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Community Spotlight: The Unpopularity of Raiding

Posted by MikeB Friday July 15 2011 at 8:27PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Why is raiding so unpopular to the MMO community?" by MMOExposed. The topic is pretty self-explanatory, so let's get started with MMOExposed:

I noticed the mmo community for some reason cheered Anet on, when they announced no Raid Dungeons in Guild Wars 2. Well I want to ask. Why is Raiding so unpopular now days to the MMORPG community?

Isnt Raiding, a Massively Multiplayer element of PvE combat?

Would you rather future MMO to be balanced for 1v1 PvE rather than 1v20+?

I want to know why the community doesnt like Raiding any more.

Wasnt calling out Guild Wars 2, that was simply an example.

whilan feels that the stigma against raids is a result of stagnation of the associated gameplay:

Personally myself i don't have a problem with raids as a feature. The biggest issue i can see is how they are done.

1 guy/girl/demon/dragon whatever is attacking the main tank while 30 other people are throwing fireballs/ice or whatever else at it for 30 mins.

The problem is most raids end up this way.

If you change up how the raids are done then it might not be so bad.

Have a group of 20 3 doing a mini-game to keep a sheild down, 2 more trying to coordinate the end game point and the rest trying to hold off the wave upon wave of enemies being sent (of varioud difficulty) until the bomb or whatever is the objective is complete then that might be a bit more interesting.

When people think raids they think of classic style you'd see in similar titles lik EQ or WoW rather then what can be done with raids.

Have multi group encounters, one goes after a reactor, another a prison district all in hopes that it will make the part, overthrowing the fortress and winning the day.

Once they change up how raids are done behind the simple kill the big guy at the end all the time (every now and then is fine, nothing wrong with the mechanic) the word raid might not sound so bad. Some people have just gotten bored with the same style of doing raids.

Plus you also have the added feeling that you have to do it over and over and over and over again to get the better gear. Not sure myself how you fix that one.

Removing the feature all together ala GW2 is an option but i don't like removing options of play just cause people may not like it. Just makes the game seem a bit less complex and less stuff to do.

Personal opinion and views of course.

Quizzical offers a litany of reasons as to why raiding is unpopular to him:

It's not "doesn't like raiding any more".  It's "never did like raiding and still doesn't".

Having to schedule your life around a game is bad.

Needing to farm peculiar gear with no use outside of a particular raid is bad.

Having to do the same raid a bunch of times in a row in order to get up for the next is bad.

Being unable to do the content you want because you're waiting for a raid lockout to end is bad.

Having to worry about losing all of your progress if your guild breaks up is bad.  Especially when game mechanics seem designed with the intent to create guild drama and try to break up your guild.

I'm not against playing a game with others, whether a few others or dozens of others.  But I want to be able to log in when I want to, and then jump in and play.  The reason solo content is popular is not so much that people want to solo, as that people don't want to deal with a bunch of other garbage instead of getting to play the game, and in many games, soloing is the only way to do that.

kevjards feels raiding is unpopular due to the various barriers to entry:

i think a lot of people get put off raiding,when you hear something like experienced people only all the time..and must haver this gear for invite.i remember once on wow the content had only been released that day and this guy was asking for experienced only,he got slaughtered.i play conan and i,m lucky enough to be in a guild that does,nt mind that i,m not the greatest player and they will take anyone into a raid as long as they are prepared to listen.and we have a great time and a laugh.some peeps are just scared they will screw it up and not be allowed back,by that i mean get on a blacklist of somekind.imo anyways..i maybe wrong.

For me, raiding is relatively unpopular due to a combination of many of the reasons above, but primarily due to the raiding cycle. As I'm writing this blog my friends are in Ventrilo doing a raid, getting super excited for new gear, "Oooooooooh!" (literally, they sound like Raving Rabbids right now).  For me, I'm a fan of the large scale content aspect of raids, and sometimes the story context for which that content is built upon. The problem for me has been, outside of the peripheral factors, that you basically have to repeat a lot of the same content in order to see the next bit of it.  This "Gear to Raid, Raid to Gear" cycle is incredibly off-putting for me.

The gear you acquire is typically only good for progressing further into the raid content; it's completely arbitrary. Why not gate the experience with challenging gameplay over itemization? I don't mind itemization being a factor, but I'd like to see it weighted a bit less in lieu of more challenging gameplay.

Having to plan your life around raids, putting competent people together, and the overall "serious business" aspect are some other reasons that make it difficult for me to really get into it. Oh, and let's not forget the advent of DPS meters in recent years. For example, RIFT doesn't feature a DPS meter, yet my friends will go through the process of parsing their combat logs just to find out what silly magical number they hit in some encounter.

