Monday, March 18, 2013

Dungeons versus Scenarios, Part II

On the last post, Kring comments:

The question is, now that they scarified [Ed: sacrificed?] dungeons, how long will they continue to make new raids during an expansion? 
Scenarios are nothing else then PvE-battlegrounds. Will they continue to produce new raids or will they take the simple route there too and replace raids with bigger scenarios, with PvE-battlegrounds.

I think Blizzard will continue making raids. Specifically, Looking for Raid overlaps with dungeons. It's transient, formal Trinity group content. The ratio of tanks to dps is more likely to match what is played. Plus, raids are the expected method of increasing gear level. There's a pattern there, and the playerbase expects raids to be obsoleted as time goes.

Admittedly, there is a difference as dungeons are small group versus the large raid group. But I think that Blizzard is making an effort to include more small group options out in the regular world. It's probably a lot easier from an art creation perspective to throw a few elite mobs out there.

Plus, and I think this is very important, they get a 2-for-1 with the raid artwork. The same amount of artwork produces both transient group content and extended group content. So I think raiding still fits in the game where 5-man dungeons start getting squeezed out in later patches.

I may not have mentioned this before, but I think that art asset creation is the "blocker" in modern game development. The amount of new artwork an idea requires often determines whether or not it is actually implemented.

RJ comments:

While I don't disagree with your assertion, and it makes logical sense, I throw in another suggestion:
Compared to the development work that goes into your typical dungeon (including the various difficulty levels), I imagine that Blizz could make a bunch of Scenarios for the same time, effort, and money it takes to make a single "second tier" dungeon. 
Loot aside, what would you prefer? 2~3 new dungeons, or 5~10 new Scenarios?

Ah, but as above, I don't think they're funneling that effort into scenarios. Sure, they're making a couple new scenarios each patch. But I think the lion's share of art and content dev time is going into the new raids.

Look at this patch. We got a 13-boss tier following a 16-boss tier. Has Blizzard ever done two consecutive raid tiers with that many bosses?  Especially in the given time frame?

I certainly would rather have another 15 or so raid bosses in 5.4 rather than a 6 boss raid and a couple 5-mans.

11 comments:

Ephemeron said...

Look at this patch. We got a 13-boss tier following a 16-boss tier. Has Blizzard ever done two consecutive raid tiers with that many bosses?

Wrath had a 15-boss tier following an 18-boss tier. TBC had a 14-boss tier following the initial 25-boss release.

Cataclysm was an ugly outlier.

spinksville said...

The concern I have about having more scenarios and fewer instances is that 5 man instances are where people learned to tank and heal. Scenarios favour all dps groups (you could manage ok as a tank but as a healer it would be a bit rubbish unless you are prepared to dps).

Kring said...

Yes sacrificed, looks like my spell checker failed me. :)

> The ratio of tanks to dps is more likely to match what is played.

But there's an extreme healer shortage. Queuing as DD for terrace results in up to 45 minutes of wait time. I rarely wait longer than 15 minutes for a random heroic as DD.

The next logical step would be to either change the LFR composition to 2/2/21 (e.g. by removing all raid wide damage mechanics that DDs ignore anyway.) or to add bigger scenarios.

Alterac Valley would be an good example for a PvE scenario, just replace the opposing faction with NPCs (Step 1 - attack towers). And AV is still played where all the old Cataclysm LFR raids are not. Besides that, I think AV is more fun for a PvE player then farming LFR MV. Just add a bag at the end of these 25 man scenarios which contains 1 or 2 random items from the LFR loot tables (not random stat bullshit!).

> Plus, raids are the expected method of increasing gear level.

Yes, raids have the carrot at the moment. That doesn't mean they can't change that for 6.0.

> Plus, and I think this is very important, they get a 2-for-1
> with the raid artwork. The same amount of artwork produces
> both transient group content and extended group content

That's a good point. But it means that the majority of player has to consume content that's designed for the small group of raider. Why don't we turn that around? For a patch they could create a new zone and use that zone for new 25 man scenarios. Then they could also use the same zone and mob artwork to create a raid like Hyjal (which would play completely different then the scenario).

Redbeard said...

The big thing for me is time.

