Sunday, May 07, 2006

Casuals vs. Raiders, Part IV

Continuing the eternal series, part of the problem between casuals vs raiders is that the gulf between them is only one-way. Casuals cannot do raid content. However, raiders can do casual content.

In fact, they will do such content if the rewards are half decent, or if they are simply bored. So there's no such thing as content specifically for casuals. And this feels a little bit unfair to casual players. After all, both groups are paying the same amount of money to Blizzard. Yet the raiders get new content which they don't share, but casuals have to share all their content. It's possibly a bit irrational, but that's the way we are.

I think WoW needs to address this asymmetry (in addition to making it easier to raid). My suggestion would be an epic 5-man dungeon. This dungeon would be hard and would drop unique loot slightly better than Tier 1, but less than Tier 2 (a Dungeon 3 set). The dungeon would be on a 7-day timer, like the raid instances, allowing a small group to work on the dungeon over the course of the week.

The kicker, though, is that if you were saved to this 5-man, you would be locked out of the 40-man raids for the week. And if you were saved to MC/BWL/etc., you'd be locked out of this epic 5-man.

So for raiders, this dungeon presents a real drawback. If you go to this dungeon, you can't raid with your guild that week. If you raid with your guild, you can't try this dungeon. However, for a casual player, there is effectively no drawback to trying this 5-man, as you aren't raiding anyways.

The key is giving the casuals an experience that the raiders can't easily share. Raiders still have the lion's share of endgame and loot. However, casuals get a toy for them, and them alone.


  1. The problem is, if you are a casual, and you get locked to an instance, you have to group up with the same four other people to continue that saved instance. The whole point of casual is that you can't really do this on a regular basis, and if you could, you would be part of a raiding guild.

    That said, I have been in a raiding guild for around 3 months now. We have taken down Onyxia once (last wekk - and grats to you on your first Onyxia kill!), and have the first 7 MC bosses pretty much on farm status. For most guildies, it is enough to log in a couple of nights a week for a total of around 7 hours, plus maybe an extra couple of hours to farm a bit of gold for repair bills. That's about 10 hours per week, far less than many casuals' weekly WoW playtime.

    Now, if you want to play a lot, but don't enjoy the raid content, then this idea is perfect.

  2. Hmm. You are right about grouping with the same people. It would be nice for small guilds, but wouldn't really work for solo players. Maybe a large solo dungeon as well? :)

    I kind of want something big and complex enough that you could work on it over a couple nights. I really like how you can do MC or ZG a bit at a time. Curiously, that mechanic is very casual-friendly.

    As for your comments about raiding, I totally agree. Raiding is a lot easier than people think.

  3. Even if you make the loot becomes a place like DM where most level 60's still haven't been.

  4. "Even if you make the loot becomes a place like Temple of Ahn'Qiraj where most level 60's still haven't been."

    Fixed your post for you. :)

    Maybe it will get used, maybe it won't. May as well try. Fair or not, casuals feel that Blizzard caters excessively to the raiders, and a dungeon such as this serves more as something solely for casuals.

    Its value isn't primarily in its use, its value is as a signal to the casual crowd that Blizzard hears their concerns.

    As an aside, I think the problems with Dire Maul are different:

    1. No set pieces.

    2. Most loot is raiding gear, not really useful for non-raiders.

    3. Out in the middle of nowhere.

    4. Hard to get a group for.

    Heck, I've never really wanted to go to DM, outside of finishing a couple quests.

  5. Another great blog! I have often thought that a 5 man epic dungeon would be incredibly cool. What I have never considered, at least not conciously, is the asymmetrical relationship between raiders and casual players. Very astute.

    I think this is a great idea. I like hard core PvE content, but I often tire of the bureaucratic overhead that is inherent in the 40 man raid structure. This can be unenjoyable, especially as a paladin. What you expressed in your blogs about the paladin's role in a raid is exactly how I feel. The fact is that paladins can only play as paladins in 5 man groups, and anybody who has played a paladin from 1 to 60 and beyond is aware of this.

    FURTHERMORE, I have 5 or so real life friends who play WoW, but only a couple of us are involved in the end-game raiding content due to scheduling issues. We have always wanted to form a 5 man "strike force" but have never followed through due to a lacking coincidence of wants. Some of my friends simply can't or won't dedicate themselves to the end-game raids, which is understandable. This idea of 5 man epic dungeons would solve a lot of problems, and I think would also be a blast!

  6. This is a great idea! A 5-man epic dungeon... brilliant. It's a whole lot easier to continually schedule five people than it is to schedule forty, the casual players get some fantastic loot, while the drive to raid for the BEST of the best gear still remains intact.

    This would also help to close the gear gap in PvP. Casual pvpers are at a large disadvantage against raiders who are pvping on free nights. The new Honor system has done a lot for enabling casual pvpers to get epic-quality gear, and that's fantastic, but it sill involves a lot of battlegrounds grinding to get the requisite honor and tokens.

  7. sam said:
    "This is a great idea! A 5-man epic dungeon... brilliant. It's a whole lot easier to continually schedule five people than it is to schedule forty, the casual players get some fantastic loot, while the drive to raid for the BEST of the best gear still remains intact."

    Ummm... where have you been since TBC was released? These are called Heroics. You unlock them by attaining Revered status with certain factions and purchasing a key to "open" heroic difficulty of standard 5 man instances. I'm not sure, but I think you have to be maximum level (currently 70) to enter a heroic instance. Gear rewards are generally very nice with epics (purples) dropping frequently. Most people use these as either a substitute for 10 and 25 man raids, or simply to "gear-up" for the larger raids.

    As far as pvp epics go, they aren't that hard to get, even for a casual. A good solid weekend in any BG (except AV, which can take up to 2 hours) should get you enough honor and tokens for something nice.