Tuesday, July 3, 2012

10 Reasons for a Solo Play Option

Warcraft is a MMORPG, we all know that and we know that the other players are required, even if some people can play the game mostly alone by avoiding certain parts of it.  But what if there were options for solo play in dungeons and raids?

So here they are, 10 reasons for a solo play option... followed by the 3 reasons it will never happen.

1) No Loot Drama
Who are you going to argue with, yourself?  While there very well might be a few people out there that would indeed argue with themselves that is their problem, not ours.  Solo play means if something drops, it is yours.  The only argument you might really have with yourself is if you should make that character an enchanter so it can disenchant that junk.

2) No Group Requirement
Lets face it, getting a group of people together is sometimes hard.  It is the reason the 40 man raids where lowered to 25.  It is the reason that many guilds decided to run 10s instead of 25s even if 10s are usually harder on most mechanics.  The more people required for the group the harder it is to get it set up.  Solo play means you are a group of one.  If you are ready, you go, if you aren't, you don't.  Simple isn't it?

3) No Group Dependancey
Can't find a tank?  Don't need one.  Can't find a healer?  Don't need one.  If someone isn't pulling enough DPS that someone is you without a doubt.  So step it up you slacker.  You are the only person you can depend on and this means you no longer need to worry about someone else not pulling their weight.

4) No Need to Explain
Is there anything more annoying than spending 10 minutes explaining a new fight to someone that has never done it before and then they screw it up as soon as you pull?  Some people learn fast, some learn slow, some are just brain dead and you have to beat them with a crowbar in the head a few times before they will remember anything, or at least it feels that way.  No need for everyone to know the fight, only you need to know it.

5) No Being Held Back
If only our DPS would pick it up, if only our healers could heal through that, if only the tank had a little more avoidance, they are all things you probably heard people say.  It doesn't mean anything bad about the players.  People all move at their own pace and at their own gear level and skill level.  No need to worry, the only skill level that matters now is yours.  The only gear level that matter now is yours.  So you can clear the content in 380 gear while the other person needs 395 to do it, good for you.  Now you do not need to wait for him to play catch up.  You are the only person that can hold yourself back now.

6) No Being Boosted
Some might call this a drawback, I call it a plus.  There is nothing worse than seeing someone that is doing their role horrible in amazing gear.  I see it all the time.  The warlock in spirit gear that has nearly all heroic gear has to be getting boosted because there is no raid leader in the world that would allow a warlock to roll on spirit gear.  The hunter that had all BiS months before me and was only doing 12K DPS, which is what my newly minted 85 hunter did in his first ever random heroic with all quest gear and nothing enchanted and nothing gemmed.  Call me jealous if you want to because I am.  I hate seeing people with awesome gear that have no idea how to use it.

7) No Looking For Feature
The biggest addition to ease of game play ever added could easily be the looking for feature made for grouping to do dungeons and now raids.  It is also the biggest addition to the game to cause frustration, annoyance, and general ill will toward our fellow community members.  The looking for feature just festers hate.  I often say most people that play this game suck and it is because of the looking for feature that I feel that way.  Back in the old days we had a bad player here and there and they just did not get invited to our groups any more.  Now, that bad player gets to infect group after group after group and it starts to make everyone grumpy, not just me.

8) No Instant Access
If it is solo play there would be a gated system and it should not be an issue.  There would also be no lock outs.  You run dungeon one as often as you like to get enough gear to handle dungeon two.  Then dungeon two enough to handle dungeon three.  So forth and so on.  No more people hit max level and want into the current raid.  Nope, work your way up, the way it should be for an RPG.

9) No Rage
Okay, not no rage, people will still rage after dying on a boss they know they can beat.  They will still scream at the screen and yell at this boss and beg for the RNG to love them just once.  They will still pull their hair out, they will still wake the neighbors with their battle cry but the difference is now the reason for that rage is their own doing.  No longer will people rage because someone else did something wrong.  Nothing worse then going for and achievement where everyone needs to avoid something and one person gets hit by it and ruins the achievement for everyone.  Now it is all on you alone.

