June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

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June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Lord_Venan » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:47 pm

I think Little Mike may have hit on something here! Since 1.3 hit, we have gone from a handful of enthusiasts to an actual community and it is tremendously gratifying to read all the great thoughts, ideas and analysis people have for the game. Since we're a small company, I think it makes sense to use our 12th man to sound out some of the big features we're planning for the game. So let's give it a whirl!

We've seen a lot of feedback on raids - first off that people really like their existence, which is great. But also that the mechanics could use some work. We wholeheartedly agree. Honestly, I'm surprised they even work as well as they do, since our whole company can't do a raid by itself, and I can't find any games that did raids like this before, so we're treading new ground here. But we're constantly thinking about how we can make it better.

One thing we'll definitely improve is the boss fight. People have asked why they need to kill the boss 150 times to beat them. Well, the answer is - you aren't really meant to be killing them, just "wounding" them and their health bar represents how much damage is required to make a "wound". That was the design intent, but the presentation never really caught up. It's mostly because we used the existing combat engine that doesn't really allow for a persistent enemy between encounters. That is going to be fixed though, so hopefully those fights will feel more bossy.

Next, we're looking at a new encounter mechanic, basically to kill as much as you can in certain amount of time. Like impending doom, but you don't die in the end. This can play out a few different ways which I think would be cool.

1. Onslaught style encounters where you get multiple waves of enemies, and each group you clear progresses the raid, without having to pay the energy again.
2. Boss fights where you can "damage" the boss more than once. If you clear his health bar, you "wound" them, it re-fills, and you can do it again.
3. Roadblock style fights where you can fail to kill a tough enemy even once before the time runs out.

These encounter types will likely cost more energy, but allow players who have better/more powerful characters to be able to contribute more, as opposed to it strictly being an energy game. Energy will still be factor, but for a given amount of energy, this will allow a better/more powerful player to perform better during a raid.

The above are things we're pretty certain about doing. We have other ideas but some questions come up about how people want raids to go down.

One big one - do people like raids to be pop-in, burn energy, pop-out, or is there a desire to see a more coordinated action required during a raid? The more tactical we make them, the harder they will be to finish and the more coordination will be required of the guild. Which may be counter to how some people like to play the game.

This is just the tip of the iceberg really, but I think it's a good start. I'd like to see what kind of discussion we can kick up around these issues, so feel free to share your thoughts on the above.
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Re: Raid Thoughts

Postby Knagrim » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:19 pm

Nice thoughts. But keep the raid pop-in pop-out. Make the single person boss fights more tactical. It becomes difficult to coordinates over long period of time cause most of the people work and take a break to dump energy and get back to work.
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby AsmoTheExpat » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:55 am

Second the Pop-in-pop out. It is already hard enough to get people together at the same time over a 2-6 hour window. At best I can string together 60-90 continuous minutes of play, so if we are required to coordinate continuously over a 6-hour window I may be screwed.
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Vexis_Larseker » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:21 pm

Agree on pop in pop out. I can't play any game continuously for 6 hours.
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Markonian » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:41 pm

Agree on keeping it Pop-In/Pop-Out. As has been previously stated, it is hard enough just getting people TO the Raid at the correct time. If a Coordinted Effort were required, that could cause BIG problems! Letting people jump in, dump their Energy and go is what works for many players. Some just can't stay the whole Raid time, due to other Committmemts.
I would like to see the Artwork on the Boss reflect some of the "Damage" as he gets "Wounded". I think this would help to get across your original intention.
Definitely do not go past 6 hours for the Raids! That is VERY hard for some Members.
On a side-note, I hope the game NEVER goes Player vs. Player! Too many other games already have that, and it can lead to a very negative experience for many. That is one of the Major Reasons I like the game so much: it's Us vs. The Monsters. Keep this dynamic strong!
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Bbbb » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:00 pm

I know the guild I'm in hates the 6 hour raid. We have one more Overseer raid to do to get to Kraken and many of us have said we will never do the Overseer again. The 4 hour raid is the borderline where it is between fun and painful. The 2 hour raids are fun.

"to kill as much as you can in certain amount of time" I would love this over the current mechanism.

I agree with the above poster. Please don't ever go down the PvP road.
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Marney » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:25 pm

Lord_Venan wrote:Energy will still be factor, but for a given amount of energy, this will allow a better/more powerful player to perform better during a raid.

I think this is the precise point that most needs to be addressed. Currently, character stats and player skill really don't matter; all other things being equal, two players with the same amount of energy will gain the same RPP in a raid. That's discouraging, because after a certain point, there's no impetus to improve stats anymore. Why bother? Who will notice, or care? 42 is the upper max for energy at present, and nearly everyone has 30 or so. As long as you can kill a mob in under 5 minutes (or 4, with the stamina blessing), you'll gain the same RPP as everyone else who doesn't spend shields. And to be polite, it's not exactly the difficulty of the fights that makes raids fail.

Lord_Venan wrote:One big one - do people like raids to be pop-in, burn energy, pop-out, or is there a desire to see a more coordinated action required during a raid? The more tactical we make them, the harder they will be to finish and the more coordination will be required of the guild. Which may be counter to how some people like to play the game.

