Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
 
Opening up the closed club

How would one design a raiding endgame which would not be a closed club? Samus describes the current situation: "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." As he says, it is blindingly obvious that any activity where you are supposed to be perfect ON YOUR VERY FIRST TRY is bound to end up a closed club. The solution is equally obvious: Create raid content with a margin for error, so people have the opportunity to train up.

Unfortunately there is a lot of polemic from hardcore raiders, which feeds the perception that they want their club to be a closed one. Any suggestion of easier entry-level raids is greeted with howls of "you just want easy epics", which couldn't be further from the truth. In fact I do think that the current plan of Blizzard to nerf existing dungeons is a rather bad one.

I propose the following raid concept: Average players run normal dungeons, which give them the equipment to start raiding in normal raid dungeons. The first normal raid dungeon is designed to be easy enough for at least 80% of the total player population to be able to succeed with gear from normal dungeons. The first raid normal dungeon is also designed to provide gear (and if you insist that gear can be colored blue) which enables the players to have an 80% success rate for the second normal raid dungeon. And so forth. Hardcore players run heroic 5-man dungeons, which give them the equipment to start raiding in heroic raid dungeons. The first heroic raid dungeon is designed to be hard enough for only the top 10% of players to succeed.

This concept keeps an air of exclusivity for hardcore raiding. But it also makes the raiding content accessible to the large majority of the players. And somebody who actually has a chance to raid without being perfect from the start will learn how to do better, and in the future maybe be a potential candidate for more hardcore raiding. The goal is NOT to make even the worst possible player to be able to beat the hardest content in the game. The goal is to give everybody access to SOME form of raiding, because you simply can't expect people to learn how to raid without raiding.
Comments:
I 100% agree.
I just wished you just stopped this crusade against these elitist ghosts.

The problem is Blizzard, not the 'elitists'.
 
It sounds very much like the tiered progression pre-WotLK. Black Temple was less forgiving than Serpentshrine- unless you had the gear. Which in turn made it possible to start the encounters in the next tier. The encounters become progressingly harder in each tier.
The only downside to that kind of raiding was the roadblock of attunements (which are removed) and catching up on gear.

This "old" system could work again thanks to guild-achievements and guild-vendors. If the guild earned the right achievements, the guild vendor could start selling (badge?)gear from an appropiate ilevel (with the proper guild reputations requirements etc.)to help catch up on the gear curve.

It enables tiered progression - a way to show how accomplished a raider is. It also provides a training ground as the first tier of raiding is available to everyone due to best quest blues and heroic/badge gear.
 
As a Closed Club member (ex-HM raider and now RBG PvP player), I wholeheartedly welcomed the model used in 3.3 where everyone and their cat was pugging the first 4 bosses of ICC, decent guilds were clearing the normal encounters, strong guilds got most of the hardmodes down and the l33t killed The Lich King in heroic mode.

My observation at the time was that I'd never seen so many raiders playing.

Why Blizzard thought this was broken and needed fixing, I'll never know.
 
This would be a step in the right direction, but I do not think this would alleviate my biggest problems with raiding.

Being a raider is like having a job. It is not just some fun thing you can do with your friends. You must apply to get in, revolve your life around a strict schedule, and do what your boss says. If you fail to show up, underperform, or otherwise piss off your boss, you are getting the boot.

A lot of the problem is due to the number of players and the strictness of raid size. I know 10 people is small in comparison to the history of raiding, but it is not a realistic size that 10 people will be on and ready to raid unless specifically scheduled to be.

I do think there needs to be more of a stratification of skill levels, certainly more options for the lower skill levels. But I would more like to see a return of progression 5-mans, even going further to give them 7 day lockouts instead of 24 hours.
 
I think that this is too small a change to make any difference. In a while the normal dungeons and raids will be empty and the heroic ones will still be a closed club.

But I'm not sure how to make it better I must admit.
 
Samus: "A lot of the problem is due to the number of players and the strictness of raid size. "

Yup, I agree. Theres no reason raiding always has to be like this just because this is how WoW does it. A more relaxed model such as in CoH or the rift raids would be far more welcoming to newer players. Raiding doesn't always have to be hardcore either.
 
The problem is Blizzard, not the 'elitists'.

No problem in a MMORPG is ever 100% the problem of either the game developers or the players. In this case there is a strong synergy leading to a shared responsibility for the problem: The game demands a too high degree of perfection, leading to elitist groups forming. But the elitist groups strongly lobby for the situation to remain as it is, resist change, and aggravate the situation by shooing away average players from raiding.

Being a raider is like having a job. It is not just some fun thing you can do with your friends.

Isn't that mostly because of the degree of perfection demanded? If you could form a raid with whoever from your guild is online and still succeed, it would become some fun thing you can do with your friends, and not a job.
 
Firstly content is less intimidating if you know the layout. GW2 has a solution to this, which is that the first time you do a dungeon it will be in an easy mode (they call it story mode which has been creating some confusion).

Secondly, gear tiers create another levelling system, splitting the community according to current gear level. What would be useful here is some kind of down scaling so that high level players could play together with low level ones without being grossly overpowered.

Warhammer Online had an open grouping system, whereby you simply join an open group without any invitation. That was for PvP, but it seems to me it would also work for PvE. What devs might do is to make open world content occur close to the entrance to some instance. Then, when the open world event is completed it would be very natural to continue in the instance. Further, instances could be scaled to accept different party sizes and it would of course be possible to split large groups over more than one instance.

These are pretty fundamental changes, but really I don't think there is a quick fix within the fundamental framework of WoW. Many casual players would love to do instances in groups, but this isn't simply isn't feasible as things currently stand; for others it's the steep barrier to entry and elitism that prevents their participation.

Another point is that the guild system is too restrictive and exclusive - there need to be looser associations that anyone can join for particular types of content.
 
Raiding in its current form, I think, will always be a minority (though certainly significant minority) activity. The reason for this is simple, and fundamental – it is an activity that requires time-synchronized play. And I don’t mean it requires 20 players to dance around and hit the right sequence of buttons (which of course it does). I mean it requires those 20 to coordinate their play-times.

This runs very contrary to how many people view and play games. This isn’t about solitary versus multiplayer experiences. This is about games fitting into the down-time in your life, not blocking out large periods of uninterruptible game time. When I play a game, I could be interrupted at any time, to bath one my children, or take a phone call, or help my wife with something.

Blizzard almost had this cracked with the new automatic party system, combined with raids that could be cracked without prior research or particular party configurations. This meant that raiding became, in effect, as simple to organize and join as a Call of Duty multiplayer map. A single session became utterly disposable. At that point, it’s possible for people like me to participate, because there’s little to no preparation, and it’s not the end of the world if I have to drop out. But anything other than this and I’m locked out, plain and simple, and so are all the other people who have children, or busy lives. And this demographic are becoming predominant, because gamers are aging (average age of WoW players in 2005 was 28, according to the Daedelus Project – I’d bet it’s higher now).

If you’ve ever played a recent Call of Duty multiplayer, you’d see where the world is headed. Despite being an incredibly hardcore game, the progression system is so forgiving and rewarding that even non-FPS players are incentivised to play to high levels. This game has as many online adherents as WoW does, and it’s achieved this through the removal of any kind of party-forming friction, the lack of any complicated prerequisites to taking part (level 1 characters can kill level 50 characters with ease), and by refining the process of ‘drop in, drop out’ to an art form, though more dedicated players CAN play with group strategy and be very effective.

