WOO II An Exploration in Design - July 2012 - By Stoneghost: Dalaran

 

WOO II - raiding

Arguably, more effort has gone into perfecting the dungeon raid than any other aspect of the current game. Little will be said here about the content of dungeons, the emphasis is rather on the process ... and the changes are meant merely to fine tune that process.

Releveling

A majority of the current game's dungeons are little used. This happens because lower level dungeons become too easy for characters that have advanced in power and skills - and the rewards offered are useless to higher level characters.

The process of releveling is introduced, in good part, to remedy this situation. When a Raiding team enters a dungeon, each character is releveled to the level of the dungeon. This means that gear, skills, talents and enhancements are adjusted to match the level of the dungeon, and this process has a number of beneficial outcomes:

  1. All dungeons remain playable to all characters, regardless of the character's highest level.
  2. Because characters match the level of the dungeon, the difficulty of the dungeon remains stable. And this means that rewards such as leveling achievements, value points and titles remain have equal value at every level.
  3. Players gain variety: some might play one or two raids continually until they tire of them, others might choose whatever raids are most actively seeking players.
  4. Leveling, itself, becomes much less the driving force of game play for Raiders, and since the majority of players are Raiders, this will affect the entire game.

See these releveling related topics for more details:

Resiliency and Torque

A problem brought on by dungeon progression is that the increasing power of monsters requires an equivalent increase in the power of the Raiders who attack them. The current game handles this by offering a multitude of weapons arranged in tiers of increasing power.

WOO II handles the problem by assigning each Raider two character enhancement attributes:

Increases in these two enhancements are rewarded to players as they complete a particular dungeon, thus raising their capability for the next dungeon. This means that there will be a power range for offense and defense on each level ... an enticement for players to keep moving their characters along. These two attributes also provide a "means test" for entry into higher difficulty dungeons.

Resiliency and torque can be awarded differentially, based on the amount of damage done and taken. To do so would emphasize the role that the character played in the raid.

Healing enhancements are not needed, as Resiliency's ability to limit damage should keep healing requirements more or less stable.

Because Resiliency and Torque are percentage multipliers, they scale easily during releveling.

These enhancements are only active inside dungeon instances.

Dungeons

There are two primary types of dungeons: Progression and No Boss - described here.

There is no special gear for Raiding ... Resilience and Torque handle the adjustments needed as characters progress.

This opens the door for some interesting changes, including dungeons that adjust their difficulty to match their opponents. When a character completes a given dungeon, he or she will receive a boost in Resilience and/or Torque and become eligible for the next dungeon in the progression. But what if the same character once again enters the dungeon that he or she has just completed. Normally, given the boost in power, this dungeon would now be easier. However, if the designers so desire, the Game could look at the Average Resilience/Torque of the group coming into the dungeon and adjust its difficulty accordingly ... by increasing the power of the monsters, adding more monsters, or both.

Note that this effect happens within one level ... releveling characters as they move to lower level dungeons is a different process. Some players might not enjoy this, and the feature could be offered as an option ... giving higher rewards and replacing the "heroic" modes of the current game.

Communications

The creation of a Raiding group will automatically spawn a sound channel for that group. When a character joins the group, he or she will be logged on to that channel. Characters leaving the group will be logged off.

The game options menu will include any settings or information needed to connect the player's computer with the audio chat system. If the player has no microphone, this will be indicated in the group leader's readiness report.

Some dungeons, in particular those with the largest groups, may have multiple audio chat channels assigned to them. In these cases, the game will provide a dialog box and/or hot key for switching channels.

Occupations

The traditional occupations for Raiding are Tank, Healer and Damage. No doubt these will continue. However, some features of WOOII may result in changes in the way these roles are played.

Self-Healing, in particular, will reduce the need for pure healers. The basic talents include a self-healing branch that is available to all players, and the skill tree for Raiders expands the basic self-heal in ways that will be especially useful during dungeon encounters.

Although a Raider need not choose to self-heal, most will probably avail themselves of as much as they think they need ... more would detract from damage or mitigation. Tanks who play with regular, experienced healers will likely opt for less self-heal and depend on their teammates. Tanks who play in random groups may want additional self-healing as insurance against the occasional poor healing they may encounter.

Although the need for tanks will likely not be reduced, the skills and talents allow for damage players to trade some amount of damage for more mitigation. Thus, some players may opt to equip their characters as secondary tanks. To a large extent, this will depend on the design of the dungeons ... with more self-healing and mitigation available, the designs may tend more towards the "multi-boss" encounter. In any case, the evolution of Occupations will follow the needs of the raids.

LOOTING

Looting tends to divide a group into two parts: those who need or want the item, and those who want to get on with the raid.

To deal with this, group leaders are provided with a special bag. All loot acquired during the raid goes into the bag. At the end of the raid, or earlier if so desired, the leader oversees the distribution of the loot.

To keep the bag from growing too large, dungeons should limit the amount of loot that appears as items. Anything below the specified "need/greed" line should be converted into cash before it is passed to the leader.

Items needed for quests or other purposes should be directly transported to the bags of a player when the appropriate monster is killed, chest opened, item found, etc. A note in the quest display text can confirm such events.

prerequisites

Having to complete a quest chain in order to enter a dungeon is not fun and should not happen.

This is a general rule: prerequisites are not fun. Ask any high school student who has had to complete a course in Driver Education in order to qualify for a driver's license. It matters not that the course might contain useful, even vital, information ... it is perceived as a time consuming impediment ... definitely not fun. Or, consider the common flu shot. I may agree that the flu shot is necessary and that it saves me from weeks of illness during the winter months, but it is still an annoying in convenience ... not fun at all.

If there is a need to tell Raiders a story before they encounter a boss, then the story should be woven into the fabric of the dungeon. If there needs to be a "preamble" ... a fight that sets up the full dungeon to follow ... then well and good - but the preamble should be account bound; once completed, it need not be encountered again.

Rewards

Raiding provides a variety of achievements leading to leveling points for Raiders.

Raids offer currency, and some raids may be set up to provide "daily" activities for cash.

Raids also offer titles and enhancements. Enhancements may be consumables or permanent; cosmetic or effective. Most enhancements will apply specifically to the Raider Life Path.

Other

Raiders have access to a unique, global chat channel. An additional channel for Raid Leaders is available through the Fun House and can be used to recruit team members "on the fly", if necessary.