I don't feel raids as a form of content are a failure conceptually, but I do think the basic underpinnings of raid design could use a revamp.

missbouncy writes:

I like raiding but:

1. I dont want to schedule one - just join when I have the free time. I live my life around friends and family then games, not the other way round!

2. Bots should be ok to fill in places when you cant get enough people or someone has to leave part way or you have to kick an idiot/slacker. The bots should also be kickable for if a real person wants to enter mid raid as well. Making them much more interesting as well as manageable.

3. Loot should be automatically handed out to appropriate classes - and tradeable for if people want to make deals after! No fighting for ages over loot and holding things up during the raid itself!

4. There should be room for some slip ups - having to learn a fight step by step takes all of the magic out of it for me! If someone misses one move it shouldnt be an instant wipe as long as they or someone else can make up for it somehow! Perfection is NOT what I look for in a game - chaos and FUN are ;)  At least on 'normal' mode then have a 'serious' mode for people who like playing by a formula.

5. Theres not enough CUTE (party toys/outfits/pets/joke) stuff in them. Serious gear to do serious raiding bores me. But put a rainbow fountain in there that showers my friends in colour (for eg) and I'll raid forever to get it if I have to ;)

Raids can be awesome and Ive had heaps of fun in them but not when they seem like a 'job'!

Sat Jul 16 2011 1:14AM Report
Denambren writes:

I think "whilan" does a good job of expressing my point of view.


The Zul'Farrak dungeon had a scene in it where your 5 party members team up with 5 NPCs who are captured in cages at the top of a pyramid. When you rescue the NPCs, you see wave upon wave of trolls appearing at the bottom of the pyramid. And at that moment, the NPCs brace themselves, you brace yourselves, weapons up, spells up, buffs up, this big epic fight is about to happen as you try to survive a hundred or more enemies coming up the staircase.


Some of the enemies that come up the pyramid are elite mobs, some are regular, but it was done in such a way that you couldn't have the tank focus on every single enemy since there were so many surging up the staircase. There was a ton of DYNAMIC combat that made you respond in the moment, instead of the rinse and repeat system we see 99.9% iof the time n any party-balanced dungeon.


Zul'Farrak was my favorite dungeon of all time just for this one scene. It kind of had a Diablo feel to it in the chaos and action that was taking place. SWTOR originally claimed that their dungeons would be more like this - more small enemies to feel more epic instead of a 10 minute beatdown on he same enemy. That no longer seems to be the case as they continue to clone WoW in every single aspect, but eventually I think an MMO will change things up and  I feel this "more enemies, more heroism, more dynamic play" approach would improve the raid experience tremendously.

Sat Jul 16 2011 8:34AM Report
Myria writes:

It's depressingly telling that there's no mention of the many posts pointing out that the original thesis is laughably false. The MMO community did not cheer Anet on, by and large the MMO community neither knows nor cares who Anet is, nor is raiding unpopular.


Demonstrably to the contrary.


People on these forums may be anti-raiding, but people on these forums are so far from representing average MMO gamers that game designers would be well served to study what people think here and do the exact opposite.

Sat Jul 16 2011 9:20AM Report
mCalvert writes:

I dont like PVE period. no challenge. Raids are particualry bad because you are following a script.

Sat Jul 16 2011 9:53AM Report
Jamion writes:

I like PVE, I love it... but here is my issue with raids.  Raids ususally consist of standing around for 3 hrs listening to people complain, gripe, troll, prep, as they get ready to raid.  Then we go and fight for 30 mins to an hour until the boss is dead.  Then gripe, complain, and argue about loot, how long it took, that everyone else in the group sucked etc.  Its a lot of drama and a lot of wasted time.  I am not against raiding if it is done properly, but 95% of my experience has just been insane amount of drama for very little reward.


Now when SWTOR announced that grouping was going to be 4 man I was like "ew" at first.  Then I thought about.  With companion system I can run a full group with 2 players.  I can run a full human group with 4 players.  To me this means that there will be less downtime and less drama in an individual group.  For raids this means overall less drama in the raid.  Now I will have to wait for the game to come out to prove this, but I think SWTOR may have the right idea, smaller, tighter knit raids.  And if it works well I will love it.

Sat Jul 16 2011 10:39AM Report
Akrux writes:

i enjoyed raiding on WoW until I was required by my guild to read guides to certain boss fights. The 6 pages for one boss was intimidating. On top of that it had directions like at 2min 47 sec into the fight you must jump in the water to avoid the killer ray.

To me a raid is a fun time with some friends. Not a timed choreography of movement and attacks. That turns it from fun into work.

