View Full Forums : Raid Zone Design with Prathun and Zajeer

06-18-2007, 07:10 PM
This is from this thead:

Which is about guilds bypassing the first Tier of Demiplane and moving directly on to Tier 2. Zajeer and Prathun chime in and give thier viewpoints on what we can expect going forward.

I haven't heard of any plans, nor do I think there will be any plans, to allow you to "skip" specific content in the zone. For most examples listed on this thread as places where you can bypass content, I can think of many examples where you had to go through a specifc, direct path to get to the final boss. In Vex Thal you had to go through the majority of the bosses to get to Aten Ha Ra. In Plane of Time, you had to kill every god in the zone to get to Quarm. In Anguish you had to clear all of the bosses to get to Mata Muram.

And the same can be said for Demiplane - the design of the zone, and the itemization built for the zone, assumed a general amount of time and effort was placed on a weekly run through the zone to get the final boss encounter and his rewards. I don't think we're going to be changing this design for Demiplane, especially years after the fact.


On the subject of Trash mobs:

Golgolath wrote:

The amount of trash in demi and anguish is, frankly, outrageous. DK had it right, DoN had it right. Is there any chance of at least considering reducing the amount of trash clearing people have to do in demi? It seems very bad game design to fill people's raid times with stuff that offers no challenge and no reward. If you have to, make longer, more dangerous events, but please don't make us spend half our raid killing trash...

Actually, in our eyes, both DoN and PoTime had it wrong - the amount of time to clear the final end zone/raid of the expansion shouldn't take half a night's worth of work to do. Plane of Time was a loot pinata that we're reluctant about introducing again. In my opinion, and I'm sure Prathun will chime in with the same opinion, is that the Demiplane base-pop was about where we wanted it to be in terms of density and difficulty.

The issue we had previously with other raid zones was that the base population wasn't interesting enough, (see Plane of Time and Anguish for example) so we tried to rectify that by making the base population more difficult and more complex. Now, sure, fighting that stuff nearly 3 years later may seem easy and tedious, but then again, I would assume that the entirety of the zone with a few runs at it would be easy and tedious. This is because it's not current content and its being beat by folks with 5 more levels, quite a few more AAs, and more powerful items/spells than it was originally tuned for.

Now if the argument is that the respawn time of the base-population is too high, we can look into it (no promises to change it though, but I wouldn't mind checking it out).

On to much loot from the lower tier:

The biggest problem with the design of the zone is that fact that your guild is almost completely full up on Tier 1 loot long before you are full up on Tier 2 loot. Therefore, Tier 1 becomes nothing more than a time sink. A way to gear up Alts. Nothing more. It's a 3+ hour waste of time that you MUST do just to get to where you come across anything the guild needs.

I raided VT back in the day and we didn't have this least not to this degree. Sure, you always wish you had more end-zone boss mob kills, but it wasn't just a big waste of time. I raided Time...same thing. While Tier 1-3 began to rot, Tier 4 and 5 were always good and Quarm, of course. We still didn't see this level of time wasted that we now see in DP.

The time assumptions appear to be wrong for DP. That's the problem. And once you've proven that you can regularly and dependably kill all of Tier 1 by doing just that for 25 or 30 times, skipping to Tier 2 makes alot of sense.

As for changing something years after the fact...since when do you not change things years after the fact? You've done it regularly and repeatedly lots of times over the years. If you did change it the zone would see alot more traffic, for a while anyway.

I don't think you should be able to skip straight to Mayong anymore than you should be able to skip straight to Quarm, but why would you want to force your raiding playerbase to trudge through hours of worthless clearing with rotting loot over content they've already defeated over and over and over again?
Hold on a sec here. When is it a design issue that your guild chose not to push and beat tier2 events and as such, there's a large saturation of tier1 items? How is this different than only beating the first tier of gods in Plane of Time, getting saturated on loot, and then asking for the same thing?

Your guild should have been working on tier2 events and should have never gotten into the situation where the whole guild is overly saturated with tier1 loot.


On the amount of time it takes:

Koshy wrote:

What was this general amount of time you assumed when designing Demiplane.
When I created Demi-Plane, I was aiming for 2-3 nights of raiding to clear the zone.

I recognize that there are ways to streamline the process, some guilds can do it faster, and there are random elements that can increase or decrease your time in the zone, but on average ... especially when folks are new to the clear .... I wanted it to be more than one night's play time.

