Greedy Goblin

Friday, October 7, 2011

The pure "hard working" MMO raiding

In the previous posts I described that only those games can last long that challenge and hone one of the skills of the player. These skills are strength, dexterity, thinking and "hard working". I also pointed out that for the MMO model where you play the same match for years (opposed to thousands of short matches), only "hard working" skill fits. All the other skills are better honed and challenged by short matches with new opponents who fits your current skill. Also the "hard working" skill contains usage of previously gained resources, so you have to carry them over, while no such item is carried in dexterity-related games.

Yesterday I pointed out that WoW deviated far from this model, changing the endgame a totally dexterity one. The project undergeared proved that working on your gear is near worthless to do the endgame and you must work on your "skill". Unfortunately I did not realize that the "skill" is dexterity based, because the WotLK level of dexterity was trivial to me.

At first we have to answer why we need raiding at all? Why can't the game just be an endless leveling? I mean it's just rewriting a number to make WoW leveling 10000 hours long. The answer is not that leveling is boring (if it is, it's a design failure, it could be easily fixed by giving bonus for doing orange mobs/quests). The answer is that it's a solo activity. To evaluate your skills you must compare it to other people. This is the edge MMOs have over solo games.

Now let's see what raiding should not be: it should be not challenging in terms of dexterity or thinking. It should be testing your skill in hard working, the theme the whole game have. It should test your gear (your ability to get it) and your rotation (your ability to do your homework). Also, it should not challenge your social skills. The raids were downsized in WoW because of the organizational nightmare.

To create a such raiding the task should be obvious and the performance should be perfectly monitored. The job of the DD is to deal damage, the job of the healer is to heal, the job of the tank is to mitigate damage. Their performance can be evaluated by a single number: DPS, HPS and mitigation % over a successful bossfight.

Dance have no place in a "hard working" themed game raiding, mobs must only do damage to the tank (Marrowgar-cleave is adviced to allow more than 1 tank in a raid), and unavoidable raid damage. They can have adds that must be tanked, burned, or CC-ed but no jumping, LoSing, interrupting, using vehicles and anything like that. The boss is just a strong mob, but not fundamentally different from the kobolds in Elwyn, besides his hard or soft enrage mechanism. This way the performance can be evaluated by a single number.

Since performance is a single number, raids can be epic 40 men again without any organization or guilding. It can be simple LFR. You queue up selecting the target raid and "progress" or "farm". Each of the raids have pre-set performance values. For example "T1 progress" raid needs 860 DPS, 750 HPS, 45% mitigation. "T1 farm" needs 1000 DPS, 900 HPS, 50% mitigation. To queue up, you must have this value. The value is coming from your previous raids, for example the average value of the last 10 bosskills, excluding the best and the worst 2. For newbies it can be calculated from 5-mans, scaled up with raid buffs. The game obviously has built-in damage, healing and mitigation meter, and after a try (successful or not), the raid can replace those who don't hit the pre-set limit with a simple majority vote of thouse who hit the mark, no cooldown. This prevents the 5500 GS for Naxx nonsense, the values are developer-set. There is no need to know each other as your job is simply hit your performance limit. If you are doing 861 DPS, you are good enough for "T1 progress". If everyone else sucks, you simply vote them out until you get a good team. If you suck, you will be kicked. If you are kicked from two different raids in the same day, you are done for that day.

To allow friends to play together this performance demand can be tricked: you can queue up to be linked in performance. So if you do 1200 DPS and your friend does 800, the official damage meter gives 1000 DPS for both of you, so if you can carry your friend, he is immune to kicks.

Obviously there would be no gear resets in this game, the level cap is never elevated either. Every raid is gradually harder. For example T1 raid is doable if you do 50% of perfect rotation in full dungeon gear, so you can start a bit undergeared a few missing enchants and unpolished rotation. T2 needs 70% of the perfect rotation in T1 gear, and so on. Higher tiers need higher and higher perfection and gear.

How can newbies catch up? There are slots where gear comes from crafting, BoE, valor points, so someone who start playing when T5 is out can get T5 level gear into these slots, so his average gear is better than the gear of those who started early. Of course it applies only to a few slots and for most slots you can only get gear from raids.

Loot rolls shall also be modified by performance. If you do exactly 100% of the performance limit, your roll is unchanged. For every % you outperform the limit, you get +1 for a roll, for every % you are below the limit, you get -1. So if you do 120% of the limit, and roll 45, the guy who did 80% of the limit must roll 86 to win the loot. Of course you can only roll on items that belongs to your armor type and the spec you performed in the raid.

This kind of raiding would reward the "hard working" skill and also provide epic encounters where 40 people defeat some baddie and some of them get loot.


madscorpion said...

