Greedy Goblin

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A newbie and also hardcore friendly WoW raid mechanic

The recent results that shown that most players belong to the same spectrum while a smaller leech group intrudes them made me wonder how could Blizzard design raid content that support learning but doesn't support leeching.

The key feature of the raid encounters is "void zone", something that you shouldn't stand in. They can be fire, falling rock, belly of a Garalon, a hole below Elegon or anything. The main problem with the current design is that these void zones are either binary (you don't stand in them or die) or not your problem.

If the void zone is binary, it is extremely unwelcoming to new players and casuals since their worth in the raid is zero, as they are dead. Someone could be 80% as good as the best player on Patchwerk, but you can only be 100% or 0 now. So better players can do nothing than wipe and wipe until the new one learns the "dance". Or they can just disband the raid apply to a guild where people "can play".

If the void zone is not binary, it's "heal ffs". The damage dealers typically ignore it and whine if the healers fail to keep them alive. Content which is designed to weaker skilled players therefore become faceroll. LFR Megaera is Patchwerk. There is no middle ground. Until players are not oneshotted, they have little reason to care about void zones, so lower content has little learning value.

Let me propose a new design that allows the same content being newbie and hardcore friendly. All we need is to change void zones from damaging to stunning, CC-ing, taking away or placing DPS/HPS debuffs. The whirlwinds of Wind Lord Mel'jarak are a good example. There should only be unavoidable and tank damage to heal, void zones are not damaging anyone. If you stand in them, you are stopped from doing your job. If you ignore void zones, your DPS/HPS will suffer from it.

The difficulty of the raid can be adjusted by changing the necessary DPS to kill the boss before enrage and HPS to keep the raid up from unavoidable damage. The very same raid could serve as LFR and heroic, there is just higher DPS/HPS need in the latter. While the LFR version is doable if the average raid member is spending 1/3 of his time stunned, being stunned is not fun, so it motivates players to don't ignore the void zone. With this design you could not only learn the moves in LFR/normal, but your log is equal to HC logs. I mean if you did X DPS in LFR, it means you can do X DPS in heroic, and if X is enough, you are good for heroic raiding.

Currently playing "well" in LFR decreases your DPS as it forces you to move. The one who stands in the fire can beat you on the meters. The new design would change the damage done field of the meter into a universal "goodness" meter, as your damage depends on not standing in the voidzones. Adding an official damage meter would increase the learning value of LFR and dungeons and this could be completed by changing ilvl demands to DPS/HPS demands. The progression would be:
  1. Top level normal dungeon: anyone who has max level character can enter and the bosses don't enrage at all. But there is an achievement for doing X DPS on the endbosses who have voidzones. For healers it is to keep everyone over 50% all time, for tanks it is to avoid aggro loss (which happens if you are thrown away by some void zones).
  2. Heroic dungeons are available for those who have this achievement. The bosses are still lenient. However if you reach Y DPS, you earn an achievement to be earned.
  3. LFR is available for those who have this achievement from HC dungeons. As there are multiple healers, they are also ranked by healing done. The bosses have lenient enrages, but if your DPS/HPS on all bosses of the raids reaches 90% of what's needed on a normal raid, you get an achievement.
  4. This achievement would be a certificate that you can show to recruiting normal mode guilds. While you still need both gear and experience, you can prove that you learned the bosses and provide reasonable DPS for your gear. In normal modes you could earn the final level of the achievement if for all bosses your DPS/HPS reaches 90% of the heroic raid demands.
  5. With this achievement the HC guild can safely recruit you. While you won't top their meters, they can be sure that you need improvement mostly in gear as you have mastered the movement.


Balkoth said...

Coreus said...

There's been a bit of discussion on GC's twitter recently about using the type of mechanic you describe in future raids; one that doesn't deal damage but instead causes the player to deal less damage. I think it's a great idea.

I think the "heroic" raid you describe would end up being beaten in week 1 by every hardcore guild, or "mathematically impossible" for a few weeks due to lack of gear. The thing that makes Heroic raiding hard these days is having a several different challenging things that need to be co-ordinated by the raid, while daeling maximum damage.

