What has become of Mythic Raiding?

High-end Raiding has, in my estimation, become little more than 20-man Co-op Super Meat Boy; a group of people waiting for the RNG gods to bless the team with perfect execution of every mechanic for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. That is, the current paradigm that the encounter team seems to use when designing fights is such that when they want “more difficulty” the only real tool they have left is to either throw more one-shot mechanics into the fight, or to give the boss more and more health, effectively making the fight last longer and opening up more opportunities for those aforementioned one-shots, or to design fights such that if you do not have a specific roster available, you simply have no shot.

Player progression use to include elements of player skill AND character power. But now, even very skilled guilds with full Mythic ilevel (or higher) gear are getting walled by multiple bosses every tier, with their only hope of getting past them being either large nerfs or “getting good”.

Now there is a very strong argument that “getting good” should be a big part of high-end raiding, and I agree… to an extent. But the situation has gotten progressively worse expansion after expansion. The difficulty dials have been turned past 11. One need only gesture to the graveyard of defunct progression guilds or to the weekly nerfs that have become not only expected but necessary for so many to progress. In my opinion this is not a failure of the players to “git gud”, or “growing out of the game”, but a failure of a design philosophy paired with ever-increasing ease-of-access to in-game combat information.

What used to be an accessible progression system whereby if a group was having difficulty with a boss, maybe a weeks worth of gear from a reclear and a raid night or two of practice would be enough, has become a hostile, unforgiving wasteland whereby if you don’t have the right classes, the right specs, the right legendaries, and right covenants, you simply have no chance. In some cases, if you don’t have “the right setup”, no amount of gear, practice, or patience will ever be enough.

This constant arms race between the developers trying to make interesting, engaging, difficult fights and the increasing amount of information and player assistance offered by addons and WeakAuras has degenerated into the encounters we now see. Top end guilds wanted difficult fights? Well, working under the assumption that by the time they got to Halondrus they would all have their tier sets, have near max ilevel, and have multiple addon and WeakAura developers on standby ready to make whatever HUD may be needed by the raid team, the only option left to the developers was to pepper the entire fight with one shot mechanics and increase the bosses health to absurd levels.

In my opinion, this trend began with the introduction of Mythic in Warlords of Dreanor. When announced, there was specific language dedicated to how this new mode would allow more intricate and purposeful fight design. Instead of needing to worry about how the fights would play with 10 or 25 people, a fixed raid size would allow the design team to make more assumptions about what raid compositions would look like. We’ve seen this design philosophy play out multiple times throughout this expansion alone. Don’t have two priests? Good luck dealing with the bombs on Ner’zhul. Don’t have two DKs willing to play Necrolord? Good luck beating the P1 downstairs phase timer on Anduin (at least until they nerf it a few times).

One could argue that the high difficulty of pre-nerf Mythic bosses is good. That is it healthy for the game to have World First races that don’t end in just a few days. I would challenge that by asserting that designing the end-game around the gaming habits of a select few groups has led this game down a path that the vast majority of the player base is either unwilling or unable to follow.

In an effort to cater to the 0.01% of the player base that play at these extreme levels, the end-game experience has been decimated for the rest of the community. We are seeing it in real time every week: more guilds choosing to stop raiding; more nerfs targeted specifically to reduce overall difficulty and allow more guilds to get past the walls; and of course, the lamentations from those who really enjoyed the pre-nerf challenges and hate seeing them taken away.

Is it time for yet another difficulty mode? A “pre-nerfed” toggle? A new Beyond-Mythic Hardmode for raids? Or is it time to cut off the tail ends of the difficulty curve that have been getting longer and longer every tier; is it time to flatten the difficulty curve and remove Mythic all together?

One thing is for sure: the current difficulty of the raids is killing the raiding scene. Whether it be just one comorbidity among many or not, something needs to change.

8 Likes

Yeah I agree, there is never any shortage of dps or healing, every fight always comes down to requiring all 20 raiders executing perfectly for 6+ minutes on fights tuned equivalent to Dragonforce Guitar Hero.

