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Theories about slow RP server raid progression


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#1 Blackpatch

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:30 PM

So, I play on RP servers. From late November 2004 to July 2006, I played on Cenarion Circle. From about November 2005 to July 2006 I was part of the vanguard of Horde raiding efforts on CC.

CC is a high-pop server. As far as server pop goes it's always been up there above 20,000. It's been around since launch. So you'd think that they'd have good raid progress, right? Wrong. The furthest advanced CC raid guild, which has been around since about November 2004 or so, killed Patchwerk and Grobbulus yesterday, and has the Spider Wing cleared. They got the server first C'Thun kill on August 24th. The first Horde Twin Emps kill was on June 13th of this year and there has not been a Horde C'Thun kill. That's pretty crummy progress for a high-pop server that's been around since launch.

And if you look across the servers, there are no RP server guilds that really stand out in terms of progression. You didn't see any RP server guilds up in the top rankings for Naxx progress. RP servers were slow to get Nef, slow to get Emps and C'Thun, slow in general.

But I don't think you can explain it by saying 'lol rp sux'. Organized RP server teams do alright in cross-server PvP for their level of gear, and there's no reason that an individual RP server player should be worse than an individual regular server player. The very best Horde CC players were the equal of the very best regular server players in terms of gear and skill, at least from what I can digest from these and other boards. The raid guilds don't spend much time on RP at all, so you can't say that we spend all our time cybering in the Deeprun Tram. (Although I do, in fact, spend all my time flagged and cybering gnomes in the Deeprun Tram.)

What I did notice while near and later at the forefront of Horde CC raiding is that every encounter, every class, and every guild was constantly being carried by a few really on-the-ball individuals. The one incredible tank, the one great healer, the rogue with jaw-dropping DPS, so on, so forth. Progress would be driven forwards by these few individuals. Most of the rest of the guild would be of fine quality, and then there would be 3-5 screwups who would constantly blunder around, wrecking encounters and being confused.

In the (frequent) event that one of the excellent individuals burnt out and left the game, left the guild, or left the server, guilds would open recruiting and find a replacement. But the recruiting pool was very shallow and tended to be filled with the same journeymen, skipping from raid guild to raid guild as each one lost its edge and dropped its standards far enough to accomodate them. Good players did not become excellent players and bad players did not become good players at the same rate that excellent players left the game.

So here's my theory about slow RP raid progression. The very best RP server players are as good as the very best regular server players. But because of the slow and lackadaisical reputation of RP servers, there are fewer of the very best caliber of players on RP servers in comparison to regular servers. This means that RP servers cannot assemble and maintain 50-person guilds capable of progressing through content at the same pace as regular servers, because the depth of talent is not there to support the 40-man raid game. Great RP players cannot carry their guilds forward in the face of the increased level of mediocrity on RP servers, because there are too many mediocre players to deal with.

Thoughts about this theory? Slow RP progression has made me curious for a long time and I'd like to hear other thoughts on the subject, particularly from people who have experience on both sides of the RP and regular server fence.
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#2 snape

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:35 PM

My impression of RP servers is that everyone speaks in tongues 100% of the time and that this impedes raid progress.

I'm almost surely wrong, and I'd <probably> be hard-pressed to tell the difference if I heard 2 Vent recordings, one from an RP Naxx raid, and one from a PvP Naxx raid, but the overwhelming perception is that RP players are more story driven, and not as competitive as those on PvP servers (and PvE to some extent).

This perception (however wrong it may be, it is pervasive) probably (IMO) leads to the kind of players that create characters on RP servers and hence limits your progression due to an under-par raiding population from the outset.

#3 goss

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:42 PM

Could also just be a case of split priorities. Most players at the endgame level have raiding and progression (at some pace, not necessarily competitive) as what they do. If RP players have alternative priorities in developing their characters in non-raid scenarios, that certainly takes away from time raiding / preparing to raid. It certainly seems for me that with any sort of aggresive raid schedule there isn't a lot of flex time for anything else, and thats often whats necessary to drive progression beyond what you're talking about.

#4 Blackpatch

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:42 PM

My impression of RP servers is that everyone speaks in tongues 100% of the time and that this impedes raid progress.

