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Thread: "Dance" encounters Vs "output" encounters.

  1. #1

    "Dance" encounters Vs "output" encounters.

    I've been thinking a lot about encounter and raid design recently, and this week's news of 4.3 really got me thinking. Due to my disappointment with the raid content in Cataclysm, particularly in 4.2, it worries me that future fights may well be more complex than they already are, excluding ever more people as a result. If you can stick a pin in the "we wunt challengezor" cry that booms from the rooftops for a moment, I'll try to explain why.

    I recently got reading this entry from Greedy Goblin talking about "the dance" and how an encounter's mechanics now dictate success as opposed to how well you can play your class. Of course, that doesn't imply that there aren't rough DPS checks to be found; there absolutely are. But the point is that classes are now easy enough to play that you cannot necessarily show skill simply by being good at it. Everyone is.

    Now, I should quickly point out that I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the linked post. It actually makes a muddled attempt at indicting voice communications for some reason, while also managing to subversively insult those of us who use it. But the fact remains that playing your class has gotten significantly easier over time, while playing an encounter has gotten significantly harder. Statistically, these "dance" fights see far fewer successful pulls than those where perfecting your rotation (henceforth known as output) yields best results and the reason is probably pretty obvious. Take a look at these two differing "parses", assuming a ten-man raid with two tanks and two healers:

    Parse 1

    Fury warrior: 12k.
    Retribution paladin: 12k.
    Survival hunter: 12k.
    Frost death knight: 12k.
    Affliction warlock: 12k.
    Feral druid: 12k.

    Parse 2

    Fury warrior: 14k.
    Survival hunter: 13k.
    Feral druid: 12k.
    Affliction warlock: 12k.
    Frost death knight: 11k.
    Retribution paladin: 10k.

    The difference in raid DPS is nothing - exactly the same damage is being done. However, parse 2 is seeing two people being carried by stronger players and this is why "output" fights are always going to be more casual friendly. At the very bottom line of it, worse players can be safely carried by better ones when there is no real risk of dying to a dance. Conversely, in dance-orientated fights, should players die off then even excellent colleagues cannot make up the difference.

    TL, DR?

    Plummeting raid success in Cataclysm is thanks to personal responsibility being flunked in dance-heavy content.

    It's impossible to be sure, but I would imagine this isn't lost on the developers - yet 4.3 has got a lot more dance-content in the pipeline from what I've read. To counteract this, the LFR tool will be coming in to provide dumbed down versions of main raids so that the more casual or less skilled can get involved a lot more easily, and be more expectant of success. My problem with this is that it shifts emphasis further away from playing your class well (which I find unpalatable) and can potentially create other problems with progression, achievement-demands and, worst of all, gearing. Zarhym has already alluded to LFR tier being used to complete 4-pieces, so is it supposed to be used as a viable method for normal raiding guilds to fill out any slots?

    As far as I see it, the distinction between output content and dance content could easily be where the casual and not-so-casual raiders differentiate. I support the introduction of the LFR tool, just not the fact it's being used to counteract a problem with a more sophisticated solution. Namely, why not make the normal raid the output raid and then introduce the dance as part of the heroic content? From what we've seen in the Firelands, very little actually changes from normal to heroic in most cases other than more damage and health to deal with. As a result, why couldn't normal raids be the more output based encounters of WotLK that encourage casual play, while heroic encounters introduce the dance that separates those more committed?In this way, we can keep the two difficulty settings while adding in the LFR tool for cross-realm raid matching. Not only does this mean less development and maintenance work, it deals with all the other logistical problems that would accompany three settings.

    Moving on, though, Gevlon does make a very interesting point that should be borne in mind. Currently, the idea of personal progression is diluted because it only lasts as long as an individual boss survives. They're all sufficiently different enough to cause raids to pretty much need to start again once they've downed one encounter and moved onto the next to start the learning process. I must admit I'm totally with him here, as I'd like to see something that links the encounters in a raid zone intelligently and provides that "raid progressive" feeling that comes with killing associated bosses.

    Unashamedly, I'm in love with the idea of shared mechanics where it makes sense. Something that happens across every encounter in a zone and ties them all together. This could be in the form of a bar, such as Cho'gall's corruption mechanic being applied to every fight in the Bastion of Twilight, or a buff/debuff that persists and has a similar impact depending on the mechanics of the fight. I'll try to paint an example of what I mean and I might as well use the aforementioned Bastion of Twilight and the current Firelands.

