Uplink Analysis: Raid Sizes

Written by David "Scooter" Bass on September 28, 2012

WildStar Uplink is a weekly conversation we hold with our fans about MMO design, philosophy, and news. The main goal of these conversations is to gauge how important certain issues are to the WildStar community. More than just a simple conversation, we ask questions about topics that are important, and we share your responses with the development team directly. Want to participate? Follow @Team_WildStar on Twitter for the weekly question, participate using #WSuplink, and keep an eye on the community team (CRB_Atreid, CRB_Aether, and CRB_Scooter) to interact with us throughout the discussions.

This week we posed yet another challenging (and divisive) question:

What's your preferred raid size? What are the pros and cons to having larger or smaller raids?

There was definitely no right answer to the question, so we were specifically curious to see how issues and concerns change as raid size does:

Gazimoff: I get nostalgic about the old 40 man raids, but I think that open world zone events are better for large numbers. Currently, 15 to 20. Big enough to feel epic, small enough so each individual plays a significant role.
jleithart: I agree, it needs to feel epic and a small group has a more difficult time getting that feeling.
nohelixws: I disagree a huge group doesn't feel epic or personal to me. You get lost in the crowd unless you are MT/MH.
jleithart: For me it's the fact that 40 people worked together for months to achieve a singular goal.
Gazimoff: I think that 40 is too big for raiding - people did get lost in the crowd. But 10 is too small.
nohelixws: I don't disagree that getting a successful 40 man is an epic achievement, but that doesn't mean that the actual fight/instance is epic in feeling. They are 2 separate things imho.
jleithart: I would agree. But with 2 exact same fights, the 10 man group feels less epic than the 40 man group.

It seems like there was no clear consensus amongst the community; everyone has reasons why certain sizes do or do not work:

OniOnidra: It was very funny to have raids of 40 but too difficult to organize. 8 or 10 are more easy to create and manage.
decodingdragons: I prefer more than ten, but less than 25. Depends on the space in the encounter. Epic feel is important.
StarWarsDaddy: Raid sizes near 10 is good - larger groups are harder to keep together for longer content.
jleithart: I loved the 40-man raids in Vanilla WoW, and thought the 8-man raids in SWTOR were too small. You don't have to spend as much time finding good members in smaller raid sizes. But if one person leaves, the entire raid might fall apart since a higher % of the group leaves.
nohelixws: Regular raiding = 10-15. Anymore and its too hard to get a group together. Monthly raiding can be larger but >30 = FPS nightmare.
qn2Quid: I prefer smaller raids 10-20 people. Larger raids with 40 people are hard to manage. Playing should be fun, not an extra job!
hotshot25120: Best raid size are 10 and 20 but it will be nice to have some world boss that need 50 to 100 players to kill them.
AgentNardz: Honestly I miss the 40 man raids, although these days it is probably impossible to organize that. Really my ideal would be 8-10 players. It seems that number is a good amount that you can still coordinate intricate fights well.
Spiritunicorn: Large raids can be awesome, hundreds of players in a mega event! Smaller raids are more fun and social. Maybe we can have both?
Dark_Gryphon: small raids tend to take less time putting together. Larger ones are less pressure on people. It's a tough call.
lethality_mmo: The benefits of a larger raid size is "wiggle room" to tune for different skill levels of players, and flexibility in group makeup

Nohelixws brought up a great point for us to keep in mind: ensuring that telegraphs are visible even in a large raid:

nohelixws: I'm curious how telegraphs will interact w/ larger raids. How can you make it so everyone can see or deal w/ lag?
CRB_Scooter: Something like "Don't stand in the fire" is already used in current MMOs. How do you deal with lag in those cases?
nohelixws: Generally for large (lag creating) raids, you are expected to know in advance. You can't do that w/ telegraphs. Not complaining or saying its impossible, just thinking ahead. GW2 has some issues w/ lag & groups obscuring TG.
CRB_Scooter: I hear you. I think there's a difference between an "Instant death" telegraph and a "Take damage" telegraph. The former would definitely hurt during a lag spike. Something we'll keep in mind.
nohelixws: I hear you. I was just trying to picture it (40 man) in my mind and realized you can't see ground cause of everyone.
CRB_Scooter: Ah, okay, now I actually understand you. Need a way to ensure the ground is visible even when it's covered in players.

We sat down with Brett Scheinert, Dungeons Lead, and Chris Behrens, Lead Systems Designer to go over everyone's questions and comments from this week's discussion:

We agree with the tweets that there are pros and cons for every raid size, which is why we are approaching dungeon and raid design to accommodate as many styles as possible.

For Raids, we're going to have the big ones that some players out there are nostalgic for, and players participating in this tier of raids are expected to be the best of the best. These tough challenges will require significant coordination to overcome, but the rewards will be worth it. That's not to say we won't have smaller raids as well, because we understand that the logistics of the big raids can be tough. Therefore, we have every intention of accommodating smaller guilds & groups.

Dungeon instances will be much smaller than our raids, but will be no less interesting. There will be leveling dungeons, elder game dungeons, and veteran versions of the leveling dungeons, so that even at level cap, players can fight through their favorite content and earn desirable rewards for their level.

We want everyone to be able to experience our group content, hence the need for dungeons and raids of all shapes and sizes. Since these experiences are integral to our "Elder Game" plans, we are putting a lot of effort into making them sing. Thanks for your feedback!

What do you think about our plans for raiding? Let us know on Twitter at @Team_WildStar and keep an eye on the #WSuplink hashtag for a heads up when we begin a new topic on Monday. Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's discussion, and have a great weekend!

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