While i see your line of reasoning, i have to point out that something similar to this was what vanilla & TBC raiding had - and it was BORING.

Admittedly, it got boring a lot later than the current offerings but it still isnt an endless method of progression. Blizzard have been trying since TBC to spice up the experience and i think WotLK had some badly implemented good ideas and cataclysm was a total failure.

Anonymous said...

This sounds really boring and like no challenge at all. Once I got my rotation down and do 99.9% of my theoretical dps, what else is there? Where's the challenge for people that are not in a purely social guild to carry friends?

Why is it okay for adds having to be CCed, but not LoSed? Aren't both common pvp mechanics? And if we're talking pvp, isn't it very common that you have to move out of things like Ring of Frost before you are trapped? That you have to interrupt?

Where is the hard work in it? Isn't it hard work to wipe 50-200 times on each of the heroic modes before you finally manage to defeat it?

chewy said...

This is a good series of posts and as Squish commented yesterday a fresh topic makes your writing more interesting.

I very gentle caution would be that today's post hints at a false positive between the expectations of D3 and your opinion of WoW. Being different from WoW or even perhaps better doesn't necessarily prove your game design theories correct.

That said, I'm looking forward to more of these topics and it might even persuade me to try D3.

Oshen said...

The problem of the raiding is:

A lot of people who raid even the end game content are baddies. They use keyboard turning and have visual perception on the level of the mole.
They could raid only because by being carried by Boss Encounter Addons.
If addon doesnt show red signs I dps if it shows red sign I go out of fire. (I keep my opinion that it's those addons that killed the raiding)

Those people were very bad at this game and the only advantage they had was the time they could spend in game and commit themselves to raiding 7 times a week.

They avoided all sorts of PvP because they called it "not fun", but the truth was - they were so bad that they were facerolled every single time they stepped in BG or Arena.

My conclusion is:
Raiding (until 4.2) never demanded any skill, all of the good PvP-ers who had even slight interest in PvE were (and are still) doing great. Those pure PvE idiots with no skill were doing good because all you had to do to raid end game content was time but it's no more.

Is it good or bad for the game. Well in my oppinion it's good.

Unheilvoll said...

I don't find any "fun" in this scheme of raiding you are providing. It's ok to say that the actual "dancing" raiding model can be boring because of aliteration (every single boss that is not Baleroc in Firelands demands dancing), but it doesn't mean that we shoud adjust endgame style to the leveling style. I think that a new and incredible innovating model of leveling should be inverted: insted of "grinding"to level and dance (or hardwork) to raid, you should always dance-work. Instead of reformulate endgame raiding as the rest of the leveling experiencie, leveling experience should be revamped as a dancing and as a dexterity style of game.

We can all agree that the most finest raiding experience came from Ulduar. Now imagine projecting that kind of gaming to all the leveling experience. That's the Warcraft game that would never die (and probably would never exist).

Cathfaern said...

I think that WotLK raids was ok. They had some dexterity based element, but most of them (well except for sindra and lk) could be overgeared. For enrage timers (Festergut) it's trivial, at the end of 3.3 you even don't have to do the spore "dance". For avoidable aoe damage the healers could overgear them, and thanks to the infinite mana, they could heal these people. And etc. So with hard working (getting the crafted gear, reputation grind, weekly hc grind, etc) you could skip the dexterity part.

Maybe the best solution would be that you could craft gear for every slot. But not this kind of easy gear (which could gather with max some day of farming, or with a small amount of gold), and they wouldn't need raid drops. But they need many soulbound items, which could be gathered by dailys, or farming. There would be open world elite mobs again, which couldn't be soloed, but they would drop more of these soulbound items.
We need the soulbound items so people couldn't buy the gear only with gold. You wouldn't need the soulbound item to craft the gear, instead the crafter would only make a half-done item, and you need to complete it, by combining it with the soulbound items.

This way at the start of the new raid tier, you have two choice:
- you choose the dexterity based gaming. It's the only way now, you start doing raids in low gear, doing the dance
- Or you choose the hard working style, which mean you go farm (including those elite mobs with raid / group), gather those items and craft some gear. After that you could go the raid and do it with skipping the dexterity part, because you are getting overgeared.

Of course it needs WotLK style raids, where with overgear, you can skip the dance.

Tithian said...

I just want to point out something about WotLK raiding: the first 2 tiers were NOT dexterity based, well, in most cases anyway.

Naxx had 1 dance and all other fights were about positioning correctly, with a margin for a delay or error, while doing what your class is supposed to do (kill, heal, eat punches in the face).

