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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Taking out the Trash

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36 posts found
  MikeB Community Manager

Joined: 5/27/09
Posts: 5627

OP  10/17/12 4:42:23 AM#1

We're not too fond of the "trash" mobs used to fill out much of the MMO raid and dungeon content out there. In this week's column, we offer our thoughts on the subject, including a few alternative ideas. Hate trash as much as we do? Share your own alternative ideas in the comments below!

Let me come out and say I’m not an expert raider by any means. I have fairly few traditional raiding experiences to speak of in my MMO history, and I certainly wasn’t one of the many gamers who took part in World of Warcraft’s hefty array of raid content. Still, in my limited experience, I’ve had the unpleasant privilege of dealing with what has been aptly called “trash” by fellow MMO gamers.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Taking out the Trash.

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB


Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/11
Posts: 5

10/17/12 1:09:34 PM#2
Trash is part of the crawl... don't like the trash? Don't do the crawl...

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/11/04
Posts: 2399

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10/17/12 1:28:40 PM#3
Secret world did afantastic job with dungeons, you go in there, the whole place has  story every boss has a reason, there is very limited amounts of trash mobs, as it should be.

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Novice Member

Joined: 4/17/10
Posts: 602

10/17/12 1:33:32 PM#4
Trash mobs are not trash.  They are an important part of the game.  They are protecting the bosses. Keep it that way.  No, make the crawl longer, I say.

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/23/09
Posts: 469

10/17/12 1:36:09 PM#5

Look to Asheron's CAll.  They did it right imo.


I think most mmo game worlds are full of the "trash" as well.  There is something to be said about empty space with some scenery.  Most game worlds are so over filled with mobs it is annoying.  Some areas can be over crowded some not.  Instead, its all the same.


The way loot works in modern mmo is pretty lame imo as well. Again, this is an area I feel Asheron's call handled it well.  The trash mobs typically had a chance to drop rare items which gave and appeal to grinding on them.  How they handled the loot changed the way you looked at the high spawn areas.

They also dropped keys which where interesting and craft items.  Again, the rare drop on every day mobs make them more interesting.


My 2cents.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2115

10/17/12 1:45:47 PM#6

Dungeons should involve skill based challenges.  Like you should need two competent lock pickers, someone good at disarming traps, and those who can detect hidden levers and mechanisms.  Not all on one character, each of these abilities should be something a character has to focus on. 

There should also be charisma checks, and parts where you have to platform, puzzle solve, and use raw strength, climbing ability, stealth, etc.


There's SOOOO many things they could add, including randomized parts of dungeons that act as a maze, that would make it more than just combat combat combat boss fight, repeat.  The amount of trash clearing could be reduced, along with the normal amount of tedium and grindyness that is felt when playing these dungeons. 

Need developers with balls to get it done though.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3548


10/17/12 1:50:11 PM#7
I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

Novice Member

Joined: 6/17/12
Posts: 92

10/17/12 1:54:15 PM#8

I think it really depends on the quality of the trash and the rewards involved. Sometimes, trash is fun but usually it is just a time drain. Making it more rewarding is nice, but then you can get situations where people go into the raid just to farm the trash (BoT/Firelands in WoW come to mind). I think making everything more boss encounter-oriented would be a positive step.

Mini-bosses with decent rewards would also be a welcome step. You could have bosses that drop epics and have mini-bosses that drop rares (with a small chance at dropping epics) in order to make them worth doing. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 1137

10/17/12 1:56:44 PM#9

I actually enjoyed trash mobs in WoW. They taught you how to play your role in a group and dropped lots of either loot you could wear or trash you could vendor to pay your repair bills. And in the raids, I loved the rep gains.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 2668

Some folks are like Slinkies, totally useless but great fun to watch when pushed down stairs

10/17/12 2:15:28 PM#10
EQ raids were insane... no joke, try getting 60 people together and only able to use chat text no voice overs what so ever.... lmao.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/29/06
Posts: 61

10/17/12 2:36:35 PM#11

It would be completely boring if you walked right in to face the boss - anti-climactic.

Think of every cop show or movie ever... hell, think of Batman. There are always henchmen to deal with first.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

10/17/12 2:41:56 PM#12
Have to agree with the tsw post above, it has great dungeons and hardly Amy trash mobs.

That said I may not be the best judge as dungeons aren't really my thing.

As for raids, I feel daoc did them best, massive outdoor encounters everyone on your realm could pile on. Brought players together, unlike your instanced raids which take big groups of players out of the actual game world and encourage elitists and stuff like gear score.

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

10/17/12 2:43:24 PM#13
Originally posted by RefMinor
I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

Yeah most mmorpg's do.  To many trash mobs in open world.   It is insane.  Seriously way too fuckign much.   They don't resemble world anymore. 

And I was laughing from Lineage II in it's times that it had so much mobs in open world. Fast forward and now western ones have it as much.


Advanced Member

Joined: 6/12/07
Posts: 286

10/17/12 2:58:19 PM#14
Originally posted by fenistil
Originally posted by RefMinor
I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

Yeah most mmorpg's do.  To many trash mobs in open world.   It is insane.  Seriously way too fuckign much.   They don't resemble world anymore. 

