More wipes please!

I’m pretty sure our guild back in 2005/6 wiped more than 400 times in AQ40. Had BC not been announced, I know damn well we would have wiped a lot more in Nax40. We wiped on Onyxia, we wiped in MC, we wiped in BWL. And the more attempts it took for us to finally get a fight right, the more rewarding it felt to finally get him/her/it. And it also kept us subscribed and logging in. It kept our guild going, it made me some internet friends I still talk to today, and most importantly, it was a lot of fun.

And yes, at one point, between managing the guild, running raids, carrying ‘bads’, and main-tanking, it got a little much. But in all honesty, that was my fault. I let things get out of control, and that was on me. Blaming the game is about as credible as blaming alcohol for being addictive; somehow plenty of people can handle it (which is different than, say, heroin, which has a pretty definitive rate of “who can handle it”).

If you argue that it would be better to only wipe 50 (pick a number) times per boss before making progress, you need to offer up a solution to the problem of content burn. If I’m wiping 350-ish times less per boss, but playing the same amount, are you going to magically increase content creation by that same amount? No? Well now we have a real problem.

And if wiping 400 times truly was a major issue, the players would communicate that to you; they would stop playing and quit the game. The reverse happened when raiding (and the rest of the game, by comparison) was ‘hard’ in the early days, and that’s the exactly what happened when raiding (and the rest of the game) got easy in WotLK/Cata. Even if you feel like you would rather wipe 50 instead of 400, ask yourself what happens after you clear that 50-wipes instance? Or what happens to your guild? If the answer is something close to “we go inactive”, is that really a positive result? I’m pretty sure I play MMOs to play them, and the more stable the community, the better my experience tends to be.

On a higher level, doing the same thing over and over is pretty normal. You don’t mix up the chess pieces after 50 games, do you? You don’t ask the casino to switch up the Hold-em Poker rules after 50 hands, right? And with around 1000 games of LoL under my belt, I’m not looking for Summoner’s Rift to get revamped.

If the ‘content’ is solid, and if the design is good enough to stay interesting after X times, the actual number of ‘attempts’ shouldn’t matter. If anything, you SHOULD be looking forward to finding that encounter that is going to cause 400+ wipes and keep you coming back. That’s solid content.

55 Responses to More wipes please!

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I’m guessing that what you really like is the the social stuff. The raiding is the catalyst that makes that stuff happen, so anything that keeps people coming back is good. It very much reminds me of life in my 20s and thirties, when many good evenings would consist of a bunch of people, a pool table and some drinks. I’m not sure we’d have bothered with the pool if we’d had to play 400 games before we actually finished one, though.

    I think there are fewer and fewer people who are motivated to play these games for social reasons. It seems increasingly obvious that even guilds exist primarily so that people can get outcomes they desire, not so they can meet new people and socialize.

    Ten years ago it seemed pretty amazing to be talking to people from all around the world while seeing their avatars on the screen in front of you. Nowadays that’s no longer even worthy of comment. People you meet in game aren’t magical opportunities to broaden your horizons, they’re just annoyances getting in your way or opportunities to exploit.

    I don’t think it’s a pendulum that’s swung one way and might soon swing back, either. I think it’s more a direction of travel.

    • SynCaine says:

      But is it the people who have changed, or the games? How is it that the social aspect is alive and well in games like EVE or DF, but basically dead in games like WoW?

      I believe it’s a games job to herd people into having fun. Most people are not smart/motivated/whatever enough to just do it themselves. If you herd them towards being a solo-hero, that’s what they will become. If you herd them into social situations, they do that.

      Now sure, there might not be tens of millions of people looking for the kind of social interaction we are talking about, but did the original million(s) also disappear?

      • bhagpuss says:

        I’d guess that a lot of them disappeared (grew up, lost interest, no time etc) and a lot more never liked the old ways much to begin with and are reasonably happy with the way things have moved on.

        But you’re right, of course, that some of them must still be around. We certainly hear from plenty of them on blogs, forums and in-game chat channels. And there must be new people coming to MMOs all the time who’d also fit into this group. Big game companies don’t seem to feel there are enough of them to develop for but you’d think there’d be potential for a smaller development house or two to work the niche.

      • Ulvheart says:

        “How is it that the social aspect is alive and well in games like EVE or DF, but basically dead in games like WoW?”

        By what measure are you making this statement? How and, for who, is the social aspect dead in WoW?

