Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't touch our lvl 1 raids!

I hear a thundering in the distance. Currently it's just a low noise, barely audible. But for every day it's increasing, and hopefully it will reach the level of a thunderstorm before Blizzard applies the 3.3 patch.

We’re many, we’re united and we’re dedicated to stop the sudden and stupid idea to remove the possibility to form low level raids.

OK devs, you are the Gods in WoW and in the end we’re left out at your mercy. But you won’t make this thing go through without anyone noticing!

The reason behind
Ghostcrawler – who anyone who reads the PPI will know that I appreciate and respect a lot – has tried to give some explanations and arguments in a forum thread picked up by MMO Champion.

And to be honest I was a bit surprised when I read about the reasons behind the change.

I couldn’t quite figure it out myself, so in my imagination I formed a vague theory that it somehow had to do with gold sellers or some other kind of cheaters that Blizzard wanted to get rid of. Maybe they had some new tricks in their sleeves including the use of raids? Why else would they take such a drastic measure?

But the explanation turned out to be a different one. It was all about concern for new players!
Listen to the words of Ghostcrawler:

One of the worst experiences a new player to WoW can have is to get invited to a raid. It immediately shuts off their ability to complete quests. Yes there are ways around that, but when you're talking about a legitimately new player who may not even have the support of friends teaching them how to play, it can just kill any progress flat. Without the starting quests, the player has no direction, no sense of their role in the game and no reasonable way to gain XP. It's even worse when done maliciously, by inviting a bunch of noobs to a raid and then dropping out. :(

Speaking from my own experience I never ever joined a raid before I was 70 and took my first step into Kharazan, wiping like mad at the trash heading for Attuman (oh, memories!) I don’t even think I grouped up in a normal party before I was at least level 20. If someone maliciously would have invited me to a raid to prevent me from getting xp, I would probably have been terrified and said “no thank you” since I didn’t have a clue what it was about.

I can’t help wondering if those ill-intended raids even exist. But let’s say they do. There surely must be better ways to protect the innocent newbies than to prohibit them altogether. A number of suggestions of alternatives have been made in the thread. Personally I think the natural way would be to make a warning to low lvl characters joining a raid, similar to the warning about saved instances. “Joining a raid group means that you can’t complete any quests or gain xp. Do you still want to join the raid group?”

Ghostcrawler admits that there are other solutions than to stop low level raiding, but doesn’t seem too keen on going through with any of them, claiming that the issue is complicated and needs some more pondering. OK, but if it is, what’s the rush about taking away the low lvl raids in the first place?

Fundament for ingame events
Now listen. Those raids may be laughed upon, but they are a pretty much the fundament of player created ingame events, like gnome rat races, trains, hogger raids, gnome bombing and such.

In fact it’s the ONLY way that players from different servers can come together to have some lighthearted fun, without having to form an army of deathknights or take the hassle to speedlevel a new character to level 10 just to be able to participate in the event.

Whoever in the developing team who came up with this event (not necessarily Ghostcrawler): please rethink.

Don’t touch our lvl 1 raids!


Klepsacovic said...

This makes we wonder if it is outdated to even disable quests in raids. How often do people even group up for quests? I can't imagine we're going to see much quest raiding. This merely discourages people from questing while waiting for raids to fill or from joining early forming raids while questing. It discourages us to play together.

Earlier in the history of WoW I could have seen people forming raids to do quests. Not anymore. We don't group much outside of raids. It's a bit sad.

Jormundgard said...

Excellent... soon you too shall see the shadowy truth of our little crab, Larísa!

But seriously, it's a sledgehammer solution and is more irritating than effective. And (to me) a slightly chilling reminder that they would probably rather replace and old cranky customer with a new one, rather than enhance the game for old players.

Elnia said...

The problem is real but the solution is wrong. Unlike instances raids cannot be soloed. What typically happens is a person who wants to grind for the tiger mount will invite a clueless newbie to the raid so a level 80 can solo the bosses and poach the mount. It is abusive.

The right solution is to make raids soloable. It would remove the incentive to invite lowbies to the raid in the first place.

Although, since I don't raid, there may be solid reasons to not make raids soloable.

Gevlon said...

