Spinks wrote a very thought-provoking article today. She's discussing gimmicky raids, old content, and learning. The comments continue the discussion and are definitely worth reading, as some very good points are raised and elaborated on.
I'm not sure there is any one "right" opinion here. I think I've touched on this issue in various ways before, but the crux of things revolves around what combination, exactly, of boss mechanics make encounters fun. There are a ton of ways to slice this. We could look at individual encounters, or take a raid instance as a whole. We could look at each tier, or each patch, or each expansion. We could talk in terms of progression raiders, or casual guildies, or true PuGs. Heck, we don't even have a solid definition of what "gimmicky" means.
The problem is: it's all opinion. What's fun for one person, may not be fun for another. The nature of the beast is that in pleasing some people, you're going to lose others. Yet, there has to be a maximized middle ground. Hasn't there?
Perhaps the most interesting thought I gleaned from the discussion was that maybe in despairing of simpler encounters, we've mired ourselves in less forgiving bosses that make us even more unhappy. To some extent, it's the age-old case of "the grass is always greener," but is there a such thing as a healthy mix?
If I were to complain (and I try to keep that at a minimum), it would be along the lines of what one of the commenters pointed out about "failure tolerance." It may be that the simple answer is that things have become too finely tuned on the individual. I would wonder if this doesn't reflect a bunch of 25-man design ideas ported to 10-man groups. Blizz says they've kept both in mind, but that's an inherently difficult task to begin with. When things are simply scaled down, you go from a 3 person responsibility, to just one. You lose forgiveness at the small end of raiding. Do 25-man groups feel the same pressure to preform?
Maybe instead of simply scaling an encounter and preserving most of the mechanics, some need to simply be lost. Still, I think this has been done too, and how has it helped? Is there even a good solution here? It seems like Blizz has tried a lot of different things. Perhaps they're just as frustrated as we are, trying to walk the finest line ever drawn in MMO design.
I don't have a good answer here. I simply agree that I feel frustrated when I can't fill a difficult role though I may have learned the fight, and we're forced to put someone there who is simply trying to learn the basics of it. I also still feel like raid gearing is too slow, especially given the somewhat overused options (Z's, heroics to some extent). I don't have a solution there either, though.
Learning, explaining, remembering... they've become the true gimmicks of current encounters. And I'm not sure there is any digital fix for the human element. Is it simply that we'd rather be failing to non-human elements than human ones?
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