Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
 
I don't think Gearscore is the culprit here

Professor Beej has a very interesting post up in which he blames Gearscore for making him want to quit World of Warcraft. Now I'm not a fan of Gearscore, and on my server the trade chat is full of people discriminating against others based on their gearscore. It works like this: The player checks his own Gearscore, lets say it is 4793. And then he shouts that he is inviting everyone with a minimum Gearscore of 4793, because obviously somebody with a Gearscore of only 4792 is a clueless n00b. Thus Gearscore is used to establish a pecking order to an extremely fine degree. Stupid elitism in action.

But as bad as that is, it actually has nothing to do with Professor Beej's problem. He says:
A 5000 GearScore should mean that the player is ready for a 10-player Icecrown Citadel (ICC), not that he or she has been raiding it for months and does not need any more upgrades. Unfortunately, PuG leaders want higher than that to facilitate guaranteed success. They also demand that players already have their ICC Achievements before they can get into the group, which eliminates anyone who has not already cleared the dungeons at least partially.

But in my case, I can’t get the Achievement because I have to PuG raids. My schedule doesn’t line up with my guild’s raid nights, so I am left high and dry on being able to get my achievement that way. So on the occasions I can play WoW for any lengthy period of time, I have to PuG; it is the my only real way of seeing end-game content. But to get into those raids, I have to already have done the instance.

Bam! Catch-22: PuG leaders don’t want players who have never been in the Instance.
Now imagine Gearscore would miraculously vanish, and look at Prof. Beej's situation again: Nothing has changed. The reason why he can't get into a raid isn't his Gearscore, which is high enough, but the fact that he hasn't done Icecrown before, and thus doesn't have the achievement. No achievement that proves you already did the dungeon, no invite. Thus simple solution: Use one of those addons that fake achievements to get into that PUG.

If I look at this situation, I see two factors here that are the problem: The first is that people only consider raiding fun if it is successful, and fast at that. That is a development of the video game age, affecting younger players far more than those over 40, like me. I grew up on board games and pen & paper roleplaying games, which worked on very different basic premises: In most board games only one out of several players wins, which teaches you to enjoy the act of playing the game, because you simply can't win all the time. And in pen & paper role-playing games you don't really win at all, and again do it for the fun of playing. It is only single-player video games which ended up teaching people that it is possible to win every game, and even necessary to win every stage to advance to the next one. With that video game mindset, it is obvious why somebody assembling a pickup group insists of only chosing those players which have the biggest chance of success.

The second factor is the nature of Wrath of the Lich King raiding, which I already discussed last week: Whether you play your character well, and even your gear, are not good predictors for the success of a raid encounter. The real difficulty of a WotLK raid encounter is "learning the dance", practicing a fixed set of moves requiring sub-second reaction times. Which is why Gearscore in this case isn't the culprit: Every PUG raid leader with half a brain will rather invite somebody with the Kingslayer achievement and slightly less Gearscore, than somebody with a few hundred more Gearscore and no ICC achievement at all.

In reality Gearscore matters very little, because World of Warcraft in this expansion has developed into a game in which gear itself matters very little. Somewhere along the way somebody used a bait and switch scam on us, and replaced the classic role-playing game we were playing with a version of a Super Mario jump & run game, in which your character and his gear don't matter any more. If you practiced all the moves and are a good Super Mario player, you can raid undergeared. That sure is fun to some people, but it isn't the game I have signed up for, and not the game I want to play.

Now World of Warcraft is a game of many layers, and just because I don't like modern raiding doesn't mean I don't like the rest of it. But of course if I opt out of raiding, there is a lot less content for me to play through. So I basically have two hopes for Cataclysm and beyond: The first is that the announced changes to raiding will make playing your character well more important again. And the second is that Blizzard introduces the Raid Finder functionality, so that raid organizers can't discrimininate against other players based on Gearscore or achievements.
Comments:
WoW was built on grinds, a bit of lore, and grinds. As time has passed the grinds have been reduced in favor of skill (compare old PvP titles to arenas). Some like this, some don't. It isn't a matter of bad players vs. good players, partially of course, but also the question of "what is WoW?" To some, it is the slow, steady advancement, in which the player is frequently secondary to the character. To others, it is very quickly moving out of fires.
 
