Reading this post over at Clockwork Gamer got me to thinking about why raiding in most recent MMOs never excited me. Back in my days of EverQuest, when I would lead raids, I often would take anyone and everyone who showed up. Some of my “raids” were silly, intended to train people for raiding. I took five groups into the Mines of Nurga (before they revamped the zone) and made them form up groups, main tanks, pullers, heal team, etc. Just like a huge raid, but everyone was around level 30. Many of those same raiders would show up later when I started doing Epic raids, smaller hits for pieces to Epic Quests. Places like The Hole, City of Mist, etc. Of course, I also lead some dragon raids, and some Hate and Fear, Chardok, a few bits in Velious, and even some Planes of Power raids. It was all great fun.
The only raid I never got off the ground was the Plane of Sky. The reason for this is that the islands in Sky gave out random numbers of keys, and the zone had a very very long respawn time for most spawns. In order to take a large raid to Sky, you needed to use complicated corpse summoning to get from island to island. It was easier on a small raid, but small raids, due to the difficulty of the zone, needed to be very regimented, certain amounts of certain classes. I’m sure its not so hard now. Sky can probably be single grouped, or even done as a duo. But “back in the day” it was much more difficult.
In EQ2 and WoW (and other games), raids are often (always) instances, with caps on how many people can go. One thing I never like to do is bench people. If a personal is capable of surviving the raid, I’ll take them… I mean, seriously, I did raids in EQ with 90 people. Of course, in EQ2 and other more graphically intensive games, I couldn’t imagine 90 people being in the same place and having the game be even playable. Even WoW can struggle.. just try going to the auction house in Ironforge. (I might be showing my age here… is the auction house in Ironforge still crowded?)
I seriously don’t like the idea of raid caps. Having 25 people show up to fill 24 slots… I’d rather not. Over in this thread at the Nerfbat forums, I put forth the following:
I’m all for removing hard caps on content. I realize that a developer may want to design his content to be optimally experienced by 5 people, or 25 people, but it really sucks as a player to keep running into the wall because I have 6, or 29, friends and we have to repeat content not just for the loot, but simply so people can experience it. Game devs should consider ways to remove hard caps and instead reward soft caps. Design the content for 5 people, but allow any number to go in, however have the reward scale upward as you approach the “optimal”. That way, people who want to min/max content for the best possible reward can do so, but also people who just want to play can experience it as well without having to jump through extra hoops just to play with their friends.
I’d love to see a game at least give that a shot. And I wouldn’t even mind going back to the flagging model of EQ, where you could bring any number of people to the raid, but only X number would get the flag. You’d still have to repeat the content, but at least you could repeat it with the entire raid group instead of playing musical chairs mix and matching your raiders in order to be able to do the raid with only X number of players.
Maybe. Someday. Perhaps.