        I’m part of a guild that still has an active social side just as the game side is dieing. A lot of us log in more to say Hi than to play as evidenced by people sitting in SW chatting.

        It’s likely that guilds that had a different goal – maybe the type where it’s only about the raiding and people log in to raid – have died a social death but it probably was never that strong.

        The social aspects of WoW are still alive and well for many players, just maybe not you and your immediate peers.

        Interestingly the core of the guild I’m in are all switching to SW:ToR – maybe 80% of he core players. To me this implies that the social ties are stronger than the game they formed in.

    • Rammstein says:

      “I’m not sure we’d have bothered with the pool if we’d had to play 400 games before we actually finished one, though.”

      How many games of pool do you have to play before you run your first table? Probably more than 400. A professional pool player might view every game other than a ran table analogous to a rag wipe. And yet, those faulty games of pool are still fun for you guys. The inability of some people to enjoy partial progression on a boss, due to the fact that he doesn’t eat floor and drop shinies at the end of the fight when only partial progression is made, isn’t a problem with the game itself, merely an attribute of those people.

      • Paul says:

        Ah yes. Another expression of “our product is fine, it’s our customers that are defective”.

        This is a real winning attitude in business, I understand.

        In reality, customers can want whatever they damn well please, and businesses have to adjust. Failing to satisfy enough customers is a failure of the business, not of the customers.

  2. Nils says:

    It is always too much. Reduce it to 50 and players will ask for 25. Reduce it to 25 and they will ask for 10. … Reduce it to 2 and players will tell you that it is ridiculous that bosses always need two attempts.

    A good game designer knows when he is confronted with a race to the bottom.

  3. Remianen says:

    Okay, I have to admit that the bulk of my raiding experience has come from EQ1 over 10 expansions. Raided in WoW but hated it because of the gimmicks and how “easy” it was (there was no competition for spawns, which is currently the case in EQ as well which is why I don’t raid anymore there). So my viewpoint is colored by those experiences and while I agree with your idea, I don’t think reducing wipes is all that disastrous. At least in EQ, we needed to farm mobs to gear up the guild since you don’t always get the drops you need on the first (or third or eighteenth) kill. Plus, you have to account for those people who don’t play as much as “the core” of the raid force. So reducing wipes is only going to shorten your farming period which, for most guilds, isn’t that big a deal (again, outside of WoW). In WoW, I can see it being a MAJOR problem given how long they typically go between expansions (or major content/raid updates) and the myriad of different ways they have to get near-raid quality gear without raiding (welfare purples, etc).

    I think this is just a downside of extreme accessibility. You don’t want people to get frustrated (AT ALL, it seems) so you make everything achievable with a minimum amount of effort. I remember my guild’s first foray into Vex Thal (when it had JUST been made secondary by the release of Planes of Power, but still offered upgrades worthy of pursuing). 17 hours after entering the zone, we killed the end boss, Aten Ha Ra. In between, we wiped at least twice to every boss in the zone (both blobs, Diabo Xin Va, mini-Aten, etc etc). The reason we did it is because we knew if we didn’t clear the zone, another guild would come in and kill whatever we left up (VT isn’t instanced, y’see). That would NEVER happen today. People would quit after 2 hours (or 10 wipes, whichever came first) and the guild’s progress would be retarded by its members lack of motivation/pain tolerance.

    So yes, I agree that content you can’t just steamroll or consume in itty bitty bites is good. I had no problems wiping as long as progress is made. As long as you’re learning something from each attempt (even if the lesson is “Don’t ignore the adds”), it’s all good to me. But today’s raider isn’t cut from that cloth, it seems.

  4. Pliers says:

    “I’m pretty sure our guild back in 2005/6 wiped more than 400 times in AQ40.”

    You probably didn’t wipe over 400 times on any one boss in there before getting your first kill, unless you were trying C’thun back when the fight was tuned to be impossible. I was a hardcore raider and doubt I ever came close to that. The first boss in WoW that took ~400 attempts was probably M’uru. Some of the later bosses in Naxx might have, but even then, we’re talking about level 60 bosses. The game was completely different, as was the playerbase. People would raid for 20++ hours a week, and it took more time to prepare for raiding than it did to raid, due to needing 193 types of consumables. Don’t put a post from 2011 in the context of 2005/6.