Players like you and Beej have a tendency to view raid organisers as a strange and alien breed. But they're just players.

Just think, if you were organising a PUG raid, would you want to take people who you have to teach the entire encounter? What about taking 24 people who didn't know it?

His answer, honestly, is to find a guild to raid with that fits with his schedule and learn with them. Or find a raid alliance that raids regularly who will be willing to teach. PUGs aren't really the problem here, it's just that they aren't good learning environments.

I don't think LFR will get used much until several tiers in (ie. until you can trivialise weekly raids by overgearing them to make up for the risk of multiple people not knowing the fight). Plus remember, people will have to choose whether they get locked to 10 or 25 man raids so the risk of getting locked to a failed PUG and not being able to raid the rest of the week is quite high in Cata.
 
"what is WoW?" To some, it is the slow, steady advancement, in which the player is frequently secondary to the character. To others, it is very quickly moving out of fires.

I would have less problems accepting that WoW is about moving quickly out of fires if there was any need or even just opportunity to move out of fires from level 1 to 79. Right now WoW feels like a football tournament in which the finals are decided by a game of baseball.

Plus remember, people will have to choose whether they get locked to 10 or 25 man raids so the risk of getting locked to a failed PUG and not being able to raid the rest of the week is quite high in Cata.

Who says LFR raids would need to have a lockout? Remember that if you choose a random dungeon with the LFD interface, you don't get locked out of the heroic you end up in. If you go there on foot or by choosing the specific dungeon, you get locked out.
 
"Every PUG raid leader with half a brain will rather invite somebody with the Kingslayer achievement and slightly less Gearscore, than somebody with a few hundred more Gearscore and no ICC achievement at all."

Actually, no. Gearscore shows the potential a player can achieve. For instance: a warrior in 264s has the potential to achieve 10k dps, whereas a naked warrior has the potential to achieve 1k dps.

I'd rather believe more in that potential, which I know is there (note I said I know the potential is there, not necessarily the ability to live up to it), rather than achievements. I don't trust achievements too much when inviting people to raids, simply because:
1) There are a lot of good players who simply haven't gotten the chance to break into the raiding scene yet, and I don't mind teaching them
2) There are a lot of idiots who get carried to their achievements.

Case in point: We cleared Plague, Blood, and Frost Wing with 8 people last week because one person was consistently dead within the first minute of combat, while the other person spent more time offline than on. They got achievements AND loot for doing zilch. Guess who can show the achievement to some unsuspecting person next week who might just be taken in by the achievement link?
 
I would put money on LFR raids having a lockout :) Unless they develop a few extra raids just for LFR (which wouldn't be a bad idea, but I don't think they'll have time or the inclination.)
 
I'm confused, what do you want? A bunch of patchwerk fights that you can only pass if you have the gear requirements?

None of the normal mode ICC fights need lightning speed reactions, personally i find the amount of time they give you to react quite shocking.
 
No lockout on LF raid will work if:

1) Multiple raids per tier (2-3)

2) Only the previous tier is available on LFR.
So today, you would be able to use LFR to randomly join a group doing TOC/Oxyxia.

The badges are the same as Dungeon Finder, so all this means is that you have multiple shots per week at getting drops which will help you gear up for the latest raid tier (ICC in this case).
 
A comment I made once on another blog:

Have you ever thought that your Gear and Achievements represent for a raid-leader exactly what your CV represents for a potential employer?

They all serve the same role. They might not be a perfect representation of what you can do, there are false positives and true negatives but at the end of the day, its what works best…
 
I'm confused, what do you want? A bunch of patchwerk fights that you can only pass if you have the gear requirements?

Patchwerk is a great example of what is wrong with WotLK raiding, because if you remove the artificial need to jump & run to avoid some insta-kill crazy boss ability, all that remains is a rather boring spamming of known "best" spell rotations, regardless of whether you are healer, tank, or dps.

What I want is raid encounters in which A) I need to think which button to press. B) My decision which button I press matters. And C) what the best button to press is depends on what class I play.

Thus what I *don't* want is optimal spell rotations that are known before the fight even starts. I don't want button mashing and spamming for example the same heal over and over without thinking. And I don't want a Heigan dance in which the rogue and the priest ideally behave in exactly the same way.
 
