Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Day in The Life of the Raid Design Team: Hellfire Citadel

Lead Raid Designer:
    Okay folks it is time for us to design the new raid for 6.2 and I want to hear some ideas.  We have a couple of guests today with us sitting in to see how we develop a raid.  They are the winners of the selfie picture content.  So welcome Bob and Mary.  Lets show them the best we got so they can see how much work and effort is put into designing encounters.
Entire Design Team:
    (Blank stares)

Lead Raid Designer:
    Lets start with going over the ideas we came up with to start from last week when they come in.

(Bob and Mary are shown in and seated)

Bob:
    Good morning.

Designer 1:
    Good morning folks, so you want to hear about some of the ideas we have already come up with.

Bob:
    Sure, tell us what you have come up with so far.

Designer 1:
    Well there's a void zone and avoid fight; a void zone, stack up and avoid fight; a void zone and adds fight; a void zone, avoid and adds fight; a void zone, avoid, stack up and adds fight; an adds, avoid, stack up and adds fight; an adds, void zone, adds, adds, avoid and adds fight; an adds, adds, adds, void zone and adds fight; an adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, spread out, adds, adds, adds and adds fight; and a push back, adds, target switch, adds, debuff, adds, split group, adds, kiting, adds, stack up, adds, spread out, adds, void zone and, of course, some adds who summon more adds fight.

Mary:
    Are there any fights without adds in them?

Designer 2:
    Well, there's an adds, void zone, stack up and adds fight. That doesn't have MUCH adds in it.

Mary:
    I don't want ANY adds.

Bob:
    What about the void zone, avoid, adds and stack up fight?

Mary:
    It's got adds in it!

Bob:
    Not as many adds as the adds, void zone, stack up and adds fight.

Mary:
    Look, I wouldn't mind the void zone, avoid, adds and stack up fight, without the adds.

Designer 1:
    Uuuuuuggggh!

Mary:
    What d'you mean, uugggh! I don't like adds. Maybe a fight or two, but not that many adds, not is nearly every fight.

Entire Design Team:
    (singing) adds, adds, adds, adds, adds ... adds, adds, adds, adds ... lovely adds, wonderful adds ...


Designer 1:
    Shut up. Shut up! Shut up! You can't have a void zone, avoid, adds and stack up fight without the adds, trust me, we know what is good for you.

Mary:
    Why can't I have fights without the adds?

Designer 2:
    Because then it wouldn't be a void zone, avoid, adds and stack up fight, would it?

Mary:
    But I don't like adds!

Bob:
    Don't make a fuss, Mary. I love it adds, heck I want even more adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds ...

Entire Design Team:
    (singing) adds, adds, adds, adds ...

Bob:
    ... stack up, adds, adds and adds fights for the win.

Designer 1:
    Stack up is played out, we are not doing much of that this time.

Bob:
    So you'll add in more adds instead?

Designer 1:
    You mean an adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, and adds fight?

Entire Design Team:
    (still singing) adds, adds, adds, adds ... (etc.)

Bob:
    Yes.

Designer 2:
    We will make that the first fight, great idea, one fight down folks thanks to Bob.

Entire Design Team:
    (still singing) adds, adds, adds, adds ... (etc.)

Designer 1:
    Arrggh!

Entire Design Team:
    ... lovely adds, wonderful adds.

Designer 1:
    Shut up! Shut up!

(The Entire Design Team shuts up momentarily. Chris Metzen enters the room dressed in a Thrall cosplay oulfit.)

Chris Metzen:
    No fight is complete unless it has Trall to save the day, even if it is full of adds, void zones, adds, avoid, adds, massive explosions, adds ...

Entire Design Team:
    (Singing) adds, adds, adds, adds ...

Chris Metzen:
    (As he leaves) My nipples explode with excitement...