This is a common misperception which I should get out of the way quickly. RP servers use Vent, /p and /g the same way any other server uses them. It's considered obnoxious to remain in character in /p and /g. Some RP server raid guilds will do RP writeups in their boss kill notes, but that's about it. (These can be pretty cool - my old guild leader did a great one for our Twin Emps kill.)
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#5 Mekasha

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:45 PM

I've always been somewhat curious as to this as well, but I think the guy before me pretty much summed it up. The description of a PvP server just feels more fitting to a well skilled/hardcore player. In comparison, and also as noted has become something of the stereotype, RP servers may give off the feeling of being more 'casual', hence fewer of those top notch players even bothering to roll there.

Also, being as the PvE/PvP servers are often what are considered 'normal/default server', and RP servers being something of a niche attraction for a certain type of player, you're just going to have a broader player base on non-RP servers as it is.

I'm sure the fact that until recently there weren't even rp-pvp servers lends to this, as again, if you're a top notch player and hardcore, you're probably going to want to be somewhat competitive in pvp as well, which at the time meant you only really had one choice as to the server choice you could go with.

#6 Tenge

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:46 PM

"hi2u" from Ergo Bibamus. ;)

Hope things are going well on ER. I definately recognize your name.

I think you have some very good points, though I'd need to mull it over before posting anything meaningful in response. I've noticed the same "lack of depth" as related to other non-RP servers. For now, though - I'm pondering how the the 25-cap instances in the expansion will help alleviate this by not requring the deep pool of talent. It'll certainly add a new dynamic to guild scheduling and relations.

In terms of progression: Our guild (finally?) got to Phase-2 C'Thun last night, so we should have him down in a week or three, given our limited raid schedule. We're arguably the 2nd/3rd spot behind the forefront guild that 'patch mentioned, alliance-side, with a few multi-guild alliances right there with us (some being a few bosses ahead in Naxx). As he mentioned, there's only one real "progression" guild to speak of on the Horde side. So yeah - pretty limited progress compared to a lot of other launch servers.

Anyway - this is maily a /wave and /agree to a former server-mate, even if I didn't know you all that well.

#7 snape

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:46 PM

I admitted it was a misconception - and so did you.

I think this is the answer to your entire problem. You are limited by your server's player base, which is populated by people who hold these misconceptions and finds they want to live up to them.

#8 Vhal

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:50 PM

Organized RP server teams do alright in cross-server PvP for their level of gear, and there's no reason that an individual RP server player should be worse than an individual regular server player.

I can't really agree with this; RP servers on the same battlegrounds as Tichondrius in one week introduced me to more melee hunters than I'd seen the two years of playing Tich.

#9 Blackpatch

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:50 PM

I admitted it was a misconception - and so did you.

I think this is the answer to your entire problem. You are limited by your server's player base, which is populated by people who hold these misconceptions and finds they want to live up to them.

Oh! I get you. Sorry about that.

For now, though - I'm pondering how the the 25-cap instances in the expansion will help alleviate this by not requring the deep pool of talent. It'll certainly add a new dynamic to guild scheduling and relations.

I'm wondering this myself. Looking back, if you cherry-picked the best 25 or 30 people in Eternal Sorrow, you'd have a hell of a team.

Glad to hear that EB is doing well. I always loved your name. :)
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#10 Nurru

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:51 PM

I leveled a Warlock on Cenarion Circle when I was bored and I think it gave me a terrible impression of RP servers in general. The majority of people I ended up grouping with for anything were borderline incompetent and I encountered a large degree of people wearing terrible gear for their class because it 'looked good'. I know this isn't representive of the RP community at large or even the majority of that particular server, but ever since I've somewhat loathed them subconsciously.

ps: People from Ergo Bibamus, say hello to Rylorn and Karuko for me.

#11 Jekar

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:56 PM

I would suggest a slightly different theory. Not that any of the above is incorrect, but that it is not the whole reason, and is compounded by several factors. I play on an RP server, and in a horde guild that was #1 on progression until our recent reform.

PvP guilds compose at least 38 of the top 50 Horde guilds in Naxx progression according to WoWRaids. Beginning with Huhuran, and especially the Twin Emps and C'thun in AQ40, PvE encounters began to require more game awareness and tactics across the raid, and for the first time healers really had to know how to move to do their job. In almost every other encounter, healers could stay in one place for the entire fight, or move only a few times, and the movements did not have to be precise.