Sat Jul 16 2011 11:02AM Report
MacAllen writes: Raiding is such a dichotomy. It represents the peak of PvE content, but it's also the biggest PITA in gaming, at least to me. I enjoyed raiding because it was challenging, and I don't just mean the content. The challenge of raiding is managing the people, accomplishing a big thing you couldn't do alone and must have friends to accomplish, and anyone not doing their job means the whole effort fails. I've experienced the full spectrum of raiding, from the 60+ man EQ raids in Hate and Sky, the 40-mans in Ony, MC, BWL, AQ, Naxx, etc, the 25 mans, and the 10 man elites in WoW. Each had their plusses and minuses to me. The big minuses are the people, which is sad I know. It's like that old expression "government would be great if it weren't for all the people". There are so many horrible personality types that should never raid yet are most commonly found in raiding, usually running them. The elitist guilds who feel like celebrity superstars because they could get the people to walk in a straight line, the screaming control freaks who insist their way is the only way, the casual gamers who are along because they have a friend in the raid but hate raiding and screw up often, turning a 2 hour raid into a 5 hour debacle, etc. IMHO, "raids" should be complex 5-man instances and leave it at that. WoW learned that lesson and killed the 40 mans because they are bad for business. The more people a raid requires, the larger the barrier to entry and the more frustration they represent for most folks. Sat Jul 16 2011 11:28AM Report
Kendane writes:

My problem with raiding is every single time, it became serious buisness, not fun, but work.  Read the guide, practice to fight the boss through.....pretending to fight it or something, people basically yelling at each other whenever someone messes up.  Often times it got to be where raiding was not fun, it was miserable, I had more fun at my internship shreading paper than die to boss, get chewed out for something I didn't do(guild leaders mod was acting funky) etc etc.

I grew to despise some of raid leaders in my guild.  I know that raids are meant to be the next big challange, but my gosh does the experiance get boring and miserable for me. 

Sat Jul 16 2011 11:46AM Report
Wicoa writes:

Raiding is a poor excuse for an end game what mmos have become will fail over time it doesn't take long for people to realise the job it is and strain on real life.

Sat Jul 16 2011 2:04PM Report
Dionysus187 writes:

Raiding was good until WoW players got a hold of it. Now it's all about everyone watching that video, and reading that guide, and spec'ing your character out a specific way.

And like others here I am sick of the many players vs. a handful of enemies. In PvE I think the enemies should ALWAYS outnumber the players. Games like DCUO and TERA are starting to do this luckily.

MMO's really need to work on being MASSIVE again. Groups and raids should simply be people I want to play with little regard for what class they are or gear they are using, and enemies should outnumber players by AT LEAST 2:1.

Sat Jul 16 2011 5:43PM Report
NeVeRLiFt writes:

the treadmill... aka carrot on the stick approach to raiding is what has ruined it


Sat Jul 16 2011 9:13PM Report
Athcear writes:

I loved raiding for pretty much every reason that others hated it.  It was difficult, it was a huge investment, but succeeding at challenges that required that kind of effort...  Success felt damn good.  It was a really elite thing to strive for and work towards.  Without all that difficulty, overcoming a raid wouldn't have been nearly so satisfying.

Sat Jul 16 2011 10:59PM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:

Never much liked raiding and likely never will.  But I say more power to anyone who does, we all got to find what we like in a game?  For me it is almost always the journey that matters, typically when I reach max level it is time to start over again at level 1 or find a new game :)

Sun Jul 17 2011 2:04AM Report
SkullFighter writes:

One thing that always bothers me is its an exclusive piece of content.  With having to have certain armor to do it or having to have so much points or whatever form any game comes up with.  For a genre that wants to bring people together its often a case of exclusivity.

Raiding is not really challenging either.  You can keep doing it over and over until its been figured out.  At which point everyone uses the same strategy to beat the dungeon.

Its just another piece in the themepark genre that lends itself to expiring/exclusive content.

Sun Jul 17 2011 1:34PM Report
Yavin_Prime writes:

The fact that you have to "repeate" a raid over and over again for gear makes it a "grind". Games that support raiding are in reality supporting a futher grind to keep their end game players happy. I think people are generaly getting sick of grinding. We want more dynamic challenges and more dynamic content. I think that is why Rifts got so popular at first (note that said popularity has deflaited a bit). With endgame players could continue to do the invasions rather than raid for gear. The invasions were dynamic rather than in a static dungeon. They had the similar formula of a raid but the spread it out over a zone with random spawn points.

The bottom line is poeple are tired of grinding. Guild Wars 2 is exciting because it offers more than just a grind. Many newer games are going down this path, they're watching WoW and its community and seeing how many players are leaving or shouting out for new end game content. Cata came out and sure a lot of people rushed back in, but it didn't hold them nearly as long or as well as previous expansions did. It's obvious that the next gen of MMOs has to do something differant. Just like how raiding was unique 5-10 years ago now it is old. It's time for a new form of content, and I'm glad to see that developers are getting the message.

