The topic of 40-man raids came up on our gaming community forums the other day when someone mentioned that WildStar might be trying to attract the ‘vanilla’ WoW crowd. Everything I’ve seen from Wildstar screams accessibility, and everything I know about vanilla WoW the opposite.
I was the leader of two guilds on separate servers that got server first kills on all Molten Core, Black Wing Lair, Onyxia, and AQ 40 bosses. I was an officer in a third. Suffice it to say I have too much experience with 40-man raids. The thought of doing any of that again nauseates me. Raids would go on for 5-6 hours a night, 5+ nights a week and sometimes more if we felt pressed to get the server first. Raiding in WoW was my full time job. There wasn’t time to do much else, and eating happened at the keyboard every meal. I am embarrassed by it, not proud.
The difficulty of the fights was nothing compared to the mechanics of raiding in WoW today. The worst thing we had to worry about was cleansing quick enough, and moving out of fire in the right direction. Organizing 40 people was the problem. How do you coordinate 40 people to log in on time and execute flawlessly? Heck, how do you even get 40 people? Once you have 40 people, you have to train their bladders so that you’re not constantly stopping. You have to find people who are too afraid of losing their spot in one of two guilds on the server who can actually raid so that they don’t miss a night to go to their kid’s recital.
When someone tells me that WildStar is going to attract the vanilla WoW crowd with 40-man raids and tough bosses, I can’t help but chortle. Vanilla WoW had its moments, but 40-man raids aren’t one of them. I’m in no rush to revisit 40-man raids, and I think the WildStar devs aren’t stupid enough to think that type of gameplay will sell boxes. Creating content that less than 5% of your players will see doesn’t make sense anymore.
If WildStar makes 40-man raids the focus of their game, the raids will be accessible. The content will be closer to something we see in WoW’s Looking For Raid or 10-mans, and nothing like the 40-man raids that required you to give up your life to participate. And that makes sense to me. Lots of people getting together to fight a boss sounds fun. Knowing I can do it in a way that allows me to come home from work, jump on and participate is precisely what I want in a themepark MMO.