Will This 1 Simple Change Fix WoW Raiding?

by on October 31, 2012

A few days ago, we reported on Lono at Screaming Monkeys’ grand project to figure out what made a great raid.

Well, today he’s back with his results – and they make for interesting reading. But even more than that, he thinks he has a single silver bullet which could change all of WoW raiding for the better – and it’s amazingly simple -

“When I set out to write this I had envisioned complicated changes, technical stuff that would take multiple posts to explain and finely tuned details but after having done all this research I find myself reaching a very simple solution. A simple solution but one that would probably change the face of endgame if it was to be done.

Let’s remove gear out of the equation.

I can already feel the initial silence, then the low rumble as people forms ideas and finally the outburst at the heresy I’m proposing but let’s take a moment here.

Of all the reasons mentioned as to why people loved a particular raid, whether on Elitist Jerks or on a casual family site, gear has never ever been mentioned as one of the reasons why a raid was great. While some people fondly remember a drop for a number of reason, it’s never what makes a particular raid the best ever.

Likewise, fights that are used solely as gear checks are almost all reviled. They’re seen as boring facerolls at best and frustrating progression walls at worst. People don’t feel rewarded because they had the ability to equip gear, they feel rewarded for playing their characters.”

Despite Lono’s grand ambitions here, this isn’t a wall-of-text post – in fact, it’s short, interesting, and very readable. I found I agreed with some of his ideas – notably his comparison with single-player RPGs and their epic final dungeons – more than others, but at no point did he bore me, or did I feel that his ideas were obvious.

Have a read and see if you agree with him – I can see this one starting a real debate!

So what do you think? Get rid of gear?

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: World of Warcraft

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tesh October 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm

So… design them to make the joy in the *play* rather than in the *rewards*?

Yes, that’s a good idea. Game Design 101, even.


quori October 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Video games are inherently void of tangible results. You play Space Invaders until you die and the best thing you have is bragging rights on the high score. But Blizzard changed that with WoW in that there ARE what we as players perceive as tangible rewards.

We get gear that separates us from others. We get mounts, titles, achievement points. We claim not just bragging rights with our initials next to a number, we GET something for our struggles.

Now, you can argue (as I have before) that even those tangible things are not in fact tangible. Unplug the server and you don’t get a battle axe mounted on your wall. However, while we are within that digital world we do take some solace in our rewards….gear is a huge part of that. I think proof of this is in the Transmog subculture. Why do players cling to old gear so much (myself totally included in this)!?!
I think the idea is a novel one; however, I still hold to adjusting player expectations as the real solution. Not in game changes.



Celendus October 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I think raiding for gear is such a fundamental component of what wow is and has been, that removing it would drive off a dozen times more players than it would attract. The promise of an incremental power upgrade is the reason many players are able to tolerate weeks of farming.

GW2 already has your system in place, as all endgame content gives the same level of gear with only cosmetic differences. It seems to be working for that game, and could be a valid approach to Titan as well. I guarantee it would cause an exodus from WoW, though. We’ve been trained to follow that carrot.


Lighthunter2 November 1, 2012 at 1:19 am

This is what I think made Wrath so popular and Cata (and as things are looking, Mists) such a disaster. One could simply grind Heroics and build a teir 9 conquest. And the gear lock out meant you where going to learn the fights as you did. With Cata, people got cut from randoms left and right if they didn’t have a guild to protect you. And then you still had to raid to finish a teir.

With Wrath getting your hands on gear was easy. Cata it wasn’t. Mists…….


Quori November 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Its funny…this gets to the heart of one of WoW’s fundamental issues, and its completely PLAYER created and driven. HARDCORE vs. CASUAL

The self described HARDCORE community feels casuals have no right or place in having access to “their” rewards. They feel that casual players should be relegated to lesser valued (i.e. powered) gear, and not be able to attain the various collectible achievements like mounts, legendary items, titles that they feel they “earned”.

Casuals, which ostensibly means “everyone else”, feel entitled to the same things as the “hardcore” given that we all PAY the same amount for the game. Simply that the casual player may not have as much time on their hands to dedicate to playing time, or may not have access to the same extended player base as the hardcore folks (read: low pop server, not enough bodies, not enough better skilled players, etc).

Its a fair to see both sides of this argument; however, lets be honest here: Blizzard DID NOT intend nor design this issue. Its entirely player driven. Elitism and segregation is nothing new to humaity, so why would we expect players in an MMO to act any differently? No matter how many commonalities a group of people may in fact share, the differences will always be highlighted and the lines in the sand will be drawn. WoW is no different.

I agree Wrath’s success was accessibility. Cata opened that accessibility even greater, and yet you think it was a failure for it? Why would a little of it work so well for Wrath, but MORE of it doesn’t for Cata, or Mists?!


Lighthunter2 November 2, 2012 at 9:36 am

Cata closed the access Wrath gave. The time needed to get gear was much larger. A basic teir 9-10 set was easy to get by running a few randoms a day. A basic teir 11-13 was by valor points and token. Token is only by raid. If you didn’t have to time to get all you could, guilds cut you from raiding teams for not having the gear.

As raiding content progressed, old raids virtually stopped running. Base ilvl’s became set. Player’s who picked up at Dragon’s Soul weren’t likely to have picked up gear from Firelands. And soon trade chat was filled with “pst ilvl, no response=no thanks”. Some realms got to the point of “pst achiev link”. Skill has been taken out. The thought of risking a lower ilvl was out of the question. When it was at that point, it wasn’t nearly as open as Wrath. I’m not saying that “HARDCORE” players don’t have a place. But ilvl’s don’t show skill, just time.

I agree, it’s driven by players. I don’t think Blizzard meant for any of it. After all, a person who just bought the game should want to keep playing. The LFR was the first attempt to fix it, but many people blew it off (most guilds still don’t call it “real” raiding). Mists (attempting to fix it) put a lot of the raid stuff in the world by grinding. However, that is in a quagmire of it’s own.

Mists is two months old. A lot of players are settling in now. Wrath didn’t really pick up for 6 months to a year (depending on your feelings on Ulduar). So, I’m still waiting to see where ilvl’s and Blizzard take it.


sfez November 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm

The reason why wow is such an addicting game is because of the psychological aspect of doing something, over and over again, with a chance of sometimes being rewarded for doing it. I’m not to into psychology, so I don’t know the exact reason why that makes something addicting, but I’m sure you could find out by googling it if you want to know more. Either way, wow is depending on these types of rewards to stay popular, so I really don’t think you can remove that aspect.


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