Saturday, July 28, 2012

Can Scenarios Change the Way we Play?

I was thinking about the design of scenarios and wondering if the technology they use to make it would have the potential to change the way we play other aspects of the game in time.

For those that have been trying to avoid spoilers I don't think you have to worry about this.  I am not going to be telling you anything about the scenarios, just what they are.

Scenarios are like group quests that you can use a group finder to do the quest.  The beauty of the scenarios is that the group make up does not matter.  Unlike dungeons that require you to have a tank, a healer and three damage dealers you can do scenarios with any make up.  One tank two DPS, three tanks, two healers and one DPS, three DPS, two tanks and a healer, three healers, you name it.

That might sound interesting but looking at it from the background that means that the scenario needs to change based on who enters it.  The same scenario that three DPS can do will not be able to be done with three healers.  The scenario with one tank, one healer and one damage dealer will most definitely be different from a group that did not have the holy trinity.

With the design of the content changing based on the group that enters it I believe it could open doors that the game has never seen before.

Perhaps in time dungeons could be designed that way.  While someone might say, why should dungeons be that way if we already have scenarios there are many differences between them.  The only thing they have in common is you can grind valor doing either of them.  They function differently.  One is a group quest and the other is a dungeon crawler where you defeat bosses along the way.  One drops loot that you can gear up with and the other does not.  So making it work for dungeons would indeed be different.

Could you imagine if something like grim bartol was design to be done by any group of five?  Five damage dealers walk in and it becomes a completely different dungeon.  You can still grind your loot in the standard dungeon design without the standard group.

Is it possible that scenarios could lead to something like that?  Personally I doubt it and I do not think it is necessary for that to happen.  My personal belief is that scenarios were designed for damage dealers that needed no gear from the dungeons to be able to grind their valor without having to wait forever for a dungeon queue.  Being damage dealers are always waiting, having something that three damage dealers can queue up for and enter instantly to grind out their valor was why it was made.  A nice little addition.

It is the design of it that intrigues me.  If a dynamic grouping system can be designed for that, what else could it be designed for and what other things could we see it adjusted for?

The thing that has me the most excited about scenarios is what it might lead to.  With dynamic design it is possible the way we do other things can change.  There is one change I would love to see and this type of design could make it happen.

Dynamic raiding.  The idea of that just makes me smile.

Could it be done with 10 damage dealers?  One tank, one healer and eight damage dealers?  Three tanks and seven damage dealers?  Three healers and seven damage dealers?

OMG, the thought of that is just mind boggling to begin with.  It would make for not only many different group makes ups being possible and making it easier to raid for groups that do not always have the perfect balance but it would also mean that there would be no set video of how to do it because there will be dozens of different group make ups.

There might be a standard design, but perhaps one boss might be easier if you change your make up.  Like one of those gear check bosses, would it be easier bring four healers and less damage dealers, so it lowers the DPS requirements and then have those healers be smite priests, so they are dealing damage thus making that gear check boss much easier?

The possibilities are endless.  But that is why it seems unlikely that something like that would ever happens.  With only three people in a scenario being possible it is a lot easier to make for all make ups.  It is easier to design for only three people.  For 10 or 25, it would be so much work.  So that might never happen.  Correction, that will never happen.  It is nice to think about but it is not going happen.

If it is not going to happen then why did I bring it up?  Because it sounded really cool and it does lead to another point I am about to make.

The dynamic design they are delving into opens others doors that some might not have even thought about.  Such as raid composition, but like I said, I never see a group of 10 damage dealers going into a raid and it being designed for them, I do however see different group numbers.

The standard for most 10 man guilds when a raid first comes out is either 2 tanks, 2 healers and 6 damage dealers or 2 tanks, 3 healers and 5 damage dealers.  Perhaps this dynamic design opens some doors here.

We have all 9 manned bosses or even 8 manned them.  We have all one tanked bosses that suggest two.  We have all 2 healed things we should be 3 healing.  We have also all had people sitting out that wanted to be in, or people that could have come but that role was filled.

What if the dynamic design started to effect the number of people in the raid while keeping the group make up in mind.  So if you nine manned it you would not be doing it with 9 out of 10.  It would be made for 9.  If you had 2 extra people sitting on the bench waiting you could 12 man it and it would adjust accordingly.

Say you were using the 2 tanks, 2 healers and 6 damage dealer set up, but decide to bring those 2 bench players along you might need to use 3 healers because with the increased players there is a slight increase in damage going out.

It would still follow the general balance we have become used to, you could still do it with fewer healers than might be suggested, but that would depend on the ability of your group as a whole.

We could have 12 man raids, 15 man raids, 18 man raids, 22 man raids.  All based on the number we decide to bring along it would dynamically adjust for that amount of players.  From as low as 8 or as high as 40.  Could you just imagine that?