I do take some issue to your comparing the raiding endgame to a Super Mario Bros. platformer, mainly because, as a big fan of video games in general, Super Mario Bros. jump-and-running is both fairly easy and very far from what you do in the raiding endgame. The complaint made much more sense when you were complaining about split-second reaction times.

In general, these recent posts about the scripted nature of raiding bosses tires me a little, since I feel that the issue and the reason for the issue is pretty blindingly obvious. First is the reason for multiple varied encounters: it is no longer enough for the developers to make the difficulty of an encounter based on the ability to do a DPS rotation or to learn how to do the encounter. They straightforwardly assume that doing both is trivial now, for various reasons, so the only thing the developers can use to make an encounter difficult are the mechanics of the fight itself. The second is that WoW is an old game, and it is very difficult to think up different and interesting mechanics that are increasingly harder every tier; it's part of why considering if a boss' mechanic favors one class over another comes after making the encounter interesting.

At this point I imagine some people are thinking "well, then, they should just make the encounters random then!" but this ignores just how difficult it is to make a boss random AND interesting. For starters, let's take any boss with an ability that is on a regular timer and make it so that it can use that ability any time it wishes, along with all the rest of its abilities. But wait, the reason the ability is on a timer is so that you can properly time your cooldowns to deal with it, so if it's now random it must be nerfed so that players actually have a chance of beating the boss. So the boss has about five abilities that are done randomly and can be dealt with; this reminds me most of the Devourer of Souls. With only some five abilities, you'd quickly become accustomed to the boss the same way you do now, so the developers would have to give the boss notably more moves to make it feel more random. Then they'd have to do the same to all the bosses, and how many raid bosses does WotLK have already? In short, it's already become significantly more involved developmentally and frankly if every boss were random they wouldn't be unique anymore and would all start to feel the same.
 
Tobold, if you have been told that to clear end game raiding you need to have FPS-style "twitch" reflexes then you really don't.

Ulduar and ICC are two of the most interesting and well designed raids that have been released and you don't need to be "hardcore" to enjoy them on normal mode. You simply need co-ordination, teamwork, a little planning, and a sense of humour to stay positive when Arthas pounds you into the dirt for the 15th time of the evening.
 
And the second is that Blizzard introduces the Raid Finder functionality, so that raid organizers can't discrimininate against other players based on Gearscore or achievements.

I don't think a raid finder tool would really help against discriminating.

For example:

Raid Finder assembled a raid grp. One person has no achievements for that raid. Raid leader doesn't like that.

How would a raid finder stop the raid leader from just kicking that person and finding a replacement?

If kicking isn't possible within raid finder assembled groups, than nobody will use it, because sometimes you have to kick really bad people.

A kick-voting system won't be that helpful either. Because if the raid leader says that person with no achievements has to go and the rest of the raidpeople all have the achievements, they probably will just follow the leader, vote yes and votekick the player.


Or (normalmode) raids in the future become the same like heroics now.
As long as you have a decent tank and a halfway useable healer, it doesn't matter what the rest of the grp (dd) does. (Except HoR maybe).


and what i really don't like about the dungeonfinder tool at the moment, is the anonymity and antisocialness.

I'm a palatank. Doing 5 man always works the same nowadays (in 99%):

use dungeon finder, get instantinvite (tank ftw)

get ported to instance

everyone says "hi"

15-25mins of chainpulling and killing

endboss dead

everyone says "cu/thx"

all leave grp

rinse and repeat

there is no talking, joking or any form of communication during that time. it is just pull, kill, pull, kill,....

and if you try to talk a bit, you get no response or just some "gogo, faster, less talking, more pulling"

and being grouped with random people from different servers doesn't help that either.

I really like how the dungeonfinder tool works technically, but I really hate the social drawbacks of it.

the same problem I see with a possible crossserver raidfinder tool. with that you get a grp of 10/25 random people from different servers with no social ties and no one cares about the other because you won't see him again probably.
 
"What I want is raid encounters in which A) I need to think which button to press. B) My decision which button I press matters. And C) what the best button to press is depends on what class I play."

