Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 06, 2011
 
Stabs on raiding

Stabs has a brilliant post up on raiding. He writes "Raiding has become a closed club. I know of no raiders in Rift who weren't serious raiders in WoW and other games."

While I don't know about raiding in Rift, I do confirm that even just looking at WoW raiding has become a closed club. And while Stabs is right in attributing this to the steep change in challenge between the pre-raid game and the raid game, I must also say that it has become a closed club because the people inside that club prefer the club to be closed!

Ultimately I do think that raiding as an endgame activity is doomed because of this, in any game. Any game or activity lives from positive word of mouth, from the players actively promoting their game or activity. The business rationale of making content which attracts the largest possible number of players to your game, and the closed club attitude of people believing that the less people do the same thing as they are, the more valuable that content becomes, are simply incompatible. Imagine a MMORPG where everybody who plays it discourages you from even trying, and then insults you as a n00b if you try anyway. If the current MMORPGs hadn't been designed by hardcore raiders, there would be no business reason to have raiding as an endgame in its current "exclusive" form.
Comments:
I disagree. I started playing WoW in November and am now in a 7/13 HC raid team.

It's not a closed club, you just have to work your way up. When you become the best on your team, you're ready to move up to a better team, and repeat. It's a bit like a career ladder. I think people seem to believe everyone should be raiding with the best group if they want to but you have to work your way there and prove yourself along the way. And I see nothing wrong with that.
 
I think it's not so much that raiding is a closed club as 'most people that want to raid are already raiding'. People that aren't raiding don't want to raid. Since, currently, growth of the population of MMORPG players is fairly limited, the growth in the number of people who want to raid is also fairly limited.
 
Any particular proof for the bolded statement, or are you just trolling those damn-blasted hardcore arseholes who make all the guides, theorycrafting and addons of a game?

I do think raiding should be harder, more exclusive and more prestigious...at its peak. Just like everything else in the world. But I also think there should be a progression pyramid, so that there's some group content for everyone, but each tier requires more and more skill and concentration. I'm also in favour of less reliance on gear and twitch, and more on tactical choices...and, since there needs to be "proof" that you can actually kill the content in your raid team, I think keys should return, but as a reward for the "kill all the bosses in the instance" achievement.
 
I also think there should be a progression pyramid, so that there's some group content for everyone, but each tier requires more and more skill and concentration. I'm also in favour of less reliance on gear and twitch, and more on tactical choices...and, since there needs to be "proof" that you can actually kill the content in your raid team, I think keys should return, but as a reward for the "kill all the bosses in the instance" achievement.

How do these requirements of yours compare to actual raiding in Cataclysm?
 
Also annoying are the people who insist that raiding is the ONLY fun thing in any MMO and if you aren't raiding then you're an idiot.

I solo, I group, and I occasionally raid. Used to raid a lot more when I was single and could devote my evening schedule to it, but now it's more PUR's on weekends, if at all. I'll never be "1337" but I have fun and I play with my friends, so that's all I care about. I don't denigrate other people's playstyles. Wish they'd return the courtesy.
 
Well whether it's raiding, casual PVE, or raiding, I know nobody doing anything in Rift that wasn't doing the same thing in WoW or EQ1/2. Most MMO players of any kind started either in EQ or WoW. That's not surprising, the industry leader always brings in new people. Thirty years ago, I knew of no serious Runequest players who hadn't been serious D&D players.

As to actual accessibility of raids, maybe if you started MMO gaming in late game Wrath WoW when you could get in PUG raids if you were max level and breathing, it now seems like raids are becoming an exclusive club.

But in the last twelve years since people who'd finished the content started inexpicably to endlessly kill Naggy and Vox, raiding has been more and more accessible to more and more of the gaming population. Easy gear up with token based gear. Reasonable cost on consumables and repairs, easily kept up with by a few daily quests. Raids that can be paused and returned to which allow a schedule. Oh and no four hour corpse retrievals on a wipe that turn a 8pm to 11pm raid into a 3am nightmare like my first (and last) time raiding in EQ1.

Raiding is going to require a commitment to other players, but so do a lot of things. Yes, if you have to leave a raid to spend 10 minutes tending to a baby there will be some people who are irritated. But the same would be true if you called for time out and walked off the pitcher's mound in a rec softball league. Does that mean rec softball is only for the hardest of the hardcore?
 
Hmm, well, all the hardcore guilds I know of are still hurting for members (mine included), and wouldn't mind more people actually getting up to speed and being able to raid with them. To say the "hardcore club" is closed is quite ingenious, when we want people to up their own game so that they can join us.
 
we want people to up their own game so that they can join us

Yes, but you don't want to help them, or train them to up their game. How do you think new professional sport players come into existence? They "up their game" by training by themselves in their backyard?
 
@nbarnes is right. Thisis symptomatic of an even more serious phenomenon. Quite apart from raiding has Rift or any recent mmorpg actually attracted new players to the genre? It seems to me it is just the same old bunch of mmorpgers trying out each new game.
 
