Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rohan explains why we can't have nice things in endgame raiding

Just a short link to a must-read post over at Rohan's Blessing of Kings blog. Rohan talks from the heart about attitudes towards failure in a raid: "They were all very good players, at least pure skill-wise. But their response to any wipe, any failure, was to yell at people, to point fingers and berate them. Sometimes the yelling would start before the attempt even finished, while we still attacking the boss. It was the worst raiding experience of my life."

One of the reasons why I currently prefer playing Star Wars: The Old Republic over playing World of Warcraft is that in SWTOR failure is more of an option in solo content. That makes the game more exciting for me, and the increased risk results in increased fun. Up to now I only encountered people with similar views even in group situations, thus no social problems when having to try again after a wipe in a flashpoint. But I'm not sure that will last. Once we reach a point in the game where the content we play isn't new to us any more, our expectations of success will rise, and failure will be less tolerated. Which leads to situations as the one Rohan describes, with people channeling the "-50 DKP Onyxia wipe" yelling guy when things go wrong. In the current MMORPG design, boss encounters have a binary outcome, you either succeed or fail, and too many people can't deal with failure very well. (Which loops back to yesterday's discussion of taking achievements in video games too seriously.)

As long as the endgame of MMORPGs is more about people shouting at each other for failure, or those succeeding insulting those who fail, it will never be a feature that drives the long-term success of a game. World of Warcraft is a success DESPITE it's endgame, not because of it.

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