What makes a good raid?

For me it’s about the delicate dance of coordination and hectic fun. To almost fail, recover and to win against odds. True, as raids age, levels increase, the challenge becomes more routine. That’s fine – if you fail a shroud today it’s because you decided to do a drunken naked raid solo. Maybe duo. But you were definitely not all there. And that’s alright. Older raids should be quicker and more routine. You don’t do them for the challenge and you don’t do them because you have 2 hours to blow. You do them for stuff – nothing else.

However at it’s apex Shroud is the raid that got most of it right. If you look across most other raids you find niche, you find barely played and you find most acceptable. Like Tempest Spine; must run around 9. You won’t fail it with most crowds. And it’s a good raid. It’s a good raid because it’s easy to get too, it follows a good pattern and with routine you learn where to go. And it has nice mechanics too. Some stuff you have to beat, some stuff you have to coordinate, some underwater stuff and some things where you have to beat down 2 opposing elements at about the same time. Done and done. Then a puzzle at the end and a short boss battle. I say short because with todays DPS it is. And since most know the way and the puzzle it’s a breeze. I think tempest spine is a successful recipe for raid. It has a little of everything without too much standing around waiting for others and it’s hectic enough and demand some coordination.

Then you have Restless Isles. I haven’t done the raid even once – sure, it ran about once or twice back in the day but not even then was it very popular. The recipe is niche. It requires more coordination than most want to deal with and it requires to much running toward the raid, not to mention an abysmal wilderness experience. I should try it once to see, but I just don’t have the interest – it feels like something I probably would get completely bored by. Again – I’m judging it by the niche nature and not because of my own experience, but it’s a little bit to tilted towards the puzzle coordination for my liking.

Von – Von gets most of it right – 5 is the lengthier part with puzzles, 6 the shorter more hectic with coordination. When things goes right it’s a zippy rewarding experience and when it goes wrong a lot of standing around just to fail in the coordination part in 6. It’s not entirely my thing but it’s a raid, with some slow and some fast components. Today it’s routine – people do it for XP and in some respect for the few okay epic items.

DQ – The raid itself is quick. In fact perfectly so for a shorter but hectic raid. I like it that way. Not everything have to be long and ponderous. But the pre-flagging is silly. I know – see it as a way to ‘lengthen’ the raid but it’s unlike von which combines 5 and 6 in a complete raid experience. Here you pre-flag each time by running towards quest through wilderness, to get and flag the quest (for a group of 6) then coordinate with another group running it to join together in the public area for the shorter raid. It’s dumb. They should cut the pre-flag stuff or make it a teleport to entrance to speed it up. Either way it would be good to knock out the requirements on this aging raid to spur more interest in it. There’s still stuff to do, but I bet a reason why few worries about it is because of the pre-flag stuff. It makes pug coordination a headache.

VoD and Hound

I like these; both requires coordination – Hound moreso. Back in the day Hound was often a fail – mostly because coordinating and healing small doggies because a priority as well as removing trash. Anything could upset the dance – tank not tanking big dog – small dogs breaking and no one charming them – taking too long and the spawns overwhelmed the group. Today it’s cheese since the big dogs DR is not big enough to deal with high end several K hits, like from Fury hits. It takes longer to run to the raid than to finish it.

VoD is more of a beat until certain conditions are met. After X XP, the pit fiend will fly up on the pillar and bats come out and after another X XP the red named Orthons come back and when he’s a sliver the exploding bats come flying. Here coordination is about making sure the tank have the agro and for DPS to lay off when it’s lost as well as keep trash under control. Today this is definitely routine. With all the current DPS it takes longer to get to the raid than to finish it. And anyone can take and hold agro, mostly because of the amount of PRR and such in the game right now, making tanking as well as healing not that big of a deal. What sucks is of course having to wilderness run – essentially flag every single time. A teleporter similar to the new raids would be good. Especially since most of the issues comes from stragglers either getting lost or running solo through an environment they might not handle. If they ever make these Epic I hope they make flagging runs a once and done experience.

ToD

I like the raid. Smartly setup with a flag feature to get there and you can teleport from public area direct to entrance. You have to wonder why raids after that lack that mechanic? A mechanic that’s back with the latest raids. 3 parts, no real puzzles. But coordination and ‘tanking’. Besides, I personally think that puzzles should make sense and not be in raids or quests just because. Puzzles is fine, but some of them just makes no sense and breaks up well coordinated routines. In a bad way mind you.

Chronosphere

It’s a fairly straight forward raid with 3 parts – 2 mini bosses (beatdown) and 1 endboss. Some coordination required and back in the day tanking. Today it’s routine and if you die it’s because you got lost or separated and ganked. It’s still possible. There are some coordination elements involved but the beatdowns are routine. And what I like most of all is that everything is orange named, instead of red named. The bearded devils are touch to do anything too tactically but it’s doable, unlike the battlerager fiasco of the newer raids. Back in the day it was tough to nail a devil (crowd control was almost a must) but today you can trip, knock and whatever. But we’re talking about level 28 toons fighting a early epic raid so very little tactical will fail.

Citw

Excellent Eveningstar content, not so much with the raid. I’ve listed the shortcomings of this raid (SP drain, too long etc and lots of red named priestesses and not automatic heroic comm). But lets add another bad feature; escorting someone. Citw added so many ‘bad’ things that it’s hard to believe they still went ahead with most of it.

