A View From the Road: Dungeons, Directed

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A View From the Road: Dungeons, Directed

Let's apply Left 4 Dead's AI Director to a World of Warcraft raid. What do we get?

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A good idea in theory, but considering how nit picky a lot of high end raiders are (just take a look at elitist jerks' insane theory crafting and charts); I could easily foresee people stacking raids in such a way as to force the AI to play out in their favor.
I mean look at some of the past raids, people stack what works in their favor the best, even if it means stacking all DK dps when they were pulling insane dps in t7 content and excluding their other dps. With Blizzard's promise of Cataclysm's healing not being so sporadic, I think this will help to get rid of those panic moments that wipe raids. Though this isn't the first time something like this has been around. Back in the Karazan days the Satyr boss did something similar and it wiped raids until people just learned to get on the chains right away and the healers left up had to pop cooldowns and tanks had to pop cooldowns to make up for the temporarily disabled healer.

Just to be boring and agreeable yes it is a good idea in theory and again as said already high end raiders and the best guilds on each server would bitch hideously.

Nanaki316:
Just to be boring and agreeable yes it is a good idea in theory and again as said already high end raiders and the best guilds on each server would bitch hideously.

So you make that the hardmode encounter. If the director thinks that things are going too smoothly and dishes out a new bag of tricks, then the loot quality is increased to compensate.

Man, I love that idea; the inability for anyone to get in on the raids and harder dungeons is part of what killed my enjoyment of WoW in the end. I played a combat warrior which somehow made me a pariah: I was having fun, but nobody wanted me on their raid teams. Because I didn't try to fit their ideal forms for party structure {a rogue for damage, a warrior for tanking) it was like I was blacklisted just for playing the game my way. If there were an AI system in place so any team of almost any skill-set/equipment level could come together and fight and still get a rewarding challenge, I'd be all over it.

For this to work I think WoW would need to decide once and for all what it wants to be, a game or a social experiment. I stopped playing WoW a while back because everything became dumbed down so anybody *ANYBODY* could play, get kitted and get in raids, which ment 90% of the time your grouping with complete retards. While I get the whole 'whats the point in coding things if only the best get to play it' which makes all the sence in the world to most people and when your trying to get ppl to pay a subscription is the best way forward, to me, a gamer who bought a Game because he likes the challenge of A GAME with *GAMEPLAY* its a bit like saying 'why do you need to do QCF+P to do a fireball when everyone could just press a fireball button instead?' This AI director would be a fun idea if the idea was to just to sit around chatting with your mates online to a backdrop of a bunch of avatars having an epic battle - but then it wouldnt be a real game, it would be mafia wars/farmville with pretty(ish) graphics which is whats its on its way to becoming anyway.

DObs:
For this to work I think WoW would need to decide once and for all what it wants to be, a game or a social experiment. I stopped playing WoW a while back because everything became dumbed down so anybody *ANYBODY* could play, get kitted and get in raids, which ment 90% of the time your grouping with complete retards. While I get the whole 'whats the point in coding things if only the best get to play it' which makes all the sence in the world to most people and when your trying to get ppl to pay a subscription is the best way forward, to me, a gamer who bought a Game because he likes the challenge of A GAME with *GAMEPLAY* its a bit like saying 'why do you need to do QCF+P to do a fireball when everyone could just press a fireball button instead?' This AI director would be a fun idea if the idea was to just to sit around chatting with your mates online to a backdrop of a bunch of avatars having an epic battle - but then it wouldnt be a real game, it would be mafia wars/farmville with pretty(ish) graphics which is whats its on its way to becoming anyway.

Is Left 4 Dead just a social experiment, then?

The problem I'm seeing is, how do they decide when you lose? I like the idea of this as it will make it less frustrating, but will you EVER lose? Will there be a cutoff, like "I can only hold back this much, then if you can't handle it, too bad!" sort of deal, and if so, how will they base it on gear? When does he decide that it's just time to die?

And if there is that sort of cutoff, isn't that what they have in place now?

Otherwise, though, I love the ability to make a fight harder because people are doing better. A surprise ability only seen by expert raiders would be fantastic, and it would make for the ability to add achievements like "Survive a 6-man needle blast" into even regular raids.

