Oldschool Raids Causing Newschool Thoughts

HFG posing for after our Oldschool Raid Night Ragnaros Kill

Happy Fun Guyz had our first return to Oldschool raid night on Wednesday.  We rolled through Molten Core with a group of 10 consisting of level 60-80 and had a blast reminiscing about the loot drops and how long it took us to get them as well as how easy bosses were to basically tank and spank regardless of their mechanic.  Gar was perhaps the funniest since we just pulled all his adds on top of him and AoE’d them down with Volley and Consecrate resulting in not even one death.

Summoning Ragnaros brought back all kinds of crazy memories from the days of learning the fight, bringing fire potions for 40 people, and having to deal with the drama that resulted from 40 people’s personalities naturally conflicting with at least one other person.  Although not a problem that is entirely done away with, it’s definitely a lot easier to manage a group of 10 or even 25 than it is to try and organize 40 people together. I wrote, not too long ago, that I really thought the epic raids with large numbers of people should return.  Having returned and relived the feelings of dread that just washed over and nearly suffocated me by simply stepping into MC, I’m on the face and leaning towards changing my tune altogether.  Big raids are fun, but whether or not they’re worth it… just not worth it.

I’m fine with leaving out raids in any MMO concepts that I come up with because there are better ways to keep players entertained.  Big boss fights are great, but I think I would rather them happen when people aren’t aware that they’re coming.  Maybe during a big PvP castle siege there could be a random dragon attack where the beast flies over the field of battle and breathes fire down onto people.  Maybe it could even be a scripted defense feature.  This could introduce the big epic monster without the idea of it being a raid.  Maybe I just like really big monsters.  I don’t know if I even care about how intricate or even scripted the fights are as long as the mobs are huge and cool looking.  It’s like back in EverQuest days when even the normal trash mobs you grind on where 5x your size, cool looking, and dangerous; it’s better than rats.

  • This is kinda off topic, but i was thinking about leveling a new toon, and was considering a hunter. Just wanted to ask you keen, are you happy with your hunter choice ?, Would you change if you could ?

    Atm i play Shaman (Resto/ELE) and Druid (which i dislike -_-) lol

  • Cannot wait until I level up enough with my hunter to play with you guys, looks like a lot of fun.

  • To be honest, I utterly despise the 10/25 man system Blizzard has put together. I am completely on board that they are easier to manage. Though, I truly believe there was a wonderful happy medium to be found between large, medium and small raids. Hell, I would even really like to begin to see truly challenging 5 man content.

    I have played many many MMOs over the years, but I look upon not WoW for its end game. I look upon the end game of a very different game as what should be the norm, Final Fantasy XI. I know a lot of people have their issues with XI on its face. Whether its gameplay, the grind, its age, whatever, but there simply is not a game out there with as much end game content as XI.

    There is everything from 6 man “missions” as well as “dungeon crawls” with Assault, Nyzul and Salvage. There are 18 person Alliance instances with Limbus. There are multiple 32 and 64 person “instances” to complete as well. All the while those numbers are not hard and true. Most anything can be farmed or enjoyable at under the player cap for the activity.

    This is what I wish WoW would go back to. In TBC we had group and soloable daily quests. We had challenging 5 man heroics that took time and effort. We had several 10 man dungeons that were perfect for a more close knit group and the 25 man dungeons that were there for the larger groups. Now we have a system where the small group content is unchallenging, the 10man group content is duplicated with the 25 man content and no large 40 man content. I want a more flexible system with challenge at every level. Not duplication across multiple levels and the challenge is only had at the extremes.

  • I think small raids, 10 or 25 people, just plain work better. I remember the huge raids from EQ and they were impossible to organise. There’s something a lot more intimate about a small raid too.

    My favourite raids in EQ2 were always the x2 ones (2 groups, 12 players total) because it wasn’t as chaotic as 24 people but still felt more epic than a single group.

  • Personally I think the oldschool raids were too grindtastic… but if you can lower the amount of grind and preparation required, those large raids can be VERY VERY fun. The boss doesn’t need to be complex, he can be large, hard hitting, and hard to kill, with a couple of simple mechanics, and beating him will feel EPIC.

    Right now WoW’s 10/25 model I find a bit annoying,as too many raiders feel they have to do BOTH to feel competitive, because of the way badges are handed out. ICC10 seems to be balanced around the idea of you doing ICC25, as ToC10 gear is considered “too low” to get into ICC10 most of the time.

