This is OpsCom, where we bring you a weekly dose of Operations and PVE related content from the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Here you will be able to get the latest news and developments along with highlights of the big issues in the PvE community and the occasional ranting of the writer. Check back with us each week for the latest and greatest from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Weekly News Roundup and Commentary
Unfortunately, it’s a dry time for those of us on the PvE front. After a lackluster addition to Operations in 1.5, BioWare shifted in to full gear with its upcoming PvP content. All we have that comes close this time around is one question from the BioWare Livestream Q&A.
Q: What is the status of Makeb and when can we expect it? Schubert: We just did a playthrough of the Imperial story this week. We’re far enough along that we are playing through it, reviewing it, making sure it’s up to our standards. Hickman: We can’t give a timeframe yet. We want to make sure it’s good. You should be hearing more about it very soon.
Op-Ed: The Perfect Raid Size
Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that has made the MMOs I’ve played in the past so enjoyable, particularly when it came to the raid game. A lot of that reflecting focused on the size and structure of raids in games like EverQuest and World of WarCraft, regarding both zone size and the number of encounters. I think back rather fondly to my days in Plane of Time, breaking the armies of the gods in the first few phases before taking on nine challenging bosses in relatively close proximity to one another. I can remember how much fun I had storming Black Temple and its nine encounters and Ulduar with its fourteen and many other fortresses. Indeed many of my fondest raids have been the larger ones with plenty of bosses to kill and rewards to be had.
A raid zone doesn’t need to have so many bosses to be enjoyable though. In fact it has been the case before, particularly in certain EverQuest expansions that the zones you group and quest in are the very same zones you raid in. I consider this a lost approach to raiding, replaced by a vastly inferior world boss, or a completely isolated and condensed raid-only area.
In my opinion the size of a single raid should be varied, and can be to great effect. Sometimes going through various trials and fighting through an army to get to just one epic boss can be a very rewarding experience. Other times its about bringing down every lieutenant of a great leader before taking on the big guy himself to enjoy that same feeling of accomplishment.
I’ve always thought of the Planes of Power in EverQuest as the ideal raid structure with multiple tiers all available and each requiring significant feats in the current lower tier in order to progress to the next. Each tier not only offered a strong raid boss, but the zones themselves became unlocked giving the players a more elite and lucrative zone for leveling and loot. Nearly every boss felt significant, because each one had their own dominion that needed to be challenged in order to reach them, as opposed to being just down the hall from each other. Mixed within were various lengthy quests, trials, and challenges that players needed to complete in both groups and raids. I’ve been rather disappointed that in the past ten years few MMOs have even attempted something to such a scale, though to be fair I do believe that the Burning Crusade expansion of WoW at least came close.
What makes raid content so enjoyable for you? Large zones with few epic encounters, small zones with many epic encounters? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts on the best of times and how those might help inspire amazing future raid content!