We Could Use Those Big Raids Again

“Would you prefer the raids of yore, or are you enjoying the game design of today?”

We feared Ragnaros and there were 40 of us.

Interesting question asked on Massively yesterday.  My experience with raiding goes as far back as EverQuest when we would raid the original planes of Fear, Hate, Sky, and dragons like Nag and Vox.  The raiding grew more intense from there into Kunark and subsequent expansions.  Dark Age of Camelot’s raiding was a bit different in that it lacked a lot of the immense preparation that was required in EQ.  It was still a very large scale and involved process though.  World of Warcraft’s original raiding in MC, BWL, AQ, and so on should be familiar to you; I did all of that as well.  I’ve also done the smaller scale stuff available in WoW and Lord of the Rings Online.  I consider myself, like many of you, a veteran.

The thought of returning to such an involved, and quite frankly tedious at times, process of the true “raids of yore” is enough to make me a little more than unnerved.  I don’t have it in me to raid for nine hours straight anymore.  I don’t think the effort justifies the reward.  It wasn’t having to organize/find the enormous amounts of people or the difficulty that got to me.  It was the way the content was designed.   There’s a reason why they call them “Trash” mobs.  Having to work through dozens and sometimes hundreds of worthless mobs just to get to a boss that everyone kills sucks and it’s boring!  That’s why Onyxia was so great.  You go in, kill like 4 things and bam you’re at the boss.

There is most definitely something special about big boss fights.  Getting together with large numbers of people to take down a boss, especially one that requires an organized effort with strategy and a learning curve, is really something games are getting away from.  Big raids have a very bad rap because of the whole process.  Cut the fat and I would love to participate in big raids again.  There is no reason why a raid has to take five hours to kill a boss that takes twenty minutes or less.

Boss fights themselves can easily be enough content to justify the gathering of large numbers of people.  Onyxia was (and maybe still is?) a good challenge.  She was a long complex fight with multiple stages.   Ragnaros was a great fight.  Razorgore was a great fight.  I know, a lot of WoW references but some of these bosses were really a challenge and had a lot to them.  The boss fights that can be considered events are the best.  Introduce lots of boss fights like this around the world, let people kill them once a week, and that’s easily a justifiable way to get a lot of people together.

Big boss fights and raids are epic moments.  The epic moments make memories.  They also give players and guilds something to work towards.  I can appreciate the smaller stuff like ten man raids but for me it doesn’t come close to matching the accomplishment or the scale and adrenaline rush like seeing 40 people prepare to fight a massive monster.   It also meant more walking away with a piece of the kill in your hands as a souvenir. Getting loot in a five man is neat, but getting loot in a 40 man is just better.

So yeah, cut out the trash and the waste of time and just give us those amazing bosses.  Make them really long fights and design them to be extremely complex with lots to do.   Make them difficult and something to work towards.  With that said, why not have the smaller scale stuff too?

  • I would love it if games had raid mobs and then BOSS mobs. Pretty much like the sleeper only on purpose. One that takes a lot of people and planning and even seems impossible

  • You make a good point. I’d often thought that getting away from the 40 man raids in wow was a blessing. However looking back on some of my early raiding in MC I remember what an amazing accomplishment it was for my guild when we finally dropped Rag. I still remember the roar in vent as Rag finally dropped and everyone screamed with excitement. I think your right – it’s the trash and the extreme time sink due to the trash that eventually turned me off. Although some of those fights were a lot of fun.

  • Half the “complexity” of these bosses came from the preparation – do you remember having to farm thousands reagents, potions, etc? That’s just grind, and a mindless bad grind at that.

    And the other half of this “complexity”….where was it? aside from the AQ40+ bosses and Razorgore, take a look at the strategies for most MC/BWL bosses. They’re stupidly simple mechanics-wise, there’s very little complexity at all. it came down to skill of a few select individuals -usually 3-4 tanks and 3-4 healers, of a full 40 people- for most of BWL for instance, tanks were the only group who made the fight live or die.

    Also, this talk of amazing bosses – how amazing are they on the 4th week of farm status? the 7th time? the 13th? or are you proposing the developers devote a large amount of resources to this? it seems so, particularly with the “why not have the smaller-scale stuff too?” comment. what about the other aspects of the game?

    Big boss fights and raids are epic moments, yes. but frankly, if I EVER have to lead a 40-man raid group comprised of one stoner, two drunks, four kids, one mum, a deaf guy, and fifteen people who can’t play the game but pull a small amount of dps – it’ll be too soon.

    Because I don’t know about your guild, where possibly everyone was competent and you didn’t wipe to stupid – but that’s not what most of the raids I saw, over half a dozen servers and several different games, were like. And I’d much rather avoid all that ever again.

  • Having just spent 5 hours on one raid boss in EQ2, I think sometimes boss fights could be too involved. The strategy for some fights are so ridiculous.

  • I dropped out of raiding the moment scripting came in. I do not want to play “Simon Says” with a couple of dozen other people. Nor do I want to play “Guess what I’m Thinking” with a game designer.

    Raids that pit a large number of players against a horde of opponents, or one hugely powerful opponent, fine. I did that in EQ and DAOC long ago and it was okay. Not my favorite part of the game even then, but yes I’d do that on occasion. But the current style of Action Puzzle gaming? No thanks.

  • Totally agree with Bhagpuss. Learning a series of dance moves is not my idea of a fun raid encounter.

