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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Guild Wars 2 and the Downed State in PvP

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 29 2012 at 6:24PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Poll: Do you prefer PvPing with or without a downed mechanic?" by otinanai123. He says:

It promotes zerging, punishes hit and run tactics, makes 1v2 2v3 predictable (the side with the bigger numbers will almost always win). It punishes players who prefer to play only ranged (don't tell me how to play). It promotes turtling (setting up turrets, banners in a certain spot and just defending it). Kills don't feel like kills. Stomps don't feel like kills either since they don't require skill (just press F).

It creates frustration in many different scenarios:

1) killing someone and then not being able to stomp him (because you are either too low HP or a buddy is guarding him). How awesome does it feel in other games when you kill someone and are left with 5% hp? You'll never experience that in GW2.

2) killing someone in a 1v2 and seeing him self-rezz when his buddy stomps you

3) being killed and having your enemy not stomp you but not let you rezz either just to mess with you

4) killing someone and seeing a team member swoosh in and take the stomp

5) fights between 2 downed players where they throw rocks at each other for 30 seconds (so much fun)

Does the community agree? Read on to find out!

joocheese definitely favors the downed state mechanic:

Definitely with the downed mechanic. If I'm not mistaken, the downed mechanic is a first in an mmo; this mechanic is one of the new things that GW2 has brough to the mmo genre. I think it provides the downed player an opportunity to rally and continue fighting and it also provides the attacker with a unique "finishing move". Btw, more often than not, players will not rally, on average; I disagree with people who say the advantage is for the downed player. When a player is "downed", the advantage is still to the attacker, who still has to successfully "finish" the player.

P.S. Even after a downed player has been "finished" by an enemy attacker, other players can come and rez the defeated player; it just takes longer than if the player was just downed. In my opinion, this is one of the best wvw/spvp mechanic that GW2 has introduced.

Rabenwolf offers a fairly neutral take on the subject:

On one hand, the downed state really doesnt make a difference. With or without it, your character goes down "dead but not dead", no matter what you will come back and continue fighting. It could be there on the spot or spawned all over again.

So at its core, the mechanic shouldnt really make people feel good or bad about it, since its nothing really different...

Now the problem is, which may counter what I just said... comes from the irrationality behind one aspect of it.

That is, if you go down, you can quickly toggle through nearby enemies, find the one with the lowest health and try to get a quick revive to then focus on the guy or girl who took you down to begin with. I would rather see the downed state equating revival with attacking the person who specifically took you down (or people, if more than one contributed to your death) (pvp only).

On the flip side, adding the ability to try and heal yourself in a downed state seems fine.

Even through all that, you will die in pvp and you will come back and fight again. Nothing really changes. It is perhaps best felt in PVE where it can be more of a gameplay changer than anything else.

Just my 2 Cents.

ItsGopher just isn't a fan:

I'm personally not a big fan of the downed mechanic, it gives a group too much time to get back up and join the fight. I do like that you can rez anyone, and I think that should stay; but I don't like the idea of self rezzing. If you die, there should be a consequence such as having to run back, or wait for your team to rez you assuming that victory is near.

Me? I couldn't wait for the weekend to jump into this discussion, so I'll excerpt a bit of my take for you all below:

Personally, I generally dislike the downed state (so far) in PvP. I've played a good deal of PvP in GW2, but not enough to conclusively say it's truly a positive or negative addition to PvP either way just yet. However, so far, it's often been a nuisance more than anything else. You do get an additional sense of satisfaction when you get the stomp on someone, but I've had far more frustrating experiences with it instead. It also seems to often encourage poor play. One can attack from the battlements of a keep without regard for his or her safety as he is generally safe to go down up there. This allows for cases where unchecked aggression is rewarded.

Additionally, ranged characters have to exercise poor positioning in order to go in to even secure a kill (there should be a ranged 'Finish Him!' with a longer/interruptible channel time for those using ranged weapons, IMO).

