Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
 
Generalizations

Just a short note to state for the record that I am fully aware that the hardcore vs. casual debate is full of generalizations. If I say "hardcore raiders are a snotty bunch of elitists", you need to mentally preface this with a "there is a wide-spread perception that ...", not with an "it is scientifically proven that all ...".

And no, I am not apologizing for that. This perception of hardcore raiders as elitist is not something I made up. You can read just about any WoW forum or blog discussing the hardcore vs. casual issue, and you will always find the same perception being repeated everywhere. For example the "closed club" I wrote about yesterday was a quote, not something I invented.

And of course the other side is using exactly the same generalizations. All they say about new players being unwilling to learn, not committed, just wanting easy-mode epics, etc. is also just a generalized perception with no absolute truth to it.

Are perceptions truth? Not absolute truths, that is for certain. But widespread perceptions come from widespread experiences. Can anybody honestly say that a new player trying to get into raiding will encounter only helpful people encouraging him, and will never be called a clueless fucking n00b who should l2play just because he got one enchantment wrong? And most of what the hardcore are saying on forums and blogs also feeds the perception of them being elitist: They will generally always argue for harder, less accessible content which is exclusive to a small minority of players.

Do you want to be perceived as less elitist and not a closed club? Start lobbying Blizzard for raid content which is accessible for everybody.
Comments:
Start lobbying Blizzard for raid content which is accessible for everybody.
Like Naxxramas v2? I stopped playing after WotLK's release, so I have no idea how that turned out.
 
More people *finished* Naxxramas v2 than even *started* v1. I'd call that a success.
 
Tobold writes:

"Can anybody honestly say that a new player trying to get into raiding will encounter only helpful people encouraging him, and will never be called a clueless fucking n00b who should l2play just because he got one enchantment wrong?"

If you're looking for a raiding system where nobody will run into rude people, you're setting far too high of a standard. It's hard enough walking down the street without encountering rude people.

This post and yesterday's seem really disconnected from the sort of even-handed discussion that I usually find here. What's behind the recent anti-raider crusade?
 
All they say about new players being unwilling to learn, not committed, just wanting easy-mode epics

Nono, it's the casuals who are like that. You can get hardcore new players and they do quite well...
 
Current raid design is based around individual mistakes leading to full scale failure for everyone. This is obviously going to lead to the exclusion of people who are more prone to mistakes.

This is what raiding IS. The entire concept is high level perfectionism. Why do you want to change raiding for everyone, rather than simply offer a different end-game option?
 
Blizzard's trying. They've acknowledged that the latest raid content was inadequate and too hard as starter raids. That's why they're nerfing them, and I'm hoping that Firelands normal mode is similarly tuned with respect to the nerfed versions of the first raids, rather than with respect to the pre-nerfs.
 
Current raid design is based around individual mistakes leading to full scale failure for everyone.

With a strong emphasis on "current". Remember Molten Core? That was quite playable with just half of the members of the raid being good players, bringing their buddies along. So

A) Raiding having been different in the past proves that your statement of "This is what raiding IS" is wrong.

and B) You making such a statement proves that my statement that you want this to be a closed club is right.

It is easy enough to design a raid endgame in which *everybody* can finish the first raid dungeon, where the average player can finish the last raid dungeon on normal, and where the high level perfectionism is only needed for heroic raids.
 
I hope Blizzard isnt to late in nerfing their raids though. In my guild a lot of people at level 85 found out raiding wasnt for them with current difficulty. This ended up with many not having played since january. Raiding is such a big part of the package that if they make it so only a few can play it Blizzard will lose a lot of customers.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I agree that raiding is exclusionary, but those on the inside are pretty adamant that they like things the way they are. They see what you are saying as "screw you hardcore people, the end game should be for casual players instead of you!"

There are currently around 2.2 million level 85 characters. About 8k guilds have downed at least one 25-man boss (representing about 200k players), and about 50k guilds have down at least one 10-man boss (representing about 500k players). From those rough numbers, raiders represent around 32% of the end game population.