I have been shouting this from the mountain tops for YEARS now.

http://tinyurl.com/22qofle

I am so relieved that it is finally starting to get discussed on some of the bigger WoW/MMO gamer blogs like yours, Tobold. Thank you!
 
and a sense of humour to stay positive when Arthas pounds you into the dirt for the 15th time of the evening.


that is the big problem!

people don't have that sense of humour anymore.

2 weeks ago in icc10
random pug raid in the evening
standing before rotface
killed every boss before in first try.
wiped on try one (60%)
wiped on try two (40%)
healer leaves
wtf?
can't find a new healer.
a so far very good pug breaks up.

seen it several times happen now.
 
Ethic from Kill Ten Rats suggests it is a problem of difficulty ramp-up: “It’s sort of ridiculous that we can demolish all of the other bosses in 2-3 hours without a single wipe to anything and then spend the next 2-3 days failing to get halfway through a 20 minute long, 5-stage encounter in the same fucking zone after months of practice. Sweet ramp-up in difficulty you’ve got there, Blizzard.”
 
A tool such as the raid finder will still lead to GS elitism as upon joining a raid I'm sure the GS addicts will run checks and just vote kick people not meeting their required level of GS.
 
I fail to see his problem.

The addon Underachiever will let you fake achievements, and quite a few people are using them. ToC25 pugs that have "link achi and GS!" requirements have half the raid getting the achievement when Anub goes down. Noone cares.

I get into pugs using my PvP GS (which atm is alot higher then my PvE) and noone cares.

Since its a socially designed and maintained system (rather then codebased) it's full of flaws and openings.

The system of "link GS and achievement" is very easy to circumvent. And tbh, when I set up pugs - I dont really care if the person actually have the gear and achievement or is only faking it, cause if they have enough smarts to fake it, they have might just have enough active braincells needed to step out of the fire :)
 
Tobold, one of your hopes for Cataclysm
"is that Blizzard introduces the Raid Finder functionality, so that raid organizers can't discrimininate against other players based on Gearscore or achievements."

Well, as the existing Dungeon Finder already discriminates against players based on their gear-score (you knew that, right?), I doubt that a new Raid Finder will behave any better.

In fact I daresay that the current GearScore fad was partially caused by the discrimination of the Dungeon Finder. Once Blizzard started to discriminate on the basis of gear-score, suddenly it made it more acceptable to raid leaders to do the same.
 
Tobold - Both Sindragosa and LK (for example) have mechanics whereby you have to alter your rotations based on what is happening at the time. On Sindragosa you have to pay attention to a debuff she sometimes places on you, whereas on LK you need to avoid aggroing the drudge ghouls in P1 which are killed by necrotic plague - this is a major problem for warriors and paladins for example.

The impression I get from your recent posts on raiding (and I apologise if this is unfair) is that you have *decided* that you don't like current end game raiding design, without having experienced it meaningfully. By that I don't mean in a hardcore guild (because that's not necessary), or in PuGs (because you lose half the fun if you aren't playing with friends), but in a small, friendly but committed group.

I actually get the same feeling from these posts as I do from your posts about EVE PvP. Again, you didn't really experience that in any meaningful way either.

I am not telling you what you can or can't like, or what you can or can't write about, but honestly, the game is better than you make it out to be (in my opinion!).
 
Well, as the existing Dungeon Finder already discriminates against players based on their gear-score (you knew that, right?), I doubt that a new Raid Finder will behave any better.

The Dungeon Finder is impartial in that, and that is fine with me. There *is* a certain gear requirement to content, and I'm allright with the Dungeon Finder enforcing it. What I don't like is the jerks who up the Gearscore requirement every time their own Gearscore goes up, claiming their own GS is *exactly* the minimum level needed.
 
The impression I get from your recent posts on raiding (and I apologise if this is unfair) is that you have *decided* that you don't like current end game raiding design, without having experienced it meaningfully.

Define "meaningfully". I did do all of Naxxramas, VoA, Obsidian Sanctum, Malygos, half of Ulduar, and all of ToC. The only place I never went is ICC. I would say that having done more than half of the raid bosses of an expansion gives me enough knowledge to say something meaningful about it.

That does not exclude the possibility of single encounters being different, e.g. the above mentioned Patchwerk, or the Lich King himself. But it isn't the few exceptions that I'm discussing, but the general design philosophy.
 
