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Raiding Problems: A Raiding Guild Leader's Take

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
Raiding Problems: A Raiding Guild Leader's Take

forsitel's Avatar


forsitel
02.05.2012 , 05:02 AM | #1
Hey everyone, Forsitel of Davik's Estate here and I hope to provide some perspective to what I deem to be a big problem with Star Wars the Old Republic. This may at times seem like a rant but I assure you there is a point and I do believe my proposal to fix what I deem is a big problem is more than valid.

I'd first like to preface this with a brief history about my MMO experience so that all the readers can know the background I am coming from:

TL : DR I am very experienced in all WoW endgame content.

I started playing World of Warcraft when I was in high school in January of 2005. That is approximately 1 month after the game released (November 24, 2004). After hitting level 60, I proceeded to explore what endgame content was being offered to me. I joined a guild that raided a few times a week and served as the out of combat rezzer . After gearing up in full Lightforge and some Lawbringer I eventually graduated to group 1 healer. I stayed in this guild for about a year and a half until I finally decided to create my own guild with a group of my real life friends. We figured it would be a fun new adventure trying to put our leadership skills to the test against some of the games best.

After failing miserably in our first few attempts at making a guild we eventually server xferred. At this point we joined up with a group that had been struggling on Gruul in about April of 2007. The majority of our core stuck around with these guys for about a year and were privileged enough to watch it go from a mediocre guild to a top U.S. It is currently ranked in the top 50.

Some time after this we decided once again to lead a raiding guild. We transferred off our server and started one up for the beginning of WoTLK. Finally we were successful; we brought our guild to the top of the server successfully running through Naxx with no deaths and grabbing a server first achievement .

Feel free to skip here if you simply don't care!!!

On to SW:TOR:
Years later no one from my group plays WoW anymore. Myself and one other friend being huge KOTOR fans saw this game rising while it was in the early stages of development. We decided that we were going to follow it closely and see what it could become.

Every Friday we checked the website anxiously awaiting the morning update. I can specifically recall taking my History course in college and spamming refresh on the site at approximately 10 am EST every week. We thought that this would be the next game we'd play. It was Star Wars and an MMO, what could go wrong?

I signed up for the beta created a twitter account and followed them. I listened to Stephen Reid call out every single batch of closed beta invites until finally I was invited. I leveled a Bounty Hunter and really thoroughly enjoyed the story.

On June 21 I preorded at 1 am. It was after this that my friend and I began to make preparations for leading a top guild. We posted our website and started to actively recruit. On December 13th 2011 I started my SWTOR experience and by December 17th 2011 I was the first lvl 50 on my server. Before the flaming starts I'd like to nip it in the bud. I played through the game during beta as a Bounty Hunter. I had already experienced all that the story had to offer, I felt no reason to listen to it again. Is it true that I dedicated a few days of my life to playing a video game for hours on end? Yes.

Now, no doubt I will hear how I played the game wrong and how it wasn't intended for such competitive gaming. This will be the focus of my post. I don't believe an MMO is sustainable if its only concentration is on the leveling experience. Coming from myself I played through KOTOR at least 6 times. But even then there is only so much replayability. In the MMO market there needs to be something else that keeps players hooked and resubbing month after month. Telling a player to level an alt (something that some players are not interested in doing) might not be sufficient.


On Raiding

Right about now you might be asking yourself why this is posted in the Operations section of the forum when I haven't spoken about a darn thing in game. The answer is simple, as I just alluded to in the previous paragraph, the game currently lacks in endgame content. My guild which is composed of some players with 0 endgame experience in any MMO is currently able to clear HM EV and Karragas in under 3 hours. We should be able to get Nightmare EV and Karragas in under 3 hours next week but nevertheless all content has been cleared. We find ourselves incredibly bored, for lack of a better term. I personally find myself logging on less as each day goes by. But as it stands, there really isn't much to do when all the content can be cleared in one night.

Was it like this from the first raid? Perhaps not, but I'd venture to say it wasn't because the encounter was difficult. The most trouble we ever had was either the first week of Soa when hitting him with the third pillar wasn't breaking his shield or attempting to do HM Annihilator with a few people in greens that had just hit level 50. The problem wasn't the mechanics it was the fact that his 6 minute enrage timer was simply too much for our new level 50s to handle. This quickly changed as we ran a few 4 man HM's later that night as well as a normal EV and returned the next day with our new level 50s in full epics (go figure). Every boss from there on out dropped like a fly (with the exception of Soa who's floor kept despawning).

