Endgames and Raiding

I rather liked this thread on the World of Warcraft forums, “Is Raiding always the endgame to MMOs?“. Several players recount the endgames of various MMOGs (bonus: in an intelligent, articulate and non-confrontational manner!) and give their opinions on what was fun and what was definitely not fun.

The original poster, Fappa, level 13 posting alt of the Argent Dawn realm, wrote:

WoW is the first MMO that I’ve ever really played extensively and gotten into, and it’s clear to me after playing the game since 2005 that raiding is and will always be the endgame to WoW. Yes, there’s arena (which occupies like one hour a week), and there’s daily quests, heroics, professions, etc. to do at 70, but really, if you want the best gear and the hardest challenges this game has to offer you have to raid.

Since I haven’t played any other MMOs extensively, I don’t know what their endgames are like. Is the endgame to MMO always raiding (10+ highly coordinated players)?

Reply #8 described DAoC’s endgame:

The endgame of DAOC was entirely PvP based, and still is if you want to play it… Game goes like this:

-3 factions
-Level to 50
-Do some raids and get some gear crafted
-Enter the frontier, an area as big as the leveling areas for the 3 factions, had like 24 captureable keeps, siege weapons, like ballista, catapults, and boiling oil you could dump on people trying to break into a keep you were defending… each faction had a relic that if captured, gave your entire faction a boost to damage, as much as a 20% bonus if you held both relics. Also, there was a whole system of PvP experience points that opened up a whole new progression of abilities that you could get only by PvPing.

I really wish WoW would steal this concept.

Reply #17 recounted old skool Star Wars Galaxies (pre-that mess where they turned everything upside down):

Sadly with the success of world of warcraft, many companies will keep thinking this is the way to go. Before SWG got forked up “endgame” was what you made of it, some of us were content with running our businesses, trying to create items that were better than our competition. Or organizing player cities and keeping them running, things that didn’t always involve scurrying in the same dungeons week after week. However I can’t speak for what everyone else considers fun, just more or less it would be nice if a game offered more options for gameplay than simply tossing instances at us that not everyone wants to do.

Reply #20 Lord of the Rings Online:

you obviously didnt play lotro. The max raid size is 24 people for one and the best gear and crafting items absoltely come from the high end raids. People were hitting max level crafting in open beta and it was nowhere near the epics from the 50 dungeons.. Very very few people have done the raids in LOTRO so im gonna assume you’re talking completely out your butt. Also, from the monster side you can start raiding fellowship leaders as early as level 10, as well as fighting raids of fellowship players.

I think maybe what you’re calling a raid are the “elite” quests you do at low levels. This is like killing Hogger than claiming you know what its like to raid Gruuls.

Reply #27, Beware, level 67 cow of the Sargeras realm, summarized his experiences in MMO endgames:

There are 3-types of “endgame” I have encountered in MMOs so far. Raiding, PvP and Leveling.

By design, the lure of MMOs is that they take a lot of time to play, and to do this they need to give players a reason to keep playing. The best way to do this is to have players create their own experiences, usually with other players. A developer can only create so much content before players go through it all and get bored, so they create repeatable content.

Raiding is somewhat repeatable content, simply because you need to grab a large collection of other players, and you need to repeat it to obtain loots to progress to the next encounter. The large amount of time it takes for groups to learn, beat and gear up encounters is why developers like raids.

PvP is great repeatable content, since people all play differently and this makes for a highly unique and different experience each time you fight another player. This is why designers love to put PvP into MMOs. Usually requires very little development time for huge returns of replayability.

Lastly, older MMOs, which usually had smaller budgets or were just older used the leveling repeatable content. They basically made leveling take literally years to keep you playing. The repeatable content was the constant leveling and seeing your xp bar go up. This is, in a sense what rep-grinding is, and as you know for some people this can get boring very quickly. Even though it is, it’ll give people playing, because people love getting levels, it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Notice the Blizzard uses all three of these types of repeatable content in WoW; except they’ve placed the biggest emphasis on raiding, simply because it takes the most time to do (gearing up 25 people + once a week) and the fact that they just have to make one new dungeon every few months to keep people happy for the next dungeon. While if they did other types of content, people can blow through it in a few weeks.

Reply #51 City of Heroes:

I know, I keep up with City of Heroes and it’s updates. I logged in for the first time in two months today, and it’s still pretty boring.

Tasks Forces are a poor excuse for endgame as well. It’s a chain of missions that, for a level 50, is only good for a badge and a good story. After that, it’s just the same damn thing. Why do it again? Not only that, but the few true end game Task Forces are just that, rare. There is one exclusive to Villains, one exclusive for Heroes, and one for both. After that, you just have the lower level Task Forces.