PvP teaches EVERYONE to move and to be aware of more than just their current target. Until now, nothing has taught PvE healers this. They are starting the learn, and they aren't learning quickly.

I would say 50% of our melee, and 90% of our healers are strictly keyboard turners. We wiped probably 35 times on C'thun before getting him to Phase 2 (barely), and never really did get people to both consistently take out eye tentacles and avoid the Red Beam at the same time.

On Razuvious, I watch mind controlled Understudies first keyboard turn, and then run the wrong way sometimes. If Razuvious is slightly out of position before a shout, we often lose half of our healers because it takes in excess of 5 seconds to react to the movement change needed when a strafe instead of a keybaord turn could reduce the reaction time to less than 1 second.

People are learning to adjust, but those same things make progress difficult on almost every single Naxx encounter.

#12 Enthralled

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:02 PM

I have no idea if my personal experience on Silver Hand can be extended or not but I thought I would toss it in for discussion.

Most guilds that I know of on the Horde side are rather small. They tend to be friends and family type guilds, or guilds that focus on RP of some kind (though RP in general despite what you might think basically does not occur horde side). There are less than ten guilds horde side who can field a full raid of 40 people on a regular basis. Most of our groups that have gotten to the end of MC and beyond are actually coalitions of two or more guilds.

Our top guilds also seem to fall apart on a regular basis. The level of drama that exists seems very high to me but I don’t really have a good feel for what typical drama is like. All told though we only have one current horde guild that is still active and past the twin emps. The other guilds that have made it that far have all fallen apart or transferred off.

Anecdotally though when I have played on a pvp or normal server I think the general tone of public chat channels seems to be a lot more immature. This is not to say that “barrens chat†does not have its bad moments on Silver Hand, but in general it is not the constant 14 year old spam I have found on other servers. I suspect the average age level on an RP server is higher and thus a higher percentage of people have jobs and kids and the like that makes it more difficult to do the high end raids. There are a few key people who seem to pull it off, but many more who just don’t seem to be able to find the time.

A special case might exist with Silver Hand in particular though as we have a huge 4-1 alliance to horde imbalance (Silver Hand being an alliance organization, so tons of people seem to roll up human paladins on our server). We also tend to rarely get new blood horde side, thus the pool of replacements becomes very fixed. Adding to that is the fact that many people feel a very strong loyalty to their smaller guilds and thus do not move up into the top guilds as often.

I think the expansion will invigorate our raiding progress though as it will open the door to all the smaller friends and family guilds to make progress. I doubt that most will have the hard core dedication or skill to be on the bleeding edge of content, but I definitely think there will be a lot more 25 man raids than 40. Many people I talk to on the server are extremely excited about just this one change.

#13 Bekah

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:09 PM

I had a really difficult time adjusting on an RP server. I picked up the game and by the time I got hooked (oh about a week later) I really didn't see where the RP fit into it all. Don't get me wrong- I was a huge fan of PnP RP and did about 5 years on an online SeaChat RP (if you know what it is, kudos you'd be one of the few people I've ever met lol) so I figured I was all set for roleplaying adventure in my first mmorpg. I can make a character story with the best of 'em.

Wrong. I wanted to level. I wanted to talk to my felow server mates without the one idiot that you always run into who, instead of l337 speak have decided to talk today with an overhyped and unreadable brogue. When I got invited along for warlock parties with some of my RL friends (who were fairly into the RP scene)... I just couldn't come up with the interest. When my rl buddies rerolled new alts every week to establish new RP perosnalities I was annoyed because they couldn't come play with me in instances anymore.

By about level 48 I realized that I probably wasn't going to find the niche I wanted/needed on earthen ring. I had no connections (all my connections were interested in low level rp stories) I couldn't get a party to save my life, and even trying to get involved on the forums seemed difficult at best since I had no "persona" for my gnome mage and didn't really want to invest the time into it. The world just didn't lend itself to RP for me.