Sun Jul 17 2011 3:17PM Report
Dengar writes:

Here's the problem with raiding: it's more about progression than anything else. In Asheron's Call, for example, you could get better items than raid drops, but it was random, rare, and your chances weren't the best. The game was skill/build based, and items dropped on death. Most "raid encounters" mainly had toys or things that were pretty good and didn't drop on death, and you could either try to zerg it to hell or take a small group of friends. Respawn sometimes took awhile, but you could get people their items the same day or the next, none of this "do it for 2 months straight, pray for luck" sort of stuff. In that sense, it was both for fun and flexible. 

When you make people repeat the content again and again, so that they have to take time out of their RL schedules several times a week for about as long as they play the game, it becomes a job. It's the same reason people also tend to dislike dailies. It's a grind that makes you play, not fun.

Sun Jul 17 2011 6:26PM Report
Strap writes:

I was a raid leader in LOTRO for my very casual guild. We had an amazing time in the two raids that were available before the expansion, even though we never completed either.


The thing is, until Turbine $^%&ed it up and introduced radiance, raids were COMPLETELY open in LOTRO. We could fill a raid spot with people who had never dreamed of raiding. They'd be "carried" a bit but we'd bumble our way through most of it and have a ball.


Secondly, as soon as I am "required" to explicitly repeat content x number of times, I lose interest. I'll repeat content IF I find it fun and I want to repeat it. End of story.


It seems to me that the hardcore raid folk play hard because that is what they enjoy. Very clearly, casuals don't enjoy the current raiding style. SO why are they in the same game. It is because the hardcore need an audience?

Mon Jul 18 2011 6:36AM Report
rygard49 writes:

I don't really think this is a thing. People like raiding. Case in point, the most popular MMO is WoW, which is focused on end game raiding. I think what the OP should have asked is a reason for why people who don't like raiding... don't like raiding.

And who are all these people who supposedly cheered Anet on? It wasn't the MMO community as a whole, I'll tell you that. Substantiate that claim with evidence please, or refine your argument.

Could raids be done better in MMOs? Absolutely. That's the case with any aspect of online gaming; there's always room for improvement. Are they unpopular? Far from it.

Mon Jul 18 2011 5:13PM Report
Jangocat writes:

It's about time someone focus on something besides raiding. Every MMO for the last 11 years has basically copied EQ's end game, though much easier and dumbed down versions.


I want rewarding end game content that doesn't take 20-40 players basically just following an encounter script. Nothing challanging about that. If you read the guids and follow the script with the proper group you will win. But you may have to do the same raid dozens of times to get what you want to drop or to win the roll. Boring and annoying.

Mon Jul 18 2011 6:43PM Report
squish0416 writes:

Raiding itself is fun when people are on Vent/Mumble and chatting.

It's getting to that point that is more like a chore. In order for there to be that fun time, people must commit to a time. If the raid content isn't a joke, they have to commit days or even weeks.

It becomes not unlike a job. You apply for a guild. You show them your qualifications. If they like you, they try you out. You are then to show up at X time and be there for X hours on X days to down whatever boss.

You could say people don't have to take it as seriously, but if a few people don't take it seriously enough to show up, it ends up wasting a lot of people's time. This discourages them from showing up. Therefore, raid leaders have to be strict. This turns it even more into a job and less a game.

The actual fights and events are fun with a lot of people, even if it is a bunch of people hurling fireballs. It's just all the backstage management that makes things unenjoyable, and there's no easy solution for that. You could make raids a joke and easily PUG'able, but that removes the challenge that some people love in their MMOs.

Tue Jul 19 2011 5:57PM Report
Borick writes:

Many people do not seek sports-like team play in their leisure activity, and being forced to play second-fiddle to a bunch of 'raid jocks' adds insult to injury.

Raiding would not be hated if raiders didn't feed upon the non-raiders to sustain their 'fun'.

Fri Jul 22 2011 12:54PM Report
Kothoses writes:

Raiding is not the problem, its people running them incorrectly or trying to run them as a "professional endevour" that are the problem.

Raids done right can be a lot of fun, but the fact that the ideal of raiding has not moved along in 10 years is the problem, people want something new to go with the old.  But not too new, too much change is bad too....

Fri Jul 22 2011 2:05PM Report
drakwon writes:

WoW keeps people hooked because its hard to get what you want.  All you people saying you want this or that, you have no clue what you are talking about. You think you want some other magical new method of gameplay that doesnt exist. People raid and try to raid because its fullfilling to acomplish things others can't. So unless you have ideas, stop posting useless crap.

Tue Oct 18 2011 12:10AM Report writes:
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