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Thanks for the link! This was the first gaming blog I ever read, nice to be mentioned here.

As for the closed club I do think there are people inside the club who would like to expand it. Not many perhaps but we are there. My recent attempt to make a raid guild was an attempt at this. It failed simply because the logistics of casual raiding are so brutal.

It's actually easier to say everyone must have X gear, always flask and guild kicks all round for people who keep standing in the fire. You end up with a homogeneous team because you've driven away everyone who isn't both good and prepared.

What's hard, and what I failed at recently is making a team that's open to a wide variety of skill levels.

When Pzycotix says "we want people to up their own game so that they can join us" he's reflecting the views of most raiders but that means only a tiny fraction of people will follow Dana in starting late and reaching the top. Because it means they have to be self-starting, competent and motivated enough to get across the gap between casual 5 man play and coordinated raid teamplay.

It will be even harder to do it with certain roles - has anyone got a raiding tank who has been playing less that three years? Can't be many.
 
How do you think new professional sport players come into existence? They "up their game" by training by themselves in their backyard?
No, by playing with some amateurs, starting to love that game, becoming better and better, moving up to the next league and so on. Just like it should be with raiding.

A new professional sport player will have access to some trainers to help them on their way.
A raider gets that sort of help through an increadible amount of information in guides and theorycraft sites written by "professionals"
 
For all the problems with raiding, I think that is not one. Raiding guilds are constantly on the search for new players. They often offer training courses, links and youtube videos.

The problem is just that raiding is isolated from the rest of the game. You get items to raid more. You raid more to get more items. These items are mostly useless outside of raiding and from a lore point of view you seem to kill just about anything that's bigger than you and may be 'evil'.
 
@Tobold:

They don't, which is why I got a character to 85 and promptly quit.

There's no fun in raiding for me, personally, if every tier below me is nerfed to the ground. I feel like I've accomplished nothing if everything below the current tier is nothing but an achievement-fest for anyone who happens to roll up.

It's not that I'm an elite raider (far from it) but the lure of raiding was, for me, to have the opportunity to climb the ladder and get some iconic gear, even if I never did. Knowing now that whatever effort I put in will be nullified next raid patch just makes the sense of accomplishment utterly pointless.
 
I don't have a problem with the existence of exclusionary content like raiding.

I only have a problem that 90% of patch development is dedicated to it. They clearly aren't even trying to develop any other PvE end game.
 
It has been two years ago for me now but I suspect this hasn't changed much: The biggest challenge in keeping a raid going is to recruit players with the potential to meaningfully contribute to the raid for a long time. The success ratio on actually training new players on my old low profile PvE realm (at the time we were the leading Horde raid) was somewhere between 1:5 and 1:10.
A contributing raider needs to be motivated, reliable, quite commited, and, unfortunately, very much on top of his game.
Finding such people and keeping them reasonably happy is difficult.
Training/equipping them is a huge investment by the raid group. One new player who has not seen a particular encounter yet will often times guarantee a wipe or two or three. This, of course, happens and is a necessary part of learning and can be structured in such a way that you take all your recruits on "training raids". It does, however, take a fair amount of time by the established players to pull the new guys through and give them the opportunity to learn (and equip them). If 7 out of 8 new guys eventually disappear because they can't shoulder the effort involved, it eventually becomes difficult to justify the effort. Finding the balance here is part of the eternal struggle that is raid leading.

I believe you need to take the approach of team sports to raiding. This implies that team goes before "I" I like the example of the 10 minute personal break: If you are in a 25 man raid and you need an unplanned break of 10 minutes, you are burning 250 minutes of individual time. Yes, real life goes first and emergencies happen but if everyone in a raid affords such breaks occasionally you don't raid much anymore. It is the responsibility of the player to recognize when they can raid and when they cannot.

tl;dr version: Training new players is a necessary albeit risky investment by the raid group and more often than not new players will not be up to the challenge. If you want to raid, you need to put in a fair amount of effort consistently and be able to submit to the team. If this is too much for you, complain to the game developer because they set the requirements, not the raiders, or, try to build your own raid and see how far you can get.
 
Tobold:Yes, but you don't want to help them, or train them to up their game.

I do want to help them and train them to up their game. I was an avid theorycrafter on EJ and WoW forums when I was serious and had the time to do it. Hell, my guild has accepted multiple non-85s, waiting for them to level up so we could fill our ranks and finish up hardmodes (8/13 HM guild).

I try to give pointers to people whenever I can see problems. We established this in the previous thread on team-based games and had arguments based on this.

Oddly enough, previously you made the argument that thinking that I'm better than other people is just as delusion. The problem with that is when other newbies think I'm just talking out of my ass when I'm trying to give them basic tips, or just "shun optimal because optimal is too hard and unfun", then any efforts to teach newbies is for naught.

It's really just silly overall, that you make an argument against me trying to teach others, and then accuse me of not trying to teach others at all!


Tobold:How do you think new professional sport players come into existence? They "up their game" by training by themselves in their backyard?

How do you think new hardcore players come into existence?
 
