I tend to let the discussion threads drive themselves, so that we here at Anet can watch them and what the players say without directly influencing what goes on in here. We do read this thread though, and I actively browse it when I get moments to do as such.
One of the things I’d like to address is the question of “Why would you do only half the update?” implying that phase 1 and phase 2 should have been rolled out together and made into one huge update some time further down the line.
The main reason is because res-rushing was a problem to the entertainment and longevity of dungeons, and was never an intended mechanic for players to be able to do. Our explorable dungeons were billed from the start to be harder content that required teamwork and would test your character prowess. Res rushing meant that players didn’t need to be coordinating with each other or have character/class mastery – they could just throw themselves at content until they eventually completed it, incurring armor repair costs and having a negative experience as a result.
I PUG dungeons quite frequently, and I often saw people not helping downed players, and not even trying to res people. They would just die and run back while the rest of the team held Agro, and this would cycle between players until the boss finally died.
People really didn’t have to learn boss mechanics or communicate with each other to figure things out. That was the inherent problem with res rushing and why it had to be removed.
Res rushing had to be resolved. Dungeons can be completed without res rushing, so we know the content isn’t impossible. It’s hard, and we’re watching carefully to identify places that may still be unfair. Anti res-rushing was going to be an update no matter what, independent of any other actions we wanted to do with dungeons. It only became a “Phase 1” when we decided we wanted to tell players about upcoming boss changes to dungeons, which we are calling “Phase 2.”
The boss and monster re-designs/improvements are something we have wanted to do since launch, and we want to include the community in the process. There’s room to improve, and we want to make things better. We are looking at each dungeon individually and doing what we can to make things more interactive and entertaining while staying true to our promise that dungeons will be tougher content that requires coordination.
A much nicer way to have handled the “res-rushing” issue could’ve been by scaling the reward the boss gives (ex: give more pouches containing coins/tokens/karma or extra tokens or rarer items in reward chest, etc. for beating it without using the WP)
That doesn’t solve the problem though. It’s an interesting reward mechanic, but the problem persists that players wouldn’t have to learn the content or how to play it – they could just ruin their armor res rushing and having a miserable time of it in order to complete it. By forcing players to learn how to do things and cooperate as a group, we’re encouraging them to get better and as a result die less. If players are getting better and dying less, there will be less prejudice towards PuGs, since the general skill level of the dungeon running population has increased.
A comment above mentioned how our QA runs things in the best gear, and has some other false statements in it. Our QA run dungeons and test bosses with multiple characters using different gear combinations/levels, and characters who are both level 80 and the dungeon’s base level. As well, we have people throughout the company of varying player skill testing these things before they get pushed out/patched in. After all that, it has to be signed off by design leads who also play it… so there is plenty of balancing and work done on a boss prior to its release into the wild.
I laughed when I read this. I will be deeply surprised if this is how it turns out. Pleasantly surprised, but deeply surprised nonetheless. This is not what I would bet. My bet would be that what will happen, instead, is that outside of a few exceptional guilds, new people simply won’t be welcome on dungeon teams at all. What your theory leaves out, what this design leaves out, is any in-band, in-game way for players who start out with average skill or below to learn what the alternative to rez-rushing is.
Guilds that (a) have figured it out and (b) have exceptionally patient teachers, people who are willing to have it take a lot longer to get to the reward chest because they have to stop to type, including answering questions, before each fight, will work out the way that you think it will. My experience with MMOs tells me that such teachers are so rare that there will never been enough of them to go around, that not 1 player in 20 will ever get to play alongside one.
You will be deeply surprised. I’m currently trying to get permission to expose some of our internal data regarding our anti res rushing patch – you know, some before and after data where people can look at the numbers. Posting numbers is the tricky bit, but from what we have seen and can correlate from the data, more people are playing dungeons, and less people are dying. There’s more really interesting information that I won’t go into at the moment, but our data suggests that there is an overall positive affect from the patch that is measurable.
You might also want to keep in mind that the February monthly reward required every player to play five dungeons to complete it, so make sure to take your February statistics and subtract out five runs per character before comparing them to previous months.
We’re aware of this and other factors