Ultimately, it doesn't really feel good to me. Even so, I don't think the baby needs to go out with the bathwater. I feel additions (such as the ranged finisher mentioned above) or other tweaks could be made to improve the function, at the very least. I'll reserve full judgment until I get more time with it. Given the overall awesomeness of GW2 in both PvP and PvE, I'm willing to give ArenaNet the benefit of the doubt on this one for now. 

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

The Mists of Pandaria & Guild Wars 2 Battle

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday July 25 2012 at 9:52AM
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So, as you've probably heard a thousand times across the internet already, World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria is launching everywhere on September 25th of 2012. Click the link for details. Immediately apparent is the fact that this is exactly a month after the pre-purchase access for ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2

Surprise! Game Company B bases its release schedule on Game Company A! 

We've seen this before, and we'll keep seeing it after. It's the same thing Hollywood does with movie releases. You don't want to compete directly if you can avoid it, and Blizzard obviously knows that people will buy GW2, and don't want to risk losing potential day-one adopters by launching too close to that game. But will MoP's launch a month later do any damage to ArenaNet's new game?

That's a "remains to be seen" sort of thing, but here are my thoughts.

  • GW2 doesn't require a subscription.
  • GW2 does hope to earn from the RMT shop.
  • WoW's expansion might hurt the RMT sales for a time.
  • But any "dent" it makes, won't be permanent in GW2's revenue.
  • Just as any dent GW2 makes in WoW's subscriptions won't be permanent.
And in case I haven't stated enough of the obvious, many people will buy both, and many will buy just one. In short, folks. There is no battle between GW2 and WoW. At least not yet. The two games will both live harmoniously alongside each other because of divergent revenue models, just as the original GW lived quite healthily alongside WoW (and still does).
Me? Well, I'll be buying both. But that's only because I really want to catch 'em all and be the very best. 

Community Spotlight: What Burns You Out?

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 22 2012 at 7:07PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Top 5 List - Things Driving Burnout in MMORPGs" by XAPGames. Simple and straightforward, XAPGames wants to know what drives you to burnout in an MMO and offers a shortlist of his own:

Burnouts, let's hear your list.

Top-5 things driving burnout in MMORPGs:

1. Tedius questing.  Every quest hub is the same, just reskinned.  Quests feel meaningless.

2. No variety in combat.  Attack every mob the same way over and over.

3. Useless crafting.  Spend time and earnings leveling crafting only to find out later that it achieved nothing.

4. Ultra low drop rate quest items.  Kill 15 boars get 1 boar meat.

5. Slow respawns.  Quest is to kill 10 snargletooths, there are only 8 and there's a 10 minute respawn.

What were your picks? Read on to find out!

Foomerang seems to have a laser-focus on what burns him out most:

1. heavy heavy story driven mmos (developer made stories)
2. 90% combat focused with afterthought crafting and shallow "mini games" to convince people its an mmorpg
3. games made tedious so you can buy convenience in a cash shop
4. esport and the never ending quest for class balance
5. getting rewarded for the slightest fart of an accomplishment

Kyleran offers a fairly detailed list of his own:

1) Participating in beta testing.  So many people spend months in beta testing and by time the game launches they've either already consumed most of the content, or are able to just burn through it at launch (perhaps experiencing it for the umpteenth time) and again, finding the overall title to be unsatisfactory. 

I avoid them these days however another consequence is that when I want to take my time and enjoy the content for the 1st time, these former beta testers have seen it all before and want to just rush, rush, rush through everything and become impatient with me. (if it was a FFA PVP environment I'd probably gank them when their back was turned)

2)  End games without some aspect of PVP  territory control/resource denial.  DAOC proved theme parks can have a solid PVP endgame, more sandbox like titles such as EVE have a built in system for the most part.  It doesn't have to be mandatory, but it should be available, and it should be fairly massive, and not some small battleground like affair.

3)  Progression that comes to an end.  Most people play MMO's because they enjoy progressing a character from lower levels to higher.  Once they start to think progression has come to an end it frequently results in players want to quit and move on.  There are multiple ways to accomplish this, and picking only one form (i.e. gear grinding) probably hastens burn out and should be avoided.

