EverQuesting: Holly Longdale was right about casuals and raiding

How’s the weather over in EverQuest? Well there was a doozy of a storm that rolled through recently! I am going to admit that I was actually shocked at the response that Producer Holly Longdale’s comment about raid targets on EQ’s progression server stirred up. She originally told me,

“What we don’t want to do is instance raids, which is what casuals want us to do because they want to fight Nagafen. Casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen… that diminishes the achievement of others. That’s part of the challenge: You have to be better than the other guy; you have to be more strategic that the other guy.”

I honestly thought EQ players would celebrate that sentiment as it seemed to bespeak the heart and history of the game. Apparently I was wrong. There have been some heated discussions on the topic — and not a few raging rants. In some cases players brought valid points to the discourse; in others, there was only whining, complaining, and insults.

All in all, as a casual myself, I think Longdale is right. But that doesn’t mean everything is perfect in progression land, either.

Defining casual

Probably the biggest stumbling block in that quote is the word “casual.” Casual is one of those gaming terms that no longer has standard definition (even worse, some folks sling it around as an insult). Whoever hears the word will most likely apply meaning based on his or her own definition founded on personal life experiences unless the speaker clarifies what definition is being used. In the case of that E3 interview, I interpreted the comment with my own understanding of the term, which basically boils down to a player who spends maybe a few hours a week in the game. It’s a person who plays casually, which may also mean simply not a raider.

With that in mind, Longdale’s remark makes perfect sense to me. I am the quintessential casual specifically when it comes to EQ: I do not play it often, my character is lower-level, and my skill at playing my class is far from maximized. I jump in for fun. And I fully expect to not be able to face the raid stuff. No one in that category should. Those who just saunter into the game a couple hours a week absolutely should not have any chance at beating Nagafen. Maybe stroll up and become an insta-Naggy snack, but not raid seriously. Raiding is a type of gameplay that is by definition a more dedicated experience that needs time and preparation. It’s not my favored style of gaming, but that doesn’t invalidate the playstyle for those who do.

Here’s my long-held belief: If I put the time and effort into something, I should be able to access it. I don’t want games to slam me into a paywall, denying access to things based on my pocketbook, but the idea of blocking me from things because I haven’t put in the sweat equity (like prepping to kill Naggy) is perfectly fine. More than that, I prefer it. To me it’s a bit like saying I should be able to play in the World Cup simply because I love soccer and have played without spending the years training, conditioning, preparing, and practicing. I do not now, nor will I ever, believe that any person deserves to reach the highest echelons of whatever by the mere fact that they exist, and I do not think players have the right to defeat major raid bosses just because they log in. That’s just not what a raid is.

In it to win it

The second stumbling block in that quote was the word “fight.” Longdale said casuals shouldn’t be able to fight Nagafen, but I did not get the impression at all that she didn’t think they should have the opportunity. Instead — and this is again using my understanding — I had the sense that she was saying they shouldn’t be able to beat that massive raid dragon. Let me explain.

When you step into the ring for a fight, you usually have some expectation that you have a chance to win. If not, why bother stepping into the ring in the first place? OK, so maybe people want to just see how long they last (I have totally done that, too!), but for the most part, people who approach a raid do it with the intention of beating it, no? This is why I could easily interchange the word fight with defeat in this instance. Should those who play infrequently (casually) expect to win a fight with Naggy? No. I bet a lot of the grumbling would have vanished if she’d used the term “defeat” instead of “fight.”

Everything is not for everyone

Something that I am sure most of us can agree on is that everything in a game will not appeal to every player, nor would we want it to. The only way that would happen is if we were all identical (and thank heavens we are not!). That means that folks playing EQ will have different aspects of the game they prefer and will focus on. Some players want to be raiders; some do not. Those who want to raid should be able to put the time and effort in, and those who do not will have other stuff to do in game. As Longdale responded in the official thread,

Hey folks. Context is everything. As a team we decided that raid targets will remain contested in the base game (this means not instancing them). Organized guilds will usually kill more raid targets and get more sought-after loot than players who are not organized.

