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Expansion announcement – My view on it

04/26/2010

For those who don’t know, there was an announcement of progression raiding changes for the expansion.  A very quick summary, stolen from MMO-champion:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items.
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.

Not listed, but 10s and 25s will have the same achievements as well, including realm firsts.

I will quit raiding if these go through.  If I don’t like the PvP changes, I will probably quit the game.

There have been some very interesting reads in regards to this post, but I call your attention to this one by Larisa and this one by HP.  I think they are both spot on about the direction Blizzard is trying to go, to make 25s look more tempting because it will level your guild faster.

I am not in a guild.  I am part of a raiding coalition.  Therefore any sort of “temptations” they try to give through that system is meaningless.

25s are harder, logistically.  The LK fight, for example, is many multitudes harder on 25 than on 10s simply because there are more people to screw up and wipe you.  When we killed him on 10s, it was actually not very difficult.  We had 10 skilled people who learned quickly how to deal with Defiles.  On 25s, you will always have those 5 or so people who are just not as skilled or who keyboard turn or whatever.  So you wipe more.  Raids are more stressful.  They are more difficult to organize.  You have a larger range of skills.

Who, really, is going to put up with trying to run a 25-man when they can run it on 10s faster and cheaper?  Blizzard says that running 25s will make gearing faster due to more drops, but it takes more effort and longer time to clear a 25-man raid, meaning the reward/time and effort ratio lower unless they jack up the number of drops by a whole heck of a lot.  And the achievements being done in either means that all competitive raiding will be moved to the faster/easier 10-mans.  Just look at 2v2s!  It used to be -the- place to get your Gladiator title and mount, but now that you can’t get those anymore all competitive PvP is done in 3v3s.

“If you run 25-mans for loot or prestige, you’re a terrible person!  You should be in it for the fun.”  Can 25s be fun?  Yes, certainly.  Progressive 25s are not, especially when you’re in a position of leadership.  It’s about hard work and trying to coax people to play better.  Let’s face it, there is always one or two people who will annoy you in any 25-man group.  But you know, if I were just playing for nothing but fun, I’d probably never raid anything progressively.  I’d hang out on Vent with all my friends and PvP.  I play for the challenge and for the rewards that come from beating that challenge.

I would rather Blizzard do away with 25s the way they did 40s.  Trying to claim that DPS checks or gear checks are the things that make 25s more difficult is -insulting- and utterly full of it.

10 comments

  1. I’m going to paraphrase, but this is what I got:

    You believe 25’s to be harder, because there is more room for retards to slip in, and 10’s easier, because the people there have to be working, so the weak links are easier to find and remove.

    This really strikes me as poor planning rather than difficulty, to be honest. If someone is a weak link, remove them. The game doesn’t make it any easier or harder to carry people – you still have to meet the requirements as a group. People are carried because of a more psychological choice – “oh, she’s nice and I do more dps than we need so it’s covered”.

    From a game perspective, this is preventable, to a degree. You could have a boss mechanic remove the top dps every x seconds, which means those who are doing the carrying are removed. You could have mechanics that require everyone to meet an objective, and make the consequences non-healable – imagine twin valks, but if you get hit more than three times, you explode(die) and deal 30k damage to everyone around you.

    They could restrict gear levels, or even use gear levels to scale the boss – if someone is capable of 10k dps, the boss gets an extra 3 millon health(10k dps over 5 minutes). If another is capable of 20k, the boss gets 6 million. Keep in mind this is what someone at that level of gear is theoretically able to do, not what the player actually puts out, so we have a “your share is this big” situation. Now, if someone under performs, they can’t be carried because the enrage timer hits, everyone dies, and those who would normally carry them, have extra damage to do before they can even hope of carrying someone.

    If it’s someone who’s just plain bad, like they screw up slimes on rotface, but are otherwise meeting dps requirements or the like, well that’s just on the player end – you can point finger all you want, but ultimately, that player is in that raid because someone invited them.

    (This requires you read the emblem system change, it’s on mmo-champ if you haven’t)
    In terms of 25’s vs 10’s? Imagine Valour points from each boss, like you get emblems now. In 10’s, you get 2 points. In 25’s, you get 5. It is significantly faster to gear up. If they make the gear requirements larger between each boss, you’ll really notice if you spend a month(25) or three months(10) gearing up your raid.

    Ultimately, those who like 25’s will run them. If the problem is just finding people, well I don’t really think that’s blizzards place to fix. If the problem is finding incentive, well that’s easy – unlock the 10’s later. People who want to see the content quickly, will have access faster in 25’s, and since difficulty will match in both modes, no problem(especially if they do make 10’s gear up slower, since they couldn’t tackle the content anyway[unless they were geared quickly - using 25's - at which point, they shouldn't really be there anyway]).

    I’ve put forward a lot of ideas about how this could work – I have more than equal number of how it could fail. I haven’t even begun to factor in anything like archeology or guild experience points.

    As for “progressive 25’s are not fun”, well.. put your same problem people in a progressive 10. Yeah.


