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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 7:35PM (Unverified) said

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Honestly, I never found it to be an issue. Successful raiding guilds tend to be organized and handle haveing extra people with ease.

I was fortunate enough to be in a guild in WoW that did several server firsts and were among one of our servers top guilds. People knew there was a core raiding group for doing progression bosses. These were the people who were on more often and could make the raids regularly, farmed mats for flasks and food as well as for enchants and gems.

When bosses went to farm, we made sure those who were on "the bench" always got a chance to get in. Things ran very smooth.

The only guilds I ever saw where having extra people tended to be a problem were guilds that had a hard time even getting a boss down, so in the end really didn't matter because they couldn't work together.

While it can be a little bit depressing to be sat, it does have the advanatge of getting time off from raiding so it never seems to be a chore.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 7:37PM AlienFanatic said

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This is one of the key design areas I'd dearly love to see changed. Why can't developers scale dungeons and bosses to the size of the raid? I understand that, logistically, it would be difficult to ensure that a boss is proportionally different in an 11 man raid vs a 10 man, but what an amazing advancement that would be!

I think, though, that it all comes down to a deeply-flawed reward system perpetuated by WOW and its climes. We play the virtual equivalent of one of those grabbing-arm toy vending machines. We know what we want, because we can see if in the machine, so we keep fiddling with the controls until we get it. Blizzard, et al., has to design it so that you drop as many quarters as possible while they stock the next machine.

Frankly, I'm dead sick of playing the same game. I pray that there is a developer out there that can free us from the gear treadmill and in doing so revolutionize raiding so that bench warming becomes a relic of the past.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 7:48PM AlienFanatic said

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@AlienFanatic

Bah I have to tie gear to scaling, I know, but typing on a tablet bites!

The reason debs have to be so careful about balance id that progression is defined by gear. Raiders are highly concerned that the top tier of gear reflect the difficulty in obtaining it. My belief is that the genre is trapped in this philosophy so that raiding never advances and we remain stuck in a model that forces devs to balance around specific raid sizes.

We need a new advancement system so that raiding can advance, and so raids can accommodate a variety of configurations.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 8:34PM Borick said

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@AlienFanatic Too much engineering for efficiency exposes a fallacious reductionist worldview. It is a problem, and it has been since EverQuest ran with the raiding hook.

At first there was a lot of black market money in raiding, at least back in EQ. Those loudmouthed raid leaders of yesteryear's websites weren't just busy being the best -- a lot of 'em were raking in a comfy second income on the sales of items, gold and eventually raid slots. That's one of the reasons the upper tier became so rabidly exclusive.

I don't know what holds it all together now. I would hope that nowadays people raid because they love the raid game, but back in the day raiding on the top level was a literal racket.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 4:03PM (Unverified) said

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@AlienFanatic
Ever play Guild Wars? There is no gear treadmill. You craft your gear from an armorer, not wait for it to drop off a boss. GW's devs did an incredible job of making the game fun to play, not play to gear.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 8:07PM digitalheadbutt said

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I am fond of the core mechanics of the genre what I would like to see is developers start breaking rules in world design. I would like to see a world that didn't have a the boundaries filled in. A world where the content was there but the player had to literally discover it and share the information. Where different classes occupational role determine how they interact with that world so that each players experience becomes a bit more unique.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 6:09AM FrostPaw said

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@digitalheadbutt

That sounds great on paper, except during beta people would be making spoiler websites with all the information the game doesn't tell you, players who don't visit those sites would ask in game and people too lazy to be helpful would say "visit spoilersite.com" and then the one concept you had for a great mmo has been made an annoying "feature" nobody actually uses.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 8:51PM (Unverified) said

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This was a major problem for me as a raid leader in WoW. Our team consisted almost entirely of RL friends and coworkers. I ended up in awkward situations. Especially when someone wasn't very good or we kept hitting an enrage timer because their dps was below the tanks. I learned to walk a tightrope.

Also the nights when 12 would show up for a 10 man raid.... sucks having to ask people to sit out. Bitterness starts to build.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 8:52PM Borick said

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Even when most people raided with 50-60 people, the top tier still stacked raids with as small a team as they could engineer, and they still benched members -- in fact benching was probably more prevalent then because the gear was too valuable to allow alts to be considered.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 9:44PM DarkWalker said

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Part of why I'm interested in GW2: no instanced raids, no tagging of event bosses, scaling encounters, no raid bench.

On the other hand, event bosses should be quite easier than a Hard Mode WoW raid boss. The real PvE challenge in GW2 will, apparently, happen in the 5-man dungeons (and, perhaps, in the jumping puzzles).

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 11:07PM Ecto said

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On the last point of "balance strength with fairness", I would say also take in to account whether it's "progression content" or not. If your guild/raid group has yet to kill a particular boss you probably want to sit Mr. Wiggly for the night. If everyone in the raid has to pull a certain amount of DPS to beat an enrage timer and you know Mr. Wiggly isn't capable of doing that, bringing him is simply wasting everyone's time. However, if it's content you've been farming for months, go a head and bring him.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 3:48AM Graill440 said

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If devs didnt keep using these mechanics and telling you raiders and your guildmasters into being forced to raid you could simply tell those stuck out of the nights festivities to scale the dungeon and have a great time........oh wait, real MMO's dont do this currently. To bad. No Rote action for them.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 6:12AM FrostPaw said

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Stop Raiding.

