Thought for the Day: What happens when people get bored of raiding?

I think that raiding as a preferred playing style in MMOs  is on a long downwards spiral. There’s really no trend to show that people are dying to spend more time in tight knit raid guilds with regular weekly raid nights, far from it, the trends are towards more solo and casual play.

And although more people than ever before have been able to raid in Wrath, that just means that people who hadn’t seen raids before might now be able to decide, “Well, that was OK but never again.” Especially if opportunities for PUG raids or casual raiders are reduced in the new expansion, which is likely for the first few months at least. (10 man raids are more sensitive to people being able to commit to regular weekly raids, not less because they’re likely to have fewer people ‘on the bench’.)

Rohan commented recently that he sees issues with the new rated battlegrounds too, and I think he’s right on the money with this one. I particularly like his categories of transient vs extended group content — eg. a PUG is a transient group which forms for a single session, and a raid group is an extended group which forms with the expectation of regular weekly/ daily assaults on extended raid content.

So what are the casual players to do if they aren’t able or willing to commit to something as long term as a regular raid group or battleground group? And how about people who are bored of raiding because they’re bored of the regularity of the whole thing, what can they do to break up the tedium?

I think that WoW, for better or worse, is tied to this form of endgame and will continue to cater to it until the last server is turned off (ie. possibly not in my lifetime!) but people tiring of raiding is an opportunity for some more agile developer to ask, again, what is an MMO really all about? Is it just PvP over territory again and again and again or raiding? Is it just adding more solo grinds? Or could it be something else?

Or perhaps people will just dip into more of the F2P games, play a bit until something else comes along, and endgame as such will be only for the ultra hardcore. (As opposed to just the hardcore as it is now.)

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17 thoughts on “Thought for the Day: What happens when people get bored of raiding?

  1. I am no longer planning to buy Cataclysm myself.

    Chalk me down as someone who loves raiding in this game.

    In fact, raiding is the only thing I like in this game.

    PvP is unbalanced, quests are boring (aside from a few extremely lore-focused and awesome ones, like playing Arthas in Icecrown), achievements are silly, pointless, and grindy, and 5mans get incredibly repetitive.

    Given that I’m getting married next year and won’t be able to commit to any sort of raid schedule, this makes the expansion and months of subscription fees totally pointless for me.

    I’ve always felt this way really…I’ve never enjoyed anything but raiding. Even at the height of my WoW playing, I only ever logged on for raids, and on non-raid nights only logged on as much as was necessary to support the raiding (the odd daily for repairs, consumables, and gear improvements like gems and enchants).

    Not that this is an indictment on WoW…the next expansion promises great things for raiding. But chalk me up as someone who will never ever get bored of raiding if I had the capacity to attend it regularly.

  2. What is mostly skipped in modern MMOs is scalable small-group content, that allows you to experience fun cooperative gameplay with a few of your friends (not an exact number, which is why it should be “scalable”). For a somewhat close example that could be expanded upon look at Left 4 Dead series. Or Diablo. But I could think of a lot to add to those.

    No, grinding super-easy dungeons in one certain game doesn’t fit this. The content needs to offer a level of challenge (if required) as well.

  3. I am the Anti-Chris(t)! ;)

    Raiding and e-Sports style Arena PvP never did it for me.
    (But I love open world PvP, though it is nearly dead and out of fashion. I also like mass brawls like battlegrounds)

    I am not so Anti-Chris when it comes to the -> ! guided questing of today and my rants about the silliness and dangers of achievement systems in various forms were longish, but nevertheless they have even become part of offline single player games.

    Daily Quests and Weekly Raids. Sooner or later routine on farm status for gear. Raiding also seems to be extreme or too casual, never found a middle ground. In the end I just realized I prefer smaller groups and there is no point in being a raider if the puzzle solving aspect has become stale for you.
    This and a generic dislike for the DIKU system. The Trinity and Levels system of progression, mix in some “alternate” progression and stuff, is deeply flawed in my opinion.

