We had a number of threads on the endgame for casuals, most notably, this one:
The thread has gotten quite long and it is evident that a lot of the discussion is going in circles, because, well, the thread is quite long and people don't want to read it from the beginning. So here is a new thread with the catch-all post at the beginning, which I would update, which would hopefully help us avoid repetitive questions and answers and move the discussion forward.
The purpose of the thread is to provide Blizzard with some feedback regarding the current state of the game for casuals and communicate ideas for them to improve the game, as well as simply exchange ideas on the matter.
Keep it constructive.
Main Message: Need Non-Raid Progression
The main message is: right now the main way to progress your character in the game is raids, a lot of people are dissatisfied with that (many reasons) and would like to have a way to progress their characters which wouldn't be raids. Quoting UnifiedDivide (thanks, man, you said it really well):
"... quite a lot of people don't even WANT to raid. Yet they are told they must put a few hours a week aside so that they can do it rather than somehow being a "whiny QQ entitled casual".
What casuals need, is more forms of meaningful progression at endgame. Blizzard shoving everyone into raiding is pointless. Not every one is meant to be a raider and not everyone even wants to be a raider. Hence the reason you still don't have 100% of the player base as raiders, in even LFR formats.
Seriously, stop thinking everyone should raid, Blizzard! Give us some new progression!"
It's important to understand that nobody advocates for giving away raid-level epics for little or no effort. Yes, we are talking about things other than raids, and most people understand by that solo or small-group content. But, of course, if a particular encounter in a non-raid solo or small-group progression drops a raid-level epic, completing that encounter should be as demanding to personal skill as downing a raid boss. In the ideal case, a non-raid solo or small-group progression would be as big as the current raid progression, and would span from encounters whose difficulty matches that of LFR, which would reward LFR-level epics, to encounters whose difficulty matches that of flex raids and normal raids, which would reward flex-level and normal-level epics, all the way to encounters whose difficulty matches that of heroic raids, which, yes, would reward heroic-level epics.
Here are some suggestions for what that non-raid solo or small-group progression could be (I am only quoting key fragments if they are short, all of the posts are worth reading in full, so click through):
"Using their own system, based off of other games experiments of dynamic content; they could create something that could have more of a pick up and leave feeling that some require without pissing on the established paradigm.
In another thread, I mentioned a way to do this in WoW. Say they decide they want to rebuild SMC and fix Exo. They set up dynamic events including gathering turn ins from cloth to herbs to leather, kill/collects, and then you also get invasions, escorts, supporting offensive strikes, etc that happen as world/zone events. Have people out in the world, working together. The reward system would be a combination of pets, mounts, vanity, and 'world' pve gear with set bonuses that would be specifically helpful to world pve (mount speed bonuses, run speed bonuses, cd resets, etc) that would not be active in instanced content (dungeons, raids, arenas, bgs). You could set the ilvl around lfr/flex for the easily gathered items, then make some stuff much harder to get both time and difficulty wise fit in the normal to somewhere under heroic raid ilvl. Put this behind intense group activities with tough mobs or an occasional zone boss that can be failed that either doesn't always spawn, or you have to complete a large set of objectives that makes it possible to not always finish unless people organize (and would have to scale to people actively partaking in the zone events)."
"An alternative option would be a path of the hero. A rank system like guilds have but for your character. For doing different trials, quests, dungeons, challenges, etc...etc.. you earn different ranks of your class. It would start at your max level (100) however it shouldn't feel like leveling your character all over again or feel like its required. It could give out a mixture of rewards and achievements. Rank ____ causes ___ spell to do 5% damage increase/healing increase or mana regen/dodge or rank ___ unlocks a 2% ____ stat increase."
My addition: the above could be done so that it DOES NOT work in raids and for PVP, so that raiders and PVP'ers aren't forced to do it. Also: this was more or less Blizzard's idea with Path of Titans, sans the bit on not working in raids and PVP.
"A 5-man dungeon endgame model with a tier-set system, complex crafting and rare mechanics added (certain ingredients only dropping from certain mobs and bosses at a low ratio). Instead of silly challenge modes add a system like in Diablo3 where you can keep increasing the difficulty of the dungeons which increases the dropchance and quality of gear and mats required to craft useful gear or to get access to higher tiersets.
Something like that."
"Rift has a few means of progression at end game that I like. It has the planar attunement system, where you get points/perks through xp for completing raids, dungeons, daily quests, etc...it's account wide and gives you some nice boosts to spell power, hp, mount speed, walk speed, swim speed etc. And then for pvpers there is a conquest system where you improve your character's power by participating in large scale pvp events (conquest...somewhat similar to Wintergrasp during wrath). I could see planar attunement or a similar system working well in a game like WoW."
"Have 5 mans scale. Scaling mob strength, health and difficulty of pulls.
Have bosses with more abilities and the odd rare (and stronger) mob in the trash packs with slightly better gear drops.
E.g (if the average gear ilvl of the players entering is):
bare ilvl needed - standard mobs
+10 - standard mobs, a little more health, more cash, bosses drop +5 ilvl higher gear
+20 - standard mobs, some packs harder though (e.g more casters/cleavers less basic melee). Bosses get 2nd tier of abilities and drop +15 ilvl higher gear
+30 - harder mobs, many harder pulls. Bosses get 3rd tier of abilities and drop lowish ilvl epics
and so on..."
"Think about something like this, for example: what if they take the concept of Brawler's Guild and design a lot of small boss encounters, like, 100 of them, then assign every boss a location in the world, make them solo-visible only (similarly to archeology sites), then spawn 4 or 5 of them every day (one per continent)? A casual player would have to find these bosses and kill them, for a chance at raid-level loot (eg, 10% to drop a normal-raid-level epic). Some bosses would be easier, some more difficult, some next to impossible for certain specs, etc. Some would go in circles, some would stay. There could be NPCs telling them what bosses are up for a fee. Could work?