Stop doing the treadmill thats easy to add content to and forces huge repetition.

Until you stop, developers are gonna keep feeding you the same shit for endgame.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 7:13AM GW2waiting said

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@FrostPaw

Firstly, I agree with you. I have never understood the pull of raiding in MMOs or why it has to be the only endgame content. I've done 2-3 of the early raids in WOW and found them totally boring. It added nothing to my enjoyment of the game and the later ones seemed to be more of the same; clear trash, fight minor boss, clear more trash, fight minor boss, clear more trash, kill big boss, rinse, repeat. I would still be playing WOW except the rest of the game got boring too once I had maxed out 3 toons of different classes.

However........ some people like raids for what ever reason and that's great, more power to them (pun intended). Clearly devs are going to continue to develop them in games that have a gear progression treadmill because of level caps and the lack of story progression at that point.

Each to their own. We just have to pick the games that appeal to us personally, be it raiding or anti-raiding, and support those developers that feed the thirst for what ever gets our blood burning : )
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 8:23AM smartstep said

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Only fun raid group I was playing with (I tried few very well organized , progress / "pro" groups but did not like their strict approach - it is nothing bad just does not fit me) was quite casual raiding group.

I did not have problem with being on a 'bench' sometimes , after all I did not was trying to get all loot / raid done as soon as possible.

I just did not care that much.

Besides this game was quite community based (no cross lfg / teleportings etc) so I knew few other folks ,so sometimes when I was "on banch" with my main group I helped / was asked to help by some other group I knew.

No biggie.

What is wrong atm - is that games are designed very heavily as almost purely istanced dungeons / raids 'runners' so that's why it is big problem if you're on bench.

Cause there is not much else to do in those games aside of instanced content once you hit so called end-game.

Just bad design and another problem that streamlining bring.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 8:39AM Ceridith said

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Having to bench people for raids is a sign that raid mechanics have gone awry. Having played MMOs for over a decade and raided during most of those years, I have to say that player limits on raiding has lead to a lot of animosity, drama, and bitterness.

Having lead various raid groups over the years, I have to say that it just plain sucks having to bench people. It also sucks just as much to assemble for a raid and then find out you're short a couple people for that night.

In my opinion, this is a failing of the raid mechanics in use. I agree that raids should be hard, require a lot of people, and coordination. But I don't believe that raids should be so oppressively tuned as to outright hardcap how many players can participate, nor should it be oppressively difficult if you're short one or two people. Having raid difficulty scale somewhat dynamically in proportion to raid size would alleviate a lot of issues such as having to bench players.

In the end, people just want to play the game together. Developers should be trying to enable this, and stop being so oppressive in raid design.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 9:28AM Aziras said

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I have been raid leader in several different guilds during my time in WOW. There are three groups of people in this dilemma and all tackle it differently:
1) The ones on the bench
2) The ones not on the bench
3) The raid leaders

And then there are two scenarios, that are also different:
A) Progression content (bosses not on farm, or the "reward" bosses).
B) Farm content

I have found over the years that players respond differently to A and B depending on their playing style and motivation.
As a raid leader I have deliberately benched players because they did not take progression seriously and slowed down the raid.

I have also benched players because I felt it was unfair for the other raiders that some people where really quick with signups for the raid nights with farm content and guaranteed loot. While they systematically "cannot make it" for the progression raids.

In the early days it was easy to manage with rotations and signups in the 40man raids. There where enough raid spots to justify bringing a "trainee" along each raid without gimping the raid. There was also a need to keep the raid rooster relatively long to be able to field a raid every time.

Then it went downhill from there. First it was the mixed class token drops. That not only messed up the DKP systems, but also made it difficult to justify gearing the most essential people first.
I had always run my raids with a rule of tanks and healers got first dips on relevant loot. At the price of being last on everything else and always having negative DKP. That was really difficult when classes shared the tokens as they where hard to distribute.

Then came the BoP currencies from boss kills. The idea itself was good, and to some extend mimicked DKP. However, combined with smaller raid sizes, many more viable specs for some classes, and a lot of shard-loot it ruined management of DKP.

DKP was the single-most effective tools to manage the bench. As a raid leader I could ask players to sit out and still offer them DKP to give up their spot for someone else. This meant I could take along players to farm raids for gearing and training without upsetting the core raiders.
The currencies like badges totally messed that up. Not there for the boss kill? no gear progression for you!.

It was a great way to make everyone in a raid group gear at similar speed. But it was a total disaster for the raid leader in terms of managing the bench.

All of a sudden we had to do farm content with our core group to keep the gear maximized. This removed the tool of shuffling the raid on the "easy days" and ultimately meant that the people on the bench gave up after a couple of weeks of never getting in.

In the end we had to do alt-runs to keep the benchwarmers trained and geared. And the raid lockouts meant that we could only do the alt-run at the end of the cycle or we could not use the benchwarmers as backups in the regular raids.

In the beginning raid leading was challenging due to the amount of people in a raid. There was a lot of organizational challenges keeping a guild with 50+ members together.
In the end, guilds where closer to 10 people, and the challenge was keeping the benchwarmers motivated to stay on the bench.
Not to mention the raid rooster challenges because you needed a backup for each spot which meant almost a complete backup raid (what would get broken and miss the lockout if the main raid needed one of the backup members).

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