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An Appeal to Bioware Regarding Operations Difficulty and Design

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
An Appeal to Bioware Regarding Operations Difficulty and Design

Qsawden's Avatar


Qsawden
02.19.2012 , 11:49 AM | #31
+1 so many people will be lost if 1.2 does not deliver an increase in difficulty in operations.

jingadingdangdo's Avatar


jingadingdangdo
02.19.2012 , 11:54 AM | #32
Quote: Originally Posted by El_Chino View Post
So what is is that hardcore raiders want?

Higher Challenge or Top Loot?

"Hardcore Raiding" shouldn't reward anything more than a feeling of accomplishment from getting the content itself done. Nothing Extra. There should not be any "Risk vs Reward" factor. You either do the raids on hard mode because you like to or you don't.

If your argument is that there is no incentive to do so, than the want for challenge in raiding is not enough to outweigh the lust for loot and exclusivity.

Vanity items are a decent bridge here. Nothing so much stat-wise, but something that gives a title or completing it would be more in line with a reasonable system.
Primarily the higher challenge although I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a bit of both. The loot though is essentially just some sort of indicator that says to the game's community that this person has done this particular piece of content. I do agree that vanity items could serve just as well to provide that indicator and I would be totally okay with this.

Quote: Originally Posted by El_Chino View Post
Face it... EQ is a model that will never get as many subscribers as one that is way more accessible. If you want "Epic Raidz" go back to EQ and wait for days to camp a spawn you need 72 people to ace. Those kind of "hardcore" raids perpetuate the stereotype that MMO's are for clammy, basement dwelling trolls.

The only way to break that would be to change the model so drastically that anyone can be a part of it, not just those with a lot of time on their hands, which is where MMO Design is going.

It's no longer about how to challenge a player, it's about how to retain players. You don't do that by putting massive roadblocks in the way of your basest of players who will remain loyal even if you poke them in the eyes repeatedly. Everyone wants to be the hero and try to be the best. Open accessibility is the way to create that illusion.
I don't have a problem with that kind of game at all. It just isn't one that I want to play and it isn't how SW:TOR has been marketed. The very fact that the game design contains 3 levels of difficulty directly implies that there is meant to be differing grades of raid difficulty in SW:TOR. The naming of these difficulty levels in particular further implies that the game's designers want their raid content to appeal to both the casual raider and the hardcore raider. At the moment it simply does not succeed with the latter.

Quote: Originally Posted by El_Chino View Post
Apologies for the abrasive nature of some of this, but the hardcore model is a dinosaur. You only need to look as far as the number of people who play Farmville to see that. Woe to us as gamers when the day comes that Farmville is the only alternative, but it is definitely where it is going.
I'm not offended - it's your opinion and you're certainly right that the hardcore raiding audience is much more niche than it used to be. I do have to say that your Farmville analogy is pretty poor though and does very little to reinforce your point. Let's compare it with a like analogy - NFL draws in a much larger audience than the NHL so hockey fans should just resign themselves to the fact that their sport of interest is a thing of the past. I don't agree with this sentiment at all. Just because one product caters to a larger audience does not mean that all smaller audiences are rendered obsolete. There is still a profit to be made in a game that caters to hardcore raiders even if a more casual game has broader appeal. The fact that SW:TOR has the framework with its 3 difficulty modes to cater to both audiences means that, with proper implementation, there is no reason that it cannot try satisfy both sets of customers.
Jinga - Raid Leader of <Retribution>

16 man - World 5th clear of EC Hard Mode. World ranked 6th overall.
Seeking exceptional applicants, apply now at retribution-guild.net

El_Chino's Avatar


El_Chino
02.19.2012 , 12:19 PM | #33
I really appreciate your candor in all this. As far as the analogy, well, thanks for the debate tip!

I see what you are saying, but I think (anecdotal at best), that the numbers are a lot more skewed than NFL vs NHL, to the point where it is more like NFL vs Pro Curling.