I don't really know how to define "meaningfully". Perhaps I am biased because I feel so positive about ICC, and I also want to respectfully disagree with you without being aggressive. I don't know whether your raid experience was guilded or via PuGs (ugh - I can't stand to raid in PuGs - they seem to bring the worst out of people), or whether you cleared the content when it was new or went back and killed it when you overgeared it.

Nevertheless, yes, on the face of it you do have more than enough knowledge to talk about raiding, and I apologise and withdraw the point. I would say though that if you missed the second half of Ulduar then you missed Blizzard's best raid ever I think. Also, the second half of ICC is pretty amazing in terms of encounter tuning - Arthas in particular is the best-designed boss I've ever seen. Both represent something on a different level to Naxx (which is a vanilla raid in terms of encounter design and shows it), VoA (which is a loot pinata for PvPers), and OS with no drakes up.
 
Sounds like the real problem is that Beej isn't raiding with his guild because of his real life schedule.

Time to quit his job or jump ship to a new guild! Right?
 
Anyway I don't mean to be an apologist for Tobold here but I've don'e about half of ICC, raided every tier of content on 10 and 25, 5.8k gearscore DPS warrior... and I'm not in a raiding guild.

I'm in a crappy leveling guild on an RP server now. Why is that?

WOTLK end-game raiding is COMPLETELY BORING! I've raided every expansion it is just sooo dull and repetitive I can't stand it even if I am a desired raider who is raiding a completely successful run.

The fact is that user-generated content of RP'ing or screwing around with your friends is far more interesting then the same repetitive raid.
 
In most board games only one out of several players wins, which teaches you to enjoy the act of playing the game, because you simply can't win all the time.

It's been six hours since your post went up already and nobody has teased you for your PvP-hugging yet! Shape up, readers!

;)
 
nobody has teased you for your PvP-hugging yet

Joke apart, the relative unpopularity of PvP games and people quitting after the first wipe can both be traced back on this "game is only fun if you win" mentality.

And I am not against all forms of PvP, I just don't like non-consentual and asymmetric PvP.
 
I would say though that if you missed the second half of Ulduar then you missed Blizzard's best raid ever I think.

Now explain why if this is the best raid ever, it is impossible to find a guild or PUG doing it.

(Of course I know the answer, but isn't it kind of sad if nobody still does the "best raid ever" just because the purple pixels there aren't of a high enough iLevel? What does that tell you about the inherent fun of raiding?)
 
The problem with WoW is gear itself. The whole focus of the game is earning new gear and they just throw more of it at you to cover up everything else that is wrong.

Take the gear and achievements out of WoW and would people still play?
 
Bad or unprepared players kill PUGs dead. The leader of the PUG can either filter out the people he doesn't think are ready, or he can kiss the group goodbye when tanks and healers drop because unprepared players were unprepared.

I'm sure Beej would have done fine, but that relies on outside knowledge I would not have if I was just running a PUG and a random person without the achievement wanted in the group.
 
Dirtyboy - Take achievements out? They are brand new. And in early WoW, getting gear was a...challenge. You can gear up what? 10? 20? 30 times faster than Vanilla?

Tobold makes a great point with the football/baseball comment though...leveling is a completely different animal than raiding.

But how could you make end-game more like early/mid game? PVP/assualt style PVE with multiple choice pulls, having to strategize? BRD style instances with only one correct paths, but many paths that COULD be correct?

I'm intrigued, but I'm not sure how much they can vary encounters at this point, without people saying they are just recycling the best encounters.
 
"What I want is raid encounters in which A) I need to think which button to press. B) My decision which button I press matters. And C) what the best button to press is depends on what class I play."

@ Tobold, but wouldnt that have more to do with the classes themselves rather then the encounters? If the healing changes are to be believed then thats exactly what healers will be getting come Cata. How would an ecounter design make this possible if the classes don't change to accomadate this style of play? No matter what the encounter is, class design is what dictacts what rotations we use, so why do you attribute this to boss encounters?

You look at the mechanics for other bosses ranging from Vanilla to WoTLK and there aren't that many truly unique fights between them all. As the game has progressed new fights just pull moves or setups from older ones or splice moves together to add new twists to them.