The loot system they added is only useful if you are diehard enough to work to get full Invention Origin enhancements and all the costume pieces. However, the drops on the rare items are so rare, the prices get jacked up on the Auction House and it becomes a chore and a waste of money on something purely asthetic or only partially useful.

Oh yeah, and they added a new Raid. A level 54 Giant Monster in the Rikti Crash Zone. Big whoop, it doesn’t give special loot, it doesn’t give particularly good xp, and it isn’t up enough for a casual to fight it.

But yeah, you are right about one thing. The travel powers kick ass.

Reply #64, a shout out to Ultima Online:

Everquest is such a terrible example. I like SOME raid content, but it should never, ever , be the only option you have or take up 90% of your time in-game. A lot of people like to hate the recent expansion but I was ready to call it quits right before it came out. I hated molten bore and bwl, but I loved AQ20 and ZG. Unfortunately my ZG blues didn’t touch someone who spent 30+ hours a week in AQ40, BWL, and Naxx. I accept being at a disadvantage in PvP because I don’t have the time or desire to raid day in and day out, talk about boring. TBC really helped even out the gap. Do people have better gear than me? You bet. Can I kill them? Absolutely.

People like flexibility. Sure UO had plenty of problems, but there was tons of things for you to do and none of them were raiding. Go pvp, hunt some monsters for monies, decorate your house for the holidays, or setup a makeshift bar outside the bank. The world was just so much more moldable, and you could do a lot of quirky and fun things with it. It has nothing to do with “solo content” or not wanting to work with others, just that if they don’t want to raid, they would like other options available to them.

Whether those options are smaller groups (heroic was a great start but the gear is really meh), more robust crafting systems so that players can be more like merchants or trade their way up to better gear, or a housing system.

Everquest was a static world and an awful, mind-numbing grind.

Reply #88, Kastchei of the Argent Dawn realm, summarized WoW raiding (and spot on):

I (and some others) do not doubt that for you raiding has been the most fun you’ve ever had. However – and I have no sound statistics other than the ones others have posted – I think your experience is somewhat unique. Certainly, I personally know folks who have your experience. However, I know a lot of others who used to raid who no longer do.

The reason I do not think raiding is as great for a lot of people, yourself excepted, is because they do not have the guild/time/dedication/resources that you have. What guild (or who you raid with) makes a huge difference between a fun, exciting night of raiding and a long, frustrating, unpleasant one. You are very lucky to have found a guild that gets along smoothly, or at least smoothly enough to down the raid content you have. But what of those who do not have a good guild/raid? Sure they can find another, but for every good, well-oiled raid group out there, there are dozens that aren’t. You could hop once a month and not find a group before next expansion that makes raiding fun, and as we all know, you can’t hop that often for long before guilds turn you down.

Raiding is very difficult, but largely for a lot of extra-game reasons. I said a lot, but certainly not all: certainly strategy and execution play a role. Difficulties in raiding, which match and in some cases supercede the actual strategy/skill needed include (but is not limited to):

organizing a time when the appropriate classes can raid
organizing a system for keeping those players happy (DKP, fairness, rules, etc.)
maintaining people who can concentrate on a game for hours at a time
maintaining people who will not be distracted (pets, children, food, bathroom, etc)
finding individuals willing to give up free time to run the group (designing a website, monitoring the website, keeping track of DKP, farm for materials)
maintaining people who are willing to make raiding a priority in their life
maintaining people who get along with each other or at the least do not cause strife, etc…

As you can see, there are a lot of people problems to overcome with raiding, much more than simply showing up to play the game. My guess is that your guild has managed to solve all of these, but more importantly, your guild members do not mind putting in the time/effort to solve these. There are many people who do, and to be sure, there are many who used to put up with it solely to get better loot. If all raiding took was showing up, devising strategy, and implementing it, I think raiding would be a ton more fun for more people.

I’ve been in good raiding guilds and bad ones (note, I haven’t raided since BC) and the difference is night and day. One case I wanted to tear my hair out and kill my guildmates [sarcasm], the other I thoroughly enjoyed and often times wanted the night to go on longer. For me, doing or putting up with all the extra stuff I mentioned above is generally not worth the reward (either in loot or fun form). You and your guild do find it worthwhile from a fun-only perspective. However, judging from my experiences, trends on my server, stories from friends, and the statistics that people bat around here from time to time (including a few in this thread), I would say you are in a very small (and perhaps lucky) minority. Moreover, I think there is a sizable number of folks who used to raid and now no longer do, because they can stay competitive and advance without needing to raid.

