Tobold's Blog
Monday, February 18, 2008
 
Parallel raid progression

Much has been written about guilds having difficulties to move from 10-man Karazhan to 25-man raids like Serpentshrine Cavern, because of the difference in raid size. There is still some debate about whether the "entry level" raid dungeon is better if it is for a large raid size (like Molten Core was) or for a small raid size (like Karazhan is now). Both sizes have advantages and disadvantages. So I was wondering why World of Warcraft should be limited to have only one "entry level" raid dungeon.

Why does there need to be a raid progression for dungeon A to B to C to D? It is easy to imagine having for example two entry level raid dungeons, A and A', of equal difficulty and reward level, but for different raid sizes. For example one for 10 raiders, the other for 25. That way you choose your raid dungeon depending on the number of people you can get together. That could be followed by a similar couple of dungeons B and B', again of equal difficulty, but harder than A/A'. And so on. A parallel raid progression, where every guild could choose to either stick to the 10-man path, or the 25-man raid progression, or for casual guilds to do a bit of both.
Comments:
There's also composition issues, in that some bosses require "x" number of tanks, or healers, or aoe tanking pallies, or specifically speced locks etc etc etc...

So its not just how many you got, its what!
 
The problem with parallel progression paths (imo) is that people will want to go where their class/spec gets the best rewards.

So unless the rewards are *extremely* well balanced for all classes/specs between 10 and 25-man raids, having parallel progression paths could cause a lot of drama.

Imagine 1/3rd of your raiders wanting to go 10-man because that has the best rewards for them and 2/3rds wanting to go to 25-man for the same reason. So that no matter where you go, some are going to be disappointed.

(Parallel paths for PvE/PvP works reasonably well because PvP gear is suboptimal for PvE and vice versa.)
 
The reason why you have raid progression in the first place is to force players into a slow progression. Blizzard wants the highest-end raid guilds to waste several months with gearing up to be able to beat the toughest boss.

If you give these highest end raid guilds multiple sources of gear upgrades you cut down the time to gearcheck, divided between the sources.

The fix for this would be to make each path raid-lock you into the "tier source" rather than specific raid ID, and that would suck dramatasticly. If they dont do this you'll sit there with "joe-casual guild" farming only one 10-man instance every raid-ID reset, while the "uber-hardcore" will farm one 25 man and three 10 man instances in the same time, effectively getting 3 times more loot per member and hitting the current "gear cap" three times faster than those who get stuck with doing one of the two paths.

But we already see Blizzard removing the power from gear by going towards a leader board type of reward from raid drops. They can in theory totally remove the whole idea behind Raid-ID and lockouts, which might make the game noticeably better.
 
I tend to agree with Ni here. The main challenge is balancing. If one of the two is significantly easier than the other, that imbalance will be made painfully apparent by the parallel instances' popularity. We've actually seen this in effect with Scholomance, Stratholme and UBRS. While you technically got less loot with a bigger group, the runs were trivial and thus you ended up doing faster runs and getting more loot in the end, even if you couldn't do any of the quests.
 
See.. why is it that everyone forgets that there was an entry level 'raid' before Molten Core. Upper Blackrock Spire was always and is still a 'raid' instance.

Karazhan 'should' fill the same role as UBRS not MC.
 
UBRS did not allow you to have a full group, it did not require a raid to enter, and it did not have a reset timer. It was as much a raid instance as Scholomance and Stratholme were. And as for the difficulty.. I've been in groups that did not dare to enter Scholomance or Stratholme without a raid. UBRS was not a 5-man instance or a raid, it was somewhere in between.
 
See.. why is it that everyone forgets that there was an entry level 'raid' before Molten Core. Upper Blackrock Spire was always and is still a 'raid' instance.

Karazhan 'should' fill the same role as UBRS not MC.


Except Karazhan has a 7 day lockout timer, and UBRS had/has... nothing?

That timer on KZ needs to be lowered to 3 days to bring it on par with Zul'Aman, IMO.
 
The trouble with lowering the reset timer of Karazhan is that it's much more linear than Zul'Aman and takes more time to complete. Many starting guilds would have significant problems trying to reach Prince Malchezaar in time before the reset.
 
gar and shalkis are both right. I think it shows the conflicting desires forgetfullness of the devs. The sad fact is if they'd scaled the old world raids and made them the early "leveling " raids then that would have been enough for a lot of people. But since they didn't and chose to go the extreme mudflation route now everyone will go whichever way is the absolutely most efficient for thier character. If that is making tailoring epics they'll do that, If its 10 mans they'll do that etc etc. The problem being they've never ever balanced the loot tables in any type of content to give equal incentive to all classes to run any content. Add that to the gear up issues caused by random loot and you have many unhappy raiders because x percent are done and ready to move on and the others are either focusing on something else or still need thier gear and aren't ready to move on.

Towards the end of Vanilla wow ZG and AQ20 were basically alternate raid progression for small guilds. Yes the big guilds farmed them both. Big Deal. The hard core high end guys will always min-max the game in a quick few month deathmatch. At this point in the life cycle the fact that we even consider them is really stupid.
if they all left tomorrow it would be what 3% of the population.
 
Changing all the raids to some sort of token system+build your own items system (suggested/written about earlier in this blog) might help with some of the gear issues (since people would effectively get the same gear for the same raids), though it does leave class balance in effectiveness in fights up for grabs.
 
People who run the larger scale content will always claim that their content is inherently harder. It would not fly very well if they were equal in rewards. Generally, the added difficulty is administration. However, it does exist.

Then there are those who argue that the minimum difficulty of large-group content is higher than the maximum difficulty of small-group content. That is, of course, ludicrous.

Personally, I'd just like to see multiple avenues of content distribution. Magister's Terrace will be the first 5-man instance introduced in a patch since wow 1.3 and dire maul. It will be the first 5-man instance that is actually harder than the other 5-man instances at level cap. I would have liked to see more things like that... 5-man instances that are tuned to give better rewards and be more difficult than their predecessors. It'd be like the raid dungeons, but on a smaller scale.

--Rawr
 
People who run the larger scale content will always claim that their content is inherently harder.
Indeed there are, but that hasn't been true since Zul'Gurub. The issue is not whether smaller PvE encounters can be harder than larger PvE encounters. They can. That was the case in all of my examples above. The problem is getting the balancing right, so that the only deciding factor in picking 5/10/20/25/40-man content over a different type is personal preference. So far, Blizzard has not succeeded in it.
 
> The trouble with lowering the reset timer of Karazhan is that it's much more linear than Zul'Aman and takes more time to complete. Many starting guilds would have significant problems trying to reach Prince Malchezaar in time before the reset.

You could keep the standard reset every 7 days, but put a extra reset at day 3.5 that only resets instances that are fully cleared. Obviously you wouldn't do this with all instances but it would fix karazhan to some degree.

It would only benefit guilds that clear the entire thing, but it would also give you a reason to clear bosses that you don't normally do (although badges helped with that one).
 
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