What bothers me about WoTLK raid design is that really we have 4 different types of raid design smashed into one expansion. Each Tier seemed like Blizzard testing out some idea of theirs about where they want to take raiding.

Anyways Tobold it's a shame you haven't done much ICC, because apart from a few heroic encounters and LK there really isn't much twitchyness to those fights. I feel Blizzard finally succeeded in making encounters difficult without relying on "1 second reaction time or your dead/wipe the raid" type things.
 
I'd argue the real problem with casual raiding is that is not fun in any meaningful sense of the word. It's a job and it's the rotation of the hamster wheel that propels people forward.

I play Modern Warfare 2 because its fun. When I stop having fun, I quit. But when I boot it up and play, it is always because I WANT TO PLAY. That is not how a WoW player thinks; he's trying to get his frost badges for the day, fitting in what raids he can before Tuesday, plotting his advancement. Which means quite often you end up doing things that are not fun, because they advance you to whatever your goal is.

Basically, it becomes a job. And you don't want to have to train people, you just want to get the job done.

Gearscore, achievements, whatever. People were using the armory before that. Before that they would never pug a raid. Shallow decision making is simply how a PUG leader has to make decisions.

But anyway, twitch dance, no twitch dance--- until WoW is a game you would play even without the dopamine releases of gear/achievements/levels, and simply play because you enjoy the act of playing it, people will be shallow elitist dicks in pugs.
 
There is a fundamental difference between a guild run and a pug that all the people whining how they can't get into an ICC pug run don't seem to realize. A pug has limited time, you will never be able to get the same people together another day.

The purpose of a pug is to get as many bosses down in the 2-3 hours you have as possible. There simply is no time to explain the fights to people who never did them. There is no time to practise the fight with a couple of wipes.

If you want to get experience in the endgame raid you have to get it via guild raid or regular raid that gathers at least twice a week.

You cannot get trained in a pug run.
 
It seems odd that I have to explain it if you know the answer, and why is it "sad"?

There is still challenging and fun raid content that most people have yet to see, on the basis that most people are not yet Kingslayers. Why is it "sad" that the gear rewards are only great for a proportion of that content? It might be sub-optimal game design, but "sad?".

Your "A, B and C" comment above implies that you think raiding is mindlessly focussing on predictable dps rotations. I guess I can't really connect that with my raid experiences in WoW, since in raiding a strong dps rotation is not the goal, but is instead a bare minimum of competence.

Everyone has good rotations these days (or if they don't they get found out). That's why a fight like Patchwerk is not at all typical of raiding in WotLK. These days you get a punishing enrage timer plus at the same time you have interesting boss mechanics. It is when you overgear the content so that the mechanics no longer come into play that raiding ceases to be fun (and players will go elsewhere).

It's also odd that you think that raiding is only inherently fun if you are getting the best gear. I appreciate that people aren't doing Ulduar any more, but that is at least partly because it isn't challenging when you overgear it. While you could dig out some old gear (if you've kept it), making your character purposefully weaker is not fun. The reasons why people don't do the old instances is much more complex than saying that people are only motivated by uber gear and don't find raiding inherently fun.

Again, I can only speak from personal experience, but I've been buzzing all day after my raid last night. We spent 2.5 hours wiping on LK without getting anywhere near to a kill. No loot in sight either (and he doesn't even drop anything I need). It was great.
 
1. Watch ICC 10 boss kill videos on TankSpot.com.

2. Download and install http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/underachiever.aspx

3. Link your GearScore and achievement.

4. Profit!

I would rather not cry about it, and overcome the adversity.
 
"... replaced the classic role-playing game we were playing with a version of a Super Mario jump & run game, in which your character and his gear don't matter any more. If you practiced all the moves and are a good Super Mario player, you can raid undergeared."

I still don't understand these statements. What kind of raiding did you prefer? Molten Core's Tank / Spank / Decurse? Or the "you must have this much resistance to ride this ride" fights?

Today's fights are inherently more complicated than the old fights. Movement / getting out of the fire is the most basic skill, but it completely changes the way you play your character:

> Movement interrupts rotations.
> Movement restricts many skills (since you can't cast while moving).
> Movement literally makes the fights more dynamic.

If every fight was Patchwerk, players would be bored out of their mind.

Instead we get the majority of fights that require something that is actually in the player's control (movement) instead of something that is (in many ways) OUT of player control (gear).

