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The future of SWTOR, and what I think needs to happen with end game

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
The future of SWTOR, and what I think needs to happen with end game

Cyphen's Avatar


Cyphen
10.21.2012 , 06:19 AM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by RageFury View Post
Here's a mental test to take to tell the difference between real content, and just garbage. Take away the loot. No reward at the end. Would you ever do it again more than once or twice, ever? (MAYBE 3 times?) No? Then it's not content, it's just filler garbage. Virtually every boss encounter in WoW, ever, fits into that; and most bosses in SWTOR, too.

End game PvE needs to be designed as if there are no rewards; THAT is the key to longevity. WoW's a fluke. They came into the MMO scene at the right time with the right product, and it caught on fire in terms of popularity. Every other WoW-esque MMO as far as end game goes has been a tiny drop in the bucket, and virtually all have lost money, because it's not sustainable. WoW gets away with it, no one else will ever be able to again.
Actually if there was no reward the this type of game design would break, where would you attain your upgrades and new gear? This can also apply to PvP.

To answer the first question, I would still play it if the encounters were challenging, different each time you enter the raid or each week to keep it unique. Then hardmodes which change the encounter completely, to me Ulduar has done is greatly during 3.1. If there is something to do, people will play. Loot is just to make the customers happy and to be used as a tool (probably few other reasons too of course).

I think that model type, gear grinding and all like we see in TOR and WoW is going to be phased out, maybe in 5-10 years but in the long run it will most likely change. It is not ideal but it still works and it isn't terrible either (at least in my opinion).

Quote: Originally Posted by Chorusgirl View Post
People put in the time not ONLY because they enjoy the content, but because they also get to see their character progress. Progressing one's character is what makes MMO's addictive. It's the same idea as leveling, you want to reach the "holy grail" in a game either by finishing the content, or getting your character to max level, or by getting your character to best in slot gear. We all do it for the achievements, whether it's personal or game granted.
Agreed.
Your Blood shall become the Mantle to my Victory!

ArchangelLBC's Avatar


ArchangelLBC
10.21.2012 , 01:12 PM | #12
Quote: Originally Posted by RageFury View Post
Here's a mental test to take to tell the difference between real content, and just garbage. Take away the loot. No reward at the end. Would you ever do it again more than once or twice, ever? (MAYBE 3 times?) No? Then it's not content, it's just filler garbage. Virtually every boss encounter in WoW, ever, fits into that; and most bosses in SWTOR, too.

End game PvE needs to be designed as if there are no rewards; THAT is the key to longevity. WoW's a fluke. They came into the MMO scene at the right time with the right product, and it caught on fire in terms of popularity. Every other WoW-esque MMO as far as end game goes has been a tiny drop in the bucket, and virtually all have lost money, because it's not sustainable. WoW gets away with it, no one else will ever be able to again.
This is very disingenuous and is at the heart of what's wrong with your entire idea. Content doesn't become garbage just because you don't want to repeatedly do it ad nauseum. I've enjoyed pretty much all the raids in this game, outside of the times when an encounter was bugged. One of my greatest enjoyments is taking a content that is very hard when you first attempt it, figuring it out, and then mastering it.

But once you've mastered it, and done it enough to KNOW you've mastered it, then what's the point of doing it again? You've mastered it, time to move on to the next thing. That doesn't make the content garbage. People don't keep doing a task once they've mastered it unless its a job, and you get paid to do a job. PVP has the advantage of never quite being the same, of constantly matching wits not with a static encounter but with other people who are constantly trying to figure out how to beat YOU. That's why people will play warzones day in and day out. You mentioned leveling and flashpoints. I really enjoyed leveling and doing flashpoints.....the first time. At this point I spacebar through all my non story quests, often skip planet quest lines, and I don't think I even bother with flashpoints anymore. I've done them all too often. And that's WITH the incentive of BH comms.

PVE content is different, and asking for more branching type ideas is really just asking for more content, and good fun content takes time to develop. Time during which the hard core raiders will almost certainly beat the content you've just released, and time during which even the less hardcore guilds who nevertheless progress into hard mode ops will most likely devour the content. You might say that more complex content that has multiple branches and what not would keep people chewing on it longer, but that content also takes significantly longer to create.

