Thursday, January 22, 2009

Safety zone and Sarth+3

Larísa wrote a post about how good is the new endgame. While the content is available to everyone, including M&S who also pay subscription, there are challenges in special achievements like kill Sartharion with 1, 2 or 3 dragons up. This way everyone can find his game within the same content.

Yet it does not work so well. Tobold already asked why Sarth+3 is so unpopular. Back in BC there were progression guilds wiping 20x/raid on Kael, Mrs Naga, Mother or the "no glaive for Nihilum" guy. Do you know any guilds wiping on Sarth+3 for weeks?

Some of us have a hardly explainable drive within. We get bored with the things, even if acceptable and seek new adventures. I'm pretty sure Columbus had make pretty well as a merchant sailor on the Mediterranian. Yet he spent huge effort to assemble a fleet and drive it into the great unknown at the west.

Most of the people are fine within his safety zone and don't leave it until it becomes unbearable. For example the irish peasants suffered their landlors for decades, and emigrated only when they had nothing to eat.

This behaviour is solely responsible for all crisises in the world. When things are running suboptimal, most people do nothing. When things start to go bad, people whine and still do nothing. When things go very bad, people curse and whine and cry but still do nothing. When things finally collapse, they collapse bigtime causing huge damage.

The economical crisis of today is one good example. Everyone knew that the system where unemployed people get $100K+ loans and bankers are making seven figures over such activity cannot last. Yet no government made any moves since making moves are always risky. 5-10 years ago some regulations like "loans can only be given to 40% of the home's value" could prevent this collapse. Now it's going down.

Back in BC, if you were in a bad guild with M&S, you couldn't leave Karazhan, or maybe Gruul, Void, Lurker, Winterchill. You had to do the same boring instances with no upgrades for you again and again until eternity, knowing that others are having fun in BT or SWP. It was pretty strong motive to leave your useless guild.

Now you can see every content, you can raid anywhere. Most probably you can do the same with Ulduar too. You are maybe bored a bit, demand dragons (whine), but it's quite unlikely that many people will leave their guilds, risking ending up guildless. Not to mention that if you kill Sarth+0, you are saved to Sarth+3 too. If we add that while there were BT attempting guilds to apply to, and there are few to none Sarth+3 guilds, you have to take lot of risks to leave the guild.

So in the current endgame, if you are between M&S, your situation is not unbearable, just boring. Most people choose not to risk this safe, sure and boring situation for the "great unknown". So Sarth+3 is much more safer from us than Kil'Jaden.

Jaiihawk also made a very good comment: we are rational beings and the most rational way to kill Sarth is to kill his dragons first. Killing them in the same time is "stupid" and no one would do it without the achievement/extra loot. Even if you do it, you still feel akward.

13 comments:

Larísa said...

Haha, it took me a while to figure out that M&S was Morons and Slackers. I wonder how quickly it will spread as a standard abbreviation for this category.

About the topic: are you sure that the three dragon challenge is that impopular? And even if it is, that's a bit of the point isn't it? It IS supposed to be exclusive, something that only the best guilds will be able to execute.

My guild, which is raiding seriously but not at a hardcore frequency or level, will definitly aim for this achievement. We haven't been able to take him even with one drake up yet. but I'm conviced we will, and then we'll keep raising the level of difficulty until we're there.
It will take a little time though - we've only been into 25 man raiding a couple of weeks. But just because we're not already executing doing 3 dragon OS, it doesn't mean that we're turning our back to it because we're lazy cowards.

Carra said...

Yes, there's little incentive to move to a "top guild" these days. You're not missing on much content. Everyone can do naxxramas and sartharion. Malygos seems to be a bit harder but I'm sure my guild will eventually also kill him. I'm just missing out on some achievements. I doubt my guild will ever get Sartharion with 3 drakes up but that's not that bad as missing all of BT or Naxxramas in the old days.

As for the whole economic crisis, 40% of a house as a loan? Where would people get the other +100.000 euros to buy a house? Giving out loans that can be repaid at the income of someone is fine. The only reason that it did not happen is short term profit. The manager gives out a loan, he gets a bonus *now*. Who cares if those people can not repay in x years. A better solution would be to restrict loans to x% of someones monthly income. For example, monthly pay to banks can't go above 30% of someones income.

