The increasing memory demands of raids

90 Pandaren Shaman
16840
Well, I'll concede that the dungeon journal descriptions are quite long. But, I don't really think understanding all that detail is necessary to win. A fight like heroic Rag is quite long and quite choreographed, but Lei Shien was pretty straightforward. Sure there's a lot of little things, but really it results in stack/spread and rotating around 4 lighting rods.

You have to abstract things a bit to have it all make easy sense. And I get that abstraction is a higher order function for people. Most people I work with on a regular basis can't identify simple parallels between things.
Edited by Firestyle on 4/7/2013 1:06 PM PDT
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100 Night Elf Druid
14205
I'd be interested to see your number of boss mechanics table with some sort of filter, where you don't count things that people (in practice) don't actively pay attention to, like:

nobody-in-melee-range nukes for stationary bosses
raidwide or random, unavoidable low-to-medium damage abilities
1 type of adds that need to die when no other type of adds or boss are attackable
etc.

It would also be interesting to have it filtered by role, as a fight with 2 special mechanics for each role means a tank can basically ignore the 4 damage and healer mechanics


It isn't possible for me to be able to do this for every raid dungeon in the game, especially given the different difficulties and fact that the dungeon journal didn't exist until recently. Also, I'm working 6 days a week, so even a cursory count took me several weeks to do and required me to simplify the count process as much as I could. I can't go back in time to the vanilla/TBC encounters for this, so it makes it hard to compare across expansions. As much as possible, I didn't just simply count the list of bullet points on the dungeon journal (because Durumu would have a score of 28 instead of 17 in that case) - I excluded either redundant things or super trivial things where I could.
Edited by Lissanna on 4/7/2013 1:08 PM PDT
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90 Orc Warrior
13520
bosses to me are starting to feel like giant puzzles and less like epic battles


That's the fun in raiding, solving the puzzle with 9 or 24 other people. Beating on a boss until he dies is boring. Patchwork is not the ideal encounter IMO.
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100 Pandaren Warrior
16360
To address lowering memory on LFR, for the most part they have, in that most of the mechanics are there, but don't punish you for failing them. Which I see as the ideal way because normal+ raiders can practice
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90 Pandaren Shaman
16840
But, having just left a Durumu run in LFR due to the inability of people to not get one shot - even with 3 stacks of the buff - I can't really argue anymore.
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90 Human Death Knight
13165
04/07/2013 01:07 PMPosted by Xiic
bosses to me are starting to feel like giant puzzles and less like epic battles


That's the fun in raiding, solving the puzzle with 9 or 24 other people. Beating on a boss until he dies is boring. Patchwork is not the ideal encounter IMO.


I think there is a happy medium between patchwerk and giant puzzles. You can have mechanics without it being a silly dance of "stand here, then now stand here, during phase 5 you have to click this..." You get the idea.

Its a telling sign of the deficiencies of blizzards design teams if people think they can only design patchwerk or puzzle.

I would use the faction champions fight from TOGC Heroic as an example. It wasn't easy, but it was an epic fight. It felt epic, it looked epic. It had mechanics you had to deal with, but those mechanics weren't a wow version of line dancing. I guess a little bit of controlled chaos goes a long way.

Heroic rag would be another fight I would argue straddled the line between epic and puzzle.
Edited by Dreagan on 4/7/2013 1:21 PM PDT
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100 Worgen Druid
17900
04/07/2013 01:03 PMPosted by Lissanna
It requires hours of studying to truly understand the nest mechanic on the bird boss, and the Durumu encounter mechanics.


I am sorry but no, it really does not. Even in the first week before strats were out it took less than an hour to figure out a system for JiKun's nests.

And honestly at this point in the tier there are plenty of very well crafted strats that have been worked out so that "casual" guilds do not need to do their own theorycrafting.

If you want to talk about Dumuru's mechanics in normal lets go over them the same way I did Jin'Rokh.