It doesn't make the audience's sport obsolete, it just requires them to go to more niche markets to find what they want, where that is popular.

Raids (Ops, whatever) have become increasingly hard to deal with. Logistically speaking, having to work around everyone's schedule with a mature and organized raid group is a nightmare mode in and of itself.

On the other hand, I've always been a control junkie when it comes to raiding as well. If I couldn't control it with my tanking or the 2 - 3 others I trust implicitly, it would generally drive me crazy, because my success would hinge on someone else's performance. Maybe just the balance in all of that finally got to me!

In any case, you have some decent points, and a well thought out argument, even if we disagree.

Baconmonster's Avatar


Baconmonster
02.19.2012 , 02:08 PM | #34
Quote: Originally Posted by El_Chino View Post
So what is is that hardcore raiders want?

Higher Challenge or Top Loot?

"Hardcore Raiding" shouldn't reward anything more than a feeling of accomplishment from getting the content itself done. Nothing Extra. There should not be any "Risk vs Reward" factor. You either do the raids on hard mode because you like to or you don't.

If your argument is that there is no incentive to do so, than the want for challenge in raiding is not enough to outweigh the lust for loot and exclusivity.

Vanity items are a decent bridge here. Nothing so much stat-wise, but something that gives a title or completing it would be more in line with a reasonable system.

Face it... EQ is a model that will never get as many subscribers as one that is way more accessible. If you want "Epic Raidz" go back to EQ and wait for days to camp a spawn you need 72 people to ace. Those kind of "hardcore" raids perpetuate the stereotype that MMO's are for clammy, basement dwelling trolls.

The only way to break that would be to change the model so drastically that anyone can be a part of it, not just those with a lot of time on their hands, which is where MMO Design is going.

It's no longer about how to challenge a player, it's about how to retain players. You don't do that by putting massive roadblocks in the way of your basest of players who will remain loyal even if you poke them in the eyes repeatedly. Everyone wants to be the hero and try to be the best. Open accessibility is the way to create that illusion.


Another take: Ever since video games became more "art" than "game" the artist wants the participant (player) to experience it as a whole, because if they do not, the art's effect is lost. Just food for thought.

Apologies for the abrasive nature of some of this, but the hardcore model is a dinosaur. You only need to look as far as the number of people who play Farmville to see that. Woe to us as gamers when the day comes that Farmville is the only alternative, but it is definitely where it is going.
No offense but should everyone just get a trophy? Should this game just give people something because they put in the effort even if they don't succeed? Most hardcore gamers aren't sitting here saying that normal mode shouldn't give gear because it's "ez mode". What right do you have to say that the hardest difficulty shouldn't be 1. Much Harder and 2. provide a much more substantial reward. So what if Nightmare is only completed by 5% of the population at 50. THAT'S THE POINT. It's difficult so people keep coming back to it. There's your retention of subs.

These "hardcore gamers" make up a substantial portion of the game population too. And on top of that most of these hardcore gamers are the ones who keep the economy alive as well. This isn't a 1% argument. This content needs to cater to those who care to use it. Normal mode caters to those who want to see the content, HM should cater to casual raiding guilds who want a challenge, NM should cater to those who have the time and skill to attempt them. The number of people who fall into the NM category is much much greater than 1% of the player population that cares to raid. If you don't care to raid you don't have a say, this simple fact boosts this "hardcore population percentage" substantially.

I'm tired of people using the "you should just do it for the challenge" argument. No, that's total BS. In that case Normal mode shouldn't drop any gear, because they just want to see the content right? NM and HM should be harder, NM and HM should drop better gear. This isn't about "epic raidz" like you said, this is about playing a fun game with an actual reward system that sets players apart from each other and keeps them coming back. If I put in 12+ hours a week raiding NM with a guild and someone spends 4 hours a week raiding Normal I should have noticeably better gear than them not just "vanity items". Not everyone wants the shiny speeder or the stupid pet. I want to have more to show for doing the hardest content than some crappy vanity item. I'm not asking for gear that's substantially better, I'm asking for the best gear available to only drop in NM, not in Normal or HM.