So when Skywall (PvE) opened up a week or two after I hit 50 and while I was trying to find some reason... any reason... to keep going when I hated pugs with a passion and couldn't even manage to play the way I wanted to play with my RL friends who were there.... I took the chance and rerolled with the intent of leveling to 60 (something none of my friends had managed...) and doing that evil raiding thing in the uber leet stratholme and scholomance.

I won't say every experience on my PvE server has been better, but it was certainly easier to establish myself on the server and I could see why I wouldn't be alone in the list of people with a genuine interest in end game deciding to roll off RP servers to find something a little more accomidating. I have to put up with just as many people who can't speak coherent english but at least I can make an educated guess rather than wonder if they're REALLY talking about thier pet goat who killed a giant. I "fit in" a lot better with other folks who had no interest in RP and a lot of interest in progressing.

The initial material progression culture isn't quite as domineering on a RP server, imo. You don't start with the idea that you should level and level quickly to get to the good stuff. All the good stuff is there for any level alts! Without that gentle lead into instancing regularily and focusing towards the gear progression, it's harder to make the sudden leap into raiding at 60. =/
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#14 frmorrison

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:11 PM

Organized RP server teams do alright in cross-server PvP for their level of gear, and there's no reason that an individual RP server player should be worse than an individual regular server player.

I can't really agree with this; RP servers on the same battlegrounds as Tichondrius in one week introduced me to more melee hunters than I'd seen the two years of playing Tich.

I have played with/against RP server people in BGs, they are play about the same as any other player in a PuG. They certainly never used "RP" speak when talking in /bg chat.

To Vhal, maybe the hunters were using melee attacks because you poisoned them and they didn't have the disorienting shot talent or the PvP trinket to get to an 8 yard range.

#15 borat

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:15 PM

its hard to make generalities in life and wow. A significant (>80%) percentage of 10+ bosses in naxx are on PVP servers (look at www.worldofraids.com) but if you pick a random PVP server chances are progression is usually fairly weak on it, with usually lots of guild drama and the like. Old servers are definitely alliance-skewed 2:1 or more, but some of the newer servers are actually horde-skewed.

Generally you're going to see that out of the 120+ US servers, only a small fraction have the hardcore playerbase to sustain multiple naxx-deep guilds. As each guild is constantly having to recruit to fill its rosters, these are the only servers that are able to stay ahead. The other 100+ servers, of which all RP servers fit into, basically don't have enough hardcore players to support multiple Naxx guilds and therefore guilds tend to move two steps forward and one step back when a few key players quit (or transfer off).

Server transfers only made the problem infinitely worse as people transferred off their "dying" (in terms of progression) servers and concentrated more and more on a few key servers. Mal'Ganis, Korgath, Alleria, Black Dragonflight, Tich, Blackrock, etc are the few servers on which you see multiple naxx guilds, once you step off these you'll find servers with 0-2 C'Thun guilds and maybe a few guilds 3-5 bosses into Naxx but not much more.

#16 Papajan

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:19 PM

My experience is that I can go weeks without seeing an RPer. It was a cool idea, but RP policies weren't enforced, so RP degraded over time. You really have to find an RP group if you're into it these days. I'd be very interested to see opinions of people that swapped servers.

#17 Cathela

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:19 PM

My impression of RP servers is that everyone speaks in tongues 100% of the time and that this impedes raid progress.

This is not intended to sound snarky in any way, but my impression of people on PvP and PvE servers is that when most of them speak they do that thing where they use numbers to replace letters.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little for effect.

This is a common misperception which I should get out of the way quickly. RP servers use Vent, /p and /g the same way any other server uses them. It's considered obnoxious to remain in character in /p and /g. Some RP server raid guilds will do RP writeups in their boss kill notes, but that's about it. (These can be pretty cool - my old guild leader did a great one for our Twin Emps kill.)

Most people on ER don't speak in-character even in /s or /y. The actual "RP'ing" is mainly confined to pre-organized events or to groups of friends in RP-oriented guilds. There are some diehards who RP all the time, but they're very much in the minority. If you actually ask people who play on RP servers why they rolled there, I think the majority will say something like "I don't really RP, I just didn't want to be on a server overrun with 13-year-olds." (Certainly that applies to me.)

Really, I think the explanation is that RP servers naturally attract somewhat different people. The hypercompetitive types mostly go elsewhere. There aren't many people on ER who would raid six nights a week even if the opportunity was there. Four is usually the limit for most guilds.

