Raids (Destiny)

by kapowaz, Tuesday, May 07, 2013, 02:08 (4040 days ago) @ Cody Miller

"As a Raid Designer you will work with Designers, Artists, Engineers, and Producers to create memorable, bond-building encounters that players will scour YouTube to defeat."

Why on earth would you go to youtube to figure out how to defeat the RAIDs? Isn't figuring it out the whole entire fun of them? Isn't this essentially saying:

As a Raid Designer you will work with Designers, Artists, Engineers, and Producers to create memorable, bond-building encounters that players will not want to figure out how to defeat on their own, and so will turn to youtube so they don't have to."

If this is something players won't want to actually do themselves, or can't be bothered to do themselves, isn't that admitting the activity is kind of bad?

Upon seeing another Cody thread of cynical doom at first I feared the worst. Then I read it and realised I agreed.

The ‘figure it out amongst yourselves’ approach was a facet of MMOs in the early days. I never played it, but by all accounts EverQuest had more or less nothing to guide players in the right direction, and so they were forced to come up with their own forums and online databases to collect, collate and discuss how to optimally play the game. World of Warcraft started out with the objective of being far more accessible than EverQuest, but still failed to provide in-game assistance for a lot of things that players needed.

In the earliest days of WoW, raids were brutal. At least at first, they required 40 players and often would fail if a single key mechanic wasn't properly performed. Some encounters required as many as 4 main ‘tanks’, and the loss of a single one usually meant failure. What's more, many boss encounters had unusual or unexpected mechanisms which also lead to death, and so success usually required painful and time-consuming trial and error to discover just what the bosses could do, even before a potential strategy could be formulated.

For those of you who aren't familiar with WoW, one individual who has for a number of years had a very prominent public profile during the game's evolution is Greg Street — also known as Ghostcrawler — the ‘Lead Systems Designer’. He and his team are ultimately responsible for the design of all major game mechanics. From pretty early on he set his stall out with the intention of evolving the game to be more enjoyable for more players, as it was his (and I think most of Blizzard's) view that the game was too hardcore (apparently less than 1% of WoW players got to experience the ‘Sunwell’ raid during the expansion it came with, and so the majority of players never got to see that part of the story's ultimate conclusion).

Over the years WoW has been made more player-friendly, which offends the self-important, self-described ‘hardcore’ crowd, but the majority are unquestionably better off. As much as the improvements have helped, however, one big problem remained the lack of ‘discoverability’ of raid encounters. A lot of players (mostly the hardcore ones) enjoyed the discovery process, but for the overwhelming majority, when fights had complicated mechanics they would rather go look up the solutions offered on sites like tankspot.com than work it out for themselves. The ultimate result is that most players bypass this part of the game because they consider it too punishing, unentertaining or otherwise not fun.

Blizzard's solution to this issue was to introduce a raid and dungeon guide that explained the key mechanics of every encounter. It didn't tell you how to defeat them, but knowing that a boss will perform an attack every 60 seconds that will kill anyone facing him is a very useful start. It's been a couple of years since I was an active player so I'm not sure just how much requirement there is to learn mechanics via YouTube these days, but I'd not be surprised if it's reduced; it always felt more like homework than fun.

So; back to Bungie. Why would they want people to hit up YouTube to learn how to play the game? I am mystified, and more than a little concerned. A console game with an unstated prerequisite that players go learn how to play it via fan-submitted videos feels like a massive cop-out to me. In a way it's not a million miles from how games used to require tutorials, but these were eventually incorporated into the early stages of gameplay. I can only hope we're being premature in our fears. If there were any form of dialog between Bungie design and players here then they could probably put these fears to rest, but Bungie are pretty secretive about this stuff (and I don't suppose there's much point asking a serious question in the mailsack). We'll just have to wait and see.


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