@Larissa. I'd say that sartharion with 3 drakes up is a rather rare achievement. On our server, 6 guilds have done it so far for 25 men, 2 for 10 men. Those are the "top guilds" from TBC.

Anonymous said...

On my server, one guild has done Sarth3D on heroic, and no one has done it on 10man.

Funnily enough, the same guild was the only guild on the server to clear SWP before the nerfpatch.

The content is still just as difficult, and naxx content is SUPPOSED to be easy. Kara was easy, but no one complained cause there was more content afterwards.

Theres too many people jumping on the "its too easy" bandwagon. Gevlon for example hasn't got the Malygos achievement, heroic or otherwise. Therefore he hasn't been a part of a group that has killed Malygos. Can't be that easy then, eh?

The "M&S" are not as common as Gevlon makes out either. For example, I'm currently in a top10 on my server guild. We've cleared 25man content (excluding sarth with drakes up). My previous guild, hasn't. They've recently cleared naxx10, and obviously sarth10+0. Does that make them Morons? no. Slackers? some of them. The problem theyre having is that having only one or two people in the raid who are not performing correctly, then it makes the whole thing alot harder. Think Grobbulus for example... it only takes one person to ruin it all.

The fact they've cleared Naxx is great, but they also cleared Kara and ZA in TBC. That doesn't mean any of it is too easy, and personally I think 10man content all the way to the endgame will be great for guilds like that.

Of course the other point, is that just because people have different objectives doesn't make them a moron or slacker.
(ie some people are not interested in having so much gold they can't spend it, and would rather have a good time raiding with friends than getting shouted at by a raid leader they barely know)

Yzy said...

To the previous poster: Kara was not easy at first, it was major work. Blizz didn't like the feedback they got and this is why Naxx is a walk in the park.

Despite the heavy handed comments GG I agree with GG, most ppl won't wipe 20+ times to get 1,2 extra loots and an achievment. Meaning finding your niche is EVEN HARDER than before. Plus achievs are a 1 time thing, so if you group does an achievment night it's going to be harder for u to get another to attend.

Socially these extra options are murkier and murkier...

Doug said...

Sarth+3 is an encounter that first stresses passing the idiot check. If any of your raiders gets hit by a flame wave, dies to the red circle of 1shot, or pulls aggro for any reason, your guild isn't up to the challenge.
Secondly Sarth+3 stresses being able to control the fight, handling the large of adds that spawn anywhere is crucial. If your healers cant stay alive because of adds, your guild isnt ready.
Lastly Sarth+3 is a gear/skill check. If your tank gets 1shot (and you cant effectively use cooldowns to prevent this), or your DPS/HPS falls behind at any point, your guild isnt ready.
If the above describes your guild, forcing Sarth+3 at this point is just a tremendous waste of resources.
Focus on Sarth+2 until you own the encounter, 0 deaths, 0 hits by flame wave and shadow fissure, 0 healers dead to forgetting they can heal themself, and DPS being as close to the requires Sarth+3 mark as possible.

Lance said...

I though M&S was Marks and Spencer…

The definitive difference in the past is the access to the content, the instances themselves. In the past most of the wow population never set foot in Naxx. Likewise (probably a smaller percentage though) in Sunwell. Nowadays everyone and their mother have killed Malygos and Sartharion.

What is important is that the distinction between casuals and hardcore* is based on aspects within an instance bracket. Sarth3D is hard, Sarth0D is easy. Both are though essentially the same bit of content though.

Exclusivity is not anymore based on where I have been but on what I have achieved, with the assorted rewards of course. Been in an instance is not any more constrained. ‘Where’ is not important. ‘How’ is.

I am not yet sure if this is a good or bad thing…

* Dare I say, this distinction is crude and inaccurate most of the times but I am trying to make a rough point -

Chad S. said...

Achievements right now are only minor bonus for many people - some points they may or may not care about. Sarth+Drakes is the only achievement that's paired with "real" bonuses (more items, mount).

I think Uludar, with the majority of bosses having "hard modes" with potential for bonus loot, will wake up some of the people whom are currently content to just run Sarth+0 & Naxx without achievements.