I personally found it incredibly disturbing that a top guild can contain a bunch of level 50's with no gear and no raiding experience yet still down every boss in the game merely two weeks after reaching maximum level. I searched for why this could be, and came up with the fact that quite simply the mechanics of the bosses aren't thought provoking and lack any challenge. There is really only one engaging encounter (forgetting about the bugs) and even he lacks any real difficulty especially now that he has been nerfed by Bioware. What are we supposed to do now in the game? Roll yet another alt? What happens when we can't possibly make anymore alts? To answer that question myself, thats when I unsubscribe. As much as I love the story of this game, there needs to be something else to hold me here. Its unfortunate that the first four bosses of this game lack any more coordination than a heroic 5 mans or 15 man UBRS runs in WoW. I can personally recall spending many a day on the trash before Drak or figuring out how to use the mounts in Occulus when WOTLK was just released.

I can't say I ever really had to think too much about moving out of the red circles on the ground during Annihilator; jumping on the rocks during Gharj; figuring out a puzzle WYBGRP!!!!!; spamming 1 on my mob during Duel of the Fates and healing when I need to. Its really quite sad that in 3 lines I have just written an entire guide to the first four bosses of Eternity Vault. I know that I personally can sit at my desk and think of more engaging encounters then what has been developed.

Concessions, Proposals and Conclusion

I understand that not every player wants to wipe for hours on a boss trying to figure out the most efficient way to cast a heal or slam dunking a tainted core while dpsing down elementals and being feared / smacked by adds that actually do damage. To each his own I always say and I don't really feel that anything I have said so far has been outrageously unfair.

So I'll make this proposal and I hope that it will generate some discussion. Clearly, Bioware intended to create some level of diversity between raiders and casuals. Hence the Nightmare and Normal modes. But instead of just the % increase in health why not throw in some new mechanics that casuals might not otherwise be able to handle? Or if thats too much why not do something similar to what WoW had with Sartharion 3 drakes? Casuals ran pugs for Sartharion all the time but never did they do him with 3 drakes up. Its not so much adding mechanics as it is reserving the difficult ones for the people that actually want to challenge themselves. Then add a half decent achievement system which recognize such accomplishments.

If thats too much to ask for then I see little reason for me to stick around and by me I mean any hardcore guild that plays this game. Bioware may very well be appeasing those who are playing this as their first MMO. They might be slowly transitioning the great majority of subscribers into MMO endgame raiding. I understand the rationale behind this. I wouldn't throw someone with 0 endgame raiding experience into a Kil'Jaeden esque fight. But I must say if there isn't a difficulty increase soon the hardcore raiders will not stay. And while this may not yet seem like an abundance of people, I can safely say that once the people who are playing this as their first MMO want to begin challenging themselves they will have a difficult time doing so with the current content. Eventually, the game will fail because it lacks in endgame and replayability does not equal sustainability.

Some of you might think this is a whole lot of jib jab with no valid point. While I certainly hope my message doesn't go ignored I respect your opinion.

Some of you might say, WoW's Molten Core (first raid) didn't have bosses with challenging mechanics. While this is certainly true, it was much more difficult to coordinate 40 people than 16. In other words, what WoW vanila lacked in challenging mechanics it made up for in getting 40 people together to do the same thing at the same time.

Some may say the hardcore raiders opinion doesn't matter, we are just keyboard warriors. HELL WE DON'T EVEN HAVE A SOUL! Well, I hope you can value my opinion just as I value yours. I don't think I've said anything that would be too drastic for someone who plays the game casually to accept. Is it too much to say those who want to play the game more should get a bit more out of it? I certainly don't think so.

Finally others may say that this is just the first month or so of the game and the degree of difficulty will be increased. I'll finish by saying that I certainly hope you are right because I want this game to work. I love Star Wars and this game has tons of potential as well as a thriving community with dedicated community leaders in the mod team but I see little reason why these problems couldn't have been addressed in the 5 years of development before launch ><.
Guild Leader of the Ooting Thornberries

Optiklown's Avatar


Optiklown
02.05.2012 , 05:31 AM | #2
Quote:
I can't say I ever really had to think too much about moving out of the red circles on the ground during Annihilator; jumping on the rocks during Gharj; figuring out a puzzle WYBGRP!!!!!; spamming 1 on my mob during Duel of the Fates and healing when I need to. Its really quite sad that in 3 lines I have just written an entire guide to the first four bosses of Eternity Vault.
Ouch!!

Jiav's Avatar


Jiav
02.05.2012 , 08:53 AM | #3
I agree.