While I tend to agree that the future of high-end, instanced raiding will belong mainly to a closed shop of longtime raiders, I think they will become increasingly irrelevant to the general development of MMOs.

It depends a lot on how you define "raid", of course. I tend to think of a raid as more than one group/party fighting mobs that require more than one group/party to defeat them. By that definition, Rift's zone invasions are raids and I've been raiding several times a day, every day for months.

Rift's open-world raiding is ultra-casual. It really is turn-up-and-try. You don't need to know any strats, you can wear any gear you like, you can start at any point, leave at any point and no-one minds. I'm certain that "real raiders" won't recognize this as "raiding", but I doubt many of the much larger numbers of non-raiders care much about that.

I'd be surprised if this model of extreme-low-commitment, open access raiding isn't widely copied over the next few years.
 
Ok you are right Tobold.

End game raiding as we know it today is probably doomed.

The problem is this:
1) Self selecting leets want end game content to be difficult to maintain exclusivity

2) Difficulty and Time commitments will prevent large sections of playerbase from enjoying raiding

3) As a developer you cannot devote the resources to satisfy raiders without content cheating the people who can't enjoy raiding.


Therefore future game development will have to have a different mix of max level play content to keep the most players happy. This will reduce raid content due to it's limited audience.

If I were advising future MMO/RPG etc I would say that max level play should probably center around more PvP or open world events.

Raiding gameplay should not be subsidized by the subscriptions of non-raiders... (ala Wow in Cata)
 
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"Yes, but you don't want to help them, or train them to up their game."

That is a pretty generalized statement, which leads me to believe that you are just making this up from what you think are "facts".

I raided through Vanilla and all the expansions, quitting shortly into Cataclysm. My guild was never the best, but we took our raiding time seriously. I also talked to a number of other similar guilds on my server over the years. NONE of these guilds had this mythical "we're not helping you" attitude that you speak of.

My guild, for example, had strategy writeups for new member. Every new raider was given the name of a more experienced member they could turn to if they had questions during a raid. Asking questions and discussing how to raid was encouraged on the forums. "Alt-friendly" raids or heroics would take raid novices to see older content for practice and gear. And we are hardly, hardly the only guild to do one or more of these things.

I mean, yes, I doubt Paragon wants to take the time to train new people. However, any better-than-average raiding guild needs an almost constant flow of recruits to keep things lively, and the only way to sustain that level of recruiting is to train and help from within. I can't imagine any guild outside of the world top 50 NOT doing this and surviving for any length of time.
 
I just want to say that I am in a casual raiding guild. We have a weekly schedule and DKP. If you don't show up for a raid, it's okay, just drop us a note. If you don't show up for months because you got hit by a bus, your DKP is still there when you return and you'll get invited to raids again. Inside of raids, we generally expect people to try hard and have a good attitude. Bring food, bring flasks, don't randomly go AFK, etc. If you're new and you have never seen a fight before, we'll explain it to you. We're not hardcore. We're somewhere in the middle.

Here's what has happened to us: we can no longer progress. We spend too much time training and gearing up people. Last week, we spent six hours trying to do the four fights we had on farm just a month ago. This was because we had two new people with us.

Nobody likes to be set back over and over. When a raid week goes like this, it increases the chances that the good players don't show up next week. Now we have to recruit and we get more folks who need gear and who need to wipe the raid five times before they understand a fight. If we get mired there too long, even the new people we invested a lot of time into will sprint for greener grass, leaving us in the unenviable position of being the training wheels for what feels like half the server.

The point is that it's very tempting to close off access to your raiding activities when you've been pushing toward a goal for months only to see the goal get farther away.

The non-heroic raids are tuned improperly. With all our long-term raiders in full epics, it should really be possible to carry a couple new DPS through the first two bosses in each dungeon. Why we can't is a mystery. It makes it much more tempting to want to always take your best folks and never give the new guys a chance, though.
 
"How do you think new professional sport players come into existence? They 'up their game' by training by themselves in their backyard?"

I don't know about professionals; the best players I know in my chosen sport only play at the very serious (ie, traveling every weekend for tournaments) but not professional level. But in many sports, backyard practice is a big part of getting better. Baseball players do a lot of hitting practice. Basketball players take hundred of shots. In my sport, I play a lot of catch to refine my throws.

At least from what I have seen in my raiding guild and my sports teams, it's not a closed club. But we don't recruit total newbies; middle-of-the-pack raidgroups and teams like mine are looking for players that already have some skills. But there are other opportunities for new players: I regularly play a weekend pickup game at a nearby field and I also run a lot of pug raids. These are better environments for new players to learn and improve. They also provides a place for newbies to demonstrate skills that would get them recruited by guilds or teams.

It's hard to tell, but it seems that Tobold is arguing that a new player should be able to rapidly secure a spot in a strong raid. I can't see that happening; experience matters and practice is necessary for mastery.
 
How do you think new hardcore players come into existence?


They don't. It's a dying species.
 
