzard is getting on a vicious circle if they won't update old content. The nerfing of most outdoor elites and the streamlining of the level ranges of old instances was a good start, though. From one point of view, at least. You may get more stuff done solo than before, but group dynamics would remain unlearned. Revamping all of the old loot helped, but that only solved the problem partially. One other way would be to buff the experience gain from instances. You can level from 60 to 70 by instancing alone, and the same should be possible at 20-60 as well. The LFG tool should be fixed to allow unlimited LFG targets as well to make grouping easier.
 
major arenas of my city, let alone play in the world championships

This is a standard flaw. See people claim that raiding has to be exclusive to be competitive. Is Tennis exclusive? No, everybody can enter the court and play. Not everybody can be server first, but most people actually don't give a damn. I certainly don't. Let others have server firsts as long as that doesn't mean that the tennis court is perma-locked for me.

If raiding was as you seem to indicate only to do the world championship, I'm the first to say scrap raiding. But I enjoy raiding, but not for it's competitiveness. My guild doesn't sign itself up on Bosskillers (other people on my server do that and we don't care).

The problem is that some people (competitive types) demand their playing style from everybody really. But raiding can and _should_ be playable for cooperative/non-competitive types too. That doesn't exclude server firsts, but it excludes unduly punishing/anti-accessible designs.

that people are judging Blizzard on vanilla TBC

Read my argument again. I said Kara attunement is broken now and the only vanilla TBC argument I made is that the whole raid game design was flawed from the start and they only fixed some issues but not the whole design. That's a very valid argument.

Blizz gets loads right, but this thread is not EJ's praise Blizz thread. We can talk about things being right another time. Raiding isn't accessible enough is the topic here and no they still didn't get that right.

And you miss my point about preparation. I'm all for preparation. My point is that 4 days a week + prep is a bad scale for accessible raiding. It should be 2-3 + prep.

But then again if you want to be in an exclusive world championship race, you are right, I have no business being on the Indy-500 track with my friends...

Just because you demand that raiding ought to be Indy-500 exclusively and not something that everybody who paid up the cost can in principle at least try?

@Copra: Completely agree.

I agree though that Murmur is Ragnaros, and many 5-man bosses have raid qualities. But that doesn't teach a healer to do raid healing (which is very different from solo-healing 5-mans). Nor does it teach raid-style positioning and assignments.

Again don't get me wrong. Of all the things, the 5-man normal design is good in my book.

Again the real question is accessibility. A social group should be able to start and learn as that group and not be forced to learn in 5-mans that, as I said before are empty today! That's why many complained that there is no _entry_ 25-man. They are right.

The LFG channel and tool is fine. Problem is that there simply are no interested players in level range!
In fact on my server it's completely impossible to level 60-70 from instancing alone. Coilfang through Auchendon through early COT are literally impossible to get into at the appropriate level range.

We have a new guildie who hit level cap recently, we wanted to bring him to a heroic. Turned out he didn't have _honored_ rep because he didn't make a single TBC instance so far - he couldn't find anybody.

But I do get a sense that we have the old _defend raiding at all costs_ argument going. I just need to read Xi of D&T posting to get all the arguments how it's all fine and people should be excluded from playing in the SuperBowl. The point remains, attunements are excessive, even today (Kara attunement didn't change), and raiding is tuned for too heavy a time-commitment (4-6 days a week rather than 2-4).

And all that because some gamers want to feel like Roger Federer at the expense of others (including their RL friends, spouses etc). While millions of other have to pay up for being spectators for your ego-trip.

I think I'm done debating this... I will see Illidan dead, hence I am in that privileged group, but that doesn't mean I want others to not see him and that doesn't mean that I'll ever gkick RL friends for not squeezing their lives to an inaccessible design or excessive raiding schedule.

You are welcome to want to play anti-social games online... I think it's bad design because cooperative gaming (which raiding is) should be social. That pretty much summarized our difference as I see it, and you can keep on defending anti-social raiding all you want.
 
I'll say this: everyone I know in "real" life who plays does not read any blog or site at all. They are just having fun.

People I know in game do, but they also play a lot of hours and take it more seriously.

Figure out how many players are of the first group and how many of the second, and there's your answer.

I read blogs to find out strategies, not to tell me how I like to have fun.
 
