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When the pioneering MMORPG Everquest launched its Planes of Power
expansion in 2002, players were understandably impressed. Seeing all
that the expansion had to offer meant working in harmony with up to 71
others to complete a series of unforgiving tasks.
Since then, though, MMO raids have not grown larger and more complex,
as might have been expected. MMORPG designers today mostly look for
ways to make it easier for the average player to get involved, instead
of catering to the most skilled and devoted.
World of Warcraft Sets the Modern Direction
As with many such developments, much of this progress can be traced
back to Blizzard’s monumentally successful World of Warcraft. That game
launched in 2004 with a number of dungeons that capped out at forty
players, and early content updates and the first expansion stuck to this
While that was satisfying for the most experienced and dedicated
players, it left others with little to do at endgame. Blizzard responded
by adding new 10- and 25-player raid-style dungeons, a move greeted
with general approval. Building on the success of the game’s Dungeon
Finder, Blizzard in 2011’s patch 4.3.0 then added a similar raid finder tool, making this style of play still more accessible.
This destroyed sites like OpenRaid.org.
More Moves Toward Greater Accessibility
Unsurprisingly, other games have since followed in the same general direction:
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Knights of the Fallen Empire players
take part in “Operations,” where especially skilled groups can enable
“Nightmare Mode” for a shot at top-end gear, while casual players take
- With the Heart of Thorns expansion, Guild Wars 2 added its own first
raid, a small-scale affair that sees progress conveniently saved for
each squad that tackles it.
- Players of Square’s Final Fantasy XIV MMO can use the game’s raid
finder tool to choose between small-group dungeons or go all-out with
24-strong end-game assaults inspired by some of Everquest’s classic
- The Elder Scrolls Online strives to strike an appealing balance of its own with 12-player traditional raids and a world bosses.
While the spirit of the classic, large-form raid is still alive, the
numbers and specifics have changed. To the most dedicated players, this
can understandably seem like devolution, and some developers have
started to take note of these complaints. On the other hand, players who
would previously have never experienced the height of the endgame often
find in the modern options some appealing ways of getting involved.
Originally posted at www.raidfinderpro.com
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