This obviously puts the casual players as the majority, even in the end game. I think they have a right to complain that they are virtually ignored in end game development.

But the hardcore/raiders do represent a third of the population. They do have a substantial claim to end game content for them, and they like raiding the way it is.

I think you would be better off not screwing with raiding as a system, but work to develop a different system for more casual advancement (one that is not simply preparation for raiding).
 
Do you want to be perceived as less elitist and not a closed club? Start lobbying Blizzard for raid content which is accessible for everybody.

You think that a club of players that welcomes new players is still a closed club if the content they do is too hard/time demanding for many new players?
Strange definition, really.

If I could have a wish it would be a return to the classic raiding model; and it seems we are not even that far apart here. Molten Core was easy and accessible. Later raids were harder. Great model. Good for immersion; certainly better than nerfing mobs all the time.

But most important would be to add something else than just raiding. The reason I am not raiding is not that I cannot find a guild. I never had any problem finding a raiding guild willing to support me.

The reason I don't raid is that raiding as an isolated activity is just not fun in the long term. It's cool every now and then, no more.
 
I think there were a couple of Blizzard assumption's in your statement.

1) If the 1-84 experience is not going to be meaningful at end game. (I.e. a level based MMO as opposed to some alternatives.)

2) If the main PvE content at end-game is raiding

...

then the majority of the customers need to get a lot out of raiding. Which is not in any way to say that everyone needs to see everything. If Blizzard wants to spend 10% of the development budget on epic Lady S modes that only 5% of the people will see, that is fine. But the bulk of the effort should go towards things that the bulk of the customers will see.
 
Frankly I don't understand the griping and anti-raider sentiment.

If you want to have a casual, low-commitment, play-to-relax fun game, there're tons of products out there for players like you.

Why is Tobold so hung up with hardcore raiding in WoW as it is?

Do you slag off BMW drivers because you can't get afford a BMW to drive?

It's Blizzard's game, not a democracy, or a communist state.

If they design it to be difficult, time-consuming, etc, there should be a business/ economic reason for doing so, even if it may be unfun for YOU.

They have player stats and server data over 6 years to work with, I assume.

We have anecdotes, hearsay and personal preferences.
 
Perhaps i'm missing something but Samus claimed there are 700k out of 2.2M raiders out there that killed something. Unless that statistic is ignoring BH you can surely say that the issue there is not difficulty.

BH is stack and then run away with a tank swap. It is extremely easy and is the only raiding encounter regularily pugged in cata. While I am assuming this access was gained before the second boss in there, the issue of 1.4M players missing from possibly raiding is related to an issue outside of raiding difficuly.

Some clarity on your statitics would be nice Samus. If you are saying approximately 700k players were only able to kill Argoloth, Blizzard might have a much bigger issue then an assumed raid difficuly problem.
 
But the hardcore/raiders do represent a third of the population.

No, by your own words they represent a third of the ENDGAME population. They represent less than half that of the total population. Why should the majority of development effort go towards the needs of at best one sixth of the population?
 
@mattilda_may

My data is from wowprogress, which does not include BH. So of those 700k, 95% have killed Magmaw, 90% have done Omnitron, etc.

My numbers are all over a month old now, it looks like closer to 56k guilds have done at least one 10 man boss (other than BH), 8.7k guilds have done at least one 25 man boss. This brings the total up to around 780k raiders.

Interestingly, the number of active level 85 characters is now down to 1.96 million from 2.16 million (both figures counting only those which have logged in within the last 30 days). It would appear non-raiders are leaving the game.
 
No, by your own words they represent a third of the ENDGAME population. They represent less than half that of the total population. Why should the majority of development effort go towards the needs of at best one sixth of the population?

How much of the population is only interested in ONLY pvp? How much of the population simply has no interest in raiding? How much of the population didn't even hit 85?

All these numbers are silly to present as an evidence for anything. Blizzard developed exclusive content in the past (see vanilla/TBC) and with that content as the front runner they hit over 10 mil subscribers, despite the poor accessibility.

