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  1. #1

    Developer Feedback - Accessibility of Raid Mechanics and Addons

    Developer Feedback - Accessibility of Raid Mechanics and Addons
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    Greetings!

    First up I’d like to thank you for taking the time to write up really excellent feedback here. Our team fully supports the sentiment that accessibility is not just a concern for those with disabilities, and that efforts to improve accessibility make the game better for everyone. Posts like this do a great job of helping us gain insight into ways we can level up as developers.

    While I can’t provide a definitive answer to all of your points, I’d like to share some insight into how we think about and approach these problems, as well as some things we’ve either already done or are considering that may help.

    Collaborative Randomness

    This is a cool term and I like it, but I want to expand a bit and talk about even more factors that we think about when determining if a mechanic is appropriate to ask players to do at a given difficulty, such as:
    • How complex is the mechanic?
    • How much affordance does the mechanic have? (basically a function of how clear it is + how much time you’re given to react)
    • How severe is the punishment for failure, and is it binary or granular?

    To use a few Shadowlands mechanics as examples:

    Smoldering Ire (Denathrius)
    • Low complexity
    • High affordance
    • Outright ignoring it is an instant wipe, but failure is granular (if you only miss 20% the damage is likely survivable)

    Spiked Floor (Painsmith)
    • Low complexity
    • Medium affordance
    • Failure is binary (die if you get hit), but it only affects one person so a few mistakes can be OK

    Loom of Fates (Fatescribe)
    • High complexity
    • High affordance
    • Failure is binary and instantly wipes the raid.

    Note that this is simplifying a bit and doesn’t account for “what else is competing for your attention while this mechanic is happening?”, but it’s still a useful model to help evaluate the impact a mechanic has on a fight.

    When it comes to Loom of Fates, I wonder if you’d feel less like addons are a requirement if one or both of the following were true:
    • Fewer things competing for your attention during the mechanic (avoidable elements, adds, etc)
    • More granular penalty for failure (ex: a single mistake resulted in a “survivable with all your raid CDs” level of damage, as opposed to a wipe)

    Ultimately what I’m getting at here is that “high complexity” is a design space that allows us to do some pretty cool and thematic stuff, and I’d like to find ways for us to continue doing things in this space while keeping them accessible. To be clear: We make “high complexity” mechanics not because we feel pressure to keep up with addons, but because doing so allows us to create more unique bosses.

    Hiding of Visual Information

    Spark Bots on Mekkatorque were a lesson for us on the experiences of players who don’t have the option of using voice chat. Since then any time we make a mechanic with “hidden information” or other puzzle elements that require players to communicate on the fly, one of our requirements is to confirm through playtesting that it can be reasonably completed without using addons or voice chat. In Shadowlands this requirement has been applied for fights like Mistcaller, Hylbrande, Fatescribe, and Lords of Dread.

    That said we understand that even if a fight “can be done” without advanced addons or voice chat, it’s still possible for players without those tools to experience a frustratingly large disadvantage relative to a fight’s intended difficulty. We still have room to improve here, and hope to continue learning from and applying feedback like this as we make new bosses in the future.

    Even if we can’t achieve complete parity, I think it’s totally fair to ask for designs to be considerate of players who can’t use voice and to provide reasonable in-game tools to bridge the gap. This of course brings us to…

    User Interface Improvements

    In-game communication tools are a big opportunity for improvement, and there’s been a lot of discussion on the team around the topic of how our interface can be used to enhance communication. The interface updates coming in 10.0 are largely focused on improving how the game provides information to players, but we agree that in the future something like a “ping system” would be great for enhancing communication and would be very much worth exploring.

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts here, and for helping us make our game more accessible for everyone.

  2. #2
    I have never actually pugged Lords of dread on any difficulty above LFR. I killed it multiple times with my guild on normal & heroic using voice chat and a weakaura. How do you actually do that fight without an addon or voice chat in pugs, serious question.