XElementalX's Avatar


XElementalX
02.05.2012 , 10:00 AM | #4
Summary:

"SWTOR does not have any complex endgame content 2 months after release".


Comment:

No surprise there. None of the larger western MMOs released with much more.
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exec_extreme's Avatar


exec_extreme
02.05.2012 , 10:18 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by XElementalX View Post
Summary:

"SWTOR does not have any complex endgame content 2 months after release".


Comment:

No surprise there. None of the larger western MMOs released with much more.
Is it really that strange to expect this from a game that's been in development for roughly six years? Sure they nailed the leveling process with story and all, but if you have any desire to play the game more than casually, you can get through it in a week or two no problem. There's only so many alts I would like to level while delivering 15 bantha pelts which is disguised as some elaborate plan to crush the Republic.

End game raiding is boring and I don't think it's too much to ask for them to include hardmode encounters with mechanics that are more difficult than what's in the game right now. If their story is that they want to transition new MMOers to raid content and then step it up later on, then that's fine. That being said however, there is no reason for anyone who would like to take this game seriously to keep subscribing until they do develop some more challenging mechanics for their raid bosses.
Officer of The Ooting Thornberries
Davik's Estate - Hardcore - Empire - Recruiting
http://ootguild.com/

Deathstroke's Avatar


Deathstroke
02.05.2012 , 10:45 AM | #6
You really think WOTLK had some challenging end game game play!? Ill give you credit and say Ulduar as a whole was intriguing. However, take a look at ICC most of the fights in general outside of Arthas from a dps view was....AoE move out...OK AoE is done go back in!! Dps dps dps. We have done Hardmode EV and Normal. I can say although not as in depth as let's say WoW the endgame content is :P

EV as a whole is a good entry level operation. I was actually pleased going in for the first time and there was the duel of fates.

Strength without sensitivity is aggression
The force without light is darkness

Merraith's Avatar


Merraith
02.05.2012 , 11:03 AM | #7
It's funny how the OP says he has experience in all end game WoW content but his only real clearing of "Naxx" was the Wrath version that was such a sad copy of the original. Abilities doing the same damage they did in Vanilla while players have 3 times the health.

The arguments over what "a game in production for X many years and this expensive" should have at release all fail the basic logic test. No matter how much beta testing you do, until the game is live and being played by everyone will you see how it's working. There's a reason pretty much every mmo end game starts off more basic and ramps up over time. You're not going to start out trying to put out complex fights when you're not even sure how your core mechanics will work, etc. WoW exposed so many people to raiding (especially over it's last 2 expansions when they made the barrier for entry so low) that most everyone coming from there can yawn their way through normal and hard mode. We'll know more about what direction the end game is going after the March content patch.

Don't forget as well, both ops zones only have 5 bosses, which is relatively small for a raid zone. Not to mention, while there are some areas in each zone that require clearing trash, there's other areas (think EV from Pylons to Soa) where there is no trash whatsoever. Clears will be fast.

forsitel's Avatar


forsitel
02.05.2012 , 11:44 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Merraith View Post
It's funny how the OP says he has experience in all end game WoW content but his only real clearing of "Naxx" was the Wrath version that was such a sad copy of the original. Abilities doing the same damage they did in Vanilla while players have 3 times the health.
That isn't the extent of my endgame knowledge... As I correctly indicated in the post my guild took off during Naxx, that doesn't mean I have no experience after it. I have raided almost everything up to DS 8/8.

I do agree with your point about the game being new as I mentioned in my post. I hope that you are right but I'm not sure why there couldn't be any degree of differentiation. As for the little to no trash, TOC had none either. Its not unheard of for an instance to release content that takes time to do, outside of clearing trash. If I am a new guild I can spend more time with the 6 trash mobs and heroic beth in firelands than with all of ev and kp on Nightmare mode ..
Guild Leader of the Ooting Thornberries

Jiav's Avatar


Jiav
02.05.2012 , 11:55 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by forsitel View Post
That isn't the extent of my endgame knowledge... As I correctly indicated in the post my guild took off during Naxx, that doesn't mean I have no experience after it. I have raided almost everything up to DS 8/8
Even the WOTLK version of naxx was harder than the current "nightmare" modes of swtor. Seriously for a veteran raider this content is a laughable joke, just look at the pylon "boss". Why not just add a chest with free loot there and get over it, same as the fate encounter. Pathetic to even call these "raid encounters".

Soa PRE "fix/nerf" was the ONLY encounter with a real boss feeling, all others are just pushover with mechanics for 7 year olds. Too bad after they fixed him, he also became a joke.