    You also missed the point of Beru’s post (which MMO Melting Pot was featuring). It isn’t just that it’s 400+ wipes. It’s what those wipes consist of. I posted it over there, as well but here’s the problem:

    “The issue isn’t 400+ pulls. It’s having 300+ pulls of flawless phase 1s, 200+ pulls of flawless phase 1-2s, and a large number making it to p3, just to see p4 enough times to finally kill the boss, when traps, breaths, dreadflame RNG, and buggy mechanics don’t finish you off before you get the chance.”

    Unlike at 60, you can’t continue making progress when people die. On H. Rag, if you do not have a battle rez for someone, and use it within a few seconds, you might as well just run straight into lava, because you are done. There’s no “keep going to practice.” All you’ll practice is getting your face smashed in by mobs you can’t possibly kill in time because someone died to one of the 2 dozen mechanics that can kill people, which happen over and over, during the 11 minutes it takes to get to the actual challenging part of the fight.

    400 wipe fights aren’t bad design. 400 wipe fights where you don’t learn anything from the vast majority of those wipes IS bad design. It isn’t simply having a few weak players on the roster. There are simply too many opportunities for things to go wrong for people to reliably get through it consistently, until after they have the fight completely locked down, and even then, there is enough randomness to wipe you within seconds of hitting p4.

    As for your analogies at the end of your post, I completely disagree that there’s any fair comparison to be made. WoW is not chess. WoW is not poker, or LoL, or anything like them. If it took you over 400 tries before you won your first chess game, there’d be a lot fewer chess players. Chess, LoL, and other games similar to the point you are trying to make are games where you expand your knowledge as you play, and then increase the difficulty by playing against better opponents. In theory, you’ll always hover around 50% wins/losses. I’d have to farm Firelands for 8 years, and never wipe once, to average out 400 wipes into a 1:1 ratio. You’re not doing the same thing in chess or LoL – there are a variety of strategies, all viable, and every decision can change what the best decisions will be in the future. In WoW, it’s all a dance. There are mini-games, such as your personal timing, your rotation, your resource management, but there’s no significant variation to the fights. I can’t decide to hit 4 instead of 1, and completely change the fight by my decision.

    WoW is more like golf than LoL or chess. You have a bag of tools (and I don’t mean your fellow raiders), and you have your personal ability. You then play the course. There may be small variations, but basically, there’s the starting point, the hole at the end, and some shit inbetween that you have to get past. If you ignore the obstacles, or don’t handle them properly, you’ll end up in the rough, the sand, the water, or retaking the shot with a penalty. WoW just has a lot more obstacles, and a bunch of people you have to coordinate with.

    I seem to have gotten a bit off-topic. To repeat my point, it isn’t the # of wipes, but what those wipes consist of. Someone on twitter who got their first kill last night said that they didn’t know if they’d get there kill on the next attempt or several weeks down the line. THAT is the problem with fight designs like this.

    • SynCaine says:

      I completely agree. The content today, as it sounds, is vastly inferior to the content of 2004-6. The way bosses are designed, the way classes work, the number of players; there are a lot of reasons, but simply put the content is not as good today as it was back then (which is absolutely crazy if you think about it).

      I brought up Chess/Poker/LoL because back when I raided, WoW was somewhat like that. Each attempt we could tweak what we did, or what I did, or how we prepared. (I’d also think of Chess/Poker tourneys like raiding; you don’t win nearly 50% of them, but you learn as you go and get better, until eventually everything lines up and you do finally win. Not sure the LoL version, but maybe moving up in ELO until you hit your goal/top?)

    • Rammstein says:

      “If it took you over 400 tries before you won your first chess game, there’d be a lot fewer chess players. ”

      If you booted up WoW, logged in with your level 1 and were faced with Heroic Rag, there’d be a lot fewer WoW players. Not sure I find this line of argument to be all that relevant.

      • Pliers says:

        WoW from 1 to (max-1) is not WoW.

        • Rammstein says:

          And chess as played by a newbie, as compared to chess as played by a grandmaster with decades of opening study and the ability to visualize multiple simultaneous games without boards, are the same game? Please.

        • Pliers says:

          It’s almost as if you’ve ignored that my point was that chess and WoW make poor analogies for each other. The only point I was making about chess is that you will hover around a 50% win rate, and you have a great influence on each encounter, while in WoW, your win rate is much, much lower, and is more akin to dance dance revolution.