DaxStrife:
Man, I love that idea; the inability for anyone to get in on the raids and harder dungeons is part of what killed my enjoyment of WoW in the end. I played a combat warrior which somehow made me a pariah: I was having fun, but nobody wanted me on their raid teams. Because I didn't try to fit their ideal forms for party structure {a rogue for damage, a warrior for tanking) it was like I was blacklisted just for playing the game my way. If there were an AI system in place so any team of almost any skill-set/equipment level could come together and fight and still get a rewarding challenge, I'd be all over it.

I take flak from some "Serious" raiders for not taking the easy Destruction DPS for a warlock, but a couple guys know I'm smart and good at both taking direction and learning fights fast, and I end up in their raids as often as possible. It's just a matter of finding the right group.

I want to play a game that is the reverse of what you explained. I wanna see the boss target teh most critical party members not the least critical ones. It always ticks me off when playing an rpg that the critters seem to pick random characters when you have one doing heavy damage and another healing. And the rest are just kinda hanging out. I want an AI director with a sense of self preservation. Not one who will be sure I always win.

And if Blizzard didn't like making money, I'm sure they'd do that.

As it is though, the general system behind WOW is you play/pay for X amount of time, you get to see content Y.

If you could just wander over to content Y without having played for X amount of time, people would burn through the content even faster than they already are, and likely leave the game a deserted wasteland except for the collector personality-types.

I think it's your last point that's most important and the one that most people would probably be upset over. There's a nice sense of empowerment or accomplishment by going back to a previous raid/dungeon in higher level gear and just annihilating everything. It's fun to go back to a raid like Naxx to gear out a friend while your in ToGC level gear; it tends to be much more casual and relaxing.

That being said I love the idea of "intelligent" bosses. Personally I'd like to see more variety in the bosses, more situations where the group splits up (Thorim/Yogg) or where players might have to do some sort of puzzle or other non-combat activity during a fight (apparently EQ2 has this? Not sure though)

Not just a social experiment no, but in many ways it is.

DObs:
For this to work I think WoW would need to decide once and for all what it wants to be, a game or a social experiment. I stopped playing WoW a while back because everything became dumbed down so anybody *ANYBODY* could play, get kitted and get in raids, which ment 90% of the time your grouping with complete retards. While I get the whole 'whats the point in coding things if only the best get to play it' which makes all the sence in the world to most people and when your trying to get ppl to pay a subscription is the best way forward, to me, a gamer who bought a Game because he likes the challenge of A GAME with *GAMEPLAY* its a bit like saying 'why do you need to do QCF+P to do a fireball when everyone could just press a fireball button instead?' This AI director would be a fun idea if the idea was to just to sit around chatting with your mates online to a backdrop of a bunch of avatars having an epic battle - but then it wouldnt be a real game, it would be mafia wars/farmville with pretty(ish) graphics which is whats its on its way to becoming anyway.

Making the game more accessible is akin to making it play itself? I'm sorry, but I have an issue with your statement. Just because it doesn't have your hardcore NESesque difficulty doesn't mean it's no longer a game. Take a look at chess for example, everyone can make the same moves just as easily as the grand masters, but it's the strategy behind them that makes all the difference. Games shouldn't be about "do I have the exact timing to pull off this combo/this move" and should be more about "which move should I use in this specific situation" something that L4D's AI Director, for example, pulls off marvelously.

I like this idea. I am of the school that these raids are more of a benchmark then a exploration of knew content. If you were even trying to play L4D 2 and not good enough to play on expert the game doesn't get so easy that it is a joke. There is easier content and if you can't do that I am kinda sorry.

squid5580:
I want to play a game that is the reverse of what you explained. I wanna see the boss target teh most critical party members not the least critical ones. It always ticks me off when playing an rpg that the critters seem to pick random characters when you have one doing heavy damage and another healing. And the rest are just kinda hanging out. I want an AI director with a sense of self preservation. Not one who will be sure I always win.

I think this is a more practicle application. Why not have an AI director so that when you enter an area your attacked intelligently by the inhabitants and not have you ponderously pace through one after another *slightly* different bosses who all happily wait in a que and allow you to beat the one before it without ever doing anything.