You wouldn't join something that you don't know because you are not stupid.

People (especially kids) have the tendency of accepting any request. The typical way of gbank robbing is simply whispering to pls invite me, than demand on the raid chat to "promote me". People do it. People are stupid.

falc said...

I think the dropping of lvl 1 raids is wrong. And there is a much better approach to fixing the problem - by making some long forgotten interface tweaks.

You see, currently the request to join a party and raid comes up as exactly the same question on your screen "Person X has invited you to a group".

If the sentence read - Person X has invited you to a [insert orange bold letters here] RAID [end coloring] and a warning that you cannot earn XP while questing in a raid under it in small print, that would be one small bit of the solution.

The 2nd problem with the current interface really is that when you are in a party and someone converts it into a raid group, the only indication of that is a small yellow writing at the chat window that says that your party is now a raid. The default UI still shows you only the party interface - afaik. They should implement an xperl or other decent raiding mod like solution where a different UI grouping pops up so it is easy to differentiate whether you are in a raid or a party. Currently only looking at the raid menu will do that.

Anyway my conclusion being that the main culprit here is not the fact that people can join raids at low lvl-s, but the fact that you cannot extinguish a raid group from a party very easily in the default UI.

My 2 cents anyway.

Arceopteryx said...

My guess is that they want the newbies to remain in the game for as long as possible. Basically; Money. The more players they got, the more money can Activision get.

This excuse is a lame one, and have been used far too often, but in this case, it seems like this really is the reason.

Ephemeron said...

Note that it is quite possible to organize in-game events for low-level players without forming a raid.

Larísa said...

@Klepsacovic: I'm annoyed too that I'm not able to quest while I'm waiting for a 10 man pug to get filled. However, they DO have some reasons for it to prevent exploits, so I can accept it.But the measure to disable low lvl raids is silly.

@Jormundgard: yeah, it's so silly. They cause a BIG problem with the sledghammer instead of fixing a SMALL problem a bit smoother.

@Elnia: I never ever heard of some evil 80 inviting a lvl 1 newbie just to be able to farm ZG. Does this really happen or is it more of an assumption?

@Gevlon: yeah, people are stupid and it may be wise to help to protect new players a bit from the resaults of their stupidity. But there surely are easier ways to do this than this chosen solution.

@Falc: you're right about the conversion issue. It could definitely be much more clear. About the difficulties in knowing how to leave a raid, they'll hopefully solve this with the improved tutorials that are incoming.

@Arcleopteryx: but they're doing it the wrong way. Why not think differently and ENCOURAGE players to form raids at low level and take part in player created content? It would show new players an interesting aspect of the game at an early stage and maybe increase their curiosity and will to keep playing it...

@Ephemeron: theoretically possible - yeah, but it's harder to coordinate it. Making a raid group is an easy way to keep track of players and communicate with everyone participating in such arrangements.

Bri said...

The biggest part of the problem for new players, in my mind, is the fact that you don't get automagically disbanded from a raid. You stay in it forever until you leave. I can see how this would be very confusing for a new player, whether they knew what they were doing when they joined the raid or not.

The "no quests or xp" part of raids prevents zone-wide questing raids, as I don't believe raids have the same distance limitations as parties do for xp and loot -- someone please correct me if I have this part wrong, I think you just have to be in the same zone. This is so someone corpserunning back still gets credit for a kill or is able to roll on loot. If this is the case, then people would simply form a raid for the zone, and everyone would level like crazy as you got killcredit for mobs you're nowhere near and have never even seen. There'd be more people AFK in the inn than the starting cave of AV.

Fish said...

I think what actions a lvl 1 should be able to do is a major topic at blizz. Nothing is more annoying than gold spam or spam in general. I personally don't really see why level 1s would have any need to participate in a raid, just a regular party could accomplish almost the same thing.

Dw-redux said...

I agree with Gevlon.
Lots of kids will (and I believe have) fall for the "accept this invite nau, lol" and then become stuck in raids w/o the possibility to do anything but quit or roll a new toon.

But Jormundgard is so right, it is a sledgehammer solution, and yet another proof that blizz is trying to see just how little work they can put into the game to keep us paying (not playing)

Suicidal Zebra said...