I think raiding can only ever be mass market if it removes all prerequisites, becomes drop-in-drop out , reduce the cost to the player of abandonment of the session before the end , or shorten the duration. Unfortunately these goals are anathema to the raiding crowd. But they are what would be needed to make raiding a 100% participation activity.
 
Im wondering how many customers Bliz would loose if they dumped the hardcore content alltogether. No harmodes and raiding instances that allowed for flexible number of10-25 players and adjusted mobs and bosses on a sliding scale. Difficulty adjusted to a level where even casual raiding guilds and well organized pugs would almost never wipe. Most hardcore players would leave the game, but Im sure others would join to make up for the loss. How would more focus on the role playing part in stead of the skills/gearscore part effect the player base over time ?
 
Raiding is a closed club because the content is too tightly tuned.

Make the content so you can carry a large number of underperformers and there will be little incentive to be exclusive.
 
To go from a new player to level cap is one set of experiences that will build the necessary skills for completing daily quests and basic farming. The developers hold your hand quite well through the process.

The problem: Most players that aren't in the raiding club just expect to get to raid without putting in the effort. (Possibly because only minimal effort has been required of them to this point.) They are shocked at how harsh the community is about failure and how "poorly designed" the game is.

To go from being new to level cap to being a compotent raider is much more involved. This means being able to:
Understand your role chosen role in a group (learned from normal dungeons)
Understand basic boss encounter mechanics (learned from normal dungeons)
Learn to imitate what "good" players of your class do (learned from out of game research, and/or in game experience)
Getting into a "casual raiding guild" that needs members to fill raid spots that has at least a few bosses on "farm" status (new player will have to sell themself here, this exposes the player to people that likely have alts of their class and can help them improve, while gearing up and learning what it takes to be a raider, and get the gear/achievements requested by most)

From there the new player is a raider. They can choose to stay with the "casual raiding guild" because they like the people/environment/schedule or they can move to a more progress driven (elitist) guild with more rigid requirements on time/gear/performance.

What that boils down to...new players expecting to get into the raiding club must be willing to learn, able to understand, and willing/able to put in the effort.
 
As a small follow up to my previous post, it’s probably worth saying what we probably all know – why is raiding as a mechanic worth ‘saving’? Or more importantly, why do Blizzard keep trying to broaden its appeal?

The answer is a simple one, I think- it offers good return on developer investment IF sufficient people play and get enjoyment out of it – it’s like a multiplayer map played many times. Hardcore raiders should consider this – any move to make raiding a more exclusive means that the ROI on developing raid content actually decreases, and makes it more likely that Blizzard look to different types of content to fulfill the mandate of high-end accessible gaming.
 
I think you just descriped the BC model of raiding. The one with an actual ladder to climb. The one that I (and many others including boths hardcore and casual raiders) would love to have back.
 
Dissimilitude, this is second hand talk. But as far as I have heard, in private conversations, Blizzard employees admit that making raids is just incredibly cheap.

WoW is running on life support right now. They are definitely preparing for a really, really big release as soon as a dangerous competitor arrives.

Rift isn't it yet, SW:TOR combined with GW2 could be it. Maybe we even need a Minecraft MMO before they release Titan, but it will be quite an expensive game; that much is certain.
Whether it goes the route many really expensive projects go needs to be seen, of course.
 
Doesn't this solution just kick the can down the road a bit, so to speak? That is, once everyone is through the accessible content, can't they run the same argument that you have presented here to say that the final 10% (or however much) should be made more accessible, and perhaps even in gradations just as before? If so, then we either face a regress where we always have to gradate the difficulty of tasks finer and finer, or we have to take the other road and reject gradation as a solution to the problem.
 
"They are definitely preparing for a really, really big release as soon as a dangerous competitor arrives."

If that's the case they are certainly keeping very quiet about it. Even with unlimited cash it would still take years to develop something really different. Perhaps WoW is CPM of MMOs blithely awaiting its MSDOS.
 
@Tobold, I don't think your proposal would make things any worse; actually I was wondering whether this would be a good way to allow people to choose if they want to skip the easy parts. However, I don't think it would make things any better - at least if I consider what you ask for. The closed club would still be there although it would be a hardcore club now. Maybe the players who can schedule their time but don't want to learn and the players who do want to learn but can't schedule their time around raiding would get normal raids and hardcore dungeons respectively.

@Jb, I obviously can't speak for everyone but I don't think it would be such a great idea; many players would search for other games after they were finished with WoW.
 
A more relaxed model such as in CoH or the rift raids would be far more welcoming to newer players. Raiding doesn't always have to be hardcore either.

aargh, i'm going to have to go back to a football analogy. i love Rifting, dont get me wrong, i do it every night i'm logged in - but it's not raiding.

Rifting is equivalent to the sunday-afternoon-unlimited-teams football i used to do for many years: you turn up, you kick a ball, and you don't really count score. it's a lot of fun, but it's worlds away from organised team football, which i discovered when i went from free-form sundays to 3 times a week semi-pro teams. and crossing THAT gap was just as hard as crossing the gap between Rifting (or 4 to 6 person content) to 10-12 person raiding. and no-one would dream of saying 'football is too hard, we have to nerf it to let all the Sunday players in'.

what they *would* say, and do say, is 'there has to be a tier between the super-casual and the semi-pro' (or whatever) - which i think is what Tobold is proposing. LOTRO currently has a form of tiered progression: 3 and 6 person content that drops good loot (6 person is better, but 3 person is still in several cases best-in-slot); then Tier 1 12 person raid then Tier 2 12 person raid. the T1 raid is puggable, with good leadership; the T2 raid is hard (my group have long since has T1 on farm; but stuck at 3rd of 6 bosses on T2).

but this model *itself* is not popular with players - there's far more people running the superceded raids than the new OD raid. and the question of 'why?' comes down, i believe, not to the difficulty of the raid, or the selfishness or narrowness of the raiders, but of the motivations for playing of all end-game players.

when i'm playing football, i'm there to play football. true, some really want to win, some just want a good game, some want to showboat, some want to increase their league position (however that's measured) - but essentially, everyone's there to play football. no-one is there playing football because every completed game gives them a discount at their local Sainsburys, or because there's a random chance of a better pair of boots being awarded for a win. there's no extrinsic rewards for playing football (except for the pros who get paid - but for them football is their dayjob, os it's appropriate that they get extrinsically rewarded for it).

the implication then is that we should remove the extrinsic rewards from raiding, and leave only the instrinsic - and what would happen to the raid population? it would collapse overnight, of course. i know this, because the new lOTRO raid is very close to having no extrinsic rewards, and motivating people to do it - apart from those who like to raid - is very difficult.

this does not mean, however, that raiding is broken, or is a closed club - it just means that people play MMOs for a wide range of motivations, only a minority of which are 'team-based PVE play at level-cap'. and trying to shoe-horn in the other motivations - gear, loot and progression, most notably - certainly increases the potential raiding population, but does nothing to increase the willing raiding population, and has the perverse effect of encouraging the GOGOGO, the 'LFF Hele-exploit run', the ICC-speed runs, the 'i've got my so i won't be raiding with you guys for a while'.
 
/cont


raiding is a team-based activity requiring practice, at the end of a largely single-player game - for *every* MMO that i know of, not just WoW or LOTRO. it can't be zerged (as Rifts and sunday football can) and is only a minority interest (just like organised 11-a-side league-based football). an entry ramp would possibly help people move from single-player to team-based play, but there's no guarantee because, simply, not everyone shares that motivation to play. it's far more likely that people with similar motivations would group around local equilibria that best matched their motivations - ie, exploiting instances and farming easy stuff. just like they currently do.
 
hmmm you just described vanilla wow. they started out with UBRS and LBRS then added BRD, molten core etc.