10 ) You are the Hero
This is the biggest one in my opinion when it comes to solo game play.  One of the true hallmarks of a good RPG is that you are the hero.  In warcraft, you are a nothing.  You battle along side the heroes, in a group with others.  You are just a piece of the puzzle but a replaceable piece.  You are nobody special.  While I agree that most of the people in the game should read that last line and take it as me saying something to them directly because they are nobody special even if they all think they are, the whole idea of an RPG is that you are someone special.  Solo play would bring that true RPG feeling to the game.  You will be the hero.

Now for the three reasons it will never happen.

1) Player vs. Player
Redesigning things so every class can do it solo can be done two ways.  One would be make each fight class specific which would be a crap ton of work and the other is to balance all classes so they all had everything needed to do it which would be easier.  If they did it, they would do the later.  This would mean that every class would have tank type cooldowns, every class would have sufficient healing and every class would be able to do enough damage.  This would mean in player vs player it would change the complete face of the game and as blizzard has showed over and over they care way more than they should about player vs player to ever do anything that might mess with it even if in the end it might actually be a good thing for it.

2) Redesigning the Game
Like I just mentioned, there would need to be a huge overhaul to the game if they where going to add a solo play option.  If they make all classes viable to do it which would be easier to design solo play for then they run into the problem of group content would now be completely different and need to be redesigned as well.  If they made the fights class specific, which I think would be best, it would mean having to design each fight 11 times for each class, more if you want each spec to be on a level playing field in being able to do it.  That alone could be a super massive under taking and this late in the game it would not be worth remaking every single fight capable of being soloed.  Look at how long it takes them to do things now, solo play would increase that tenfold.

3) Stuborness
As we have seen again and again, blizzard thinks they are always right.  This is their design and this is how they want to do it and it is the only right way.  Just ask them, they will tell you.  They will never accept the fact that the looking for feature has hurt the game more than it has helped it.  They will never accept that gating content make the game feel like a more epic ongoing adventure.  They will never accept that each person wants to experience the game in their own way because their way is the only right way.  They are stubborn and being the number one MMORPG for such a long time has made them believe that they can make no mistakes, hence the reason they gave us the biggest mistake ever, cataclysm, and still think it was an amazingly huge success.

Th... th... that's all folks.


  1. Reason #4 for this not to happen: Many of the existing players won't like it. Perhaps this is even more true for players who are bouncing on and off between expansions. Quite a number of people play this game in large part due to social bonds they developed.

    1. I understand that. The social reason of my guild and my feeling they need me is the only thing that keeps me playing.

      This is not saying you could not do them in groups as well. Just saying that there would be a solo option.

  2. Ah, you meant a solo play *option*. My bad, sorry for misreading. Disregard my comment above.

  3. I agree with Anonymous. WoW and games like it are supposed to be social. I think part of the problem now is they decided to try things like LFG, and people don't have to depend on a guild or manners to find a group anymore. I really wish they would stop trying to be all things to everyone. It's either an MMORPG or just an RPG. And yet, I can see the reasons for wanting both. *Sigh

    1. I think the option to do things solo or in a group of various sizes would give people more options in a good way. My personal opinion of course.

  4. (I fully intend to talk deeper about earlier posts ASAP.)

    I do see the advantages of solo-Dungeons, as a matter of fact e.g. Turbine has for a long time seen the advantages of solo-Instances (be it with the main Story Quests in LotRO - no interferance from Mr. Discoball - or DDO's solo-Dungeon scale).

    It is also a reason why some/many/take your pick PvE Twink: you can do more stuff with less people, in fact some of my fondest PvE moments involve two- and three-manning 60 content meant for full Groups (even 'outdoor Raids' - though they had been nerfed).

    You could perhaps also add another advantage: Setting your own pace of clearing.