Ulduar's bosses were mostly about performing correctly. Adds needed to be burned (Yogg Saron, Razorscale, Freya, Thorim), other fights were intense dps races (Hodir, Council), others challenged healers and tanks (ie. mana management during General, unforgivable damage for tanks during Algalon).

Things were a bit more dexterity based during Hard Modes (i.e. reaction times during Algalon were kinda brutal) but the fights in their core were about performing correctly and reacting to the encounters in a smart way, not an overly "dexterous" one.

Still, if you ask raiders today what was their favorite raid in WoW, most people will admit that Ulduar is at the peak.

Things became more and more gimmicky with the Colliseum and onwards, with Halion being the epitomy of "Dance" during a raid encounter.

Gevlon said...

@Unheilvoll: leveling must be matched to endgame, or those who level up will hate the endgame and leave and those who would like the endgame don't level up.

Anonymous said...

Personally I wouldn't mind such a system. However, even though 'rotations' have gone up in overall difficulty over the years, they are still pretty damn easy to execute. After an hour of reading and getting used to hotkeys, you could reach at least 95% of the theoretical maximum performance even with the hardest specs. A couple of more hours to refine it and you'd be at 98% with the most complex specs and 99,5% with the easiest ones.

"Dance" makes those things a lot harder. If there are specific burn-phases, cooldown management matters a lot more. If you have to dodge stuff, it might be beneficial to not use your instant cast spells if you have to move within 3 seconds. Things like that are quite encounter-specific and not completely obvious, so a player who might reach 99,5% performance on Patchwerk is reduced to 95% (or even less) on Firefighter. Not to mention that raid mechanics divide your attention so that you can't focus exclusively on your role.

It's hard for me to imagine hotkey-based combat where the peformance difference between players was large enough, at least when experienced players are concerned and the community has established optimal ways to perform. Yes, WoW always distinguished a well-read raider from LoLArthasDK (who might have done less than autoattack DPS), but for the former luck affects the performance a lot more than skill. Even though I'd like an effort-focused system, I also believe that "skill" should be a factor of some sort at beating the hardest content. Unless playing was really fun by itself or Blizzard really managed to up the rotation difficulty somehow, I could see myself losing interest if the only way to improve my nigh-perfect play was to gather more gear and I could beat bosses with one try if my group was good enough.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of this and enjoy this recent analysis. Amen to the not being challenging in terms of dexterity; if you want an FPS, play an FPS.

A minor quibble is that it is tough to get a single, valid performance level number. E.g., 100% DPS on boss is higher meter than interrupts, decurses, kiting, switching to adds, etc.

A more significant observation is that it is a choice, one I would favor, to not challenge your social skills. But it is not a requirement for a good MMO. Perhaps an MMO where who you do it with and how well you work together is at least as important as which buttons you press in combat. A common situation in EVE Online is that members of well-run/going well corporations sign in and do more than members of corporations who are upset at their leaders/team members performance.

And as long as raiding remains a group activity, then isn't your interaction with the group a skill that influences success.

Which is a better raider - someone who does 21000 DPS and fills chat with anal and racist jokes or someone who does 5% less but is a model of reliability and politeness? I believe back in your under geared days you would choose a very good player doing 4000dps in gem/enchanted greens over a less skilled player doing 4300dps missing some gems/enchants on their purples.

Similarly, if raiding is a team sport, then someone who can commit to 19:00 to 22:00 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday is more valuable than someone who can not.


THe problem with @Oshen is that a significant % of *any* game are "baddies", regardless of their skill. If the worst ten million WoW players left, then several hundred thousand of the remaining million would be considered "bad" by Oshen, even though they are above the 90th percentile of current players. "good" and "bad" are not objective; they are subjective and relative to your peers. Any for-profit game that constantly demotivates and drives away their worst players is giving up a lot of income as today's below average players become tomorrow's worst-and-going-to-unsubscribe as it sheds players at the bottom. In some sense, Oshen may be correct that it makes for a "better" game. However, a for-profit company driving away millions of customers is dumb.

Alleji said...

I like the proposed raid model. I always thought it would be great if good performance was actually rewarded with loot. The minimum DPS/HPS/mitigation requirements also sound great until you realize that people can pad meters to get better rolls... imagine all the healers who decide to spam aoe heals to get the most targets healed up after some raid-wide damage instead of focusing on topping off the tank. That tank just might die and cause a raid wipe just because healers were trying to maximize their chances at loot.

Andru said...

Gevlon, you're making a huge mistake with this post.

A game doesn't change. Once I learned the game that's it. If I learn 99% of the game, and I do 99% of my theoretical DPS output, there's nothing more to learn.

How can such a supposed game challenge me?

