Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two More Raid Difficulties.

With the addition to easy raiding (LFR) we now have three levels of raiding difficulty.  While I like a three level system I think there is still some room for improvement with the raid system.  Besides the glaring problem of there being no 10 man LFR version there is something else that can be done to add something more to raiding.

I think two more levels of difficulty need to be introduced.  One that fits neatly between normal and heroic and one that comes after heroic.  This would effectively give us 5 levels of raiding difficulty to work with and a system that really does have something for everyone.

The way raids are currently being designed with easy, normal and heroic there are a fair deal of people that have found what is perfect for them.  Of course, what people consider perfect for them differs from person to person.

My definition of perfect is something that I can work on to get past, it will take a little time, but it always seems attainable.  It is not a push over and it is not a wipe 400 times to do it situation.  20 to 30 wipes while learning a boss is what I might call perfect.

For me, an addition between normal and heroic would be nice.  Normal seems easy enough, the last few bosses might take a little time but over all once it is done it is done and none of them would ever come close to 20 or 30 wipe affairs to a slightly competent group, even when mildly undergeared.  Sure, this is nice but I want to step it up a little.  However, I do not want to step it up to heroic level.

At the moment, for me, there is no comfortable raiding tier.  Something between normal and heroic would be that level for me.

Then look at those people that work their butts off to speed run the content and finish heroic ASAP.  They are done so quick I can't really see how they can enjoy the game.  Once you are done you are done and unless you are looking for gear there is nothing left to do, that does not seem like fun to me.  That is my opinion only of course.

For those people there should be an insane setting.  Something that would require everyone in the raid to have BiS gear, the best connection on earth, jet fighter reflexes and super communication.  I would love to see a tier of raiding that puts heroic raids in the same place as the casual raid groups that are the majority of the game.

For example, the average casual raid team can get 4/8 no problem, maybe a high end casual guild can get 6/8.  That is where the largest majority of players are in normals.  For every one of us there is that downs deathwing on normal each week there are a thousand that have never even seen deathwing outside of the LFR.  The average player might never see him until mists, even if the buff gets to 30%.  Insane level should make the heroic raiders have that same experience, the same as the majority of the player base.  A true challenge for their skill level, one that might mean they never see the end boss at that level.

This would then leave something for every section of the player base.

LFR - Non raiders and bad players can still do it and anyone else with higher skills can blow through it quick just for fun.
Normal - For the casual players.  Something that needs some minor assembly and working together but nothing too complex so any group that puts the effort into it can't get it done.
Advanced - This is for the casual raiders.  They are more well read about their class and the raids but they are still casual based on their time investment but as such they can handle slightly harder content where the need for knowing the fights and skills of their class will matter.
Heroic - The advanced players with more time.  They know their class and the raids and they prepared accordingly and have the time to face harder challenges as a group.  They also would usually be the ones that go into advanced tactics and min / maxing.
Insane - For the people that put lots of time and effort into it.  The people that being the best is important to them and they will invest whatever time and efforts are needed to do so.  They will spend hours, days, weeks, or months, whatever is needed, to perfect working as a team in the ultimate hunt for bragging rights and a true world first.

I think that selection of difficulty levels would greater represent the myriad of players that play the game.  Blizzard has said they want everyone to be able to play the game, perhaps they should also think about making it so everyone has a level of challenge that is perfect for them.

Personally I like the idea of three difficulty levels, I just do not think that LFR should be one of those levels without a suitable counter part on the other end.

The three levels, in my opinion, should be normal, advanced and heroic.

If they really want to have a LFR version of raids where everyone can do it regardless of skill, gear, or knowledge then there should be an insane version that (almost) no one could do because it would require a group of people so outstanding at what they do that it would bring it to a level of nigh impossible.

So as I see it, a real third difficult should be added, called advanced and an opposite of LFR should be added, for those extreme players to have a true challenge.

I think we need two more raid difficulties.


  1. I think this actually already exists as long as they keep with progressive nerfs.

    When the buff gets to 15-30% heroic mode effectively becomes "advanced" mode. Early on pre nerf Heroic really is insane the number of guilds that went 8/8 pre-nerf/buff were truely only the insane.

    I think going back to larger raid sizes and having a good progression lined up will help with this effort as well more than adding more difficulties ever will. Forcing a regulated progression on heroic modes (if you listen to Lore on tankspot he hit on this) Only allowing you to drop from heroic to normal once.

    So you can't cherry pick heroic bosses and you have to do them in order.

    Anyway my bottom line is more difficulties would be bad for raiding more than good and there are better ways to accomplish good pacing for everyone.

    1. What I am suggesting is 5 levels of skill being required. No need for nerfs, ever again.

      I agree with you that the nerfs effectively do that as they are implemented, I am just saying, there should never be any nerfs what so ever, there should just be different degrees of difficulty.

  2. I like what you say, and I understand your point.

    However, your proposal for two more difficulties is actually a proposal for four, and there are currently five Dragon Soul raids, not three: LFR, DS-10, DS-25, (H)DS-10, (H)DS-25. You're asking Blizzard to add (A)DS-10/25 and (I)DS-10/25, which is four more raid difficulties, four more different fights to tune and balance.

    I can imagine that adding more difficulties will only lengthen the time between patches, unless the new difficulties are just nerfed/buffed versions of the ones above/below them. I don't think that people who race for world first heroic kills are looking for something that just requires more DPS/HPS/player health, but would be looking for additional design. Knowing Blizzard, this would require more time to develop and tune. You have to wonder when there are going to be diminishing returns in that case, development time relative to player enjoyment time (and of course, profit).

    Furthermore, Blizzard has said that they don't like making content that most people won't see. Insane difficulty would be just that, and that seems to go against their stated development purpose.

    It seems like a cool idea on the face of it, but I don't see it being in the company's best interests. And Dimli has a great point - as the progressive nerf continues to happen, the current heroic difficulties come closer to 'advanced'.

    I hope you find a raiding sweet spot, though perhaps it will not be during this raid cycle. Thanks for the post!

  3. I could imagine heroic with another 5% might be the perfect spot for me in the guild that I am in.

    I see what you mean about being more then just 2 new levels. What you said about various degrees of nerfs is what I would have in mind. Instead of nerfing it over time, have it set as is and leave it as is, so there is never a need to nerf it after it is out.

    Blizzard made LFR for everyone to see it. So adding another harder difficult would not be going against what their intention is, they already have the everyone can see it version. Heroic will never be seen by everyone. Heck, heroic ICC is still out of reach for a large portion of the player base even at 85. Heroic is a horse of a different color.