DObs:
For this to work I think WoW would need to decide once and for all what it wants to be, a game or a social experiment. I stopped playing WoW a while back because everything became dumbed down so anybody *ANYBODY* could play, get kitted and get in raids, which ment 90% of the time your grouping with complete retards. While I get the whole 'whats the point in coding things if only the best get to play it' which makes all the sence in the world to most people and when your trying to get ppl to pay a subscription is the best way forward, to me, a gamer who bought a Game because he likes the challenge of A GAME with *GAMEPLAY* its a bit like saying 'why do you need to do QCF+P to do a fireball when everyone could just press a fireball button instead?' This AI director would be a fun idea if the idea was to just to sit around chatting with your mates online to a backdrop of a bunch of avatars having an epic battle - but then it wouldnt be a real game, it would be mafia wars/farmville with pretty(ish) graphics which is whats its on its way to becoming anyway.

I have to agree with you 100%. I want a challenge when I play a game, not to be spoon fed gratification and since I'm an elitist I defiantly don't want other less skilled / dedicated people to reap the same rewards I do for a fraction of the work.

I think you're all missing the point here. The point is that it would still be a challenge, just an infinitely more scalable one.

Do the zombies lie down and die in L4D just because the Director adapts the game to how you're performing? Of course not.

squid5580:
I want to play a game that is the reverse of what you explained. I wanna see the boss target teh most critical party members not the least critical ones. It always ticks me off when playing an rpg that the critters seem to pick random characters when you have one doing heavy damage and another healing. And the rest are just kinda hanging out. I want an AI director with a sense of self preservation. Not one who will be sure I always win.

I agree 100% with another poster twice in one day and its not the same person either, there must be something in the water lol.

"John's guild killed Marrowgar on Saturday, but Lady Deathwhisper is going to be a total bitch and a half."

From what ive heard of the Marrowgar fight, its just a combination of the first couple of bosses in Black Temple. Narjentus and his spikes that you must kill especially. Ive also heard that Lady Deathwhisper is M'uru with a lich costume on. If you did well in Sunwell Plateau, i doubt that Deathwhisper will be as much of a challenge as you expect. My 2 cents.

[applause] You make some great points, and well.

benbenthegamerman:
"John's guild killed Marrowgar on Saturday, but Lady Deathwhisper is going to be a total bitch and a half."

From what ive heard of the Marrowgar fight, its just a combination of the first couple of bosses in Black Temple. Narjentus and his spikes that you must kill especially. Ive also heard that Lady Deathwhisper is M'uru with a lich costume on. If you did well in Sunwell Plateau, i doubt that Deathwhisper will be as much of a challenge as you expect. My 2 cents.

Like I said, we weren't top tier raiders by any stretch of the imagination.

coldfrog:
The problem I'm seeing is, how do they decide when you lose? I like the idea of this as it will make it less frustrating, but will you EVER lose?

Considering how many times I've failed to get through a map on L4D I believe the answer is yes.
Personally I wouldn't stop at the bosses. Let's make those trash mobs random too.

As far as the harcore gamers are concerned: just keep the hardmode, don't bother adjusting the loot.

None of this is difficult L4D already gave you the answer.

Raiding guilds kill these bosses over and over anyway just for the loot keeping the fights fresh just makes it more exciting.

CantFaketheFunk:
I think you're all missing the point here. The point is that it would still be a challenge, just an infinitely more scalable one.

Do the zombies lie down and die in L4D just because the Director adapts the game to how you're performing? Of course not.

I see your point, I just don't agree because I'm a competitive elitist. Your idea is great and I'm sure that kind of system would make some companies a lot of money if they marketed the game to the right people but scalability of difficulty in a multiplayer game, especially a competitive one is pandering to the lowest common denominator in my books. That can make a lot of money and create a large user base but I think its harmful to the gaming community as a whole, at least the kind of gaming community I'm interested in being a part of.

Saris Kai:

CantFaketheFunk:
I think you're all missing the point here. The point is that it would still be a challenge, just an infinitely more scalable one.

Do the zombies lie down and die in L4D just because the Director adapts the game to how you're performing? Of course not.

I see your point, I just don't agree because I'm a competitive elitist. Your idea is great and I'm sure that kind of system would make some companies a lot of money if they marketed the game to the right people but scalability of difficulty in a multiplayer game, especially a competitive one is pandering to the lowest common denominator in my books. That can make a lot of money and create a large user base but I think its harmful to the gaming community as a whole, at least the kind of gaming community I'm interested in being a part of.