Ok, more tiers of gear. Fine. Except that's boring. I wouldn't find a game compelling in which T10 is T9 with OVER 9000 more HP tacked on bosses, but the same mechanics. Nothing changed except bigger numbers? Woop de doop, that sounds exciting. Not.

Ok, maybe the game can make it so that difficulty is leveraged. Such as increasing my DPS from 99% to 99.01% would allow me defeat a new tier, by leveraging my output. That's fine, except it locks out those who are physically incapable of improving past that 99%. (That's the good part.) Not to mention that it would allow for odd situations in which literally 1 extra str would make or break your character. (Bad part.) Plus, how many tiers can you fit between 99% and 100%?

If you scale back the difficulty of T1 to, say, 70% of theoretical maximum, everyone capable of performing above that 70% will find content trivial. What? We could impose diminishing returns (inverse leverage) on improving past 70%, but that breeds mediocrity. Why would anyone improve past 70% if the game whacks you over the fingers and says: "No! Bad min-maxer!?"

Ok, then we have one more solution! Throw the game into chaos every tier. Last tier str increased melee damage? No more. This tier, str increases mana regen, dexterity increases spellpower and intelligence increases movement speed. This would make all knowledge gained by the playerbase erased, and start over. New theorycraftingm, new rotations, new everything.

Except this would make the game spastic. People complain about gear resets, can you imagine the outrage on knowledge resets?

There is no solution. Old game is old. As opposed to fixed games, PC games have a VERY fast innovation/obsolescence cycle. Do you realize that, what we call the 'Golden Age' of PC gaming was less than 15 years ago?

While football has had a lot of improvements made to it, as well as shooting several football branches (rugby/american football), it was nowhere as fast as PC gaming.

It's just a quirk of PC. And I would have it no other way. Stagnation breeds mediocrity. I'd rather that PC games reinvent new concepts every 5 years rather than have a stable game for several years.

Samus said...

I think PvE arena might serve as a better end game. No matter how skilled or unskilled, teams can reach a 50/50 win/loss ratio very quickly. Opponents are consistent (in PvP arena, you often face teams nowhere near your skill level), and there is no waiting for matches. You can "work hard" by gathering better gear and gradually improving your rating.

Anonymous said...

I don't think is only the mechanic of the fights, it's also the "immersiveness" of the setting.

Ulduar was very immersive with interesting story unfolding right in the raid, a reason to fight the various bosses which was more than "they're bad and drop loot", actual interaction with friendly NPCs which added to the experience.

TOC was as simple as you can get with the "scenario", but at least they added some story unfolding there too, with the quarrel between alliance and horde and the LK's appearence.

ICC had some similarly interesting parts, the most prominent one the very nice Deathbringer event.

BWD, ToT4W, BoT and Firelands are *barren*. There are 2 Npcs in the Firelands to allow players to to repair and buy stuff inside the raid, and that's basically over (excluding Rag Heroic).

Michael said...

First of all, your proposed game fails the most important criteria of a good game. It's not fun.

Also, why do you want there to be only one progression path, based on your 'hard working'? Why not lots of different activities, some that appeal to people who like thinking games, others to people who prefer dexterity games?

Gevlon said...

@Andru: what makes raiding fun is that after every wipe or kill the official performance meter pops up and you see your 99% performance throwing you to the top 5 out of 30 damage dealer, or as #1-2 for tanks, healers. If you are not there you can compete with the other players.

Liore said...

"What makes raiding fun is that after every wipe or kill the official performance meter pops up and you see your 99% performance throwing you to the top 5 out of 30 damage dealer, or as #1-2 for tanks, healers."

Wait, THAT'S where the fun comes in? That's a pretty limited definition of fun: seeing your name high up on a list. I'm assuming if the meter is the final say that there are no interrupts, no spell-stealing, no CC. Just stand and shoot.

How do you even measure who the "top" tank is? It can't just be the one who takes the most damage, because one also takes damage by doing stupid things. And don't get me started on how chart-padding healers are actually the least deserving.

I understand that the current raid content is frustrating for some people, but stripping any thinking, moving, or stuff beyond hitting your "shoot" key over and over to get higher on the charts is really not the way to go.

Cyrell said...

A lot of people in these comments bring up the reason that what Gevlon is saying is boring and that they've tried all this in Vanilla and TBC, Everquest, other games and whatever. But the truth is, it's not boring at all, it's just that these people have burned out from whatever game they're playing and are ready to move on without realizing it.

