Regional FlagThere needs to be an incentive to raid.Source
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#1 - 2013/06/30 07:18:00 AM
I'd like to start off by pointing out that I am not a hardcore raider, and i'm not here to cry about the current state of the game. However, I no longer play the game due to the lack of incentive to raid. I've talked to many people about this and I always get "Heroic gear, and achievements", but in my humble opinion I don't want my reward to be in the form of some re-colored gear or achievement that I can access through a menu.

I didn't raid in TBC, but my brother did. He wasn't a hardcore raider either and was progressing SSC and TK when they removed the attunement for BT and was therefore never able to see Illidan, or most of the other Black Temple bosses. The mere fact that those bosses existed was the incentive for him to raid. He told me that it was a special feeling hearing and seeing the bosses online, but not being able to go there yet because he didn't have the gear. Something like this would make raiding a lot more fun today, i'm not saying remove LFR/Normal and make it HC mode only so 1% see all the content. There should be a progression to it, with easier raids and then increasingly more difficult ones.

I like the idea of giving players a mount for killing Garrosh on normal/heroic before the next patch, but unfortunately that's enough for me to return to the game. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you understand what i'm trying to say.

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#415 - 2013/07/26 02:29:00 PM
Hello everyone ;)

This topic is not exactly new around here, but it’s a such a frequent and important one that I think it’s worth discussing and possibly brainstorm a bit with all of you. Maybe we can come up with an awesome new out-of-the-box approach that devs will like and eventually apply it to the game. Who knows?
Still, I think this is one of those subjects where we will never be able to reach 100% consensus between all players but where we can certainly try to improve it.

- So, are there any incentives to raid atm? If so, what are they?
First of all, yes, of course there are incentives currently in the game.
The problem is that an incentive is something completely relative and personal.
Ideally, we could maximize the efficacy of these incentives and try to make them as appealing as possible to the vast majority of our player base. Have we reached that stage yet? Probably not, our community is pretty diverse and dynamic, we can’t be static about anything, we need to be in a constant state of adaptation.

- What incentives do we have right now?
I believe we have Character progression (loot), entertainment, social interaction, and competition.
- Is there anything else? Yes, sense of discovery and exploration, also, adventure.
These are the tricky ones, everyone that raided pre-LFR is particularly fond and maybe a bit nostalgic about them.
Now, I’m not going to completely dismiss the typical argument about this by claiming that it’s a simple case of “special snowflake” elitism. To be honest, it’s just not that simple.
There’s something definitely special and extremely appealing about experiencing something that is rare, that is hidden, and that most people have either never seen or experience. It makes it prestigious and secretive, which is… enticing.
As humans, it hits us right in one of our weak spots, our primal sense of curiosity, and this can be the source of some pretty strong emotions.
These emotions can compel us to do things not because of what our object of desire actually is but because of what it represents, and this permeates throughout everything in our society, we can see it everywhere, it’s part of who we are and it’s is one of our most fascinating characteristics.

- What do you mean by all this mumbo jumbo you stinky murloc?
Well, let’s focus on a something specific and concrete and use it as an example, let’s say… Tier 2 content! The famous Blackwing Lair raid.
- What made players raid BwL? And who was raiding back then?
BWL had some pretty high gear requirements and due to almost no catch-up mechanics in the game back then, that usually meant it took a lot of time and effort. Most of the players that were raiding BWL were typically very dedicated players with plenty of free time.
The vast majority of players were completely left out from the top raiding experience.

- The question then becomes, is that a bad thing?
Again, it’s more complex than a yes or no answer.
The entertainment that one gets from the raid itself should be enough reason for most players to want to experience it, but sometimes (depending on how rewarding it is) that is just not enough.
Raiding requires time and effort, thus it not only provides entertainment value but also prestige, it creates a stratification of status between all players and I believe that that is actually healthy for the endgame.
Let’s not forget that we had a lot of complaints back then about content being too hard and lack of catch-up mechanics.
But let’s see this from a different perspective, there were a lot of complaints, and that means that those players were subscribed and playing, while they complained and constantly asked for easier access to content, at the same time they were also trying very hard to improve in order to see that “secret and elusive” content.
This worked well because content was never actually gated, any player was able to experience every single raid as long as he put enough effort in it, it was all just a matter of skill, time and effort.

The trick is to find a good balance between all these requirements and rewards, if that balance is met, we can maximize the efficacy of any raid in terms of entertainment value. The build-up of all that eagerness and aspiration of one day entering a certain raid is highly motivating, and while it can create some anxiety, it can also be part of the entertainment value, it’s just like when a child can barely wait for Christmas to arrive, all of that waiting, all the build-up of emotions during that time can sometimes be better than the actual opening of the presents.

This old system had its advantages but it was far from perfect, the game and the players have evolved so much till this day... and this is something that never stops, we realize that there’s still a lot that we can do to improve the whole raiding experience and patch 5.4 is yet another big iteration where we take a new step in that direction.

After vanilla, the introduction of different difficulty levels and the LFR simply meant that we wanted to open content to players that would otherwise simply not be able to ever access it, that is a good thing, remember that we don’t want to make content feel gated, we realize that a lot of our players fulfil all the requirements of old BWL except when it comes to “free time”.
As long as this faster and easier content isn’t appealing to the more hardcore crowd and it still manages to differentiate the rewards in a very meaningful manner, there is no reason to block the majority of players from at the very least having a chance to experience our raids in a different environment, with reduced rewards, adjusted to the time and effort that is required out of them.

There are certainly ways we can improve the experience for both the more casual and the more hardcore crowds without making anyone feel disappointed by either the content or the rewards.
We want to get there, and while we will probably never be able to make 100% of all players completely happy about everything in the game, it’s still a noble objective to aspire to, and one that we will never cease to pursue, especially when we such a deeply passionate community that constantly keeps pushing us to do better.