LoB

I’ve mentioned something about this before too – running through wilderness to entrance, then running a ‘pre-raid’ and then raid. But the worst part is not really all of that – 1 person could easily solo the wilderness to unlock elevator. So that part is trivial – no it’s how you make items. You have to get mats from not only Epic but heroic and some stuff only falls in higher epics. It’s a terrible mess adding confusion to a convoluted poorly constructed epic item creation system. If I could redo it I would add a teleporter direct to the entrance to the main raid element – as long as you have flagged the pre-raid at least once. And unconvulate the creation process. Like remove the heroic portion, it’s entirely pointless. Add instead higher drop chance with higher version of raid. Make it simple.

FoT

As mentioned before; good solid shorter raid dependent on coordination. An excellent end to a story line that starts roughly at level 10 something (even hinted too in the aging CGI intro movie) and perfectly voice acted. Done and done. Hard to make it better.

Shadowdragon raid
Too many puzzles. I confess; I’ve never played Abbott but I’ve seen videos of it. I understand the appeal for some when it comes to raids, but Abbott isn’t exactly end game. The entire Necro pack (all parts) are too me something you don’t have to do. In fact you can hit 20 without even doing one of the quests. So to me Abbott is just like Restless Isles, an option. However the argument FOR this raid seems to be that a)everything is way too easy, b)It’s like Abbott so it’s good that people who like that stuff have another high level option so pity poor people who complain. The only issue is that these 2 raids are the only end content we have right now and you have to do the raids if you want to make the armor or weapons. And who don’t want too? I mean if this raid is to be considered like Abbott then you’re basically removing any reason to run the red dragon raid too, because without this one it’ll be hard to finish your stuff.

The problem with this raid just like with citw is that there’s just too much of one thing. A good raid balance time with portion of features with reasonable end fight. Tactics and strategy is all about what we know. The problem is that a majority of the raid is about puzzles. And lots of them are done by few while the rest pike around and kills the odd spawn. The 2 special puzzles are a mix of stupid and meh. Some of them will become routine (portals and the fight atop the tower) and others a mix between routine and nightmare (like gravity, red, green and jumping. Most of that stuff is tedious and boring.

And then the end fight. Endless spawns that can lead to red alert – bad. That’s poor design. Lots of red named that removes tactical option, like battleragers. The tanking portion of dragon is standard, but the random nature of finding the right souls stone idiotic. I random resets. It removes strategy and add frustration. There should be no more than x amount of soul stones and it shouldn’t reset every time you find the wrong one. In fact if you keep it random make it so many and each time you get closer to the right one. Random elements are dumb – especially in something like that. And eventho luck is sure an element in game it should be more about executing coordination than random frustration. As it turned out my big failures are always from wasting gobs amount of time finding the right one and then wasting tons of resources as the idiotic process continues until red alert overwhelms everyone and the fail is because terrible mechanics and not lack of skill. I’m all good with slightly longer raids, some puzzle elements and some elements that are luck – but there should be a limit – not unlimited – how much longer something drags out. Longer is not more challenging, adding more of the same is not challenging. 6 mirror puzzles does not equal more challenge – not if 10 pikes while dealing with some trash while 2 executes the same routine of turning mirrors. That’s not challenge. That’s a pointless time sync. I’d like to see no more than 2 mirror puzzles, make them perhaps random setup and slightly more complicated. One on both sides. And then 2 random choices selected from 6 different puzzles. Sometimes you luck out and get 1 hard and 1 easy and sometimes you get 2 hard. Tough, but at least you can learn those portions. And end fight – finite amount of soul stones, making the ‘unlucky’ part about x times before you hit the right one.

You make the raid infinitely more puggable and maintain the puzzle challenge part but more reasonable.

And red dragons raid. A simpler coordination raid. Lets skip the red alert mechanic tho – it’s choking the raid and it makes it stupid. I get respawns, but dungeon alert should never be part of any quest or raid. Ever. Now if the argument remains that the shadowdragon should remain as is and be the equivalent of Abbott I suggest that they add a 1 for 1 trade of scales and souls. Because right now you need a combination of both for many recipes. If that was the case I would make shadowdragons a minimum and run the other raid instead. I just don’t have unlimited time to coordinate and run a raid that can take a long time. It’s a waste of time better spent on other things.

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One thought on “What makes a good raid?

  1. erdrique

    Looking back at the flagging for the DQ, there was a time when you had to turn in each piece from the main flagging quests every time you wanted to run the raid and re-do the pre-raid which got pretty annoying. At least that mechanic has changed so that the only thing you need to do is the pre-raid so it isn’t as annoying but I do agree with you that coordinating two six men teams can be frustrating. The Titan is too bogged down with puzzles, I completely agree with that. Not to mention that you have to split up the group and each side has to deal with smaller puzzles which winds up having people talking over each other as they try to figure out what the next step is. That gets annoying real quick.

    I definitely don’t raid all that much. I have never done the Abbot, CITW, LOB, MA, or the two new ones that were just released so my knowledge is limiting. By I do like running VON, Chronosope, Stormreaver, Tempest Spine, and DQ when I get chance to do them. Eventually I’ll get there, but I would rather spend more time dealing with monster encounters than working on puzzles. But that is just my humble opinion :).

    Reply

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