    I wouldn’t mind there being a “rare” spawn huge 40+ man boss, and maybe a special raid quest thats available when they spawn that gives EVERYONE credit for killing them.

    FFXI had a problem as well with it’s “end game” stuff being far far too grindtastic, putting wow simply to SHAME. It had some of the BEST story-line driven main missions in any game I have ever seen, with fantastic cut scenes and plot for only doing it with 5 people. But the “raid” style stuff all required you to grind the same dungeon every few days for years to get anything accomplished, which was just too much.

    TBC’s content was poorly designed, with heroics that were far too hard for their rewards, and raids of impossibly random difficulty. WoTLK now has unchallenging heroics, where people dont even run regular 5mans anymore, and grindtastic dailies.

    But large raid bosses should always be a part of a game, they give something challenging to team up and fight for… the trick is to not make it something people have to grind excessively, and perhaps if they are world bosses, to update them and keep them relevant if the game world is changing.

  • “There’s something a lot more intimate about a small raid too.”

    I thought one of the points of a raid was the lack of intimacy. Running through Darkness Falls in a huge gang made up mostly of strangers, or streaming across the tundra of Midgard in a massive army, with all the chaos and hysteria that ensued was about the only time I ever really enjoyed raiding.

    Once you take the scale out, “raid” are just slightly bigger groups. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it’s an “as well as” “not an “instead of”.

  • In general I think it’s awesome that Keen is coming around to the smaller raid groups. I know most of use have done the bigger raids, but I find that most people forget about the hellish moments of those old raids, which tended to strongly out weight the good points. Specially the time considerations which were VAST. 4-5 hour raids were only acceptable when you didn’t have a family or a life outside of gaming that weekend.

    Over all, I do reminisce about the big 50 man raids of DAOC to defeat the Midgard Dragon, but I also remember the 2 hours it took to get there, the 5 pieces of usable loot and the 20 disconnects that happened in the middle of the raid.

    Those ‘old days’ were very interesting but I don’t wish them on anyone these days.

  • As an old-school raider and, yes, I have my experience in 40-mans (shiver), I can honestly say the new system is better but it also has its flaws. I will not go into those flaws, but the idea of 40-mans again takes me back to nostalgia, but that nostalgia also brings to mind the amount of stress and anger and loss of life it took to create and perform those raids.

  • I think its also interesting to look at the intermediary step which was BC. Separate 10 and 25 man raid instances, so effectively separate progression paths all together, no hard modes and so forth.

    If there is one thing I slightly lament, its the lack of a competitive world first or top tier raiding scene. I think if there is one thing the new system lacks, its that. No one really cares who is first anymore, kills come quickly and easily for the top guilds, so nothing really matters. I remember waiting with bated breath during original Naxx, seeing the epic first kills of the hardest bosses. I got a good deal of enjoyment out of just WATCHING that stuff happen. Of course, it seems they’ve traded that in for allowing tons more people to actually see the content for themselves, and its a good thing overall even I have to admit, but there is something missing now from the raiding scene that leaves it feeling flat to me. I don’t think it necessarily has to do with the 10/25 – 40 man split, but it seems related somehow.

  • I completely agree the 10/25 man raids are a lot easier to handle. But I do miss the 40 man raids because they just felt more ‘Epic’. Imagine Sauron attacking Minas Tirith with handle full of orcs, it just wouldn’t have the same feel.

  • I think Jericho is completely wrong about FFXI above. As a veteran FFXI player (multiple capped jobs and about 4 years put into the game) the “end game” was just bad.
    Not only was leveling tedious back in the day with having to have a full party to accomplish darned near anything, but end game was an even bigger disaster. The amount of people required to run anything worth while end game was rediculous. Couple that with the insane windows on NM’s (Notorious Monsters) and HNM’s, job class preconceptions that effectively kept certain classes from being welcome and often “forced” people to lvl multiple jobs, etc etc. Everything in FFXI was designed as a massive time sink from leveling to missions, to end game. While they have made strides to improve this it’s still an incredibly time needy game.

    I’m not saying I like everything handed to me on a silver platter, but when it takes 2 hours to form a party and 8 hours to possibly gain a lvl in that party something is definitely borked in your game. In short if WoW were like FFXI it would maybe be as popular as FFXI is. WoW is far from perfect but it strikes an excellent balance between needing to be uber dedicated to do anything fun and being accesible to the busy semi-adult gamer that my generation has become.