And there are some fights (like LK) that require both.
 
Speaking as somebody who has almost finished ICC 25...

ZG is the pinnacle of WoW raiding. Perfect blend of class abilities, use of movement, gear progression (the fights getting easier based on gear, not itemization of the dungeon which was awful). ZG was mainly about positioning the boss along with a conservative amount of other gimmicks.

ICC on the other hand is "So You Think You Can Dance?" raiding.
 
I don't understand your criticism of current WoW raiding at all. You're characterizing it as a 3d platformer where the only thing relevant to your success is knowing gimmick X for encounter Y that happens at time Z.

Frankly, that's bullshit. Personal performance is still very important and I'm sorry that overgearing content long before you tried it has ruined that appreciation for you. If you really think that you can, undergeared, use a "rotation" and successfully complete encounters then chances are other players are picking up for your slack.

WoW is a skill AND twitch game. It rewards strategical and tactical planning. Want some idea of what the better players are doing (ie the ones who could justifiably claim they face roll normal mode content because they know the "dance" for each fight)? Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgDjG_0ecTI

I wouldn't be playing WoW if the combat mechanics, hinted at in the above, weren't so deep. Progressing through Naxx, Ulduar, ToC and ICC, my guild and I succeeded by dint of our own personal skills as well as the coordination we built up between each other for each particular event.

Still, I can see where you're coming from. I often have to PuG people into our ICC25 runs that do 1/3 to 1/4 the damage done on any fight that I do, often wearing comparable gear. Those people probably walk away from the experience with the sense that raiding boils down to not dieing to deadly boss mechanics and collecting their badges. So it is, for them, but only because they can be carried through the instance, several months after the content was relevant for the principles involved.
 
In fact I daresay that the current GearScore fad was partially caused by the discrimination of the Dungeon Finder

There was GS discrimination before the Dungeon Finder. Lots of it. In fact the GS the finder looks for is a lot more lax then what people manually looked for.


Tobold: you said most of the modern raids are higan-like dances and don't scale with gear?

I recently joined a new guild. I got into a new 10-man set up, and to get use to each other we did Naxx. We out geared most of the tricks. Killing bosses before they got to use their main ability enough times to be a threat. It turned out to be a relatively poor training ground because we got no feel for how well people learned because there was little time to learn, and little consequence to failure.

More recently someone in the guild organized some Uldar runs for fragments to finish off someone's gavel. I signed up figuring I had only gotten to Freya before this would be a chance to see the rest of Uldar. I didn't realize we would be doing a bunch of hard modes, and had forgotten I learned the fights from a healer's position and I'm doing DPS in this raid. As it turns out we out geared a lot of it. Enough that the fact that I hadn't studied the last 2 fights because I didn't think we would get that far didn't hurt anyone else (I actually lived as well).

So yeah, you can outgear most of the modern raids as well. Or at least well enough that a few people can learn the dance on the fly.

(and no, I didn't like being carried, so I'll be reading up on the dances for the hard modes and the last 2 bosses, I happen to like the dances, so even if it is now "just for the sake of form" I'll be figuring out how to do them)
 
Your penultimate paragraph, Tobold, encapsulates much of what is offputting about the design of the current generation of MMOs. I was complaining about this bait&switch right back when Planes of Power came out in Everquest.

Prior to that, raids were basically "there's a really big monster - bring everyone you know and ask them to bring everyone they know and let's see if we can kill it". After PoP it was all down to decoding the script and playing Simon Says with the devs.

In my opinion, this was the beginning of the takeover of MMOs by gamers, somethigng which WoW completed. Prior to scripted raiding becoming the norm, the biggest MMOs capped out at a few hundred thousand players, a significant proportion of whom were not gamers in the current sense. They were roleplayers and tabletop gamers and old MUD players, but they didn't necessarily play other kinds of video games, and certainly not action games.

Looking ahead to the next generation of games, I do see a change coming. For the last five years, everyone tried to be WoW and it hasn't really worked for anyone. Potential big MMOs in development, like GW2, Tera and Rifts seem to be looking for inclusiveness and individuality in a way that we haven't seen for half a decade.

I hope so, at least, although we've all been fooled before.
 