    Cho'gall's corruption bar is present in all four encounters in the zone. Against Halfus Wyrmbreaker, players stack corruption when hit by Shadow Nova, meaning there ain't much that can impact them. While fighting Valiona and Theralion we could see Dazzling Destruction, Deep Breath and Fabulous Flames increasing corruption. Imagine also a heroic version where Blackout is added to the list, giving a little corruption to everyone or a lot to one person... With that person getting 100 being quite deliberate as was often seen in heroic Cho'gall strategies. We then get to the Ascendant Council where there are a myriad of avoidable sources of corruption for you to avoid. In this scenario, the mechanic is introduced slowly at first but ramps up throughout the raid and links it all together.

    As another idea, take Ragnaros' Burning Wound and put it into every other fight. Replace Jagged Tear for Shannox, Widow's Kiss for Beth'tilac, replace the stacking damage from Sparks of Rhyolith, use it for Inferno Blades on Baleroc, give the ability to Voracious Hatchlings who throw a Tantrum against Alysrazor and have Staghelm applying it when scorpion cleaving or using Leaping Flames. It would replace the abilities that have similar effects while, once again, tying the whole instance together.In both cases, not only does it make the bosses in a zone "feel" more linked to one another, it also gives players a chance to learn how certain mechanics work throughout a raid and know what to look for. Heck, in the Bastion of Twilight example, it could potentially see new and compelling strategies being worked out.

    All told, as a raider, the content I play in will dictate how much I enjoy playing the game. And because subscriptions are falling in Cataclysm, it's reasonable to assume that the change in standard of the largest hook for players is the cause. I'm not arguing that the new dance heavy direction is wrong, merely that it doesn't look to be popular and it's not hard to figure out why. More importantly, I think it's important that we as a player base try to highlight what we think isn't working as well as it could be, then try to suggest potential ways to improve it.

    Of course... It's not as if I'm known for keeping quiet.
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  2. #2
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    Plummeting raid success in Cataclysm
    Where do you get this from? 43% of the raids that go into Firelands have killed Ragnaros. After 3 months.

  3. #3
    Gevlon, as is his usual habit, is blowing that waaaay out of proportion.

    Vanilla fights didn't have mechanics to work around? TBC fights didn't have mechanics to work around? Does he want every fight to just be Avatar of War with bigger and bigger numbers every time around so our pixel-loot remains super important? Heh.

  4. #4
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    Currently, the idea of personal progression is diluted because it only lasts as long as an individual boss survives. They're all sufficiently different enough to cause raids to pretty much need to start again once they've downed one encounter and moved onto the next to start the learning process.
    All raid bosses are in essence "the same". You react to fire/traps/poison goo in exactly the same manner. The entire instance is basically a training ground for Ragnaros:

    Shannox: move away from something on the ground (traps and magma AoE). Tanks let a debuff expire.
    Beth'tilac: kill adds before they reach a specific location (Spiderlings -> Drones). Tanks let a debuff expire.
    Rhyolith: fire is on the ground that moves. tank Spark away from raid.
    Alysrazor: keep out of moving fire, control your burst to come at a specific point, control adds. Tanks let a debuff expire.
    Baleroc: focus dps while coordinating positioning.
    Majordomo: move away from AoE on the ground. Players let a debuff expire.

    Resulting in

    Ragnaros:
    P1 - Move away from moving fire (Sulfuron Smash), trigger traps with timing. Tanks let a debuff expire. On heroic let the trap debuff expire. Tanks let debuff expire.
    T1 - Kill adds before they reach the hammer
    P2 - move in a coordinated manner from seed spawns, dodge fire (moves on heroic), tanks let debuff expire, concentrate AoE on seeds (even more important on heroic).
    T2 - Kill adds before they reach hammer, kill two large adds, handle fire debuff.
    P3 - tanks let debuff expire, coordinate meteor movement. Avoid (moving) fire on the ground.
    T3 - Move meteors to outer rim of area.
    P4 - Position around deluge, trap meteor in deluge, focus dps on meteor. Strategically remove fire on ground. Move boss into traps. tanks manage debuff.
    If I missed a mechanic in P4 apologies.

    How to handle each mechanic on its own is taught by the bosses in the instance. Like I said - 6/7 is, in essence, a training ground for Ragnaros. Insofar a progression outside of each fight is definitely there.

    Like Bov said, Gevlon is blowing this out of proportion, and uses it to promote his "no voice comms because they make players bad" agenda. He advertises his raids as totally impersonal (you aren't even allowed to say hello in guild chat when a player comes online), thinking that raiding is the only reason people are in a guild. Needless to say I disagree with him.

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    Gevlon is a self important ass.

  6. #6
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    A friend of mine likes this saying which I think fits the thread:

    "The best players are good at both playing their characters AND the game at the same time."