My point is, that no matter how varied you make any particular raid, it is almost certain that a chunk of your player population will devour it before you can get the next content update out, and there has to be a balance between how complex you can make a raid and how long it takes to develop that raid. If your content takes twice as long to devour but also twice as long to develop you've accomplished not much. In the meantime, how do you keep those players interested in playing the game in the interim? The answer has historically been gear, because CG is right that part of what makes MMOs so addictive is seeing your character progress.

The Aratech speeder quests were actually a pretty neat idea, and were an example of getting people to revisit old content, without making it seem grindy (except the WB one requiring several kills. That kind of thing just makes things grindy).

Honestly I think you're just focusing on the wrong thing. Getting gear was for everyone but the most hardcore guilds what was keeping us going after we'd beaten a raid but were waiting for the next one to come out (the hardcore guilds had things on farm so quickly they didn't even need to do old content for that). Adding some unique items that take lots of time to get WITHOUT feeling particularly grindy (beat NM Soa 10 times, NM Karagga 10 times, NM Kephess 10 times and eventually NM TFB 10 times would take time but would be excessively grindy....yet people would do it if there was some uber piece at the end of it) would help a lot, and they wouldn't have to be particularly powerful (though introducing very powerful gear in return for very long convoluted quest lines shouldn't be out of the question).

One thing I absolutely ABHOR is low% drops/events like you suggested. It just means you're constantly fighting the RNG. That's one reason I really liked the change in campaigndread guard gear by making tokens non class specific so people didn't go raid after raid without ever seeing their thing drop.

I do agree that stat progression is gonna get pretty insane if they keep on this track, and so more cosmetic upgrades (NO MORE PALETTE SWAPS) are more called for going forward, but honestly the only way going forward to keep players interested is to get content more quickly in our hands. TFB is a great raid and I'm highly enjoying it, but it took way too long for them to get it to us. I understand there were other factors, but going forward they need to get it out more quickly, that's all there is to it, because like I said no matter how great you make your encounters, once people master it they aren't going to want to keep going back. That's just human nature, and removing any other incentive to do so isn't the solution.
In update 2.9 the game will simply uninstall itself for you.

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Anysao's Avatar


Anysao
10.21.2012 , 05:01 PM | #13
First of all, don't forget how expensive it is to add fancy voiced content. So don't expect anything huge.

But off of that, YES! I would love to get special, fancy reward from "achievements" in ops/flashpoints. A good example is karagga's hat, and qyzen-Kephess customisation. But why end there? Maybe "kill warlord Kephess (hard mode) with no deaths, and be rewarded: Warstalker battle armor." Or "Defeat Gharj nightmare mode 3 times, and be rewarded: Firestalker pup pet." Possibilities are endless! But I have noticed that several operations do lack story. They have excellent prologues and epilouges, but it's the actual op that lacks. Eternity vault has the dramatic scenes where Soa and Gharj break free, and Karagga's palace has cutscenes of Karagga mocking you, but then there's times like Terror from beyond, where you end up in the gree computer, and you don't even know you're fighting computer programs. Put a small cutscene door there, and I'm then quickly enthralled. I go from: "oh, I'm in the computer" to "what?! I'm in a computer! What shenanigens do I commit to get out?!"
Small achievements + small story updates = a real great time.

On a side note... I do ops for gear AND the content. The gear to me is just like leveling up; important, a must. But the story content is what drags me in and keeps me here. I never get tired of that epic battle with Warlord Kephess.
Ooh! In Elder Scrolls Online, I get magic spells and colossal PvP! That sounds cool, but one question, where do I get a lightsaber?
I will never take someone who says "EAware" seriously.
You cannot escape the Moonbanger!The Ebon Hawk Starfighter Enthusiast.

RageFury's Avatar


RageFury
10.22.2012 , 12:50 PM | #14
Quote: Originally Posted by tigervol View Post
The biggest problem with what you're suggesting is that it is impossible to create enough of these unique scenarios and content to keep people interested long-term.

What I'm saying is, once you've seen the story, for most people, you aren't particularly interested in seeing the same thing over and over again, week after week.