Fast forward wotlk, raiding is more accessible than ever and unless the market reached its cap, somehow, the subscriptions didn't explode. Now, there might not be any correlation between those two, sure, but they did something right with that "restricted content".

I find it incredible that even if content in the past two expansions has been more accessible than ever, people still have the audacity to complain about it.
 
This brings the total up to around 780k raiders.

Again, no. You can't ADD the number of 25-man raiders to the number of 10-man raiders, as this would assume that people who raid 25-man raids never do 10-man raids. It is more likely that everybody who does 25-man raiding also at least visited a 10-man raid once, so the total number of raiders is 560k. Out of around 5 million overall players on EU and NA servers.

If that isn't a failure to make content accessible, I don't know.
 
Again, no. You can't ADD the number of 25-man raiders to the number of 10-man raiders, as this would assume that people who raid 25-man raids never do 10-man raids. It is more likely that everybody who does 25-man raiding also at least visited a 10-man raid once, so the total number of raiders is 560k.
 
(Delete my above comment please)
Again, no. You can't ADD the number of 25-man raiders to the number of 10-man raiders, as this would assume that people who raid 25-man raids never do 10-man raids. It is more likely that everybody who does 25-man raiding also at least visited a 10-man raid once, so the total number of raiders is 560k.

Wowprogress tracks 10s and 25s separately. You won't see the same guild/player registered twice, once for each raid size, even if he killed it in both settings.
 
I find it incredible that even if content in the past two expansions has been more accessible than ever, people still have the audacity to complain about it.

How do you measure "more accessible than ever" if not by the number of people who actually access it? As we have shown here, the number of people raiding is somewhere between 10% and 20% of the total population. That is NOT "more accessible than ever", in fact it is significantly less than during Wrath of the Lich King.

And all we have the "audacity" to say is that this is a closed club. And all the raiders are howling about that statement, and say how accessible raiding is, when the numbers simply don't back them up.
 
"No, by your own words they represent a third of the ENDGAME population. They represent less than half that of the total population. Why should the majority of development effort go towards the needs of at best one sixth of the population?"

Ah, my apologies, end game is what I meant. Although, I do think that percentage is appropriate for at least patch development, since nearly all of that development is for the end game. (You could certainly make a different argument for expansions.)

But yes, I would generally agree with that breakdown in resource distribution. Raiders should get their third, PvP players should get their portion, casual PvE players should get their (probably majority) portion, etc. These portions would change since there is obviously overlap, many raiders would do the new non-raid content, and some players would stop raiding altogether when given another option.

The only thing I am really saying is that I think current raiding appears to make a good system for that portion of players. If they got proportionally less content than they do now, that would indeed seem appropriate.
 
And all we have the "audacity" to say is that this is a closed club. And all the raiders are howling about that statement, and say how accessible raiding is, when the numbers simply don't back them up.

That's because you simply distort the numbers. You cannot claim that raiding is not accessible if certain categories can't or have no interest in taking part to it. No matter how "easy" or "non time consuming" you will make it, if I have enjoy doing other things in the game and raiding isn't my cup of tea, you won't catch me going there.

Bottom line is, the only ones having exact numbers are working for Blizzard. They know exactly what the percentage of people (that are actually interested in raiding) raid. You are a smart guy, you should realise yourself that if wotlk was the smashing success some of you keep trumpeting around, they would have followed on the same path. For some reason, they didn't.

Again, the game that attracted over 10 mil subscribers never had raiding accessibility as a selling point, it had a restrictive and exclusive raid content.
 
Perception (as opposed to proven fact) tells more about the one who makes it rather than the one who is judged.
 
"It is more likely that everybody who does 25-man raiding also at least visited a 10-man raid once, so the total number of raiders is 560k."

This is partially true, although WoWProgress does have totals. It seems just under 60k have killed any boss of any kind, meaning about half of the 25 guilds have killed both versions.

On the other hand, that is only counting 10 players per 10 man guild and 25 per 25 man guild, when there are undoubtedly more than that.