4) As others have mentioned, overly short leveling curves is probably not a good thing, but is also one of the hardest to get right.  For the hardcore players, they can tolerate Lineage 2 style leveling, while to this day there are players who find WOW's leveling to be a bit too slow for their liking.  Finding the sweet spot is probably one of the most difficult challenges out there. Of course, you can always do away with levels and solve part of this problem, but it opens up a few more as well.

5)  Over focus on combat as part of the game's design. Seems like many players don't like to always "fight, fight, fight" so having fun, creative activities besides killing stuff will go a long way to increasing a game's longevity

Draron echoes the frustrating with crafting:

1 - The amount of new games that seem to follow the WoW formula of going from quest hub to quest hub to reach max level.

2 - Crafting and gathering (and other non-combat systems) being almost an afterthought, and provides no real meaning at endgame.

3 - The term endgame. Even moreso when people associate tiered raids and PVP battlegrounds with it.

4 - No player variety, set classes. A max level x class will be just like the other maxed leveled characters of that class.

5 - Getting old, like post #2 said.

And now for my own list (in no particular order)!

  • Super heavy grinds can bore me out quickly. The weird thing is, if I'm playing a JRPG or some other singleplayer RPG I have a huge tolerance for grinding (when it ultimately doesn't even matter) and will often earn everything I can for my character. In an MMO, however, it drives me absolutely nuts.
  • No/poor PvP. I really like PvP to be an integral part of the experience. I think I was spoiled by WAR in this regard and I look for that tight sort of integration in every new MMO. Not having it makes me antsy and I eventually burn out and start looking at other games to get that fix.
  • Afterthought crafting, as others have mentioned. This is probably the most surprising of all to me. I used to HATE crafting. Now, I really like when crafting has a meaningful role in the game. I don't know that I'd want to be a full on SWG-style crafter with a shop and a dedicated craft. But I like the idea of being able to make (useful!) things for myself if I put the extra time into it.
  • Observing the effects of attrition. All MMOs lose players, but I tend to acutely notice the server population differences as they happen, even at earlier stages, and it definitely hits my 'morale' with regards to the game. I like to think of MMOs longterm and I know that a downwards trend in population doesn't spell as strong of a developer supported content and feature schedule as an upwards trend would. No one wants to play an MMO that isn't fully taking advantage of its unique ability to grow, change, and add content over time.
  • Strictly raid-focused endgame. I've never been a fan of the raid to gear, gear to raid cycle. MMOs (like World of Warcraft) that focus on this sort of stuff to the exclusive of all else really burn me out at level cap. I don't mind doing a raid here and there, but I don't want my entire reason for logging on to be for raids during raid nights and for daily quests on the other days of the week. Boring!

What are your picks? Share 'em with us in the comments below!

Why I Won't Play the Asura

Posted by BillMurphy Friday July 20 2012 at 10:15AM
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At least not this weekend. Come August 25th, when I finally get to play “for real”, you can bet your giant ears and misshapen head I’ll be rolling an Asura Ranger right from the get go as my main.
And that’s the key right there. I’m glad ArenaNet and NCsoft have been slowly letting us taste Guild Wars 2. I don’t want to ruin the whole game before launch. But I’ve played the Norn, Human, Charr, and even the Sylvari starting areas extensively. I loved every minute. I want to savor that experience for the Asura come launch. 
I won’t even be watching the videos our own Mike Bitton takes of the little guys this weekend, in more than a quick glance to make sure it’s good to go on the site. I’ll proof-read his article on the topic, but hopefully without spoiling too much of the experience. I want to be untainted when it comes to the mice-like creatures so that when I log in on day one, I can experience them afresh and without much preconceived notion on how they play. 
How about you? Is there a race in GW2 you’re avoiding for this very reason? Has the beta spoiled your launch day at all, or is it just making you salivate more?
(Note, one funny thing about this? Mike Bitton hates the Asura, and we're forcing him to play them so I can keep them fresh for launch. Let's all point and laugh at his #firstworldproblems.)

Community Spotlight: Screw Dailies!