If WoW was left the way it was and it was still like Gevlon is saying, then it would be a hundred times better than what it is now. Sure, you may not be playing it, but who cares? If you're done with something then move on. If you want to come back for old time's sake then do so. But for heaven's sake, the way raiding is right now is a complete nightmare. I'm not interested in the dexterity game. If I wanted that, I'd play my SNES emulator and load up Super Mario Bros. Platform games are cool, but not when the other 8 people in your group aren't good enough for them.

I'd like to use my class skills once again in WoW and not be prohibited from doing so by idiotic mechanics. Or have to weave 50% of my capabilities into 50% of dancing around.

Until then, I'll stick with PvP. If I get sick of WoW, there's always SWTOR and GW2 just around the corner.

Anonymous said...

This version of raiding sounds like every raid would be a Patchwerk-style tank-and-spank.

The performance board will be dominated by 100% execution players and among them, it will be gear-driven. The player with the better gear ranks better than the player with slightly less. In other words, when the official meters pop up at the end, you see everybody who overgeared the raid on top. Anyone doing the raid in appropriate gear will be on the bottom of the list since the real scrubs will have been kicked out.

People who want to see themselves on top will queue for raids they overgear. People who don't care about the meters will be grouped with people who do and find that drops are weighted to favor those who already overgear the raid and thus don't actually need the drops.

And because there are no gear resets or increases in level cap, the end game eventually results in all long-term players acquiring all of the best gear. Since everything is purely tank and spank, they end up doing the same rotation in the same gear with the same outcomes for no progress.

Nothing more to work for. That's the end of your endgame.

Anonymous said...

@Cyrell, you realize that wow pvp is "weave 50% of my capabilities into 50% of dancing around", right?

It's a combination of dexterity (reaction time and hand-eye coordination), thinking about the patterns you see and how to counter your opponent's tactics and strats and the "hard working" result of gear and class research.

The big difference is that the "dance" changes from match to match and failing usually just means that the rogue sends you to the GY instead of you wiping the raid and everybody ending up at the GY.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of people who think that Ulduar was the pinnacle of raiding. (Although I enjoyed Naxx-80 quite a bit as well.)

As somebody already pointed out, Ulduar had the right/best combination of "play your class well" and interesting fight mechanics (excepting Flave Leviathan).

But Naxx had more of that stuff than people give it credit for as well. In addition to the "dance" fight, there is:

- the +/- boss
- the kite-around-the-room-out-of-slime-and-run-out-when-you-get-the-debuff boss
- the stop-mindlessly-dpsing-and-get-your-healer-out-of the web boss
- the get behind the iceblocks or die boss
- kill adds on one side then they respawn on other side so DPS evenly boss

Those types of mechanics where you have to learn something, but not an 80-step coordinated run-stop-DPS-stop-flip-switch-run-in-circles-DPS-jump-exactly-three-times stuff that's completely different from fight to fight now, creating the lack of progression that Gevlon bemoans.

In my opinion, the problem comes from lack of good creativity. In order to create more individual fight mechanics of the "right" level of difficulty without endlessly repeating (e.g. reusing "get behind the frostblocks away from the dragon" in ICC), it requires very high creativity, which I think the encounter design time currently working doesn't have.

The current designers make up for this shortcoming by making the encounter more and more complicated because from a distance this looks a lot like creativity.

So I agree with the people who say "pure do your class' role right" is too boring, but I definitely agree with Gevlon that the current "cure" is worse than the disease.

Although I have to say I think I would be fine for every other boss or maybe 1-in-3 to be pure DPS race vs. enrage timer, just from a pacing standpoint.

There is also room for occasional (1-in-4 to 1-in-6) fights where the "challenge" is quietly solved by the raid leader before the fight ever starts by bringing the right comp or splitting groups properly, etc.

I think I would also set up the raids to be completed by 8 (for 10) or 20 (for 25) perfectly skilled world class people with proper gear. The rest of the world can defeat it by filling out the roster with people who aren't worse than useless and by overgearing the content.

I do wish the game rewarded and recognized people who completed raids with fewer people or lower gear levels. That would at least create a field for superior players to compete with each other on, even in a world where scrubs can defeat the same content by farming up 10,000 valor points worth of (over)gear until they can down the boss by bashing their faces against it.

The first thing I would do is make the boss's valor points (or whatever) like gold: a fixed pool that gets divided among the people who down it. And I would maybe only give points and gold to the people alive at the end. Or maybe divvy it proportional to each person's activity.* And I would track and report the total ilvl of the groups that downed the boss, to give groups like Undergeared proper, official bragging rights. Plus achievements / extra rewards / titles based on what gear level you were(n't) wearing when you downed the boss.