Well, there is reason why my guild went from 35 active members to an 8 man only login once per week guild. Utterly boring gameplay and useless raiditems. You can clear the instances with green gear or just buy level 50 epics of the ah and go raiding. There is no USE for the hardmode flashpoints, you can easily skip content already. The whole PVE content is a huge demotivator for any progress raider. We did several empire first kills in nightmare mode, yet it feels like you have accomplished NOTHING at all, since the difficulty is just not there.

Its sad.

Even rift got it better, atleast rift had a freaking combat log, far LESS buggy raid encounters. And the rift encounters atleast needed a bit of skill, not to mention hammerknell is really hard, but thats the 3rd raid, so its pretty much out of reach for this discussion.

chton's Avatar


chton
02.05.2012 , 11:58 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by forsitel View Post
Hey everyone, Forsitel of Davik's Estate here and I hope to provide some perspective to what I deem to be a big problem with Star Wars the Old Republic. This may at times seem like a rant but I assure you there is a point and I do believe my proposal to fix what I deem is a big problem is more than valid.

I'd first like to preface this with a brief history about my MMO experience so that all the readers can know the background I am coming from:

TL : DR I am very experienced in all WoW endgame content.

I started playing World of Warcraft when I was in high school in January of 2005. That is approximately 1 month after the game released (November 24, 2004). After hitting level 60, I proceeded to explore what endgame content was being offered to me. I joined a guild that raided a few times a week and served as the out of combat rezzer . After gearing up in full Lightforge and some Lawbringer I eventually graduated to group 1 healer. I stayed in this guild for about a year and a half until I finally decided to create my own guild with a group of my real life friends. We figured it would be a fun new adventure trying to put our leadership skills to the test against some of the games best.

After failing miserably in our first few attempts at making a guild we eventually server xferred. At this point we joined up with a group that had been struggling on Gruul in about April of 2007. The majority of our core stuck around with these guys for about a year and were privileged enough to watch it go from a mediocre guild to a top U.S. It is currently ranked in the top 50.

Some time after this we decided once again to lead a raiding guild. We transferred off our server and started one up for the beginning of WoTLK. Finally we were successful; we brought our guild to the top of the server successfully running through Naxx with no deaths and grabbing a server first achievement .

Feel free to skip here if you simply don't care!!!

On to SW:TOR:
Years later no one from my group plays WoW anymore. Myself and one other friend being huge KOTOR fans saw this game rising while it was in the early stages of development. We decided that we were going to follow it closely and see what it could become.

Every Friday we checked the website anxiously awaiting the morning update. I can specifically recall taking my History course in college and spamming refresh on the site at approximately 10 am EST every week. We thought that this would be the next game we'd play. It was Star Wars and an MMO, what could go wrong?

I signed up for the beta created a twitter account and followed them. I listened to Stephen Reid call out every single batch of closed beta invites until finally I was invited. I leveled a Bounty Hunter and really thoroughly enjoyed the story.

On June 21 I preorded at 1 am. It was after this that my friend and I began to make preparations for leading a top guild. We posted our website and started to actively recruit. On December 13th 2011 I started my SWTOR experience and by December 15th 2011 I was the first lvl 50 on my server. Before the flaming starts I'd like to nip it in the bud. I played through the game during beta as a Bounty Hunter. I had already experienced all that the story had to offer, I felt no reason to listen to it again. Is it true that I dedicated a few days of my life to playing a video game for hours on end? Yes.

Now, no doubt I will hear how I played the game wrong and how it wasn't intended for such competitive gaming. This will be the focus of my post. I don't believe an MMO is sustainable if its only concentration is on the leveling experience. Coming from myself I played through KOTOR at least 6 times. But even then there is only so much replayability. In the MMO market there needs to be something else that keeps players hooked and resubbing month after month. Telling a player to level an alt (something that some players are not interested in doing) might not be sufficient.


On Raiding

Right about now you might be asking yourself why this is posted in the Operations section of the forum when I haven't spoken about a darn thing in game. The answer is simple, as I just alluded to in the previous paragraph, the game currently lacks in endgame content. My guild which is composed of some players with 0 endgame experience in any MMO is currently able to clear HM EV and Karragas in under 3 hours. We should be able to get Nightmare EV and Karragas in under 3 hours next week but nevertheless all content has been cleared. We find ourselves incredibly bored, for lack of a better term. I personally find myself logging on less as each day goes by. But as it stands, there really isn't much to do when all the content can be cleared in one night.

