Thursday, March 26, 2015

[WoW] Reconciling Casual Raid Progress Over Absolute vs. Relative Time

So our raid finally got back together after a couple weeks off. We had only planned on one week off, since two of our 3 potential tanks were on vacation, but between losing a tank and a healer, leaving us with one short of each role at the last second, we had to take two instead.

It was a good run. The ilvl boost helped, but frankly, folks were executing quite well despite the time off. We downed 4 bosses in record time for us, and managed to two-shot Flamebender despite wiping to her 7 or 8 times 3 weeks prior, which brings us to 5/10N progression. In a few pulls we got Kromog down to 13%, so next week I'm confident we'll nail him to the floor, too.

Only 5/10N, and the raid's been open for 7 weeks. Feels kind of slow. Except if you consider we only raid 3 hours a week, and we didn't actually start in on BRF until we downed Imperator, which means we've been raiding a total of about 10 hours (3 full sessions, one one-hour session). So less time than many guilds play in a single week, and we've dealt with 3 resets. When viewed under that lens, I think we're actually doing pretty damn well.

Steve Chick of UNconstant and I had a small chat on Twitter about this very subject, how in a game like WoW progress is often measured in real time passed rather than relative time. Probably a lot to do with how it's difficult to measure how long a person or set of people spent on a single boss. You could measure by number of wipes, I suppose, and some folks do. But actual time from the server first opening with that content is the easiest to measure and only verifiable metric.

But it does behoove me to remind myself that absolute time is a terrible way to measure progression when you aren't gunning for world firsts. And sure, as long as you're having fun, that's the important part. However, as Murf put it, sometimes entertainment is more than just "fun". There's a satisfaction in nailing these bosses as a group, and that's, well, satisfying. I fully expect we'll continue to make progress apace and we'll get Blackhand down before the next patch hits and makes the content less relevant.
#WoW, #Raiding


  1. I think a large reason why is that in most games you can't keep getting more gear to make the boss easier. Then on top of that strategy/guides gets widely circulated after the initial round of kills so later kills have a lot more knowledge.

    And then, of course, there's the potential issue of bugs for the first people who see a boss which then get fixed.

    1. All excellent points as well. When a game like Zelda is static, the only thing that can change is meta-knowledge, as opposed to persistent worlds.

      Granted, this could turn into other ways of measuring kill progress. Lowest ilvl, for example. But that's not nearly as exciting as a literal race.

    2. Lowest ilvl also has the problem of making class differences even more important and would encourage people to gear up alts of the best classes...but only to that "minimum ilvl" that seems needed to succeed.

      Then you get into other questions, like are all slots counted equally? Is it the average ilvl (meaning you could give your tanks/healers less gear and DPS more gear), the highest ilvl, etc?

  2. Outside of the Mythic race I've never really felt a pressure to be rushing into the new raids. My group waited a week or two after release because we figured there would be bugs and issues early on...turns out we were right. So we dove in a little later than most and now we're 8/10N and 3/10H. Outside of getting to be the first people to strut around my...empty...garrison...actually not having to be constantly subjected to the bank prima donnas is perhaps a perk of garrisons. Anyhoo, I think it comes from the "consume all content ASAP!" mentality that runs rampant through the community, and ironically leads to that burnout where people get bored for the 3-4 months between patches. There is also the factor that you identified, where the only clear "starting point" people can look to is when the content became available so there is this assumption that everyone has been attempting since it was possible...which more often than not is untrue. Even things like number of wipes aren't a perfect measure because some groups have fluctuating members (or people who can't make every raid) who can't really be held to the wipes they weren't present for.

    These days I am not even sure how true it is that later groups have better information since guides seem to pop up before the patch is even out now.

    Rambling aside, the idea that success is measured by how many days after release you beat the boss seems to me to be just one of those community shortcuts when a more accurate means of calculating "skill" or degrees of success would be too complicated. Same as when "Gearscore" came out and people wanted to shorthand raider potential with a number by a name.