This is a standard flaw. See people claim that raiding has to be exclusive to be competitive. Is Tennis exclusive? No, everybody can enter the court and play.
I didn't say anything about the exclusiveness of the sport itself. Sure, you can play at a court. But other players might not enjoy playing with you if you can't hold the racket correctly, don't know the rules or make a serve that won't hit the net or go out of bounds. And I doubt that you'll be welcomed at Wimbledon.

I have no business being on the Indy-500 track with my friends...

Just because you demand that raiding ought to be Indy-500 exclusively and not something that everybody who paid up the cost can in principle at least try?

We can go through this with as many metaphors as you like. I am not demanding that racing should be exclusively Indy-500 (or Formula, since I'm European). Even Formula 1 champions have started with karting. Some Formula 1 drivers have switched "back" to Formula 3000, DTM or CART. And all of those are fine racing series. What I am saying that you shouldn't be expected to just be able to enter an Indy car with no prior credentials, since you would be wasting your own time as well as everyone else's. And maybe even some lives.

If you feel that it's just the attunements, the gear and the time that are keeping you from raiding, please show it. Show us that you can make a decent serve or complete a lap at the Brickyard, and we'll help you. We'll go back to older instances and get you through those attunements. We'll help you gear up. We'll only expect you to attend raids that you promise to attend. But first you have to convince us that you're not wasting both your own time and ours.


You are welcome to want to play anti-social games online... I think it's bad design because cooperative gaming (which raiding is) should be social. That pretty much summarized our difference as I see it, and you can keep on defending anti-social raiding all you want.

When you're done fighting that strawman, please let me know. You know where to find me.
 
Read my argument again. I said Kara attunement is broken now and the only vanilla TBC argument I made is that the whole raid game design was flawed from the start and they only fixed some issues but not the whole design. That's a very valid argument.


I agree to a point here. There were serious flaws in raiding in vanilla wow. But the raids progressed in such a way that towards the end there were regular pugs on high pop servers of all but BWL. That helped raiding immensely. I knew several people that had never raided before that did a pug of MC or ZG and were hooked. Those kinds of people get left out in the new model. Unintentionally I think. But it is sad they didn't understand that pre BC most of the casual raiders were ok being behind because they'd get there eventually. That died with BC and thus the Never ending fight to make all the instances accessable is on because anyone that doesn't see them this time will not see them next expansion. Blizzard created a problem by thier own heavy handedness. Negative reinforcement can work but the results are almost never what you expect.

The LFG channel and tool is fine. Problem is that there simply are no interested players in level range!
I have to disagree here. Pre BC with the LFG channel a large portion of the pugs I put together I'd start advertising and get a whisper from someone offering an alt. I'd say 2 or 3 out of every 5 people I'd get in a pug were on a different character and saw my advertisement and logged off and got on thier alt and off we went.

The current tool leaves all those people who would group but aren't actively looking completely out of the loop. It would be like forcing TV advertisers to only stream thier ads to the houses that asked for them. A lot less people would see the add and they'd make a lot less money.

But it would be less irritaing overall.
 
I find that the sports analogies to raiding, IMO, miss the mark.

No offense intended, but WoW is more like intramurals or city-leagues, because in WoW the players pay, with no compensation offered.
In pro tennis / pro circuit racing / whatever, the pros are paid to 'play', and big prize money is at stake.
And IMO, virtual loot is not compensation for real-money 'entry fees' :)

IMO that's where "raiding *should* be this hard" arguments fail. As others have pointed out, a large segment of the player base subsidizes raiding under the current design, if indeed only a paltry 3%-5% get "access" to what they paid for.
 
Sam, you legend, you hit the nail on the head. I've found pugging a lot harder since the new LFG tool came out. You're exactly right, it only shows the groups and players who are looking for exactly the same thing -- which is rare, especially now with so much content that 90% of players have passed.

The thing I loved about DDO was the LFG tool. Despite the lack of content, it was always easy to find a group to do something using their tool -- which was essential since there was virtually no solo content, it was mostly party based. You could see all the LFMs out there on one screen, not just the ones for a particular instance. You could filter the LFMs by the classes they required, so you could quickly find something for yourself or an alt. I believe it had filtering by level too. Brilliant tool. WoW needs something like that. I think they're moving that way, but oh so slow. They've only just updated the hopeless crafting screens to allow you to filter by slot, materials, etc. Scrolling through 300 recipes looking for the one you wanted... gawd.
 