        • Rammstein says:

          “It’s almost as if you’ve ignored that my point was that chess and WoW make poor analogies for each other. ”

          Nono, I was totally agreeing with your point that you made a bad analogy, I know agreeing can look like ignoring sometimes.

          “while in WoW, your win rate is much, much lower, and is more akin to dance dance revolution.”

          In chess, your win rate depends upon your opponents skill, and your skill. In WoW, the same applies. If you want a higher win rate, you are totally free to run normal mode and win 100% of the time, yes? Or go do Arenas and win 50% of the time? DDR on easy mode is very simple to beat, btw.

          Anyway, the point is, if you are saying that 400 wipes is too many on an arbitrary basis, than I disagree, you self-selected the most difficult setting/boss. If you are saying that 400 wipes are too many because that difficulty is accomplished via frustrating means as you detailed above, then ok, I see your point, but you don’t present any kind of alternative difficulty or point to a boss you prefer, so what am I to make of your complaint? If you have a way to make the encounter more difficult while simulataneously more fun, share :)

        • Pliers says:

          Being inflammatory doesn’t win you cool points. Purposely misconstruing words doesn’t either.

          “Anyway, the point is, if you are saying that 400 wipes is too many on an arbitrary basis, than I disagree, you self-selected the most difficult setting/boss. If you are saying that 400 wipes are too many because that difficulty is accomplished via frustrating means as you detailed above, then ok, I see your point.”

          I specifically said that 400 wipes is not too many, and that 400 wipes are bad only when they happen in such a manner. How else could you possibly read the following:

          “The issue isn’t 400+ pulls. It’s having 300+ pulls of flawless phase 1s, 200+ pulls of flawless phase 1-2s, and a large number making it to p3, just to see p4 enough times to finally kill the boss, when traps, breaths, dreadflame RNG, and buggy mechanics don’t finish you off before you get the chance.”

        • Rammstein says:

          It’s almost as if you’ve ignored my main point again. I’m not trying for cool points and I’m not being inflammatory, I made more mathematically inclined statements and you ignored them–you get what you put in sir. Good day :)

        • Pliers says:

          Your main points were about chess, which was offered by Syncaine, and are largely meaningless in this discussion. The rest of your reply was saying “if you’re saying what you said, then I understand. But if you’re not saying what you said, then I don’t understand.”

        • Rammstein says:

          No. Sorry, this isn’t going anywhere, you’re just attempting to tell me what I meantf, except you’re getting it wrong, so again, I bid you good day :)

        • Pliers says:

          Congratulations. You have successfully declared yourself the winner in a conversation where you ignored most of what I said, only to agree with my point. I am humbly defeated (okay, sick of bickering, but same thing). Enjoy your victory.

        • Rammstein says:

          Goodbye =/= I win.

    • Rammstein says:

      “400 wipe fights aren’t bad design. 400 wipe fights where you don’t learn anything from the vast majority of those wipes IS bad design. It isn’t simply having a few weak players on the roster.”

      If you design a fight requiring a top 10 guild 400 wipes, without a few artificial gateways as you describe above, (the most difficult phase coming 11 minutes in), then the top 100 guild will take 1500 wipes, or never down it (Save something like going from 5% ICC buff to 30% + gearing up). I’m not disagreeing with you on this point per se, I’m just pointing out that it’s easy to construct a plausible reason for Blizzard to put in annoying and “bad design” gateways that eat up time and effort for the top guilds without requiring learning from every wipe; that reason being to balance the accessibility/time graph between guilds of different skill levels.

      I think you could construct the same relationship looking instead on “repeatibility of fight once learned” and “time to learn fight”, that may also be a possible reason for a game designer to put the most difficult part at the end, which could be more persuasive than the above, or perhaps taken in parallel.

      So, instead of looking at it merely from your perspective, step back and look at it from the game designer’s perspective, and consider which the playerbase as a whole is more happy with–these kinds of gateways, or things like the ICC increasing buff and delayed wing opening.

      • Pliers says:

        I really don’t understand what you’re trying to say here.

        And it doesn’t really matter if there’s a reason for bad mechanics from blizzard’s standpoint. There’s a difference between then doing it for a reason, and what people actually want. They’re focused on making money (as any company should be), and players are focused on enjoyment. They make more money if they can keep us playing longer with less work on their end, as long as we don’t leave. But even if they’ve found the exact balance between fun and longevity, players are fully entitled to complain about it.