Aziraal said...

The main idea i think in Gevlon speech is not the revamp of the void zone but rather the revamp of the progression.
Now, the only way to gain acces to higher lvl raids is to improve your ilvl.
But there are many ways to do that :
- grinding gold and buying crafts
- farming reputations + hero
- loot in the previous raid tier

None of these requires skills, juste time. You can be a completely bad player and stack in ALL void zone and still progress in iLvl and though; gain acces to the last raid.

Gevlon's proposition is : you gain access to the next tiers if you know how to play your class, if you can read the description of the boss and get the fuck out of its AoE.

One exemple is the Temple of the Jade Serpent hero. You gain an achievement on Wise Mari if you don't get hurt by the Corrupted Water. This is not completely easy but still not so hard if you understand how to play.

I think this kind of progression should be prefered vs ilvl progression

Anonymous said...

If void zones cease to deal damage, LFR will become bottable.

Chris K. said...

If void zones cease to deal damage, LFR will become bottable.

Simply not true. If void zones stun/silence instead of deal damage, wipes will go through the roof.

Do you know the #1 source of wipes in ToT LFR? The freaking bat packs before Tortos.

Andru said...

What about the return of 'good' voidzones? Or zones that are sometimes good sometimes bad.

There have been a bunch of them in Ulduar. Iron council, general whatshisface before Yogg Saron, Yogg Saron itself.

I cannot remember any other since then.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

Achievement as a gateway to content is an idea that's been hovering around in the air for a very long time now. Proving Grounds were supposed to be about that.

For some reason, however, Blizzard is not in all that much of a hurry to implement it.

Anonymous said...

Like K:D ratio gives a hint in FPS to performance (yeah controversial, in CTF the cappers don't have a K:D heavy roll; etc)

A "stayed-in:encountered-void-zone" ratio can hint to performance rather than having max epics on a CV to a professional guild.
But Blizzard will not introduce such statistics or achievements because M&S will see that they horribly suck!!! like back to WoWv staying in greens'n'blues and worshipping the minority of professionals in epics.
My best guess is that Recount (does still exist) can keep track on such things. So "the good" will have the ability and the tools to gather such data and provide such stats to people that can interpret those. (I don't play WoW2 and I have no clue what (top-)raiding guilds do too sort out M&S. I read some older Gevlone posts and I can only guess).

No official-system will help the good player, that for whatever reason think that there might be challenge in WoW2. WoW2 is dead weight and changed to the very social media generation to suck out their money. Not only that, that very pattern resonates well in profit hungry idiots like SOE, NCSoft or EA; gone are the days.

"Embrace M&S and you will be rich out-of-game and in-game" the later is the whole point of this blog.

Ted Atchley said...

How would you measure and award the achievement to Tanks?

Gevlon said...

Tanks are usually raid wipe if they mess up, so if you successfully tank a boss, you have the achievement.

Maybe some DPS requirement too.

Anonymous said...

I quite like this idea.
The trick though, will be to get them stunned early enough to not be able to deal damage to the boss unless they can break the stun sufficiently.
If players don't deal damage, they aren't eligible for loot.

Lothildin said...

You know what I would like to see back to raid content?
The way SSC was done, with a bunch of adds control through CCs, positioning and switches. Dealing damage was importante, of course, but not as important as using your brain.

Rob said...

As a long time raid healer, I think this is an awesome idea. There's a problem that comes to mind, though.

This system reduces raid composition flexibility for competent groups. In the current system, an exceptional raid healer can provide the group more DPS by telling the DPS not to move out of the void zones and just covering the damage. Under your system there's a maximum amount of healing, over which having a better healer doesn't really help the group.

The first few solutions that come to mind don't really pan out: Increasing the bosses' MT damage output would just raise the minimum skill requirement for main healers, and adding constant AoE damage to the raid would do the same for the raid healers.

I hope someone can come up with a good solution for this (and related problems of flexibility). It's a great start for a better raiding system.