Agree with Sam and Doeg.

On LFG, I use all means possible, LFG, LFG channel, general, trade in major cities...

Maybe this is different on a per server basis, but I actually try to attune my alts to Kara, and I'm stuck at getting Durneholde so I can't even get into Black Morass if I wanted to. Literally been weeks now for multiple class alts waiting.

Yes LFG was bad when it completely removed the LFG channel. Now it's alright actually, combined spamming and using the tool worked until roughly when 2.3 came out, then pre-heroic PVE suddenly died... on my server at least.

When I leveled my first reroll in August things were still fine grouping-wise, despite the LFG tool. That's the toon I raid T5/T6 content with. My later alts are out of luck in comparison.

That doesn't mean that the LFG system can't use a revamp. I really think just enabling the LFG channel by default (those who don't like it can leave it) and allowing to search for content that is out of your level range (for alts) would go a long way to make it better.

To Shalkis:

But first you have to convince us that you're not wasting both your own time and ours.

Yep you are a waste of my time. I'm convinced. You can't even hear that there are ways to design a game that car-racing fools like yourself can enjoy and collaborative socializers like myself can enjoy too.

Because I don't need to be convinced that it's a waste of time to help my friends or that it's wrong to want to play a game with my spouse and I want to play a challenging game that does not threaten my career or social life or neglects my kids by taking too much time... I'm rather convinced that I'm facing a game and a crowd that's misguided to demand otherwise.

But if that's a strawman for you, so be it. Good luck racing, I'm gonna continue to look for challenging PVE content that is also designed to be accessible at a sane time commitment level and with normal RL social structures in the background - racing fools or not.

I'm convinced. The rest is a waste of my time for sure.
 
@Shalkis:

I don't agree with you in the slightest!

I don't agree with your analogies at all... but if I were to use them to re-demonstrate your point:

You mention tennis. To the casual it isn't about being able to play! I know many causual players that know and play the game better than the most seasoned hardcore player.

What it is about is having bouncers at the front door of the sports shop not letting you in to buy a tennis racket to play.

Casual players can't raid often or at all because:

Kara demands an excessive attunement for a first tBC raid.
Kara demands playing 3 to 4 days a week to complete.
Thus Kara demands a guild organised to do that.
Not all guilds have 200 memebers and players ready to go at a moments notice.
It promotes unhealthy game play IMO where a player is encouraged to be online for a raid 3 or 4 days a week to progress.

Kara is that bouncer outside the sprots store.
 
You mention tennis. To the casual it isn't about being able to play! I know many causual players that know and play the game better than the most seasoned hardcore player.
But aren't they being forbidden from even buying a racket? How can you say that someone is better than hardcore players if they have never played before?

This would be a catch-22.. if tennis started at Karazhan. It doesn't. Tennis is instanced PvE in general. Raiding is the first 2vs2 tournament.

The four instances (or more, if nobody has the keys to Shadow Labyrinth, Shattered Halls and Arcatraz and can't hang around at the door until someone with a key shows up) required to enter Karazhan are definitely more than what was required before, but it is certainly not an insurmountable obstacle, since people are getting past it all the time. If you are unable to organize even those four instance runs.. then raiding is definitely not for you. Just like tennis is not for you if you can't hold a racket or hit the ball.

Because I don't need to be convinced that it's a waste of time to help my friends or that it's wrong to want to play a game with my spouse and I want to play a challenging game that does not threaten my career or social life or neglects my kids by taking too much time...
I see that you missed the part about being expected to show up on only those raids you signed up for.. Nobody's holding a gun to your head and forcing you to raid.

sane time commitment level and with normal RL social structures in the background
This may come as a surprise, but raiders do have normal RL social structures. Quite a few of us are at their thirties. Many of our members have families. Pretty much all have friends and jobs.
 
