Agreed. But Epic Battles will be group content. And solo/duo content. I think the issue with raids is simply that a smallish percentage of players consuming content which costs perhaps an order of magnitude more to produce is hard to sustain in the face of layoffs, strict budgets, etc. Back when I was following SWG, Koster said that a single hour of "vanilla" content took at least 100 hours of development time to produce. Compelling content took 5-10X as much money, time, resources to do. If that still holds, how much sense does it make to spend 50% or 70% or whatever on 10% of the players?
Originally Posted by Minquinn
That said, it doesn't make sense to spend 0% either. I suspect there will still be some raids done, but not every year. That's a way to reduce costs without swinging that pendulum all the way over to "nada".
Not so recent. When LOTRO released, it had maybe 80% soloable content and 20% group-oriented content. The solo content was mostly vanilla kill quests, FedX quests, etc, and the group content was a split of normal quests and instances. Zero raids when they launched, but they did add 2 in the first year the game was out (when their development pace was easily 3X what it is now - they had a full game development team working on things at first).
I'm not sure when player mentality changed but it was real recent.
In 2008, maybe a year after release (and after they'd already added those raids, plus some more instances), their Executive director had this to say:
We’ve been hearing an awful lot about solo play from our players, which has been a surprise to us, because we thought we built a game that was incredibly soloable. But, what we’re finding is that people at all levels of the game want to have more solo experiences. That was a little bit of a learning experience for us.It's quite possible it's tilted even more that way since F2P arrived, but it was a strong trend in the game right from the start. What solo players were clamoring for in particular was more compelling soloable content. And to their credit, they listened. First soloable instances in Moria, then skirmishes in Mirkwood, then most Warbands plus Hytbold in Rohan, now Epic Battles in Helm's Deep. Given the continuing investment there, I have to believe they think that trend continues.
Big things at the top of our list that we've heard loud and clear is that players want more solo play, so that's something that we're really focused on. We did some of that work in 11 and you'll see more in 12, 13, 14 and probably beyond until it's not an issue anymore. Players of all levels have made it really clear. Both in what they're saying and also what they're doing, that they would like more solo play at all levels of the game.