(Cut to an historian)

Historian:
    Another great blizzard victory was built at the blizzard headquarters at Irvine California. Once again the blizzard's strategy was the same. They did exactly what they wanted to do, damn the community and damn Mary and her reluctance to enjoy the content being fed to her and they assembled a raid so single focused in mechanics that nearly every single fight had the same exact mechanic of adds in it.  After it was released they assembled to celebrate their great victory in raid development at a local watering hole.  They celebrated their creation of a raid that consisted of adds, more adds. adds that had their own adds and began to sing the blizzard raid design team theme song for 6.2 of adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, adds ...

Entire Design Team:
    (singing) adds, adds, adds, adds, adds, lovely adds, wonderful adds. Lovely adds, wonderful adds ...

40 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Link to spam?

      Wish I was good at making videos, I would make one for this. Could be fun.

      Delete
  2. I fail to see what you want to say?

    Complaining about adds?

    This raid does not have a higher counter of fights with adds than any other raid/tier since at least ulduar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No so much a complaint but more so having some fun with it.

      An no, I have raided every tier since then and there have never been this many fights with adds. The mechanic was over used this tier.

      Delete
    2. OK, want to take a look at Ulduar for example?

      Leviathan : adds (turrets at the very least), even more adds depending on difficulty.

      Razorscale : it's a pure add fight

      Ignis : adds for the whole fight.

      XT : lots of adds.

      Council : no adds as far as I remember

      Alagalon : lots of adds

      Stone guy : kill arms = add spawn

      Auriaya : adds

      Hodir : not sure to what extend you can consider the ice blocks to be adds, but secondary targets at the very least.

      Thorim : first part is just adds.

      Freya : the whole fight is add handling.

      Mimiron : head phase is add phase.

      Vezax : saronite clouds, up to you to consider if they are adds or not.

      Yogg : no comment.

      So for ulduar, there is ONE fight with no adds stricly speakin, at most 3 depending on how you consider adds.

      You can go throug all the tiers since then, and the one that will come up with the less adds fight is T13 or T14.

      Delete
    3. Funny thing is, until you mentioned it, I never remembered any annoying adds (other than freya's) in Ulduar.

      Maybe that is because Uldaur was designed well and the adds fit well and served a purpose whereas in HFC they did neither. Of course that is opinion only.

      Delete
    4. Yeah, the adds may have been handled differently, I was just pointing the fact that there always were lots of fight with adds^^

      Liking them or not is a different story :p

      Delete
    5. Adds that to do dictate the difficulty of the fight get easily over looked and forgotten. That is probably why I forgot about them. But in HFC they are the difficulty of the fight. As I said to someone else here. Remove the adds from the HFC fights and every single boss is a push over. The adds ARE the fight, not the bosses. That is the problem with the design as I see it.

      Delete
    6. I don't know, the only fights were I consider the adds being the fight are socrethar, gorefiend and xhul'orac. (I'm obviously not taking assault into account). maybe killrogg to an extend.

      The other fight I found the adds mostly irrelenvent.

      Delete
  3. Does it feel better now?

    Gwyndel - Thunderhorn EU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having fun always makes things feel better... so yes.

      Delete
  4. I defy anyone to not read this in the voices of Monty Python with chants of "spam, spam, spam" in the background!

    Also, this is spam -- I mean spot -- on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, exactly what was going through my head as I read it.

      Delete
    2. Of course that is what this is based on.

      Someone at work brought up the skit and for some reason this came to mind so I had to make a post making this up even if I had intended to take a few days off from writing.

      Delete
    3. Looks like someone is spamming the post with spam.

      Would you like some adds with your spam?

      Delete
  5. You forgot the bit about "constant movement" so the staff rep from Class Development could note the need for removing even more instants from every class.

    Designer 1's summary made me snort my coffe. Thanks for a good laugh to start off my day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not meant to be a shot at blizzard really, it was more for fun, so no picking on all the little details, just having some fun with adds.

      I am glad you enjoyed it. Now I am laughing about you snorting coffee. Awesome. Funny is good.

      Delete
  6. You have a point :) I simply bathe in Kormrok, Council or Zakuun fights, and guess why.

    Adds are not always that bad though. I hate them with Xhul'horac and I love them with Mannoroth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Zakuun fight is my favorite this tier personally. No adds, interesting mechanics and of course it is the easiest fight in the entire raid which does not hurt at all because it is fun to have a fight like that once in a while.