Casual players are a huge portion of our player base and the majority of the content is made with them in mind.

Check out that last line again. If the majority of content is made for the majority of players, why can’t there be something for those whose big focus is to raid? What is wrong with having a bit of content that only the highest tiers and those who have dedicated themselves to it can enjoy? If there is no story locked behind it, no blockade to accessing other content, then why the heck not have content that is only for those who dedicate themselves to that one aspect and put in the time and effort? As long as players who are trying to put in the sweat equity are not blocked from doing so by game mechanics (real-life circumstances don’t count), I see no problem with raid content’s being inaccessible. And I am not alone in those thoughts. As one commenter on that thread expressed, “As long as it’s the difficulty of the game that stops me from seeing top content then that seems perfectly reasonable.”

Progression server problems

Back to the comment I made above about not everything being for everyone. That is true. But it has been presented that perhaps the population of the EQ progression servers is weighted much more heavily towards raiders who want that experience. In that case, it becomes a vital demographic to take that into account when thinking about content. And if the game mechanics themselves are causing issues with people accessing the type of gameplay they want, then there definitely does need to be some investigation into remedies.

Numerous concerns have been raised in the thread about how multiboxing has adversely affected raiding and how the removal of PnP and nearly complete removal of GMs from the server have exacerbated problems. I agree with folks that the multiboxing raiding parties keeping others from the content is an issue that needs to be addressed. I’d hoped a new server that forces one PC per login would help; perhaps it would be much better if Daybreak granted free transfers from the current progression servers to that one for anyone who is interested.

Additionally, if the people who have put in the time and effort to prepare themselves for the encounter are not able to ever try it because of people being supreme jerks repeatedly, then yes, that’s a problem as well. If a toxic — not competitive, but truly toxic — atmosphere is hindering the game, addressing those issues is key.

Don’t take my word for it

Although there is plenty of vitriol in the official discussion, I also find great merit in the comments of a number of folks. Not all commenters are toxic ragers; some offer very well-thought-out points and counterpoints aimed at enlightening or finding a solution. One such post was made by AngorfLadroTholuxeP, who outlines the concerns that accompany non-instanced raids. Will everyone agree with this poster’s points? No, but this is the kind of discussion that can help move things in a positive direction. I sincerely hope the devs manage to wade through the sludge and find the gems that unfortunately get buried in the onslaught. And I do so hope the issues that are plaguing the progression servers get resolved so that those who are there for their EQ experience can have it.

The EverQuest franchise is a vast realm, and sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores all the nooks and crannies from Antonica to Zek. Running biweekly on Thursdays, EverQuesting is your resource for all things EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Daybreak. And keep an eye out for MJ’s OPTV adventures!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

196 Comments on "EverQuesting: Holly Longdale was right about casuals and raiding"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
fluffymagicalunicorn
Guest
fluffymagicalunicorn

skoryy DamnDirtyApe FooBunny3

I think the more appropriate word would have been ‘classism’.

vemerce
Guest
vemerce

In the old days of EverQuest these problems didn’t exist. Progression servers have vastly more players, many of which are there to raid, than EQ did in it’s classic days. If killing Nagafen was something you actually had to work at, I might agree with her. But it’s not a matter of skill and preparation. It’s a matter of being able to get your entire guild logged in and to the zone before anyone else does. That’s not fun, especially for people that have jobs and need to raid around a set schedule.
Fact of the matter is (as Blizzard has shown us time and time again) you retain players by dumbing things down. People will cry, but the best thing for the health of the progression servers (and not my own opinion, mind you) is to make the raids instanced so that any guild willing to devote the time to raiding Nagafen has an opportunity to do so. If you don’t do that, the guilds that live in strange time zones or simply can’t win the race, will leave the progression servers and most likely quit the game, thus DGC loses subscription money.
The mechanics worked at the time, but that was a different game entirely.

