Raiding has become way too complicated

Old SChool Onyxia Raid

Running older WoW raids for transmogs these past few days has reminded me about how raiding has changed so much over the years. Raiding back in the days of Molten Core was so much simpler.

Molten Core fights were almost entirely gear checks and “can you perform this one simple mechanic” checks. For example, the very first MC boss simply required your healers to decurse. The second boss required nothing more than coordinated timing.

I enjoy the simplicity of old school Onyxia. She breathes fire like any dragon would, so avoid her face. Her tail is huge and can whip you, so avoid her tail. Attack where the dragon is weak behind her flanks. AOE whelp adds.

Modern raid are so beyond convoluted by comparison. We’re dancing around the room, juggling adds, dodging aoe attacks, standing in stuff that looks bad but is actually good if the boss is doing x y or z.

While the mechanics are more interesting in some aspects, the complexity has eclipsed the purity of the encounter. We no longer fight characteristics, we fight abilities. I miss looking at a boss. I feel like I stare at the floor or wherever it is I’m supposed to look to wait for some predetermined ability to dictate my actions.

Just the musings of an old school raider. But hey, I actually like tank and spank gear checks. I’m weird like that.

  • Anymore, raiding is more like learning some dance. Success often has more to do with whether you know how the steps to the dance go than how well you perform the role of your class. As someone who used to love tanking raids in EQ and old-school WoW, I really don’t like what they’ve become now.

  • Completely agree with this. I have never been a fan of raiding but the brief period when I did see the fun in it was back in Velious, when the mechanics were straightforward and the experience was about a lot of smaller creatures (players) teaming up to fight a few bigger ones (giants or dragons).

    By Planes of Power raiding had begun to morph into an entirely separate game form and that trend has continued to the current situation, where what you are doing often – usually – seems to have little or no connection to logic or believability, just to very specific, gamelike mechanics.

    Of course that has now been going on for so long that it has attracted and solidified its own specific audience, which believes that’s what raiding is. There’s probably no going back, certainly not for WoW, but maybe some new developer might try reinventing the wheel some day.

  • Simple raids like Molten Core was all that I could handle during that period. WoW was my first MMO, MC was designed for novices like me, real challenges came from later raids in Vanilla. Over the course of the expansions, raids have become more complex in part because it is how the dev team envision them, in part because the player base is expected to have grown with the game, be able to execute complex them and be looking for them since, well, that’s what the game is about. It also explains why they had to come up with the LFR experience, the complexity growth of raiding slowly became a huge entry barriere for novice. LFR lowers this bar dramatically by stripping many mechanics to the bare minimum with the goal of catering to novice raiders, and other segments not covered here.

    I believe there’s also another effect to consider, the novelty effect. There’s so much you can do with basic mechanics, to get a fair amount of variety in raids, you are pretty much bound to increase complexity. Otherwise, the figth against Boss A in Expansion 5 might end up looking like exactly Boss F in Expansion 2. Not refreshing the experience would probably lead to a loss of interest in the raiding player base and if that’s all these people are doing, the game is going to lose them. At the same time, you are at risk of losing the raiders that enjoyed the increase of complexity and are disappointed with simplier raids.

    WoW might have danced (tee hee) past the point where there’s too much complexity in raiding, it’s not the argument I’m making here. An increase in complexity of raids appears to be inevitable to me over the lifetime of a MMO.

  • What I miss is the high bar set to enter raids back then. I liked having to do an attunement chain leading up to entering, I liked having to get special resist gear to survive there. (my ideal attunement is something like Onyxia, not quite as hardcore as Veeshan’s Peak)

    As far as mechanics go, DBM and Exorsus make the mechanics easier than they should be. If you are raiding without addons then yeah, good luck. The game is no longer designed to be played without them. If you need proof of that, just look at healing.

  • I don’t like “don’t stand in the fire” or “stand in the good fire” bosses. They are just dumb. I love the bosses that are in blackrock though, especially the train boss, and the molten plates boss. Those are just fun encounters well designed with simple concepts of don’t get smashed by the crushers or run over by the trains. They are still a dance but they just make sense.

    I hate archimond, I think his fight is confusing, hectic, loud, and pointless.

  • I agree with the base premise, molten core style raiding vs now style raiding is massively different, and you have a lot less time looking at bosses now vs molten core.

    That said, Onyxia is not an example of molten core bosses. It is more alike the HFC fights than any MC one, in fact, arguments can easily be made that onyxia is mechanically more complicated than some HFC fights. (assault, iron reaver, socrethar)
    You say that modern raids are convoluted because ‘We’re dancing around the room, juggling adds, dodging aoe attacks, standing in stuff that looks bad but is actually good if the boss is doing x y or z.’

    Dancing around the room? Onyxia phase two, aoe attacks on random people so spread out + casts fire lines in the area that need to be dodged. Phase three: fire exploding from cracks in the floor + 100 yard AoE fear.
    Juggling adds? Alternating the whelps and the lair guards, while making sure tanks hold aggro, which used to be a tad of an issue.
    Dodging aoe attacks? Frontal cone, back cone, aoe fireballs, fire lines.
    Stand in weird stuff to get buffs? Ok, true, you don’t have to do that here, but then again, as far as I know that only applies to 1 fight in HFC, so hardly universal.

    Now, all that said, I do agree current fights are very complicated compared with most old fights, but I think your statement about fighting abilties vs characteristics is something that is related to unfamiliarity with fights. When learning a fight I tend to be very focused on the abilities, but the better I know it, the more time I have to look around and see what happens and how it makes sense. How much of enjoying onyxias simplicity is familiarity with the fight? As mechanically it certainly is not more simplistic than current day fights

  • I noticed it late in EQ in the planes of time. I think it was an attempt to get the focus off the tanks and healers…and to give everybody a role. Your role was to dance. Dodge. Sashay.

    Meanwhile you still needed good tanks and healers, but if the rest of you weren’t dancing properly the raid was toast.

    I did have some fun watching various raids slowly learn to dance. But I missed slowly walking the giant critter back into a corner and letting it beat up on me while the raid killed it.

    All the rest is just an escalation of the raid dancing inclusion. God knows we need to make the ranger feel useful. Dance fekker dance.