January 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 27 Comments
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Tequatl, The Sunless serves as a raid sized world boss.

I’m not against raids. Certainly I’ve participated in them during my time. They can be fun, frustrating, rewarding, even thrilling, but are they integral to my experience in playing MMOs?

No. Maybe I’m not the typical MMO blogger in that respect but I don’t require raids.

And I don’t think Guild Wars 2 requires raids either.

And that seems to be the big topic lately on all the forums, on the blogs, in the alleyways where nerds meet secretly. I can hear it now. “Oh my god! No raids?! Guild Wars 2 sucks!” they say. It reminds me of the early days of Guild Wars. People never gave it a chance for whatever reason. No jumping, no open world, and no open minds willing to look past those two qualities.

Raids can be fun. The coordination, the teamwork, getting a bunch of people together to pull off feats others can’t, and getting those sweet sweet drops.

But there are drawbacks. Maybe you like waiting around for people to take their bio-breaks, or the five minute waits for people to just travel there, the selfish infighting over drops, the accusatory attitudes of some personality-types when things go wrong, the drama (my god the drama) and cutthroat nature of competitive raiders all seem like negatives to me.

The organizational aspects of a large raiding guild, the impersonal relationships, it all takes the fun out of it.

The thing is I don’t think Guild Wars 2 is that game, and was never supposed to be that game.

I look at the original Guild Wars as perhaps one of the best casual games ever made. Heaps of content tucked into tiny proportions of bite sized moments. Shouldn’t the sequel retain some of that quality?

And I think it does.

Groups of 5 people are easy to organize. Groups of 5 people in classes that can fill any role are even easier. You can warp to dungeon entrances or any other activity you might want to do. Jump into any dynamic event no matter how far it has progressed and you’ll be rewarded.

Raiders won’t be happy with Guild Wars 2 but then when are raiders ever happy? The large scale events designed for loads of people with massive monsters won’t sate their bloodthirst, the dungeons won’t give them suitable loot or challenge, and nothing will be like World of Warcraft enough.

For the rest of us, knowing we can spontaneously show up to The Shadow Behemoth, The Shatterer, Tequatl The Sunless, or any other large scale battle without the need for much organizational effort is fine.

And we’re not paying a subscription so worrying about the lack of a treadmill seems pointless. Seriously, does every game need raids?

This is a game for Guild Wars fans and will cater to Guild Wars fans. It will have the same philosophical underpinnings, with perhaps some amount of innovative game design, and absolutely no raiding. I can’t say I’m disappointed.



  1. You’re preaching to the choir on this subject, so obviously I’m more than a little biased but… that was very well said.
    I sincerely hope that ArenaNet stay true to their current course, and are not swayed by the very loud minority of folks who will demand they implement grindy gear grinds hidden away behind tedious raid structures. Even if they do cave in on this, at least there is a whole lot of game there already for the rest of us who aren’t interested in that sort of thing, as you said, with the 5 man dungeons, the remarkable pvp setup, and the large DEs.

    • P.S. are the demands for raid content motivated primarily by wanting a sense of accomplishment associated with them, (you know – the epeen as it’s referred to) or by the challenge level associated with them?
      (It’s safe to assume it’s not motivated by the drama, squabbling, and endless waiting…)
      Hopefully we will all find challenging gameplay in all facets of GW2.

      • I would assume the demands come from expectations more than anything. People just expect raids and expect treadmills to keep them busy. They want something to keep them busy.

    • I doubt they’ll bend on the issue, certainly not for the initial release for the game, but if they were going to bend it would probably be for the expansion. But i doubt it.

  2. I hope that Anet can see the statistics that come out of wow; how such a small percentage of people are actual raiders. Even after their dumbed down, random group raids. I’ll add that a lot of the people that get the most out of wow are raiders however. I’ll never be a raider its just too much for me now days. It’s why I played GW, though personally to me its become a grind over the years too. Though I suppose I dont really have to do it; I just don’t get any recognition through titles and such. Whatever, had fun.
    GW2 seems to have a lot of work ahead of it to get rid of the preconceptions that have been made about GW2; its all pvp, its not a real mmo and its for the non-serious. Shouldn’t be too hard you’d think.

    • If we’re talking sheer enjoyment of the game minus the socialization aspect, I don’t think it’s the raiders who get the most out of the game but the people who level and then start new characters or unsubscribe get the most out of it. People who hang around to raid aren’t there for the content, that would be too boring, they’re there for the challenge of holding a guild together and bragging rights.

  3. The great thing about GW1, of course, is that there is so much to do and explore after level cap. But, I’m not sure, in GW2, how much content there will be after level 80 and suspect it will be quite limited, at least at launch, since there hasn’t been much mention of content after level 80 (how many of those 1500 DEs are at level cap?). Of course that won’t matter too much if they can add stuff in a reasonable timescale after launch.

    I don’t think that doing content at a lower level will be too interesting, since Eric Flannum has said that downscaling is only really intended to stop high level players from being able to one shot mobs, but that you will still be a lot more powerful than the content. Hence, it won’t be much of a challenge – unless they scale the content for high levels differently (but there’s no indication that they intend to do that). That’s a bit disapointing, since the way DEs work is that you won’t see all the content in a single run through. They *could* do a hard mode, as in GW1, by putting all the low level content in a separate instance that you can visit after level cap – but there has been no mention of that either.

    ANet have already said that, like GW1, rewards after level cap will be mainly cosmetic – that’s good, but, perhaps a slight weakness in GW1 is that the reward system is a bit stingy. Whilst I’m quite happy with cosmetic rewards, it’s really just as much fun to get a black dye drop or find some cool piece of armour as to get the sword of invincibility; but, I hope that they flesh out the reward system a bit in GW2.