Betternotdoit
Guest
Betternotdoit

Sinder 
Not meant as a reply to you Sinder but the site wont let me post a comment other then as a reply
Article is an interesting Public Relations piece.  Unlike what the article says most casuals dont play a few hours a week and most casuals do a lot more then the articles writer does.  Also most responses were showing outrage but most responses were not toxic  ragers as opposed to the articles some aren’t toxic ragers.  The article says there may be more raiders on the progression servers… so their desires should be taken into account.. by that logic if the majority of players are casuals then their opinions should be taken into account.  Thing is though that a lot of the so called raiders are casual types who raid so are there more raiders or not is not a simple question. The article definitely has an agenda of defending Holly and is willing to slant the facts to do so.  At least in my opinion.. and no rage here I  no interest in raid targets on progression servers.  But fair is fair.

Betternotdoit
Guest
Betternotdoit

ManastuUtakata 
Holly’s second comment makes it quite clear who the casuals are when she said that Daybreak designs the majority of the content for casuals.  The majority of the content gets designed for the majority of the players. Therefore casuals are the majority of the players and as per Holly they should not be allowed to fight Nagafen.  No surprise coming from a former raider.

Groans
Guest
Groans

Author has no clue what he/she/it is talking about. Please do something else with your time.

Sinder
Guest
Sinder

Except what you list in you “Progression server problems” is exactly what is going on. There are TONNNNSS of people who could kill these Raid NPCs, (before the patch that upped their stats) but it is not about being ABLE to kill them. Instead it is just a race to see who can get to them and kill them fastest. Its dumb and not fun. You DON’t PREPARE, what you do is have no life and “base race” other people to a spawn location. Lame game design when there is such a large section of the population that could do the content but cant because its about who can group up fastest (mega boxers) and its about fighting other people FOR a Raid, not the raid itself. Lame and not fun.

They instanced normal zones because it makes sense and the servers would be a disaster without instancing, they should just do the same for raids and make looong (3+ weeks) lockout timers while leaving the open world bosses like they are now for “competition.” 

To me its not a big deal because I’m not focused on it, but to others its crippling. the GAME WAS NOT DESIGNED TO HAVE THIS MANY PEOPLE ON A SEVER fighting for this stuff. 

Plus this “compititon” just focuses the community more and more on the toxicity of the crippled “Play Nice Policy”

Ehra
Guest
Ehra

Midgetsnowman Ehra FooBunny3 
“doesnt really excuse it, it just tries to by pretending the fact world
bosses were camped day and night meant that was totally something
everyone wanted to see again”
What do you mean it doesn’t excuse it? It’s exactly what it says on the bin. Either you want it or you don’t, there’s nothing that needs to be changed or “excused.”

FooBunny3
Guest
FooBunny3

I don’t know that I would agree that old school MMOs aren’t or weren’t good. They were the start and thus show the capabilities of the time. New games, like Shroud of Avatar are following old school; as a crowd funded game enough people must still like old school to support it. I will admit to poor graphics, pathing and UI is telling in the old games along with the try to match WoW quest style in an old game setting making them less of what they were.
I think the real question here is what people are expecting from a progression server? By the long time locked vote, it seems like a casual stroll down memory lane with lime minded people and being able to find people your level to group with again. Maybe all gang up on Holly Windstalker for killing you all those years ago or experience a place with a group you missed originally. However, that vote really doesn’t agree with the statement Holly has made. The majority of players want a casual look back at the old game. It isn’t truly what it was in its current form, but the old zones are still there unlike EQ2.
So what is it everyone, what do you want from the progression servers?

Midgetsnowman
Guest
Midgetsnowman

DamnDirtyApe Midgetsnowman Ehra FooBunny3 No, its that people are being reminded of how shit everquest and all oldschool MMos really were, seeing why that stuff is long gone, and well, obviously deciding that progression servers might just be a flawed idea that are going to make roughly 6 people at the top happy.

fangGWJ
Guest
fangGWJ

Midgetsnowman fangGWJ Yeah I factored in multiboxing but multiboxing of old EQ.  Whereas now, like you said, it is brain dead simple to bot and multibox to crazy levels.
They should just have some of those guys move in to Daybreak since the devs want to encourage that play style so much.