Recount tracks a stat called "activity" that attempts to come up with one number that measures how busy/useful a person was, regardless of role. So the number people are rated on doesn't need to be pure DPS/HPS/mitigation, it can include stuff like interrupts, dispels, cc, and avoidable damage taken. Obviously for Blizz to use such a scheme they would need to keep it close to the vest and probably tweak it from time to time to limit gaming.

Ninahagen said...

What would be the downsides of a system where

- gear progression, stat wise, is removed.

- you don't gain level anymore, but you unlock your spells when completing one or another chain quest (lore of one zone).

- you still may spend some time to get equipement, if you want to change your skin.

- you still may spend some time to get achievements (and no stupid achievement).

- Dungeons and raids have multiple levels of "difficulty" (trivial numbers like numbers of mobs or PV or damage-modifier). It's easy to have alot of levels here (5+).

- Dungeons and raid have two (or more) modes. Difference with difficulty is that ennemies have a better IA, and some skills more. It's the same thing as normal mode and hard mode.

- You can do any raid with any number of raiders between 10 and 40. The numbers of ennemies, their pv, their damages, etc..., auto-adjusts (that is easy, same thing than difficulty).

- Reputations are fluctuating, can drop, rise when you do territorial activity. Purposes : unlock optionnals hard modes in the raid/dungeon faction-related, sells fun consumables like noggenfogger.

- The easy difficulty cannot be unlocked for the last released raid.

- Doing more difficult content allows you to personnalize more your toon (his look). Gives titles, vanity pets, mounts, as usual.

- Aeroported goblins helps you putting items in the AH.

- No more capital-only general-chat. Either no general chat, either everywhere.

In this system :

- PvP is easily balanced.

- Good players are rewarded, but not by giving them more stats (they do not need it in pvp for instance, since they are already better, and in PVE you only need stats because Blizzard artificially rises numbers in the next raid, that's stupid).

- When Blizzard add PVE content, it is truly an addition. In the current model, whenever you gain stat, old PVE content becomes easier, and boring to do (and doesn't give the best equipment).

- You control what dungeon or raid you want to enjoy. You control the difficulty level. You control the size of your group and no player has to be put aside one evening, nor the absence of one player put the raid at risk. You control your look (Blizzard did that already).

- Solo content is allowed to become wider : you can wander anywhere (world pvp) and still use the AH or use the general chat.

Ninahagen said...

Oh and I forgot :

- You may spend less time levelling your toon if you just don't like questing. You still have a minimum to do. On a side note, it is known the there is a big difficulty difference between questing (levelling) and endgame. You don't need to be skillfull AT ALL in order to reach lvl 85. That should be changed. Faster (if you want), but harder levelling experience is needed. Hogger is liked, or remebered, because he killed us. Dying solo and learning solo is better than learning everything 85 (in a group with 4 people suffering your lack of skill).

Anonymous said...

What do you want from a game?
Beeing the best?
Cause currently you can have it either way either you dance or you work hard for better gear to make it even with worse dance abilities.

I like this style as it rewards good players with less time needed to progress and the baddies still can progress through more dedicated work

Cyrell said...

"Cyrell, you realize that wow pvp is "weave 50% of my capabilities into 50% of dancing around", right?"

I know it's fun to compare bad players to predictable AI, but that's not entirely what I meant...

Foo said...

So; Archaeology is a suitable profession? Hard work for some reward?

Monkeys that stand in the fire but researched a rotation a year ago top meters?


Or is the issue that you had some ideals (essentially asocial) that WoW is not set up to show works best; As such; you want a government ('developer') mandated game system where asocial ideas work best.

simrock said...

I must say, I can't understand what so many people are complaining about at the moment.

Most of the mechanics used in Firelands aren't actually new. Let's walk the bosses through step by step.

- old mechanics: traps aka don't stand in the fire / void zone
- new mechanics: reset your debuff by running around

- old mechanics: two layered fight (Kalecgos - SWP / Halion - RS), kill adds before they reach a mob (XT - Ulduar)
- new mechanics: taunt spinners to switch layers

- old mechanics: kill adds according to priority (duh!), don't stand in the fire
- new mechanics: steer the boss to run over volcanoes

- old mechanics: don't stand in the fire (idc if they are moving or not), kick the casts
- new mechanics: feathers make you faster (does that actually count?), flying around (not even required anymore), tanks kite and kill adds

- old mechanics: tank 'n' spank, hard hits
- new mechanics: selective debuff stacking, healers get buffs from/for healing

- old mechanics: tank n spank, don't stand in the fire, bomb (Baron Geddon - MC, just more people)
- new mechanics: spread out/move together to switch phases, proximity based damage distribution (already had this with Baleroc)

- old mechanics: don't stand in the fire, knockback (Al'Akir - Tot4W, Broodlord - BWL [without the silence])
- new mechanics: trigger the traps, dodge the moving flames, spread out then run away when seeds come to AoE the adds, kite meteors

I didn't list the hard modes, because people doing serious hard modes and complaining about difficulty might want to consider doing sth else, i.e. doing non-rated BG's (sorry if I may sound elitist).