        • Rammstein says:

          “But even if they’ve found the exact balance between fun and longevity, players are fully entitled to complain about it.”

          I really don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. “Entitled to complain?”. What does that mean? Even if you weren’t “entitled”, you could still do it, so what actual difference are you presenting here? Anyway, sorry you didn’t understand my main point, which wasn’t that there was a reason for “bad mechanics” but that the definition of “bad” is not an objective thing.

        • Pliers says:

          My confusion is with the 400/1500 wipe part, and the “step back and look at it from the game designer’s perspective.” The first is nonsense, the second is irrelevent. And “gateways” is an odd word to be using – I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to by it.

          The point being made here is that 400 wipes, as outlined above, are bad from a player’s perspective. The perspective of Devs doesn’t matter in that conversation. I clearly didn’t mean that I did or did not have *the right* to complain, but rather, that my complaints are well-founded.

  5. Nils says:

    I understand what you are saying, but, it’s the most difficult encounter in the entire game. The worse it is, the more it makes people cry, the better it is in my opinion.

    It is not fun, yes. But that is exactly the point.

  6. Jonathan says:

    As someone that raided from Molten Core until Firelands, I agree with some of what you are saying (wiping isn’t bad in and of itself, agreed) but I think you miss the meaning. The real problem is the current design of raiding doesn’t make the wipes very interesting. You don’t *learn* anything from them. In general, I’m finding that when we finally down something 70 wipes later, we are wearing the same gear, doing the same “strategy”, etc… it’s just that when we finally “win” we actually managed to have every single raid member make no errors at all.

    There isn’t a real “learning curve.” There isn’t a “well, we need to go farm up some gear and come back when we are better equipped.” Heck, there isn’t even a “lets bring in one or two over-geared folks from some big raiding guild to help us.” It’s just pure muscle memory development. Get everyone to react, instantly, to each stimulus.

    It might be fun if you really like playing Guitar Hero and would like to see that same “read and react” gameplay in a large team setting. When my wife and I cancelled our accounts, it wasn’t because of pandas. It was because we didn’t find any of the content entertaining.

    • Nils says:

      Jonathan, I completely agree with this when we are talking about the rest of the raiding game. I really think one needs to distinguish between the most difficult encounter in the game and casual raiding.

      • Jonathan says:

        I admit to not having attempted Ragnaros, so my perspective might be incorrect. My team did do very difficult bosses in 10-man strict mode back in Wrath (it took us 85 attempts). I don’t have a problem with lots of wipes. I don’t even have a problem with wipes caused by complex execution, as long as complex twitchy execution isn’t the only test.

        My question – when wiping on Ragnaros, were they trying to do things differently? Going over the logs to figure out where things went bad? Or was it “do it the same way, only right this time?” From reading the article on MMOmeltingpot, it sounds like the latter, and the latter by developer design.

        Decision free, strategy free twitch gaming has its place. It just doesn’t fit with raiding in earlier expansions or anything that I enjoy. Again, I could be wrong about what that specific fight entails. But (in general) that is what the raiding fight design is right now – pure “execution” fights. By that I mean “execute the obvious thing to do correctly, you win.”

        I guess what I noticed first in raiding this expansion is the lack of excitement in the immediate aftermath of a boss kill. In prior expansions, I heard cheers and jubilation over vent. This expansion, generally it’s quiet and maybe a mumbled “about dang time.” Instead of the feeling of solving a puzzle, it’s the feeling of finally not stinking the place up with a obvious mistake.

  7. Zilas says:

    I’m one of those people who got a very early kill of Ragnaros Heroic (world #30~) and frankly, I would do it all over again.

    The actual problem isn’t related to the amount of attempts you need to put in, but to the way each individual fight is structured. There’s a big difference between 500 wipes on an encounter that forces you to do 11~ minutes of perfect play from 25 people before you get to the ACTUAL fight and 500 wipes where you barely get past the 4 minutes mark.

    One of the biggest “mistakes” the developers seem to do lately is exactly that, create new fights and reserve the difficult part for the end. It can indeed be soul shattering to learn the first incredibly difficult 2-3 first phases just to hit a nightmare one at the end.