The dynamic design of scenarios could lead to something like that.  While I never see scenarios opening to doors for raiding with 10 damage dealers only, I do see it leading to raiding 15 man raids.

That would be the single greatest addition to the game for raiders if you ask me.  It would also open so many doors to allow guilds to bring someone along that might be forced to sit on the bench just so they could gear them up.

Lets say for example a raid group that can clear normal DS in a breeze and no one really needs anything, they can switch to three healers from two and add another three players, one for each token, just to help gear them up and do a 13 man run.  It could be a way to add one person to teach them, or test them out in an actual raid group for the hard core guilds.  No more sitting a regular to test a new recruit.  Just make it 11 man or 26 man.

I can see scenarios leading to this, I really can.  I believe this right here is the future of raiding and scenarios show that blizzard is not completely adverse to creating dynamic content where the content changes based on the people in the group.

This is something I will be keeping a close eye on and hoping and waiting for.

Can scenarios change the way we play?  It sure as hell might.

I would love 15 man raids with 2 tanks, 3 healers and 10 damage dealers and scenarios very well might be the first step toward making this happen.


  1. Seemingly limitless possibilities.
    Very thorough exploration of ideas.

    1. If they ever do go this way the possibilities are endless on how far they can go with it.

  2. I like all the ideas and possibilities. Good and positive post!

    1. It would be nice to see some different group sizes for sure.

  3. Where do you get the idea that scenarios are going to dynamic like that. I haven't seen anything to make me believe that is the case. They will basically just be like a 3 person group quest like you said. If you have 3 healers it will just take forever and the assumption will basically be 3 DPS always but without high requirements for dps.

    1. I am sure I would never be able to find the quote but one of the blues said to someone that asked that the scenarios would be balanced around the group that was in it.

      So, while it is pure speculation on my part, that means that a three healer group and a three DPS group would have a completely different complexity to them, tailored to their make up.

      Remember that this post is about speculation. A what could happen thing. I am not saying this is how it is done, I am not saying this will happen, I am just saying this could happen.

    2. Actually (unlike Grumpy) I was under the impression scenarios were done with 3 DPS groups in mind and it just didn't occur that a healer or tank might want to try it as well. They would probably be simple enough that it wouldn't cause any issues though.

      The problem I see with Grumpy's idea is balance. There have been some issues with 10 vs 25 balance since Blizzard started with 2 versions of raids. I figured balancing 2 10-mans with different compositions would be easier than 10 vs 25 but there is more potential raid compositions than just 2.

    3. With something like this, if it were to ever happen, the balancing act would be amazingly hard I am sure. That might be the one thing that keeps them from doing it even if they are capable of doing it.

  4. I don’t think scenarios are dynamic, Ge, I just think they’re tuned to be done by the worst case grouping (three healers) and everyone else benefits from better groups. I don’t think it’s dynamic at all, but I could be wrong.

    Additionally, even if it were, I don’t think it’s a good idea. For me, the entire raiding paradigm should be an example of teamwork, role definition, and interdependence amongst a group; up until tiers 12 and 13 it worked wonderfully and I think MoP will be a bit of a return to form. Also, I think it would have an extraordinarily negative impact on the competitive raiding scene. Rather than being clever and performing to high standards throughout a raid, the top 100 would be defined by the quickest people to find the easiest set up and most other server-leading raid groups will follow that lead.

    Moving on, it would cause Blizzard to remove certain mechanics that work well with trinity-based encounters and that would lead to a lack of depth that tanks (in particular) are already struggling with. Essentially, “tank interaction” can nowadays be boiled down to taunt-swapping. Also, don’t forget, that Blizzard have shown a bit of an inability to tune their encounters properly in recent times so tuning a raid/dungeon group for limitless set ups just wouldn’t work very well, especially considering we’re about to have a ludicrous eleven classes that all have different utility.

    I can see why the prospect looks enticing but, for me, I don’t think it would end well.

    1. Don't burst my bubble like that. I was so excited. :( But you might very well be right. It might be designed for worst case scenario, no pun intended.

      Tanking this expansion was amazingly boring. I liked add kiting on mal, nef and spine. I liked the double taunt idea of ulraxion because it was the first time you really needed to think about taunting that I can ever remember. In mists they are changing every tanking class to active mitigation which might make it a little more exciting to tank but that remains to be seen. I do think that active mitigation will mean we see a lot more horrible tanks in randoms, mark my words.

      What you say about world first might very well be true, but I am not looking at it from their perspective for two reasons. One, I am not in one of their guilds. Two, they are like the 1% of the 1% of the 1%, they are such a small percentage of the market it would make no sense at all to hold back 99.9% of the player base just to make their race for world first easier.

      BTW: I always have to get your comments out of the spam folder. I wonder why. Do you use the address that ends If so, try the .com version. I think that might be it.