Gimmicky raids, and what is to be done with old content?

Malchome wrote a post this week about his frustration with Cataclysm raiding. It’s become bad enough that he’s just retired from raiding for the rest of the expansion, and it’s not because of having reached an impasse or run out of raiders. No, his issue is that the fights have become too ‘gimmicky’, and one of the characteristics of gimmicky fights is that you can’t just roll over them once your raid is overgeared/ over levelled. ie. you have to know the gimmick.

I have a better tolerance for fights that are interesting or different. I’ve enjoyed them in the past, and I don’t dislike them now. But you do have to learn the gimmick and teach it to anyone in your raid who either hasn’t been there before, or hasn’t been there for awhile. For example, I feel comfortable off-tanking Shannox now, but the jumping/ intervening around took a bit of practice. But I felt quite stressed when I went to BWD with the alt group because I had to learn a lot of gimmick fights at once.

So a gimmicky fight can potentially be more fun to learn for a raid, because it has some feature that is new or different. But it’s a pain for farm nights if you have new people in the raid who need to learn it, it could be a pain for overgeared raiders because they still need to learn the gimmick, and it might not even be that fun to learn in the first place if it’s just one role that holds the gimmick and the rest of the raid aren’t patient.

I’m not sure how important it is for a raid to be amenable to lazy guild alt nights or for people to try to 2-3 man after it is no longer current, but this is a genuine use for the older content. It becomes a sociable sight seeing trip or personal challenge.

I have a few take away thoughts from this:

1) Many people prefer to learn encounters on their own rather than in a group, especially a group of mixed experience (ie. some people know the fight, others don’t) that isn’t patient or is a PUG.

The challenge of how to teach a player base to beat the encounters in a new instance is a very very difficult one. It was easier when players were more chilled out about learning in groups, and it was also easier when the encounters themselves were less complex. A raid encounter which requires different complex tactics for every role in the raid is also harder to explain thana simpler encounter with a couple of gotchas.

2) Is there a point at which increased complexity just drives players away? It isn’t so much the complexity of a single fight so much as having 5-6 complex encounters which everyone has to remember. Especially when the players who know the fight don’t enjoy teaching it to others.

3) There is a definite demand for straight forwards but pretty raid instances/ encounters for guild nights out/ smaller group challenges.

And has anyone else retired from WoW raiding because of this type of reason, the encounters being too fiddly/ gimmicky?