Herc said...

3D Sarth is fine. Prolly the only encounter in the game atm where people has to at least pay attention of where they are standing and have to go where you end up being dead if you fail.

2D/3D Sarth is unpopular because it's a big jump in difficulty from Naxx.

While others don't want to spend the time to learn the encounter there are guilds out there who will and who wants that extra gear with better stats ... and thats why they are labeled min/maxers.

Jaiihawk said...

One of the big problems with achievement-based difficulties is that it shatters immersion. A big, although in WoW mostly subconscious, part of fantasy MMOs is how the game draws you in and gets you to invest your emotions in order to get a greater emotional payout from the game.

Killing a new difficult boss is great because it is a discrete accomplishment. Seeing the boss fall dead prompts the emotional response of a victory because you have never seen it before.

Also, humans are rational beings. We take great joy in utilizing our rational capabilities to achieve a desired end: e.g. problem solving. Games are all about learning and problem solving. Killing Sartharion with 3 drakes left alive is illogical when you know you can just kill the drakes first to get at that nasty evil dragon alone. Achievements like that makes us act against our intuitions, something we do with much resentment.

Klinderas said...

I play a table-top game called Hordes, and in the rulebook, there was something I thought was very smart and true.

People will do nothing unless there is a major catalyst to provoke them to do something.

In that game, it was the fact that this guy was trying to get his own people enslaved so they could eventually break their bonds and be strong for it...

You need hardship in order to grow. That's how things work for most people.

It's those few people that have the initiative to do stuff in advance that gets you into history books. That saves or conquers, whatever.

Anonymous said...

Or... it's supposed to be easy, as they have said over and over and over and over and over again. IE there is no problem, except for the problem of people expecting the current content to match the difficulty level of old content.

rsm said...

As I recall from the other thread, elsewhere, discussing this: The loot/achievement vs. difficulty for Sarth+3 isn't worth the hassle. The incentive to try is simply too low for most players. This ties neatly in with Jaiihawk's comment about rationality. S+3 is irrational, and can't be justified based on the extra loot. I don't think that imbalance will go away for WoW in general.

This brings me to a classic point in MMO/Social gaming: What kind of gameplay do you like? What kind of gamer are you? This kind of content, i.e. achievements, caters to a very specific segment of the WoW population: Achievers/Explorers (in Bartle (http://mud.co.uk/richard/) test (http://www.gamerdna.com/quizzes/bartle-test-of-gamer-psychology) terms). Gamer DNA has a fairly good breakdown of WoW players into categories on Sanya Weathers' blog http://blog.gamerdna.com/blog/category/market-trends/ (some of the earlier posts).

With that in mind: the pvpers already have their playground (arena/bgs/world pvp), social players do what they do with the tools available, the problem group at the moment are the achievers/explorers who need their content fix - be it new mechanics, challenges or achievements. Thus it's really just a simple (and cheap) way to extend the content to please the part of your userbase that is most content and achievement-centric (Where is my solo Hogger before L10 achievement). Thus I think the reward/incentive scheme is probably off for some encounters from a rational perspective, but at this point I doubt they are catering to the players who are entirely rational where this is concerned. I'm pretty certain it's to the hardcore e-peen/bragging rights/number crunching group they are looking to with this kind of unbalanced incentive scheme.

One-Eyed Jack said...

I don't like 3D Sarth or any of the achievements, really. Something definitely feels weird about getting an achievement by doing something the wrong way.

3-minute Patchwerk and 6-minute Malygos feel more like achievements, because it's just altering a mechanic of the current fight (shortening the rage timer). Also, achievements like Shocking and Immortal are given for doing fights perfectly, which is nice.

Not killing spores on Loatheb or stopping the enrage on Faerlina is just dumb. It even feels dumb. These achievements are like rewards for being dumb, rather than rewards for doing the fight better or perfectly.

However, these achievements are still incredibly popular. I think people like the challenge. There are almost 20 guilds on my server that have done Sarth3D. That's a lot of time and effort.

I guess people have fun having challenges set, even when those challenges are prima facie dumb. The weird thing is, even though I feel dumb doing these achievements, I still feel a thrill when we get them.

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