    • Well I disagree on the lower level content not being interesting. I foresee many people doing this for various reasons. The level 80 dungeons and zones will surely be designed with “end game” in mind but again I don’t think end game should be as important, gw and gw2 aren’t those types of games.

      • It depends what you mean by endgame, I just mean stuff you do after level cap, and I thoroughly agree that ANet should avoid gear progression driven raiding at level cap – and fortunately so do they :). However, GW1 is full of interesting, challenging things you can do at level cap both on your own or with other players.

        But the *key* here is that whatever content there is after level cap needs to include stuff that is both *challenging* and that can be done solo in the open world – It would be entirely silly, for instance, to restrict PvE end game content to just 5 man dungeons, since that would force all those people who had levelled to 80 doing the events to suddenly switch to another type of gameplay that they may not like.

  4. Above, Melski mentions looking at WoW’s numbers of raiders to point out that there aren’t a lot of raiders.

    But I think a more interesting statistic and perspective comes from WoW’s new Looking For Raid. If anything, the use of the new LFR feature shows that the majority of people WANT to raid, but don’t want the organization required, time commitments, self absorbed teammate drama, etc, etc.

    It’s a positive statistic instead of a negative one. That’s actually why I think Guild Wars 2 model will be successful. People want to do these massive open world bosses with 30 other people. They just don’t want to schedule it and farm mats and put up with angry people in vent and possibly wipe 30 times before the dragon’s head falls off.

    • OTH if u can’t lose in these big events it won’t be a challenge. I notice that the large scale open world events in Rift were substantially unlosable at least when I was playing. In these large scale events, no one person will have that much of an impact on the outcome, so it seems a very difficult task to make these events challenging without poor random groups finding them undoable. I just wonder how this on the fly grouping will work out in practice and hope that ANet have some good ideas up their sleeves.

      • Its hard to tell how these bosses will be challenging when the game actually releases since they’re tuned differently for the demo, on a timer, etc. It’ll be cool to finally see this stuff in action for real.

    • From what i’ve seen of those statistics it still shows that the number of people who participate in dungeons is far exceeded by the number of people who don’t.

      But I guess we still agree on the main point, that gw2 is going to cater to what people want.

    • I actually don’t believe that people wishing to raid are primarily dissuaded by drama and organization, etc. I think the time commitment is the primary issue people have.

      Not that they possess the inability to raid for 3 straight hours but that in a raiding guild you might raid for 3-5 hours, 4 days a week, every week. It can be really tough and most people don’t have a lifestyle that allows that. I used to raid very hardcore, top guild on my server, top 40 guild in the US. I was the maintank and an officer and I was expected to show up early and maintain perfect 100% attendance. I did it for a year and burned out, it’s just plain tough.

      • That is a good point, it is a large time investment. But from what I see most people don’t want to raid period, not they want to raid but don’t have the time. Hundreds of thousands have completed various dungeons in wow but millions haven’t, showing the majority of people aren’t really interested.

  5. Expecting end-game raiding is an unfortunate WoW side effect for every new MMO.  However, i do not think it is necessary.   Regarding Cuth’s LFR comment, I take the opposite view. Many servers are suffering from many raiding guilds dissolving.  Blizzard had to install cross server LFR to increase the pool of people to pull from.  As of 10 Jan 87% of level 85s defeated Deathwing through LFR, only 13% via server restricted normal or heroic mode. Granted these are not all encompassing numbers but they give us a basic picture.  I think many of the reasons Hunter outlined explain why people are losing interest in end-game-raiding. GW2,  will have an open world (like Skyrm) with “big boss” dynamic events.  In essence, they don’t need raiding because they but can setup dynamic events that lead to epic battles and once the battle or it’s time to participate is over, it’s done and you look forward to the next one. 

    Raid Numbers sited from

    • I think raiding is always going to have a place in these types of games, a lot of people are interested in that sort of teamwork, but certainly the popularity is going to vary and hopefully the type of gameplay is going to vary with innovation, just like in gw2.

  6. I would be curious to know how much time and programers it takes to make a raid versus the regular quests. I would imagine that a raid is very time consuming to create, and to have it work correctly. Yet only a portion of the games population will ever finish the raid. Even then the raiders always seem to be the least content portion of the game population. I have never understood why devs would want to take the time and effort to create their best work for only a few whiny people.

    • I think it’s mostly a guaranteed treadmill to keep people paying subscriptions. Your most hardcore fans will keep paying and paying until they’ve got the best gear in the game.

  7. Since leaving WoW, one of my most adhered-to personal criteria for MMOs is…

    …if the end-game is about PvE raiding, I’ll neither buy nor play it.

    >.> I’m really glad GW2 isn’t going to be that.

    • Ditto. I’m tired of treadmills and skinner boxes.

    • Understandably some people don’t like raiding at all. A natural result of some of the negatives I listed, not to mention end game raiding being so different from everything coming before it.

  8. I only really tried raids in Aion, and even then they were open world and quite loose (ie, I kinda just tagged along and the enemies we were fighting were such high level that I was doing maximum 1 or 2 damage each shot). I’ve had a 8 year MMO career spanning a number of games and not once have I felt like it was any less enjoyable because I wasn’t raiding.

    True, that may be because I haven’t tried it (which is why I’m not knocking the genre itself) but I know you can have a brilliant MMO without it.

    • Raids can be fun, but as you say you can have a perfectly good time without them. I hope people figure that out and just enjoy gw2.

  9. If raiding is really such fun, you have to wonder why MMOs feel they have to tack 50 levels on the front of the game with completely different game play… or am I missing something?

    • Heh a good point, but most games have lower level raids as well, they just aren’t as popular because most people level past them quickly enough. That said you make a good point.

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