NBarnes says: "I think it's not so much that raiding is a closed club as 'most people that want to raid are already raiding'. People that aren't raiding don't want to raid. Since, currently, growth of the population of MMORPG players is fairly limited, the growth in the number of people who want to raid is also fairly limited."

You missed it. It's not that people DON'T want to raid; it's that they DON'T want to take place in raiding as it has become known. There's plenty of people who like the idea of raiding at its core--beating dungeons and bosses with other people for progressively better rewards--but they certainly don't like the way it has evolved in WoW and other games (e.g., me) and choose not to raid under those conditions. IMHO, the "closed club" idea comes from the conditions making it prohibitive for players who might not have as much time and energy to dedicate to learning boss fights, rotations, out-of-raid gear upgrades, etc., and simply cannot hang with those that do have that time and energy.
 
"How do you think new professional sport players come into existence? They "up their game" by training by themselves in their backyard?"

Yes. I work out with a personal trainer because I have the resources and it gets my butt into the gym.

Many of his clients are aspiring high school and college athletes. Unless you have awesome natural skill and are recruited by a college or pro team, you must train yourself.

Top level raid guilds do recruit, I'm sure, but if you aspire to raid current content and don't want to form and lead your own group, prepare to teach yourself.

Teaching myself is the most interesting and compelling part of playing MMO's in my opinion. If the content wasn't extremely difficult, what would be the point?
 
which leads me to believe that you are just making this up from what you think are "facts".

Just read the comments here: The only people defending the raiders are, surprise, surprise, the raiders themselves. All the other commenters that aren't hardcore agree that the raiders are a closed club of not very helpful people.

Does that make my statement a "fact"? No, and I never claimed it was; but it makes it a widespread perception. And that is as much proof as you can get on the internet. If most non-raiders believes the raiders are an unhelpful closed club, there has to be sufficient truth to it.
 
Interesting post!

I'll start with stating that I'm a raider so that's all clear. In my time I've been guild and raid leader, these days I just form part of a 25-man team that is stuggling to fill the roster like many guilds.

We're very open to people wanting to raid. Desparate for capable people to step forwards and be part of the raid team.

But we hit one snag:

We've cleared the current tier of content on normal modes and done a bit of HC content and, to be honest are fairly bored of the first raid tier.

We're not desparately intetrested in hand-holding or teaching people by running through the same content for weeks on end.

This is the closed-club.

It certainly open to skilled and motivated players even if they're new to WoW or raiding but there's a learning curve that most raiders don't want to drag others through.

I also play WoT (thanks for the heads-up on this Tobold!) and I suspect that the serious battles will go the same way.
 
All the other commenters that aren't hardcore agree that the raiders are a closed club of not very helpful people.

Excuse me? I haven't raided seriously since TBC. Even there I never saw T6 content.

And I disagree with the closed-club thing. A lot is wrong with WoW and especially the sole focus on a raiding. But the elitist ghosts you hunt only exist in your imagination.
 
I also disagree--I think raiding is more and more friendly towards including new players. It is certainly easier to gear for it, and heroics while difficult certainly get you ready for raid-like tasks. There are 10 man raids, guilds have special bonuses. BWL was quite the opposite. Our guild had to bring tanks from successful guilds to teach us how to do Vael--it was as unfriendly as it could be.

I would really like to see more of the raiding content but to be honest it takes too much time. I sometimes play for long periods, but mostly at random times--that is they are unplanned. For me to have to schedule a time when I must be on a game and must be able to give my undivided attention is just too unfriendly.

Raiding as a concept appeals a lot to me--running instances which require more players has an epic feel to it. I think that getting more players together is a good idea. I made a lot of friends back in the days when you could run all 5 mans with 10 people. It also taught me how to play, because I ran with other mages who did better than me. I miss this UBRS kind of "raid". It wasn't as challenging but let you feel more epic and put you in contact with others.
 
Because, you know, the very existence of places like EJ which explain in all details what to do and how to get better and quite at odds with your vision of a "closed club".

The requirement to get outside information not supplied by the game itself would be, I assume, the definition of closed club. Someone cannot even get DPS information in the first place without modding the game.
 
Tobold:They don't. It's a dying species.

I would argue thusly: Using the current state of WoW as evidence that hardcore players are a dying species (due to their own closed nature) is a mistake. The entire population of WoW is decreasing AFAIK, hardcore or not. Therefore it's very misleading to use that fact and it certainly does not support your theory.

Tobold: Just read the comments here: The only people defending the raiders are, surprise, surprise, the raiders themselves. All the other commenters that aren't hardcore agree that the raiders are a closed club of not very helpful people.

Aside from the fact that there are non-raiders defending raiders here, what did you expect in the first place? You falsely accused raiders of doing something they don't do, and of course raiders are going to come and defend themselves. Using your comment section which has been setup as such, as a statistical sample is hugely biased.

Azuriel: The requirement to get outside information not supplied by the game itself would be, I assume, the definition of closed club. Someone cannot even get DPS information in the first place without modding the game.