I'm not sure the true number really matters all that much. I think we can safely say it is a significant number, but less than half of even the level 85 population (and a small fraction of the total population).
 
Again, the game that attracted over 10 mil subscribers never had raiding accessibility as a selling point, it had a restrictive and exclusive raid content.

That's exactly the point. Looking at the sub numbers, WoW stopped growing abruptly a few months after WotLK was releases. I still remember the discussion on your blog about this Tobold; it was as hot-headed as ever. ;)

For 90% of the time that I played WoW, I didn't actively raid. Raiding just never was the reason to play this game. I don't know why Blizzard does what it does when they should have all the metrics. But I do now the (rough) sub numbers and some facts.

People didn't play classic or TBC for the raiding, because it was, as you correctly say not accessible enough!
But that were the two expansions during which WoW grew!! Since WotLK WoW stagnates and since Cataclysm it declines!

Since we know that WoW didn't grew due to raiding, is it really that much of a surprise that it stopped to grow exactly at the moment when Blizzard focused the endgame solely on raiding?
I don't think so.
 
"That's because you simply distort the numbers."

You can look up the exact numbers for yourself. Number of successful raid kills can be found at WoWProgress. For number of level 85 characters, just Google "warcraft census." It will be the first link, adjust the parameters to only search for 85 to 85. I do not think the numbers are really in dispute.

I think it is significant that Blizzard has put all their eggs in the raiding basket for their PvE end game, when clearly a majority has indicated (for whatever reason) that they are not going to raid.

It is also very significant that the number of successful raiders went up, but the total level 85 population went down.
 
@Nils

We have discussed before how TBC 5-mans and heroics were their own progression. Even if you never intended to raid, it felt like a worthwhile thing to run through. Killing the bosses was an accomplishment, and the loot was potentially very rewarding.

I feel like the random dungeon finder has turned heroics into simply another step in the grind. Players view it as the same annoying "work you put in before the real game" that leveling 1-85 is regarded as.
 
Perception (as opposed to proven fact) tells more about the one who makes it rather than the one who is judged.

I totally agree with this succinct description of your blog, Gevlon.
 
I wholeheartedly agree, Samus.

Acessibility is not necessarily good. A high numbers of participating players in activities is not necessarily good.
 
Samus: I'd say the guys at the whites-only lunch counter in 1950's Alabama were pretty adamant that they liked things the way they were - which doesn't make it right :)

I don't understand this insistence that any content that's open to more players is automatically of no interest to current raiders. How about if we moved to a raiding model where the encounters were shorter, less gear-dependent and relied more on player skill (such as having to choose when to use abilities instead of running through an "optimum rotation" parrot-fashion)? Something that's more open to good players with limited time, while still not being "welfare epics for everyone?" Would that appeal to the current raiders?
 
"Do you want to be perceived as less elitist and not a closed club? Start lobbying Blizzard for raid content which is accessible for everybody."

Everybody huh? Now what current-day raider would be interested in 'accessible' content that the average WoW player could easily progress through?

That's the funny thing about the 'accessibility' chant: you don't want the content accessible (ie: enjoyable) to everyone, you just want it accessible at your own personal level of play, those above you be damned.

Very elitist of you really. You already have the entire 1-85 game, 5 mans, and all PvP but top-end Arena as hyper-accessible content, but still you argue for more, even as the subs flock away.
 
Tobold says: "If I say 'hardcore raiders are a snotty bunch of elitists', you need to mentally preface this with a 'there is a wide-spread perception that ...', not with an 'it is scientifically proven that all ...'."

That's not really a valid translation IMO. If you say that you should mean either "I think hardcore raiders are a snotty bunch of elitists" ot "it is a fact that hardcore raiders are a snotty group of elitists". If you really mean "there is a perception that..." you should say so. It is a completely different statement.

Imagine applying the same turn of phrase to some popular racial stereotype... would you really assert the stereotype and then try to claim that you were only describing a "widespread perception"? Maybe - but I hope you wouldn't expect to get away with it!
 