And I was laughing from Lineage II in it's times that it had so much mobs in open world. Fast forward and now western ones have it as much.

Secret World has this problem but is possible to past a +ack of mobs without getting aggro, mobs don't have 360º aggro detector, they can only see player in front of then or if you get to close from the back.

And also when it come to dungeons nothing beats secrt world, They are low on trash you u can skip most of them. If there's a wipe you can rezz near the boss.


I remember in RIft that some players would go berzerk if you decided to use some dungeon bugs to skip some mobs.


The only point to have Trash mobs is to make dungeon/raids take longer, some mobs may have decent item drops but nothing special.

"you are like the world revenge on sarcasm, you know that?"

One of those great lines from The Secret World


Novice Member

Joined: 6/15/12
Posts: 326

10/17/12 3:06:48 PM#15
It really comes down to presentation, sometimes you need to polish the turd for lack of better anaology. I use to AFK in 40 man raids just because it was boring. Hell, it is sad that after 6 years the content formula of raids hasnt evolved or changed.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/22/07
Posts: 1409

10/17/12 3:35:41 PM#16

I think the separation between "trash" and bosses is too clear-cut in some games. You can have challenging fights with multiple non-boss opponents that drop decent loot. These fights don't even have to be much easier or less complicated than the boss itself.

TSW's dungeons are fun, but you could also say many of GW2's dungeons don't have trash mobs, because their normal mobs are often more challenging and drop better loot that the bosses.


Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/07
Posts: 948

10/17/12 3:58:35 PM#17
Originally posted by RefMinor
I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

But the fans of sandbox had no problem with that when it was done the same way in SWG.


How does one design a dungeon. First they determine the objective balance, reward = challenge. Reward is defined as a combination of loot drops, experience, monetary, and game play. Challenge is defined as Defense (D) and Offense (O) per area. These numbers are relatively constant. One could just place all the dungeon D & O into one single boss and do away with so called trash mobs. But that would make that Boss harder hitting and harder to kill. So skilled level designers spread the joy around the zone. Total D & O / 1,000 mobs. Next we distribute this D & O over the mobs. The Final Boss (FB) will be equivalent to 100 mobs out of 1,000. The FB will have 10 FB Guards (FBGs) each equivalent to 25 mobs or 10 x 25 = 250 (trash). Around the zone will be 4 Minor Bosses (MB) each equivalent to 80 mobs each or 4 x 80 = 320 (MB). Each MB will have 2 MB Guards (MBGs) each equivalent to 20 mobs or 2 x 4 x 20 = 160 (trash). Now for surprise effect we sprinkle about some random mobs each equivalent to 10 mobs or 17 x 10 = 170 (trash).

So we have a 1,000 mob equivalent reward dungeon = 100 FB + 250 (trash) + 320 MB + 160 (trash) + 170 (trash). So we take out all the trash mobs and leave just the unmodified bosses and their drops and loots. So now we have 1,000 reward = 100 FB + 320 MB = 420 total Bosses. [edit].  In reality the loot table would also be adjusted, but I wanted the disparity to stand out. [edit].

Pardon any spelling errors
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Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7206

10/17/12 4:16:19 PM#18

I don't mind the trash mobs, but I absolutely despise games that respawn them in an instance.  Everyone is going to wipe once in a while, but having to redo all the trash mobs again, is the one reason I will not raid in most of these games anymore. 

When a dev things that respawning trash mobs in an instance is necessay, they need to take a step back and think why they are doing such an outright stupid thing.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/24/10
Posts: 3448

The problem with censorship is ********

10/17/12 4:42:53 PM#19

I guess to look at how to fix this problem we should look at how it started. Why were dungeons created in the first place? If you ask me they are there to:

1. Tell a story

2. Provide a challenge that can't be tackled alone

3. Give you loot


So, #1 only really happens the first time at most a couple of subsequent times. #2 is also usually only there a certain amount of times, after a number of tires the challenge starts to lessen. #3 can potentially always be there.


Were does trash come into play? It doesn't help #1 and in most cases it doesn't help #3 either, only in #2 does it play a role. But you can achieve #2 without them, the problem is that sometimes challenge tends to be measured in not how hard it is but how long did it take you and thats were trash mobs are priceless.


If the trash mobs go, do we make bosses HP that much more bigger or do we just have shorter dungeons? Is it "ok" to have a shorter dungeon? does that mean the rewards have to be bumped down? Is the answer to bring better AIs to mmos so there isn't such a thing as "trash mobs"?


Novice Member

Joined: 4/17/10
Posts: 602

10/17/12 4:50:22 PM#20
Originally posted by Ozmodan

I don't mind the trash mobs, but I absolutely despise games that respawn them in an instance.  Everyone is going to wipe once in a while, but having to redo all the trash mobs again, is the one reason I will not raid in most of these games anymore. 

When a dev things that respawning trash mobs in an instance is necessay, they need to take a step back and think why they are doing such an outright stupid thing.

I think it's brilliant (respawned trash mobs). It makes a dungeon crawl really mean something, and keeps everyone honest. Outright stupid are groups that wipe all the time.

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