DPS meters don't define whether one is in the closed club (and many would argue that in many cases, it hinders hardcore raiding progress due to tunnel vision). That aside, I would hardly define the use of addons as a closed club. Clearly WoW does not provide DPS meters itself, but addons are freely available to the public (and are easily installed). It would only be a closed club if the addons weren't freely distributed and only available to a select few. Lack of will to enter a club does not make a club "closed".

That would be like me calling Tobold's commenting section a closed club if I were too stupid to realize that all I had to do was sign up for a google account or any OpenID. Ludicrous, right?
 
Dana said: "When you become the best on your team, you're ready to move up to a better team, and repeat. It's a bit like a career ladder."

I agree Dana, but can I suggest who wait a few more years and experience raiding in all it's aspects?

Do we want a second career in killing virtual dragons?

A lot of MMO veterans are done with raiding. How many dragons, blobs, monsters can we kill and loot their corpses for purple coloured pixels?

I think Tobold and Stabs are onto something.

I used to raid back in WoTLK two nights a week. We had two raid teams in my guild - the "leet" team and the "casual" which I was in. It was meant to be for *fun* with no pressure.

I enjoyed being part of a tight knit team, especially when we cleared downed a boss. When we cleared Naxx after months of work, the feeling for everyone was excitement. To this day, clearing Naxx with my old team is one of my fondest memories in gaming.

But, it was too much work.

Optimisation, the pressure to research fights outside the game, researching rotations and specs and searching to eek out that tiny % increase in DPS. The anger and blame that got thrown around when the group was trying to advance through Ulduar and beyond was hurtful.

I left the raiding group, it went on for a few months before people drifted off in bitterness.

Looking back, I can see it was a good bunch of people who loved the game.

But the game was forcing us to behave in ways that made it unhealthy.

I'll tank the Tol Barad raid instance because it is short and FUN.

Maybe what is needed it to chop up the raid dungeons into lots of mini fights that you can do at your own pace and leisure.

I blame the design and philosophy which dictates group behaviuor and informs the interactions between a group.

Imagine if the "end game" a single player RPG was only accessible to 1% of those people that bought the game:

"Sorry, but your not good enough to finish the game!"

How many people would stop buying it?
 
Exactly. Most of the "1337 l2p" crowd's suggestions would make a game they would prefer to play, there is no arguing that they are bad business decisions for the gaming company. Most of these people react negatively to game changes to get more customers. So why would any game company design a game for these people who are toxic to their profitability? Surely somewhere there is a game company where the game designers have adult supervision???

What if Blizzard had made heroics and raid content that the majority of their customers would have done before now? The elite would have been horrified; how is that healthy for a company that sells ongoing subscriptions? One-shot $50 gaming companies could get away with it easier. Perhaps we still have the cartridge mentality; MMOs are magazine subscriptions not novels.

What some commenters are missing is that "knowledge of raiding" being freely available is not the same as raiding being inclusive. Also the fact that millions of people, under duress, could raid more and better than they do does not change the fact they won't. Tobold is not saying there is anything absolutely preventing you joining the club, just lots of discouragements.

I have had several guilds die, which really sucks, because of logistics. RL or Rift hits a raid leader, gm, tank or two and then you can't raid a week and a couple of these and the guild dies. So if you take TB's definition that HC means "you are willing to rearrange/schedule your RL around the game" means raiding is going to be smaller. I.e., I posit that raiding designed around preferring a relatively stable group of 2-3-5, light melee, with compatible time schedules is a significant barrier to joining the club.

One of the things that makes WoW raiding a bad design is the large granularity. Something like achievement points (not a fan but just an example): people expect a normal distribution curve with a few at the top. But because of raid lock outs and "guild run no PUGs" you have a couple of shots at relatively fixed times. So it doesn't take much RL interference or ingame drama to miss some raids and start a failure cascade.

A design more like EVE rather than WoW's "rush through 1-84 then the game begins" has different problems but avoids these.
A MMO system where the 1337 want few customers to have access to where the developers are spending the majority of their dollars is not viable long term.
 
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Hagu: So why would any game company design a game for these people who are toxic to their profitability?

Because the people making the game are game designers, not economists. It's easy to forget this part, since Activision/Bobby "Money Grubbing" Kotick acquired Blizzard, but game designers try to make a game that they feel is fun, not a game that they feel will make them billions. The designers' idea of fun may not match your own, but I suppose that's what the free market is for.

Hagu: Tobold is not saying there is anything absolutely preventing you joining the club, just lots of discouragements. [etc. etc.]

Rethink your post. No one here's saying that WoW in its current state is perfectly fine or even defending that point. You talk about ways in which WoW discourages people from continuing to raid, but no one here necessarily says that's a good thing. There's a difference between WoW discouraging casuals from raiding, and hardcore raiders discouraging casuals from raiding. We're talking about the latter.

/2 WTB an edit/preview system for blogger, pst.
 
The entire population of WoW is decreasing AFAIK, hardcore or not.