Blizzard are overhauling the game for new players as evidenced by the new tutorial system now on the PTR, and unintentionally joining a raid and not knowing about it is a real problem for new players simply because they don't know the ins and outs of grouping mechanics. The lack of obvious indicators to being in a raid group on the default UI exacerbates the issue. In fact, I remember a lot of complaints back in 2005 over this and it was never really addressed.

Perhaps a new type of event grouping system for all levels would be appropriate which specifically allows the communication and organisation functionality of a raid but in all other respects solo gameplay is unaffected. Stick a time duration on the group and job done.

Fitz said...

@ Elnia: You hit it exactly on the head when you said real problem and wrong solution. It seems very counterproductive to have a bunch of new tutorials available to new players to show them everything they need to know, but then turn around and prevent them from joining raids because they don't know how to group group. What's the tutorial for again?

@ Larisa: Yes people do invite lowbies in order to enter raids when they can't find a guild member to group with. Raids should definitely be soloable now that the instance server problems have been addressed.

My apologies for becoming scarce around the Inn. Hopefully I can grab a drink and catch up on all these wonderful entries from October now. Send me one of your best Harvest beers, please :-)

Hinenuitepo said...

I've never done it, but I'd like to do a lvl 1 Hogger raid someday...
I agree, there are many solutions far more elegant than banning them altogether.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

It's not only higher levels, I've had other lowbies invite me to a group and switch it to a raid, becuase they think if they make the group a raid, that they'll BE raiding and get epic loot.

Either they were someone's alt that they are using to mess with people, or they are really that stupid, I'll let Gevlon decide on this.

I see no problem with this, since level 1 raiding is just flat out pointless, and raiding hogger is a poor excuse to stop the harrassment of new players.

Falc has a good idea that they should do anyways, but it not enough of a solution for new players who are used to just clicking ok, or yes to clear warning messages (a trick used by websites to prevent M&S from leaving the website by asking, "Do you want to stay?").

As whether lowbie harrasment is a small or big problem, you'll be amazed how bad it is, especially on RP servers. Griefers are griefers, and they'll make noobs suffer no matter what.

Rem said...

Considering over the last 5 years about 12-15 millions of "new players" somehow made it through the Evil Raid Trap, I'm not quite sure why all of a sudden the alarm is on now.

Larísa said...

@Bri: As far as I know of I can't complete a single quest while in a raid currently. (well except for "raid quests" such as the ones in Karazhan. But it would be easier to make an effort to make the newcomers understand this than to prohibit low lvl raids. And yeah, it's a problem that it isn't so intuitive how to leave a raid. But surely that must be doable. Maybe just a simple button, like "leave vehicle".

@Fish: no, parties are restricted to 5 people. Player created lvl 1 are so much larger than that, believe me.

@Dw-redux. Yep. A sledgehammer. A silly one. And I agree on your follow-up blogpost about it.

@Suicidal Zebra: That might be a solution too. It's just sad that Blizzard seems so unaware or at least uninterested in the player created content.

@Hinenuitepo: I don't think I ever raided hogger, as far as I can remember. But gnome rat race was great fun!

@Pangoria Fallstar: No, I don't see lvl 1 raiding as pointless. It can be highly creative and very social. Something completely different to do when you're bored with farming your epix and want some variation to your gaming.

@Rem: yeah, it makes me wondering too. I was the noobiest of the noobs. And I didn't fall into that kind of trap. And even if I'd had I would probably have gotten out of it quickly. You can't turn in a q. Write a ticket. A GM tells you how raids work. Done.

Dw-redux said...

I was actuelly gonna sit on that post for a while to bask in the glory of my "wrath year 1" post, but then you made your post and... well it seemed fitting :)

Fuubaar said...

Funny story:

I was on my lvl 1 banker in Iron Forge and I got a whisper from a higher lvl fella interested in forming a raid.

TBH, I would never have the kahoonas to randomly whisper a lvl 1 to start your raid but then again, I'm not a jackass without a guild.

I do believe that there should be better ways of going about starting raids to enter an instance but these people do exist that invite lvl 1s to start them.

Atleast the guy knew I was a banker before he whispered me.

I think "Baggons" as a name kinda gives it away ;)