End Game Satisfaction
Cambios from Muckbeast made a few comments about end game satisfaction, and raiding in general. He does make some very good points, both here and in his blog. I know where he’s coming at and agree with some of his points to a certain degree.
Maybe because of his game design background, he is viewing this from a different angle from how I view things (have you ever watched a movie with a film major? not too fun). So I would like to give my view on how I see things, and have some counter points to some of his arguments.
“Think about that, and then ask yourself if it was really worth all the broken friendships, drama, anger, rage, arguments, etc. that it took to get to this point.”
I myself have not gone through any of this getting to this point. Maybe frustration on some bosses, but it never anything extreme. I know it has happened to quite a bit of players, but not all. You can’t just assume that all end game raiders go through all of this just to be successful with it. I am lucky enough to not have to go through all that.
There are a lot of people who put up with all of that, and still think it is worth all that trouble. I wouldn’t go through broken friendships myself, but drama, anger, rage, and arguments I can put up with to see all this end game content. Then there are players who don’t think it is worth it, and won’t pursue the end game content grind.
As a married person, do you think it was really worth all the broken friendships, drama, anger, rage, arguments, etc. that it took to get to that point (marriage)? I know this isn’t the best comparison, but it still shows that different people find things that are or are not worth fighting for. Some people will think such a relationship is not worth all the trouble, some who believe it is worth all the ups and downs, and there are those who are lucky enough to be able to make it through without running into any sorts of troubles.
“An hour of killing trash for the “reward” of a 10 minute, scripted boss battle is like suffering through a root canal for the reward of a prostate exam. Oh, and if something goes wrong in that boss battle, you very well might be clearing that same hour of trash to take another shot at it.”
The ONLY “end game” boss encounters which make you clear “hours of trash” after a boss wipe is in Mount Hyjal, where you have to clear eight waves of trash before each boss fight (which takes about 10 minutes by the way), so I’m not sure which bosses you are referring to. All other instances allow about an hour and half of boss attempts before the trash respawns.
If clearing trash is such a horrible experience to go through, then why are there so many people going on “trash runs” or deliberately wiping on Mount Hyjal bosses for the soul reason to redo the trash waves? That is because trash mobs drop very good loot, and provide a lot of rep for many players. Many guilds don’t kill specific bosses in the Black Temple so that they could return later and kill all the trash mobs over again.
In fact, there is so little trash in Sunwell, that many people wish there were more trash to clear. There is only two pulls between Kalecgos and Brutallus. None between Brutallus and Felmyst. Only two total mobs between M’uru and Kil’jaeden.
“People that get massively sucked into raiding fulfill this need through raid success. As a result, they often have less of a drive to work on their family, friends, children, spouse, job, or school. So the actually important things in their real life suffer because this crucial need is being satisfied through MMO raiding.”
Yes there have been many stories of people who have been too absorbed into the game that it has affect other aspects of their lives. This isn’t just raiding, the entire game is addicting. Ultimately, it is the player who has to do something about this. It’s not Blizzard’s fault they designed a good game.
I personally raid 3 nights a week in a guild that has progressed steadily through Sunwell and is currently on the last boss of The Burning Crusade. There are many guilds out there who raid 4 to 5 days a week, even 7 days a week. That would be way to much for me. I know where my own limit is, and everyone should figure out their own limit.
“I play games to PLAY THE ACTUAL GAME. I don’t play games to load up a web site and read a step by step strategy for how to defeat a boss. Sure, you don’t have to use raid walkthroughs, but you have to be masochistic not to. Raid encounters are generally designed to require an extremely specific set of maneuvers in order to defeat them.”
These boss guides are there to help you and provide tips for you to take down specific bosses. They give you a heads up on what abilities the boss does, and offer suggestions on how to deal with them. Things you will learn after one or two attempts on a boss anyways, so it just to save you some time and attempts. Sure you don’t have to read boss strategy, but it helps.
Knowing how to beat a boss doesn’t mean the boss will automatically be beaten. If it were so, then every guild would have Kil’jaeden down by now. It still requires a lot of attempts and practice in order to kill the boss. Just because you read up and watched videos on how to ride a bike, or how to swim, doesn’t mean you can start cycling and swimming like you were Lance Armstrong or Micheal Phelps.
“I also hate the way raiding turns people into such a tiny fraction of what their character can and should be. Most characters end up using 2 or 3 abilities 90% of the time, and in the same exact order over and over again. That gets incredibly boring.”
This doesn’t just apply to raiding, this applies to all aspects of the game. If you are leveling, raiding, doing 5 man instances, or even PvPing, you will spam the same few abilities over and over again depending on class and spec. So if you find that incredibly boring, then you are playing the wrong game.
In fact, I use more of my Mage’s ability in raids than in any other aspect of the game. There are spells I use in raids that I have never used while farming, leveling, or PvPing. That is just the Mage class though. If you are looking at Healing classes, of course they can’t heal a mob to death while farming, but in PvP, they do the same thing they do in raids, keep other people alive.