Since I've been disagreeing with you repeatedly here Tobold, it seems only fair to say that your "everybody wins" comment is the most insightful and thought-provoking thing that I've read on a gaming blog for as long as I can remember.

Keep up the good work!
 
First off, thanks for the link and conversation!

Secondly, I agree with you in that it's just a series of run-and-jumps these days. Once you learn the dance, you can raid anything. The problem is that GS and Achievement linking are not mutually exclusive. They exist codependently with one another and strengthen the other's resolve.

GearScore matters, like I said in my post, because it's a way for people to ostracize others. Just like Achivement linking. Oh, you've not been there before? I'm not taking the time to teach you.

And as for the comment about PuGs being time efficient, that's bull. Any PuG I've ever been in has not been pressed for time. They often take longer than others and squeezing in those bosses does not come at the expense of spending 2 minutes on explaining a fight. If you're running a PuG and you can't spare the two minutes to tell every player where to stand, then you have no business running a PuG.

And Spinks, I don't think it's a matter of "learning" with a guild because most fights on normal are pretty easy for anyone minimally geared, and once you've seen a video or done it one time, it's good.

The problem is that people won't take the chance on people not knowing how to move out of the blue fire, if all they've ever moved out of is green.

I was fine when people checked the armory and said players weren't geared. Why? Because they had to make an intelligent decision. They had to be strategists. Now, they set the bar so high so they don't have to think anymore. A 5k GS /is/ fine for almost anything. But players can't get into the runs they need because players who are already geared from it take their spots. That's the problem with raiding in my eyes: The rich get richer, and the poor get left out. The PuG leader inflates the minimum score to keep out those who just need a single shot at being let in.

If it weren't for that elitist/ignorant mentality, addons like Underachiever wouldn't have to exist.
 
Of course somebody is going to QQ about gear score or (lack of) achievements if it's keeping them out of content.

But they are still both decent indicators for a PuG leader who is trying to put together a successful run in 10 minutes.

You've got to find another way to boast your abilities to a PuG leader, or market yourself in some way. Put PuG leaders on your friends list and pst them when they have time. Let them know you are a mature, intelligent player and have read/watched strats. They might just remember you.

You don't get a trophy in WoW group content for just showing up. In a PuG, nobody cares about your God-given need to experience content.

As other people have pointed out, that that's what a guild is for.
 
A bunch of semi-connected thoughts:

1. The solution to his problem is obvious: organize your own PUGs. GS too low for people to join you for ICC? Organize TOC. It's still happening. Maybe that's just the tank/group leader in me talking...

2. It depends on server. I rerolled Horde on a top-10 but not top-3 US server recently and while there were GS/Achieve requests it was less rampant, and certainly felt less elitist, than servers where there are more bad players.

3. Relatedly, it's not about needing things to go perfect for many. It's more about how miserable it is when you have someone who keeps screwing up and just doesn't get it.

4. Therefore, I think it's fair to ask for GS, or achievement, or achievement indicating the person has raided earlier dungeons, OR write a sentence indicating you're intelligent (especially if the person is a healer like Beej). I would take someone from the last group every time as long as their gear was *ok*.

5. Particularly humorous to me is mediocre guilds desperately recruiting with very high gs requirements. Although I've never had the time or inclination to join an elite guild, I know from reading that the best recruitment method is to run a trial through a pile of easy 10-mans and heroics on a couple off-nights and watch how they actually respond. This is may be why the GS deal seems less cut-and-dried on my high-skill reroll server.
 
What I want is raid encounters in which A) I need to think which button to press. B) My decision which button I press matters.

I can see that working for healing, HoTs, Small/Big Heals and dispells can easily follow this. Hell even something weird like diminishing returns on a specific heal (or healing the same person multiple times) would make a huge difference.

DPS i'm yet to figure out a way, sure you could give everyone multiple schools and add in temporary immunities or reflects but they're not great.

I wouldn't mind seeing hybrids being forced to be a bit more hybrid midfight but that leads to other issues.


And I don't want a Heigan dance in which the rogue and the priest ideally behave in exactly the same way.

In-fight phasing or class/individual specific fire could mix things up a bit, would certainly encourage less follow the leader through the exploding maze of death (heigan dance/LK heroic).

I understand where you're going with
 
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