    I’m also not sure about removing all the trash and just leaving the boss either. If you remove all the obstacles to block the eventual rewards and just provide an instant gratification style of raiding, then for me it provides no sense of satisfaction whatsoever.

    Games should have a variety of gameplay styles, even within raiding. There should be the quick boss fights for those who require their loot before their 15 minute attention span runs out and then there should be longer raids with maybe slightly better rewards for those who prefer a more oldschool style of raiding.

    Raiding is about hanging out with a bunch of people you have fun with. If its about the loot, you are doing it wrong or are in the wrong guild.

  • Yeah I got to agree with that Graham. Back in the classic days of wow my guild was just a large group of people I considered friends. Then in wrath when I tried to get into raiding again the guilds turned into co-workers for me. You know how bad some co-workers are, they get the job done but man are they annoying.

    But I also disagree with removing all of the trash. I think they need to more systems like between HuHu(or was it hulu? lol) and the twins. Or the three spawns between the twins and cthun. The trash its self involved a a basic strategy. Also “What do you mean we got purple and green for the fourth time in a row?!” lol… Ah the nightmares and laughter that still causes me.

  • I’m a fan of a mix of world raid encounters and instanced group dungeons. World raid encounters should be the 40 people vs 1 dragon type deals. Group-based dungeons should be the standard WoW flavor 5 mans.

    Unfortunately, WoW’s world raid encounters were never on par with group dungeons and were usually left undone.

    Neither should be the sole focus of the game. They should be activities that are done for a reason. The end game, to me, should ALWAYS be about the world and adventuring. The second a game puts players into a set schedule, I think the MMO magic is lost.

  • Bottom Line: MMOs are no longer going to be games for “hardcore” gamers going forward. Ease of entry to the end game is going to get easier, not harder. It used to be that just killing a boss period put you on the map. Now its WHEN you kill the boss that matters, because everyone is going to kill him. Now you need to do it within hours of the boss being accessible.

    AQ40 was probably my favorite memories of WoW, 40 people, bosses that were just on the edge of what my guild could accomplish, but we were the only guild on the server t kill C’thun, and we were damn proud of it. Thats all great for those of us who can/are willing to spend the time, but thats not the way to make money on an MMO anymore. This is why by and large I’ve just stopped caring about the genre, to be honest.

    I hold out hope that someday a game will come by that makes me want to go back, but I’m just not part of the target audience anymore, and I’m in the process of learning to accept that.

  • The difficulty level of MMOs has just been dropping non-stop. This is why i have hopes for Allods. It is unforgiving and it has a high difficulty level.

    I would like to see big raids come back, but if they were more like Onyxia encounters with not much trash.

  • 40 man wow raids were very fun but also very time consuming

    the new approach with 10 and 25mans is much less time consuming/demanding but a lot less fun.

  • I stopped playing WoW about a year and a half ago so I can’t really comment on the current raiding situation in WoW. And when I did play I never had the time or luck to make it into a guild that was doing the real end game raiding stuff.

    The most raiding I did before Outlands was in a guild that I was in when we first started trying MC. I liked MC because it was a tough challenge for the guild I was, but over the course of a couple months we made it all the way to and killed Rag. We did ZG also and to this day our Hakkar kill is probably my proudest raid accomplishment. I enjoyed the challenge level of Kara also though the wins there didn’t feel quite as good except maybe the first times I successfully tanked Prince and that dragon out on the terrace.

    I did raid a little in EQ but again I never got in the guilds that were disciplined enough to get to the end game stuff. But the raids there were almost twice the size of the biggest raids in WoW. And when I started there there wasn’t even a way within the game to establish a raid group. I think our MMO’s have made a lot of progress but I’d also like to play a game with larger and more interactive/less scripted fights.

  • Trying to find 40 people, and the work involved in the large raids were a nightmare. I much prefer the current (in WoW) 10 man raids where its much easier to keep the same cohesive same 10 people week after week. Plus being able to extend the ‘saved’ content for several weeks means not having to raid all week to clear an instance. We can casually raid on Fri and Sat nights and still progress through the content.

    I like the complexities of the bosses currently. They are not just tank-n-spank and yet not so difficult that you are facerolling yoru keyboard week after week. I still hear the same cheers and uproar when a boss goes down as I did years ago.

    Smaller raids are less forgiving if one person isn’t doing their job. 40 mans were just too big and people could ‘hide’ and contribute nothing while stil lseeing the boss go down. No more 40 mans please.

  • Big raids are a double edged sword. I never did the 40 man stuff in WoW… but I did Sleepers Tomb, King Tormax, AoW, Plane of Sky, Fear, Hate, and cleared Planes of Power… etc.

    While big raids are epic, they aren’t accessible to the average gamer. WoW is designed in a way that the average gamer can tackle the majority of the content on a casual schedule.

    I loved EQ raids, but they promoted an unhealthy gaming environment. Plane of Sky took 3-4 days at 8-12 hours a day to clear to the final island.

    So while I will remember all my large scale raids in EQ fondly I understand it’s impractical to go back to that style. I think you can change some of the fundamentals of the current raid encounters to make them more than just “simon says” but really you can dummy most fights down to that even back in EQ.

  • Every bosss encounter will eventually be done in a purely optimized and synchronized way. As easier as it is to first tackle it or not.

    But MMOs nowadays are focusing more on accessibility than on quality of content.