    But these mechanics have become the most successful way to set up a MMORPG nowadays, it even has become synonymous with MMO and RPG in a way. -> Bad times for people who got sucked into MMO gaming through Ultima Online’s quite different approach.

    We have EVE Online and Guild Wars, both successful alternatives to the DIKU approach. But the mass of new MMOs is still developed based on the WoW/EQ2 system of classes, levels and gear progression.

    What I wonder though is that it is RAIDER = HARDCORE, PVP = HARDCORE and PvE gets ever more “casualized” in the sense of getting dumbed down.

    (Even before patch 3.x levelling my Warlock was so easy that it was incredible. I think it must be impossible to die nowadays as Paladin. No wonder that the world and levelling becomes every more boring and seen as a nuisance before the ENDGAME start)

    I also see this trend in raiding and PvP though, difficulty and pvp formats nowadays try hard to… what actually? Part of the fun is having to struggle a bit. Not to fight for one’s life constantly, but a walk in the park should not be relatively more dangerous than playing a MMO is to your character, which nowadays does not get any major death penalty anyways.

    The other thing is, if someone has played WoW for years by now, they are so used to the system that they seem unable to accept anything new. Only endless minor variations of the same basic system but in a new world/scenario. “Many Asia Grinders” work on this principle.

    End of this wall of text.

    P.S. the game with the best DAILIES is, believe me or not, Star Trek Online!

      • The elements are 1.) choice, 2.)random elements, 3.) variation, 4.) extras and in general 5.) more complex dailies that are often 6.) integrated into the story are of the current feature episode.

        Choice: All dailies now give “Emblems” instead of the multitude of tokens for this and that. So if you do this or that kind of pvp, a nebula exploration or do the feature episode dailies is up to you. There is no reputation grind that requires you to do one more than the other, and emblems are universal.

        Randomness: B’Tran and other Nebulas are totally random missions. You never know what you get.

        The story arc dailies are not that random – but there is variation. Sometimes you come when a Breen Fleet bombards a mining facility. Sometimes you come after they destroyed it. Sometimes you come before they arrive and get asked for help in another way.

        Then those missions usually have extra or bonus objectives you can do or not – like transporting some ore from the Kelvani Belt to the “Outpost 3″ system.
        Based on your performance in another mission you get some very good consumable items, the more the better you performed i.e. how many deuterium tanks you saved (its not too hard to save them all, actually…)

        Some missions have puzzles, but even if you fail them simply something else happens. Some missions are rather limited in the variation, others are miracles and some even have hidden easter eggs and random special drops.

        The more complex dailies are interestingly all space based. Seems the STO team somehow prefers the space part of the game like the majority of the players.

        You can do the missions all alone – but they make you want to have more people around. More ships, more loot, more special drops and all that. It is rumored that you have a higher chance with more players in team to spawn the rare Breen Capital Ships that can drop rare loot (blue gear) and got some nasty special abilities. Based on difficulty level they can be tough, some players could not destroy them at all.

        The new feature episode concept is a really cool idea, you get a new somewhat spiced up mission every week that is part of a larger story arc. I did not like the Halloween episode for example, but I really enjoyed the latest one, which played a lot like the DS9 episode where Sisko travelled back in time to Deepspace K7 and met Kirk, Klingons and Tribbles.

        This said, the game is still very special and has its flaws. I find it somewhat ironic that the crafting system is not nearly as complex or fun as tribble breeding. There seems to be no week without a new tribble you can breed from the combo of various exotic foods and certain tribble subspecies.

  4. I’ve not seen a great decline in the desire to raid in my guild nor a great disaffection with raiding.

    We have 4 sets of players in the guild Socials (in many respects the Gevlonic description), casual fun raiders who do whatever is going on, raiders moving from normal ICC into HC content and a group that has all HC content on farm bar LK himself.

    What has changed is the balance and we’ve seen socials moving into fun raiding and fun raiders move up to more focussed raiding.

    Looking forwards to Cata as more people in the guild are in a good state to see the end-game content.