The reason it worked though is there were reasons that impacted progression to go back into all those instances. Or things like Thunderfury that people wanted.

Pre BC a casual raider could do LBRS, UBRS, ZG or even Molten core in pick up groups that had a reasonable chance of success. If they wanted a Hard mode challenge they could do AQ20. it always surprised me that in BC they scrapped the entire system that worked fairly well. (Though reputation grinds and some other things did need some serious work).
I don't think anything has worked as well since.

the other thing is bigger raid can have less skilled players, or attempt offspec things like running MC with 50 percent healers. (Which even in greens and blues worked back in the day if you had enough druids with tank gear to off tank the sons of Rag).

The best thing about a system with the flexibility to be able to do things like that is people actually get to learn how to raid and ease into it. Some who said they'd never move on to the harder raids did. But now it's all or nothing because raids start far up the bell curve. No more starting raiding in greens and working your way up.
 
@seanus

The current model of wow raiding is more like going out and telling all the saturday afternoon football players, the little league football players and everybody below the minor leagues that what they are doing is pointless and stupid. running them all out of thier activities and then wondering why the professional teams start having difficulty filling thier teams.
 
Do current normal modes not meet the bar for accessibility? According to WoWProgress around 700,000 people have killed raid bosses, probably more in reality once you count PuGs, multiple raid groups, etc. That sounds kinda small compared to the 11.4 million subscriptions out there, but I think China does not have Cataclysm yet? And when you account for people who simply don't want to raid and prefer leveling alts or playing the AH or doing PvP, how many people do you think need to be raiding in order to consider it accessible?
 
"The solution is equally obvious: Create raid content with a margin for error, so people have the opportunity to train up."

Sorry to say but this looks to be impossible... Everyone has tried this and Wow-Wrath came the closest with the "hardmode" ideas. But, as we can see in Cata these ideas were abondoned by Blizzard.

"easy enough for at least 80% "
Ah, yes the proverbial 80/20 solution... the problem is that 10% of your playerbase wants to be in the raid club and HAVE THE CONTENT TUNED to that level.

Content tuned to 80% (casual goal) inclusion vs 10% (leet goal) leads to the following satisfaction.

10% solution:
-----------------------
10% leet happy
35% serious casual unhappy
35% clueless casual (oh I've heard of raiding)
20% levelers (what's raiding?)

80% solution:
-----------------------
10% leet unhappy
35% Serious casual happy
35% clueless casual (you mean I can raid!?!)
20% levelers (whats raiding?)

So why did Blizz change in cata to a mix that made the 35% unhappy for leets to be happy?
Why did Blizzard go away from the Wrath model of "some" raid content for everyone?


There are many theories but I believe it's a combination of the following:

1) Blizzard really thought that the raid leet group was larger (closer to 20%)
2) Blizzard believed that the new lowbie content would at least keep the serious casuals busy doing alts... (but er.. after 2 expansions with 1 new class... we've done that blizz)
3) Blizzard had a crunch in dev budget for Cata and was forced to strech out content to fit a 1.5-2 year expansion cycle - so more difficult raids were needed to speed bump the leets


So in the end Blizz decided to gamble that the 35% serious casuals would not leave... since we are discussing this at a blog where the blog author has left wow and Angry has left wow... and they just reported the first drop in subscription numbers.

I would say they gambled unwisely... but hey Blizz still believes that we will all comeback come day...

May the force be with them in their delusions.
 
I propose the following raid concept: Average players run normal dungeons, ...

The problem is, that pretty much noone says "yeah ok I'm average and stick to the ilvl 333 normal dungeons". They could do so today, but instead queue up for heroics no matter how incompetent.
 
"I just wished you just stopped this crusade against these elitist ghosts."

They are not 'ghost' Nils...

They are real and quite a few of them are friends of mine. But much like many of the people who play online games... I don't play at that level anymore.

I play for fun... leets play for different concepts. They aren't bad people just people behaving badly.

When leet behavior leads to un-fun it causes subscriptions to drop.

This subscription drop IS something the game designers are on the hook for. Performance bonuses ARE tied to these numbers. So yes it's the designers job to make the most fun for all parties and they are compensated accordingly.
 
seanas: "Rifting is equivalent to the sunday-afternoon-unlimited-teams football i used to do for many years: you turn up, you kick a ball, and you don't really count score. it's a lot of fun, but it's worlds away from organised team football,"

Well done, you get it. I don't want to play organised team football. I WANT sunday afternoon kickabouts.

Let the hardcore guys have their difficult 5 man instances. Raiding should be for the people.
 
actually nils the "elitist ghosts" are the second tier of raiders.

It's been my general experience the truly hard core don't care. They raid beat the content and just have fun.

It's those just below them trying to "catch up with the joneses" that are the elite raiders that give the real hardcore people bad names.

Just like real life. When I've met generals, or executives they were mostly really cool people. All the junior managers running around them trying to impress them were the assholes I didn't want to deal with.
 
As he says, it is blindingly obvious that any activity where you are supposed to be perfect ON YOUR VERY FIRST TRY is bound to end up a closed club.

Total fallacy. That never has and never will be the case with raiding. You will never be expected to get everything perfect ON YOUR VERY FIRST TRY unless you're in the top raiding guilds, and you wouldn't be in one unless you have lots of experience already.

Create raid content with a margin for error, so people have the opportunity to train up.

is exactly how raiding works. There is plenty of scope to learn the ropes in the first tier of raiding. Simply find a guild at the appropriate level and you'll be raiding in no time.

The problem is attitude, and a large part of that comes from players who refuse to learn how to raid properly and/or complain that the opportunity to learn doesn't exist when it very clearly does.
 
As long as heroic mode difficulty isn't affected, doubt any of us will care. It's the middle of the pack raiders that generally make a lot of noise.
 
Total fallacy. That never has and never will be the case with raiding. You will never be expected to get everything perfect ON YOUR VERY FIRST TRY unless you're in the top raiding guilds, and you wouldn't be in one unless you have lots of experience already.
I don't know how people got this impression even when top guilds are involved. For example, Paragon wiped over 100 times on Conclave heroic. I wiped between 40 and 150 times on most heroic before clearing all the content.

There is no such thing as people expecting you to get it right from the first attempt. The problem arises when players keep failing over and over to the same obvious mechanics. It's okay to mess up when you first encounter it, repeating the same mistake is the problematic part.

I'd like to point out that heroic modes being tuned in a way that 10% of the population will be able to clear before the nerfs kick in is a horrid idea. The encounters would end up being beyond trivial.
 
I don't know how people got this impression even when top guilds are involved. For example, Paragon wiped over 100 times on Conclave heroic. I wiped between 40 and 150 times on most heroic before clearing all the content.

You're absolutely correct, thinking about it there really is never an need to get anything perfect on your first try. As I said, a fallacy.
 
The first normal raid dungeon is designed to be easy enough for at least 80% of the total player population to be able to succeed with gear from normal dungeons.

The problem with this plan is that if 80% of the people could do it in dungeon blues, then 50% of the population will expect to do it in questing greens and be carried by the people who did the dungeons.
 
Well done, you get it. I don't want to play organised team football. I WANT sunday afternoon kickabouts.

