11 comments on “The Predictability Problem in Raiding

  1. I could not agree more, seriously. You’ve explained why I hate Warlord and Rhyolith both, they aren’t difficult encounters, if RNG doesn’t basically screw you over. But if RNG has it out for you, it can make the most dedicated raiders want to just stop for the night, and we have. We’ve just called it there some nights to start over fresh the next raid night rather than continuing to fight the RNG.

    • Yeah, I don’t thinking I’m breaking ground with the “RNG bosses suck” thing. I think the thing I really came around to while thinking about and writing this post, was what the right combination of elements that made a great raid encounter were. After I finished this post, I realized immediately what was wrong with Madness of Deathwing.

      - No random element (Hemorrhage, Blistering Tentacles, Elementium Bolt, Impale)
      - No unpredictable element
      - Repeating encounter

      It has none of the elements of a terrible fight, but also contains none of the elements of an excellent boss. It was utterly forgettable.

      I hate Rhyolith
      I love Halfus
      I nothing Madness

      • True, Madness is boring. It was ok the first couple of times, but now, it’s just boring and if someone does something stupid near the end it’s a 20 minute wipe.

  2. Infernal placement on Prince Malchezaar. ‘Nuff said.

    Some randomness is fine. Not knowing who a debuff will hit, or where a debuff will spawn… that’s fine. Grobbulus was a GREAT boss, because the injection target was random, but so long as everyone was paying attention and knew what to do, it wasn’t a problem – and the fact that you didn’t know (and everyone had to be on their toes and move properly) was what made it challenging.

    • Exactly. It became really clear that the most memorable and enjoyable encounters had consistent elements. And that random element seems critical, but its also extremely important that it has some ability of the player base to react to it.

      You shouldn’t be punished as a raid for the randomness, only punished for reacting poorly (slowly, wrong abilities, etc.). That way you can learn, and do a better job of reacting in the future.

    • I let flow a string of obscenities one night that I was actually felt bad about afterwards, and I never feel ashamed of cursing normally. At 40% on a perfect pull he spawned a volcano away from our current turn and inches from the lava, but by the time we got to it 2 more had spawned and we wiped. There was so much rage that night.

  3. Love this post. You managed to explain what I’m trying to get across when I talk to people about what sort of raid encounters I enjoy. I’ve been writing a post comparing ICC to DS and why I found the former to be more satisfying. I think a lot of it is that the majority of fights in DS just feel far too predictable to me. I hope we see more fights like we did in T11, which despite the difficulty my raid team had with it, was probably my favorite tier of this expansion.

    • Thanks for the feedback!

      Without needing to go into too much detail, Dragon Soul (from a design perspective) was a complete swing and a miss. Now, from the perspective of accessibility, that’s something else entirely. I don’t want to rehash it all, but I did a post a while back on doing heroic modes as a casual raider. Awesome job on progressive nerds and accessibility, not so much on compelling encounter design.

  4. Excellent write-up. A bit of randomness is fun, especially when it is in a fixed element that changes week-to-week. Too much randomness just pisses people off, and there’s nothing fun about that. Back in the Vanilla days, Gurgthock once said that “there is no such thing as bad luck”, referring to the fact that raids who complained of continued wipes simply weren’t planning to the degree that they needed to, in order to make up for random events that could take players out. Back then, it made more sense, and with heightened discipline, raids could overcome randomness and win, because design in those days never took it to the level it does now.

    Now…it just seems like a cop-out as they run out of ideas.

    • Yeah. The room for error is rather thin with restricted battle rez and such (at both 10 and 25 man). Its more important that people fail from execution than luck, otherwise the motivation for improvement vanishes.

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