    Dungeons are/were meant to be delved, and the GOGOGOGO-Crew Blizz caters to make exploration rather impossible. Soloing allows you to explore every nook and cranny at your leisure.

    However, I disagree with your statement they care too much about PvP, given the numbers.

    According to the Poll on this http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2016273567

    only about 24% don't ever choose to do PvP content on their own (the majority of those 24% will defend themselves if attacked; if you exlude that group, the numbers of PvE-only are even lower).

    Compare this to the numbers on Raiding (and capped characters), and what we see is that despite all the bluster regarding Progressive Raiding, the ACTUAL interests are in all probabillity quite differently from what GC and his cronies like: you average WoW player has no capped character (let alone Raids) and likes (some form of) PvP , mostly regular Battlegrounds (btw: I hope we can agree the numbers on Rated Bg's and Wargames are pretty pathetic)

    Given that one of the main assets of WoW are its comparatively smooth controls vs system requirements, this isn't actually that suprising.

    It is however surprising that GC's interests get funded so much when the majority of subscribers clearly has a larger interest in other aspects of the game.

    1. I am not a PvPer and have 30% of PvP achievements. Many people in my guild are not PvPers, but they do it.

      I'd love to see the statistics of people that primarily PvP because I assure you it would not pass 30%, which is honestly a great deal larger than the raiding community, but it is still only 30%.

      The game is a PvE game and should be designed as such. They need to stop screwing up the game in their efforts to make PvP more balanced. Why should a PvE game be balanced around PvP?

      Again, that is just my opinion.

      I think PvP should be its own entity. Gear should mean nothing. When you enter a battleground or arena everything should be normalized. It would be easier to balance, it would not interfere with the main focus of the game, PvE, and it would make it 100% skill based and no longer a case of who has the most PvP gear.

      PvP in the open world would be a blow you up in 3 seconds affair, which with large groups would be amazingly exciting compared to the way it is now where the one group that has the one massively geared healer always wins. PvP is boring the way it is designed in this game and only mildly amusing the way it is now to pass the time.

      Yet with those mentioned statistics, I am classified a PvPer, when I am not.

      They fib stats to make themselves seem more like they are heading in the right direction. Like when they said 2.5M have finished dragon soul. Yeah, 2.5M characters, not 2.5M players. Huge difference when you figure the average raider has at least 5 max characters that has run it. They love to obit the truth from their statements.

    2. The Poll included the option ''I prefer not to PvP at all', which those that prefer not to PvP at all would tick.

      So if one truely thinks that money shouldn't be spent on PvP content, he'd tick that as well.

      You can argue that the sample group is a bit skewed (primarily the hardcore visit Fora and blogs, the numbers of Rated PvP and Twinking are in all likelyhood lower and those of regular BG's relatively larger), but the same goes for all the Raider whine on the Fora etc. (because the hardcore visit the Fora more, and Raiding is a hardcore activity, they are more likely to post on the Fora. Of course, this leaves the possibility that the group who e.g. complaint about 7 instead of 8 extra bosses each Patch may just be a little more...vocal than the groups that don't get new content each and every Patch, but let's not dive into that one).

      Do also note the similarities between the two Poll results (EU being a bit more hardcore), to me it suggests that those numbers are pretty accurate.

      Twitch PvP doesn't make fun PvP for those interested in it, the deplorable state of (esp. low-level) Cata PvP attests to that one could argue.

      From a gamedesign perspective it's entirely possible to first fix the numbers for PvP, and then apply it to PvE, with individual buffs for bosses/class if there are any issues left.

      Yes, it could mean e.g. that bosses may not have zillions of HP's anymore and an ever-increasing hitbox despite smaller Raid groups, but one could argue that from a game stemming from a RTS title that still holds e-sport competitions it would be quite natural to work that way.

      But truth be told I don't think we should overly argue about this, we both agree that there are way more PvP-focussed players than Raid-focussed players, which is basically what I wanted to put across.

      And I also sincerly doubt 2.5 M players would have finished Dragon Soul, simply because it doesn't hold up to the interest/capped characters-numbers.