      Adds can be handled well or handled poorly. First boss is an example of poorly, as in, where is the boss? But something like gorefiend, even if I think it is a tough fight for some groups, is adds handled better.

      Sad part is, after kilrogg and his adds, the last thing anyone wanted to see was gorefiend adds. So I think two add heavy fights back to back gave gorefiend a bad rap. It actually is a pretty cool fight but most people hate it and I understand why.

      Delete
    2. I generally hate adds added to a boss but I also love the Mannoroth fight. I honestly can's stand the Xhul'horac fight at all on ANY difficulty and I really hate the Infernals in P3 of Archimonde - but really only because there are already other adds (the Living Shadows).

      I could understand adding more adds (note I said understand but not agree with) to deal with on P3 for Mythic, but come on!! Phase 3 Normal & Heroic Archimonde is: Shadows > Infernals > Boss and all that while you are standing 6 yards from each other (because of Demonic Feedback), avoiding the spots where the Infernals land, groups stacking and going down for Nether Banish (and that group handling the big add in there and at the same time avoiding, slowing and DPS'ing the Orb) and handling the Wrought Chaos that's still going out. Like at what point do we actually get some DPS in on Archimonde??

      IMO, Archimonde is a fun fight UNTIL P3... not because there's a lot of things going on at once but because we literally have 2 priority add types to focus before putting DPS on the Boss. To me, that's just stupid and lazy. The fight is supposed to be hard, I get that. But making it hard by adding more adds is just bad (and lazy) design IMO.

      Delete
    3. As I said before, it seems like the added the adds just as a way to add difficulty to the fight. It is a tuner so to speak. Want it harder, give the adds more health and let them hit for more, maybe even spawn a few extra. Want it easier, lower the health, the damage and the number that spawn.

      It is a tuner or sorts because the adds are the only thing that is actually difficult this tier. My guild went in the first week and steamrolled to gorefiend, hit the add wall. Two weeks later with some practice we downed it and steamrolled the next 4 bosses all the way to Zhul. Two weeks later we downed him. Take the adds away from either of those fights, or make them easier on either of them fights, and there is no difficulty at all to this raid tier. Admittedly we are a heroic guild doing normal because we are only a few heroic players so that helps, but really, without the adds the raid has no meat.

      I am not 100% sure I would agree it is totally lazy (but reusing it on all fights is for sure) however it sure is lame if you ask me.

      Instead of making the difficulty on the fight itself and have each fight standing on its own merits they had to add something in that they could easily tune from LFR up to mythic to be the "difficulty" marker. Yeah, definitely lame and possibly lazy.

      Delete
    4. Yeah exactly. It's one thing if you have a couple Boss fights that adds are the tuner for - hell, after all this time raiding, I expect that. But not on an overwhelming number of Boss fights - that's the point I call "shenanigans" and refer to the devs as being lazy. Where's the Sindragosa style fight? The Blood-Queen Lana'thel style fight? The Lady Vashj style fight? All those had pretty cool mechanics (IMO) that could be altered slightly or retooled and used. Granted, Lady Vashj had adds, but those adds made sense and served a purpose beyond just being a "focus that add down then switch to priority add number 2, then switch to boss".

      I think there are plenty of great ideas left for Boss mechanics that have yet to be thought of or designed and it would be refreshing to see at least some attempt on the part of Blizzard to come up with and implement new ideas. /sigh

      Delete
    5. There are a lot of fights that were great, and with adds, because the adds fits and were "part" of the fight. But now they seem like they are the entire fight. Just think of all the bosses and how easy they would be with no adds. Then think back on older fights without the adds. The older fights would be easier yes, but still not push overs. Whereas this tier, without the adds, there is no real fight in any of these fights.