There is overwhelming evidence from all sorts of raid stat collecting sites that the number of raiders in Cataclysm is much smaller than the number of raiders in WotLK. Even Blizzard said so, when they postponed the introduction of new raid content due to lack of raiders. Meanwhile the casual players are happily leveling their umpteenths alt through the new Azeroth zones. To me that suggests that the overall decline in user numbers is mostly due to an exodus of raiders.
 
"but game designers try to make a game that they feel is fun, not a game that they feel will make them billions. "

True.

That is where my "adult supervision" comment comes in. Having passion for a quality product is important. If you want to do a self-funded startup to do as bizarre or niche of a game as you want, then great. (On the earlier mini-MMO post I thought that lots of cheaper MMO would help innovation.)

However, they work for a public company. They have legal and moral obligations to the shareholders.

Somewhere between the CEO and the game designer are people who are getting paid to ensure that the designer makes a game the customers want, not the game designer. It is a quite common failure mode for great companies to start to believe their press releases too much and lose touch with their customers.

If you want to go out and start your own company to do your vision, then great! Dozens of software companies are formed every day in California.

If you want the stability of working with a large public company who can afford a +$100 million budget, that's fine too. Although it does not have quite the cache in California as the startup.

Going to a company and wanting to write the game you enjoy instead of the game the company needs is quite common and understandable. However, if you are allowed to get away with it, that is bad management.

If you really enjoy EVE and get hired as a designer at Zynga is it OK if in the next release of Farmville that farms can be suicided by Goonswarm because that is what you enjoy?
 
Imho there are two reasons who make it difficult for new people to become raiders:

1.)
Taking in someone who is absolutely new at raiding is a great risk for a raid leader. This person is untested in absolutely every way. Maybe he turns out to be a movement cripple. Or a loot whore. Actually its very likely he will turn out a loot whore. Most of us do und many raiders don't even stay raiders (or even WoW-players) long enough to see the purples lose their shine. Maybe your new raider will find out that he doesn't enjoy the challenge or doesn't want to dedicate so much time. There are so many things it could go wrong and so few right paths. I have taken new players into my raids for about one year and I guess it were about 10% who turned out to be an asset.

2.)
Raids nowaday expect incredibly much from newbies. In Wrath I took a break after my raid imploded shortly before the release of Ulduar. Then I tried to join a raid who had just cleared the instance and was trying to do some hardmodes a while later. From the very first day I was expected to know the boss tactics of the complete instance including about 50% of the hardmodes by heart without ever having set foot into the instance. I'm not a slow learner, but I wouldn't have had a snowballs chance in hell if I hadn't been a experienced raider who knew most of the basic mechanics before.

In the end it takes about one year of raid experience to, half of that in a position where your contribution really counts, to make someone a valuable raider. If you can't find a raid who is patient and accepts that you will suck half of that time you won't have much fun raiding. And for a newcomer with a mind still unclouded by teh purplez its still fairly easy to see how to fix a situation where you have no fun..
 
The only people defending the raiders are, surprise, surprise, the raiders themselves. All the other commenters that aren't hardcore agree that the raiders are a closed club of not very helpful people.

EJ has all the information you will ever need to become a raider. All of the information is provided by (very helpful) raiders - specs, gear, rotations, boss tactics, everything.

If you want to raid, you can raid, there's always a route. I'm not sure what problems you have personally experienced but there are endless raiding guilds recruiting that would be more than happy to add to their numbers and odds are that you would be raiding within a week.

The issue here appears to be the perceived problems. I'm starting to wonder if the real problems are the attitudes of non-raiders.
 
To be fair, EJ is hardly a great source for a newbie aspiring to be a better player. For most people improvement is a continuous process, you don't go from zero to hero in one step but in many smaller ones. If you are fairly near the beginning of that journey, visit EJ and read something along the lines of "Sim your character to find out what specc is perfect for you, what glyphes you should use and what kind of name your character needs to let the mobs tremble in fear" then that person will slowly close the browser and tell himself that he doesn't wants to become a pro THAT badly.
 
If a wannabee raider takes his first look at EJ and slowly closes the browser and tells himself that he doesn't wants to become a pro THAT badly then that person would be probably be wise to avoid raiding and go back FarmVille. EJ is not a website purely for pro raiders, everything is broken down into fine detail and is very readable for all levels of players. Again, it's down to having the correct attitude.
 
Not my class, but 30 secs of browsing showed that aspiring bear-tanks won't even find a compilation-thread at all, just a bunch of tables and equations. For Enhancement-Shamans it offers comments to every talent on its own, but no clear recommendation how to skill. I'm sure there is more, but I think my point comes across. EJ is only as good and as beginner-friendly as the individual authors who write the guides. Some of them are, but others still follow the old "from theorycrafters for theorycrafters" and some specs simply don't have anyone writing much for them.
 
@Tobold

By your logic a pro sports team should accept anyone who wants to play for their team onto the roster, and take their time/money to train this person to a suitable level?

Have you ever followed sports...of any kind??

Because I'm nearly positive that most pro sports teams make up the tiniest fraction of people who play that sport...and some people are just better than others, *naturally*. The less talented ones might REALLY want to play pro, but unfortunately life isn't all sunshine and candies and you DON'T always get what you want.

