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4-30-2010 @ 9:15AM
This is a good observation and is part of what I think is a bigger problem: I don't think a single raid zone can be designed to be equally challenging, entertaining, appropriate, and rewarding for groups of such disparate sizes. They can either perfect the design for one group size and then try to tweak it so it isn't incredibly awkward for the other group size, or they can just design it with a middle-of-the-road philosophy from the ground up and try to appeal to both groups as much as possible, inevitably leading to neither group being entirely satisfied.The same concepts apply to the challenge each zone presents. It seems an impossible task to make one encounter equally difficult for two vastly different group sizes assuming that all other factors remain constant. Many current encounters are excellent examples of this inherent difference in difficulty. If you have the same amount of space to work with then many fight mechanics used in a number of boss fights are essentially trivialized in a 10 man raid - think Deathbringer's Blood Nova and Blood Queen's Blood Bolt Whirl (that's a lot of blood). With ground AOEs, multi-targeted chain lightning-type attacks, and mechanics that require a minimum distance between raid members in a limited space, a 10 man raid will always have an easier time of it.One of the common things I see regurgitated by those who have their "I approve of this change" posts copied to the clipboard and ready to paste into the comment box before they ever read what each change consists of is that "choice is always good". Well - No. No it isn't. Speaking for myself, I would much rather have fewer raid zones available to me but that were designed specifically with me in mind. A raid that is designed with nothing but 25 man raiders in mind will unquestionably be more enjoyable for 25 man raiders than one designed to be adequate for both groups and the same logic applies to a raid designed for 10 people. I would rather have a little less content available if it meant that the available content was of a proportionately higher quality.As for choice always being a good thing - look at Age of Conan's new "offline leveling" feature. You now gain one level you can assign to any of your characters for every four days you spend offline. People are rewarded for NOT playing - sent straight to the end game without ever logging in. But hey, you're not personally required to use those levels so it must be a component of great design, right? Choice is NOT always a good thing and should not be considered a substitute for strong, focused, quality game design.
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