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Target audience of Flex Raiding shouldn't min / max group size


One of the things that I've been wondering about the new Flex Raid system is how it will handle groups of players figuring out the optimal min and max of personnel for individual boss encounters. This is something that I'm not sure there's a way around -- one way or another groups are going to devise what works best for them, and inevitably size their raids around that number. Of course they (hopefully) won't be aghast to take an extra person or two, but still, I believe therein min/maxing can be stated as a law: If players have the opportunity to mix/max a variable, they will.

Ghostcrawler chimes in:

While I get what he's saying that the target audience for Flex Raids isn't the type of players that would want to min/max the raid size and comp, I think the door is still left wide open for it to happen. And therein lies the issue, one that I'm not sure El Ghosto can fix -- players naturally evolve from no optimization, to a little optimization, to a lot of optimization (and min/maxing is a primary form of that optimization). I'm interested to know what, if any, road blocks Blizzard will include in this to lessen the reward of that organic growth (to use a term that's way too popular these days).

One of those road blocks might be a system of diminishing returns on player involvement in boss difficulty. Each additional player subtracted from a "floor" of difficulty lessens the boss difficulty on a diminishing scale. For example, 15 players get a boss to a 25 Tserics difficulty. At 14 players the boss difficulty drops to 22 Tserics (a 3 Tseric drop). However at 13 players the boss only drops to a 20 Tseric difficulty (a 2 Tseric drop). This continual lessening (diminishing) return on removing players would mean that there becomes less and less of a difference, wherein that it makes less sense to remove people, and more sense to bring them along (because the social reward of inclusion will be greater than the cost of exclusion).

Another road block to discourage min/maxing raid sizes in flex raiding might be a simple floor to each boss difficulty, and that additional players do not change that as long as the number of players does not drop below, or rise above, predefined floors. For instance, consider a situation where a boss exists with the following Tseric values:

  • 20 Players: 100 Tseric difficulty
  • 19 Players: 100 Tseric difficulty
  • 18 Players: 100 Tseric difficulty
  • 17 Players: 100 Tseric difficulty
  • 16 Players: 100 Tseric difficulty
  • 15 Players: 75 Tseric difficulty
  • 14 Players: 75 Tseric difficulty
  • ... etc
  • 10 Players: 50 Tseric difficulty (IE: Normal 10-man)
As you can see from the floor model of boss difficulty above, there'd be no difference in difficulty for bringing 16 players or 20 players. However there'd be a difficulty bump between 15 and 16 players, meaning that there'd still exist some min/maxing consideration at that break point. Nonetheless the min/maxing that would occur would significantly deter the audience of flex raiding from making extreme decisions within each floor.

In fact, it would encourage more inclusion of players, rather than excluding them. While we, as decent folks, automatically jump to "inclusion good, exclusion bad!" -- that's not necessarily true. Consider the fact of not running a raid unless you had enough people to max out the current difficulty floor without going to the next. IE: You'd raid with 15 people, but not with 12, because those three extra people are deemed necessary.

Now of course, this is all academic. The fact remains that as of this writing, all we really know is that El Ghosto doesn't want min/maxing to play a factor in flex raiding. And I agree with him in principle -- it shouldn't. However I disagree with him in practice. The pragmatic concern is that the Virtual Anthropic Principle of Min/Maxing applies here, and that this system will still lead to a defined "good" (ideal) raid size for individual bosses. Further when this "good" raid size is established, it will be a short jump to players being labeled "good" or "bad" based on their acceptance of such ideal

Vocabulary Review
  • Virtual Anthropic Principle of Min/Maxing: (1) Players will always min/max when they can because their min/maxing has little to no consequence on their virtual existence. (2) Minimus maximum ergo sum / I think therefore I min/max.
  • Tseric: A unit of measurement indicating the difficulty of a boss. Also an ex-community manager.
  • El Ghosto: Ghostcrawler and his team of designers.

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