    On another note I am in charge of doing assignments for my mythic guild and we are about to start anduin mythic progression, the amount of preperation and assigning, that is neccesary this tier is absolutely overwhelming - thank god nowadays there's a bunch of premade assignement sheets out there to help out. No idea how I would do without them.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by roldy27 View Post
    I have never actually pugged Lords of dread on any difficulty above LFR. I killed it multiple times with my guild on normal & heroic using voice chat and a weakaura. How do you actually do that fight without an addon or voice chat in pugs, serious question.
    I would love to hear their explanation on how to do this fight without voice comms or addons since the blue post said they tested for this and it was fine.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shihao View Post
    I would love to hear their explanation on how to do this fight without voice comms or addons since the blue post said they tested for this and it was fine.
    perhaps with a /point-macro or a macro that puts the name of your target (%t) into the chat
    for a more visible solution; everybody lines up and whenever they appear in the chat, they step forward - whoever is out the furthest gets the beating

    or more creatively, everybody runs to someone they see and those who get the biggest crowd get killed

    i didn't consider if those solutions grant enough time to beat the players in time after determining them
    No matter how relevant the post, I will stop reading after 'should of'.

  5. #5
    I don't know about you guys but I personally can't wait to get spam pinged with question marks for 10 minutes by a group of 4 premades because I didn't interrupt the third cast (of 60) by something 40 yds out of my range in a pack of 35 mobs.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by roldy27 View Post
    I have never actually pugged Lords of dread on any difficulty above LFR. I killed it multiple times with my guild on normal & heroic using voice chat and a weakaura. How do you actually do that fight without an addon or voice chat in pugs, serious question.

    On another note I am in charge of doing assignments for my mythic guild and we are about to start anduin mythic progression, the amount of preperation and assigning, that is neccesary this tier is absolutely overwhelming - thank god nowadays there's a bunch of premade assignement sheets out there to help out. No idea how I would do without them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shihao View Post
    I would love to hear their explanation on how to do this fight without voice comms or addons since the blue post said they tested for this and it was fine.
    I actually solved this on day one due to my experience with hidden role games such as Werewolf (I actually made my own version, so, legit levels of experience here).

    Once I understood the mechanic, what others experienced, the limits, etc, it only took me a few minutes to work out the correct strategy. The challenge was not understanding the subtleties because I was a tank, so I never got to see the mechanic in action and didn't know I was being excluded for several pulls. :P

    Text-Only Solution:

    A) RL is responsible for marking someone with a Skull Marker.
    • Themselves - If they don't see any purple swirls, they are a participant. They then mark themselves for reliability.
    • Someone Else (Purple Swirl) - If they aren't a participant, they will see six players with purple swirls, and they choose one to mark.

    B) The group then encircles the Skull Mark and any players who see them as a dreadlord types "Y" / "Yes" in chat.
    • 3-4 "Yes" - Kill Skull Mark, then those who saw them as a dreadlord name and attack the other player, allowing the group to kill #2
    • 1-2 "Yes" - Semi-ambiguous situation, the dreadlords are feeding false information and those who said yes are likely to be the ones that should be killed. This is the scary possibility since there may just be others not speaking up.
    • 0 "Yes" - Skull is good and can be trusted. Listen to who they see.

    C) During the encirclement, Skull Mark should be checking the other players and being ready to announce who they see as dreadlords.
    • 3-4 "Yes" - Just die, information isn't needed. :P
    • 0-2 "Yes" - Skull is not a dreadlord and needs to immediately name and start attacking the two they see.

    Note: Only "Yes" matters. The only other things that need said are player names when the truth is confirmed.

    As this all has to be done in, what was it, 30 seconds? It's doable, but it's still best if you have voice chat for the RL callouts. Chat can be used alongside it, but I can attest that addons are absolutely not required. That said... I would have preferred another 10 seconds for this mechanic.