    Outside of raiding though many of us have completed our goals and look for other thongs to do which is why I recently picked up my horde pally in San again.

    • Good luck with the raids in Cataclysm. If you find that people only get more enthusiastic and no one ever burns out or goes off raiding, then you’re an unusual guild ;)

      I do think that the end of an expansion is the sort of time when people will be evaluating how they want to play in the next one, and whether they do want to make a raiding commitment for the next couple of years.

  5. When I played WoW I was a raider, but I could never go back to that lifestyle because…. well….. because it’s a lifestyle.

    2-3 days a week for 3-4 hours a night is one hell of a commitment to make to a game in perpetuity. I just won’t do that again; there are too many other games to play and things to do outside of a virtual world.

  6. I’m with Lonasc, although as I find myself actually approaching the upper tier in levels, I’ve been asking myself what the heck I’m going to DO if and when I get to the level cap.

    Thankfully, I’m not an alt-horse, so I have a whole lot of new starter areas to ezp.ore XD

  7. The issue with WoW (and most MMOs today really) is that it isn’t nearly ‘sandboxy’ enough to allow players to generate content and endgame themselves, the way you could do it in Ultima Online for example or other games with more ‘sim’-aspects and freedoms.
    so indeed, endgame is very defined in pvp or pve terms and once you are ‘done’, there’s nothing left to do. it’s not the best concept imo and in a way it put a lot of pressure on a developer to keep new content coming, the onus of that is entirely on their side. whereas if WoW was more open, players themselves could add a lot to that themselves and keep busy.

  8. “So what are the casual players to do if they aren’t able or willing to commit to something as long term as a regular raid group or battleground group?”

    Play a different game.

  9. The 12 mil + people playing the game are not the same jaded former raiders that take to the blogs like my previous commentators. I think the lull of a long summer and a way too long patch have taken their toll on the people willing to write about WoW.

    The fact is that more people are raiding now than ever have, and that trend will continue as Cataclysm brings more people back and new people in. The accessibility that bore all of you so much is the thing that allows MORE people, not less, to play in the raiding game.

    I simply reject the idea that because I’m feeling bored of the content that has been here too long and my time has shifted to my new baby, that somehow WoW has changed to match my personal view of the game. It continues on without me.

    Having said that, I don’t particularly wish I could be the former raider that I was, but I don’t lament the fact that I can hop on for the first time in weeks last sunday and kill everyone in icc10 up to Arthas. In a pug no less.

    They have removed the requirement that previously existed where raiding required a long term commitment. This doesn’t mean they removed raiding, they just removed one of the biggest obstacles to it. Sorry if that bores you.

    • The true question is if really everyone wants to raid, and this is not tied to accessibility or difficulty.

      WoW is stuck with raiding, I am afraid, but this is also a reason why some people (me) do not see a reason to play WoW ever again if this is the sole form of max level content.

    • I don’t actually think raiding will ever get more accessible in WoW than it is right now. High end progression raiding will however get more accessible because 10 mans are easier to organise.

      But ask yourself what they haven’t done. Why there aren’t any more world bosses or event type raid events that would be PUG friendly.

    • Me not playing anymore has nothing to do with accessibility making raiding boring for me, but simply that everything besides raiding in WoW for me is utterly pointless.

      More power to those who enjoy PvP, quests, or achievements, but they aren’t for me and as such even if I could commit to a regular raid schedule its still not really worth it.

  10. Pingback: “Dealing With the End of the World” or “Four Weeks to Cataclysmic Events” « Are We New At This?

  11. Mmm, raiding.

    Been there, done that.

    Now, to be perfectly honest?

    If a game mentions ‘PvE Raiding’ as an endgame feature? I simply don’t buy the game.

    If it’s F2P I might try it out, but PvE raiding and a nugget are incompatible at endgame. It’s quite simply, something I never want to be involved in again.

    Now it looks as if I may not be the only one.

    I wonder if companies realise that they can actually market that as a feature (no endgame PvE raiding), rather than a flaw?

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