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I’m Good at Sports!

In my gaming world DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) has made a roaring comeback. For those of you who do not know what DOTA is it is a custom Warcraft 3 game that is largely popular and the play-style has been copied by games like HON (Heroes of Newerth) and League of Legends. Normally me and 4 other of my closest compadres talk & game over vent; it is an all around good-ole time whenever we are not raiding. Like most video games the reward comes from having a winning team and a losing team clearly defined when it is over. The result is derived from direct head to head competition and it can be very entertaining and exciting. Basically DOTA is an E-sport, something that is missing from World of Warcraft’s PVE environment.

The best example of a massive e-sport environment would be Starcraft, especially in South Korea. These crazy Koreans pay to attend matches and tournaments, and the best competitors are heralded like North American athletes.  The best players make a living off their skill and some make upwards of a six figure salary from simply playing SC. (Jealous? I am). Starcraft is widely popular, but nothing comes close to WOW’s audience. The potential for money, entertainment, experience, and much more is endless when it comes to WOW and it really has yet to be tapped. You are probably thinking…..

“WOW has PVP as an e-sport already you nub.”

“Yes this is true. However the scale at which it is done is pathetic compared to the success scale Blizzard puts in all of their work. Plus that only reaches a part of the WOW community; it can be done for PVE as well.”

“TWSS no one in North America is going to give two poops about this so-called e-sporting, YOUR CRAZY!”

“Really, how not? The more time that goes on, the larger the gaming community grows. At the same time the pool of people who house the opinion of “Video games are only for children” gets smaller. Everywhere you look there is video games, just spend 10 minutes watching commercials and I would be willing to bet one pops up. (Unless you’re watching the infomercial about the AB-Belt that gives you 6-pack abs from doing nothing.) I am actually shocked there has not been a legitimate attempt to capture it.

“Ok fine, but how the hell do you make raiding an e-sport???”

“Don’t you worry, here is how.”

There are a couple of ways to create the e-sport of raiding. The reason I saw this as do-able was from watching the 2010 Blizzcon video of Paragon trying to take down a bunch of bosses outside of Orgrimmar. IF you haven’t seen it I suggest you go take a look. They have done this for a couple of years now and it is very entertaining and clearly manageable from a development standpoint. Sure it would take more time and due diligence to make sure it is fair and fun for everyone but let’s assume Blizzard has the capabilities to do such a thing. For the sake of argument I am going to create some assumptions first. There are sooooo many ways this can be done this is just how I envision it.

Most Important Assumption – Level the playing field One might argue that there is already a way to evaluate the best raid teams in the World already with websites like WOWProgress.com. Yes and No. Although skill plays a major factor in the ability for one raid team to complete content faster than the others, these top teams are also at other advantages that are not available to most guilds. Keep in mind this would be separate from the normal PVE situation we have today and would be held in controlled environments outside of normal World servers.

Equalize Time – The amount of time a raid puts into progression per week plays a major factor in how fast they kill content. In an e-sport environment the goal is to make skill largest defining factor to determine the best. By setting time constraints to the competition it eliminates the factor of time.

Eliminate pre-knowledge – Some people play the PTR and try out encounters before they go live. Not everyone has this luxury for a variety of reasons, and therefore it does not lead to “fair” competition. In this raiding e-sport bosses need to be either completely new experiences, or old bosses that everyone has encountered with new tricks up its sleeve. The boss can be a stick figure with a set of mechanics for all I care as long as the learning curve is placed on the raids ability to learn and adjust on the fly instead of their ability to gain knowledge before they actually get to see the fight.

Tournament bracket style – Start with a field of teams that go head to head in competition. Winner moves on looser goes home.

ZERO Trash, ZERO Loot – Think TOC but with different bosses and no loot. Everyone should have the gear needed to participate as stated above, and adding gear will just add to luck of moving forward if your group gets something that is more useful than the group you are competing against.

Physical Attendance – I am not suggestions that the entire raid team shows up to the main event, however 1-2 representatives from each raid should physically be there. This adds to the spectacle and offers more of a reason for people to go.

Broadcast Vent/Commentary The people participating in the actual event should be placed in an isolated room where the only things they can see/hear are their screen and their communication with their raiding team. To add to the event for the spectators there needs to be some sort of entertainment along with the fights just so it isn’t just a bunch of people watching a muted raid.

If you can wrap your head around these things now we can move forward into the meat and fun of the discussion, the structure of the encounters and how you determine a winner in each match. Each possible set-up has variables to consider and at the end I will give you the one combination of all of these things that I feel would offer the most challenging and fun experience for both the competitors and the people watching the event.

Variables

Time – The variable of time I believe is the biggest decision to make in this type of e-sport. I see three possible ways to decide how time plays a role in deciding a winner. Everything takes time when it comes to downing a boss. Running back from the grave, the group’s balance with DPS and healers, the ability of a raid to identify mechanics and fix them, and strategy discussion just to name a few. Paragon has said to have taken over an hour to discuss strategy after the first couple of pulls when they were the first ones to down Sinestra. In the e-sport environment this would be detrimental to success and the factor of time will put an emphasis on a raids ability to think on the fly and come up with quick solutions.

First To Kill Wins – Both raid teams enter the boss room and get ready for pull. Once both groups are ready to go the boss is pulled for both groups at the same time. From that point on the team to down to boss first, wins. Time is not stopped for wipes or preparing for the next pull. The amount of time allocated to things like that is up to the individual raids. Depending on the difficulty of the encounter you can do a best of 3 to determine who moves on.

Most Kills in a set period of time – Same starting point first to kill wins, however once you kill a boss you re-group and get ready for the next one. The team to kill the most bosses in a set period of time is the winner. If both teams down 3 bosses in that time frame, the tie-breaker would come down to who killed that 3rd boss first.

