I know, I know, I missed last weeks article and I apologize! Life caught up to me and I just lost track of time. So this week I hope to fix that by bringing out a forum post that will probably spark some debate as it has on the forums. I’ll get right to the point and you can read the original post below, then you can read further and I’ll post my thoughts. feel free to add your comments on this as well at the end!
From the original Forum Post:
MMO’s are essentially their own little world. As such it as to be a world which the consumer wishes to be a part of. This game is set in the SW universe, which a lot of people like, so that takes care of the setting being desirable to players.
Next comes gameplay and mechanics. Bioware has shown they know what they’re doing with regard to this. The game is feature rich and engaging, so people will have a desire not only to be in the setting but also to play the game.
Now we are at the hard part, people play and like the game, it is engaging and immersive, they have a group of friends in game, so the question becomes “how do we get them to keep their interest in the game?”
The developed world, which is where all possible subscribers are located, is a capitalist society. Capitalism trains people to covet material wealth and value the individual. Psychologically speaking, to keep people’s interest there needs to be a goal of material and individual value.
Let’s cut to the chase, gear and items, your characters appearance, and what your character is capable of, these are the metrics of MMO success and they must play the role of the proverbial “carrot on a stick” that keeps people playing.
So from a capitalist point of view, what is the best way to restrict access to these luxury items and status symbols? Everyone craves the notion of “being the best” but if everyone is the best there is no reason to keep subscribing and keep working because you took the carrot off the stick. Everyone wants the best but only a few can get it, otherwise there is no motivation and people will stop subscribing.
So how do you keep that carrot on that stick?
In my opinion Raiding is by far the best option. Raiding is the most challenging content, not because of gameplay, but because of people. Try getting 40 people moving in the same direction, then try getting eight of them to do one thing while twelve of them focus on another objective and the other twenty are taking care of something else, all of this going on at the same time, in the same place, it is organized chaos at best… then you have to deal with group five catching on fire and three healers dying and whatever else could go wrong because Murphy’s law holds true. Consider you also have to deal with guild drama, people not showing up, unreliable recruits, big repair bills, the list goes on and on. What you have in raiding is a very time consuming and frustrating endeavor, and that is on a good day.
What better way to restrict the distribution of these shiny, luxury, best in slot items to a small, dedicated group of players? Everyone knows that what people want most is what they can’t have. It drives us to sacrifice for that goal, to play that extra hour, to apply to a guild even though their application is 4 pages long and then treat this commitment like a JOB.
This is the nature of raiding. Raiders are the ones who can’t stand not having the best gear, we can’t stand not doing the hardest things the dev’s can throw at us, we need to distinguish ourselves from the mass of players that keyboard turn and click abilities with their mouse. Yeah we are arrogant, yeah we are loyal to our cluster(word) of a playstyle and yeah we will leave if we can not indicate our sacrifice by having the best gear.
Remember that raiders are the ones on all through the night farming for tomorrow, we make up a constant core of subscribers who never take a break at the risk of falling behind, we are often also the hardcore PvP crowd and keep our banks full of currency to pay for our impulsive re-speccing habits, and we are the ones who help out people below us because we love showing off how awesome we are while promoting our playstyle.
If you let the hardcore raid crowd have their crown of accomplishment they will be the foundation for the entire PvE endgame community. Good guilds fall apart every day and when they do new guilds form and those hardcore raiders bring in the undergeared players and teach them the ways of raiding and distribute their gift of awesome gear and raiding entertainment to those who would not get there otherwise.
Please do not forget us and do not let one person alone achieve the gear it takes 40 of us working together to get.
Okay, first I will say this, I agree that that Raiders should be compensated for their hard work and time put into taking out the elite of the elite. Wiping and wiping and pouring out tons of strategy just to defeat something before anyone else has the chance to do so. It is a role that most people associate to characterizations of basement dwellers and the video vampire that never sees the light of day.
My thought is why does the reward have to be the best gear? Why prevent smaller sized groups/solo players from gear that is better than the rest? Sure, you need something that keeps the raider going and makes them want to do those harder than average fights, but there has to be some better way to make them want these things. With Swtor, I could imagine the thought of a title (Darth?) being given by a drop from a boss as a reward, and only as a single or so drop per fight.
I know what you’re thinking but what if titles were more than just a word. What if the Darth title granted an extra 10% damage while in use? Or another stat that might benefit whatever class equipped that title? Would that be a start and making the raider want to do those hard fights just as before?
Also, on the context of Raider, I say that the term “Raider” in todays MMO scheme has nothing….nothing to brag about in terms of hard content. In my loooonnnnngggg MMO history, I have been part of those 40 man raids that tackle the hard content. EQ took many, many hours of my young life away as I fought with others trying to tackle bosses and dragons. I remember doing this without the use of voice chat and when we typed commands all out. Macros were used for this and not easy combat fights. The strategy for beating these bosses were not available ANYWHERE on the internet. We did not get “first attempts” in patch servers that let use formulate strategies before the fight ever went live.
SIDE NOTE: I hope that if anyone from Bioware reads anything on here, it’s that I hope they never let bosses be beaten and figured out before they go live…bugged or not…
In the fight of Raiders versus Solo/Small group players, I say that this has evolved over the years so much that the meaning of those words do not mean anything close to what they once were. Games are made to accommodate everyone these days. Why? Money, simply. The more you bring in and give the ability to do the best fights and content of a game, the more money you will bring in. Does this make the company bad because they are looking at the bottom dollar amount? Not really, in my mind. As long as you give players MULTIPLE ways to accomplish the greater things in the game. I do not like the “Dailies” attempt either, as that is much, much worst than running the same instance repeatedly for a single drop.
So there are some of my thoughts on the subject
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