    Why this works:

    Six participants, 2 are evil, 4 are good. So, if you find three people who agree on something, that something is truth because only two people can be liars.

    By setting one specific person, you can find the truth in two ways. Either they are "Evil" by having at least three people speak out against them, or they are "Good" by having the opposite happen (at least three participants stay quiet - the reason you don't ask for no's is because in the high pressure situation, it's harder to distinguish if you're even playing than it is to just focus on the guaranteed info of "Yes").

    Once you know that person's alignment, you either listen to them because they are "Good" and follow who they see, or you listen to those who did see them as "Evil" as they themselves are confirmed "Good" and pop the other person they can see.

    So, Skull Mark, yes-check, kill or listen.

    PS: My version is Werewolves of the Dark Arts. It's indie, but it gets around here and there.
    Last edited by TobiasAmaranth; 2022-05-23 at 10:56 PM.

  7. #7
    I'm quite sad that mekkartorque is viewed this way. I've had had a really good time on this boss. I'm used to raiding with hearing-impaired and deaf people, so I know a bit what struggle they deal with.

    Nevertheless the answer shouldn't be to shut down good implementations like mekkartorque's.

  8. #8
    "How severe is the punishment for failure, and is it binary or granular?"

    Fuck any boss ability where one single raider wipes the entire raid. Like the trash rygelon mechanic. It promotes kicking people, which the game shouldn't. We are a small guild and we have to bench players due to mechanics like this. If they die on bosses, we can still finish the raid. But bullshit mechanics like this just festers toxicity and anger

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by TobiasAmaranth View Post
    I actually solved this on day one due to my experience with hidden role games such as Werewolf (I actually made my own version, so, legit levels of experience here).

    Once I understood the mechanic, what others experienced, the limits, etc, it only took me a few minutes to work out the correct strategy. The challenge was not understanding the subtleties because I was a tank, so I never got to see the mechanic in action and didn't know I was being excluded for several pulls. :P

    Text-Only Solution:

    A) RL is responsible for marking someone with a Skull Marker.
    • Themselves - If they don't see any purple swirls, they are a participant. They then mark themselves for reliability.
    • Someone Else (Purple Swirl) - If they aren't a participant, they will see six players with purple swirls, and they choose one to mark.

    B) The group then encircles the Skull Mark and any players who see them as a dreadlord types "Y" / "Yes" in chat.
    • 3-4 "Yes" - Kill Skull Mark, then those who saw them as a dreadlord name and attack the other player, allowing the group to kill #2
    • 1-2 "Yes" - Semi-ambiguous situation, the dreadlords are feeding false information and those who said yes are likely to be the ones that should be killed. This is the scary possibility since there may just be others not speaking up.
    • 0 "Yes" - Skull is good and can be trusted. Listen to who they see.

    C) During the encirclement, Skull Mark should be checking the other players and being ready to announce who they see as dreadlords.
    • 3-4 "Yes" - Just die, information isn't needed. :P
    • 0-2 "Yes" - Skull is not a dreadlord and needs to immediately name and start attacking the two they see.

    Note: Only "Yes" matters. The only other things that need said are player names when the truth is confirmed.

    As this all has to be done in, what was it, 30 seconds? It's doable, but it's still best if you have voice chat for the RL callouts. Chat can be used alongside it, but I can attest that addons are absolutely not required. That said... I would have preferred another 10 seconds for this mechanic.

    Why this works:

    Six participants, 2 are evil, 4 are good. So, if you find three people who agree on something, that something is truth because only two people can be liars.

    By setting one specific person, you can find the truth in two ways. Either they are "Evil" by having at least three people speak out against them, or they are "Good" by having the opposite happen (at least three participants stay quiet - the reason you don't ask for no's is because in the high pressure situation, it's harder to distinguish if you're even playing than it is to just focus on the guaranteed info of "Yes").