There could be other systems like that as well, and they could drop not gear, but, say, raid-level recipes or materials, collectionables, etc."
"Here's another idea for making dungeons interesting: reward completing dungeons with three people, two people or solo. Here's how to reward, too: right now, some bosses in heroics can drop epics (although the ilvls of these epics aren't high) -- make these epics have the same ilvl as drops in normal raids, and make the drop chance 2% if you complete a heroic with 5 or 4 people, 10% if you complete it with 3 people, 20% if you complete it with 2 people, and 30% if you complete it solo. One drop a day per-person, too."
"If they made the Timeless Isle five times as large as it is now, and gave out normal-raid-level gear (might limit the drop rate to 10% until you get the first drop per week, 2% until the second drop, 0% after that, for example, or do something similar), it would have worked better. If they have also made rare spawns solo-bound (like the archeology sites), and arranged it so that you'd get simpler bosses in the first weeks and progressively more complex bosses after you defeat the simpler ones, I think they would have had a winner for 5.4."
"Seriously just bring back dungeon tier sets sure make them 5 set like raid sets are now. But make it upgradable through a good quest line (unlocked at say 2 piece/4 piece)
That along with some profession recipes dropping in dungeons along with forges/anvils/alchemy labs used for specific crafting items that are only located in dungeons would be a pretty cool change. Just make those crafting areas after the end boss in a dungeon so the person who wants it completes the dungeon in LFD first."
Epic quests are a set of weekly quests a player can participate in, that will tell a short story, resulting in rewards based on your level of completion class/spec specific rewards. My idea here would be to make them timetravel based events, where players go back in time and participate an event from warcraft lore. As they progress through they receive rewards that upgrade as you hand in each level. Epic quests will basically read: "Travel back in time and complete the events of X." You will also receive the starting quest for a long chain. One epic quest will be available each week, you will have to complete any current epic quest to pick up the next one.
During these quests there will be spawnpoints of current resources (ghost iron etc) pet battles to be had, etc.
For instance: ..."
"If the developers don't want to create new tiers of dungeons like the Wrath era, then why not create open world scenarios that reward decent gear? Something along the lines of Battlefield Barrens but across multiple zones. Make it exciting, make the situations dire if failure occurs. Make it rewarding when success occurs. Some may say other MMOs offer things like this, but why can't WoW? Add more world PvP similar to Krasarang Wilds but across multiple zones. Make the successes count. Allow low level characters to participate (perhaps via a buff when "open world scenarios" are active). Make the whole WORLD bustle with activity. Perhaps give characters progress with how many open world scenarios they participate in, make them count! Make them something players would WANT to participate in, levelcapped AND leveling toons. The game should be more than just raiding. It should be something that brings players of all levels together in a significant way. Make the rares in each zone scale to appropriate levels of the players attacking them. Make them more like the Zandalari Warbringers and Scounts. Give low-level players a buff if a levelcapped players are attacking them and make drops individual like Timeless-rares. Add Timeless-like chests in every single zone that scale with player level (IE levelcapped players get appropriate gear + justice/valor or new currency, leveling toons get appropriate gear + justice/valor or new currency). Make leveling toons earn rewards that benefit them at endgame, etc."
Here is also a very good post on what WoW already had, that could have been developed into a non-raid progression (there were more posts along these lines, of course):
There are many other posts on the matter in this and other threads, too, the above is just a subset of them.
Q: You simply want raid-level gear for little or no effort, stop asking for it.
A: No. We don't want raid-level gear for little or no effort, we want a way to progress by completing challenges of increasing difficulty, with multiple gear rewards along the way. You know, how raids are, just in a small-group or solo context. The game has plenty of things that require little or no effort already, that content doesn't last, that's why we want something else.
Q: What do you need the gear for, anyway? If you don't do raids, you don't need raid gear.
A: First and foremost, again, we ask for a non-raid progression, not for gear. We want multiple *challenges* of increasing difficulty, with the most difficult of them requiring raid-level gear and raid-level personal skill to overcome, and only then we want these challenges to reward us raid-level *gear*. Second, it is not strictly true that if one doesn't do raids, he or she also doesn't need raid gear. If you don't have raid gear, you are heavily penalised in many areas of the game outside of raids: you will have problems soloing or duoing many of the old raids (Cata and entry-level MOP), you will likely have problems in the last tiers of the Brawler's Guild, you will be much less efficient in farming high-level areas, like the Timeless Isle, etc. We want a non-raid progression to make us as powerful as raiders in the world. We like the world, but we don't like raids, and it is unfair to force us to raid to enjoy the world to the full, the way raiders do.
Q: They have done LFR and now flex specifically so that baddies, er, people like you could raid. What else do you want?
A: We don't want to raid. We just aren't interested in that. Many of us have raided normals or higher before, many have done LFR. We aren't interested in raids in their current state, for whatever reason, we want a non-raid progression.
Q: The game has lots of casual content, why don't you do that? Do pet battles, for example.
A: Pet battles are great, but they don't progress your character in that your character doesn't get more powerful. A lot of content in the game is like that. That's OK, we just want content that makes our characters *progressively* stronger. We want a progression, a non-raid one.
Q: WoW revolves around raiding, that's how the game is. If you don't like it, stop playing.
A: That's fine, just realize that you might be saying this to the majority of the playerbase.
I will update the post as the threads go with more links, suggestions, and possibly with the FAQ.
Thanks for your time and keep this going.