Turn Based – This is the least compelling of the 3, however it is an option. Basically you give each team one shot at killing the boss at the same time. After wipes you give each team a couple of minutes to regroup and talk strategy before the boss is pulled for both teams again at the same time. If both teams kill the boss in the same turn, the tie breaker would come from whoever killed it first. The reason I like this least is simply because it equalizes a group’s ability to manage their time a little too much.

Bosses – Bosses in this type of situation would need to be new to the players trying to kill them. The only constant that should remain is that both teams face the same bosses in the same order. The only information that should be given to a group is the health-pool of the boss and it’s enrage timer. It would be un-fair without an enrage timer because a group can roll with 3 tanks, 20 healers and 2 DPS just so they kill the boss on its first turn.

Completely New Bosses – For this type of boss the skin of the boss would be irrelevant. The point here is that the group has no idea what to expect and they are going to need to see then encounter and wipe on it to learn what is going on.

Council of old bosses – This is exactly like the video link I posted above of Paragon at Blizzcon 2010. All of the players know the bosses abilities from previous experiences (Bosses would need to be scaled up in most cases), but the unfamiliarity comes in when the combination of abilities and mechanics that the bosses bring to the table. Hard to explain but if you watch that video you will get an idea of what I am talking about. I would suggest that the bosses do not share a health pool.

Group Make-up – Obviously there would be a different tournament for 10 and 25 man raids simply because it is impossible to accurately compare the two against each other in this type of setting. The make-up of the raid however should be set ahead of time in one of 2 ways.

Subs – Each team would be allowed to offer more players to their team then what is actually allowed into the fight. So for 25 man raids the team can consist of 28 people and for 10s it can have 13. This allows the teams to sub in and out players and roles depending on what they have learned from their wipes in the fight. For example going form 5 healers to 6 because 5 heals just won’t cut it.

No Subs Self Explanatory really. There would be a premium on classes that offer multiple specs so that they can switch between roles depending on what is needed.

Gear – Gear plays a large part in progression, and without it being equalized for the purposes of a raiding tournament one group may be at an advantage based of simple boss drops. To control this you can do one of two things.

Pick Any – You can allow a raid team to pick any set of gear they want that is currently available in-game. Let their gem-ing, enchanting, and gear selection is up to them so that it factors into the performance of their raid. You can do this by simply having vendors that give you what you want for free and they would only be available on the tournament server. Keep in mind that the server hosting these events would be separate from the server people actually play on. To control legendary weapons you can have a setting that only allows one of each legendary per raid.

Character Copy – Basically the same feature used when you copy your toon to the PTR realm. By doing this you can only host events and tournaments at the end of tiers. By then everyone should have all the gear they need off boss drops and there should be little to no “loot luck” involved in the process.

Ok so now that the ground work has been laid out I am going to give what I believe would be the most compelling form of an e-spot with all things considered. To be honest this is pretty tough to settle on one way of doing it which is why I think it is such a great out-of-the-box topic that has a lot of room for opinion and discussion.

TWSS’ Ideal Raiding E-Sport!!! (Pretend to be excited for my sake plz)

First to kill wins – Best of 3 – Completely New Bosses – Subs allowed – Pick Any Gear

I like this combination of these variables for many reasons. For one I believe it offers the most excitement from a viewing standpoint because a sense of urgency is placed upon the teams competing. With this type of set-up there should be little to no down time and people won’t be forced to watch people hanging out in the boss room while officers sit and talk strategy. I would like to see a best of 3 set-ups, only if each boss or round didn’t take too long. It would be cool to see come-backs or close calls, and I think that is going to be more frequent in a best of 3 scenarios. Having completely new bosses feeds into the time-table presented to this group as well. Having the bosses be completely new to the raids will do the best job of separating the talent level of the people competing in the event. In my opinion you need subs. Almost every raid has subs and they are an important part of progression. It would be a shame if a group simply could not win because a certain boss is favorable to one group because of group make-up. Picking any gear also falls along the same line. Teams should not have the excuse that their gear was not perfect like the team that beat them since both teams have the same opportunity to prepare in the same way. I would love to see something like this and I think if Blizzard, or some other third-party, put their minds to it they can come up with some pretty neat things for our viewing and possibly playing pleasure.

In this article I have referenced Paragon a lot and that is mainly because in our current system they are considered the best. It would be interesting to see how they would do in an environment like this and I would be shocked if they remained the top dog. This is not because I think they are bad, because I don’t. Like all competitions the best team does not always come out on top, which is why sports are so compelling. Seeing raid teams go head to head in a competitive environment like this would be great. What would you like to see? How would you do it? Does this already exist (If so please tell me)? Am I completely off my rocker and this is a horrible idea? (I might be a little off my rocker but that’s beside the point.)

I hope you enjoyed this week’s OverRaidedBlog post I actually had a lot of fun writing it. Sorry for the no-show of a post last week once again I was destroyed by RL crap from work, but good news is that tomorrow is my last day and I start my new job on Monday. Like I mentioned before I am looking for some game screen-shot submissions. You can e-mail them to me at DKTWSS@gmail.com. Send me the screen-shot along with a short caption so I can give you a deserved shout-out for taking the time to give me some eye candy. I am getting to the point where I am going to take a page out of the Guardian Tank Podcast’s book and offer a contest in the next couple of weeks where you can win a sweet WOW related prize for sending me a screen-shot that I can use for the site. Look for more details via Twitter or on this site.  Once again if you have any questions or comments, or would like to see me write about a certain topic please feel free to leave them in the comment section below or e-mail me at DKTWSS@gmail.com. Thanks again and see you next week.

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  1. atp007
    May 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    dude whats up with the missing posts?

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