“It was something like all of our mages and warlocks had the tier 4 (something), so we had to make sure if we did a certain boss we had a hunter along. Otherwise if that token dropped it would be wasted. Having your roster decisions affected in this way is just stupid design.”
If your raid roster decisions are being affected this way, maybe this is the reason why you aren’t having much success in raids. If you aren’t killing a boss because you don’t have the right roster, and you don’t have the right roster because you changed it based on loot, then this isn’t because of stupid design, it is because poor raid decisions.
I know a lot of guilds do this to get more people geared (even my guild does it), but only if it doesn’t affect the raid. That and we only switch out players for the same class. We’re not gonna potentially wipe on a boss for hours just because one piece of loot could potentially be destroyed.
“The reality is that each member of that 5 man group probably worked a lot harder, put in more effort, and used a lot more skill than a single member of that 25 man raid group. In that 4 hour raid, at least 20 of those 25 people probably only paid full attention for maybe 30-60 minutes of that entire 4 hours. In the 5 man group, all 5 had to pay attention for pretty much the whole time.”
I don’t believe this is true. I think it takes more skill and coordination in a raid than in a group. In 25 man raids, the mobs and bosses hit harder and more often. The players have to heal more often, and do more damage in raids than in 5 man groups. It is different for everyone, but for me, I’ve seen more “/afk” players in 5 man groups than in 25 man raids.
I don’t know how much experience you have in raiding (I know you have at least done Karazhan), but if you allowing 5 players in the raid to slack off for 3 hours in a 4 hour raid, then the fault is on the raid leader/officers. With many tools out there such as Recount or WWS, you can easily find out who isn’t doing their part in the raid, and can be easily be replaced by someone who can.
“Then one of our guild members switched his priest to a shadow priest, ran a few 5 mans to gear up, and we rolled over the Curator with ease. Adding this ONE class (aka mana battery) completely transformed everything. We had read that a shadow priest was virtually required to win, but had foolishly tried to do it without one (since we didn’t have one). The utter inflexibility of the boss encounter made it so you pretty much had to forget about success if you didn’t bring this one specific class. Lame.”
I agree that some bosses require certain types of classes in order to beat it, and it may seem unfair at times. Every raid encounter requires an X amount of Tanks, Y amount of Healers, and Z amount of DPS. They require a the right balance of classes, but rarely ever need a specific type of class. Some classes may have an advantage over other classes though. For example, bringing a Mage over a Druid for a decursing fight. Stopping DPS to decurse might not wipe a raid, but stopping heals to decurse might.
Your example isn’t a good one. The reason why you killed Curator easily with a Shadow Priest, isn’t because you brought a Shadow Priest. You replaced a healer with a DPS class, and that is the real reason why you were successful. Curator does NOT require a Shadow Priest at all. You could have brought in a Rogue instead, and have the same result.
“WoW raiding however has taken a horrible turn. It is the *only* form of end game content, it requires tons of preparatory farming, it requires *TONS* of trash killing, and the raid encounters themselves have far too much randomness/arbitrariness, too many random power immunities, etc.”
It depends on player’s definition of “end game content”. To some players, it may very well be raiding, and to others, it may be the Season 4 Gladiator title and flying mount. Many people play the game who likes raiding, many who likes to PvP. There are some who are completely content with just 5 man instances or just running Karazhan. Everyone is different.
First you bash raid encounter designs for having players go through specific actions in specific times, and how it takes no skills and players don’t have to react to anything. Then you say there are too many randomness in encounters. Which is it? The fact is that players in a raid do have to think fast, and make many split second decisions during raids.
Whatever it may be, of course it will require some sort of preparation. You wouldn’t go into a meeting or an exam totally unprepared would you? No, you would plan ahead, practice your speech for the meeting, or study your ass off for the exam.
I enjoy raiding, and have a lot of fun doing it, and I do get a sense of “achievement” when beating a boss. If you don’t, why are you even raiding? Whenever you see a video where a raid successfully down a difficult boss, you always here the “nerdgasms” at the end from everyone over vent. Yes there are many people who get a sense of satisfaction when defeating a boss, and that is good indication of good game design by Blizzard. As a game designer yourself, you would think this to be an important element in a good game wouldn’t you?
From what I’ve read from your comments, and articles, you have only Karazhan raiding experience (no 25 man raids), and are basing your arguments from only that. You can’t start bashing end game raiding if you haven’t experienced it yourself. Your views on end game raiding would be different if you were in a successful raiding guild.
Maybe you have had very bad experiences with raids, or maybe raiding just isn’t right for you. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, and you are entitled to think anyway you want. You obviously have more MMO experiences than me, so you have other games to compare WoW’s raiding system with. My only other MMO experience is FFXI, which I really enjoyed, but thought it required way too much time in order to do anything (which is why I stopped).