That isn’t necessarily bad, I like the challenge, but it definitely drives off raiders which is then a vicious cycle because if you bring in people new to the fight then you’re back at square one. Especially when you compare the difficulty vs reward ratio of mythic raiding to mythic keystones or pvp, it’s WAY out of whack

Yes. Heroic raids should give the best gear in the game. If they insist on keeping mythic raiding, have it reward something else

This is a hot take indeed lol

the inclination of development towards guaranteed wipes tied to single player mistakes makes raid bosses feel less like bossfights and more like hostage situations.

the list of raid-wide one-shot abilities, if compiled would probably be far worse this tier than ever before. add this to the multiple pages of abilities and the encounters are just … bloatware. Players like simpler things like Onyxia or Felmyst or even Painsmith. Maybe the occasional gimmicky Mekkatorque / Hagara, or Al’Akir / Ragnaros at the upper end, but going into these stupid long raid-wipe-filled bloated bossfights will be unenjoyable for progression and for farm.

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No doubt in my mind the world first race has been negative for the masses. Keep the world first race and call it Mythic Raid PLUS. Then scale downward significantly, LFR, Normal, Heroic, Mythic. Leave Mythic Raid Plus as an option with purely cosmetic rewards for those people interested in trying those bosses as the world first race completed.

Mythic raiding has been so miserable that almost everyone I have done that with in the past has stepped away. What is typically left is a bunch of “elitists” who spend whole raid harping on every little mishap, rage quit, etc… which just makes for a miserable experience.

On the flip side you can put together an established 5 man group and go have fun with M+ keys. Currently for us that is 20+ keys. No screaming because something was butt pulled, no rage quits, no hassles, just plain old fun.

Raiding used to be fun, it isn’t anymore. That is what Blizzard has to get back to.

4 Likes

This is just wildly misleading at best, and outright false at worst. If you are seriously going for Hall of Fame then sure, you are often forced to play fotm purely because the guilds you are competing with are playing fotm (unless you’re Alliance then it actually doesn’t matter). For everyone else you can play actually almost any comp (DKs have unfortunately been a historical exception once an expansion) and be fine. Hell, my guild has been running double Feral for most of our progression and been totally fine.

I mean, I have no idea what audience you’re talking about here. RWF? Sure, but they signed up for that. For everyone else any useful WAs already exist by the time you get to the boss so what difference does it make.

It’s not like Halondrus was outrageous or anything prior to most recent nerfs - those nerfs just turned the boss into a hilarious joke. I mentioned this somewhere else but the “audience” (i.e. target players) are actually at minimum 4 different groups and quite frankly they’ve done a better job of catering to those 4 groups as time has gone on. They have to adjust the bosses over time or the last-minute CE guilds would never have a shot.

For the record it is perfectly possible to do this (my guild has done it), especially with last week’s nerfs. It’s just a lot more irritating.

This part is all fine though. As long as you take the assertion that these people:

Don’t get an opinion that should be listened to. They have been following this pattern for several expansions now and by and large it has worked fairly well.

If you are instead meaning to say the Sepulcher is an outlier (which it is), then that would make a lot more sense. Both CN and Sanctum had a lot more completions (~100 more for CN and almost 3x for Sanctum - you can verify this by comparing completions on WCL in the same number of lockouts that have passed since the first kill) than Sepulcher currently has which would seem to imply that it’s not a Mythic problem but a Seplucher problem (which Blizzard has already admitted in interviews).

I would also argue that the fact that the following also have a lot more influence on what you ascribe to Mythic as a difficulty in and of itself:

  • Can’t yet play on the faction you want (this changes soon hopefully?)
  • Lockouts aren’t per boss like Heroic is
  • X-Realm isn’t available from day 1 but instead gated behind Alliance getting around to filling Hall of Fame (which if you’re comparing, Sepulcher is WAYYYYY behind the other 2 raids at this point).

we dont need this many difficulties.

my guild constantly mentions: Heroic doesn’t prepare you for raiding. let Normal be the LFR mode, make heroic and mythic be as close as heroic is to normal.

