Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why do we like raiding so much? What would a raiding only game consist of?

I open this post with an invitation to all to participate in the dialogue. Why do we like raiding so much? This is a very personal question to extent that everyone probably has a different answer. Tobold got me thinking about it. How can you make a commercially feasible raiding based game? Is raiding fun for you? Why? I believe there IS an answer to these questions, in fact I believe the best books, music, and games have not yet been written.

Anyways what makes raiding so appealing to us? I enjoyed being a raid leader in my days because I had an awesome guild in Warcraft, and in Lord of the Rings I found a new group of friends who made funny jokes, kicked butt, and showed up generally on time and excited to be there. So social factors are definitely a big part of it. Doing something epic with your friends, on a schedule is awesome. Its like being on a soccer team and winning a championship after lots of hard work, training and strategies. In fact raiding is very much like being on a sports team. For me, raiding is all about strategically tackling something difficult. I've seen bloggers lately go off about how raiding is jsut killing a big boss. This is like saying feasting always involves turkey. Just because you've always done something a particular way doesn't mean its the only way to do it. I remember one of my favorite encounters in World of Warcraft in Zul Furrak where you defend against an army of Troll cultists. But there are so many more possibilities for raiding that haven't been explored. How about a raiding skirmish where you have to stay off forces using several small groups and good communication and teamwork? Or perhaps a puzzle raid or a tricky player versus player one where you can only indirectly influence the other team with funny consequences...?

Lastly my question of what would a raiding only game consist of? A mix of pve, puzzle, pvp, and other raids, or just a pure raiding experience? How could it work. Obviously a quick matching service would be a must, but its not too hard to get ten people online at the same time, as we've seen from most pvp games online. Should everyone start at the level cap? Personally I say NO! People should be able to level up through raiding! Why not? And they should be able to get deeds and other stuff. Soldiers in Lotro are a great step towards requiring less humans for the same level of epicness. What are your thoughts?


Anton said...

Yeah! Raiding-based MMO!!!

I already blogged about this, 2-3 months ago.

Leveling up through raiding would be awesome. I could see a guild really teaming up to help all their members reach the cap.

Personally, I played WoW 2 whole years. From the very beginning, my intent was to raid. When I stopped, I had yet to raid. Ever.

WoW lets you do everything EXCEPT raid as you're leveling up.

I did however, take advantage of every 5-man dungeon. In fact, I probably spent 33% of my play time in instances, and had there been more instances available, I might have spent more time there.

A raiding only game would just need to focus more on helping players make friends and join groups. It'd be nice if players could rate each others' skill-level and ability to cooperate. The game should offer large group quests from the outset. And as you progress, the challenge should focus on working as a team, rather than having a powerful character. But challenges early on can be simple, such as run-in and fight stuff, because new players won't really know much tactics yet, and they won't have made friends yet, so they wouldn't know how to communicate yet.

I've noticed that co-op play is also better when the players are given time to prepare. You should always see your enemy first and every encounter should call for players to speak to each other and make a few simple plans before proceeding.

Thallian said...

I agree the difficulty curve should be a slope. Also, a simple rating system like Amazon has for its sellers for example where people can give you props but not hurt you or help you too much individually. each vote counting for or against you. If you are mostly an awesome teammate it will show, regardless of jerks.

Anton said...

Also, I think raid instances should be numerous and varied enough that you could take any number of players. If you only got 8 players one night, you should be able to find a raid instance designed for that number of players.

Thallian said...

well.. then they should just scale. But really maybe we're whining about something we already have. Lotro HAS levelling by raiding via skirmishes now. If you had twelve friends wanting to play you could run just raids from level 30 to level 65.

Cap'n John said...

If you've got a Raiding-only game then of course everyone will start at Level Cap, but that's because there wouldn't be any Levels. How can you possibly have characters levels when you only progress through Raiding, and thus via an increase in your gear?

The game would basically be WoW as it is now just with every single person at 80 and no Instances other than the 80+ ones. Only you'd be level 1, not 80, because there are no levels, so technically you wouldn't even be level 1.

There would be tutorial quests (a la the Deathknight experience) that would teach you how to play your character, and even though you wouldn't level up, just as with the DKs you would be awarded your Talent Points incrementally so you 'build' your character as you learn how the class works.

If this is a pure Raiding-only MMO then there's no such thing as PvP', so balancing classes for PvP, which then screws them for PvE, would not be necessary. You also would not have dual-spec classes and, I guess, would end up with almost everyone playing cookie cutter builds. Want to Tank? Then you'll choose one of these three Classes, because they're the Tank classes, and don't even think about trying to DPS with them because their DPS sucks because they're Tank classes. Want to Heal? Choose one of these three Healer classes, and no, they don't DPS either. If you want to DPS then choose one of these four DPS classes and stop trying to DPS with a Tank or Healer class. Noob!

You'd use something like WoW's new LFD Tool to get into PUGs, or your Guild could do Instance Runs of their own, but you'd have to obtain Gear in the easier Instances to access the harder Instances. So while there wouldn't be character levels in a pure Raiding-only MMO you would have something resembling *shudder* a Gear Score, only now it would actually be a viable stat for determining whether or not to take someone on a Run.

I like Instances and Raiding but I'm not sure I'd like this...although DDO kind of comes close to this (and I liked DDO), as does City of Heroes. Of course both of those games still allow solo play and also still have character levels and progression.

Anton said...

I dunno, Cap'n, I think it sounds great. Even as you described. Isn't everything leading up to raids considered "grinding another character to 80" by players anyways? So why not just clip that off and expand the number and variety and quality of the raids themselves?

I could also see new game design elements changing the whole way of thinking. I don't see why there has to be a tank-dps-heal system or an arbitrary gear score. There are lots of ways to approach game designs, the current popular method of MMO's is just one of an infinite number of undiscovered ways. I would also suggest using player ratings rather than calculated gear scores.

And in the end, it's all about getting to face exciting challenges with a big group of friends.

Thallian said...

I think there could be pvp, and also leveling. Or not. It all depends on what you think a raid is. Is a raid just a couple groups (or more) of normal groups of people doing ... "anything" or is it a couple of groups of people doing pve challenges? I personally choose to think of raiding as large groups of people doing "anything", including pvp. Guild Wars 2 sounds like it will encourage this kind of behavior from the article that Melf recently posted here: http://word-of-shadow.blogspot.com/2010/04/official-arenanet-guild-wars-2-blog-is.html Many restrictions on raiding, like the fact that raiding reduced your exp to almost nil in WoW, and that raiding usually revolved around fighting big bosses in WoW and EQ, are artificial and not necessarily the only way to do it.

Tesh said...

Cap'n, you could still have dual speccing. As long as the trinity of combat roles exists, and players want to be flexible enough to try different things, even within the same raid (and they could be *designed* for that flexibility), dual speccing or the equivalent would still be valuable.

Or you could have a classless, totally flexible system and go away from the trinity like I keep asking for. ;)

I think there's a market for an "all raiding all the time" game. It would be more Team Fortress 2, less WoW, but that's not a bad thing. There really isn't a fantasy equivalent to TF2, or even a PvE equivalent (that I'm familiar with). That's ripe design and market space.

Anton said...

Sounds grand, Tesh! When do you want to team up and start developing this thing? ;)

Tesh said...

Let's see... book to illustrate, book to write, three card games to develop, one indie video game to develop... *then* there's time to do something else...

I should write up a design document, eh? ;)

I can't help but have a lot of things going on at once. *shrug*

Anton said...

Seriously. I'm the same.