In this week's Community Spotlight ,we focus on the thread, "Is Raiding Dead?" by Vrdict. Simple and straightforward, Vrdict puts the thread title's question to the MMORPG.com community (while offering his own lengthy take!):
Knowing all the major MMO's and what they offer, I was searching for a possibly unknown, perhaps Korean, MMO that offered end game raiding. I couldn't find much of anything, in fact most searches turned up posts by MMO players shouting their distaste for raiding in general. EQ Next seems to be my only hope on the horizon.
Having been introduced to MMO's through the raid-centric Everquest, I'm completely saddened by the core of what I loved most about MMO's being phased out in favor of barbie doll housing crap and dumbed down PvP. To me, if I wanted to build a house I'd play the Sims where it expands on that aspect in much more detail. Likewise, if I wanted to PvP I'd play one of any number of FPS, rather than being completely focused on the PvP aspect of MMO's - I've been there, done that, but the majority of pure PvP'ers I've been around in MMO's are mainly fueled by this ego trip that they can wipe the floor with other players due to advantages in gear progression. So to reiterate, 2 functions of MMO's that have been rising in popularity are both available, and in better form, in other genres.
For raiding this isn't true, there is nothing even remotely similar to it in any other game genre. Yet it's been a downward trend since EQ, which is still the king of raiding. EQ2 would fall right behind it in 2nd, where the vast majority of active players are only there for raiding. WoW and RIFT both have raids, but neither offer the same atmosphere, intensity, require the same level of skill, and because of these reasons don't have the same sense of accomplishment that you'll find in EQ. Vanguard it's an afterthought, I actually formed a hardcore raiding guild for Vanguard on it's release only to be completely disappointed by the lack of raiding, and lack of loot on existing raid mobs, so much so that the entire guild moved on to WoW.
So here we are, 14 years after Everquests release, and EQ is still on top of the food chain for hardcore raiding? Majority of MMORPG's coming out either don't offer raiding or offer it as a compensation prize in the form of 10 mans and other junk? The only possible savior being EQ Next which won't be out for years and I'm simply assuming it will have proper raids based on it's pedigree and nothing more?
It's a sad time to be a hardcore raider and seeing the genre you loved for so long is nearly extinguished.
So, what's our community have to say on this subject? Read on to find out!
Zippy sums up the situation and outlook well:
There are only 3 supported progression raiding MMOs presently EQ2, Rift and WoW. One might add TOR to the list but I do not see any serious raiding guilds playing it. One could also add EQ1 to this list but it doe snot havemuch of a playerbase left.
There are only two real raiding games in development that I know of EQNext and ESO and one has tow onder about both of their commitments to raiding. Will ESO have seriosu progression raiding? Will SOE seriosuly develop EQNext?
With EQ2 and WoW turning 8 this later this year Rift looks like the only serious raiding game for the future. Rift under Hartsman's guidance is essentialy the sequel to EQ2 and its first and foremost a raiding game. Its raiding is very good and somewhat difficult but one has to wonder what direction it will go. Raiding is the core and focus of Rift endgame but I will not be surprised if they end up going the wow easy mode route with the next expansion. I guess the problem is if they make raids to hard like HK people complain but if they make them to easy like the beginning of ID hardcore guilds become upset. In todays MMO world where players have no patience and will leave a game anytime they become bored it is hard to make raiding to difficult. Which is my guess why we bhave seen the hurdles or ability to gear up for rift raiding become so easy and also why we thgey are changing PvP gear to be useable in raids by adding hit'/focus.
Loke666 asserts that raiding is in decline, but certainly not dead:
Raiding is still the mainstream endgame, the only difference is that people seems to be more and more tired of it.
But being in a slight decline is not the same thing as being dead, right now there is not a single large alternative. RvR is probably the largest of the smaller endgames at the moment but it is still nowhere near raiding in popularity.
Of course a lot of players doesn´t participate in any kind of endgame right now and if something can bring in them it might change the powerstructure but raiding wont die for many years even if it probably just will become one of several different endgames to choose from in the future.
TheCrow2k agrees that raiding is in fact dying and offers a litany of reasons why:
Raiding is dying out, here is 2 reasons Raiding is unpopular in most MMO's.
1) Developers of most AAA titles make little to no effort to introduce players to the concept of partying up and working together early, let alone co-operating to overcome anything more complicated than tank & spank which decent raid instances require. Soloing is the order of the day & while developers may think its what players want and a good way to go about designing the game they fail to see they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot with this flawed design.
2) People who do Raid often carry themselves as elitist, driving away potential new raiders who they should be helping and encouraging to get onboard instead of telling them they are no good, noobs etc. because eventually Those same raiders see population decline & suddenly dont have enough players to make up a raid. So helping noobs stop being noobs and encouraging them to enjoy raiding is the order of the day.
Personally I like Raiding, however I think its too inaccessible or unpalatable to most players in newer titles for the reasons above & It wouldnt hurt developers to also include other endgame content with longevity for those players who really do hate Raiding &/or grouping up, as well as casual players. This also gives social MMO'ers something to do at endgame when their friends/guild arent online.
It's hard for me to say if raiding is dead with any certainty, but it definitely seems like notion of having raiding be the primary endgame activity (a'la WoW) doesn't seem to be working outside of World of Warcraft and maybe RIFT.
If you're referring to the old 25+ man raids of old then I would say, yes, they appear to be mostly dead. Like another user in the thread mentioned, it's like herding cats trying to get that many people together and get through content. MMOs are increasingly focusing on providing challenging content, but for smaller groups of players at a time. I don't necessarily see this as a problem given the aforementioned issue (and many others raised by those in the thread), but I do think there is still room for content involving tons of players.
Massive dynamic events, such as those coming in Guild Wars 2, seem to be the natural evolution of PvE content with tons of players. GW2's events can scale depending on the players involved, and this solution kind of lets you get two birds with one stone. If massive groups of people show up? Great! If not, the content will still be suitably challenging for a smaller group of players. Well, that's the idea anyways.
Personally, I've never been a huge fan of progression raiding. I'm the storymode raider type of guy. I like to go in and see the content and do it once and then I'm done with it for the most part. Killing the same bosses (and trash!) every week is just not for me.
What do you think about the state of raiding? Is it dead? Share your thoughts in the comments below!