[LOTRO] Dev blog on raid difficulty

Arbitrary pointed me towards the latest LOTRO dev blog by jwbarry, which has a few interesting things to say about raid difficulty.

I think this is interesting because I personally don’t have to read for very long before I catch myself thinking, “Is that going to be fun?” jwbarry says that he was inspired by Demons Souls, the notoriously difficult and unforgiving SINGLE PLAYER platform/ fighter game – what he and many other players love about Demons Souls is that it’s hard but fair. When you fail, it’s because you failed and not because you got unlucky.

This is all well and good but there are reasons that Demons Souls doesn’t exist in a multiplayer format. And one of them is that when you fail you can just keep on trucking, try to figure out your mistake and get it right next time without having to debate whose fault it actually was with 11 other players.

This heavily influenced the design of Ost Dunhoth. You will wipe many, many times but it will be because the minstrel didn’t heal in time, the hunter stole threat, the tank didn’t back up out of the fire, your DPS didn’t coordinate on targets, someone broke a crowd control (CC), etc. It will be because of something you did wrong. You can then analyze this, learn from it, and avoid repeating the same mistakes. You can get better, not lucky.

This sounds like fairly standard raid design unless they’re planning on putting in lots of extra in game diagnostics, eg. “BURGLAR X JUST WIPED YOUR RAID!!!!11”.

So yeah, I’m not entirely sure about using Demon Souls as a difficulty gauge for multi person raiding, your mileage may vary.

Difficulty Tiers

I’m going to be honest and say that I have some issues with normals/ heroics and tiered difficulty in raids and instances. I just want to go kill internet dragons, why do the dragons have to come in normal and extra-spikey versions? It’s very confusing.

Not to mention that devs ideas of harder difficulty have not historically always been more fun. Here’s an example of the LOTRO ideas:

An example of a way mechanics upgrade: look at what happens when you fight a trash pull. If you kill a trash monster in Tier 1 and wipe, he stays dead. In Tier 2 a trash pull needs to be defeated as an entire pull. In Tier 2, if even one monster remains alive after you’ve wiped, the entire pull will respawn.

Now I could see circumstances under which having to redo trash packs would make people play more carefully and make the instance more fun. I could also see circumstances under which it could be very annoying indeed.

I think I’m on the fence on this one, it could be cool.

Further challenges sit above Tier 2 difficulty. These are the tasks that are asked of the players on the highest level of LOTRO. You’ll be asked to do it faster, better and harder than anyone else. To beat the challenges, perfection is expected of you.

I have come to realise over time that I don’t find being asked to perform to perfection all that interesting. I figure on Spinks at least, I had her rotations down well enough to be reasonably perfect for tanking/ dps but I’m not sure it made the game all that much more interesting.

Far more interesting was when we had to respond to unexpected events in the raid. But I don’t think that’s the kind of perfection he’s talking about here.

I’m sure they will have done a solid job on the new raid designs, jwbarry sounds as though he has a clear idea in his head of what he thinks of as fun raiding. I am just not entirely sure whether I agree.