Kara demands playing 3 to 4 days a week to complete.
Maybe at first, but that's why there's a whole week of time to clear it, so you can pace the content as you like. And the time requirements don't need to be prohibitive.
For example, a full clear of Black Temple just took us 6 hours. Even if you factor in preparation, that's still about 1 hour per day when divided over a week. Although you probably don't want to split the time around too much to avoid wasting flasks. We did it in two three-hour raids, and I see no reason why it couldn't be done in three two-hour raids. We may have been just lucky, but the point stands: It's possible to focus on the quality of time and you can minimize the quantity of time. There is such a thing as casual raiding, as far as schedules are concerned.
 
@Shalkis: As said you are a waste of time. You make the flawed assumption that I don't know what raiding means and what is possible. I have done it for 3 years. So stop making childish assumptions about you being the only one having experience raiding and organising. As I said, people who haven't learned organizing by now are simply not in MH/BT right now, so clue up a little. "Organising" is a dead argument because it's assumed.

Your time arguments are silly, because the problem is exactly it'll take you many hours to attune people who only raid when they sign up. Hence progression gets killed by the way raiding are set up right now. I.e. punishing more casual friendly ways to organise the group.

So someone take a month or two break due to RL, will you go back and attune that one person when she comes back just to lose two full raiding days because The full raid-bound Ashtongue and Vial thing is needed? Take a separate RL incident and you suddenly killed 4 raid days just to accommodate 2 people. Yes, very "social-friendly" design indeed and you are right to defend it... er, not.

Fact is that people _can_ play the game on their own time, but not without being punished by the design for it. That's all I'm arguing but your bonehead won't hear it because "it's all fine if you are just organised".

Not that it's a useful example, but lets assume that people do decide to raid 1 hour a day 6 days a week to make more managable chunks.

2 day schedule: Times to travel to-fro BT, and time to travel to first encounter: 2 times.

6 day schedule: Times to travel to-fro BT and time to travel to first encounter: 6 times.

Traveling time overhead has trippled, and that on now 1 hour chunks.

Also factor in, actually making sure that you have viable raids 2 times vs 6 times. You have tripled administrative overload.

Now, what you also forgot is that you suddenly have a guaranteed trash reclear every day, drastically increasing the time spend on trash over bosses.

Basically you are just blowing false "but it _is_ casual friendly" arguments out of your nose.

Let alone that you changed nothing about total time needed, and that _is_ the problem.

Raiding very well could be 3 days a week, if the cross-instance dependencies were lowered and attunement made group-friendly. But you don't even leave an entry to discuss how to change the raiding game to be more accessible.

And raiding isn't the first 2v2 tournement. It only is because people like yourself make it such and impose their fantasy on everybody. There is nothing in the game that says "you have to race against other raid group to beat content faster than them". In fact EQ did this better by have no instancing. That was a true race. Go back to EQ maybe? WoW removed the necessity of racing, but some have apparently missed that change The change was necessary exactly so that a small group cannot dictate content for others... that doesn't stop that small group from demanding this ability and cheering at design choices that have that flavor (like forbidding attunements).

That's your fantasy and an unfortunate culture that has developed. It's by no means the only interpretation possible of PVE raiding but I see that you are not accessible at all to alternative interpretations.

I for one have never played PVE raiding as race. In 3 years. I play it to see content and have a fun challenge with friends. That you impose your idea how the game should be on how I should play the game isn't rally acceptable, but you are 30 year old and mature enough to understand that (or maybe not...)

As I have identified earlier you are "I like raiding as race and everybody has to accept that game paradigm for raiding uncritically" and "I defend the raiding game against accessibility" type. Good for you. But don't expect head-nodding from me.

The argument we are having is _after_ you have maximized quality time and you look at what's going on, but it's impossible to have that argument, because you keep pushing your "just max qual time" argument to cover all concerns. In case you didn't get it: That is long assumed! Really pointless to discuss then.

Just one question out of curiosity: Would you kick your spouse if she failed to convince that she is worth your time raiding? Or would you bench her to farm only content? Or what would you do if she said "but I want to raid with you more" after she's benched for progression?

This is the problem and the argument. How you gonna optimize that? Divorce? Or are you going to have the spine to stand up for a design that allows your hypothetical spouse to play? Currently you are not.

Frankly I think you simply don't have those problems and on top you don't care. Your own competition fantasy matters more than if social ties are damaged.