    • Rammstein says:

      If you put the difficult portion of an encounter first, then a few easy phases at the end, then learning the fight becomes anticlimactic, and every time you do the boss again the encounter again feels like an anticlimax. Secondly, the “start most difficult and then get easier” model is what most trash pulls are. Bosses were generally created so that they could create an encounter which started easy and built in difficulty as you go along. Asking for them to make the most difficult bosses more like trash, because they are soulcrushing as they are, seems to be missing the point–they are soulcrushing on purpose. If you want easier fights, they abound elsewhere.

      • Zilas says:

        I’m not advocating for a very difficult start and a sightseeing mode at the end at all. I’m simply explaining how frustration can easily appear when following the current model. If you want to make long fights, then you absolutely cannot keep repeating the Ragnaros way. 6-9 minutes long fights with a difficult end phase are much more reasonable.

        To make matters worse, there’s an insanely low amount of players that are good enough to run at that level AND maintain focus for 10-15 minutes each wipe, over and over again. There’s a massive shortage of worthy recruits when it comes to bleeding edge raiding, go figure why.

        I’m not looking for easier fights, I have been raiding at this level since spring 2005 and I don’t plan to quit anytime soon. Whilst the initial difficulty of raiding has been spot on this expansion, the approach devs took both on an individual and larger scale was a disaster.

        • Rammstein says:

          “I’m simply explaining how frustration can easily appear when following the current model. If you want to make long fights, then you absolutely cannot keep repeating the Ragnaros way. 6-9 minutes long fights with a difficult end phase are much more reasonable.”

          “I’m not looking for easier fights, I have been raiding at this level since spring 2005 and I don’t plan to quit anytime soon.”

          I’m sorry, but I can’t interpret your first quote above as anything but that you are looking for easier fights. The ‘difference’ is that you are asking for them not to be easier on a per-minute model, but easier by being shorter. There’s nothing wrong with that by any absolute sense, and perhaps MoP/LFR shows that blizzard agrees with you, but it is what it is. It’s a different kind of difficulty, but your second paragraph where you talk about not being able to find good enough recruits really proves my point, it’s still a type of difficulty.

        • Zilas says:

          Shrug, I guess we have vastly different perceptions about what “difficulty” is/should be in raiding. 8 minutes fight which barely leavs any breathing space can be harder than a 15 minutes fight that features a ramping up difficulty as time passes, downtime between phases and a harsh 2 minutes push at the end.

          I’m not exactly sure what LFR will show, that’s just an insignificant wheelchair mode.

        • Zilas says:

          The difference between the 8 and 15 minutes fights I talked about would be the level of frustration.

        • Pliers says:

          If you had to do the same fight while jumping up and down, it’d be harder, but it wouldn’t be better. Zilas’s point was that 15 minute fights like this are hard, but for bad reasons. He doesn’t want it to be made easier, but for the difficulty to not come from absurdity.

        • Rammstein says:

          “I’m not exactly sure what LFR will show, that’s just an insignificant wheelchair mode.”

          I was referring to the apprehension I had when I saw features like LFR and other of its ilk, that possibly this heralded the end of truly difficult raiding. I don’t have anything solid from Blizzard saying that they’re doing anything but making 3 tiers of raiding instead of 2–but if I were a betting man, I’d bet that in a year’s time you guys will be talking regretfully about the harder heroic raids of cata compared to MoP. That’s just a side prediction though, not really relevant to the main line here.

  8. Rebecca says:

    Oddly enough, I was literally just writing about a similar idea yesterday. Looking back at Vanilla WoW, even the pre-raid content was difficult, and perhaps even ‘hardcore’ by today’s standards. I know 5-man stratholme at the correct level (both regular and gear) was far more difficult than any of today’s 5-man heroics. Especially pre-zig-nerf. You did not even attempt to do scholo as a pug because you could not get past the 2nd room in that situation. UBRS was crazy difficult with the correct 10 people.

    It also made those blue set pieces special. When was the last time you saw a blue set and legitimately cared about it? I remember 8/8 shadowcraft being just as impressive as seeing a person with THREE EPICS!

    As a side note, google Shuuro Chess. I haven’t had a chance to try it, but the concept sounds neat. It’s like warhammer meets chess. Pieces get point values and you assemble your own chess army based on your preferred strategies.

    • Jonathan says:

      Rebecca, I completely agree with you on difficulty in classic. I still think the most challenging thing they put into the game was the 45-minute Baron run with a team that could use Dungeon Set 2 (aka Tier 0.5) as an upgrade. Not “the most difficult” thing they did – I think that would be getting Grand Marshall / High Warlord back in classic – but the most challenging.