    Back to the OT, I am a huge fan of 10/25 man raids in WoW. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the 40 mans of Vanilla but lets be honest only about 15 of those 40 were dead weight anyway, so bringing the size down to 25 actualy ramped up difficulty in my opinion. Their is less room for error and everyone ideally in a 25 man raid has to pull their own weight. I do think epics have lost their epic-ness but that is a different topic entirely.

  • After reading the above, I don’t mean to attack FFXI just stating how I feel about the game in general. Obviously I found some enjoyment in it as I played it exlusively for several years. After re-reading my above post I think I came off more negative than I intended. TLDRL FFXI is a fine game, but if you expect to do end game expect to invest a nice chunk of time.

  • @Rybnik

    If anyone takes the time to read your entire post before making their opinion of what you said, I believe they will come to same conclusion I did: Agreeing with you. It may have been a bit negative, but that’s truly how criticizing comes along. I played FFXI for a few months and began to realize that it truly was a time sink and just not the kind of game to me. After learning a bit of Japanese (in order to form parties, my server this was almost required L14+), and still taking 10+ hours to level, I believed it was time to let go of it.

    Beautiful world, beautiful lore, but the game itself needs to be tweaked for the western audience. Let’s just hope FFXIV will do just that. 🙂

  • Thanks Dietx you said that much better than I did and in much less space 😛 Hopefully 14 brings along a lot of what I loved about 11 and changes the other bits to fit into the “western” playstyle.

  • I’m torn.

    I played EQ when I was in High School and right after I graduated. I loved EQ and I loved that we would have over 100 people on certain raids. I also loved the fact that if we were good enough, and of course had good enough gear, we could take a small group and do older raid content that was profitable/challenging and fun.

    On the flip side I’m married with 2 kids now and I work full time. I can’t play a video game for 12 hours a day, and yes I played EQ anywhere from 12-16 hours a day. So while I loved that style of play I also understand it isn’t logistically possible to do it again.

    WoW has 5/10/25 man content. I can do the 5/10 man content on a very relaxed schedule… or atleast I could until people created artifical gear score requirments. WAR had a great system for getting 40-80 people together easily and I think that other MMOs could take the open grouping system and improve upon it.

    The reality is I loved EQ more than I love WoW, but I can’t dedicate the same amount of time to a MMO so I understand that WoW is really the perfect choice for me. I think Blizzard is coming to realize people like myself is their target market. The problem is the target market isn’t nearly as vocal as the smaller markets.

  • @Rybnik

    So true, while the story lines were amazing to me, and the gameplay thoughtful (not buttonmashy), and I loved the challenge of the storyline missions and how it progressed… In the end, the game is a huge time sink. And money sink. And alot of other sinks, the game is RIFE with problems, mainly in that it takes excessive amounts of work to accomplish simple tasks. But I won’t fault the games overarching storylines, which have been for the most part very well done and very interesting to watch, and due to the challenge you felt VERY good after achieving victory in these fights as well.

    Same goes for HNMs, but HNM competition was fierce and really turned it from “fun” into “timesink”, a problem most of the game faces. The content is amazing, but the amount of time you have to sink in to actually accomplish anything is just painful. Fighting these bosses fun? Grinding out pictures and monsters for hours for a shot at a sub-boss that has a random chance to drop an item needed to reach another sub boss who has a random chance to drop one of the items needed to spawn the ACTUAL guy you want to fight… not so fun.

  • @Epiny-
    I echo your sentiment on everything you posted. The days of college and infinite free time are gone and the days of 9 to 5 to pay the mortgage are here to stay.

    You make a good point about the players like us outnumbering the more vocal players, but vocal or not the developers will almost always side with wherever the most money is. The long and short of it is our wallets are bigger than theirs so I expect casual friendly is here to stay in WoW and beyond.

    Also for the most part, the non casual gamer (school/college age players, 10+ hour day players, etc) is a limited market. Not many people can continue that play style for long without something changing their playstyle (flunking school, lost job, etc). So really catering to the casual player makes even more sense. The casual player will continue pumping money in so long as they are enjoying the game, and are less likely to burn out or be unable to continue playing. Also I’d wager a large protion of the “microtransation” sales were to those casual players.

  • @Rybnik

    At your comment of microtransactions, I am one of the many who purchased every pet they have there (XT, Panadaren, and KT) as well as the sparkly “greed” steed.

    So, your wager is probably right 😛

  • I won’t lie I’ve been tempted to purchase the Panderan monk a number of times, so far my will power has held strong but I can’t resist forever! 😀

  • I almost bought it too when I got my authentactor and Priest figure. I just don’t play WoW much, but if I did I would pick it up along with this mount.