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    So because there aren't as many tank and spank fights WoW is declining? Some how I doubt that.

    I see the decline in subscription numbers as growing pains. The game got hard and as such some people couldn't handle it and quit while others are sticking with it and hopefully trying to get better. Which I think is better for the game as a whole. I can remember when I was just a wee lil noob stack AP on my lock then progressively getting better and have more fun the better I got.

    Sure it's easier to carry people on "output" encounters vs "dance" fights but honestly if people left because there weren't as many output fights then those people were probably wanting to be carried and honestly WoW could do without those people in the raiding scene.

    edit:
    Read the blog that the OP was referencing. Seemed like he was just saying that "if you use voice chat, you fail". It seems as if theotherone got the same message I did. While voice chat might need be absolutely needed it does help and people use it for the same reason people didn't turn off the ICC buff. Maybe he hasn't heard the excitement over vent when let's say a guild finally kills a boss they've been working on for weeks compared the same event happening and people just typing grats and woot in guild/raid chats. Vent is not only there for yelling at the fails but for make communication easier whether during the pull or idle chatter between pulls or even strat discussion (2 or 3 heads is better than 1, chogall would definitely attest to this)/explanation. Yes talking is a lot easier than typing unless you have a deadly phobia of speaking and others hearing you. While using vent or mumble you don't have to call out everything that goes on, the RL doesn't need to tell the tanks to use x or y cd or tell the shammy or mage to lust (if preplanned) but when something goes wrong the RL can still do their rotation while calling what other should do and when to hopefully save the kill.

    Pretty much if you want to call a tool like vent or mumble fail please make sure you use 0 addons no strat guides and nothing else to help you other than what comes in the default UI and settings including logs of the fight.
    Last edited by uglie; 09-23-2011 at 01:08 PM.

  8. #8
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    I like the new dance fights. Healing up top on Beth and learning the dance brought a lot more satisfaction to me than, say, downing a fight like Rottface or Sindy and Beth is probably less of a Dance and more of a dps check type fight.

    Any idiot can stand still and put up numbers, being on the move and putting up numbers separates the wheat from the chaff.

  9. #9
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    Er...if it weren't for "dance" fights everything would be completely trivial. Patchwerk isn't valid anymore.

    Raiders are (or SHOULD BE) too sophisticated for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gevlon
    I mean the guy who did enough damage on Prince Malchezaar had much better chances on Gruul than the one who did not. By earning gear and learning and using his rotations, enchants, consumables he became stronger, he "progressed". Doing all these and killing Shannox is just that: killing Shannox. Tells very little about your ability to kill Beth'litac. It merely tells that you are not a hopeless idiot. But to kill Beth, you have to learn Beth dance and this is just as hard for you as it is for the total (non-retarded) newbie. By killing Shannox you did not progress your character, even if you had loot from him. You are just as strong as before.
    This is ... what? Yes, shockingly, Beth'tilac and Shannox are actually different bosses. HOLY CRAP. You might have to learn new mechanics when you face a new boss?! I don't see how that's surprising. I also don't see how his "example" of Prince vs Gruul is any different...except that happens to be when he started? I have no idea if that's true...but it sounds like he's saying "you learn to play your character doing Prince, but you don't on Shannox" there to me. And that makes no sense. If you start now you can't learn to play your character? What's his point here?

    If you've learned to play your character the only thing left to DO is learn to play the game...in order to keep that fresh and/or challenging, new fights need new mechanics (or at least new combinations of mechanics). That "dance" fights are somehow bad because...what? They're hard? So we should just have all faceroll Patchwerk stand-and-deliver bosses? That sounds AWFUL.

  10. #10
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    Gevlon raids without voice comms. The more stand and shoot fights there are the better for him.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrea View Post
    Gevlon raids without voice comms. The more stand and shoot fights there are the better for him.
    And yet 90% of his rants are about how good he is and how bad all the rest of the population is.

    And even his most recent post is asking for difficult content...and then saying he can't carry people through current content. Wouldn't that make it...difficult?

    And you (to use his phrase) can help someone learn the dance...maybe HE can't, but obviously fight mechanics CAN be taught...encounter guide videos wouldn't be popular (and he even mentioned them, ffs) if they couldn't. He seems self-contradictory across the board...in an effort to make himself sound better than he actually is.

  12. #12
    He seems self-contradictory across the board...in an effort to make himself sound better than he actually is.
    That's 95% of his posts, yeah.