There is no way to make it unique each and every time, so you have to introduce some sort of grind to make it worthwhile to keep coming back. In this case, as with most, it's a gear grind.
Right, I know you can't make it unique every time, but part of longevity is having plenty of options available. More important than that, however, is to have very entertaining content. Some things can be viewed many times, like a great movie. Who wouldn't watch some of the (very minor spoiler alert for BH/IA)
Spoiler
There are moments throughout all the class stories that people could watch dozens of times. Come up with entertaining, over the top moments to put in some of the operation cutscenes, and that would definitely help.

Quote: Originally Posted by tigervol View Post
Things like the title for completing Nightmare Mode ops in under 2 hrs. The Infernal and The Unyielding titles aren't rare anymore because that content isn't difficult compared to before, but those titles used to represent a small and elite section of players, and you could wear those titles as a point of pride because not every group can clear that content.
I agree, and this is the WHOLE problem with MMOs being gear-based. If an MMO's PvE progression is based on gear, absolutely every single operation/raid/etc. becomes trivial over time, because of improved gear. It's inevitable, and without fail, it nullifies the feeling of accomplishment by those that did it when it was really hard because of the lack of gear when the operation was new. Making things gear-based is bad, and most people can't even understand why. Most people think it's a foregone conclusion that you have to kill big bosses for gear, but it's really not; they've just never experienced a good implementation of that not being the case, is all.

Quote: Originally Posted by tigervol View Post
What this game really needs more of is things that really are difficult to obtain. Getting gear is so easy in this game, but if they had some really uber rare pieces that only drop once a month or take some ridiculous amount of effort to obtain, and are substantially better than the standard tiered gear, that'd be awesome. The gear could be Bind on Pickup or Bind on Legacy to prevent abuse or people farming them to sell, but it'd have to look unique and be worth the effort involved in getting it.
I agree with the first sentence, but not the rest of this paragraph. At least, not the way you describe it. I'm going to throw something out here - I think Lost Island is far and away the best flashpoint in the game. Can anybody guess why? It's not because of the good loot, (compared to other flashpoints) it's because the boss fights require every single person to not screw up. The boss fights are not about gear. You can go in and clear the place without wiping at all in mediocre gear, if you have skilled players that know the fights. This is exactly the kind of thing I love. Geared players absolutely CANNOT carry morons through it, no matter how geared you are. Good luck getting past the first boss if some noob keeps dropping the AoE target stuff on the DPSers every time, lol; or if both DPSers are too slow/dumb to move out of poison bombs on the final boss. Every person is accountable for themselves, and the you don't have to be geared to do it. I LOVE this aspect of it, and I hope every flashpoint AND operation going forward follows this methodology. It's a formula that was used in Asheron's Call, and it's great. Gear checks are just dumb. SKILL checks, on the other hand, are great. (An even better phrase would be, 'lrn2play checks'.)

Quote: Originally Posted by tigervol View Post
I do agree with what one of the posters above me said, though. I raid because I enjoy raiding. I like the encounters, I like the zone design, and I like working with a team to clear that sort of content.
That's fine, I like operations too for most of those same reasons, but what I don't like about them is that the biggest reason for going is to get gear. I also dislike any boss fight that is based on gear. An easy way to tell is if the encounter is considerably easier if everyone in your group has best-in-slot gear, or close to it, as compared to early on when people had lesser gear. If it is, it's a poor design. If it's not, it's a great design. There's a big difference between a gear-based encounter and a skill-based one. ALL boss fights should be skill checks, IMO; not gear checks.


Quote: Originally Posted by alifaraaz View Post
So like interesting achievements maybe? An achievement system more advanced than the current codex system wouldbe good.

I havnt played WoW in recent years and some say their achievement system was a pain as guilds and pugs asked for proof of achievements before inviting. However when I was playing doing some of the fun achievements and earning new titles and mounts was also extremely fun. E.g. 8manning Malygos and several others