I personally hope they keep up with this pathetically simple content, so when the raiders leave this game they can see just how important it is to keep these "basement dwelling elitists" these "hardcore raiders" around. I'm not being elitist, I'm being rational. I'm not demanding that gear be taken away from casuals, I'm not calling casuals bad, I'm not demanding normal mode be harder than it is. I'm asking for Hardmode and Nightmare content to be much more challenging. I'm asking for adequate compensation for my time and effort. More time and effort should equal greater reward, happens in real life why not here too. What's the point of challenging content when you get nothing useful from it?

It's about that carrot on a string, the best way to retain subs is to keep us chasing that carrot. Creating difficult content at end game with reward about equal to our risk keeps raiders, both hardcore and casual, chasing that carrot. Right now people, again both casual and hardcore, are catching and eating the carrot, that's not a good game design. Single player games are built this way, there is a definitive beginning and a definitive end. Multiplyer games, MMOs specifically, shouldn't have an end. When the best players reach the end a new end should always be within view. Only bad MMOs, destined to fail, have people reaching the end without a new end on the horizon. Right now SWTOR is a bad MMO at endgame, the carrot has been eaten and thrown on a compost heap for a decent portion of the population.

Endgame is what keeps the MMO alive, you can make the leveling experience as eventful as possible, but eventually everyone reaches 50. If the keeps this up it will turn into eventually everyone catches the carrot, eventually everyone leaves. I want this game to work. I want this game to be fun. I want to chase the carrot. I do not want to catch the carrot.

El_Chino's Avatar


El_Chino
02.19.2012 , 02:20 PM | #35
Quote: Originally Posted by Baconmonster View Post
What right do you have to say that the hardest difficulty shouldn't be 1. Much Harder and 2. provide a much more substantial reward. So what if Nightmare is only completed by 5% of the population at 50. THAT'S THE POINT.
You don't want the challenge for challenge's sake, you want exclusivity, where you can lord your items over someone who may not have the same time available, but is just as devoted to the game and their guild.

Having "something to show for it" could be anything from a cool speeder to a pet to a title.

You wanting a more substantial (read: stat increase) reward shows that you want to be more powerful than the next guy, instead of showcasing your skills with the gear that is available; that you were able to pull it off, while beginning on equal footing to someone else.

That sir, makes you reek of a bully with special snowflake syndrome.

Foefaller's Avatar


Foefaller
02.19.2012 , 02:22 PM | #36
While I would love for their to be a wider gap in difficulty and gear for Normal 50/cap instances and HMs, and between Flashpoints in Operations. I think it's too late to change it for the current HMs + Ops without angrying more people than pleasing... Though I hope (expect, really) that future additions (Lost Island being the exception I'll let slide) will have that increase in challenge for thier Hard/Nightmare versions that the OP wants.

Just those though, leave the normal FPs and yes, even normal Ops where they are... cause while I was kinda disapointed that there was little reason to almost any normal 50 after 20 mins of GTN browsing, I completly understand how some people are happy enough to say they've done said content, and not want to do hardcore raiding/gear grind to be able to do so.

Occams_Razor's Avatar


Occams_Razor
02.19.2012 , 02:54 PM | #37
Quote: Originally Posted by jingadingdangdo View Post
Regarding the Potential Downgrade of 16 Man Operation Difficulty