1 Like

Part of the problem is the depreciation of resource management in favor of cooldown management and GCD mechanics. A better balance could be struck. This would add depth to player skill and strategy. Allow for more epic fights and crowd control or pulling mechanics could become deeper strategies.

Mythic guild skill is a reflection of player skill. WoW has hit a wall with efficiency mechanics. Burst mechanics that use resources would help sort of combat this. Where people would need to learn where and when to expend their most expensive abilities and how to recover for the next time they are needed. I want to be clear, I’m not advocating a return to classical mechanics. Not at the solo level. Just consider striking a balance.

The weakness of long cooldowns is there’s no resource attached other than a static timer. Granted some class abilities can effect this, it’s just not that dynamic though.

Which brings up another level of complexity. Bosses always run the same abilities the same way and phase the same way. Maybe for example phase a boss somewhere between 60% and 40% depending on RNG. Or depending on how fast the first 40% of damage was taken. As one simple example. Or have different mechanics interact. So if adds are killed a boss uses a different ability than if adds are kited. Maybe if all the adds die the boss pops into a dps check bubble. If kited the boss will make a random add explode. Or target an add with a heal which could be interrupted, and than the adds could die at a later time safely with the boss at 50%. This would let guilds pick and choose strat a bit and go up against different mechanics. Maybe a guild with one comp would choose to kite. And another guild would go for the bubble.

BTW. I totally agree with OP. Stop designing raids or testing with addons.

<3 for OP in 5 hrs when I get more.

They just said yesterday that they do not do this. I don’t know why people keep repeating this fiction.

Who tests raids? Mostly players on the PTR.

The devs have a long history of saying…oh it’s fine addons can cover this…

I’ll concede that maybe they have a QA do a quick test run of a mechanic. We really don’t know what the QA entails before stuff gets published to PTR tho. Thats where the design and testing gets tuned.

QA over at Raven software had a lot of drama this year too. Maybe thats why the disparity and roughness of Shadowlands raids as OP has pointed out this year is the most evident. It may be if one or two guilds downs the PTR boss it gets greenlit for the next major patch. I can almost guarantee by feels alone some of those guys are addon devs. Definitely don’t take my word on it though.

It’s clear their intent isn’t to design around addons and blizz is aware. I still think it’s happening some how though.

Pain smith Heroic week 1 was not overall difficult by mechanical design but with the way everything was visualised, you just couldn’t see timers etc properly, countless stupid deaths to nothing. It was a night mare to pug and i managed to clear it with a semi-competent group week 1 . If you are going to make mechanics at least give proper visual and audio cues when doing so

OP isn’t wrong. It’s not uncommon for guilds to just extend the lockout on the raid and just work on singular bosses until the raid is clear.

The little power creep that does exists sucks and you can’t bully the raid and bosses when it’s on farm with the gear/power you’ve acquired, it’s just an execution fest weekly, which leads to stress and burnout. Like the Mythic raid is balanced around like 269-275 ilvl, 4piece and double legendary…why?

I think Blizzard did a little better with letting you skip mechanics here and there in Sepulcher Mythic if your DPS is high enough(Examples being skipping all of the reclaims on Halondrus in p1/2, or being able to push Xy’mox really fast to 75/50, and being able to burn him), but a ton of fights still just have hard pass/fail checks that will wipe the entire raid if somebody screws up.

That being said it’s still a far far cry from when people would clear a raid, get all the gear, outgear the raid severely with the gear from said raid and bully the raid into submission. You used to have 1-2 wall fights or fights that required a bit more focus regardless of your gear/ilvl but now it FEELS like every fight has the potential to be a wall. Getting gear from the raid to help you progress on the raid is no longer a thing, hence the extended lockouts, you and your team learn the fight flawlessly or you don’t progress, period.

3 Likes

If guides didn’t exist stop pretending that the simple mathematics in classic would’nt have held back the culture that exists. There’s so much more room for ingenuity and strategizing its hilarious how guilds 3 months after world first are still watching 2 month old guides to boss fights / following people severely different than them. I guarantee new more efficient ways to do mythic bosses are going to come next patch, and random guilds who never killed mythic painsmith are going to be have to be taught by blizz how to organize their group to make it as easy as possible