I'm not sure it is harmful, at least in WoW.

"Spend 50% of our development resources for 5% of the playerbase" is a phenomenally stupid way to develop a game, to be honest. I'm surprised anyone ever thought it was a good idea.

Saris Kai:

CantFaketheFunk:
I think you're all missing the point here. The point is that it would still be a challenge, just an infinitely more scalable one.

Do the zombies lie down and die in L4D just because the Director adapts the game to how you're performing? Of course not.

I see your point, I just don't agree because I'm a competitive elitist. Your idea is great and I'm sure that kind of system would make some companies a lot of money if they marketed the game to the right people but scalability of difficulty in a multiplayer game, especially a competitive one is pandering to the lowest common denominator in my books. That can make a lot of money and create a large user base but I think its harmful to the gaming community as a whole, at least the kind of gaming community I'm interested in being a part of.

I never thought WoW was a competitive game. I thought it was a co-operative game that people decided to make competitive after the fact.

CantFaketheFunk:
"Spend 50% of our development resources for 5% of the playerbase" is a phenomenally stupid way to develop a game, to be honest. I'm surprised anyone ever thought it was a good idea.

Hence why PvP gear is available from both PvP and PvE? (zing!)

Really though I think what they did with wrath in the last few patches is the best route to go with WoW raids. Before nobody really saw the final raid pre expansion simply because you had to have bested everything before it to even have the chance to survive trash. BC tried to help this by including heroics to help gear you up to get into the raids, but they made those heroics REALLY freaking hard so you still had to be "hardcore" to get anywhere. Nowadays you can just do the new regular dungeons to gear up for the heroics, do the new heroics to gear up and you're off to the 10man raid, making the content very accessible to people.
Speaking as someone who's a hardcore raider in spirit, but could never put up with the drama of a top end guild, I like it. preBC I just barely made it to pulling trash in naxx before the expansion came out, and that was simply because I lucked into knowing an officer in a top end guild. in BC I only got to try SSC a couple times before guild death and eventually the expansion. Now I'm rolling into ICC with my guild every week. It's nice, I see no need for scaling of encounters.

P.S. also the only reason the scaling in L4D is needed is because otherwise it's like 4 hours of gameplay with NO replay value pretending to be worth $60, they had to do something to keep from getting a punch to the face.

I think this is would be a great idea for WoW to try because once groups have bosses down the whole experience becomes lackluster and you just "go through the motions". And I also hated, when I played, getting that 1 in 50 "butt fuck" where the two healers are targeted by the ability and the tank is left to drop without any heals. Even the most experienced raiders who did everything correctly would still have a chance to fail. If the boss AI was more intuitive then fights would not be so cookie cutter and the experience would be a little different every time making the game have a more lasting appeal. Instead of going in just to gear people up for the next instance you would be going in to have fun defeating a semi-unpredictable boss.

Having something like this in WoW is simply not possible at this point, and not only because of all the technical challenges it represents.

A system like that would eliminate gear factor in PvE almost completely. Gearing up is one of the major driving forces in the games such as WoW.

It would be wiser to develop a new game which would use this idea to its full potential without all the restraints imposed by a "5 year old refined collection of mmorpg ideas" franchise.

If you are talking about small elements added to already existing mechanics, I don't think it would be something worth the trouble to implement, not with the mysterious next gen mmo Blizzard are working on.

Personally I don't like the idea, WoW raids are suppose to make players learn the strategies and react to whatever the boss throws at them. I think it is different to L4D in a sense that at the end of a boss fight, there's tangible rewards, unlike the "You have survived" screen in L4D.

CantFaketheFunk:

Saris Kai:

CantFaketheFunk:
I think you're all missing the point here. The point is that it would still be a challenge, just an infinitely more scalable one.

Do the zombies lie down and die in L4D just because the Director adapts the game to how you're performing? Of course not.

I see your point, I just don't agree because I'm a competitive elitist. Your idea is great and I'm sure that kind of system would make some companies a lot of money if they marketed the game to the right people but scalability of difficulty in a multiplayer game, especially a competitive one is pandering to the lowest common denominator in my books. That can make a lot of money and create a large user base but I think its harmful to the gaming community as a whole, at least the kind of gaming community I'm interested in being a part of.