      Blue was special back in the day, yes it was.

      • Rebecca says:

        The HW grind was difficult for the wrong reasons. I had two friends pull the grind on bloodscalp, one of them TWICE, as he didn’t care about the weapons the first time since it was before they were buffed. I don’t know how many HWs got there legitimately (no account sharing), but I know my friend did. I watched him through his 30 minute power naps, through his car getting towed for being on the street too long, through about 600 dollars in hot pockets and energy drinks. The system had major issues, and while I don’t like the one they replaced it with (EVERYONE GETS TO BE A MARSHALL YAY!), the Arena based gear system that came even later was much better divised. I say this with both a season 2 and a season 3 netherdrake sitting on my inactive account.

        What a lot of people don’t remember about the Baron run was that originally every UD Strath run was timed. Those zigs regenerated themselves if you took too long. Not only that, the trash respawn timers were *much* less forgiving.

  9. Azuriel says:

    And the more attempts it took for us to finally get a fight right, the more rewarding it felt to finally get him/her/it.

    How rewarding was it when you never got the boss down?

    I think there is a legitimate reason to have the ultimate boss on heroic to be exceedingly difficult – it is content for the best of the best, after all. But I think we would all agree that, in principal, these bosses are designed to be defeatable. If Blizzard makes a boss and no one beats it while the content is relevant, that is a design failure. After all, it’s pretty easy (mathematically or accidentally) to make an unkillable boss. *queue Yogg-0 jokes*

    I also think we could agree that, even if 400 wipes is “reasonable,” that 800 wipes is less reasonable, yes? Or 1500 wipes vs 3000 wipes? That we can agree that there is a gradient of reasonableness regardless of where any of us arbitrarily place the “sweet-spot.”

    As far as content burn, I believe it is less of a problem in practice, especially when considering its opposite (content fatigue). Going from 400 –> 50 wipes is a 87.5% reduction, so that is probably too much. Having 200 or 300 is probably fine, if the tradeoff is less player friction. The “missing content” is actually a victory lap of sorts, which will allow those hardcore players to go back to living what passes for a normal life while they gear their mains and alts up with uber-loot.

    • Sevrian says:

      I think you’re not considering that really hard bosses tend to be at the end of multiple tiers of content. For vanilla there was MC, Ony, ZG, and AQ20 for people who couldn’t down, for example, Vael, and if they kept at it there was plenty of content afterward. There was a reasonable level for every guild to reach and more kept coming out at all levels of difficulty so that people had stuff to do through until BC came out without really getting bored, even if they started when WoW was released and never really got into BWL. BC was in large part the same, no matter when you started raiding you did Kara, Grull, SSC, and TK before you moved on. Maybe not the whole instance each time, but there was always a goal, always something more to do unless you were at the very top of raiding.

      WotLK and Cata changed that formula by making every tier of content accessible to all players, and invalidating the previous tier(s) each time, and that’s when problems started. Really, it’s not about how many wipes it takes, at least I wouldn’t think so, but about how much you have to do at any time and how often you can get access to new content.

  10. coppertopper says:

    I have trouble believing anyone was excited about wiping multiple times on any content with nothing to show for it except some gear repair tabs. Challenging content is awesome, but instances with set player limits and Super Meatboy-like twitch mechanics has removed any chance players have of controlling the frustration of that challenge. Every encounter should be attemptable by any player in the game, but where 200 noob players can run thru a dungeon, kill a boss and get a title, there will still only be 3 gear drops. But if 10 skilled players can do the same, its a higher probability of getting the reward, which should be the drive to improve.

    • Sevrian says:

      I can’t really agree with this, if only because it was actually done in vanilla WoW to some extent. Early on you could do some five man dungeons with 10 players or 10 man dungeons with 15. What functionally happened was that only the maximum number of people were taken to do as much as possible to trivialize the content. The only time people did it with the appropriate number was when it was required to do a quest, since you couldn’t complete quests in a raid. It just didn’t work to create a challenge.

      Essentially if you want to create a challenge, outside of PvP, to keep people playing you need to do it artificially to some extent. Limiting the number of players that can attempt something is a pretty reasonable method, I’d say.

  11. Ahtchu says:

    The difference in raid design of yore with today is rather simple, and illustrated through 2 simple examples:

    Thaddius60:
    Can you move your raid in an orchestrated manner? That’s it, that’s all it is.

