Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What They Need to do with Raiding

Mer's favorite raid strategy: Lie there dead while the boss blasts the $#%@ out of somebody else
This is a long loaded topic for almost anybody in WoW these days. Much has been said in the community and by the developers, about what shape they expect Cataclysm raiding to take. I think there is distinct improvement in some points on the table and some that are not so good.  And then there are some things that nobody is really talking about.

It's the part that hasn't been talked about that I'm concerned with today.

Thesis:  Hard mode raid fights should be immediately accessible to players and be hard, based on additional encounter mechanics rather than simply the need for more gear.

  1. Raiding is supposed to be fun.
  2. Killing raid bosses is very fun.
  3. Killing raid bosses a second time is never as much fun as the first time.
  4. Adding more damage and more boss health to a fight may make it "heroic" but it does not usually make the fight "more fun."
  5. "Gearing up," in the sense of grinding out bosses to get the gear you need to do something else, is not fun.
This is certainly not true of every guild running WoW raids, but a general perception I had of Lich King raids in my guild was that we did our progression and got through the normal mode fights, but we consistently blew it in heroics. I don't think that this is because me and my guildmates are not good enough, I think that there's really just not enough motivation to go at it heroic style.  You could almost hear people's thoughts after wiping for the 15th time on a boss we had been one-shotting in normal: "Do I really need anything from this guy? Oh, look! 007 is on cable!"

But more important, hard focus on a normal mode fight leaves you less prepared to work on the heroic mode later on. Players have to unlearn the normal mode fight and then learn it again from the top, only differently.  Sometimes this isn't too bad (like Marrowgar) but sometimes one lil change in mechanics makes it a whole new dance (like the Lich King).

I think a better system would be like this:
  • Raid fights have a normal and a heroic setting that you can choose to work on from the first day that raid content is available.
  • The difference between normal and heroic should be based on additional mechanics or other tricks that require more skill, not "better gear."
  • Not every fight needs a heroic mode. (See the Lootship in ICC for an example of this)
In large part, I want to kill a boss and say "YES!!! WE GOT HIM!" And not have "So, next week we'll be back here to start working on heroic mode" creep in.  Yah, it would probably slow progression for a player like me, but I'd rather have a big victory to savor than be on a fast track for instant gratification.

And besides, if I just bang my head against a wall in a fight for three hours, we always have the choice to switch it back to normal.

One last little thought about heroic modes: I really enjoyed the way that we activated heroic fights in Ulduar. It only makes sense that Mimiron goes extra-berserk when you press his big read self-destruct button, or shoot for a speed kill on somebody like Thorim just so you can get a look in his extra treasure chest.  Those bits were good for the story and just more fun than having the raid leader throw a setting.

Ah well... I can dream!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment