Monday, May 19, 2008

Lack of Faith

Lately, I've been reading the forums and discussions about the proposed changes to raiding. It seems to me that there is a significant--and vocal--segment of raiders who lack faith in 25-man raiding as a fun and attractive activity.

Basically, their arguments are that Blizzard should continue with 25-man raiding because 25-man raiders are somehow the most deserving of WoW players. All other activities must have significantly lower rewards so that people who wish to progress have no choice other than 25-mans.

It seems that deep down, in their heart of hearts, they fear that most people do not like raiding. That other people just raid for gear. And since they like raiding, they try to promote raiding by loudly denigrating all other choices, and seek to have Blizzard stack the deck in favour of raiding. Basically, they seem to think that if raiding had to compete with other activities on a level playing field, it would lose out.

This lack of faith hurts the raiding cause far more than it helps. Blizzard should not make 25-man raids because 25-man raiders are somehow "more deserving". Blizzard should make 25-man raids because raiding is fun, and a large portion of the audience enjoys it! Blizzard should make more battlegrounds because battlegrounds are fun! Blizzard should make more 5-mans, because dungeons are fun! Blizzard should make more reputation grinds, because grinding rep is...wait, no, no it isn't.

The raiding community--especially the high end--does a really poor job conveying the fact that raiding is fun to non-raiders. We do a lot of complaining, of calling people "bads", of indulging ourselves in trying to prove we are better than "casuals". But these types of behavior hurt raiding far more than they help.

Imagine you are a new 70, thinking about raiding. You take a look at the Raid & Dungeons forums on the WoW forums. Do you honestly want to end up in guild with people like that? Or your realm forums. I'm sure you've seen a newish guild post about their latest triumph, and get torn to shreds by some high-end raider sneering, "Months behind". Can raiding really be fun if raiders act like this?

The thing is that raiding is fun. Working together as a team to kill a dragon is a thrill. Watching a raid move through the complex dance that is a boss fight is an experience. Even wiping is fun (to a degree) as you slowly get better and better, as you get closer and closer to victory. Raiding is more than capable of holding its own against the other options in this game.

The problem with raiding is getting new people to try it, trying to convey to new people that yes, this is worth doing, that raiding is fun in and of itself, and the loot is just icing on the cake. If we raiders want Blizzard to keep making 25-man raids, the best path is to get more people raiding.

This is why the 10-man raid progression is worth having. The single largest barrier to getting new people raiding is not gear or skill. Gear improves with time, and skills can be learned and taught. The major barrier is time. It is getting people used to the idea of blocking out one or two evenings a week for WoW. Getting someone to say, "I raid on Thursdays" is 95% of the battle of creating a new raider. 10-man raids will do this, will allow people to become raiders in the safety and comfort of a small guild. From there, it's just a small step to the 25-mans. 10-mans also offer a safety net, so that if 25-mans don't work out, you still have options to progress, to see new content.

People will raid if they believe that raiding is fun. Emphasising that raiding is an enjoyable activity, and nurturing and being helpful to the new raiding guilds, will do far more for the cause of 25-man raids than trying to argue that raiders are somehow "more deserving" of Blizzard's time than other players.

21 comments:

Abednigo said...

It does feel like an awful lot of people are complaining more about raiding than they should, and it's good to see that I am not alone when I think that WoW is still a fantastic game. I have been playing for about 3 years now, with raiding as a large portion of my experience, and I do it because I enjoy it for what it is, not the loot that comes with it.

Every time I go into a raid with my guild, I expect to have fun. I don't expect purples out of every oriface, and I sure as hell don't always expect to progress, but I do plan on enjoying what I do. I can't imagine someone going into a raid for any other reason, because it seems quite silly that you'd devote that much time to a game of all things, and not have some genuine fun. After reading Death and Taxes' goodbye post, it seems many of them were in the same boat. They forgot to have fun while playing a game, and made it all about the gear. Materialistic values are hardly a good way to live, much less play a game with those values as a basis.

As ironic as it seems, this post has actually restored a bit of faith in the WoW community for me. Thank you. You have a wonderful blog, and I read it religiously, so keep up the good work.

Karl said...

a few thoughts...

I would hope that the 10-mans are a viable alternative from, as well as a stepping stone to, the 25-man raids.

A lot of the drive for gear has spawned from folks lusting over what the raiders get, not totally the raiders fault, but, the e-peening is part of the problem.

After reading the bile in the D&T goodbye thread, it's clear what was left of D&T was something I'd never want to be a part of. Xi and his gang are what gives raiders a bad name.

This new post is spot on. Time is the issue. My ideal would be raiding 1 night a week. Progression might be slow. So what.

ARA said...

Thank you for your post (I love your blog btw, even though I've never played a pally)

As I rapidly outgrow heroics, I'm amused and puzzled by the snobbery and drama around raiding circles at times. Because I love PvE so much, and want to keep playing the game, I'm going to find a guild to work on Kara, so I dont have to PUG it anymore. And I can't wait until I get a chance to participate in 25-man raids with a solid group of committed players I know, who are doing it for the fun and the thrill, and dont hold bizarre, misguided ideas that its all about "the gear". My observation of myself and others is that "gear" can quickly become an object of intense LUST, which deeply colors and ultimately ruins your experience and judgement if you don't pay attention. At its best, the game is a thrilling collective experience. Thats why I started, and that's still what I enjoy the most. My experience of gear is that sooner or later you get what you need anyway... so what's the problem???

Honors Code said...

/stand

/applaud

Proudfoot said...

I love raiding just for the FUN factor. I've been raiding for 3 years and always loved doing it. There are so many people who do it just for the loot that it taints the experience at times. I hate when people ask where we are raiding because if we aren't going somewhere they need stuff from or that we are going to wipe a lot they choose not to go. I'll raid anything and I've raided MC, BWL and Ony even after BC just because.

Blizzard has to somehow figure out how to make 25 mans as accessable as 10 mans otherwise the only motivation for many players is loot. If the loot from 25 mans isn't far supperior to 10 man loot we will see 25 mans literally DIE. There aren't enough players in the game that just love to raid for the fun of it and you'll always rely on players that are in it for other reasons. It's sad to say but if loot isn't much better from 25 mans then the difficulty MUST come down as well or people will abandon it.

pablo1551 said...

i know you said that time is the biggest issue but.... i dont know, my last guild was in kara for almost 8 months and didn't progress that well. we downed all the bosses but for some reason we had a huge problem with shade and nightbane, i think we ended up downing them (finally) like 2 months before i left. and they never really tried netherspite, i would always try and get them to go try it but they would always rather do nightbane and our tank didn't really understand how to stance dance until 2 weeks before i left.

i think they all go better of course, but at some point they hit a wall and stopped dead. i ended up leaving because (maybe im selfish for this) i felt that i was the only one that really got what to do for the fights and everyone else didnt, i mean simple stuff like moving out of the charred earth on nightbane and moving to the other side of the hall and moving back when it was gone

Dworz said...

You have a good point in there, and I certainly agree that there's alot of elitist tendencies in the raiding community. I believe this comes from the fact that 25-man raiding is really, really hard at times, and that one person can ruin a good run for 24 other people. Thus, good guilds create an elitist atmosphere about them to avoid getting member applicants that don't cut it. This spills over onto inter-guild relations as well in a somewhat nasty way (especially on some servers).

However, when it comes down to loot I do agree that it needs to be better than 10-man raids, simply because 25-man raids will always be harder. With your reasoning, the loot could be the same for normal and heroic versions of dungeons, since people do heroics for fun? Yeah, we do, but the loot component has to be there too. The reward has to match the challenge.

Another thing is that 25-mans being the top-end content, it needs the top-end loot in order to not become trivialized by 10-man loot. If you could easily get loot in 10-man instances to completely outgear 25-man instances, then the fun of the raiding (the challenge!) would be removed entirely.

Larísa said...

Finally someone who agree with me!
I raid for the sake of the raiding in itself. Since working together with 24 other people for a common goal is FUN. I love the raiding as such. I enjoy every single second of it since it keeps me focused, makes all my rl worries disappear for a few hours.

It's joy, it's laughter, sometimes it's a bit disappointing, but without those moments of failure you wouldn't enjoy the victories as much as you do.

What purples will the boss drop? Honestly, most of the time I don't have a clue. Because that's not what raiding is about to me. I love the raiding.

This was a well written post. Maybe it will inspire me to ponder a bit more about the subject on my own blog.

*vlad* said...

The big problem with raiding,is that boss drops are random.

I play for fun, more than anything, and yet, if you have been to the same boss 10 times, and have seen loot being handed out to other people, but you have not got anything, then inevitably you feel like you are missing out.

When suddenly you do get that piece of loot, you feel great, you are on a high. Don't tell me you don't experience this. At the same time, you know there are 10 other players in the raid feeling slightly envious that you got the item and not them.

Random loot drops are devisive, whether in 5, 10 or 25 man groups.
Blizzard should get rid of random drops, and bring in a system that rewards people for participation.
Then there would be a lot less drama in any raid guild, hardcore or casual.

Anonymous said...

One of the most memorable lines I've ever heard with reference to raiding came from our recruiting officer in my old EQ guild:

"If you think raiding is fun, you aren't any good at it"

The major difference between 'casual' and 'hardcore' isn't time. It's a basic attitude towards the game. Casual gamers play to have fun. Hardcore gamers play to win - because winning is fun.

What's really ironic about this distinction is that if the hardcore raiders didn't exist, neither would the casual raiders. The presence of the hardcore raiders tends to 'sell' raiding to the casual raiders, who engage in raiding for wholly different reasons.

Kyrilean said...

WOW! Never looked at it this way, but agree 100%!

I never joined a raiding guild...ever. When I started heroics, I had recently switched to Holy from Protection. I didn't have healing gear and it showed. I ran with a couple of raiders that were trying to help out a friend they were trying to recruit and they were very blunt on how badly I "sucked". No suggestions, just I sucked.

That attitude, as well as countless horror stories from said friend's experiences, kept me from ever joining a raiding guild. Only after months of searching did a few friends and I decide to start our own.

It's exactly that elitist attitude that turns people off from raiding. We call ourselves casual because if you want to raid, great. If not, OK. We also don't tell people how to spec or play their toons.

We took a newly dinged 70 warlock with us to Kara last night and I tried to give advice as to what to do, but admittedly told her that I didn't have a clue as to what warlocks were to do, so it was more "this is what happens..."

Anonymous said "The major difference between 'casual' and 'hardcore' isn't time. It's a basic attitude towards the game." I think this really hits the nail on the head. I've heard that "hardcore is anyone who plays more than you." I disagree because I know stay at home moms and retirees that play the game more than 40 hours a week, but don't do much other than level alts.

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

It seems that deep down, in their heart of hearts, they fear that most people do not like raiding.

No, it's that they know most people don't like raiding. Simply put, most people don't find 25-man progression raids fun. They do do it for loot and because that's the only way to improve for the average player (PvP certainly doesn't offer that avenue any more.)

More over, the average player simply isn't willing to put up with the abuse that the leaders of big raiding guilds tend to heap upon their members. World of Warcraft is a game and anyone who demands we treat it as a job is just asking for trouble (unless they are paying me an additional $80K/year, in which case I might considered their desires).

Josh said...

More over, the average player simply isn't willing to put up with the abuse that the leaders of big raiding guilds tend to heap upon their members. World of Warcraft is a game and anyone who demands we treat it as a job is just asking for trouble.

Not every raid leader is abusive and overbearing. There are guilds dabbling in Sunwell that have compassionate GM's - I doubt you'd find Auzara to be as grumpy as D&T's leaders, just go read http://chickgm.blogspot.com/

There's a distinction to be made here about raiding guilds. There are raiding guilds that want to push as hard and as fast as possible to achieve world/server firsts, see all the content as soon as they can, and be able to claim that they beat a boss before it was nerfed to make it more accessible. There is a very large difference between 2.3 Magtheridon and the original Magtheridon encounter, for example. These guilds are the guilds that tend to have overbearing leadership and demand commitment - it makes it a lot easier for the guild to move forward through content quickly if it has a small, devoted core that it can depend on, and it doesn't have to gear up 60 players for a 25-man zone for the chance that 10 of the raiders that usually show up aren't around. It's not that the so-called "hardcore" guilds are trying to suck the fun out of the game, they're trying to achieve a feat (beating bosses quickly), and performing that feat is fun to them.

Guilds that don't raid with the intent to draw first blood are raiding for a similar but distinct reason - they want to simply experience the encounter, not necessarily to beat the encounter before anyone. Different goal, and therefore different mind-set. There's no time-limit and no cross-guild or cross-server race occuring, and they therefore don't pressure their members to commit quite as much.

If you view attendance requirements, consumable bills, and raiding with an eye on the clock/other guilds as work, you absolutely shouldn't be in the former guild type. Just know that there are people who find the thrill of being ahead of the pack to be more fun than simply beating a boss, which is why there are guilds who press such requirements on their raiders - they've got a group goal and they're organizing themselves in a way to achieve that goal.

Doeg said...

Well, the blue announcement that the PvP honor gear upgrade route will be tied to Arena, which I tried and do not like, has caused me to try more "welfare raiding". I say "welfare raiding" because it's really just casual Kara badge farming with my casual guild (and pick-ups as necessary). It's been pretty fun, but we really need to progress beyond Kara or the repetition will get boring. Progression means either gearing 25 toons (our small guild is struggling just to keep the 2nd Kara group going) or make the big jump to ZA (which was beyond our tank/healer gear last time we tried it).

The downside is that raid scheduling demands, even when reasonable, just don't always fit well into RL with jobs, unexpected sickness, and some travel.

And with S4 there is planned a hard pendulum swing by Blizzard back to PvP-for-the-hardcore-with-enforced-gear-disparity, which will drive me out of PvP - which I did for enjoyment first, and the realization that there are PvP rewards later. Now that the personal rating barrier is on the way (the reincarnation of the old rankings barrier), my progression opportunity is much more limited, and will reach the point of:
Badges, which have many, many uses, or
Honor, which will be reduced to very narrow usefulness

So I've entered this rather new-to-me period of "no good reason to log on".
I do a few select dailies and get ready for the raid.
I casually raid.
And I play AV, but am near the new 'honor cap', which is the amount of honor I'll need to buy the few items that I want that aren't ratings-protected.

Anonymous said...

I have raided on and off since MC first opened up. Raiding is ONLY fun when you are will a group you like hanging out with and people are generally focused. The truth is that the chance of the above happening worsens exponentially with raid size.

Relmstein said...

I used to like raiding back when I had time for it but I don't want to spend all night raiding anymore. The problem is that even the best casual guilds who only raid twice a week eventually start to become more hardcore. Then the next thing you know they are either raiding 6 days a week or they have broken up with their best players joining a higher end guild.

After my second guild broke up because our Karazhan A team left us for greener pastures I gave up on raiding in WoW. I only stayed because I enjoyed doing the arenas and battlegrounds with a small group of friends. I guess the developers were hoping that the rating requirements on S4 gear would make more people return to raiding but in general all its done is force people to Age of Conan.

Hopefully, the 10 man progression path is designed well enough in WotLK that they don't feel the need to take out the kneecaps of PvP rewards.

Karl said...

So many good points here...

@doeg

you can still buy a rating. What you can't buy is points, but if you have your honor and points, you can have someone power-level you to 1850ish for a reasonable price. It only takes about 30 matches starting at 1500. The rule changes haven't effected this, and may actually have helped it, depending on how the rating is awarded.

----

There is a NEED in the game for 25-man raiding. It sets the end-game "high-score" that others can look to. There will always be a need for this.

But hopefully the new 10-man progression with be the raiding-for-the-masses. Sure the 25-man, gets better loot. Fine.. whatever.

The drop system does need to change. There should be some random drops, but there needs to be more of the tier token drops. But it sounds like that is already in the works with a "reset" of the badge system with new badges and new rewards.

Daddy Gamer said...

You really hit the spot here.

Playing should be fun. A lot of things in WoW aint made focusing on fun.

Maybe trying to figure out what is fun and from there deduct what changes should be made to the game to enhance this would be a good idea?

I would say playing with friends is THE most important thing. And the obstacle here is the differences in gear progression.

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

If you view attendance requirements, consumable bills, and raiding with an eye on the clock/other guilds as work

Attendance requirements are work. That's part of what makes work work...you HAVE to be there.

Consumables and speed aren't an issue. Hell, you have that with Heroics, which a lot of more casual PvErs do a lot.

The bigger issue is getting a group of people together that are tolarable. 1 asshole can ruin the whole group. It's hard enough to do for a 10 man. I've never been in a 25 man that has accomplished it.

Ana said...

Raiding with good people is a blessing too many of us take for granted. :)

Euripides said...

There will come a time in many 25 man groups where they run up against a wall. This will may be gear, skill, or logistics based, but it will prevent them from doing more.

When this happens, it's safe to assume that the 10 "best" players in the raid will split off and form a 10 man so they can progress farther and see more content.

Right now, when this happens, they don't lock themselves out of the 25 man. Also, they have a strong incentive to still prioritize 25 mans because the gear is better. When these two things are no longer true, I suspect that until a guild has the ability to front a 25 with no walls, they will have 15+ raiders looking for something to do with their raid nights.