But I guess MMOs should be all-inclusive and have no stratification of players whatsoever, right? Everyone is equal and everyone gets everything fair and even.

Ignoring the highly communist vibe here, doesn't it sort of take ANY meaning out of an accomplishment if it is literally handed to you on a silver platter?

And god forbid a small number of far more dedicated and skilled players are rewarded for thei efforts and make you feel bad.

Maybe I'm totally wrong, and MMOs really should be the one thing that certain people who apparently fail in every other aspect of their life can be rewarded for their suckage.

At least in RMT-based games like WoT these people actually PAY (more) to "succeed". I really don't understand why they can't stick to winning this way and not whine that some game has some content they weren't good enough for.
 
@JD: Maybe instead of ranting you should read ahead what my actual proposition is. Expressed in your sports team analogy, I do NOT demand that anybody can join a major league team. I demand that everybody can join a little league team, instead of just being to prepare by reading a text about the sport without ever being allowed to practice. You can't practice raiding today, because there aren't any practice-level raids on offer. You need to be perfect on your first raid.

@Dave: Would you be perfectly happy to raid with a main tank who has never raided before, but has read all the EJ information and did his build / glyphs / enchants according to EJ? The availability of INFORMATION is not the issue. The lack of availability of a training ground is.
 
@Hagu

You made at least one pretty ridiculous claim - your strawman argument that the l33t demand all development focus on raiding that "locks out" the majority of players.

Firstly, can you show me ONE example of even the most HC raider saying ANYTHING even remotely like that?

I am actually sort of shocked to see several commenters echoing this sentiment. The paranoia and envy is palpable. To be clear, i am not a raider in the least. However, it is so very sad to see all of you guys QQing and bitching at OTHER players based on what the DEVS are doing.

Do these "l33t raiders who hate casuals" have some sort of blackmail over Blizzard and secretly run the game? Do you people honestly believe Blizzard is retarded enough to just blindly listen to a small segment of their playerbase? Insanity.

If you could take off your care-bear studded goggles for a minute and actually read what the raiders are saying...their points are:

1) Yes, raiding will take some commitment of time and effort, but given this its almost impossible not to succeed.

2) Yes, not *every* player will see every bit of content a the same speed. But why can't their be SOME content that is more difficult to reach?

3) Most of the people bitching show no real drive or interest in raiding itself, in reality they just feel left out and want the same epic loot as the better players.

4) Without ANY challenge raiding becomes pointless.

I find it a bit ridiculous that you people keep using this strawman, its embarrassing TBH.

Secondly, your irrational fear of raiding has really skewed your perception. Have you even TRIED raiding? Or maybe once and didn't get your epix right away so gave up for ever? By all accounts its not exactly *hard* if you put even the smallest effort into it, and at the very least its very very possible to get decently into the progression.

p.s.

Your points are:

1) I should get any and everything anyone else gets. Its unfair if I am limited by my own skills.
2) There should be no challenge, difficulty, and/or accompanying rewards whatsoever.
3) Barring pure easy-mode raiding...updates should focus on the 'other' endgame activities instead.

Am I right?
 
To be clear, I'm not sure whether raiders would even notice or care if the dev money for "them" was scaled back.

Although the stats like "90%" etc are made-up anyways or based entirely on conjecture.
 
Thank you JD for so clearly demonstrating my point that raiders just say all sort of insulting falsehoods about non-raiders to keep their club closed and the other people out. None of the things you said about them even resembles remotely what the casual players are asking for.
 
Would you be perfectly happy to raid with a main tank who has never raided before, but has read all the EJ information and did his build / glyphs / enchants according to EJ?

Assuming that tank has progressed through the previous tiers of endgame 5-man content, i.e. the training ground, then yes, I would as I would expect him to at least have a reasonable idea of what he's doing. If that tank can find the appropriate level raiding guild, and there are plenty around, then he should have no problems getting a spot in a raid, even if his initial role is off-tanking.
 
To add, the comment regarding EJ was a counterargument to your point about raiders being generally unhelpful. I'd say the time and effort by raiders put into the guides, builds, etc, etc on EJ goes beyond helpful.
 
How many people contribute in a meaninful and helpful way to EJ? How many raiders are there? The existence of EJ doesn't prove that there aren't 99% of raiders that aren't helpful at all.
 
Re JD:

I repeatedly said believe there should be content that few people see. I also believe there should be content that most everyone sees. The problem is two (really one, slogging through the same fight with an additional mechanic has little appeal) difficulty modes are *impossible* to get correct with a population as large as WoW. ICC+30% was way too easy for a significant number of players; Cata in December was too hard for a significant number of players. The right answer for a mass-market MMO is having both. Niches like Darkfall have other options.

My argument is that a million hardcore raiders get more and better hardcore content if they are part of a game with 11 million subscribers than 2.

Shortening the leveling experience and making it less repeatable due to phasing is illogical if you are making Cata raiding less common than ICC; you should make more stuff for non-raiders to do if there is to be less raiding.