The recent Q&A discussion saw it mentioned that the design intent was for 16 man content to be slightly easier than 8 man content to compensate for the logistics of having to organize a larger number of people. There has been a great outcry over this and for good reason. There are any number of subscribers who want to test themselves vs the most difficult content available to them and if this shifts toward 8 man content instead of 16 man content this will either see guilds running multiple 8 man groups or else fragmenting into several smaller guilds. I genuinely feel that either of these outcomes would be a sad loss for the SW:TOR community as the end result would likely be a game population of small fragmented groups which have very little interaction with each other. This to me goes against the very spirit of what an MMO is all about - it is a slippery slope which diminishes the multi-player element of SW:TOR. Without this multi-player element SW:TOR becomes little more than a single player RPG with very little replay value. I strongly urge the game's designers to re-consider this intended design as it has the potential to be very, very detrimental to the game's long term prospects.
I agree with 90% of your post. Some of my disagreement is purely aesthetic. But this I strongly disagree with. Unless future designs revolve around a 1-2-1 tank-DPS-healer design, making 16-man where the "good" stuff happens will continue to relegate players to DPS since their raid guild only needs one tank and an occasional OT for every fight. Now, I agree, they probably shouldn't have published that, since now people will assume future 16-man content is "easier" than 8-man, but it's water under the bridge now.

Occams_Razor's Avatar


Occams_Razor
02.19.2012 , 03:13 PM | #38
Quote: Originally Posted by El_Chino View Post
You don't want the challenge for challenge's sake, you want exclusivity, where you can lord your items over someone who may not have the same time available, but is just as devoted to the game and their guild.

Having "something to show for it" could be anything from a cool speeder to a pet to a title.

You wanting a more substantial (read: stat increase) reward shows that you want to be more powerful than the next guy, instead of showcasing your skills with the gear that is available; that you were able to pull it off, while beginning on equal footing to someone else.

That sir, makes you reek of a bully with special snowflake syndrome.
Philosophically, you may be right, but the problem is with the paradigm RPGs are based on. This has been an issue since the days of Gary Gygax. People like to feel rewarded. Rewards with some positive effect in-game are more satisfying and also more immersive (A true Jedi wouldn't give too hoots what color the blade of his lightsaber was, it's immaterial) but by rewarding completion of objectives with "better gear" which is more rewarding for most players, you introduce a US v. Soviet-style gear race. Now, you have to design content around people who have the best loot, which often blocks out people who didn't get it. (And that's not always because they couldn't, sometimes people re-roll for perfectly valid reasons, etc.)

I wonder if a different color set of armor with identical stats would be equally enticing to folks. I somehow doubt it would be for the majority, but it's probably worth looking into.

jingadingdangdo's Avatar


jingadingdangdo
02.19.2012 , 11:39 PM | #39
Quote: Originally Posted by Occams_Razor View Post
I agree with 90% of your post. Some of my disagreement is purely aesthetic. But this I strongly disagree with. Unless future designs revolve around a 1-2-1 tank-DPS-healer design, making 16-man where the "good" stuff happens will continue to relegate players to DPS since their raid guild only needs one tank and an occasional OT for every fight. Now, I agree, they probably shouldn't have published that, since now people will assume future 16-man content is "easier" than 8-man, but it's water under the bridge now.
I don't know, I really think this is more down to raid design than an inherent difference between 16 man and 8 man content. Current raid design certainly forces you to bring in more dps than 8 man. The raid makeup remains proportionately very similar for most fights though. I think though that if duel spec were added to the game the developers would have more freedom to develop fights that use 4 or even more tanks or a higher than usual number of healers.

The difference is fairly negligible in any case. In the current tier of content the highest difficulty requires 1 tank for most 8 man content and 2 tanks for most 16 man content. I don't think either comes particularly close to the 1-2-1 balance you are looking for at least in terms of tank numbers.
Jinga - Raid Leader of <Retribution>

16 man - World 5th clear of EC Hard Mode. World ranked 6th overall.
Seeking exceptional applicants, apply now at retribution-guild.net

Snakeyees's Avatar


Snakeyees
02.19.2012 , 11:43 PM | #40
Quote: Originally Posted by jingadingdangdo View Post
A perfect example is in the fix to Soa which prevented the fight from resetting if the tank were to become trapped by a mind trap.
This bug is not fixed. I just ran EV on Normal and I was the Tank, got trapped in a Mind trap on the 3rd stage with SOA at 3% health and he reset.
Asro Miraluka, Jedi Guardian Level 50 Veteran of Squadron 367 Server: Bergen Colony
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