Personally, I'd like all raid times reduced by at least two-thirds - the longest raid should last no more than 2 hours; asking for a 6 hour commitment to a single raid is a bit much, pop-in-burn-pop-out or not - assuming you care about RPP, you still have to keep energy regen and phase completion in mind, even with the current model; it's not completely fire and forget.

Anyway, if you did reduce raid times drastically, there would be much less of a problem requiring guilds to coordinate. Combined with the earlier thoughts you posted, concerning the fact that better players, and better-equipped characters should have an advantage, it would make raids a far more engaging and interesting aspect of the game.

Of course, on the flip side, I have heard some people in my guild say that such a change would interfere with their playtime at work. Presumably that would be a consideration involving business models and the composition of the playerbase, on which I wouldn't be qualified to offer an opinion. :)
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Bbbb » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:24 am

Marney wrote: That's discouraging, because after a certain point, there's no impetus to improve stats anymore. Why bother? Who will notice, or care? 42 is the upper max for energy at present, and nearly everyone has 30 or so.


Spoken like a high end player. :D Nearly everyone has 18 energy though the typical range is like 14-26. I'd be surprised if more than 5 people in our whole guild (note to others: we are in the same guild) are above 26 and more than 10-12 above 18. Over time, that will eventually change I realize. What's discouraging is that the players who don't have 30 or so energy stand little chance of winning the top contributor award unless it is a short raid at an off-time and they can double up on a sigil purchase and a level up.

The whole top contributor feature also needs a rethink where yes higher end players win more often but the low level ones can win it sometimes. Also, it's not fair that on a six hour raid that one person can win it by 10 RPP and the player that lost only lost because their app froze or decided to log them out and they get screwed by the RPP bonus. I personally hate the RPP bonus for staying in the raid because you can't control it - also that issue where you get booted out if you switch characters.

However, I agree with Marney's point that the current raid is just an energy equation and not any skill to it. Also, her point about little incentive to improve. The only incentive to improve is to get your might up to enter even higher level raids but given the amount of time/work to get there, there is little need to. In the long run without higher end single player content and/or an incentive to the multiplayer (raid) side to improve, you are going to lose your customer base.
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Lord_Venan » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:16 am

Some points that were brought up:

Longer raids are annoying

Longer raids are meant to be easier raids and require less coordination. However I wonder if just based on the type of game this is, that the requirement to actively "play" makes long raids a lot more fatiguing than it might be in the spreadsheet MMOs. To play devil's advocate - what if a raid was 24hrs and balanced such that it was easy to finish, and offered no bonus for finishing it faster?

The problem is that the shorter raids get, the less casual they get and the more coordination is required. If you are coordinated though, then I suppose they can be easier, since the time commitment is lower. Hmm, food for thought.

RPP award system is annoying

We plan to re-vamp this. We haven't settled on a final design yet, but expect more than just first place to be awarded.

PvP is for the devil

We do want to add PvP at some point, but it will be voluntary only. But this isn't relevant to anything we are doing short term anyways. We plan to have a grand ability re-vamp at some point, and will likely address this after that.

Pop-in/Pop-out is good

Glad that there isn't much debate on this issue :) I like it when things are straightforward.

Thanks for all the feedback so far.
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Re: June 23, 2012 - Raid Thoughts

Postby Bbbb » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:11 am

Lord_Venan wrote:Some points that were brought up:

Longer raids are annoying

Longer raids are meant to be easier raids and require less coordination. However I wonder if just based on the type of game this is, that the requirement to actively "play" makes long raids a lot more fatiguing than it might be in the spreadsheet MMOs. To play devil's advocate - what if a raid was 24hrs and balanced such that it was easy to finish, and offered no bonus for finishing it faster?

The problem is that the shorter raids get, the less casual they get and the more coordination is required. If you are coordinated though, then I suppose they can be easier, since the time commitment is lower. Hmm, food for thought.


First off, the guild I'm discussing is a middle ground. We are a top 20 guild, but not obsessive like many of the top guilds are (and have to be to be at the top) and not disorganized chaos like most of the low ranked guilds are.

Our experience with Skar, Lockbolt and Overseer is the exact opposite of what you are saying. We have to schedule the Overseer raids and even then, we sometimes have a hard time completing them. I know one time it was 5 hours and 40 minutes when we finished and many of us were on the whole time. Our guild owner knows everybody's time zone. Even with that and the optimum time of day, we are regularly around the 4 hour mark with it scheduled and only try once a day Monday through Friday. An Overseer on the weekend is hopeless. We kick Skars off on the fly when people request and have no issue completing them.

It's not hard to be on the guild channel, see how many people are online, and ask if people are going to be around for the next hour or so to finish off a Skar raid. You can't do that with Overseer.

I would agree that if longer raids were easier, there would be no issue. I just think with your current set (of low end raids) that is not the case. If you can share how many battles are required for each raid, then we can run the numbers and see. We've done some estimates and they indicated longer raids were harder. If the number of battles were adjusted, the longer raids wouldn't be such a problem.

One important factor to keep in mind about raids that may not be obvious from a developer point of view is the initial burst of stored up energy. Then you get into regen mode. That's one of the key reasons the current shorter raids are easier because the initial burst chews up a higher percentage of the overall amount.

I agree with your intent as stated above. I just don't think the current implementation matches the intent. You are right about the type of game this is causing fatigue on long raids.
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