Let the hardcore guys have their difficult 5 man instances. Raiding should be for the people.


well y'see, i want my 5 (or 6 in LOTRO) instances to be sunday arfternoon kickarounds, and my 12 person raids to be organised team-sports.

certainly that's how they've previously been ordered, so i'm not entirely coming from left-field in expecting them to be that way.

there's no requirement that they stay that way; however i'd like some content that was team-based and required preparation, and some that was just a kickaround.
 
@sam, few if any of the Sunday afternoon football players are going to play in any major football league. The players who play there usually started training as young, not at 18 or even later.

@spinksville, which "difficult 5-man instances" are you talking about please?

Angry Gamer, don't assume that just because the raiders are a minority, that players like You are a majority. It's a fallacy. Consider "commitment", many raiding guilds require their members to be committed to raiding but what does that really mean? Scheduling your time around the game? Studying out-of-game and in-game resources to get better? Farming for gear, consumables or money to support raiding? More importantly, what does a lack of commitment mean? Lack of all the points, lack of some of them - and which one? (I hope you get my point despite my bad English.)
 
Many players only raid because 1) the rewards are placed there; 2)there is little else to do at end-game.

The entire raid mechanic is nothing more than a stop-gap to keep players busy until the next content patch. It's no accident raid lockouts are weekly. If Blizzard makes it too easy, people finish and then lose interest and stop playing before the next tier is released. So the whole social-selection that transpires is really an effect of release management.

Your proposed welfare raid would be empty. Why? Because serious raiders would grind quickly through that content. Casuals would take forever to gear up while complaining all the time they can't get into the upper tier. So the whole problem would still exist.

Easy content = dead content.
 
Also, don't raise the level cap. This way the entry level raid is always the entry level raid. All new raid/group content will build off the gear you need from the one before it.
 
Do the training grounds have to be 'current' raids? Can't the pre-Cata raids be considered training grounds? I've know of several guilds that have XP-locked at 60, 70, and 80 to experience the old content, can these older raids not be used to train up wannabe raiders? Of course they can, but that would get in the way of the mad rush to endgame to get to the content that they can't access.
 
No, pre-Cata raids can't be considered training grounds, because there aren't enough level-locked people around to form raids.

And why exactly would you be opposed to having raids on normal level for the average player if you still kept the heroic level raids for the elite?
 
Opportunities exist at many levels to raid, otherwise no-one would raid. A new player, if he or she desires can, with a little bit of effort, get into a raid team. I feel there may be deeper reasons as to why some players are so oppose to the current raid setup, and it'd interesting to read some actual raiding experiences to explain why they feel that way.
 
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Part of the problem is how Blizzard refuses to allow multiple raiding tiers to be "progression" at a time. It had previously been that you had ToC 25 as "relevant content," even during the peak times of ICC. Then you had ICC-10 as an "intro" to ICC-25. Burning Crusade had progressively harder content, ranging from Karazhan to Sunwell.

But now, you've only got one progression raiding tier. That "one size fits all" just doesn't work.

So if you want to "open up the club" the solution is quit being lazy and add more content. Make it so that multiple tiers are relevant at a time, and offer a clear progression path for both new and old players.
 
Easy content does not equal Dead Content. I remember Karazhan was extremely popular even til the end of BC.

There is one significant differnce between hardcore and casuals though and its wipe tolerance. Most hardcore will wipe over and over again. They expect it and learn from it, they make adjustments, while maintaining a high level of focus. Casuals on the other hand have a low wipe tolerance. Wipes are unexpected and always someone else's fault. They don't look to improve themselves, they only see others errors and if they can't find any they find it easier to drop.

I remember vividly doing a normal Sarth pug back in Wrath, I was still trying to get my IDS, but I was mostly Ulduar geared at the time. The guild I went in with had just come back to WoW and was struggling in T7. We wiped once or twice on Sarth trash (gasp) and they were completely demoralized. I told them I had already wiped thirty some times that week (and it was early) in Ulduar and it was just part of learning the game. They focused and we quickly cleared it and most of them got their cheev for it. I was totally shocked at how depressed they were at a couple of wipes on content they hadn't even cleared yet.
 
For a while now I've been thinking that one problem here is the fixed raid sizes. Back in EQ days there might have been a rough minimum number of people needed having extra didn't hurt (until you hit really big numbers and bumped into client/data limitations). That went a huge way towards making things a bit more relaxed and casual, even in the context of EQ raiding which in many ways was more hardcore than WoW raiding is.

You can make raids really really hard if you let people bring extra bodies but since the amount of loot is fixed the fewer people you bring the larger the effective reward you get. True elite hardcores would bring a minimum number and gear up and get more powerful that much faster. More casual folks would progress slower but they could band together in large enough amounts to make some progress and see some fights.

The bad thing about EQ raiding was the shared bosses that could only be killed once per week for an entire server. Instancing fixed that. They didn't need to restrict raid sizes too!
 
Yeah, whenever we were rebuilding our guild, and we had a bunch of new people coming to raiding AND new content, we always said the same thing to them: "Welcome to Wipe School." Some could handle it, some couldn't. And some of the ones who couldn't were ones who had no problem executing on farm fights.
 
The guild I recently moved to is interesting - it's an old guild with much of the core raid team having played together simce Molten core was new.

They have no attendance requirements and are very flexible on class/role - the very definition of casual.

For us raiding is as much about the experience and banter as it is about downing bosses.

Whatever the real cause, changes that bring in new people to fill out our raid roster would be great - we're struggling to reliably fill a 25. Not so long ago there was a decent bench of people.

If that means easier raiding - Gevlon's suggesion a few days back for self-tuning raids was excellent - then maybe it's not a bad thing.
 
I'll just repost this again:

"Blizzard: I think the biggest issue now is that Cataclysm didn't launch with an intro raid tier. We're now following through with the stair-step method of having one hard raid and one intro raid, but it took a while to see the plan through -- which is obviously a bit jarring. So now we have a new tier, VP converts to JP, the old tier gets stepped down and the new hotness is going to be that difficult climb.

"I think if we had the intro tier/hard tier available (as we will in 4.2) when the expansion first launched it would feel more natural now to see that stair step just moving forward. With the current setup it seems like we're the bad guys going in and messing with your stuff, and that view is somewhat based on not really including the new harder tier in the equation since it's not available yet. It's just not going to be an issue when the new content is available, but for now it's something to make observations and personal declarations about."


http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/177306/mild-medium-spicy-hot

That was two weeks ago. Why are we still arguing over this?
 
That was two weeks ago. Why are we still arguing over this?

Because raiding isn't exclusive to WoW. The post from Stabs that led to the discussion referred to raiding in general, from his experiences in Rift.

Also, straight from Tobold's OP:
In fact I do think that the current plan of Blizzard to nerf existing dungeons is a rather bad one
 
I suspect that what you're talking about is exactly what COX has. But it's not said that task forces and such are "very easy casual raids" rather it's said that "COX has no end game at all."
 
Just wanted to say I like seanas's analysis above and I wholeheartedly agree with Spinks's comment on it.
 
The last time Blizzard downgraded dungeons (Naxxramas and Ulduar) they made them completely superfluous, as farming heroics gave better gear than doing those downgraded raids. Only time will tell whether they do better this time.

But in any case Blizzard's plan is miles away from my proposition. In my plan even the easy dungeons would always be a progression dungeon for somebody. They would never become redundant, or at least not until the next expansion hits.

It is ESSENTIAL for raiding, even for easy-mode, training raiding for average players, that raiding gives you the rewards that open up the next step of the raid progression. That is why "go raid in Molten Core" and similar propositions don't work. These are games of advancement, nobody would raid if there was no advancement whatsoever. Even the most hardcore raiders would stop raiding the day Blizzard removed the rewards that allow progression.
 