    His site was interesting when it was just about economic stuff. Now every post is, "Blah blah everyone on the planet is stupider and lazier than me and I'm #1 yay for Gevlon I wrote this with my left hand on a keyboard made out of rocks and if you didn't you're stupid and lazy but I only did it to prove I'm not blah blah also I feel like keyboards should be easier to use because they seem really hard to use so yeah lets make keyboards easier guys cuz if you don't you're stupid and lazy so yeah that's my post."

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    Output vs dance vs trivial content.

    There has to be a way to not let everyone progress too fast or else the "accomplishment" of a kill is lost.

    The problem here isn't output vs dance it's about gear.

    Let's go a few years back to the burning crusade: the dungeons there (before the nerfs), mostly the T5 and T6 content required you to have T5 and T6 gear. A lot of the progression was halted because it took quite a bit of time to deck out a raid in T5 gear when you want to do T5 and deck out a raid in T6 gear when you wanted to kill Illidan. Really really good guilds with good players could defeat their gear and get earlier kills, but even those guilds couldn't.

    Now go back a bit less to wotlk. The bosses in Trial of the Crusader were trivial the day the came out because they were scaled so low that the gear from the previous tier was enough to finish it. And it killed progression. If on day 1 after the weekly reset you have completed the highest tier of raiding on multiple characters something is wrong.

    Dances are there to put another kind of block in progression. Not a gear block but a learning block. Whether it's a better way then farming gear to slow down progression is debatable but there's less emphasis on gear and more on player skill.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdy View Post
    Where do you get this from? 43% of the raids that go into Firelands have killed Ragnaros. After 3 months.
    Use any statistical website you like best; far fewer players are killing Firelands bosses than, for example, were killing them in Icecrown.

    Gevlon, as is his usual habit, is blowing that waaaay out of proportion.
    I agree, and strongly dislike his "anti-voice" agenda - but his conclusions accurately reflect what Blizzard has chosen to do with blanket nerfs.

    Vanilla fights didn't have mechanics to work around? TBC fights didn't have mechanics to work around?
    Are you honestly suggesting that normal fights from the past three expansions are as convoluted as they are now? Comparing the Omnotron Defence System to Attumen the Huntsman should, I hope, refocus that opinion (if indeed you hold it).

    All raid bosses are in essence "the same". You react to fire/traps/poison goo in exactly the same manner.
    Like I said to Bovinity's comment, this is rarely true now. Jumping up and down two levels? Driving a boss around by hitting his legs? Flying through hoops in the sky? The only common thing is the stacking fire damage of soft enrages, which is about as unimaginative as you can get.

    He advertises his raids as totally impersonal (you aren't even allowed to say hello in guild chat when a player comes online), thinking that raiding is the only reason people are in a guild. Needless to say I disagree with him.
    I cannot disagree with you here at all.

    "The best players are good at both playing their characters AND the game at the same time."
    Sounds very accurate for the roughest of hard modes, as well as being something everyone should strive for. My point, however, is that the rotations are now so easy it's hard to be bad at them - like, actively hard. I can't possibly correlate this to evidence, but this could even be a contribution to the feeling I read a lot about their being less and less individuality these days.

    So because there aren't as many tank and spank fights WoW is declining? Some how I doubt that.
    Then what would you contribute the loss in subscribers to? Considering raiding is the only endgame PvE content there is, and the majority of people want to play it, I daresay that's where much of the problem lies.

    It seems everyone has concentrated on "I hate Gevlon", then made a straw man of what I've written rather than actually engaging with it.
    Last edited by Krenian; 09-26-2011 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Attacks are not needed while debating.
    Unwavering Sentinel: Tales of a Protection Warrior Running Wild.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by orcstar View Post
    There has to be a way to not let everyone progress too fast or else the "accomplishment" of a kill is lost.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Orcstar, thank you.

    Though this is slightly off topic, I recall reading a post on WoW Insider (I think it was Allison Roberts) that was talking about the dilution of boss kills. Her view was that the three-throng approach to bosses is what's killing that feeling as you're never truly "done" with a boss; once you've killed it on normal, you then kill it heroic, and you THEN have to consider the meta-achievement if you're chasing that. Having to kill the same boss three ways just to be done with it is really very tiresome and tends to dampen the joy of getting boss kills such as Lady Vashj or the Reliquary of Souls.

    Hard as they were, once you killed them they were killed.

    Incidentally, I also share your views about gearing up but I prefer the way it is now. Personally, my favourite way of slowing progression down is via gates; but appreciate that a tier with only seven bosses is hardly ripe for such an approach.
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    I kind of agree with Bovinity on this one. Attumen was a pretty simple fight, on a starter raid in TBC and the first boss at that. Netherspite, Morose, Gruul, Hydross, etc were all on par with the complication (or convoluted to use your words). Frankly, Vashj and Kael were really complex.

