I did quite a bit of raiding with my stint in WoW and the impression that I got after all of those hours is that raiding is as about as useful as tits on a bull. The amount of time spent grinding away at an instance that I’ve seen for the 100th time coupled with the drops that I got resulted in time wasted accomplishing nothing. Well, not really accomplishing nothing…I was getting reputation, so, wheeeee.
The one thing I did like about raiding was the social aspect of it and the sense of accomplishment killing a very large boss for the first time. I was there when our guild first killed Ony, Nef and other big bads and the feeling was great…the first time. Second time was ok, but after it just became a routine thing to do and all that remained was the social aspect. Most MMO offerings today have very predictable character progressions through their worlds. You quest, craft, pvp up to max level and after that, you raid. After you raid, well, you raid some more. Most provide a carrot on a stick type of motivation…oh, I’ve got to get my 6th piece of “kick-ass” armor, or oh I need that uber-dagger of penis enlargement. Once you accomplish that goal, you move on to the next piece and settle in for another 5-10 runs to get it.
This whole article may come off as a bit bitter, and I guess I am to a certain degree because, let’s face it, I’m never getting those hours back. I think the whole raiding concept needs to be looked at in order to figure out how a player can always think they’re getting something out of each raid….and something tangible. There must exist more than a possibility that you’ll receive something out of raid…and I mean every player, not just those who happened to have the most DKP (…or whatever you use…) at the time of the raid.
Here’s an example of how I would design a raiding system of 40 people. For
each boss that is killed, each player gets a choice of a piece of an “epic” item, be it a hilt for a sword/dagger, or a chain link for armor etc. Whatever that boss drops, each player can have a choice to grab a piece of that item. I like the reputation system from WoW, so each player should still rack those up too for side rewards from factions. The final and most important piece of each item is from the “end boss”…so each player must kill the big bad in order to finish any piece they want. Once all of the pieces are collected, the player then assembles it, Bob’s your uncle, and your done. With this kind of system (…tweaked by someone who knows more than me…), each player knows what they’re after, knows that they will get it, and knows how long it will take. With this system, each player has seen the whole raid dungeon and can choose to do it all over again if they want to get more stuff. No more DKP worries, no more raiding and getting nothing for your time, each raid instance is run as many times as there are pieces that YOU WANT…everyone comes out a winner in some fashion.
Obviously…designers must have thought about the above example before because they are smarter than I am when it comes to game design. What do you guys think? What would you like to see in your raiding system? What would get you to participate in the “end game” of an MMO? Why do you think end game raiding has turned out the way it has?