What Players Want in Raids

May 30, 2024

Recently we conducted a survey of raid preferences. What does our community like and dislike about raiding in other MMORPGs? We left the survey assumptions pretty open, so that players could tell us how they really feel. And they did.

We left the survey assumptions pretty open, so that players could tell us how they really feel. And they did. We received hundreds of responses, and most of them were quite lengthy, with a wealth of insights. This is a summary of what we learned from reading all of your replies.

First off, in our survey about 5% do not like raiding currently in MMORPGs. We’ll get into the things that most respondents dislike about raiding a little later in a future newsletter, but 95% of respondents actually do like raiding.

Another thing to realize is that while we deliberately did not define raiding in our survey, almost every respondent sees raids as multi-team content, at higher than normal difficulty, with greater than normal levels of rewards. Most respondents prefer raiding in just one or two MMORPG, usually the ones they play the most often.

Most players who want a raid size of 6 players or fewer also don’t like the raids they’ve tried.

But different players want different features in their raids. Some prefer tiny, quick raids with as few as 4-6 people, or no raids at all. Others want 100-man mega-raids that take 4-6 hours.

Most people prefer the kind of raids available in their current favorite MMORPG, which is probably a factor in why they enjoy one MMO more than another. City of Heroes fans want 26-man raids on average, but the average for SWTOR players is only 12 players. That’s an increase from SWTOR’s four-man team content, but in Ship of Heroes, a single team doing a mission can be up to 10 players, so our raids will generally be designed for 20+ players.

The raid size you like depends on the MMO you play most often.

After listening to your feedback, we’re implementing many ways to fight and get stronger in groups. Both easier Story Arcs and harder Challenge Missions can be soloed, or battled in a team of up to ten, with more and stronger enemies the more friends you bring in. We’re planning to add multiple options to raise or lower the difficulty as well. Experience and treasure rewards increase with team size, difficulty settings, and the mission’s default complexity.

What Ship of Heroes calls raids will be larger than a single ten-man team. Smaller raids may aim for 20 players, while bigger ones could have 50 or even 100. There’s clearly an unmet demand for big co-op raids within a community of friendly, non-toxic players.

Our raids scale somewhat to number of players, as well. So, if 33 people want to play together in a normally 50-man raid on Tuesday night, no one will be left out! And later on, truly skilled heroes may find ways to complete some raids with smaller groups than we have in mind, just for bragging rights.

Along with raid sizes, we asked people to name their favorite MMORPG.

Five MMOs stood out, with a dozen more honorable mentions.

From this data, it’s clear that Ship of Heroes is successful in appealing to CoH players as a more modern spiritual successor, but it can also draw in a much broader crowd who like what we’re making. That’s a great sign for our future.

One of the most interesting things in the survey was that many respondents feel passionately about whether raids should be casual and open to inexperienced players, or whether every player in the raid should be highly experienced and superbly equipped before they can join. 3% of respondents want SoH to only have raids for experts, while 25% want SoH to only have raids for casual players. Most players think that “some of each” is a better approach.

This topic triggers a lot of emotional responses, and we’re going to go into this subject in greater depth in the future. But for now, we plan on enabling inexperienced players to jump into raids without any gating. In fact, we’re deliberately creating roles for new raiders, and for experienced raiders, and for exceptionally skilled raiders, all in the same raid.

For example, skilled raiders tend to gravitate to raid leadership roles, where their task will be to ensure that a team, or the entire league, succeeds. Leaders will get some extra abilities in the raid, and noticeable extra rewards in recognition of the extra value they deliver. These won’t be so huge that leading teams is mandatory, but they’ll be a nice reward for those who help organize a fun raid for everyone else.

31% Welcome Raids of Different Levels (Orange) While Some Only Want One Level (Blue)

In our next raid newsletter, we’re going to talk about our raid design philosophy, what we prioritize during raids as opposed to missions, and how we plan to avoid the biggest problems identified by the Ship of Heroes community in the raid survey.

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Technical Notes

 

1. It’s important to remember that we’re a small team, so we’re not targeting or talking to everyone who plays MMORPGs. Our survey is specific to the Ship of Heroes community. It’s about people who like some part of SoH, read our newsletters, and are considering playing the game when it launches. We’re not trying to make a game that’s slightly fun for half the planet, but one that’s incredibly satisfying for a smaller audience who will keep on enjoying it for many years.

2. Based on what we heard in the raid survey, raiding is one of the most enjoyable aspects of playing in MMORPGs because of the combination of gameplay challenge, great rewards for time spent, and the social element.

3. Generally, battles in Ship of Heroes scale the number of players on the team or league, and raids have this feature too. But don’t look for 1-man raids. We call those “missions.”

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