Blessing of Kings has a nice post about a way to have more transient raiding – its a good read, and worth considering.The post is well thought out, comprehensive, and clear.
If not found in wow, it could be a feature of other MMOs that seek to entertain a more casual play style, which would be a draw card in my opinion. World of Warcraft has most of what would be needed already, or is coming soon in patch 4.3. Odd eh?
As an extension of BoK’s ideas – it would not be too much of a stretch to add Easy mode raids (let the hate fly!).
I know that people might hate the idea of dumbing down the content for casuals (just read the forums), and many raiders would be darn pissy with the idea. But think, if the rewards were less, achievements different, and the lockouts different – the easy mode raids would allow for learning, some side-grades, and a sense of theme and plot without a monumental increase in effort. Where is the difference between Easy mode, vs the Normal and Hard modes when the lockouts were separate for 10s and 25s. Some players thought 10 man fight on Normal were already easy mode. Same people probably hate this idea too – with potentially valid reasons from their perspective.
There would be no direct negative impact on the Normal and Hardmode raiders, except the nudge to their ego. To them the kids in the sandpit playing at war (and eating dirt) are happy, as they are playing a separate game. Yes, it would require tuning to make sure that easy was not trivial, but it would not impact the Normal and the Hard raiders.
An easier mode is different from the “Buff of Nerfage” that Icecrown had. That was an end of expansion way to ensure that everyone could play through content, and it was good too. The buff applied across all, whereas a Easy mode would allow more people time to fight and learn the bosses before the rush at the end. Some guilds may even just complete Easy mode and be happy – that content might be enough for some. For others it will be a step ladder into the content. It would also remove the need to add a “Buff of Nerfage” at the end of the content patches – why bother. If all you want to do is kill the boss, then switch to Easy mode and see the content’s theatrical style. No way in hell you’d be considered a Hardcore raider, but you’d still see it.
Even as I write this I have doubts too though. Who would use it? Would the achievement of Easy mode be considered more a brand of failure than none at all? Would enough people use it instead of Normal and Hard to justify the time investment?
The casualisation of wow has had an affect on a lot of players, and there are as many perspectives as there are players on what the right choice is. facts about subscriber numbers may influence the choices made in the coming patches and expansions too. We’ve already seen a change to threat that some folks don’t like, but others (such as myself) think are excellent. Is this casualisation? Probably, and it helps keep me paying my subscription every month.
One limiting factor that I don’t think was good in the end in Cata was the shared lockout for 10s and 25s. There were ways in Wrath to pug those odd 10s and 25s so that you had extra opportunities to gear. When the shared lockout was first described I thought it might have benefits, but I’ve come around to the opinion that having a wide range of options is actually better than having a strictly defined path. Perhaps the Easy offers a similar option, a separate lockout for Easy mode. This way a low geared toon (all those alts) would run the Easy mode to get basic rewards and confirm their literacy for their role, and then be able to migrate into Normals when they were ready.
For easy mode gear rewards it would make sense to me that the gear drops should not be any higher than the current 5 mans which are considered “hard”. As we’re in p4.2 that means 353 rewards if it existed now. The idea is not to use the gear as a reason to raid, but to offer alternatives to the basic 5 mans that expose the content. Training wheels? Yes, for sure.
I would also expect that Bind on Equip gear would not drop so as to not flood the market. And the gold rewards would be significantly reduced so that farming was not attractive at all. Likewise the quests that were needed for special story paths would not complete in easy mode either.
I would have also liked a Normal and Heroic mode for the ZA/ZG 5 mans too, but I guess the same time in tuning and scaling would have been needed – with a low potential audience. A scaled approach such as ZA/ZG Normal offering 346 and Heroic with 353 is not a terrible idea. It changes nothing about the step up, but makes the ZA/ZG part of the runs that a PvE player uses to get geared.
So Easy mode raids…way off base, or something that you’d use? Let me know.