    Once you know that person's alignment, you either listen to them because they are "Good" and follow who they see, or you listen to those who did see them as "Evil" as they themselves are confirmed "Good" and pop the other person they can see.

    So, Skull Mark, yes-check, kill or listen.

    PS: My version is Werewolves of the Dark Arts. It's indie, but it gets around here and there.
    That's actually an impressive solution.
    Still way too complicated for a normal bossfight, though. And it also requires everyone to know this tactic and to know how the bosses actually work, which is not information Blizzard gives to us. I for one have explained this mechanic multiple times and read at least 4 guides, but did not yet know the exact numbers here.

    Lords of dread is the only encounter that really can't be learned by reading the dungeon compendium.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by glowpipe View Post
    "How severe is the punishment for failure, and is it binary or granular?"

    Fuck any boss ability where one single raider wipes the entire raid. Like the trash rygelon mechanic. It promotes kicking people, which the game shouldn't. We are a small guild and we have to bench players due to mechanics like this. If they die on bosses, we can still finish the raid. But bullshit mechanics like this just festers toxicity and anger
    single points of failure should simply not be random outside of maybe Mythic bosses.

    If you can assign the task (player X will handle mechanic Y because they know how to do it) then its fine but playing roulette until the player getting carried (every raid has some) happens to not get the mechanic or finally learns it after god knows how many wipes is not ok.
    It ignores such insignificant forces as time, entropy, and death

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Gorsameth View Post
    single points of failure should simply not be random outside of maybe Mythic bosses.

    If you can assign the task (player X will handle mechanic Y because they know how to do it) then its fine but playing roulette until the player getting carried (every raid has some) happens to not get the mechanic or finally learns it after god knows how many wipes is not ok.
    How are people going to learn without doing it themselves? Assigning everything to people that know it is also not ok. Some mechanics follow that (targeting someone specific), but having all mechanics or most do that wouldn't help the game either. Some wiping is necessary for everyone in the raid to learn. Some do it quicker than others, but that's the risk of running with people. Plus if you're 'carrying' there are some risks and drawbacks to having those people in the raid. Not saying they're not allowed, but there are risks that need to be accepted. Seems like, in the end, people are against learning and rather have people that can do it already do it for them.

    "My memory... since when? If everything is a dream, don't wake me." -Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy VII

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by LordVargK View Post
    That's actually an impressive solution.
    Still way too complicated for a normal bossfight, though. And it also requires everyone to know this tactic and to know how the bosses actually work, which is not information Blizzard gives to us. I for one have explained this mechanic multiple times and read at least 4 guides, but did not yet know the exact numbers here.

    Lords of dread is the only encounter that really can't be learned by reading the dungeon compendium.
    That's the nice thing about having a reliable RL. They can prioritize those who are responsible when it comes to Skull Mark, and a big part of why they will try to pick themselves when possible. They understand the mechanic by default. For everyone else it's just "Does skull have BIG GIANT WING THING? Type YES once!" - 2/3 chance of Skull not being "Evil", so they have their targets ready to go. Again, RL tries to mark the more responsible players as first priority, those who know what they are doing.

    It's similar for being the Mayor (GM) for a Werewolf game. The average player doesn't need to know every little detail of all of the roles. They'll do better if they do, but it's not required for anyone but the Mayor. They only need to know their own personal role, which in this case is to "say yes if wings" and then if asked for another one, be ready to say who. That's it. Skull Mark role is also just "say the two you see, asap". From here, the RL can process the information and call who to kill, be it Skull Mark or the ones Skull mentioned.

    So, while the logic path is a bit complicated, the raid themselves doesn't need to understand all of it, only the RL.

    One thing that's easily overlooked is if you can see purple swirls, be ready to DPS something. If you don't see purple swirls, it's okay to focus on the mechanic. Perhaps that's another thing they could have improved for this type of mechanic; port the six to their own chamber to play the minigame while the fight continues. Or at least make the six participants giant. Damn noisy game screens. :P
    Last edited by TobiasAmaranth; 2022-05-23 at 11:48 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Gorsameth View Post
    single points of failure should simply not be random outside of maybe Mythic bosses.