    • 1) re: if they suck don’t bring them – There will always been a scale of skill in raids, both in 10s and 25s. Simply due to the logistics of bringing 15 extra people, the scale will have a wider variety for 25s. It isn’t logical to say that we should only recruit people sitting exactly at the top of our current scale; recruitment doesn’t work that way. Someone will -always- be at the bottom of the DPS charts. As you say, there are different ways to be at the bottom of the group’s scale and various people will be there for different fights. That is just the way it works. Making up for that variance is part of why 10s are so much easier and part of the reason why some people prefer 10s.

      2) re: bosses that scale with gear – I highly, -highly- doubt something of that nature will be implemented. For one, it would make balance encounters much more difficult and the coding would be more complicated. For two, it flies in the face of Blizzard wanting more people to have access to content. If it’s harder to kill the first boss in a raid as you gear up, then you’re less likely to ever get to the last boss in the raid.

      3) re: 10s vs 25s in difficulty – I’ve heard many people try to tell me that I’m wrong about 10s being easier, but instead of giving their own support on 10s being just as hard, they try to cut mine down. Arguments of that nature aren’t rational. I’ve run both, as a healing lead and a raid lead, and 10s are easier. They are easier to coordinate, easier to keep people motivated, easier to recruit for, less stressful trying to herd 10 people than 25, wipe less, have easier boss mechanics due to more space to move around… All of this is true when raiding -with gear from 10s only.- I have an alt specifically for this purpose, so that I can have a less biased view of the situation. And 10s are easier. -That- is why many people prefer them.

      4) re: Valor points – There is a weekly cap and they even stated that it won’t be necessary to run 25s to reach that cap. You can just run 10s and daily randoms to reach it every week. Therefore you will be gearing up via points just as quickly as someone who runs 25s.

      5) re: “Ultimately, those who like 25′s will run them. If the problem is just finding people, well I don’t really think that’s blizzards place to fix.” Actually, it is. As programmers, it is their place to make sure that the content they provide is engaging and rewarding. If there are not enough raiders because the content doesn’t fit those two qualifications, then it -is- their job to fix it. It’s a balancing act, trying to maintain the “time/effort to reward ratio” but that is part of what creating a videogame is about. These changes upset that ratio, tipping the ratio much to far in favor of 10-man raiding while leaving 25-mans with little to tempt people with.


  2. 1) I think you misunderstood me. Imagine everyone on a scale of 1-10. The encounter needs people at a 5(it’s entry). Don’t bring 3s, don’t even recruit them. Maybe recruit a four if they appear to be capable of being a five, with practise. They don’t have to top the meter to be good for the encounter.

    2) I doubt it too, but it’s a pretty clean idea if you look at it as a variable: I used a 1:1 ratio, imagine it with a 6:1 dps:health ratio. It wouldn’t be that much harder to code, and since blizzard already decide what people with x gear should be able to do and balance with it, half the work is done. Estimating here would be fine, since they can easily allow work room. I disagree that it would make the encounter too difficult, bosses just use a flat integer instead of a varied one now, but the end result is the same balance wise.

    3) current, 10s are meant to be easier than 25’s. Everything you pointed out, though, is about leading, not playing, 10s(been there, got the t-shirt, it says agree). 10s are going to be as hard as 25s. This could mean having that debuff you have more room for has a wide range, reducing room. It’s not overly hard to figure out how to balance things like that.

    4) Bosses will still drop items.

    5) Programmers only code, not design. You also have no idea what incentive is actually being used, and there is a lot more to cata than just raiding. Look at my ideas again, assume blizzard has already thought of and refined those and more. Engaging and rewarding content is one thing, but nobody should feel forced into large groups that feel uncomfortable to them. To use a fairly off kilter example, it’d be like forcing a vegan to eat a cow to get fruit. They should be able to get that fruit just as easily as a non-vegan, if they put the same work in. Like wise, if a raider puts the same amount of work into a raid, they should get the same reward. If people flat out don’t like 25s, it’s not blizzard problem. If people don’t feel a reason to run 25s, because 10s are easier, that is blizzards problem and we bot know that’ll be fixed. They’re trying to force less, not force you out. You seem fixated on the idea that 25s have to be harder than 10s. That idea will mean nothing in cata. They have heroic modes for epeening.


    • 1) The fights you’re talking about are like the first 4 of ICC. On a scale of 1-10, Saurfang on 25-man could be considered a 5. Those aren’t the fights that hang up progressive raiding groups. It’s the 7-8 scale fights that do it. The problem comes when your 4-5 scale raiders can’t step it up to beat the 7-8 scale fights. It is far, far easier to find 10 raiders in that higher scale to run with. In 25-mans, the likelihood of all 25 raiders being able to kick it up to 7-8 scale is logically far less likely. Hence, as I said, the variance in skill levels will -logically- be larger in a 25-man setting.

      2) If it’s so unlikely, why bring it up? What does it really add to the conversation?