So overall, there are some new mechanics, but nothing gamebraking imho (except Ragnaros, but he's the final boss of the patch, LK also wasn't exactly easy ;) ).

I happen to be one of those that did all of the raids during their time, even though i didn't finish all of them.
My impression of the raid styles during the expansions is as following:
Vanilla - Try the bosses until you get enough gear and consumables to beat them. Class roles and so forth weren't all that important back then. Biggest problem was possibly the ability to gather 40 people willing to grind the bosses.

TBC - Almost every boss got a simple nice unique ability the raid had to get used to and get the hang of it. Gear was still important as you weren't able to gear up with points or what it was called back then. But you were able to carry 2-3 people 2 tiers behind everyone else.

WotLK - Yeah, every boss got an ability to watch out for as melee or ranged. But otherwise, raiding and killing bosses was so easy, you could carry 5-10 people. No ability was actually able to kill your raid if someone failed it.

Cataclysm - Every boss got an ability to kill your entire raid, but at the same time gear requirements decreased and you are able to kill bosses with skill.

You gradually see a development from 'gear is more important for progression than skill' to 'skill is more important than gear to progress'. Actually, wasn't this part of what you wanted to proof with the undergeared project? That skill can also kill bosses and you don't need a GearScore about a quadrillion points?

>> 2nd part in the next comment

simrock said...

>> 2nd part

From a DD perspective, there is another subtle change, that went with the expansions. In vanilla WoW a lot of raids didn't priorize healing Damage Dealers. It was, get hit by the ability and run out to bandage yourself or wait until a healer showed some pity. Almost all damage was avoidable back then, and you were expected to avoid it. TBC introduced unavoidable AoE damage done to players and healers had to heal them up, as it was part of the encounter. In WotLK you had a lot more of these abilities and most damage dealers were given some abilities to mitigate the damage taken in case of emergency. Now with Cataclysm you are again expected to avoid a lot more abilities, than it was in previous expansions, as healers are no longer able to coap for someones inability.

Healing styles also changed a lot with the expansions.
In Vanilla, Healers were forced to build so called rotations, where a team of healers was actually healing and the other team was just regenerating Mana. No mana regeneration in-fight / while casting during vanilla.
This changed over the time until it came to its peak during WotLK, where healers had practically infinite mana, due to their high regeneration. Also Heals got alot bigger, a tank could be healed by 50-75% life with a non-crit fast heal during ICC, the only limit was your cast time or in some cases even GCD. With this healing enviroment every DD could be healed to full with a single spell.
The devs reaction to this development was, that the bosses got a lot more one-hit kill abilities and got a lot more hard hitting, to compensate for the insane output provided by the healers.
Now, in Cataclysm, healing has changed a lot, mana conservation is once again an issue. You heal too much means again, you run out of mana and someone will die, because you can't top them off again, on the other hand, if you conserve too much mana, people will die, because you just didn't heal them. There now again has to be kept a balance between output and conservation. But conservation can be tricky if you always have to get someone up again because they stood in the fire.

In my opinion skill in WoW encompasses the ability to play your class, be it rotation/priority systems or whatever to maximize your DPS/HPS etc.. It also includes the ability of a player to learn from mistakes or inform himself up front about what to do.
But it also requires a general awareness. Assuming you know everything there is to know about a specific encounter your class and so on, but are unable to use your knowledge, because you are reacting to slow for whatever reason (watching TV while raiding is generally a bad idea if you don't want to be yelled at, btw), you won't be able to reach your maximum potential. This happily coincides with the old statement from the vanilla days "A dead rogue does 0 dps".
This is basically what separates a good player from a mediocre one.
This whole skill thing is always shifting and is, as said before, just my opinion.

All in all, the current raids require a lot more attention from the participating players than any expansion before. I'd like to see this as an opportunity to improve your overall awareness and reaction. Especially the current tier appeals to veteran raiders, as it is a lot more dynamic than any previous content. It is much more immersive in the fights themselves than the previous ones.

Sorry for the wall of text

Cathfaern said...

Gevlon, you're missing a point as some people already pointed it: it's really really easy to reach your theoritical dps in a tank&spank fight. You just practice a few hours, and thats it.
But you're right in that, that the main difficulty on a fight should be your rotation and to get enough gear for that fight.
So we need something which makes harder to do the proper rotation... maybe we need to somehow interrupt the players (not with an interrupt spell, but with some mechanism). There are several ways to do it:
- bring adds, which you need to kill
- bring some random aoe, from which you need to stand out
- bring some special moving (for example you get debuff, and you have to run out from the raid with it)
- etc.