So yeah I'd definitely be up for something like that. There was also a mention a while back that legendary items will be coming to swtor. But they probably will be very rare like wow, as in just 1 or 2 that can only be obtained from the very last tiers of raiding. Like the warglaives etc
Yeah, an achievement system would be good, but only filled with achievements that matter. The "achievement spam" style in WoW, I don't like. There were some good achievements there, but the vast majority were either ridiculously easy and everyone & their mom had them, or they were long grinds that a retarded monkey could do, given enough time; and that is also dumb. Achievements should be skill-based, and they should give something that won't get its usefulness mitigated over time. A unique piece of gear? Nice, except that tier bonuses make it irrelevant in a long-term sense. I don't like gear rewards. How about awesome stuff, like a Tauntaun mount/speeder? How awesome would it be for a very hard-to-get achievement to award something like that? The Star Wars universe is so unique and varied, there are a billion potentially awesome rewards that aren't based on gear that people would love to try for. Personally, I'd love to have a pet that is a mini-Yoda (not the actual Yoda, but one of whatever his race is) following me around, randomly speaking the way Yoda does, with his own miniature lightsaber that makes an appearance once in a while. Talk about sweet.


Quote: Originally Posted by Xenith View Post
If you all think taking away loot progression in Ops and PvP is the saving grace of this game, you've all lost your minds. It'd be the complete oppposite because there'd be no reason to pvp or raid. Therefore, the game would be worse off than it is.
This is the problem with most MMO players nowadays. They cannot fathom an MMO not based on obtaining gear, since the vast majority of MMOs ever made are based on gear, and the act of obtaining it. Guess what, though? There are ways to make them not be gear-based, and if done properly, it's amazing. You're just proving that making everything be about gear is a bad idea, because take away the gear and you don't want to play the game. There needs to be non-gear incentive. It's like saying there's no reason to live in real life except to get rich. Material rewards should be part of things, not the end-all, be-all.


Quote: Originally Posted by Chorusgirl View Post
Don't you think this is what they were trying to do with Nightmare Mode EV/KP? There was no different loot between Nightmare and Hardmode. Nightmare was a great fight, much more challenging than HM. What I saw happen was that people just opt'd to do HM because it was easier and provided the same reward as Nightmare. People put in the time not ONLY because they enjoy the content, but because they also get to see their character progress. Progressing one's character is what makes MMO's addictive. It's the same idea as leveling, you want to reach the "holy grail" in a game either by finishing the content, or getting your character to max level, or by getting your character to best in slot gear. We all do it for the achievements, whether it's personal or game granted.
I'm not saying there should be no extra rewards for doing harder versions of things, I'm saying those rewards should not be gear, and that the game itself should trivialize gear; that is, make it a piece of cake for anyone and everyone to get the best gear. This comes back to most people not being able to truly understand how an MMO could work without gear being the focusing point, but trust me when I say it can be done successfully.


Quote: Originally Posted by Cyphen View Post
Actually if there was no reward the this type of game design would break, where would you attain your upgrades and new gear? This can also apply to PvP.
I don't know why several people here think I said there should be no rewards. I didn't. I said there should be rewards other than gear. Big difference.

Quote: Originally Posted by Cyphen View Post
To answer the first question, I would still play it if the encounters were challenging, different each time you enter the raid or each week to keep it unique. Then hardmodes which change the encounter completely, to me Ulduar has done is greatly during 3.1. If there is something to do, people will play. Loot is just to make the customers happy and to be used as a tool (probably few other reasons too of course).
I agree with everything in this paragraph, except the last one. In my experience, the reward at the end is most of what matters for the vast majority of people.


Quote: Originally Posted by ArchangelLBC View Post
This is very disingenuous and is at the heart of what's wrong with your entire idea. Content doesn't become garbage just because you don't want to repeatedly do it ad nauseum. I've enjoyed pretty much all the raids in this game, outside of the times when an encounter was bugged. One of my greatest enjoyments is taking a content that is very hard when you first attempt it, figuring it out, and then mastering it.
"Disingenuous" is a rather strong word, don't you think? I am not trying to mislead anyone. I would definitely say, however, that content does become garbage if it's based on gear and not content, or the fight of the boss itself. For many years now, most MMOs have used what rewards drop on the boss to determine that boss's difficulty, and that the word "difficulty" has been largely based on hitting harder and having more health points. That's it. That is a very shallow definition of "harder". It has nothing to do with skill or actual difficulty. Moar numberz...yay...*yawn* What was always needed in WoW was more fights like Heigan and the dancing that everyone had to do. Make fights that require people not to fail, and not be based on gear. Fights that you cannot carry people through no matter HOW good your gear is. Damage based on percent of total health instead of raw number is a great way to do this, though no one has ever done it, to my knowledge. (Both damage done, and received.)