    My personal feeling as to why raid success has plummeted is due to the fact that 10 man offers the same rewards as 25 man. As a strictly 10 man guild, I really love the fact that it does. However, because Blizz wanted to make these raid makeups the same in difficulty, there is no "loot pinata" for Blizz to give casuals (hate that word) or PUGs that doesnt water down the 25 man gear.

    Unfortunately there was no "easy" way to raid because of this system. The new LFR should solve some of that problem. In the end though, the ability to enjoy WOW has nothing to do with participation from the rest of the world. You can absolutely LOVE playing the game if subscriptions drop 35% a month and hate it if they double annually.
    Last edited by Krenian; 09-26-2011 at 01:39 PM.
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    Atramedes was real easy if you weren't on gongs. Magmaw was real patchwerky if you weren't jumping, the entirety of P3 of Nefis pretty much straight patchwerk. V&T is pretty straight forward for melee. THe problem i think is the shared lock out system between 10 and 25, it usd to be that i could do 25 mans with the guild and then go pug a 10 man at the week end, now it a case of either 10 or 25, I would assume this means there's less mixing of fixed group raiders with Trade pugs. it means you've got less people who know the fights sharing it with people who don't, which makes turning up and raiding without doing the homework harder.

  18. #18
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    Didn't Blizz come out and say that simple fights are gone, period? (Well outside of the PvP zone raid).

    Now this is all second hand, but in Vanilla there weren't boss-mods like now, so simple fights were far more challenging because you had to pay attention to emotes and other things, rather than timers. It wasn't until sometime in TBC that boss-mods started becoming more prevelant?

    And then WotLK had fairly simple mechanics and boss mods trivilalzed the encounters (which would lead to higher kill %s). In Cata, didn't they say they designed the encounters around the idea that boss-mods were used so they would still be challenging even with a mod?

    And Raid-Lite in 4.3 will bump up raid-boss kill #s. It's the 'simple mode' that Wrath was.

    If you want a raid where you can lose 20-30% of your raid team (2-5 people, 10/25man) and still kill the boss - how fun is that? It means if everyone pays attention you can sleepwalk through the content. Look at the most recent nerfs to Firelands. We are 1/7H but hadn't yet got a 25m Rags kill. On the night we did, we:

    20-manned Ryolith, with only about 15 core raiders.
    23-manned Domo, a fight that usually took 4 or 5 attempts pre-nerf, and didn't really bother with setting up cooldowns. We wiped once because people were slow to collapse.
    25-manned Rags with only 20 'regulars' by this time and 2-shotted it only because I called for a burn at the wrong phase and hit 2nd intermission with all the small adds up. This after many frustrating nights struggling just to get to P3.

    The content went from challenging to a joke. I'm not looking forward to a few weeks on R:Beth and R:Bale as we look to add Aly, Rhy, and Domo on heroic (which won't be nearly as challenging as before).

    ****

    I think 4.3's LFR will help a lot. It will create the casual tier that many people felt has been missing since Wrath (or you could argue was all Wrath was for the most part) and hopefully keep the nerfs at bay for normals and heroics, at least the heavy-handed-over-the-top-crazy nerfs like the one that just hit.
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    I for one am glad for the end of output encounters. And to say output encounters are gone is stupid. Baleroc, domo, H rag, beth, H lord RNG. All had decent dps checks, for the duration of the fight or in order to make a phase transition.

    Currently in my belief wow raiding has evolved to the point where output isn't a challenge. We aren't going to *snap* learn something new about our class in order to kill a boss. The game is pretty much solved, we can sim it pretty accurately. Everyone can be and output person decently.

    Compared to ye old output bosses of the past, we have improved A LOT in terms of getting them right. Mage's aren't showing up in frost, etc.

    Now a days to stand out, you need to be able to do your 25 to 30k dps while LOS'ing the boss, switching targets, dispelling..


    TLDR: If somebody believes content evolving is a bad thing they are an idiot

    PS: If you like the idea of "Oh all I do is stand right here and dps for 5 minutes, and look so awesome because I can pay 100% attention to my rotation." Your bad, nobodies rotation doesn't become simple enough with enough practice that you can't do it with your eyes close.
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    I don't like the so-called dance encounters, for one simple reason...rng--introduce the dance, and the fight becomes more luck than skill.

    And, no, I don't think stand and deliver is so great, either. I actually enjoy encounters with phases that must be learned. Just not too much dependent on lag-free motion, at crucial times. If you're going to have "the dance", then you really need to improve the video/audio aspects of the game, too.
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