MMOs and the weirdness of raiding…

I’ve been chewing over this post for a couple of months now, ever since I undertook my first dungeons runs in Guild Wars 2 earlier this year but I’ve been meaning to write something about raiding since I began to tag along with raids in LOTRO back in 2011. Now there are huge differences between those two games but there is also a striking similarity, at least for me, and that is that I find raiding not only profoundly boring but also confusing in its stylistic switch from the rest of the gameplay.

GW2 is probably the best example of this. The game itself is anything but boring with the heart and soul of it engineered to allow you to play pretty much alone whilst giving you something to do all the time. Wherever you are you are never more than a few minutes from an event chain and you are encouraged to use the various weapon and profession skills to complete them. As an engineer I know I have certain rifle skills that work well with turret skills and I need to use both, as well as constant movement and healing, to win the fight and this feels right, it feels like the game Arenanet designed. But when it comes to raiding it all changes.

From a position of knowing your skills and understanding how to dance around an enemy in order to survive, you are thrust into a game mode where all you have to do is stack, i.e. all stand on exactly the same spot and mash attack, heal & rez skills, and that is mind-numbingly dull. Not only is the game play style dull, but what it does to your experience of the world is criminal! Do you know what I see of most fights in raids? A firework display of particle effects centered on a strange multi-limbed beast and nothing else – none of the amazing wotk the devs have put into the area because we are all stood in a crush hitting and healing and checking out emails on your phone instead of concentrating on the fight.

I would love to experience more of the dungeons and areas built by Arenanet but not stood in a clump. I want to use the skills I’ve learnt in the game, not be forced to play a whack-a-mole. I want to take the awesome moves I pull fighting a group of Tamini Centaurs and apply them to fighting a dungeon boss so that when I bring it down I look awesome, not like a strange mutant-blob-thing!

Sigh. Maybe I’m missing something obvious but for the life of me I can’t think what it is. Raiding is boring.


  1. Many of the raiding experiences I have had have been like this, a mad scrum with everyone bashing away indeed most of them have been big fish dragging some little fish around and I must admit to having fun taking screenshots and collecting nice gifts at the end 🙂

    I have had a couple of experiences always on level raids where I have needed to be active and where the group has to work with each other, (In fact had one last night until computer crashed!) communicate and move around to complete different tasks only spoilt by the ‘boss’ scrum at the end…the actual getting there was more fun than the goal!

    Some kind of raid dynamic is needed that prevents these rolling mauls…I want strategy and tactics, and teamwork not to be obscured, follow on actions to be carried out to be obvious from the action rather than the level of abstract bars and icons…

    The ‘normal’ game is geared to this why does it have to be so messy when grouping…indeed I remember my first fellowship in LOTRO with idiots running around randomly, a killing spree but rather un rewarding an experience, no communication was required…a bad sign…

    Surely running in and ‘getting in the way’ should interrupt other players not be beneficial…

    Raid boss that needs to be attacked from range for it to react so that a player can get in to melee or even turn around and expose it’s back….

    Is there an MMO that does this stuff well?

    1. Hell, I guess so but I’ve so little MMO experience I couldn’t say which. Even if there was I reckon there is another factor that would kill them for me – the time taken to play them! GW2 seems to get these things over in a reasonable time but I remember the damn things going on for bloody ever in LOTRO.

  2. GW2 dungeons are not raids. At all. Raiding most certainly is not boring. You’re not raiding when doing GW2 dungeons, so an accurate statement would be: “GW2 dungeons are boring.”

    The only ‘raid like’ experiences in GW2 are Tequatl, Triple-Headed Wurm and the now-gone Marionette.

    GW2 dungeons when new, were once “normal” where people didn’t stack, and instead spread around, etc. You can certainly still play dungeons like that. But these dungeons are nearing on 2 years old AND they are the best source of money for people. People have been playing these for so long, they are going to find the quickest way to get through them. The same thing happens in other games with years old content. So you have a few symptoms coming together to make the boring-stack tactic. 1.) Reward structure in GW2 is all about having loads of money. So people want to run things as fast and efficiently as possible in order to get money. If you can manage to run most of the dungeons in one day, that is a good chunk of gold. 2.) No holy trinity. There’s nothing to tank, nothing much to heal (though it’s amazing what a difference good guards can make regarding to healing, aegis and whatnot) so damage is king. Kill it before it kills you. Getting mobs bunched up and killing them at the same time is best.

    This line of sight/bunching mobs up thing is nothing new though. It’s just so much more extreme in GW2 mainly due to age of the dungeons and need for huge amounts of money if you want anything cool.

    And MMOs that did good raids with fun tactics? Lotro did it for years, Rift has done it (and still is) and Secret World dungeons are good.

    1. Hiya, thanks for the insights. You’re one of the few readers with a lot of MMO experience so this means a lot.

      I think of enjoy raiding for the close-knit plan & execution stage but I would, I think, rather have dungeons/areas that feel like a raid but still allow, in fact demand that you play with the same skills you have in game but to a really high level. Like the Queen’s Champions in the recent festival.

  3. hehe not sure why but this sort of reminded me of the tactics for the EQ2 Venekor (Elder) raid. To start, the raid basically needs to conga line into the centre of the room, do a sharp left to the NW corner and then hide behind a flower pot 😛 It was a good raid though, very challenging back in its day and was still challenging an expac or two later 🙂

    I did the whole end-game raiding thing in EQ2 and it was fun for a while. Veeshan’s Peak was an amazing huge zone with varying and fun tactics but the raiding in TSO got too ‘hokey cokey’ with one mistake invoking the fail condition and automatic raid wipe. So I’d had enough after throwing myself at that 🙂 I like the raiding in Lotro (I mostly raided T1), the T1 difficulty being forgiving enough that an organised casual guild could manage to progress either fully or at least far enough and the T2/T2C difficulty levels providing a good end-game for serious raiders. (Though it is not the case now and hasn’t been for a good while now either)

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