Friday, May 23, 2008

Raiding in Wrath of the Lich King

I don't know how many of you saw this interview with Jeff Kaplan. Mr. Kaplan is the lead game designer for World of Warcraft.
You can see the interview in its entirety here:

Here's a couple of highlights.

Jeff Kaplan: In 10 man raiding, we declare and say without a doubt, we expect you to have 1 tank there. 1 tank, and two healers. Some groups might bring 2 tanks and 3 healers, or 1 tank and an offtank. And then in 25, we've pretty much come out and said we expect you to have 3 tanks, and more healers than just two obviously.

So you 10 man group in WotLK will be 1 tank, 2 healers and 7 DPS. I'd imagine in 25 mans it will work out to 3 tanks, 6 healers, and 16 DPS. This to me is an acknowledgement by Blizzard of something the players seem to have known for a long time, most people want to play a DPS.

As you progress from 5 to 10 to 25 man look at how each role is represented.

5 Man1 (20%)1 (20%)3 (60%)
10 man1 (10%)2 (20%)7 (70%)
25 man3 (12%)6 (25%)16 (64%)

Lets say you've two groups of 5 people who are happily banging their way through 5 mans as they level from 70 to 80. Now they hit 80 and join together and start running 10 mans. 1 of those tanks needs to go DPS.

Now 2 of these 10 man groups get together. What do they need to find for the other 5 spots. 1 tank, 2 healers, and 2 DPS.

So someone who has happily tanked their way through all the level up content suddenly finds themselves unneeded. The good thing is 3 of the 4 major tank classes are Tank/DPS hybrids and can make the switch from Tanking to DPS. But now these toons who are DPS are no longer available (without a respec) to tank for 5 mans.

Did you still run 5 mans as you were beginning Karazhan. I know my guild did. The one poor schlep who has to respec not only for PVP versus PVE but also based on different levels of PVE content is the tank. How exactly is this encouraging people to be tanks?

Look at the percentages. You need more tanks as a percentage of the population for leveling than you do for endgame.

Kalbear on Maintankadin summed it up well.

"What that actually means is that either tanks will be in very short supply for 5-man groups (because the ratios are simply not there) or that tanks in 5-mans will need to be offspec by design. That's not so bad, I suppose, but it's hardly encouraging the amount of tanks to be brought to an instance."

Where will 5 man groups find their tanks? Isn't that the EXACT problem Blizzard is trying to solve with the introduction of Death Knights? Yet, now these tanks find themselves superfluous at the level cap.

He was specifically asked: So you think people are going to get to 10 man Arthas and then feel like they didn't really finish the game if they didn't 25 man him?

Jeff Kaplan: That's a good question. That's one of the first things we thought of too. It starts with the whole debate like "10 people can't kill Arthas" and then someone counters with "Well, can 25?" because last year we were saying 25 couldn't kill him but 40 can. So what's that magic number. The jury is stil out on this one. we might just say, "That's what cool about 10 and 25 person raids. It's cool with a 10 person raid you can face the End Boss another thing that's under consideration is that the 25 person raid would unlock the 10 version of the same content. Some other suggestions, although I'm not sure we are going to pursue this one is that the End boss simply isn't there in the 10 person mode. But to be honest, I really embrace the fact that its less about whose right or wrong about how many people they have and more about getting people to experience the content, and then rewarding them for whatever difficulty level they beat it on and however many people they have with them.

I have to be honest with you, if they go the route of not having Arthas in the 10 man version, I'd be very very disappointed. It sounds like they don't want to go that route, but the 'jury is still out'. I really like the way he wraps up the statement talking about people experiencing the content and rewarding them for the difficulty level and the number of people in the raid. I hope that's the direction they go in.

If they decide to make Arthas 25 man only, I believe they are doing a disservice to what they are trying to create by having 10 and 25 man versions of each instance.


Barona said...

I cannot remember where I saw this, but I like the idea where 10 Man Arthas simply runs-away/leaves at the end of the encounter, leaving a chest or something to be looted.

25 Man can make him take a dirt (permafrost?) nap, but 10 man just drives him off leaving loot. It still keeps the epic-ness of the encounter, yet provides the loot desired.

Honors Code said...

I personally hope they don't go that route. I'd like to see Arthas killable in both the 25 man and the 10 man.

I expect the 25 mans to have better loot, but I would like the experience to be similiar between the two.