New Cataclysm raid lockouts and difficulty settings
So Blizzard dropped some more Cata info today and it’s … interesting. Let the quoting begin!
The first of the refinements being made is that we’re combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout.
In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters.
Hmm. This impacts my ability to help my guild. Instead of being able to help in two different situations I’ll only be able to help once. While I understand this will help keep track of who’s locked out of what and everything (for example, “did I do 10- or 25-?” won’t be a question that needs asking) I don’t feel this is a positive change from the “help the guild” perspective.
Mayhaps they don’t want people earning as many emblems…
We’re designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve.
Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items.
I like having to do only half the research necessary when I investigate loot tables but I dislike that the difficulties will be the same. There’s a sense of accomplishment of doing 25- vs. 10-man.
Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.
Erm. See, here’s the thing. There are two options for equipment in WoW: Rodeo Clown or Anonymous. If you don’t have a tier set then pretty much you’re relegated to cobbling pieces together and with no way to customize them you’re left with the rodeo clown look. Distinctive? Yeah, I guess, but in a bad way.
Or! The higher level you get the better gear you get, which means getting specific items. Result? Everyone’s wearing the same thing so we all look the same:
The solution is to allow is just a bit of customization, like armor dyes. Having the same gear for both styles of instance is simpler, sure, but it compounds the problem of anonymity.
Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.
A fair point.
We recognize that very long raids can be a barrier for some players, but we also want to provide enough encounters for the experience to feel epic. For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid. All of these bosses would drop the same item level gear, but the dungeons themselves being different environments will provide some variety in location and visual style, as well as separate raid lockouts. Think of how you could raid Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep separately, but you might still want to hit both every week.
I support this because this is an issue for the guild I’m in. The latest people can seem to stay, reliably, is only until 9 p.m. server. The earliest we can start is 6:30 p.m. server. If we can do everything in bite-sized chunks without worrying about lockout problems then that’s a definite improvement.
Actually, I like the idea of five- or six-boss dungeons a great deal. It’s just the right amount to feel like you’ve done something for the evening but not so much as to be overwhelming.
In terms of tuning, we want groups to be able to jump into the first raids pretty quickly, but we also don’t want them to overshadow the Heroic 5-player dungeons and more powerful quest rewards. We’ll be designing the first few raid zones assuming that players have accumulated some blue gear from dungeons, crafted equipment, or quest rewards. In general, we want you and your guild members to participate in and enjoy the level up experience.
A rather cryptic statement really. Will have to see how this susses out in real life.
The goal with all of these changes is to make it as much of a choice or effect of circumstance whether you raid as a group of 10 or as a group of 25 as possible. Whether you’re a big guild or a small guild the choice won’t be dependent on what items drop, but instead on what you enjoy the most.
In my guild we always aim to do 25 and see how many people we can muster, then do 10 instead when we can’t find enough. I’m not sure this new system will affect that very much, or at all.