I'm not sure it is harmful, at least in WoW.

"Spend 50% of our development resources for 5% of the playerbase" is a phenomenally stupid way to develop a game, to be honest. I'm surprised anyone ever thought it was a good idea.

They still spend a huge amount of time on balancing arena pvp for competitive play, something only about 1% of players seriously do and about 90% of the content in WOW is only populated about 5% of the time (like pretty much all of old kingdom and the outland) how is that not phenomenally stupid compared to producing cookie cutter raids over and over?. I mean lets face it at this point WOW is at American idol-like popularity, if Blizzard announced that the next expansion revolved around saving Miley Cyrus from Emo Vampires this time next year it would have 50 million subscribers. Does that make it right?

DObs:

CantFaketheFunk:

Saris Kai:

CantFaketheFunk:
I think you're all missing the point here. The point is that it would still be a challenge, just an infinitely more scalable one.

Do the zombies lie down and die in L4D just because the Director adapts the game to how you're performing? Of course not.

I see your point, I just don't agree because I'm a competitive elitist. Your idea is great and I'm sure that kind of system would make some companies a lot of money if they marketed the game to the right people but scalability of difficulty in a multiplayer game, especially a competitive one is pandering to the lowest common denominator in my books. That can make a lot of money and create a large user base but I think its harmful to the gaming community as a whole, at least the kind of gaming community I'm interested in being a part of.

I'm not sure it is harmful, at least in WoW.

"Spend 50% of our development resources for 5% of the playerbase" is a phenomenally stupid way to develop a game, to be honest. I'm surprised anyone ever thought it was a good idea.

They still spend a huge amount of time on balancing arena pvp for competitive play, something only about 1% of players seriously do and about 90% of the content in WOW is only populated about 5% of the time (like pretty much all of old kingdom and the outland) how is that not phenomenally stupid compared to producing cookie cutter raids over and over?. I mean lets face it at this point WOW is at American idol-like popularity, if Blizzard announced that the next expansion revolved around saving Miley Cyrus from Emo Vampires this time next year it would have 50 million subscribers. Does that make it right?

Arena they've already admitted was a mistake. And, uh... pretty much 100% of the playerbase experienced leveling in old Azeroth and Outland. Just because it's not populated now doesn't mean it wasn't ever populated and that it wasn't worth the design time, because it certainly was. Compare it to pre-BC Naxxramas, which <10% of the playerbase ever saw. How many people beat Kil'Jaeden? Sunwell was a huge investment of resources for a tiny percentage of the playerbase.

Cookie-cutter raids? Ulduar is one of the best dungeons they've done yet, and while there's a lot more to come, Icecrown looks equally awesome. But they're accessible.

"The other night, my World of Warcraft guild and I made our first exploration into the frigid halls of Icecrown Citadel, the final (and most difficult) raid dungeon in Wrath of the Lich King."

Oh god, I laughed so hard.
I feel sorry for you, Funk.

Anyway, I'd love something like that to come to WoW, at least in 5-mans. It might make things interesting and less formulamatic, which is what makes doing the instances stale in the first place.

This doesn't apply to raiding. Killing a boss should mean you have reached a certain level of skill and gear that allowed you to beat it, and now you can move on to learning the tricks of the next one, and increasing your skill and gear further until it is a winnable fight.

If the game makes itself easier for you when you play poorly, then you are not going to get better (there is no reason to), you will never actually know if you are getting better (because skill and gear have little to nothing to do with a fight where having neither results in an easy fight (for others), rather than a loss).

I like the idea if only because it would adjust based on your party composition. Doing Saurfang is nearly impossible with my guild because we only have one ranged DPS in the normal group.

This reminds me of some top down shooters, like Strikers 1945. When you're doing well, the game inundates you with enemy projectiles. But when you die, it cuts back, making it a bit easier.

And the implementation in FF8 was poor at best. It wasn't about the levels, but the abilities that determined the difficulty. The hardest monster in Balamb was the T-Rexaur. But at level 100, it was one of the easiest monsters in the game. It would have been harder if it gained immunities as it leveled, or they did something like Oversoul from FF10/10-2, it would have made things more challenging. But the main stories of Final Fantasy games are rarely about the challenge and more about completing them. But even the difficulties of most side-quests were hampered by the lack of challenging enemies.

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