Chris K.: Because raiding isn't exclusive to WoW. The post from Stabs that led to the discussion referred to raiding in general, from his experiences in Rift.

But then the problem there is that raiding is something that the hardcore only do because raiding is almost by definition a hardcore activity. Gathering some 25+ odd people and organizing them well enough, in game and out of game, so that they can venture into a dungeon and defeat a monster is not something for casuals to do.

Chris K: Also, straight from Tobold's OP:
In fact I do think that the current plan of Blizzard to nerf existing dungeons is a rather bad one


Which is stupid. For Tobold's plan to work, he would have to first nerf the first overly difficult normal raiding tier into a level which allows casuals to use it as a stepping stone. This is exactly what Blizzard is doing, and yet Tobold is lambasting them for it.

The only other solution would be to create an entirely new intro raid for casuals, which would be cost-ineffective as well as a bit hard to fit into the current WoW story line.
 
Tobold: But in any case Blizzard's plan is miles away from my proposition. In my plan even the easy dungeons would always be a progression dungeon for somebody. They would never become redundant, or at least not until the next expansion hits.

What's so bad about having only the previous tier of raiding be the "easy mode"? The only difference I can see is that you want all the easy dungeons to be available as progression, while Blizzard feels that just having the latest two tiers is sufficient.

Blizzard may have good reason as well, considering it keeps the player population reasonably clumped together, rather than spread out into possibly four different tiers of raiding.
 
If the player population were "reasonably clumped together", we wouldn't have this discussion. There is a lump of 10% to 20% of the population clumped together, and a majority of 80% to 90% of the players being totally excluded from raid content at the moment, because they can't or won't meet the too high committment requirements for the current version.

My idea is to use the existing content, clone it into an easy-mode raid content following basically the same progression rules just with a much lower difficulty, and enable at least everybody who wants to raid to actually do so. That is extremely cost efficient, because you don't even need to create separate content, you just copy the existing one and nerf the numbers and the loot.

Why are you so opposed to that, and how could that opposition not feed everybody's perception that you want to keep the raid content for yourself? You are very much arguing FOR a closed club here.
 
Pzychotix: But then the problem there is that raiding is something that the hardcore only do because raiding is almost by definition a hardcore activity. Gathering some 25+ odd people and organizing them well enough, in game and out of game, so that they can venture into a dungeon and defeat a monster is not something for casuals to do.

Why is it by definition a hardcore activity?

++ Due to having to recruit actively to reach a player threshold? (which would be kind of ironic, considering we're discussing about closed clubs).

++ Due to TS/Vent requirements? I have cleared HMs in the past without voice chat.

++ Due to the fights having low/zero tolerance to mistakes during execution? This is the whole point of this discussion.

The only other solution would be to create an entirely new intro raid for casuals, which would be cost-ineffective as well as a bit hard to fit into the current WoW story line.

Cost ineffective? We are talking about a company whose revenue can match up that of a small nation, right? Also, we can't have an intro raid due to... lore? This makes no sense.

I'm honestly curious here. Why do we alsways assume that an activity with 10 people needs to be harder than one that requires only 5? If I have 9 friends online and want to muck around with all of them at the same time,why is it that we're automatically excluded from endgame PvE?
 
That is extremely cost efficient, because you don't even need to create separate content, you just copy the existing one and nerf the numbers and the loot.

I agree. But then there are some things Blizzard just doesn't care about. Have a look at this battleground screenshot I did yesterday.
PvP from a new player's point of view.
Look at the health.

This is, obviously, completely ridiculous. I know you don't do PvP in WoW, but even you have to agree that this can't be in Blizzard's interest. Still they just don't care.
My only conclusion is that WoW is on health support.
 
"But then there are some things Blizzard just doesn't care about."

There seems to be an attitude, evident in both WoW and LOTRO, that the way to progress is to add more stuff and not to fix the problems that the new stuff creates or even to address glaringly obvious design mistakes that have persisted from day one - other, that is, than nerfing the earlier content to supposably appeal to the lowest common denominator. It's good enough, they appear to think, and we can't market such changes anyway.
 
My only conclusion is that WoW is on health support.

If true, it's completely nuts. How can a game that is still raking in so much money (compared to any other MMO) be something they can't support? Their internal costs must have grown out of control if they find they can't make the business case close anymore.

I think it's more likely they started believing their own arrogance about WoW being too big to fail, and decided they could make even more money by cutting back on investment in the product. And now, they've found that was penny wise, pound foolish, and have lost several dollars for each dollar in development they avoided.
 
If true, it's completely nuts. How can a game that is still raking in so much money (compared to any other MMO) be something they can't support? Their internal costs must have grown out of control if they find they can't make the business case close anymore.

Don't be ridiculous ;)
Of course they could support it. Blizzard made almost a billion dollar profit last year.
http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=548900

They just don't want to. There may be internal struggles or whatever.
 
What's so bad about having only the previous tier of raiding be the "easy mode"?

Well, we'll soon see, but I suspect the thing that is bad about this scheme is that it won't work, in the sense that uptake of the second run raids will be lousy. The psychic reward, the ego-boost, from doing something that is too obviously a training-wheels raid is minimal.

Blizzard is counting on people coming back to WoW when 4.2 comes out. It's going to be interesting to watch their reactions if they don't. They may discover they've made an irrecoverable error here.

The solution, I'm afraid, is to just have very easy raid content and marginalize or omit hard content. People complain about easy content, but they will quit much more readily if the game is constantly sending them the message "You suck!" Blizzard's scheme of trying to tailor difficulty more closely to everyone's capabilities is sending just that message to most players.
 
Oh, to put that billion dollar into perspective. Development costs of Rift were about $50 mio.
 
The solution, I'm afraid, is to just have very easy raid content and marginalize or omit hard content. People complain about easy content, but they will quit much more readily if the game is constantly sending them the message "You suck!" Blizzard's scheme of trying to tailor difficulty more closely to everyone's capabilities is sending just that message to most players.


They've got to find a way to make the leveling content and the old dungeions fun enough to do so that enough of the old players come back and interact with the new players. which leads back to the LFD changes that make socialization unnecessary till you get to a guild. Just another thing that flips on the leveler at the end.
They have to come up with some way to reward people for playing with each other. And those crappy blues they hand out for LFD won't cut it.

I'm not sure they even understand. I read a blue post yesterday

I'd say the new daily quest areas are pretty darn exciting. Ditto for the upcoming Firelands raid. They both have that sexy fire theme and introduce quite a bit of new content for players to experience.

I mean, on the one end, you've the daily quests. There's over 60 of them spread between the Regrowth and the Molten Front, and the hubs are designed to offer as much questing variety as possible (a lot of the quests are randomized, which means you won't get the same ones every day). You also get to unlock new vendors with cool items to buy, watch the world change right before your eyes, and kick some hot Druid of the Flame boo-tay. A lot of the quests are loads of fun to play through, too, so I wouldn't write anything off as "a grind" just yet.

On the other, you've got the Firelands featuring seven brand new bosses with some epic mechanics and a whole new tier of gear. Currently available raids are also having their overall difficulty reduced, which we hope will open up the content to players who've not yet had the chance to experience it (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2580598159). And if you're a collector, there's a variety of new pets, mounts, and vanity items being introduced with the patch to hunt down and hoard.

So, while I wouldn't say "there's something for everyone," because that's a bit of a broad sweep, there's definitely a lot of different things to do -- and, for a large portion of players, that in and of itself is exciting



They are already losing players and their patch is mostly daily quests and vendors for more faction grinds.
 