And there’s lots of other thoughtful, heartfelt posts about raiding and guilds in that thread.

Contrary to what I’ve read around the intarwebs, there are a lot of players with good ideas who’ve spent considerable time thinking about the games they play and why they love or hate raiding, PVE, PVP, guilds and the endgame. Imagine that.

7 thoughts on “Endgames and Raiding

  1. Wow. That’s way too much cogent content for a WoW forum. Quick, someone make sure the end of the world didn’t happen…

  2. Oow. I miss raiding so much right now. Darn university taking up all my time =/, I hope WoW will still be there in a few years when I’ve graduated.

  3. daoc was really great, until Trials of Atlantis came out. i think ToA is the reason i started playing WoW.

    there’s another morpg out there that didn’t really have an “end game.” Meridian59 was this fantastic little world that didn’t even have levels. you started out with 20hp and were immune to pvp attacks (unless you attacked someone). at 30hp, your “angel” left you and you were open to being pk’d. for a while you could only go up to 100hp, i think an expansion allowed for 110.

    there were plenty of 30hp pk’ers out there, which proved that you didn’t need to get all the way up to 100hp to enjoy the full content of the game. also, every time you died, you risked losing a hp, so constant pvp and pve warfare kept people needing to regain hp.

    the game also had in game mail just like WoW, as well as a community message board in each city.

    one of my favorite aspects of M59 – which probably couldn’t be duplicated on a modern mmorpg due to the much higher volume of players – was the Assassin Game. you climb through dangerous sewers to find an old assassin who hands you a dagger. then he mails you to let you know who your target is and when the game has started. someone has your name too. whoever is the last person standing, wins.

    i could go on and on and on about how great M59 was. the pvp system was awesome. the guild halls, the schools and their karma systems, just… everything. it survived UO, but EQ eventually killed it. you can still play the game right now (it was bought back from 3do by its designers, i think, at Near Death Studios), but after being immersed in the rich art design of worlds like EQ, DAoC and WoW, it’s really hard to go back.

    honestly, i think all game designers should spend a good bit of time in M59 before they go designing more level-grinding, sideline pvp, endgame repetition games.

  4. I’ve always been really curious about Anarchy Online and how quickly I’d get bored playing it, I really enjoy that sort of social networking and company building (played Star Wars Combine web-based MMO for years before anything else working for the Trade Federation).

    Any of you know anything about that?

  5. I disagree with the guy saying DAoCs endgame was entirely PvP. DAoC’s endgame, in its prime, was what you wanted to do. Things were only minimally interdependant (you needed like… RR3 or at the most 5 for the PvE helping Realm Abilities, and the gear dropped from raiding was, well, good for raiding, and when combined as a full set allowed you to wear an even rarer amulet that gave you a vastly useful ability depending on your class, but it was so incredibly rare to find someone actually having this, that PVPers were perfectly fine with their tuned (this was important, you could specifically craft it to a template) Spellcrafted Gear. (In case anyones wondering, im talking about Shrouded Isle’s time here, before ToA)).

    I myself never was a PVP nut, spend 2 and a half years raiding, and eventually co-leading friday nights primetime epic raids before ToA. Then ToA hit the fan, and suddenly everyone had to raid, even the PVPers, because of huge interdependancy, not only because of MLs, but also Artifacts. Also some Artifacts only levelled in PVP, which in turn was a pain for the Raiders. (Tartaros Gift, the artifact staff with a nice mana restore (which was heavily needed in PVE/raiding) was one of these, for example.)

    So suddenly everyone was forced into an endgame Mythic came up with, that they pretty much slapped in your face, instead of, as they’d done before, only providing the capability in the world for you to do the stuff you like. Mythic did have an In-your-face approach when it came to deciding what their game was meant to be before this, back then it was mainly about PVP or rather RVR. They did go that way a while after ToA again anyway.

    So what i wanna say is, DAoC was a really great game, and it had, for a while, the best endgame i’ve yet encountered, (maybe next to UO’s hardcore RP shards, but that’s an entirely different thing) but that wasnt because Mythic came up with RvR and it was so great (which i’ll admit it probably was) but because you could do what you wanted and they did provide the stuff for it. They stopped that, released ToA, game went sour.

    So while i would rather say the concept was choice than PvP, in the end i agree with the guy in reply #8, i wish WoW, or ANY other MMO, because i havent seen another one doing it right yet, would steal this concept.

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