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 15 2012 at 6:26PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "I will punch a baby kitten if dallies aren't killed in mmorpgs!!!" by antshock35. Clearly, antshock35 isn't a fan of daily quests:

I am serious when I say this dallies are horrible .....imagine thinking of it this way you are going to do something maybe 300times everyday in a year for the love of baby jesus......

In this new genre of co-rpgs and leveling to cap in a weekend the developers had to have something to keep ppl from leaving there game hence the dailys. I think it was started by wow to hold the commuinity until there next expansion at the time , another reason to hate up on wow maybe so...

Can't they come up with somethign at least fun if this is the norm now ,doesn't Tera have like a never ending spawn fest of beast for there dallies . I just think there has to be something else the commiunity can come up with other then making us all go to the same places foreva to the point you can do dallies in your sleep litteraly.

Please save kittens and end the dallies in every mmo known to man now..noone likes them if they do then go play a solo game like angry birds . Of course I am going to get that person now posting who loves to play mmos but by them self which in itself makes no sense. If you like to solo then why not stick to skyrim or something else..

It is of cousre a mmo not a co-op rpg....or go shoot squirrels of fences but don't dare defend dallies.

save a kitten developers come up with something else.

Does the community agree? Read on to find out!

centkin explains the reasoning behind the use of dailies in today's MMOs:

Dailies are essentially a crutch.

It enables a game to have a small area that changes that they can put multiple quests in without doing a whole lot of work or dedicating a whole lot of game area for.  Plus if they have say 7 or 14 different types then people are less likely to gripe about there being no content.

It also meters the content.  You want someone to get a reward 45 or 100 days after they reach level 60?  This is a way to do it.

Plus it is a use it or lose it mechanic.  You get the person to log in every day for their 45 minutes or 2 hours and if they miss a day they miss the quests thus reinforcing the addiction.  The main way people leave a game is by not logging in for a week and then saying oh I dont need that anymore.  This stops that.


It is a win/win for the devs even if it is a loss in the long run for the players.

Axehilt notes that in The Secret World, just about everything is a daily! And he's a fan!:

Honestly one of the cooler things TSW did (which also fits with their progression system) is to make every single quest a daily.  So instead of being forced to do some narrow part of content each day or feeling like you've run out of quests to do (AOC's problem) you can always go back and hit quests just below you to help turbo charge your advancement.

Granted it's still not at the ideal spot where Quest Challenge influences Quest Reward (turbo charging my advancement with very easy quests is actually a bad thing), but the idea that I can do a huge variety of things on any given day is great.

Panther2103 recalls the not-so-fun times doing dailies in World of Warcraft:

I have only done Dailies in WoW and that was to get a mount. I hated every second of them. I haven't ever done a daily in any other game. Or a repeat of a quest for that matter. I do each quest once, and if I have to I grind when I run out of normal quests to do. Theres no point in repeating the same task for the same rewards in a game in my opinion.

I hadn't encountered much in the way of dailies until DC Universe Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic and I can tell you that I am definitely not a fan. Having something to do every day is fine, but it begins to feel like an obligation once you start doing them and that becomes a downer real quick. It gets worse when more are added in, as well. In DCUO or SWTOR, I often felt like I had so many to do it became overwhelming to think about doing them every day. I ended up focusing on the Ilum dailies as far as SWTOR goes, and even that was a nightmare.

Sure, it gets people logging in, which is what the developers are going for, but they're not really playing, they're just doing work. Dailies certainly aren't fun, I'll tell you that!

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: The Decline of Player Housing

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 8 2012 at 5:40PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "Player Housing - Why has this feature gone from a priority to a feature most developers couldnt care about? by MMOExposed.

Suffice it to say, the thread title explains what our spotlight poster is getting at, so let's get right into it beginning with MMOExposed himself:

Player Housing IS possible. It just is not a priority. If people do not like the game or if they do not find the game fun, they will not build a house.

The reasons make sense though. You could create the best housing feature-set we have ever seen in a game but if nobody enjoys the game to that point, they will not stick around just to have a cool house.?