In my plan even the easy dungeons would always be a progression dungeon for somebody. They would never become redundant, or at least not until the next expansion hits.

That's pretty much what it was like in EQ2 except even more so--they only raised the level cap every other expansion, so dungeons were essentially good for two full expansion cycles (granted, that's faster than WoW can get one out).

Some people have mentioned the LFD system in WoW. I believe this system, in addition to producing some of the most abhorrent behavior ever in an MMO, also made it extremely difficult to get into raiding. I met my raid guild on a random LFG channel. I was looking for a dungeon and they needed one more healer for a raid. I wasn't a raider because it was an elite and impossible activity, but I had plenty of time so I joined. A month later I was their MT healer. That will never ever happen in a game with a cross server LFG (looking for griefers) system.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
How can a game that is still raking in so much money (compared to any other MMO) be something they can't support?

Everything, EVERYTHING, Blizzard do regarding WoW is driven purely by financial gain. I've said it a million times, they are only interested in profit - if a potential game change will not increase the $$$ then they show little to no interest in implementing it.
 
I wouldn't even blame them, Dave. It is perfectly legitimate, even if not profitable in the long run, to run a business like that.

What we, the players, need is competition. Lots of competition. That's why we should hope, no
, pray, that Bioware and ArenaNet are successful, even if we dislike their games.
 
"Blizzard is counting on people coming back to WoW when 4.2 comes out."

For 7 new bosses... I don't see it. I know I won't be coming back. Maybe if they put in two or three new raid zones with a dozen bosses each. Wait that will be 5.0.. hehe. I just don't understand it. If they made a billion dollars in profit why is there so little content. Every blue post seems to espouse how much they are putting in, but it will probably be the thinnest patch ever. They all must be on 9:30 - 4p schedule with a 2 hour lunch at Blizzard these days.
 
@Angry Gamer

Couldn't disagree more with your uh 'stats' and your point in general.

You seem to be of the opinion that ONLY hardcore raiders or casuals can be happy. And that specifically hardcores are fanatic haters that somehow blackmail Blizzard into serving them at cost to others.

Firstly, it seems pretty freaking obvious that hardcore raiders and casuals DON'T have to be systematically opposed. If casuals didnt expect to simply be able to do everything the HC do and just as fast Im guessing there would be no problem.

Is anyone actually saying that the first Cata raid is impossible for any but a hardcore raider?

Or just requires some time and effort possibly? TIME AND EFFORT FOR EPIX? WTF?

I dont understand why people feel good or like they accomplished when they get some reward every other freaking player got by completing the same easy crap as everyone else.

If you are playing purely to feel good about yourself...well all the power to you I suppose some people need a virtual world to give them 'success'. And GOD DAMN those EVIL HARDCORE RAIDERS (in a sane world they would bitch at Devs, but no) who dare to give me ANY CHALLENGE. I PAY TO LOG IN AND BE REWARDED
 
I wouldn't even blame them, Dave.

I don't blame them, I blame the mindless zombies emptying their wallets into the Blizzard coffers. If only they would wake up and realise the damage they are doing then the competitors might have a better chance of giving us better games.
 
I'm not sure they even understand. I read a blue post yesterday

I think that blue was putting the best face on a bad situation. It's what he's paid to do, after all.
 
They have to come up with some way to reward people for playing with each other.

Extra rewards for repeatedly playing with another individual (with some sort of diminishing return/cooldown to prevent totally introverted cliques from being the best way to play)?
 
I dont understand why people feel good or like they accomplished when they get some reward every other freaking player got by completing the same easy crap as everyone else.

study pavlov's theories. (seriously this isn't a smart ass comment. Study them and you'll understand why people feel good when they get their reward. or thier ipod or anything else. )

I really think the problem though is a simpler one. Blizzard seems to want a simple model for content. forget the old stuff move to the new stuff and tell everyone to keep up. The problem is people don't keep up they just stop, wait for the nerf and skip content. Big surprise then that here at the third expansion people are not having as much fun. The game is old and the devs put more and more polish on less and less content. I'm sure all the talented devs are on the new design team or fighting to get there and it shows.
 
Tobold: My idea is to use the existing content, clone it into an easy-mode raid content following basically the same progression rules just with a much lower difficulty, and enable at least everybody who wants to raid to actually do so. That is extremely cost efficient, because you don't even need to create separate content, you just copy the existing one and nerf the numbers and the loot.

Why are you so opposed to that, and how could that opposition not feed everybody's perception that you want to keep the raid content for yourself? You are very much arguing FOR a closed club here.


Oh man, this is still just hilarious. This is EXACTLY WHAT BLIZZARD IS DOING. They're making the previous tier easier to become an intro raid tier for people who are unable (skill-wise) to raid currently. But you're arguing against it for the sake of arguing apparently, even though it's exactly what you want.
 
Oh and just to be clear:

I'm not against easy modes. I'm all for it! But I'm against arguing over stupid things when the stupid thing is already resolved!
 
Its a shame they don't talk to the devs that all left. Simply sticking things in the old dungeons that they've nerfed that are useful to crafters,raiders and simple things that people want.

How long did people do baron runs for the mount? If every dungeon had something that hard to get you'd have hard core, nubs and everybody in between running them. It makes so much more sense than just invalidating all the old stuff and preaching to your players how they need to level up to the real game.
 
This is EXACTLY WHAT BLIZZARD IS DOING.

No, it isn't. How about actually reading what I wrote, then you might realize how Blizzard is still lightyears away from that. Nerfing some older dungeons is not the same as opening up a complete progression path for people currently unable to raid. Do you really believe that people will be able to raid the nerfed dungeons in normal mode dungeon gear?
 
But to call it "lightyears" apart is completely misleading. The only difference I can discern from yours and Blizzard's idea is you just feel that the nerfs are not enough. The core idea is still there!

And a 20% nerf across the board to raids is pretty hefty. Add in the free epics from dailies and heroic gear now from VP (I think?) coming in 4.2, and the relative difficulty goes down even more.
 
Fine they are nerfing raids now. For me and many others thats 6 months to late though, and I am not sure how many will come back for 6 month old content.
 
Not only is the nerf too little, too late, but the main problem is that even with the nerf the raids do not fulfill the most basic function of raiding: Being a step in a continuous chain of advancement.

Unless Blizzard also nerfs the heroics, there is no content for casual player which would provide them with the necessary training and gear leading to the nerfed raids. And the nerfed raids do not lead to any further content.

One would think that raiders would know better what raiding is about, than to propose some nerf leading to completely isolated content as the solution of all that is wrong with WoW raiding.
 
Zeno: exactly. If you're going to wait six months to run those raids, after you've already disengaged from the game, why not wait 2 years to run them? Or, for that matter, why bother to run them (and play the game) at all?

People play the game to feel better about themselves, and old nerfed content isn't going to provide much of that.
 
I think as a lot of people writing on these blogs are not casual players, they don't realise that Blizzards current solution of nerfing one tier when a new tier is released simply won't bring players back to the game.

There is little point nerfing content at the point when those players no longer have any reason to run it. I know the few remaining souls in my decimated social guild will have no intention of running those raids.

They will simply grind 5 mans instead. I see many pug groups incapable of killing the first boss in BRC HC, I really don't think the planned nerfs to T11 will allow those guys to progress in the raids. They will still wipe and make no progress and so the rational choice for them would be to earn the same/superior gear from doing 7 x 5mans a week which requires a lot less organisation.

