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January 2014

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I originally posted this as a comment on a massively article regarding "old school" raiding in MMOs. A key quote was the semi-famous Furor EQ quitting post, where he complains about the Plane of Time in the PoP expansion.

I find Furor's quote there fairly amusing, as he was basically complaining about raid caps and the lengthy keying processes in PoP. EQ certainly did screw this up by requiring traditional zerg-raids to unlock the small raid content, but the smaller raids were the way of the future, and it was this that Furor really feared. EQ was actually on the verge of getting this right, yet here's Furor clamoring for more of the same, since his guild was configured for the zerg raids that were a massive barrier to entry for the competition.

What's really funny to me is that EQ's hard-learned lessons with raid caps had to be re-learned in WoW, which originally started off with 40-man raids and is only now going to fully support 10-man raids. So much legacy baggage from EQ seeped into WoW, and I can only guess that this is due to people like Tigole and other hardcore EQ raiders having a disproportionate amount of sway in the WoW development process.

I feel like WoW is turning a corner with Wrath, though, and the old guard is finally either losing ground or coming around to a more player-friendly view on their own. WoW is such a success in its own right that they have no reason to be looking backwards - unlike with Molten Core, where they apparently just asked "how did they handle this in EQ," they're beginning to realize that they have the freedom to finally make things right without leaning so heavily on the past.

It may have taken a while, but I think Blizzard has finally managed to learn an important lesson on their own - that in order to make a truly great game that appeals to the largest number of players, you really have to ignore the vocal hardcore minority. People who complain about 10-mans being easy mode, or welfare epics, or whatever... they just don't matter, and if you listen to them you make the game less fun for a majority of players. Hopefully future games won't have to suffer through the same process.

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