If I want to have an immersive experience and I've only got an hour or so, LFR doesn't cut it for me. LFR still requires a couple of hours, and even then you still might not get finished.

By contrast, a scenario is a "go do this for a few bucks" group quest that you can queue for. I'd much rather have The Oculus than run 3-4 scenarios in the same time.

What Blizzard is doing is saying the Vanilla and BC method of end game, the non-raiders running instances vs. the raiders raiding, is broken. The solution is to shove everyone into raiding for end game, whether or not you actually like to raid.

I resent the implication that if I don't like to raid then my options for PvE are scenarios, pet battles, or working the Auction House. Oh, and dailies. Doing lots of dailies.

*vlad* said...

Scenarios are so much more fun than dungeons.

No having to put up with arrogant tanks, fail tanks, tanks that go afk, tanks that drop the group as soon as it pops etc. Plus on top of that, the crappy rng in dungeons that either rewards you with nothing, or puts you in competition with other dps for the items you want.
In a scenario you get your own loot reward (most of the time) that is specific to your spec and might well be as good as or better than dungeon drops.

Much as I like doing 5 mans, I really don't want to pug them, whereas scenarios you can manage quite easily even if you are carrying someone.

LFR suffers from long queue times (an hour is not uncommon) usually caused by a lack of healers - now why is that?
People standing in the fire the whole time, tanks that have no idea what they are doing, spam healing from start to finish; it's just not particularly fun to heal in LFRs really.

Ted A. said...

"The ratio of tanks to dps is more likely to match what is played."

The ratio is way out of whack for tanks. Maybe I've been spoiled by instant LFD queues, but I've waited an hour or more for an LFR queue as a tank.

Basically you need 11 other players for every tank spot (3 healers, ~8 dps). I really don't think the ration is 1:11 for tanks versus the general population.

Matt said...

The healer shortage in LFR could be fixed overnight by just adding a way to get gear for an offspec. Healing LFR is easy enough and people would gladly take the quick queue times if they could get the gear they want.

"I resent the implication that if I don't like to raid then my options for PvE are scenarios, pet battles, or working the Auction House. Oh, and dailies. Doing lots of dailies."

But if you don't want to do any of those things, then why play WoW? Serious question--what else is there?

Anonymous said...

Scenarios mostly seem to be reused places that are already out in the world or in an existing dungeon or raid. I didn't realize that the treasure house was the corridor between Horridon and Council until someone pointed it out, but now that I know it it gives the trash run an extra dollop of fun.

Redbeard said...

@Matt--

The heroic instances used to be a valid activity for non-raiders to do, and it was one that a lot of people --myself included-- preferred over other in-game activity.

In BC and Wrath, there were 16 Heroic 5-mans each for a non-raider to pug, and each of those Heroics had a Normal variant as well. There was enough variety that it took a long time before you got bored of the same-old same-old.

Contrast that with Cata and Mists. Cata had seven normal instances and fourteen heroic, but the heroic instances were broken out and subdivided into separate queues that you had to override if you wanted a "random Cata heroic". That made sense from a progression model, but not necessarily from a non-raider/instance runner point of view. And Mists, as we now know, will have only four normal and seven heroic instances. Again, the raider progression model trumps the interest of the instance runner.

BC and Wrath each had more normal instances at release (12) than Cata and Mists had combined. If it weren't for heroic versions of Vanilla instances, the heroic total would be almost as bad. In spite of what they say, it sure looks like Blizz seems determined to pigeonhole 5-man instances into a very specific progression model that leaves non-raiders one less thing to do.

Paul said...

Scenarios aren't really PvE battlegrounds. I wish they were! A 40 man scenario, emulating something like the world events in games like Rift (but in its own instance) would be awesome.

gamingsf said...

I generally like to play healer so scenarios have zero interest for me once I've seen them the one time.

As redbeard said: "The solution is to shove everyone into raiding for end game, whether or not you actually like to raid."

I think LFR is an abomination, it's yet another example of Blizzard nerfing any need for players to work together in a vaguely coherent manner. The amount of "standing in fire" I see in LFR is astounding.

5-man dungeons were the end-game for smaller guilds and players, like me, who have no interest in raiding but like group content to play with friends. Heroic mode was plenty of challenge especially if you were undermanning or gearing up a new class.