Blizzard get accused of catering to the casuals a lot, but with Throne of Thunder’s “Bonus Boss” Ra-Den, they’re going back to their hardcore roots.
Ra-Den employs a mechanic not seen for quite some years, specifically limited attempts. This hasn’t been seen since Wrath of the Lich King, where it was a wildly unpopular mechanic. Indeed, in a 2010 WoW Twitter Developer chat, they said the following:
Q. If you could go back and redo or remove some feature that were added with WoTLK, what would it be and why?
A. I think the emblem system could be less clunky.
Limited Attempts didn’t really work out.
We always had some tension about what 10 player heroic should really be.
I’m only talking new features here. There were plenty of other things I’d change about this expansion in hindsight. We’re pretty critical of our own design.
Some of the limitations, earlier ones such as Algalon, involved a limited time during which the boss is open. So, guilds would have one hour to kill the boss, and that was it. As developer Ion Hazzikostas points out in his forum posts on the topic (full posts below), this approach is not one Blizzard would like to repeat. It was intensely frustrating, and the nature of it didn’t allow for much leeway for tactical discussion and the like. If you were rushing, as most groups were, to get in as many tries as possible on a boss, tactical discussion took a back seat. Even worse was if, as Ion puts it, your Main Tank had a power outage for 20 minutes. Or what if the server went down? Either way, Blizzard recognizes that this was a bad idea, and Ra-Den will instead be limited by attempts. You get 30 tries, and you’re done for the week.
But they did like one aspect of Alagon — he was a completely “optional” boss. And that, they say, is exactly the same as Ra-Den. He’s the final boss after the Thunder King is defeated on Heroic difficulty, and even the Thunder King himself is only available on Heroic after 11/12 bosses have been killed on heroic mode on that lockout. So, they are justifying the return of limited attempts by asserting that Ra-Den is a pure “Bonus” boss.
What do you think of this? I immediately asked Scott “Sco” McMillan, Guild Master of Method, for his opinion (some strong language):
@oliviadgrace pretty shit tbh, I do not like.Does that mean hardcore guilds need 2x raid grps min incase of this event going forward?
— Scott McMillan (@Methodsco) February 16, 2013
He was clearly unimpressed, but also points out the fact that the big guilds will still just throw people at the problem until it’s done. Method ran five 25-man raids to prepare for the 5.0 race, so this won’t be a huge issue. What do you think? Is this a good thing, or just more artificial gating that attempts to string out Blizzard’s content?