Quote: Originally Posted by ArchangelLBC View Post
One thing I absolutely ABHOR is low% drops/events like you suggested. It just means you're constantly fighting the RNG.
What? Where did I say this? I agree with you - I *HATE* low-percent drops and anything random as far as drops go. What I said was make some achievements/rewards, (that are not gear) very difficult to get, but NOT because they are rare - but build in a mechanic of some kind that makes it difficult to achieve, but that if you achieve it, you're guaranteed X reward.


Quote: Originally Posted by Anysao View Post
First of all, don't forget how expensive it is to add fancy voiced content. So don't expect anything huge.
Oh, I know it's expensive. That's part of why I said perhaps work on this for a future expansion, assuming we ever get one, which I desperately hope we do.

Quote: Originally Posted by Anysao View Post
But off of that, YES! I would love to get special, fancy reward from "achievements" in ops/flashpoints. A good example is karagga's hat, and qyzen-Kephess customisation. But why end there? Maybe "kill warlord Kephess (hard mode) with no deaths, and be rewarded: Warstalker battle armor." Or "Defeat Gharj nightmare mode 3 times, and be rewarded: Firestalker pup pet." Possibilities are endless! But I have noticed that several operations do lack story. They have excellent prologues and epilouges, but it's the actual op that lacks. Eternity vault has the dramatic scenes where Soa and Gharj break free, and Karagga's palace has cutscenes of Karagga mocking you, but then there's times like Terror from beyond, where you end up in the gree computer, and you don't even know you're fighting computer programs. Put a small cutscene door there, and I'm then quickly enthralled. I go from: "oh, I'm in the computer" to "what?! I'm in a computer! What shenanigens do I commit to get out?!"
Small achievements + small story updates = a real great time.

On a side note... I do ops for gear AND the content. The gear to me is just like leveling up; important, a must. But the story content is what drags me in and keeps me here. I never get tired of that epic battle with Warlord Kephess.
You're summing up mostly what I think needs to happen, and I agree. The story needs to be the big thing, not the epic lewtz. I disagree about the "kill X 3 times" thing, though. Forced repetition is just a bad mechanic for anything in an MMO. Devs need to remember that we play this game on our personal time for fun. We do our "grinds" during the week at work.
Something Dark Side

Meepbot's Avatar


Meepbot
10.22.2012 , 01:58 PM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by Xenith View Post
If you all think taking away loot progression in Ops and PvP is the saving grace of this game, you've all lost your minds. It'd be the complete oppposite because there'd be no reason to pvp or raid. Therefore, the game would be worse off than it is.
I tend to agree with Xenith here, but I wouldnt go as far as saying everyone who thinks differently than I do is crazy. I PvE. I enjoy PvEing. I enjoy raiding, I enjoy doing FPs. Hell, Ill even PvP if im in the mood. But gear is only a part of why I enjoy it. I enjoy going into Denova, Eternity Vault, Karagga's Palace, and Terror From Beyond. I enjoy the visuals, the fights. As a raider, the times when I feel best are when me and my group down a boss, not when I get my rakata mainhand (that feels good too, though ) For me, gear is only a means to an end, a way to be able to increase the difficulty on my raids, therefore increasing the fun. I dont go into a raid to get gear, I go to experience the raid, experience the world, experience the bosses. for me, raiding is enjoyable, and thats without being able to flex my e-peen with gear.
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RageFury's Avatar


RageFury
10.24.2012 , 10:21 AM | #16
Quote: Originally Posted by Meepbot View Post
I dont go into a raid to get gear, I go to experience the raid, experience the world, experience the bosses. for me, raiding is enjoyable, and thats without being able to flex my e-peen with gear.
Now imagine if it was TWICE as enjoyable, doing operations for the fun of it, rather than the gear. Making gear a non-issue helps accomplish this in a big way. The way it's looked at by most modern MMO devs is, "Ok, here we have our rewards, now how do we make them take time to get?" when the question should be, "Ok, we've made this amazing content, now how do we want to reward people for completing it?"