      3) Actually, every logistical point I made does, in fact, apply to the entire raid, none of which can be addressed by any sort of fight difficult balancing Blizzard will do. I’ll break it down for you:
      “they are easier to coordinate:” less time is spent prepping for the raid and forming the group set-up, as well as less time coordinating tactics for individual fights
      “easier to keep people motivated:” easier to -be- motivated
      “easier to recruit for:” raiders don’t have to make up for lacking specific buffs and don’t have their raids canceled on them
      “less stressful trying to herd 10 people than 25:” less stress for every raider in general
      “wipe less:” pretty self-evident
      “have easier boss mechanics due to more space to move around:” also self-evident (I remember a blue post on them not increasing the “fight platform size” specifically for 25s; I can try to find a link to it if you’d like.)

      4) That doesn’t address what you said. I quote: “Imagine Valour points from each boss, like you get emblems now. In 10′s, you get 2 points. In 25′s, you get 5. It is significantly faster to gear up.” As I pointed out, that isn’t true, due to the cap they are instating.

      5) Well, replace “programmer” with some generic term for those who produce videogames, then. The fact that there is more to the expansion than raiding doesn’t enter into this conversation; it is the raiding aspects that I disapprove of. Interesting that you bring up feeling forced to run 25s. Why, exactly, is that? You can get quite good gear running nothing but 10-mans in the current system, gear certainly good enough to clear all 10-man content including 10-man hardmodes. To quote you, “Like wise, if a raider puts the same amount of work into a raid, they should get the same reward.” As stated above for -logistical reasons that cannot be changed through fight mechanics,- 25s put in more effort than 10s. You bringing up the idea of “epeen” into a conversation about the rational differences in the effort to reward ratio is pointless. If Blizzard, instead, decided that 5-mans should drop the same loot as 10-mans, I would still be up in arms against it. Ego has nothing to do with it. Blizzard making a choice that penalizes a group of their subscribers to give others more rewards with less work is what is at issue here.


  3. Would a coalition still work if there were only 1 type of raid available for you?

    I think even if there are 10 man only or 25 man only associated raiding perks, there’s no reason why your coalition wouldn’t work. I doubt that the associated perks will have anything much to do with gear (besides the higher # of drops in 25 mans). So perhaps you can still continue your raiding coalition in Cataclysm?

    I just hope you will be happy with how Blizzard implements the entire thing. I’m curious but I’m at wait and see though I can understand why you are upset about it.


    • The officers are already discussing the issues involved and it’s very unlikely in our minds that we’ll be able to survive. One of the main problems is that we’ll have even fewer “perks” to tempt raiders with than a guild would. Recruiting for 25s if this change goes through will be ungodly hard; we don’t see any of our current people leaving because of the change, but replacing attrition costs will unbelievably hard. Add to that fact that we can’t even use the carrot of “guild leveling” and we’re pretty much doomed.


  4. I’m sorry but I just don’t get your point.

    You don’t play for fun. Okay. Put’s you in a minority right away, but fine – you play for the challenge and the thrill of working to beat something. I do get that.

    But then you (rightly) claim the reasons 25-mans are harder are “On 25s, you will always have those 5 or so people who are just not as skilled or who keyboard turn or whatever. So you wipe more. Raids are more stressful.”

    The reason they are harder is that some people aren’t as good? But how does that make it a challenge for you? How is their any achievement in plugging away at it until the less skilled members of the group figure out what to do?


    • It has to do with how variable the sliding scale of skill is. With fewer people, the variance between raid members can logically be made smaller. That means that deaths due to someone else’s failures are much higher. This causes more wipes, more time, more effort and more gold expenditures than in 10-mans.

      Some of the challenge (not all of it) comes from coaching a group to see it all come together. Sometimes this involves picking up more slack yourself (ex. running very few healers), brainstorming ways to minimize mistakes (ex. having warlocks stand on the edge of the LK’s platform with their portals), helping people improve (ex. running tutorials on mouse-turning), or simply just working to keep yourself calm and focused under the pressure of wiping.

      So, yes, to answer your question. Trying to “herd cats” and get things to fall in line with a larger group of people is, in fact, part of the challenge. :)


  5. I don’t know whether or not to be glad that your readers are as mad at you on your blog (reading through the comments) as my readers are mad at me for writing that I don’t embrace the changes either!

    Seriously, I think it comes down to 1 thing: you and I love the experience of 25 man raiding, but we recognise that it’s not as convenient as 10 man raiding.

    You couldn’t force me to lead a 25 man raid, but I could lead a 10 man raid if I had to. What worries me is that the 25 man raiding guild that I’m part of will decide to abandon it’s weakest 15 players and just go straight to 10 mans. By what argument can I convince my guild leaders that it’s worth struggling to recruit and fill those last two or three spots in a 25 man raid – when those leaders could jump into a 10 man and get the same gear?

    I’m not even going to touch on difficulty because someone somewhere who raids 10 mans will get defensive and tell me the only challenge in 25 mans is getting 25 people to show up on time.

    Keep writing how you feel!


    • I’m right there with you. :) I have no idea why people get so up in arms about me being upset that my favored raiding format is being slowly killed off by Blizzard, in nefarious and underhanded ways. But you keep up the good fight and maybe Blizzard will understand the rational reasoning behind our feelings.



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