They make the perfect rotation harder if not impossible. Also, they make the fight more interesting than simple tank&spank.

But! We shouldn't bring too much of these mechanism. Only 1 per fight (or at most 1 per role, if the mechanism can't affect all people).

In BC/WotLK Blizz did exactly what i wrote, and that's why it was so popular.
Some example from ICC (most people know that raid):
- 1 mechanism for tanks (fire dance)
- 1 mechanism for dps (need to dps spikes)
- 1 for healers (increased raid dmg while boss is spinning)

Adds for dps
Add tank / taunt for tanks
"tank&spank" for healers

It was the black sheep in ICC. For some people it was just mindless aoe (on your ship), for some using vehicle where you just pressing 1 button mindlessly, for some using some jumping rocket (wth)... etc. It was complicated in mechanism, thats why blizz tuned so down, that it was still a faceroll. They should see the fail of the dexterity based raiding here: if they want people to do it, they need to nerf it to faceroll.

Taunt for tanks
Adds for ranged dps
t&s for melee dps
marks for healers

taunt for tanks
moving for dps (and some healer)
switching between aoe and single target heal for healers

t&s for 1 tank, kiting for the other
moving for dps
moving for healers

etc. don't want to list all of the ICC fight, but except LK all of them had only 1 mechanism for every role. Sometimes only t&s for a role, which is acceptable, because they could rest a bit on that fight or they could race in meters (every melee was looking forward to Saurfang, so they could race which one of them can do the best dps).
There was only two exceptions of this: Gunship (which was hated by everyone) and LK (which was the endboss, so increased complexity is OK for him). And except for gunship I don't know any boss which was hated by mass of people. And almost every people say that ICC was one of the best instances (even HC ones! though they mainly for LK HC and Putri HC).

But if you would go back, and look at other "best raid ever" instances (Ulduar, BT, even Sunwell) the bosses skill was like I described before. Not over complex like in Cataclysm, and not simple tank&spank like in vanilla.

The problem in Cataclysm is not the dance, but that you have to do several dance at once. And to make it doable for "normal" people, they had to make it gear independable, which is really not fun in an MMO. (It's fun if you can kill a boss in low gear if you really skilled, and you can kill it will low skill if you really overgeared, but it's not fun, if it almost doesn't matter if you have low or overgear).

Anonymous said...

The problem is, if it is all skill, gear doesn't help with progression.

My gut feeling is that Blizzard is overemphasizing 'dance' fights over 'gear-check' fights. Some bosses should be 'dance' fights, but any bosses in the direct line of progression probably should not be gear-independent.

At the same point, the continual gear resets should stop. Sure, some better, easy to get gear should come out during an expansion, but complete resets every 4ish months??

I do believe that expansions should reset gear, for fairly obvious reasons. But, otherwise, no. I also think Blizzard should take some of their enormous profits and make a fairly large amount of unique, hard to solo content - like the priest and hunter quests in WOW classic.

Part of progression is memorable rewards - getting Benediction was probably the high point of my WOW career. That, and wiping to Ragnaros.

chewy said...

I'll suggest a variation on your theme Gevlon which gives people a choice: PVP, PVE Explore and PVE Raid with non of these categories overlapping in respect of gear, spec and so on. A single character having the ability to change their spec/gear/etc to participate in any category.

The "PVE Explore" allows players to collect gear through exploration and defeat mini bosses when their gear or skill is appropriate.

The "PVE Raid" content equips players with best in slot to begin with and the difficulty increases with each tier of bosses/raids.

The "PVP" I can't really comment on since I don't play that category today. I include it for completeness and for others to comment.

It's an extension of the current spec based mechanic we have today but without overlap.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't work that way Gev.

Because although gear may not make the difference success wise, it certainly can make a small difference performance wise. And tactically only a complete moron would award a very slight upgrade to Player A who's doing 10000DPS and will now do 10100DPS instead of awarding it to Player B who's doing 8000DPS and will now do 9500DPS with the upgrade.

This is why loot councils exist in higher end progression content, while something might be an upgrade for both players, it might be EXTREMELY marginal for one player, and game-changing to another.

Anonymous said...

What Blizzard would need to do to improve my raiding experience...
(1) Provide a roughly 60/20/20 mixture of Classic/WOTLK/Current raid content - with most current raid content being optional
(2) Measure performance in 5-mans and raids and use that performance to gate access to various raid instances