On Timesinks:

I think the seperation between the playerbase and design on this specific issue is this - as designers, when we consider reward for the zone, we look at not only difficulty but also time investment. There needs to be a certain amount of time spent per loot accrued for it to be "just right". Time was a good example of too much loot/hour. So was Dragons of Norrath. In some ways, I'm to blame for it being worse in DON because of the class specific item quests that pushed the loot/raid hour higher for folks attending that.

The sad fact of the matter is, we need players to continue playing EQ at a high level, otherwise a good amount of folks over time will stop playing due to being "done" before we have our next expansion out with more stuff to sink their teeth into. You guys consume content at a higher rate than we churn it out, so we have to inflate the time it takes you to consume content by putting in time investments. Call it artificial if you will, but that's going to be at the heart of any and every MMO you play. I can even cite examples of it in WoW, DAoC, FFXI, or any other MMO. I'm hesitant to call these "timesinks" because of the negative connotation, but really, an MMO at it's core is a "timesink" - you play these games to have fun for sure, but also to kill some free time you have in your life.


06-19-2007, 12:35 PM
The most messed up Zajeer ever said in his life was in regards to the time it takes to get power sources for TSS armor... "Raiders don't spend enough time playing the game outside of raids."

Combine that with the general idea displayed in what you post -raids need to take longer- and you see that their goal is to get people playing eq as much as possible. I'm all for a more difficult game, but a time sink for sake of throwing away time is a highly unsophisicated way to expand the game.

Ideally, when a time sink is added, it should have a clear purpose / benefit and avoid tedium. I think solteris flagging did a much better job at this than say, tss factioning.

And in response to the DP question, I see no reason why DP can't be split into two separate instances (one with tier1 and one with tier2 + mayong.) Hell, my guild still does FC1 AGE/W sometimes, to say spliting the content to save time makes people ignore the earlier content just isn't true.

06-19-2007, 03:37 PM
every expansion it becomes more and more clear that the devs do not play their own game.

06-19-2007, 08:24 PM
every expansion it becomes more and more clear that the devs do not play their own game.


06-20-2007, 12:59 AM
My understanding is that Developers wear two hats. Content designers and Programmers. If thats the case they should seperate the two into distinctive roles.

06-20-2007, 01:03 PM
My understanding is that Developers wear two hats. Content designers and Programmers. If thats the case they should seperate the two into distinctive roles.

The people you often see on the SOE boards, Nodyin, Prathun, Ngreth, Zajeer, Merloc (though Merloc isn't really a designer to me lol) - they are the designers. Rashere is their lead. They often don't do a lot of the coding, that is left to the coders - people like Grumbuk (who is awesome but, doens't post any more on the boards).

06-22-2007, 10:48 AM
The main question would be how many of these guys still plays? I don't think they realize exactly how the changes that they make continue to modify the game and how it is not the same as it was 2 or 3 years ago.

06-22-2007, 01:51 PM
Well see that's the catch-22. As players we question their first hand knowledge of the game from a player perspective but, for them to do that it would take time away from getting things done.

Which is why it becomes incumbent on us the players to really illustrate, from a player perspective, why some decisions they made a year ago or 6 years ago don't hold true today. Not always will they agree but, like we've seen with back flags being put on Hatchet/RF, something even a year ago Prathun said was fine, he listened to what people had to say and changed his mind based on recent points of view.

It is really frustrating to try illustrate your thoughts to them, as more often than not, they will not agree with what you propose or have to say. Still, if players continue to put the effort in, they can affect the decisions the devs make.

06-22-2007, 04:16 PM
Would be nice overall if they would look ahead a bit instead of at right now when they make some of their decisions.

06-22-2007, 04:20 PM
Also note that if the developers revealed too much about their play characters, they would be accused of favoritism. (Not that it stops people from making those accusations anyway...)
We don't even let devs play out in the open for fear of people even thinking we're being unfair. Before I joined SOE, I was a member of a top end raiding guild. When I joined the team, though, it was like going into a witness protection program. I had to leave the guild, faking a fight and "storming off and deguilding" so it looked natural, and then change my character's name. I even redyed his armor to be less recognizeable so I could continue playing the character without anyone knowing who I was. I basically had to start from scratch building social ties again, foresaking all my old friends and guildies.