Past and Future of Warcraft

Image

In the December issues of gameinformer, Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan and Rob Pardo explained how they decided on implementing the change from 40-person raids to the current system of 25-mans. Interesting read on the dynamic of raiding and what this means to your guild.

Quote:
GI: You mentioned that with these big numbers, there was sort of this feeling of epicness. Although I didn’t raid too much in original World of Warcraft or The Burning Crusade, I definitely remember feeling that with 40 people in Molten Core. Do you think the game has lost anything by not having raids of that size? Or is it more important to have it be more accessible?

JK: Both, to be honest. I think you’re right on both. I would be lying if I said I don’t think the game has lost something by not having 40-person or even larger games in the raid. At the same time, I think the game is much better off for having that smaller raid size. There are a couple reasons why.

One, I think it’s important to create content that’s accessible. When I say accessible, I’m not saying we want “noobs” or casual players to be able to run it, I mean even within a hardcore raiding guild. We want individuals to be able to have a full experience where their roles matter in the raid. As we bring the number down, the individual matters more. The experience in numbers may not be so epic, but the experience in depth and in actual action is a lot more epic, what the individual player is experiencing.

There was also a huge logistical nightmare for people trying to do 40-man raids. It became very unwieldy and stressful for guild leaders to manage the large raid sizes. We also saw an unhealthy habit occurring in guilds where guilds would over-recruit just to be able to field a 40-person raid. Then they would bench large numbers of people because they had to over-recruit so much just to guarantee the 40-person factor. It was a very unhealthy social dynamic going on. Usually what would happen is that there would be a core of the guild of maybe 10 people, but they were just bringing people into their guilds in mercenary fashion to help them get through this content. The smaller the raid size, the more that becomes reduced.

There were a lot of factors. Also, to be frank, the level of quality that we can deliver from a tuning standpoint is so much higher with a lower raid size because of the amount of testing we can do on it. It gives us better peace of mind knowing that we know exactly how the encounters play out. Once you get into numbers like 40, there are so many wild cards. Do you tune the encounter for 40 extremely skilled players? 30 extremely skilled players and 10 noobs? 10 extremely skilled players and 30 noobs? It’s very difficult to tune content for large sizes like that.

GI: With the drop to 10-man or 25-man for all raids, another major change was the ability to run 5-man dungeons for badges that you can use to purchase equipment that would normally only drop from raids previously. These kinds of changes seem focused on appealing to more casual players, but I know that some hardcore players complain about them. How do you strike that balance in the Warcraft community between pleasing the hardcore fans but still making things accessible?

JK: It’s not even just a casual versus hardcore thing. It’s a play style choice. There are some players who just never want to experience the large raids. They’re not interested in hanging out with 25 players online. Some of those are very skilled, very hardcore players who play the game more than people who play 25-person raids. Between PvE and PvP, we have these separate paths to the end-game for people to pursue. The same goes for within a game type.

If you take PvE, we have to make sure that five-person groups or solo people or 10-person groups or 25-person groups, that everyone has access to really good gear and progression that they feel good about. We don’t want them to feel like Blizzard is only validating one way to play. What we like to remind the hardest of the hardcore 25-person raid groups is that at the end of the day, when it comes to the best of slot items, you’re still the only people with it. Just because we’re doing a bit of catch-up for everyone else doesn’t mean that we’re diminishing your accomplishments at all.

Kaplan pretty much imbued it on his answer:
Quote:
There was also a huge logistical nightmare for people trying to do 40-man raids. It became very unwieldy and stressful for guild leaders to manage the large raid sizes….

There were a lot of factors. Also, to be frank, the level of quality that we can deliver from a tuning standpoint is so much higher with a lower raid size because of the amount of testing we can do on it. It gives us better peace of mind knowing that we know exactly how the encounters play out. Once you get into numbers like 40, there are so many wild cards. Do you tune the encounter for 40 extremely skilled players? 30 extremely skilled players and 10 noobs? 10 extremely skilled players and 30 noobs? It’s very difficult to tune content for large sizes like that.

Roster preparation is still important in judging your 25-man raid capabilities. Seriously doubt its just a matter of 25 people turning up– without accounting class composition and raider’s capabilities. But I agree that removing 40-man raids (will they put it back in Cataclysm?) is sensible. At least now endgame contents are ‘accessible’ for subscribers whilst still retaining that barrier for raiders who want something extra with their raid time (ie. ‘achievements’).

For majority of raiding guilds, that’s the gist of raiding….

And I read it as yes you belong in a raiding guild where people can see endgame contents and gear up OR insist on quality superior raiders that you can consign for hardmode contents. Again it boils down to the motivation of your guild. And that’s the tricky bit…..

The second part, as I see it, is not about asserting an atmosphere of elitism within theguild but developing a sense of proficiency with your core raiding group. If your core group is distracted by judging who’s doing what not dps or simple impatience then it’ll cause hostility in that team. And it happens.

To accomplish hardmode contents (esp in 25-mans)– and many raiders and raiding guilds fail to see this– is not about 10 or 15 people doing the hard yakka and slotting-in the rest with decently geared ‘noobs’ deadweights. Of course you have to have all 25 of your raiders to be proficient with their class mechanics and raiding awareness. What is possible in an endgame raid (10 or 15 proficient players, and the rest inadequate raiders) is simply not feasible in hardmode contents. And to put it simply– your guild must invest on their players proficiency and notjust your star players (hence I don’t think elitism plays a part here).

From the TA web forum
Advertisements