1. Hard Stare - tank swap mechanic at ~5 stacks, heals top off tank each time it hits to remove debuff - 3 bullet points
2. Light spectrum, blue and red people control beams (yellow moves on own), blue stands still, red runs around to light up red adds that get killed asap, don't take beam off exposed adds. - 11 bullet points
3. Maze, everyone stacks up together on purplish pink lightning side of beam against the maze and waits until they find an opening, steps into opening and continues following it around boss, - 4 bullet points and probably the worst to explain part of the fight despite the videos out there.
4. Force of Will, do not stand in purple during non maze/spectrum phases - 2 bullet points
5. Lingering Gaze, if targetted run to outside to drop puddle, do not stand in puddle - 2 bullet points
6. Life Drain, if targetted run as far out of melee as possible, players step into beam to prevent others from getting more than 2 stacks, will stun, - 2 bullet points.

Dumuru is def more complex than Jin'Rokh, but he is also boss number 7 compared to boss number 1. However his mechanics can be summed up by 3 phases, Light Spectrum (expose red adds only), Maze (follow raid in safe spots), and normal (do not stand in purple/interupt life drain).
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100 Gnome Mage
19770
I think the cheatsheet role filter would be especially good for LFD 5-mans too. Not that they're difficult or anything nowadays, but sort of a going forward type of thing.

In regards to LFR, most of the time I queue up for MSV on my 3rd Mage, neither of the tanks take the tank buffs on Feng. Though I usually goad them to pick up the null barrier in the first transition =p Boss dies either way, but I think tanks would enjoy that fight more if they knew those buffs existed. The DJ is too overwhelming in its current state.
Edited by Digerati on 4/7/2013 1:18 PM PDT
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90 Night Elf Druid
17755
Your ability to remember items over a short period of time (Wikipedia). Science cites 5 to 9 items (7 + 2) as the range for the maximum numbers of unrelated words or digits you can hold in mind. In the cases of WOW, you could think of this as the maximum number of unrelated boss mechanics that a player in the raid could remember if your raid leader listed off boss mechanics and you didn’t spend time to memorize them before the fight. Once we pass around 7 boss mechanics, you probably couldn’t actually recite all the mechanics back to your raid leader (and most people wouldn’t even get all 7 right).


You made a leap at the end that glossed over the key point - related.
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100 Night Elf Druid
14205
04/07/2013 01:07 PMPosted by Xiic
bosses to me are starting to feel like giant puzzles and less like epic battles


That's the fun in raiding, solving the puzzle with 9 or 24 other people. Beating on a boss until he dies is boring. Patchwork is not the ideal encounter IMO.


I would agree that Patchwork isn't the ideal encounter. I would also suggest that Durumu LFR and normal-mode is still not fun or ideal for most people either, and that we're going to have a long-term problem over the next several years with "casual" raiding guilds not being sustainable if they hit the point where only the most elite people can learn the bosses on the easiest difficulty. My guild read the strategy guides and the boss guides for Durumu and our first night there, we still couldn't make very good sense of the information presented to us - because Blizzard has introduced so many things that it is hard to guess which mechanics are or aren't important, and where you should be focusing your attention.

Making LFR fights with tons of mechanics that people just ignore isn't ideal game design - because there isn't any clear outline of what is or isn't important to focus on.

However, TOT especially just isn't designed as well as it could be if they were keeping in mind human limitations. In TOT, most guilds are no longer "solving a puzzle", but being forced to memorize choreographed fights from strategy videos and guides, because working memory capacities have been exceeded for everyone but the most heroic hard-core raiders.
Edited by Lissanna on 4/7/2013 1:31 PM PDT
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100 Dwarf Death Knight
18230
Dragonsoul wasnt ideal, Morchok was Patchwerk

Warlord was Patchwerk

Yorsahj was patchwerk, but kill purple

Hagara was well done

Ultraxion was patchwerk, but hope tanks push a button

Gunship was kill everything.

Spine had mechanics, but was a griefer's paradise

Madness, the only wipecheck was that your group could kill the blisters.

Memory check, 3 mechanics in 8 bosses

However, TOT especially just isn't designed as well as it could be if they were keeping in mind human limitations. In TOT, most guilds are no longer "solving a puzzle", but being forced to memorize choreographed fights from strategy videos and guides, because working memory capacities have been exceeded for everyone but the most heroic hard-core raiders.


