Too much community

| Wednesday, April 27, 2011
How much community is too much? I think WoW is past that point. Too much? Too much!? Have I gone insane? The community is dead and dying and rotten and how could I possibly suggest that there is too much community?

It is an amazing website. Just about anything you could ever need is there. A massive database of gear, instances, crafting, everything. And comments to go with. Simply amazing. You can even filter it all sorts of different ways to find exactly what you need. Absolutely amazing. I love the site. In fact, I think real life could use its own wowhead.

And I hate it.


Back in my day...

We didn't know jack and there wasn't much way to find out. The top guilds hoarded their secrets. If we wanted a raid strat we had to either find a former member or figure it out ourselves. Well, eventually it all filtered around so we could get a general idea of stuff. But I never even imagined a website devoted to making youtube videos of boss kills filled with commentary on exactly what they are doing. And not just for the raid in general, but for specific roles. Tanks watch this video, healers that, and DPS the other.

That's what I mean by too much community. Too much information.

Can I blame the devs? I don't think so. They didn't make the videos. The people who made the videos? Technically, yes, but it wasn't their goal to ruin raiding for me. They just wanted to help people out. Maybe the raid groups that insist on players going in with the strat beforehand? Still, no. They want to kill a boss and get goodies and if I'm ignorant, I'm a problem. Is it my fault? I can't see how.

And there's the problem, it's not anyone's fault.

Well maybe, but that's for another day. But I bet some of you could guess who. Or at least what they did.


Kring said...

It is an arms race between the devs and the community.

Of course you can blame the devs, for taking part in that arms race. No one wins an arms race, never. Just stay out of it and find another way to fix it.

A nice example is Decursive back in the days. They've created bosses like Lucifron (or every other boss back in the days). Lucifron was using way to many debuffs up to the point where it wasn't fun and wasn't possible to handle it without add-ons. That's why someone created Decursive.

They broke Decursive with an API change but also promised to no longer create such insanely curse spamming encounters. They kept their word and post-Decursive WoW was better. Because decursing 5 curses as fast as humanely (actually add-on-ly) possible wasn't fun. Never!

Now, do the same with boss mods. Adjust boss encounters to not require boss mods and be fun without them.

And boss encounters that go on for 10 minutes but require you to reed a strategy for 20 minutes are just wrong.

Dwism said...

There do still exist guilds out there, that only enter raids blind, aka without having read strats or seen guides... Just look for em, we aren't the only ones who likes to discover fights on our own terms

Strawfellow said...

If I'm understanding this right, I suppose your problem is the lack of things left to discover?

There are no "secrets" in WoW, I can google a full listing of them. Raid strats, dungeon strats, quest listings, everything is right there for the picking.

My question to pose to you, then, is do you still consider it a world worth exploring if there is nothing left to discover?

Klepsacovic said...

@Kring: Luci with no debuffs is a fairly boring fight. And that's the problem, most fights would end up pretty boring without the specific dance moves required. Maybe the devs could consistently find alternatives, they have made some genuinely fun fights, like putricide, but I expect that if all boss mods and corresponding abilities went away, we'd end up with an unreasonably high proportion of tank and spank fights.

@DWism: But how many are just refuges for people who are too lazy to do any preparation at all or still end up with people racing for loot and eventually looking up strats?

@Straw Fellow: It can still be worth exploring because of exploration is a different activity. First off, people are not expecting me to know all the nooks and crannies: they're 'useless' information, so I am perfectly free to know or not know and no one is shoving the information in my face. Second, experiencing something is different than seeing it. I'd seen screenshots of the dancing troll village, but actually being there was a lot different. Note that this is pre-shattering, when you weren't supposed to go there.

Kring said...

That's not what I meant. Debuffing Luci was a brute force task. That wasn't fun. That wasn't challenging. The only challending part was configuring Decursive. The other extreme is when you have to dispell after the player moved away from the dragon. That's much better.

The game should be changed to be playable and enjoyable without boss mods.

When tanking omnitron defense system you have you're back to the wall which zooms the camera in (why aren't walls transparent?) and all you see is an over sized boss and some paladin sparkles. How are you supposed to notice that a green slime is heading for you? By watching for a small 1cm x 1cm icon? That just sucks.

They should not remove the special abilities from boss encounters. But make them visible and noticeable without boss mods.

And spells to be interrupted could have a longer cast time then 0.7 seconds so that an average human could interrupt them without a boss mod telling them that the spell comes up in 2 seconds.

Klepsacovic said...

Kring, what I meant is that it's a lot harder to design a challenging fight with unexpected but beatable mechanics than a specific dance routine, so if we don't have dances, we might end up with nothing. I think this might call for a full post. More tomorrow!

Strawfellow said...