Was it like this from the first raid? Perhaps not, but I'd venture to say it wasn't because the encounter was difficult. The most trouble we ever had was either the first week of Soa when hitting him with the third pillar wasn't breaking his shield or attempting to do HM Annihilator with a few people in greens that had just hit level 50. The problem wasn't the mechanics it was the fact that his 6 minute enrage timer was simply too much for our new level 60s to handle. This quickly changed as we ran a few 4 man HM's later that night as well as a normal EV and returned the next day with our new level 50s in full epics (go figure). Every boss from there on out dropped like a fly (with the exception of Soa who's floor kept despawning).

I personally found it incredibly disturbing that a top guild can contain a bunch of level 50's with no gear and no raiding experience yet still down every boss in the game merely two weeks after reaching maximum level. I searched for why this could be, and came up with the fact that quite simply the mechanics of the bosses aren't thought provoking and lack any challenge. There is really only one engaging encounter (forgetting about the bugs) and even he lacks any real difficulty especially now that he has been nerfed by Bioware. What are we supposed to do now in the game? Roll yet another alt? What happens when we can't possibly make anymore alts? To answer that question myself, thats when I unsubscribe. As much as I love the story of this game, there needs to be something else to hold me here. Its unfortunate that the first four bosses of this game lack any more coordination that I can say I've had more difficulty doing heroic 5 mans or 15 man UBRS runs in WoW than doing the hardest operation in SWTOR. I can personally recall spending
many a day on the trash before Drak or figuring out how to use the mounts in Occulus when WOTLK was just released.

I can't say I ever really had to think too much about moving out of the red circles on the ground during Annihilator; jumping on the rocks during Gharj; figuring out a puzzle WYBGRP!!!!!; spamming 1 on my mob during Duel of the Fates and healing when I need to. Its really quite sad that in 3 lines I have just written an entire guide to the first four bosses of Eternity Vault. I know that I personally can sit at my desk and think of more engaging encounters then what has been developed.

Concessions, Proposals and Conclusion

I understand that not every player wants to wipe for hours on a boss trying to figure out the most efficient way to cast a heal or slam dunking a tainted core while dpsing down elementals and being feared / smacked by adds that actually do damage. To each his own I always say and I don't really feel that anything I have said so far has been outrageously unfair.

So I'll make this proposal and I hope that it will generate some discussion. Clearly, Bioware intended to create some level of diversity between raiders and casuals. Hence the Nightmare and Normal modes. But instead of just the % increase in health why not throw in some new mechanics that casuals might not otherwise be able to handle? Or if thats too much why not do something similar to what WoW had with Sartharion 3 drakes? Casuals ran pugs for Sartharion all the time but never did they do him with 3 drakes up. Its not so much adding mechanics as it is reserving the difficult ones for the people that actually want to challenge themselves. Then add a half decent achievement system which recognize such accomplishments.

If thats too much to ask for then I see little reason for me to stick around and by me I mean any hardcore guild that plays this game. Bioware may very well be appeasing those who are playing this as their first MMO. They might be slowly transitioning the great majority of subscribers into MMO endgame raiding. I understand the rationale behind this. I wouldn't throw someone with 0 endgame raiding experience into a Kil'Jaeden esque fight. But I must say if there isn't a difficulty increase soon the hardcore raiders will not stay. And while this may not yet seem like an abundance of people, I can safely say that once the people who are playing this as their first MMO want to begin challenging themselves they will have a difficult time doing so with the current content. Eventually, the game will fail because it lacks in endgame and replayability does not equal sustainability.

Some of you might think this is a whole lot of jib jab with no valid point. While I certainly hope my message doesn't go ignored I respect your opinion.

Some of you might say, WoW's Molten Core (first raid) didn't have bosses with challenging mechanics. While this is certainly true, it was much more difficult to coordinate 40 people than 16. In other words, what WoW vanila lacked in challenging mechanics it made up for in getting 40 people together to do the same thing at the same time.

Some may say the hardcore raiders opinion doesn't matter, we are just keyboard warriors. HELL WE DON'T EVEN HAVE A SOUL! Well, I hope you can value my opinion just as I value yours. I don't think I've said anything that would be too drastic for someone who plays the game casually to accept. Is it too much to say those who want to play the game more should get a bit more out of it? I certainly don't think so.

Finally others may say that this is just the first month or so of the game and the degree of difficulty will be increased. I'll finish by saying that I certainly hope you are right because I want this game to work. I love Star Wars and this game has tons of potential as well as a thriving community with dedicated community leaders in the mod team but I see little reason why these problems couldn't have been addressed in the 5 years of development before launch ><.
Is this about WoW or SWTOR.. oh nevermind it's about someone telling everyone how uber he is.