Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ideas for new raid encounters

Blizzard always try to keep us players entertained. It is by doing this they make sure we keep playing the game and keep paying them to provide us with the game. I realize there must be a fine line between making something new and entertaining without making it so new that no one grasps the concept, slightly like with what's happened with the drake riding in Oculus.

With every new raid we're presented to a bunch of new boss encounters that hold both new and old elements. But I sometimes wonder if Blizzard don't hold back a little too much with the new ideas. Would it really be so horrible to try something wacky? Ok, they tried it in the Eye and no one liked it. But I didn't dislike the Eye because of the drake riding, but because you had to redo the entire thing if you failed on the drake riding. I don't mind tough/tricky/weird encounters, but failure musn't be too much punished if the encounter goes a little outside of the box.

I think most bosses in ICC do a fairly good mix of old and new, the Gunship brings an old way of fighting to a new setting and otherwise the fights comprise of the good old "don't stand in the bad stuff" in different ways. A slightly different take on things is the fight with Valithria, in which you're in fact supposed to heal the "boss" up, instead of damaging them down. As far as I know this is a first in WoW, although I know there are other boss encounters where the boss is on your side (but still has to be killed for various reasons). With Valithria you need the healers to heal her as well as the rest of the raid, which is a slight step into a new direction. But couldn't this be taken even further? Let's go a little crazy with ideas.

Reversed roles
Sure, if you play a certain class I, and Blizzard, suppose that is what you want to do in the game. Therefore having a fight where say the dps become healers somehow and vice versa for the other roles might not be an awesome idea (although I think for a single encounter this could be intriguing). Besides, Blizzard have already done something like this with the introduction of the drakes in Oculus (who can either tank, heal or dps) and other vehicles with allows a player to switch roles for a while.

But what if you made an encounter where every role got to do what they usually do, but it had the reversed effect? Healers heals did damage and dps damage would heal. And the tanks... hmm. Well I haven't figured out what to do with the tanks yet. Maybe they could, by not having aggro from anything, provide the rest of the raid with some buff. Or something.

I spoke to Love about this and he came up with an idea about an encounter being about the whole raid dying and being resurrected by "some evil force". This force tries to take control over you by slowly increasing your hp to max, and when you reach 100% hp you will be mind controlled. The dps job is then to keep everyones hp down, while the healers heal the constant flow of enemies in order to have them controlled by the good side (that's you) so they help you instead. Of course you wouldn't want to have people lose all their hp because then they would simply die (maybe to be resurrected again and giving the raid some debuff), so you need to make just enough dmg to keep them "sane" or whatyawannacallit, until the healers have converted enough evil guys to kill the "evil force".

This would make the dpsers and healers switch roles without having them do different things. Not such a shabby idea, eh? I (we) might come up with more eventually, and let's hope some Blizzard dev reads this and feels inspired ;)

In any case I'd really liked it if Blizzard dared to go a little more nuts with their raid encounters, and don't think of the drake riding idea as an implication that "new ideas" are wasted on us players. If you have a great idea but implement it in the wrong way, no one will recognize it's greatness. Give us another chance!

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