I think we should allow mechanics to be considered content, at least as much as most people define loot as content.
Edited by Azane on 4/7/2013 1:26 PM PDT
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90 Orc Warrior
13520
Dragonsoul's normal-mode memory demands in terms of boss complexity is actually pretty ideal. It had a few fights well within the 7+ or - 2 short-term memory capacity range, and only the last boss really exceeds that due to the multiple platforms to remember. Having only the last boss exceed short-term memory stores is actually a really good design idea, and it's really only a small number of dungeons that abandoned that plan in terms of having end bosses coming at the beginning, middle, AND end of the dungeon. Even MV/HOF/TOES stays within a reasonable memory complexity level in my blog's chart. HOF actually has a decently nice memory progression across the normal-mode bosses, all things considered


The last boss' platforms are literally rinse and repeat. Saying DS was a good raiding tier is not a good idea around here, no one will ever take you seriously.
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MVP - World of Warcraft
100 Night Elf Druid
14205


The last boss' platforms are literally rinse and repeat. Saying DS was a good raiding tier is not a good idea around here, no one will ever take you seriously.


That's not really my point, so I'll remove that from the post.

The point is that 2, 3, 4, 5 years down the line when every single boss you fight has 20 to 30 things you have to remember and track is going to set the bar for raiding so high that most people aren't going to be able to do it.

At this point, we're really hitting the cusp of fight complexity where going too much further in LFR in terms of complexity is going to make LFR unsustainable - and the approach of making every LFR mechanic totally trival isn't ideal, either.

An ideal situation is where LFR and normal-modes still have mechanics you have to watch and track, but that LFR has significantly fewer mechanics at all compared to normal, and normal has significantly fewer mechanics than heroic - and that the maximum number of mechanics for LFR and normal should try to stay within the realm of what people could easily learn and intuitively pick up without DBM or strategy guides.

The arms-race against DBM and other raiding addons just makes DBM and other raiding addons things that are required, which you can't assume people in LFR understand how to use. You can assume advanced studying, practice, and DBM for heroic-mode encounters - and the real problem is that it's generally the heroic-mode raiders who are testing normal and LFR bosses, and setting the expectation bars higher than most people come into raids with. LFR and normal-modes should be challenging, but should be designed in ways that human cognition is taken into consideration more than it is now. It means that in some cases, we could actually increase the number of mechanics, but in others, the challenge shouldn't just be about how well you can copy a strategy video.

While the shortened version of my blog post may not have been ideal for this forum (it works much better without the 5,000 character limit where I had to strip out all the detail), it's still something that future raid dungeons are going to need to be designed with. We can store a pretty large number of things in our long-term memories, but requiring use of long-term memories for LFR fights is unrealistic, and there are better ways of designing LFR to stay within human cognitive limits without going to the other extreme and making every fight patchwerk. My post really didn't talk about hard-mode raiding, as I don't think hard-mode raids need the same limitation (especially since you will have learned the normal-mode fight first, and can easily add on 4 more mechanics without much of a problem - because then you are only learning 4 new things).

The current design strategy seems to be taking out 2 mechanics from the heroic for normal-mode, and then making every fight patchwerk for LFR by leaving in all the mechanics but making none of them deadly due to having to nerf everything when people can't follow all the confusing instructions. This really isn't a workable long-term solution when the hard-mode fights need to increase in memory demands and the LFR/normal modes aren't sustainable at those levels of memory demand.

I realize posting this here was probably a mistake, but I wanted to spur conversations more generally by posting controversial things on the forums to get people thinking and talking about boss fight complexity and memory demands. Sometimes, I poke ant hills with sticks to see what other people think, even if you disagree.
Edited by Lissanna on 4/7/2013 1:47 PM PDT
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100 Troll Hunter
12880
I would also suggest that Durumu LFR and normal-mode is still not fun or ideal for most people either


I think Durumu on normal is fun, most people hate it due to the maze, but really, it's so easy it's stupid to hate it for that reason.

The last boss' platforms are literally rinse and repeat. Saying DS was a good raiding tier is not a good idea around here, no one will ever take you seriously.


Where is that quote from? did s/he edit it out already?

04/07/2013 01:37 PMPosted by Lissanna
That's not really my point, so I'll remove that from the post.