It's an entirely different outlook.
Something Dark Side

simplius's Avatar


simplius
10.24.2012 , 10:29 AM | #17
end game content? sure,,,but after fixing bugs and core content first

who wants to play through a buggy, grindy game for a great new heroic for endgamers?

that is the reason, why subs are dropping

Marb's Avatar


Marb
10.24.2012 , 10:45 AM | #18
The subscriber issue is a combination of things, but most people I talked to who stopped playing all say the same thing.

The game ends at level 50 for them. Yes you can roll an alt but people get attached to what they perceive as their main character. There simply wasn't enough to do until 1.2 hit, and after this, a few big game releases compounded the issue. Its not that people went to try other games or take a break, people flat out didn't come back to swtor.

If you want to go deeper, bioware made a big mistake in going with the vertical progression model for endgame, as the game that they made (which encourages people to go back to play other classes) does not mesh well at all with that system. The legacy system should have been in for launch and talked about much MUCH sooner leading up to release. It should have been trumpeted as a major part of the game.

There seems to be a disconnect between what the developers think the game is, and what players think the game is. The reaction to comments made by Damion Schubert not long ago showed this plain as day. We were all like "legacy system is a focus? why would they be focused on that over everything else the game needs?"
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simplius's Avatar


simplius
10.24.2012 , 11:14 AM | #19
so around 500k END GAMERS left in the first month,,and around 100k more per month since?

im not saying this game doesnt lacks end game,,it prolly does

but this game needs more FOUNDATION,,adding more on top will only make it crash sooner

Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
10.24.2012 , 11:40 AM | #20
Gear is a crutch, and a necessary one at that. What you should be asking for isn't to make gear trivial, but to just add more rewards that aren't gear. Because raiding as we know it can't really be truly successfully done without gear, just take a look at the current day most successful MMO on the planet right now, WoW, and the way it has been set up.

Look at it from a business standpoint. As a developer/producer, you want everyone who buys your game and pays to play it be able to really play it, to experience everything. But people have different levels of skill ability, so how do you make content for everyone on the skill chart? You design challenging content, that only the best players will be able to beat right when you give it to them, they did well on this in HM TFB, and even more so on NMM EC. Then you make bosses drop gear, which is going to make fights easier. The best players will have a challenge suitable for them, right when the raid releases. Lesser skilled players might only be able to kill the first boss, so how do you get them past it so they can see everything? You reset the raid once a week so they can keep getting gear, the crutch, from that first boss to make the next fight easier. Putting in a raid with gear is like putting in a raid with a set nerf timer on it, the longer the raid stays current, the more it is essentially nerfed because more people have more gear. This is the same in the end as just straight up patch-nerfing content so lesser skilled players can see it. By the time the lesser skilled players are wrapping up the raid, finally getting to the end, a new one should be coming out of the oven soon, ready to re-challenge the most hardcore players. This way there is never a period where content becomes "garbage", the more hardcore guilds just have more time to get more gear in preparation for the next raid, which many enjoy doing. It's a very small % of players that don't want to walk back into a raid after they've cleared it. I personally enjoy doing it multiple times. If the average person doesn't mind doing a boss 8 times, then this means that there should be new bosses in 2 months, because you can only kill the boss once a week. The better you are, the faster you clear the content, regardless of gear. Gear exists not because content isn't challenging, but because not all players that do finish raids now could if there was no gear.

So what I think you really want isn't to have gear be irrelevant or easy to obtain, but for there to be more incentives on top of gear to help more players want to do the raids more often after they've killed them, to keep content relevant for a longer period of time for reasons other than just gear. The gear is necessary, I know you say "trust me, it can be done" but if it could be, then WoW wouldn't be where it is today, 8 long gear-filled years after it's release. Maybe there is some other form of endgame that we're not aware of that could be fun, rewarding, challenging, and not a raid, but as far as raiding in and of itself goes, it needs gear. If anything IMO PvP is the thing that doesn't need gear, but that's a whole different cookie to crumble later on maybe. But I really do have to be against your statement of "content becomes garbage", I disagree with that highly. Maybe if there were titles and mounts and pets and cool effect weapons or questlines or cutscenes or whatever it is you want in raids that you feel isn't there now, you'd enjoy and want to do them more, but all of those things need to happen in addition to, not in replacement of, gear. Many people do enjoy the gearing process, many people do enjoy the progression process, and re-inventing the wheel just feels unnecessary to me, I just think we need to improve upon it instead.
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