The answer is simple: Raiding game needs to be more accessible and possible with a wider spread of people and time commitments. Then your spouse can come because the "convincing" isn't as harsh. She can take a break to watch after the babies without stalling a raid etc.

As it stands, we went from 3 days a week to 4 days a week and not wanting to, while still optimizing everything. But else the choice is: Not raid because you lose sensible progression. What has taken a beating is exactly this: More casual friends who could do the 1-3 day, but not the 2-4 day had to call it quits. Massive unnecessary drama over damaged social ties. Couples leaving together because they find it unacceptable that to tune raid composition too much they too often don't raid together. They are RL friends that you want to socialize with and now make time to socialize outside of raiding (taking up even more time!). People having more erratic signup patterns because really, they only want to raid 1-3 days a week anyway. But everyone wants to raid and see new content and they enjoyed the first 2 years of it. And they would enjoy the current game if it was just a tad more accessible and time-considerate design. And you defend this? Clearly you don't get it.

But I think you just don't _want_ to get it because it works for you and it works to feed your fantasy. Now why do we have to listen to why your fantasy should dictate how we all can play a game again? If you are 30 and mature, the answer should be: It shouldn't.

This is very appropriate to this thread. No, a small group of players should not dictate for everybody how they have to see or accept the game. And I certainly don't accept in the slightest that you can tell me how I should see or accept the raiding game (as "2v2 tournement" when it's just as well is collaborative PVE which in fact it is for me. In case you don't understand: I don't care if you are server first or last and I don't even want to know. Take your competitiveness out of my face, thanks.).
 
"Organising" is a dead argument because it's assumed.
Fair enough. So why were we discussing attunements again? Because it's hard to get a Durnholde group? How can we take organization of 10/25-mans for granted if it's lacking for 5-man content?

Your time arguments are silly, because the problem is exactly it'll take you many hours to attune people who only raid when they sign up. Hence progression gets killed by the way raiding are set up right now. I.e. punishing more casual friendly ways to organise the group.
Well.. I'm not in a hurry. I don't mind attuning people if I know that they'll be able to pull their own weight in the future.

So someone take a month or two break due to RL, will you go back and attune that one person when she comes back just to lose two full raiding days because The full raid-bound Ashtongue and Vial thing is needed? Take a separate RL incident and you suddenly killed 4 raid days just to accommodate 2 people. Yes, very "social-friendly" design indeed and you are right to defend it... er, not.
Actually.. I have. It's.. you know.. the social thing to do. And one of the recruits did forget to pick up the quest item from Rage Winterchill. No biggie, he just got it next time.

Not that it's a useful example, but lets assume that people do decide to raid 1 hour a day 6 days a week to make more managable chunks.
If you're not fighting strawmen, why are you picking examples that you know are flawed?

Now, what you also forgot is that you suddenly have a guaranteed trash reclear every day, drastically increasing the time spend on trash over bosses.
Well.. I did say that you probably don't want to go below 2 hours raid time. That's enough to clear the trash and make the most out of the time between trash respawns.

Basically you are just blowing false "but it _is_ casual friendly" arguments out of your nose.
Don't be so modest. You've been a great help in that regard.

Let alone that you changed nothing about total time needed, and that _is_ the problem.
Let's turn the tables then. How many hours per week/month should raiding take at most?

Raiding very well could be 3 days a week, if the cross-instance dependencies were lowered and attunement made group-friendly. But you don't even leave an entry to discuss how to change the raiding game to be more accessible.
Well.. that's because I do view some attunements as necessary, as you probably saw from my examples. Sure, one could make a perfectly accessible game by removing all attunements (and perhaps even level/gear requirements!). But then you run into a big problem: How to instill any sense of progression into the game? Personally, I love rising difficulty levels (and the feeling from surpassing them).

In fact EQ did this better by have no instancing. That was a true race. Go back to EQ maybe?
This may come as a surprise.. but I've never even tried EverQuest.

I for one have never played PVE raiding as race. In 3 years. I play it to see content and have a fun challenge with friends. That you impose your idea how the game should be on how I should play the game isn't rally acceptable, but you are 30 year old and mature enough to understand that (or maybe not...)
I also play it to see content and have a fun challenge with friends. And not necessarily in that order.