Seem as if developers now days see no importance in this feature known as player housing. The quote has a point. If Developers put too much resources into Housing over other features, than players may not be interested in the game and wont build houses regardless of how detailed that feature is.

but why has this feature been tossed under the bus over the last few years?
seem like this feature has become very unpopular in the developers offices lately.

Player Housing seem like a dynamic feature that gives players something to do when raiding/leveling/other grinds come to a end. Seem like a win win feature from a consumer point of view, but not from a developer.

What turn of events causes this?

So, why has player housing fallen off as a marquee feature of most MMOs? Read on to find out!

terrant offers a convincing take on why player housing has fallen off:

Because by and large it's become useless from a gaming standpoint.

Devs often try to find soemthing useful to do with homes, to encourage players to visit them often. But at best they end up being a location the player jumps into from time to time, to collect some special item, get a buff, ot craft. Then it's back out in the world the other 99% of the time. Why waste resources developing a segment of content players only spend a tiny amount of time in?

Also player hoursing is viewed as a staple of RPing, which has declined quite a bit in MMOs. 

Keep in mind I'm not saying I have an opposition to player housing...I remember the fun I had opening up my Jobe house in AO for the first time and decking it out. But I don't thinkit's something enough people care about and will use for most mainstream developers to care.

Torluk feels its a matter of failing to get housing right all these years:

I get the impression that housing is something which is hard to get right in MMOs.  

If they make it instanced then people can lose the feeling of uniqueness their home brings.  If they make it buildable in the world then the problems of finite space, land hogging and ghost towns crop up.

I also believe the design focus of the game can impact how useful housing will be.  In a linear themepark where players are constantly relocating to new areas for character progression housing becomes less convenient, however, in a sandbox that is trying to simulate a world where individuals are linked to a particular territory housing can more easily become a fully fledged and enriching feature.

Perhaps once the majority of MMOs started dropping the world simulating elements of their predecessors and began to focus solely on being a 'fun' game housing became less relevant?

maplestone offers the likely culprit:

In a themepark design, it is unnatural to anchor a player to one place with a home when the rest of your design is focused on moving them on a constant zone-to-zone path.  Similarly, when the general tendency is to on-demand instancing, the concept of player-created landmarks is a little hard to mix in naturally. 

There's the coding/troubleshooting overhead to consider in the cost-benefit of giving players what is essentially a mini level-editor. 

That said, I greatly miss my UO houses - there are good reasons why "The Sims" was such a gigantic success.  Letting those fall was by far the most gut-wrentching part of unsubscribing.  If the finale of my stay hadn't felt like a "stay subscribed or we burn your house down" shakedown, I might have been more willing to return for visits.

I started out in MMOs with Star Wars Galaxies where player housing was a major focus of the game. I never got much use out of mine, though. I had a great spot at the Lake Retreat on Naboo overlooking the lake itself, but I really only used the house to dump stuff in. With that said, in my time playing the game I saw some of the most creative and authentic Star Wars looking homes I could imagine and it really did a great job at selling the game as a living, breathing, Star Wars world.

This wasn't just limited to housing, but even player shops (which were often run in houses). There's nothing like walking into a starship engineer's house and seeing what looks like a completely realistic workshop with engine parts suspended from the ceiling and the like.

That sounds great, right? But again, if its so great, why has player housing fallen off in recent years? Honestly, I think maplestone gets the basic idea right: housing doesn't make as much sense in themepark games. When you put together a game design vision, settling on a themepark design means your team is focused on producing content that is then consumed by players. This often means the world is also designed such that the playspace serves to support the content created for the game. Every bit of the map has a meaning and so creating these wide open spaces for players to populate with housing kind of clashes with that.

Sure, there are exceptions, such as LOTRO with its instanced neighborhoods, but by and large, player housing just doesn't fit in with themepark world design. I'd also wager that the people that really took advantage of all the awesome customization offered by player housing often make up a small percentage of the playerbase.

It's also a database nightmare. ;)

Why do you feel player housing has fallen off as a major MMO feature? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Is Raiding Dead?

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 1 2012 at 7:10PM
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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 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!