Friday, January 25, 2008
Epic to wipe ratio
Of course it is an extreme oversimplification, but besides the fun of hanging out with friends, seeing new places, or vanquishing new bosses, the epic to wipe ratio plays a large role in how much "fun" raiding is for people. Last night my guild did another Karazhan run, second half from Curator to Prince, and my epic to wipe ratio went through the roof. I got the shoulders from the Curator, boots from Aran, and T4 helmet from the Prince. Only Illhoof and the chess event didn't yield anything for me. And only the Prince put up any serious resistance. [From all the encounters in Karazhan, the Prince is the most luck based. The "safe spots" are a myth, because what was safe last run won't necessarily work next run. You can either go for a high risk strategy and tank the Prince in the doorway, and if you get lucky and no infernal drops on the position of the healers and ranged dps the fight becomes nearly trivial. Or you can tank the Prince along the wall, which gives you somewhat more options in case of bad luck with infernal drops.]
But I'm well aware that three epics in four hours with few wipes isn't "normal". This isn't how Blizzard designed it, the credit goes completely to my guild, because they are willing to take a few newbies with them on every Karazhan raid. Kudos to my guild, both for being nice and for being intelligent. Showering newbies with epics like that beats disenchanting said epics, especially in TBC where the market value of the void crystals you get from disenchanting epics has hit rock bottom and is now *below* that of the large prismatic shards you get from disenchanting blue gear. And I fully intend to repay my "debt" to the guild by using my new gear to either help them advance in the next level of the raiding circuit, or by helping the next generation of newbies to get through Karazhan. I just need to set some priorities and do either the one or the other. After 3 Karazhan raids this week I'm signed up for a SSC raid tonight, and I'm starting to feel physical exhaustion. I'm not a young man any more, staying up until midnight every night and getting up at 6:30 am in the morning isn't something I can do several times a week any more without feeling tired afterwards.
In a normal raid progression the epic to wipe ratio is much lower. Either you have a raid dungeon "on farm", but then you already have most of the epics from there and just hope for luck on finding the last one or two missing pieces. Or you go to a new raid dungeon, where you will wipe much more often and not kill all that many bosses. Note that when calculating epic to wipe ratio, I only consider epics that are actually an improvement. Thus going to ZG or AQ20 with a group full of level 70s has an epic to wipe ratio of zero, because nobody is going to find anything useful there.
So while I am in "fast forward" or "easy" mode, the raid progression for the majority of World of Warcraft players remains too slow. Even by the most optimistic interpretation of the WoWJutsu data only 50% of players in Europe and North America have ever seen Karazhan, and only 3% the Black Temple, after one year of TBC. Come patch 2.4 with an even more difficult raid dungeon Sunwell Plateau, and we are looking at a raid dungeon that only 1% of the player base will ever see, because Wrath of the Lich King will come out before many people reach the top raid dungeons. That is silly, an inefficient use of resources. Raid encounters are a lot more complex than regular mobs, and take up a huge chunk of development time. I'm pretty certain that the WotLK raid dungeons are a major contributor to the fact that the expansion is coming out so late. The resulting raid encounters are way more interesting than regular 5-man dungeons, and great fun. They should be accessible to a far greater number to players. After one year 50% of players should have seen the *last* raid dungeon, not just the first one.