Some may say the solution is to stop them grinding 5 mans - don't make the current VP gear purchasable with JP. However we saw in TBC that this leads to recruitment problems for guilds further up the chain and prevents later-comers from ever reaching the top as they get bogged down raiding low end content with mediocre guilds.

I personally felt the ICC solution was the best. I have no idea why these nerfs of 20% were not applied one boss at a time on a weekly basis starting in January or February by which time those bosses had been demoted to farm content for the good guilds.

The other viable option was that this 20% nerfed mode should have existed from December 7th, dropped 353 and been called "easy" mode. Had such a mode existed I believe Blizzard might have increased their subs rather than lost 600k. I believe Blizzard made this catastrophic error because (despite what they claim) they did attach too much weight to the ramblings of a minority on the official forums who (to put it politely) have unhealthy lifestyles.

Seems to me that most people post potential solutions which are merely their ideas to keep other players down and preserve their egos. I certainly wouldn't let them run my business and to be honest I am starting to wonder if Blizzard themselves are losing touch with how the bulk of their customers feel. I believe they will be in for a nasty shock if they think casual guilds will start flooding into T11 raids...

It ain't gonna happen.

Blizz need a raid that is current, dropping better gear than can be obtained in 5 mans and furthermore it must be a lot easier than even these nerfed T11 raids will be.
 
Actually having two difficulties for players to choose from (normal and heroic) is a very good idea. Players do not currently have a choice of difficulty levels, normal is explicitly a stepping stone to heroic.
 
Tobold:Unless Blizzard also nerfs the heroics, there is no content for casual player which would provide them with the necessary training and gear leading to the nerfed raids.

I haven't heard much complaints about heroics for quite a while now, since the last nerfs to heroics. Even so, there are nerfs simply due what I mentioned in my last post: "Add in the free epics from dailies and heroic gear now from VP (I think?) coming in 4.2, and the relative difficulty goes down even more."

Tobold: And the nerfed raids do not lead to any further content.

Err, they lead into the current tier of normal raids. Once the people are done with the intro raids, they should be ready for doing the current normal raids. Wouldn't that suffice?

Or should ultra-casuals be on their own separate path and never deal with normal difficulty encounters? It's an honest question; I'm not trying to ridicule those people, just trying to get you to clarify your idea, because it seems like you think that casuals shouldn't have to learn to play better ever to advance. That seems quite odd: only advance the player artificially (i.e. with items, and higher numbers), never to actually make the player advance with their own skill.
 
We've been talking for days to you, and you still don't get it. It isn't about skill. Skill is overrated anyway.

It is about all the other shit: The perfection required, the long hours required, the organization required, the "oops, one guy slipped up and now we all need to start over from the top".

We just want to go out in a large group, and have some fun. We want to be able to bring whoever of our friends just happens to be around, without having to kick him from the group because he isn't of the optimal class. We want to have a more human tolerance to failure, both from the game, and from the players. We want to be able to play with people without having to check their enchantments on the armory.

And because we (unlike you) know that other people have a different idea of fun, we would be perfectly to leave you your version of raiding, while we do ours. The problem is, and it is that which makes the casuals say that the raiders want their club closed, is that you don't want us to have our form of raiding while you do yours. Even if you wouldn't be affected by it at all. You couldn't stand somebody being able to kill the same boss as you do on easy mode. And you are surprised that this makes you look elitist? What would it hurt you if there was a separate raid content for casual players?
 
Tobold: We've been talking for days to you, and you still don't get it. It isn't about skill. Skill is overrated anyway.

Then honestly, I think you're playing the wrong game, and trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. PvE in this game revolves around the AI teaching and the players learning. I don't think you'd have much success changing the entire design philosophy to allow players to breeze through dungeons without a modicum of skill.

Tobold: We just want to go out in a large group, and have some fun. We want to be able to bring whoever of our friends just happens to be around

Again, a problem of raid size strictness first.

Tobold: We want to have a more human tolerance to failure ... from the players.

And this one from raiders mixing with the casuals due to raid level gear dropping from doing daily heroics.

Tobold: Even if you wouldn't be affected by it at all. You couldn't stand somebody being able to kill the same boss as you do on easy mode. And you are surprised that this makes you look elitist? What would it hurt you if there was a separate raid content for casual players?

Please stop accusing me of this. I think I've stated many many times already that I wouldn't mind an easy mode. It's getting in the way of your arguments.

Anyways, even after an easy mode is given, would that then even appease players to the fullest? As you've said yourself, no one's satisfied with getting the sloppy second-hand (i.e. nerfed content). Could you say that people would be happy dealing with that AND farming the easy modes for the 4-5 months (since they would never want to attempt normal modes anyways)?

I don't know. I derive fun from overcoming challenges, but you seem to want something where you could just screw around with for a couple hours, and for that, I just feel a ball of yarn would suffice.
 
for that, I just feel a ball of yarn would suffice

This is exactly the sort of insulting, elitist remark I've been talking about.

You are wrong to think that the current raid design is the only one possible, or the only "right" one. Vanilla WoW raiding for example was a lot more flexible for taking less skilled players with the group, and not wiping the whole raid when a single player made a mistake.

From that point raiding has degenerated into an activity which only a small percentage of players are willing and able to do. This will inevitably lead to further change, for simple business reasons, as much as you resist it. Spending a lot of development money on content for a small minority is simply not a long-term viable prospect. The current raid model is dying, and I say good riddance.

I was trying to propose a model which would give content to both parts of the population, but honestly the more likely future is that Blizzard and other companies simply nerf all raid content and make nothing for the hardcore elite any more. Your own fault for being so uncooperative.
 
I was trying to propose a model which would give content to both parts of the population, but honestly the more likely future is that Blizzard and other companies simply nerf all raid content and make nothing for the hardcore elite any more. Your own fault for being so uncooperative.

Blizzard has swerved game design elements back and forth with less provocation. And they've now seen the worst customer reaction to a WoW expansion ever. Do the hardcore really think things aren't going to change?

What is driving the hardcore whining, of course, is the realization -- not to be admitted -- that the current state of affairs can not and will not last. It will persist in Cataclysm only because of inertia and development lag, but you can be assured the next WoW expansion is going to really focus on the average player.
 
I think the customer reaction gaurantees a reaction. I'm sure the Hard Cores will be upset.

But all this is the predictable end result of smaller raids in the game of WOW as originally designed.

In Vanilla, which had its own problems, there were reasons to run strat,scholo,dire maul,lbrs,ubrs and MC even after the old content came out. 40 man guilds had to have enough extra casuals and wannabe raider to keep up the farming of mats,(or some of them just purchased gold). Those wanna be raiders and casuals could hook up wit thier fellow guildies and do and MC run, or a strat run for orbs and the casuals and newbies learned from the veterans.

Now we have a game where the veterans have been segmented away from the newbies and the LFD and some other changes are causing them pain when they play with the newbies that leveled all the way to entry raid level without interacting with any raiders.

This just increases the magnitude of the Flip that someone wanting to enter end game experiences and causes the raiders angst. That and many of the raiders have been doing this for so long they've become grumpy old codgers who have no patience for anyone.
 
err I obviously meant newer content.
 
but you can be assured the next WoW expansion is going to really focus on the average player.