The fact that you even mentioned it makes it laughable at best, and nobody will ever take you seriously now. Especially since Xiic has it quoted. DS was such a horrible raid and the fact that you even mentioned it here is hilarious.
Edited by Naumu on 4/7/2013 1:49 PM PDT
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MVP - World of Warcraft
100 Night Elf Druid
14205


Where is that quote from? did s/he edit it out already?


yes, because it wasn't really my point and I was talking about graphs that I can't post on the forum and people here aren't looking at.
Edited by Lissanna on 4/7/2013 1:48 PM PDT
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100 Worgen Druid
17900
Honestly I think LFR is perfect right now.

Having the same mechanics as normal with less chance to instantly die forces players to acknowledge mechanics and actually allows LFR to be a practice run of a real raid for most fights.

You talk about the current complexity of the fights as making "casual" raiding unsustainable, but my raid team is more casual than yours in terms of hours (6h/wk compared to your guild's listed 9-12h/wk) and we have not once run into any issue about boss complexity or people failing to understand mechanics.

The dungeon journal is there to record the different abilities and mechanics of the boss and to explain in enough detail what they do as a reference tool. Honestly it sounds like you guys need to tell your raiders to look up strats instead of reading the journal. Every single fight you have referenced is an example of mechanics that appear overly complex when each detail is individually explained.

"The arms race against DBM" is a complete cop out. On Dumuru the mechanic with the most bullet points isn't a mechanic that DBM solves. All DBM does is record timers for things and alerts you to debuffs, so using it as an reason why fights have mechanics like Light Spectrum totally ignores how DBM actually works. Really the only thing DBM does on Dumuru is tell you when things are happening and if you are standing in bad.
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100 Troll Hunter
12880
04/07/2013 01:30 PMPosted by Xiic
Dragonsoul's normal-mode memory demands in terms of boss complexity is actually pretty ideal.


What Xiic said, if you think DW "exceeded" the others then idk what to say. It was not complex, even on Heroic, and was purely a numbers check, ask anyone. The fights were nowhere near complex, let alone DW.

-

Why it quoted Xiic saying that instead of leaving the poster blank? no idea.
Edited by Naumu on 4/7/2013 1:54 PM PDT
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100 Human Warrior
8965
Wow none of you really get her post.

I think you all have more achievement points than brains. Or you have optimized your brain for learning boss strategies and not about analytic thought. Which is a problem when every fight boils down to a learned dance. We need more fights like faction champions.

Just step back and realize that most of you are in the top 3% or less of the player base and realize that your experience in the game is pretty much completely different than the experience that the vast majority of WoW players have.

I have been seeing this trend and harping about it since ICC -> Cata change over.
Edited by Malchome on 4/7/2013 1:55 PM PDT
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90 Orc Warrior
13520
I don't get your overall point. During a heroic fight I might look at my timers once or twice. 99% of the time I react to the game as it happens rather than a timer. The one or two abilities that I need to be on point for before they happen are set to emphasize so I have an auditory cue.

Not once have I ever felt it necessary to memorize the dungeon journal and only in extreme circumstances (like heroic rag seed phase) have I ever needed to have advanced warning of a mechanic with greater precision than simply knowing roughly when a boss is going to go ham on the raid.

Hell, during the first few weeks of a new tier when bossmods are out of whack, I've had no problems turning them off and raiding without them in the past. In fact, I'd argue that raiding without bossmods makes you a better raider (for normals when mechanics are almost never instantagibs).
Edited by Xiic on 4/7/2013 1:56 PM PDT
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100 Troll Hunter
12880
We need more fights like faction champions.


You mean the fight that people complained about so much even though it was really easy even on 25m Heroic? yeah, we surely need more of those...the hardest part of that fight was locking healers down and standing out of bad *GASP* like any other boss, outside of the healer lockdown. But now you have to actually deal with mechanics while keeping a semi-medium-ish? DPS level while doing them.

Wow none of you really get her post.

I think you all have more achievement points than brains. Or you have optimized your brain for learning boss strategies and not about analytic thought.


We get it just fine, but to bring up the likes of DS in any discussion of complex is not the way to try and get your message through. It's also hilarious you are attempting to talk down to us.
Edited by Naumu on 4/7/2013 1:57 PM PDT
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