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8-25-2011 @ 4:22PM
I think one aspect affecting things is the fact that since content is by nature designed for both 10 and 25 player modes, and normal and heroic modes, that constrains greatly what the designers can do with an encounter. For example, in BC one of the hardest fights for a lot of guilds was Teron Gorefiend, who randomly killed a player every 30 seconds (leading to a sub-fight where the dead player controlled a ghost that killed constructs). Because that encounter was designed to last 5-6 minutes and the first death occurred about 90 seconds in to the fight, you would likely lose 7-8 players during the encounter (of course with battle rez, soulstone, etc., you could protect healers in case you got an insane streak of bad luck). That style of mechanic simply can't be done in today's raid, because scaling it down for 10m would either cause the deaths to come too far apart to be considered, or RNG could kill all your healers in no time (without the benefit of more than one battle res).This is the sort of scaling issue that inhibits encounter designers, who have to take in to account four potential modes for each encounter. It homogenizes encounters, and I think contributes to the fatigue that raiders feel.
8-25-2011 @ 4:26PM
That's a really excellent point and not one that occurred to me, I admit. I still think it's possible for Blizzard to return to the Ulduar model for achievements/heroic versions of encounters (e.g., 10-man Firefighter wasn't significantly less difficult than 25-man Firefighter, at least at first) but they can't realistically design any encounter that won't scale seamlessly between the 10- and 25-man versions. You're right: an encounter like Gorefiend could never happen in today's raids.
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