As I have identified earlier you are "I like raiding as race and everybody has to accept that game paradigm for raiding uncritically" and "I defend the raiding game against accessibility" type. Good for you. But don't expect head-nodding from me.
For someone who isn't fighting strawmen, you certainly spend a lot of time with them.

Just one question out of curiosity: Would you kick your spouse if she failed to convince that she is worth your time raiding? Or would you bench her to farm only content? Or what would you do if she said "but I want to raid with you more" after she's benched for progression?
Perhaps. Would you let your spouse drive that Indy car even if she failed to convince you that she can? Or would you send her to the driving school first? Even if she said "but I want to drive with you more"?

This is the problem and the argument. How you gonna optimize that? Divorce? Or are you going to have the spine to stand up for a design that allows your hypothetical spouse to play? Currently you are not.
Well.. I could do the social thing and help her. Or I could refrain from signing up to progress raids.

The answer is simple: Raiding game needs to be more accessible and possible with a wider spread of people and time commitments. Then your spouse can come because the "convincing" isn't as harsh. She can take a break to watch after the babies without stalling a raid etc.
Funnily enough, we do have several moms that raid. And thanks to our reserve system, stalling a raid is a non-issue. Everyone in the guild knows that real life comes first, but when they don't have any real life commitments and can put focus on raiding.. they'll do their best.

As it stands, we went from 3 days a week to 4 days a week and not wanting to, while still optimizing everything. But else the choice is: Not raid because you lose sensible progression. What has taken a beating is exactly this: More casual friends who could do the 1-3 day, but not the 2-4 day had to call it quits. Massive unnecessary drama over damaged social ties. Couples leaving together because they find it unacceptable that to tune raid composition too much they too often don't raid together.
Ah, this explains a lot. Why did you switch from three days to four days? What's the rush? Surely you weren't.. competing with anyone?
 
So why were we discussing attunements again?

We run in circles. The argument was: Drop Kara attunement and let people in! (a repeat)

How many hours per week/month should raiding take at most?

I said raiding on a 3 day schedule should be possible. I never said at most. I said this multiple times, why are you asking again? (Hence another repeat)

If people want to raid 24/7 7 days a week let them. If they burn through contest too fast that's alright.

I do view some attunements as necessary

Attunements weren't necessary in vanilla raiding. (Also a repeat argument)

Sure, one could make a perfectly accessible game by removing all attunements (and perhaps even level/gear requirements!). But then you run into a big problem: How to instill any sense of progression into the game? Personally, I love rising difficulty levels (and the feeling from surpassing them).

This is a strawman. You make it the extreme rather than allowing discussion of slight changes. Noone is asking that all progression is removed, or that gear should never matter. See what I wrote:

We are not talking massive changes here, just minor changes can make the raiding game way more accessible.

I wrote more about this, but I don't want to repeat argue every point. (already at the 3rd thing I'm repeating anyway)

Ah, this explains a lot. Why did you switch from three days to four days? What's the rush? Surely you weren't.. competing with anyone?

Funny. You understand full well. Not competing doesn't mean not seeing new content, but you needed to be an smartypants about it yeah.

But in case... let me do the math. Say your raid group entered SSC in July. 4 days a week. Take that to be 30 weeks. That's 120 raiding days. Let do the same for 3 days. That's 90 days or 30 days. That doesn't look so bad, "only" 2 1/2 months difference, but in reality you lose a lot of progression time because every week you get a new reset hence you spend more proportional time reclearing trash and killing farm bosses than otherwise and your progression time gets disproportionally killed.

And of course you know that. A raid group at 3 days a week doesn't have 3/4 of the raiding to progress.

If you spend two days farming (SSC/TK) you have one day to progress. Compare 3 to 4 days that's exactly half the progression time per week. Even if you spend only 1 day farming, then you look at a worse effect than just losing a day, you lose the day where you'd want to spend it.

So just for the math lets use this numbers, it took you 30 weeks, on a 3 day schedule we look at 60 weeks.

Time between new boss kills is doubled, basically everything scales this way. You also have less time to attune people and too much time spent on content that doesn't need to be farmed as much (which more raiding day groups prove).

If someone missed an attunement day and another week of attunements has to be scheduled, it has a larger impact on progression too, and you know that as well.