    Ragnaros85:
    Can you deal with Arbitrary_Ability_4124 as an individual, counting on everyone to do the same? There’s no ‘picking up someone else’s slack’ here.

    Design of yore pitted your raid against itself in terms of just working as a unit. The boss/content was merely a backdrop. Today, the boss is the stage, and any individual muck up is met with group punishment. Once upon a time, you could be the last pally standing and HoW Nef during the last 1% to achieve victory. You could be a lock kiting long enough for your CoD to detonate. Designs today are more ‘collective soloing’ than anything else. You stand here, do that, jump when Simon says, but unless everyone other than yourself does as they are supposed to you fail, AND YOU CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT.
    Empirical examples: think about FFXI, classic WoW, EVE (shining example of players against themselves, content as backdrop) and contrast these with WotLK/Cata. Where one or two outliers might exist to the aforementioned, by and large the statement holds up.

    That’s the difference between today’s 400 wipes and yesterday’s. Because *I HAD A SAY* in the raid wiping. Today, that ‘right’, that ‘ability’ to make a difference doesn’t exist. It’s not ‘stringent’ tuning, it’s punishment for punishment’s sake. There’s no take-away that makes you a better player when nothing you can do can be applied to solve the problem.

    • Sevrian says:

      I don’t disagree with your point in general, but I just have to point out that in your example if one individual messes up on Thaddius60 that could, in fact, wipe the raid. There were a lot of mechanics in classic WoW like that, too. Onyxia’s whelps, the bomb on Geddon, burning adrenaline on Vael, and a host of situations where getting agro would wipe things.

      Certainly in modern WoW there’s plenty more of those mechanics and they’re balanced and implemented differently. But they aren’t exactly new.

      • Ahtchu says:

        The difference being, as you said yourself, *could* wipe the raid, NOT *will* wipe the raid.
        All the counter examples you provide indicate as much. For everything you listed, other members of the raid had the power to prevent themselves being wiped (moving away from bomb/BA etc), and the raid design ALLOWED FOR a couple deaths while still being beatable.
        I think we see eye-to-eye under all this.

  12. There’s a fundamental difference between your experiences in AQ40, and the complaints of Beru in her blog. You wiped more than 400 times in AQ40? Cool, Beru’s wiped 400 times on Heroic Rag alone. Monolit has probably wiped upwards of 600 times in Firelands across all the bosses. You wiped an average of 39 times per boss in AQ40, Monolith’s wiped an average of 86 times per boss. What makes it really nasty is that for the first six bosses, they’re averaging around 30 pulls before the kill, and all of a sudden this overtuned monstrosity stonewalls them for more pulls than the rest of the instance combines twice over. What you went through an what gulds working on heroic rag currently are going through is nothing alike.

    • Sevrian says:

      I dunno, Princess Huhu, the Twin Emps, and C’thun were pretty seriously cock-blocks compared to the Prophet or Fankriss. Certainly not to the same extent as heroic Ragnaros, I’m not trying to say they were. I’m just saying it’s probably not as different as you’re assuming here.

  13. Kring says:

    AQ40 was added 2006-01-03 and TBC was released 2007-01-16. Neglecting the opening ceremony AQ40 was current content for one year.

    I think the longer you can enjoy your reward (be it beating current content or loot), the more you’re willing to wipe.

    • Ahtchu says:

      The longer you can enjoy your reward, the more you’re willing to wipe.

      Spot on. And furthers the divide between hardcore raiding *back then* (with blue gear used well into Naxx) with its 400 wipes per zone, and hardcore raiding *now* (with gear resets every patch) with its 400 wipes per boss.

    • Pliers says:

      Naxx came out after AQ40. AQ40 was still relevant, but it wasn’t the highest level of content for that long.

  14. Failing 400 times isn’t fun, largely because there is nothing really gained from the process.

    Part of the problem here is that games totally devalue one of their best currencies for the majority of their game: xp

    If you kept earning xp, and if xp had a use, then clearing trash, killing parts of a boss battle but failing, etc. would still have a gain. At least you earned some xp in the process.

    But when the entire reward is only at the very end, then wiping is frustrating and annoying because you feel like you are never making any meaningful progress.

  15. Nieco says:

    We never actually “wiped”, because I never died.

    VANISH FTW POOF POOF POOF BITCHES.

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