Chris Bruce, Senior Lead Animator/Visual FX artist on City of Heroes / Villains and frequent forum poster made this observation the other day:
“And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the time I’ve been here it’s that any change will be perceived by some people as a good change, others as a bad change, and most as the wrong thing to mess with entirely.”
His point is being made about changes made long ago to the Hamidon raid – it was CoH’s sole original raid and offered a unique reward for defeating the Hamidon. Despite having an odd 100 players show up to do these raids, the actual combat was done by a small sub-set of those players while the rest only had to attack the target once or twice to get tagged as part of the raid and get the reward at the end. The change reduced the number of players who could take part to 50 and increased the overall participation required. It’s not perfect – repeating the same thing three times is dull – but it doesn’t let nearly as many players stand to the back and chat amongst themselves in order to receive their rewards (and those rewards, the Hami-Os, are no longer as comparatively powerful as they once were anyway).
His point is worth noting. No matter what a game designer does, there will always be a group of players who prefer the old way or the status quo, as well as those who think those resources would have been better spent elsewhere. Sometimes these preferences are for very good reasons and sometimes they are just white noise (or worse, posts that look like they could be a good reason but are actually white noise to the discussion) but resistance to change is something that appears in every MMO from its player base (at least – I’m sure design teams are resistant to changing content as well!).