But you actually just wanted to falsely make the setup "not wanting compete = not wanting to progress". Hhmm yeah.

I'm not competing but we want to progress, for that the progression needs to be tuned in a way that is accessible. That such tuning is possible vanilla proved.

Attunements are roadblocks that hurt those with less time more, disproportionate to top it, that's why attunement are another issue on exactly the same topic.

One can design a game that doesn't have this effect while still allowing hardcore to have a hardcore experience. Again, for an example see Vanilla!
 
When you two are done argueing, can I have the book rights? :)
 
Sure can ;)
 
This is a strawman. You make it the extreme rather than allowing discussion of slight changes. Noone is asking that all progression is removed, or that gear should never matter. See what I wrote:

We are not talking massive changes here, just minor changes can make the raiding game way more accessible.

I'd say that's more of a slippery slope argument. If you remove an attunement, then some people will complain that they're running into a brick wall. Which leads to calls of nerfs. Such as.. the complaint about Zul'Aman in this very thread.

Funny. You understand full well. Not competing doesn't mean not seeing new content, but you needed to be an smartypants about it yeah.
I did, yes. I have been saying that for several posts now. If being "an smartypants" helps you see that, then so be it.

But in case... let me do the math. Say your raid group entered SSC in July. 4 days a week. Take that to be 30 weeks. That's 120 raiding days. Let do the same for 3 days. That's 90 days or 30 days. That doesn't look so bad, "only" 2 1/2 months difference, but in reality you lose a lot of progression time because every week you get a new reset hence you spend more proportional time reclearing trash and killing farm bosses than otherwise and your progression time gets disproportionally killed.
You're forgetting that killing farm bosses and clearing trash also contributes to progression in the form of gear. Gear increases the margin of error and thus makes the next attempt easier. Let's take Mother Shahraz as an example. This boss requires large amounts of Shadow Resistance, which is available as craftable items. However, these items require Hearts of Darkness, which drop from Black Temple and Hyjal trash mobs. While there are significant tactics and execution elements to the fight (grouping and Fatal Attraction handling), that extra Shadow Resistance makes it so much easier.

But if you do go back to farmable content, be picky about it. If you're almost killing Kael'thas, you might want to go to Zul'Aman instead of Karazhan (unless you're specifically after badges). You'll get more bang for the buck.

You can go the other way as well. If you're convinced that you are capable of killing that next boss, skip farm raids. We didn't schedule Black Temple raids while attempting Archimonde, and didn't schedule Hyjal raids when attempting Illidan. Likewise, we significantly scaled back SSC/TK raids when Kael'thas died, and currently only go back there when we need to attune someone.

If someone missed an attunement day and another week of attunements has to be scheduled, it has a larger impact on progression too, and you know that as well.
Yes, but I'm thinking of the big picture. Going back to get someone attuned might be detrimental to your short-term progress, but having an another decently geared, knowledgeable and skilled raider available is a significant long-term benefit.

But you actually just wanted to falsely make the setup "not wanting compete = not wanting to progress". Hhmm yeah.
For someone's who's not fighting strawmen, you certainly spend a lot of time with them.

Tobold: Sure. Just don't let them pick Keanu Reeves for my role in the inevitable movie.
 
I'd say that's more of a slippery slope argument. If you remove an attunement, then some people will complain that they're running into a brick wall. Which leads to calls of nerfs. Such as.. the complaint about Zul'Aman in this very thread.

Yep, this is the standard, "don't change anything" argument by calling any change a slippery slope.

AQ40 had no individual attunement. I felt that the cries for nerfs for that place were modest. In fact I argue that AQ40 was well-tuned (once tuned). If you entered AQ40 with BWL only gear you could very comfortably progress modulo NR gear. (And yes by "once tuned" I do mean that crafted NR gear was available and people weren't forced into EQ style races for emerald dragons.)

ZA on the other hand should not unduly punish a Kara-only raid group. But as said the bear boss is extremely harsh on a Kara only tank. ZA is _almost_ alright, just very slightly overtuned. I.e. there are gear checks in ZA that are just slighlty too harsh, just a bit. And I say that as a SSC/TK raider who gets timed loot from the place. But I raid this with my Kara-only friends on occasion and have the sense for an honest comparison.

That's not a slippery slope argument at all.