      I think they missed the boat on new mechanics this tier. The only real new thing I liked that I saw was on the Zul fight, which oddly enough is the only single target fight, go figure. I like the waves some people need to intercept and others need to avoid. People jumping in front of pillars, in front of other players, etc. That was an interesting new mechanic. Otherwise I do not see much really new this tier. Maybe I am just missing it and it is there, but everything else seems like a rehash, with adds.

      Delete
  7. Very nicely done :) and yes, a little frivolity can help from time to time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A smile goes a long way. We can all use a few of those this expansion don't you think?

      Delete
  8. Funny --- everybody says that raid encounter design was the saving grace of WoD. I guess they mean that the adds look cool?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, in all honestly, some of them do look kind of cool. :P

      Maybe some people like add fights. Let me guess who? DPS classes with great AoE? Am I right?

      Delete
  9. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Actually I hate most of the add type fights, no matter what the foes. What I want in a fight are trash mobs leading up to the boss, and then the boss or bosses if a council type fight. No special summons. Make reinforcements be for what ever reason that could have compelled them forth and have that tied to the bosses abilities in the same manner as a player would experience.

    Straight up make the boss bad enough to take on 10 heroes, with the only adds being ones that would be inherent to the villains class(es). If the boss is a shadow priest/warlock combo type of character, make a fel demon for support as the minion and give the boss a special shadowfiend summons during the fight. Don't have 20 fire elementals popping up for no explainable good reason, make any possible adds be directly tied to the class or classes a villain is based on and then adds won't be a problem. Hehe, well they will still be a problem but it will be one that is reasonable under the circumstances.

    Obviously there are lots of other possible ways to combine class minions, pets and summons to make a plethora of usable villains that are blessed with abundant health and mana as well as a few adds for a good reason.

    For established characters such as Varian or Thrall this is already done to a large extent, one being a fury warrior and the other an elementalist shaman (I think, either that or enhancement) but both have abilities from other branches of their classes, as well as some non-class attributes.

    At any rate, I don't like a lot of adds in a fight for anything other than a good reason. An example of one such fight was in Firelands against the spider nest. There the multiple adds actually made sense to anyone who has ever seen a real spiders nest. Another example from Firelands is the first boss we would go for, the Hunter with his pair of pets. His adds made sense and were limited but very dangerous.

    I bet that would lead to summoners becoming the new flavor of boss favored by Blizzard...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are some fights were they are logical adds. Mostly ones that are more target switch than add fights really. But even those end up getting lumped with add fights only because people are tired of them. Those fights, like Tyrant, would be perfectly fine if it were not for the million and one adds we had before it.

      To me it seems like blizzard has given up on making fights actually difficult on their own and just are using adds as a way to overwhelm people as a knob for difficulty. Take the adds away from most of the fights and there is nothing to them. Heck, take the adds away from the first fight and there is no fight at all because we never fight a boss.

      And yes, some of the fights were basically summoner types, or calling for reinforcements. To make it "logical".

      Delete
  10. Ditto on the "lazy" raid encounter design.

    Void Zones: First revealed in Molten Core Lucifron, the very first raid boss of the first raid instance
    Stack Up:
    Avoid: First introduced in Molten Core Magmadar (Boss 2)
    Council/Minibosses: Sulfuron Harbinger (Molten Core)

    I don't remember others but if they're recycling the same raid mechanics over and over they need to go back to the drawing board and come up with new ideas. I think the last truly innovative raid mechanic was the Valithria Dreamwalker (Heal the Boss while prevent it from taking damage).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are only so many mechanics they can use. Everyone understands that. But I think mixing and matching them up, as well as presenting them in different ways, it how you make it work.

      I personally think they went a little overboard with the adds this tier. And then second on the overboard part is people having to run out and drop stuff on the ground. That is usually something we see once a tier, this time many.

      As I said, it is all the same anyway, they just need to present it better next time around. Or invent new mechanics, which I am not entirely sure is possible.

      Delete
  11. Raid leader: what's that loot?
    Goblin raid member: it's a piston engine!
    Rain leader: can you eat it?

    ReplyDelete
  12. hmmm, take 4 beers and call the doctor!

    -roo
    psst - that was funny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where should I take the beers? Out to a movie?

      Delete