@Klep: You make a good point. I may have saw it in a video first, but nothing really made me more excited than seeing Yogg-Saron's second phase for the first time.

In regards to the boss mechanics thing, I'll chime in with the difficulty of making a non-linear boss fight. Given the limitations of an enemy's AI already, it's hard to make unexpected behavior. Even with fights with pretty complicated mechanics like Putricide, the correct strat ended up narrowing itself down to being in the right place at the right time and making the right moves.

That being said, I think a multi-boss fight could be programmed with unexpected mechanics. I don't mean the PvP fight in the Argent Tourney, I consider that fight just unfair.

Kring said...

Now I understand. I don't agree, but I understand. Looking forward for tomorrows post.


Take a look at interrupts. The content is more and more about interrupting very fast casts which is more and more an arcade playstyle.

There is no reason why Maloriak must cast her crap that fast. It's all about interrupting the right one and let the others through. I don't think the encounter would be less challenging if the cast time would be 5 seconds.

A very good example is Baron Ashburys "Stay of Execution".
- It must be interrupted, you can't just ignore it because of gear. Good!
- You know exactly when it's going to happen even without boss mods. Good!
- You don't have to interrupt it immediately. You have to gauge your groups hp and interrupt at the right time which depends on the hps and dps of your group. There's a little bit strategy in finding the correct time to interrupt. Good!
- If you're a little bit to slow you just prolong the fight but don't immediately wipe the group. Good!
- Unless you don't interrupt it within the many seconds you have time. Good!

Or "Pain and Suffering" which can be interrupted or dispelled but doesn't have to be interrupted immediately. You don't have to abort the fireball you're casting but you can use counter spell before your next cast.


I love add-ons because they can be used to add small convenient features to the game which the company didn't add. But add-ons don't work well in an arcade game because a lot of the challenge in an arcade game comes from fast reaction and insufficient information.

Stubborn said...

Since apparently you have a "reputation" for fighting with your commentators (; , I'll just preface this by saying that I'm not arguing against you with any of these points, just that I personally am a little hesitant about this kind of thinking. I do agree, though, with your conclusion; that it's no one person's fault. It's all our faults. Somehow, mathematically, it's 100% everyone's fault.

I also agree with the overall sentiment, but I certainly see why it's unreasonable to expect a site like that from cropping up. People are always going to seek out information; it's in our nature.

I also note that some guilds to self-impose "blindness," and I think that the type of people they allow to join dictates the kind of guild they really are; I think it's dangerous to judge them by the their potential membership.

That said, I also wonder a lot about nostalgia; the mind has a tendency to diminish the extremes of things, and I wonder how much actually better it was in the old days when we "didn't know jack." It makes for good conversations and interesting posts now, but does that mean it was preferable to what we have today? I'm just not sure, and I'm certainly skeptical of trusting our emotional memories of the time.

My buddy, who played since Vanilla (I'm a BC baby myself), complains frequently in similar ways (not saying this you're complaining, just that what he does definitely is complaining) and yet he also complains about how long it took to get places, how hard it was to find quest mobs, and how stupid trying to get 40 people together was on a boss that you didn't know how they operated.

Things are different now. They may not be better, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're worse, just different.

Nice post!

Klepsacovic said...

@Straw Fewllow: The "unexpected mechanics" bit comes up in my next post, but part of the problem is ensuring that the "unexpected mechanics" do not become "bad luck kills you".

@Kring: Tobold has a great post on raid difficulty, which I wish I could find, which essentially broke mechanics into three categories: challenges the best, challenges the average, challenges the worst. Then we could get into the question of whether challenge is the same as "wipes the raid", but that's for another day (not tomorrow).

@Stubborn: Who the fuck said that? I will crush him. More seriously, I like when people say stuff I disagree with, as long as it's not hateful bullshit, since that's where the interesting stuff comes from.

Information is inevitable, and I think good overall, but I wonder if we're in an arms race of a sort with it, similar to Kring's points on Luci and boss addons. Once the devs think we know something they add a but more than we don't, which we learn, so they add more, and eventually they figure we know everything. At that point fights devolve into pure execution with little planning, since someone else did it all. I don't think that can be reversed without some sort of randomization, which brings its own host of problems.

Masterlooter said...

I would take the "too much community" even further - to say that it's now no longer an optional part of playing the game, but a requirement to be a part of it.

"Why don't you have Improved Arbitrary talent?!? Didn't you go to"
Why don't you know the boss abilities?!? It only takes 5 mins to read on TankSpot!"

I remember not too long ago when players were judged on their performance AFTER the raid was over, instead of before it began. naive we all were back then.

off topic - I was turned on to your blog after a friend said I was quoted in a post of yours ('Carrying' a tank: Yes, DPS have gotten that bad.) Extremely enjoyable reading so far. Might even join you in PotBS.

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