    3. Many of those options fit me personally. So if I ticked one of them that makes me a PvPer? Nope.

      I would not argue it is skewed, I would argue that it is misleading.


      I fit many of those...
      1) I enjoy normal Battlegrounds, while leveling and/or at level cap.
      2) I tend to focus on Arenas. There can be only 2s! (Or 3s, or 5s.)
      3) I like getting together with guildies and playing War Games the most.
      4) I'll PvP anytime, anywhere. As the saying goes, "if it's red, it’s dead."
      5) I'm not really into PvP, but I will happily defend myself if attacked in the open world.
      6) I prefer not to PvP at all. Can't we all just get along?

      So 6 of the 8 apply to me, and I am NOT a PvPer. I am sure there are many players, just like me, that are not PvPers that ticked one of those.

      The poll is pure spin at best. It is not even close to accurate in telling how many PvPers there are. I could have chosen any of those 6 and it been 100% truth, 4 of those six would label me as a PvPer when I am not and the other two just means I would PvP if I had to, even the can't we all just get along one does not say they do not PvP.

      The poll is spin, nothing more, nothing less.

      And yes, we do agree there. PvP has many more ways to enjoy yourself in the game and that is why I think it is so huge in the game.

      You still get honor for losing. In PvE you get nothing unless you win. That is one huge reason PvP appeals to a much larger audience. In PvE one person being bad can destroy your chances of winning, in PvP one player being bad is not a problem, they can't mess the whole fight up for you. Those are some reasons why so many PvEers do PvP when they are bored, because there is nothing to lose. Even if you lose you win and even if you are bad you can't really cause a wipe, so to speak. PvP is just easier and in a game that caters to casuals, PvP is the way to go.

      Note: Not talking top level PvPers because that stuff is vicious hard at the top level. I am talking the average person that put they do PvP in that survey that are not actually PvPers. If you are talking hard core PvPers, I would say that number is about equal to raiders. Just a guess of course but looking at the number of players in ranked arena and RBGs would lead you to believe that might be accurate.

    4. The post, from blizzard itself, said 2.5M characters have finished dragon soul on at least LFR difficulty. I will try to find the link if I can.

      That is why I call it spin. They know people know there are 10M players, they put a quote saying 2.5M characters have finished and wanted people to think 25% of the players have when in fact it was not 25% of the players because most players have multiple characters that have finished it so it is most likely a lot less.

      It is spin, them trying to make it look like a much bigger success than it was. Nothing wrong with that really, that is what companies do.

      Can't actually expect them to say they put in all that work for the LFR and only 2% more people raided. It would make them look bad when in fact that is a lot closer to accurate than them trying to trick people into thinking 25% did.

    5. The object of Polls is to fill in the most appropriate/fitting answer.

      So if you don't really like PvP, it's 'I don't reallly like PvP'.
      If you like all forms of PvP, it's 'I'll PvP anytime, anywhere' etc.

      Also, while you say you are not a PvP'er, you are a willing consumer of PvP content - which is what these polls (and debates) are about: how many people like consuming this type of content?

      But no worries, the Devs later talked these Polls down, also, for pretty much the same reason (if clearly more people like to consume PvP content instead of the type of content the Devs want to focus on, it stands to reason in a subscription game that more time gets devoted to developing said PvP content).

      But I agree that Gearing up is easier in PvE than PvP, which is at it should be: not so much iLevel progression is the focus of PvP (although I'm the first to admit that the current system brings in a lot of leechers who are only doing it for that purpose; lowering the iLevel of PvP gear might be one of the good changes in MoP) but the pitting of one team against the other and see who's best (although, again, I'm the first to admit that that's the ideal, the practice too often leaves much to be desired), which requires that Gear differences aren't too big (which Cata however completely ignored and one of the main reasons Cata BG's tend to be so lopsided, at least here in the EU)

    6. Ooops...obviously meant ''gearing up is easier in PvP than PvE''