I don't think there's much more to it than that.
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#18 Cathela

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:24 PM

I can't really agree with this; RP servers on the same battlegrounds as Tichondrius in one week introduced me to more melee hunters than I'd seen the two years of playing Tich.

In premades?

I have played with/against RP server people in BGs, they are play about the same as any other player in a PuG. They certainly never used "RP" speak when talking in /bg chat.

Sometimes we'll deliberately do it just to mess with people.

There's a Horde guild on our server that likes to leave 1-2 spots open when they're doing premade AB/WSG groups. Then when they get into a match and pick up puggers for the empty slots, they all speak in elaborate RP-talk (Shakespearean dialogue, that kind of thing).
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#19 Selenia

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:28 PM

What I did notice while near and later at the forefront of Horde CC raiding is that every encounter, every class, and every guild was constantly being carried by a few really on-the-ball individuals. The one incredible tank, the one great healer, the rogue with jaw-dropping DPS, so on, so forth. Progress would be driven forwards by these few individuals. Most of the rest of the guild would be of fine quality, and then there would be 3-5 screwups who would constantly blunder around, wrecking encounters and being confused.

I'm from EU Argent Dawn. Also a server that's been around since the start. Your theory seems pretty much dead-on from what I've experienced. Like you, I've been at the forefront of raiding on my server, though I have done so on Alliance-side.

#20 Valia

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:39 PM

I am the leader of the most advanced Horde raiding guild on the Argent Dawn roleplaying server and I have found most things in regards to being Horde and on a roleplaying to be frustrating to an extreme.

Our current server progression:
http://www.wowwiki.c...ild_Progression

Our progress has been stunted since our original group quit the game or left to form another guild mostly due to the fact that is extremely difficult to recruit high quality players in the numbers required to fill a 40 man raid. Having your MT leave or your best geared priest has left us hurting at varying points and there have been several periods of 3 months to a few weeks where our wheels were spinning in place due to these logistics problems. Just trying to find people to put in these slots can be extremely painful to keep the guild going and progressing.

Sadly, especially with the very small Horde population on Argent Dawn - we operate like vampires for recruits. I know when another guild is experiencing drama or are hitting a roadblock their leadership cannot figure out as we get a slew of applications from them. I am sure this a problem across all servers with people guild hopping and changing loyalties but it is my belief that the smaller population further exacerbates the recruiting situation. Even if we don't take the person - we get to hear the story, recently another Horde guild has killed the Twin Emperors and there were a whole slew of reactionary applicants as they threw their heads at the wall and were learning. Frustrated, fed up, tired masses, wanting to do something else and the problem I see is that even if we take them then we are robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to just have the proper class balance to advance through content. It is a very bad feeling to have especially when you have no grudge or axe to grind with the other guilds - they are mostly friendly and very nice fellows. The problem is when your server balance is typically 3:1 or 2.5:1 in favor of the Alliance it is difficult especially on an RP server to find the guys you need without drama involved.

Another issue specifically in regards to advancement was that our progress was retarded behing on finishing up MC due to lack of recruits or key people leaving and we were slow to get into BWL and start the learning curve there. Our first Razorgore kill was a week after our first Ragnaros kill in early October last year after summoning Ragnaros for the first time at the end of April of '05. I just felt that due to equipment issues, recruitment problems that we could not start BWL until we finally downed Ragnaros.

Our AQ progress came steadily after first Nefarian kill in February but once again we were behind the curve and by the time that Naxx had came out we were within another couple of practice attempts of killing the Twin Emperors. Instead I made a decision to change gears and solely focus on Naxx instead of rounding out AQ and with the summer came the departure of a dozen members who had been with the guild all over a year. It took the guild officers two months to recruit back to the pre-June levels as I was on an extended vacation due to stress of keeping things together and never having missed a raid in a year. Now though we are doing quite well on Patchwerk attempts and should have him down in a few weeks without having ever killed the Twin Emperors.

I guess to sum it up I believe there are two problems with slow RP server progression:

1) Not enough people serious about raiding due to a more casual RP server playstyle.
2) Population imbalance for (especially for Horde) increases the frustration with recruiting.




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