I think your sports analogy is quite apt: you need a Masters tournament where exceptional players play, but 99.9999% of the profits come from amateurs playing locally, and millions quite badly.

Also remember that good games and good businesses are not the same thing and are frequently the opposite: say you had the equivalent of the ELO chess ranking in WoW where you got a number that ranks you against all the other players. That would make for a better game. And it would be a *horrible* business decision for a gaming company selling ongoing subscriptions.

I see a lot of the suggestions I categorize as "I would definitely prefer this; it arguably makes for a 'better' game; and it will reduce a mass-market MMO publisher's profits."

re "Do you people honestly believe Blizzard is retarded enough to just blindly listen to a small segment of their playerbase?" I absolutely believe that; it is quite common in business. "blinders on" is a colloquialism used. I worked with someone who was with the #1 minicomputer company at the time. R.I.P. They surveyed their best customers and 100% - not most, all - said that personal computers would never be relevant. There is a recent book on "disruptive technologies." The investor Peter Lynch said "I want to invest in a company simple enough that an idiot can run it. Because some day an idiot will run it."

What % of the 13 million, I mean 11, I mean 10... subscribers have ever posted to a forum?

------

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growth-share_matrix

Activision's stock price in 5 years depends far more on whether Titan is a success than whether Cata is a success. Since WoW is a cash cow now, Cata seems like a poor business decision to me.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I think the comments by Dave and J.Dangerous are illustrative. They are indicative of those "in the club".

Raiding is so much more than reading a EJ post. We all know that.

I've raided in WoW, and also was a guild officer in the same guild for over four years (since left). I'm a vanilla WoW. Old School.

So me, n00b?

Don't think so. I play a tank because that's the most challenging role in the game. But you will never get me into a raid. Ever.

Raiding is a sub-culture (in a game) within a sub-culture (MMOs) within a sub-culture (Gaming).

Sure, raidng can be fun... But I think when you step outside the raiding sub-culture , which I have, you can see it for what it is.

Fun? Sure. Challenging? Yes.

A second job? Yes...

EJ is a great tool. But let's be honest, if I was to raid I'd need to do the following activities out of the game:

- read EJ for gear/stats/enchants'
- go to Tankspot etc. to see raid fights
- watch YouTube videos of fights
- Install Vent
- Install addons such as DBM, Omen, Tidy Plates...
- Change my UI

That's out of the game resources.

In game I'd have to:

- grind our faction reps for chants
- work out a way to farm/make gold to fund potions/enchants (usually a farming alt/AH mule)
- practice my rotations
- keep up-to-date with patch-notes about class mechanics, boss nerfs etc.

And so on...

That is a lot of work. Oh, then I have to find a guild that will let me tank, get into a group of people that I like, who might be tolerant of tiny mistakes and...

See what I'm saying.

It's an incredible threshold to cross.

Now, if a person wants to raid and do all that, all power to them.

I have a life to lead outside of WoW. I'm currently levelling my rogue alt via PvP and having a blast.

Nothing will bring me back to raiding. Actually, I'll go back to old raids after each XPAC out of curiosity to see the content and be a tourist.

The question not being asked is: what is the POINT of raiding.

So, anyone?
 
What "Skill" does these "Hardcore" raiders expect? are you fucking kidding me? MMORPG players have grown a lot of e-peens they are deluded. It's hilarious.

A StarCraft 2 guild require their memebers to have "Skill" make sense to me. A PvP FPS game guild require "Skilled" members to join make sense. But a "hardcore" MMORPG guild asking for "Skills"..... God that's funny!

What "Skill" do you need besides watching that fight once and know when to play the Chicking-Dance, then when to clap your hands and when to all sing together "I feel pretty, oh so pretty!". The whole Raiding crap is nothing but Simon-Says. I challenge anyone to convince me that it require "Skill" it just what you should do when this "scripted event" happen. The Boss goes to a specific status, you do something specific. Any monkey can do that, you call that skill?

I think "Hardcore" raiders want to believe that what they do is hard.. ooooh we can down this because we're hard core.. oooh we're bad asses. But reality is, their gear is the #1 reason why they down this boss. So, it's a gear progress first and a time investment. You have time? You're a hardcore raider. The whole contribute you do to your raid-group is really systematic. You're not dealing against other players you're just beating a Scripted Event. Big Deal.

I challenge any "hardcore" raider who has never played StarCraft 2 to join me in my team in a 2v2 game to show him how he really... really.. really.. lack skill (not gear) and there's no "scripted" event for me to explain to him "clap your hands when the opponent shoots at you". No, this time he needs to be skilled for real, not like what these hard core raiders want us to believe. They just like to stroke themselves thinking they're doing something "hard."

Deluded bunch.
 
MMO Tomb, nice strawman you made there. Nobody was talking about skills and I don't really see the hardcore guilds asking for "skills" as opposed to asking for caring about one's own performance.

Also, showing me that I am going to be bad in something I have never tried serves no purpose besides stroking your own ego. I was not born awesome and I had to learn everything I know, I am aware of that.
 
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