If you're convinced that you are capable of killing that next boss, skip farm raids.

My argument holds independent of this because an instance reset _will_ force you to clear all trash up to the farm boss.

You _know_ that 3-days a week isn't very viable progression in TBC (in fact you sarcastically hinted at it yourself). I think we can stop arguing this point. And you _know_ that you lose a lot of progression time even though you try to cook up arguments that try to poke at it.

Why you need to do that I don't bother to guess, I just don't find it very helpful. "Devil's advocate" at all cost is about as helpful as "the habitual naysayer" or "stonewaller". (Tobold: That's film titles!)

As for Mother: Collecting SR as needed for Mother isn't all that forbidding at all. (it's roughly 2 crafted + 1 green + neck + enchants = enough, see EJ forum if you don't believe me, as you said being organised is all). Hardcores simply farm HoDs on one lockout and hence don't lose time at all. All evidence shows that extra time to pass that encounter based on the gear check isn't harsh at all (just like getting core mats for FR gear for Ragnaros and Vael was automatic if you progressed in any pace, fast or slow and were organised).

And you know that...

But it is an interesting observation. Mechanisms like this could be made to scale positively for casuals. I.e. give only one in-raid source for mats. That you can only get at a fixed quantity per week (that's not the case currently), and link it to a gear check. That way you can absolutely guarantee that an encounter can only safely be beaten after X weeks, where that could be the time it would take a 3 day progression guild to work the content.

Of course that's not how the game works and I don't agree to it either, it's a too hard and deterministic time-pacer. I rather see people clear faster and be done faster than putting up all too artificial roadblocks that have nothing to do with skill or working on things in interesting way (clearing/farming trash isn't very interesting).

The mats pacers are mostly to make sure that people do enter and clear zones and not zone in blanket, bypassing prior content. It works well for that purpose (and hence why Vael was an MC-raiders test).

I love those soft pacers actually, soft attunements are great. Give more of these. Hard attunements are bad because they favor the most hardcore and are hard roadblocks.

Note how soft attunements (FR for MC, BWL, some SR for BWL, NR for AQ40, tank gear and resistance gear for Naxx) dominated Vanilla. That wasn't all that bad at all!

You could off-load raiding time by crafting and collecting (easily accessible) mats. Hence soft-attune newcomers with minimal effort even as casual-oriented group. Very good concept I think.

3 days isn't very viable not from some bantering of theoretical positions either. I do know it because we tried with 3 days... and had to switch to 4. Now you can disagree with my experience and call me poorly organised without having evidence, but you are good to argue whatever you want frankly.

You said you had to stop BT for Archimonde. Word. But you have 4 raid days to begin with! Don't worry, we will and have been doing very similar things (i.e. we stopped SSC to learn Kael).

We are the only Kael killing raid group on our server who got this far with 3 scheduled raid days btw. But we often ended up having to adding "optional" 4th to allow progression. The frequency of these 4th days made it rather blatantly obvious that it was kind of impossible without (end bosses for TK and SSC both died on the 4th day in the lockout for example.)

You like to call strawman on me a lot. Let me trace the last for you:

Your setup:

What's the rush? Surely you weren't.. competing with anyone?

My reaction:

But you actually just wanted to falsely make the setup "not wanting compete = not wanting to progress". Hhmm yeah.

Strawman? Well you set it up. If you don't want strawmen, don't keep creating them ;)

The same goes for everything else that you have called strawman so far. I react to your setup. And rather than you saying "Well you midunderstood, I actually meant X" you call me fighting "a strawman". Well done.

I agree Keanu Reeves wouldn't be good. There are lots of great options in another much more relevant movie.

But to be serious. I don't see us having a productive discussion.

Let me know if you disagree but basically you say:

"4-days a week raiding is fine and there has to be a cut-off. Accessibility can be bad. I like hard attunements and long attunement chains even for entry raiding."

I say:

"Minor changes to raiding can make it more accessible, 3-days should be a viable setup for meaningful progression. Accessibility is rather good. Hard attunements and long attunement chains get in the way of social ties. Long attunements have no place for entry raiding."

I think we can agree to disagree, but I for one certainly don't see any value in bantering out these positions if they never move.

Then finally Tobold can make the movie... well it's been made.
 
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