I totally agree with this succinct description of your blog, Gevlon.
That doesn't make his point less valid.
 
@Samus

If what you say is the case, and the concept for raiding is "high-level perfectionism" then it is truly a sad day.

When WoW has so ingrained memorizing a boss fight perfectly as what raiding "is", you know the MMO 'verse is right fucked up.

Because it would be a real shame if the concept for raiding was capitalizing on the "massively multiplayer" part of MMORPG to give players the opportunity to use teamwork and social skills in large groups to take down the Biggest Bads.

I guess raids were invented back in the dawn of MMOs because the devs figured "our players are demanding to work on their memory skills, the only solution is to insitute large-scale dance-dance revolution mechanics"
 
"But the hardcore/raiders do represent a third of the population"

Blizzard's end-game answer to non-raiders has always been "Level an ALT".
 
Shawno "Blizzard's end-game answer to non-raiders has always been "Level an ALT" - that was true prior to Cata. However the phased, linear model of Cata makes that a lot less viable past the first alt or two.

So cata combined fewer raiders with less appealing things to do outside of raids. Doesn't seem like a good idea to me. IF Bliz decided they wanted to up the bar for raiding, there should have been more for non-raiders to do.
 
"Blizzard's end-game answer to non-raiders has always been "Level an ALT".
Which would be fine if they hadn't hyper-accelerated the levelling process to cater to the desires of the raiders to "get to the real game" quickly. This completely destroys both the fun and (more importantly from a subscription point of view) the time involved in levelling an alt.

I'm not sure that Firelands can compensate for all the play-time lost and content outlevelled & skipped that this decision caused.
 
One thing, those 560k-800k raiders might be a lot of alts. So actual number of people doing raids might be a lot lower.

Also about the argument you dont have to raid to play the game. Since raiding is too hard to get off the ground for our guild the alternative have been to play some other game instead (WoT in my case, and I am happy to spend most of my time there :))
 
On the other hand, that is only counting 10 players per 10 man guild and 25 per 25 man guild, when there are undoubtedly more than that.

If there have been many guild implosions, with people transfering to surviving guilds to continue raiding, then one player may be contributing to the numbers in several guilds. In that case, just multiplying the number of guilds by 10 might overestimate the number of players.

If the armory API let you figure out which characters belong to the same account, more accurate information could be collected. But that's apparently not something they want the API to be able to do.
 
Zeno, if some of the 560k-800k level 85 characters who have downed bosses might be alts, then could we not also guess that some of the more than a million level 85 characters who have not downed a boss are alts? Probably an even greater proportion of them (personally in wrath, 2 of my level 80s downed raid bosses and 8 did not).

Gerry Quinn is exactly right. If you say that raiders are elitists then you are saying you think that, not that it is widespread opinion. Raiders are people. Some of them are jerks, some of them are nice. They only thing they have in common is wanting to raid.

Personally I never liked bosses where a single person failing meant failure for the group. I understand why things ended up that way, but I don't think that's good design. I would always rather play any game with people I enjoy spending time with than people who I don't, even if that means lowering or even completely eliminating my chance of success. Frankly, if my real life friends were not as good as they are at playing games and did not complete the Cataclysm content as quickly as we did then I might still be playing WoW.

Making content easy means that everyone runs out of content and wonders what they are supposed to do now. If you think failing at raiding isn't fun, try running a guild that succeeds at raiding, and then has to fight low morale and boredom for a month or more waiting for the next bit of content.

More accessibly raiding is not the answer. Something to do other than raiding is. The problem with Cataclysm has nothing to do with raiding being inaccessible and everything to do with level 85 being all about raiding.
 
Tobold appears to be getting "accessible" confused with "things people have already done". These are not the same thing.

As an example: I have a container of treats on the shelf in my kitchen. They're delicious and, since they're on the shelf, they're accessible. But I haven't eaten them yet. There could be all sorts of reasons why (for example, if I eat everything on the shelf, I might get fat) that have nothing to do with accessibility.
 
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