I think this is dead on but I'm not sure they understand that the average player wants what we had in vanilla. As they play thier game they want to run all the content. When they try to run dungeons,or do some hard questline; and the entire server starts telling them how much they are wasting their time and that they just need to hurry up and get to end game, the game begins to break for them. I've seen a lot of people just fade away at the 50 to 65 point because everything that looks cool or is tied to the quests is "pointless" content.

the soloing all together is as big a problem for blizzard as the over tuned instances and blizzards refusal to have multiple valid raiding paths that are all head to the very end.
 
Tobold: This is exactly the sort of insulting, elitist remark I've been talking about.

You see it as insulting, but to be honest, that's the type of feeling that I get from your words. I wasn't trying to be offensive. Your group just wants something to congregate around for a couple hours and have fun. People play hackysack or throw frisbees. Cats have fun doing nothing but pawing at a ball of yarn. When you tell me that you want a ball of yarn and I give you a ball of yarn and you insult me for it, what can I do?

Tobold: You are wrong to think that the current raid design is the only one possible, or the only "right" one. Vanilla WoW raiding for example was a lot more flexible for taking less skilled players with the group, and not wiping the whole raid when a single player made a mistake.

They were still plenty difficult. My raiding guild that had raids 3-4 nights a week never made it past the first couple bosses of BWL. It didn't help that in Vanilla, raiding wasn't just about bosses, but even just making it TO the boss was a chore.

Tobold: Spending a lot of development money on content for a small minority is simply not a long-term viable prospect. The current raid model is dying, and I say good riddance.

And yet they managed some 8-9 million subscribers during the hardest raiding years, and I'd say that raking in the money for some 7 odd years focusing on that small minority has done them pretty well.

Tobold: I was trying to propose a model which would give content to both parts of the population, but honestly the more likely future is that Blizzard and other companies simply nerf all raid content and make nothing for the hardcore elite any more.

The more likely future is that they'll continue in the same path that they have for the last 7 years, and ditch WoW like a used up whore when Titan comes out.

Tobold: Your own fault for being so uncooperative.

I don't think I'm being any more unreasonable than any of the game designers would be if you came to them with this proposal. I think, quite frankly, that the game designers lean quite hard towards the "raiding elite" mindset. I mean, they have BEEN developing raiding content first priority for seven years.

And you should understand that, in the same way that I have trouble understanding that you would want (and enjoy) a no-skill-involved raiding dungeon where you can romp around with anybody off the street, I think that the developers would have trouble accepting this as a part of their world (especially when they, the designers (not me), would feel that it would destroy the epicness of raiding if you could walk up to a demi-god and press 1 to win).
 
And you should understand that, in the same way that I have trouble understanding that you would want (and enjoy) a no-skill-involved raiding dungeon where you can romp around with anybody off the street, I think that the developers would have trouble accepting this as a part of their world (especially when they, the designers (not me), would feel that it would destroy the epicness of raiding if you could walk up to a demi-god and press 1 to win).


FUNNY they used to have this game where the hard core stayed in the newest instances and everyone else played at the one the groups they ran with did.....what was that game....Oh yeah vanilla WOW. then the devs decided to push everyone to the same end game because it took less dev cycles to do that.

Working great now isn't it. Bet the suits at Vivendi love the newest subs in the US and EU. Cause the Chinese ones at a few bucks a month don't really count.
 
I have trouble understanding that you would want (and enjoy) a no-skill-involved raiding dungeon

Where did I ever say "no skill involved"?

You seem to believe that it is either the exact skill level you enjoy, or no skill at all. What would you say if raiding was skill-based, but would require a minimum skill for the first raid encounter which was way beyond YOUR skill and committment?

Casual players want exactly the same as you want: A challenge which corresponds to the skill and committment you are willing to bring to the table. That skill level might be lower than yours, but that doesn't make it zero.
 
So...Magmaw, Lolmnicrom, Maloriak, Halfus and Wind Council are HARD?
Really?
No, seriously, don't you think it's so easy that wol actually says that 100% of guilds that do some sort of raiding actually killed at least 2 out of those 4 bosses?
Isnt that exactly what you want? And entry point for people who need to learn? It's right there! Stop whinning, try the entry bosses and actually learn something!
 
No, seriously, don't you think it's so easy that wol actually says that 100% of guilds that do some sort of raiding actually killed at least 2 out of those 4 bosses?

So, you find it significant that the guilds that have downed at least one boss, have downed the easier ones?

You are easily impressed.

I now want you to look at the absolute number of guilds that have downed bosses this tier, vs. tiers in WotLK. Then factor in that guilds are primarily doing 10 man raids these days. You will find the total number of players who have downed any boss is down considerably from WotLK.
 
You seem to believe that it is either the exact skill level you enjoy, or no skill at all. What would you say if raiding was skill-based, but would require a minimum skill for the first raid encounter which was way beyond YOUR skill and committment?

I have always said these people believe that the correct difficulty level happens to be the one that they personally can clear.

They fail to understand that "normal" difficulty doesn't follow some strict formula but rather it is a moving bar that goes up and down with each expansion or raid tier.

There were large differences between Naxx normal, Ulduar normal and ToC normal. ICC normal varied dramatically depending on the buff level at the time.

But no a certain minority of people seem to believe that T11 normal is somehow the perfect level for "normal" difficulty.

Based on what though?

If they can give me an answer that doesn't involve personal opinion I'd be amazed.

I wonder how about if Blizzard had made the T11 heroic mode the only difficulty mode. Such that only a handful of guilds could clear it. The players posting here who clear normal would simply have been told in December: "you have to wait until the next patch when you can get better gear from running 5 mans which will naturally nerf it for you and allow you to start raiding in June".

How would they feel about that?

That is what many social/casual guilds were told at the start of the year.
 
neowolf2:
Not at least 1. At least 2. And, yes, they are the easier bosses. If someone can`t kill the bosses after that, maybe raid is not their thing, maybe they should try and find something else to do ingame, instead of failing every single time on easy script fights.
It's not a matter of elitism. Is a matter of a reward system. You have to at least not be retarded to kill the easier bosses. You have to be somewhat competent and have a basic set of skills to kill the medium bosses. You have to commit to the game to kill the hardest ones.
It's much like all other games. If you are not competent enough, you will only play the easy part of the game and never get the perks of the game that are only on Hard or Nightmare. Every single game is exactly like that. Why should WoW be different? When they tried, they failed. Hard.

About your comment on wotlk, it's very true. My old social guild was server first on some kills in Naxx. And, yet, wotlk is considered the worst of all expansions by both casuals and hardcores. I wonder why.
 
This reply is a bit late, and no one will probably see it, but anyways:

Tobold: Where did I ever say "no skill involved"?

You seem to believe that it is either the exact skill level you enjoy, or no skill at all. What would you say if raiding was skill-based, but would require a minimum skill for the first raid encounter which was way beyond YOUR skill and commitment?


The problem becomes that at the very lowest level of player, skill and commitment are at its lowest. I have a couple friends who are like that; zero skill and zero commitment to effort. At that point, you'd have to have an extremely easy-mode for them to get through the content.

Besides, it was you yourself who said that "skill was overrated", and that you just "wanted to have fun". Retorting me now by being insulted with a "no-skill dungeon" is just more mixed messages. These are your words here.
 
I recommend you read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is scientifically proven that fun is had in the area BETWEEN a challenge being too trivial and too challenging. If I ask for "fun", your interpretation that I ask for all challenge to be removed is just plain wrong. Nobody wants all challenge to be removed, that is just another typical insult from the elitist hardcore players.

To create optimum challenge for a game you either need a system with several difficulty levels (like I presented here), or if you don't want that you need a system where the single difficulty level provides the fun "flow" challenge for the AVERAGE player. Of which there are the most around.
 
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