    If you can assign the task (player X will handle mechanic Y because they know how to do it) then its fine but playing roulette until the player getting carried (every raid has some) happens to not get the mechanic or finally learns it after god knows how many wipes is not ok.
    Maybe you're not supposed to clear if not everyone understood it...?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Caprias View Post
    Maybe you're not supposed to clear if not everyone understood it...?
    That would be fine if people had the ability to recognize that they lack the capability to reach said understanding and stopped wasting everyone's time. :X Unfortunately, when in a PUG environment, hardheadedness is available in large quantities, and history of failure does not tag along from group to group.

    That's just how it goes. We can't be responsible for every single person we accept because we can't grasp their personal history or skill level. Humility is instead the required element; recognize if you're unable to understand a mechanic and speak up that you need help. If you still don't understand it, then have the humility to step out and not hold others back. Everyone wants to be able to succeed, but the truth is that not everyone is capable. Know yourself, and respect others' time.

    And yes, that's an extremely hard thing to do, especially when you're right on the edge of success.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Shihao View Post
    I would love to hear their explanation on how to do this fight without voice comms or addons since the blue post said they tested for this and it was fine.
    i think they said before that they dont test with the mythic tuning,but anyways,with no addons the encounters would obviously be made easier

  16. #16
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    Sparkbots were kinda cool.

    Should have been a Mythic or even a Heroic mechanic

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TobiasAmaranth View Post
    That would be fine if people had the ability to recognize that they lack the capability to reach said understanding and stopped wasting everyone's time. :X Unfortunately, when in a PUG environment, hardheadedness is available in large quantities, and history of failure does not tag along from group to group.

    That's just how it goes. We can't be responsible for every single person we accept because we can't grasp their personal history or skill level. Humility is instead the required element; recognize if you're unable to understand a mechanic and speak up that you need help. If you still don't understand it, then have the humility to step out and not hold others back. Everyone wants to be able to succeed, but the truth is that not everyone is capable. Know yourself, and respect others' time.

    And yes, that's an extremely hard thing to do, especially when you're right on the edge of success.
    I think there's a genuine culture in pugging that they're terrified to ask for help out of fear of being kicked for asking a question. Probably a genuine fear for 90% of pugs. I remember seeing people get kicked back in WotLK just asking where an entrance for something was and it was a pretty regular, weekly occurrence too lol.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Otimus View Post
    I think there's a genuine culture in pugging that they're terrified to ask for help out of fear of being kicked for asking a question. Probably a genuine fear for 90% of pugs. I remember seeing people get kicked back in WotLK just asking where an entrance for something was and it was a pretty regular, weekly occurrence too lol.
    Most of the time it was things they could have googled.

  19. #19
    I'm one of those weirdos who never viewed Heroic Fatescribe as high complexity because what the raid has to do is focus on where the markers are going to stop and prepare to move to them instantly vs. people who are focusing on their dps and trying to kill AND THEN figuring out where the marker was ending and moving to it. The moment the two guilds I was in started doing that Fatescribe dropped very quickly because thanks to M+ totally outgearing Heroic raiding we had more than ample DPS to kill the boss but people had to get their mindset on mechnics.

    My biggest pet peeve in WoW raids has always been the "oops" mechanic that wipes the raid. I am so sick and tired of a handful of people in the raid who are consistently "oopsing" on these (Heroic Rygelon as an example, or old Heroic Ultraxion) and I'm tired of why one person determines the outcome of the raid. I would rather the person who messes up has to perform a mini-mechanic of their own to save their own lives... like for Rygelon if they oops'd they have to run to each quasar to get a mini-buff or some sort of mechanic in order to not kill them if they complete the mechanic but still take damage. I honestly hate that one person can just space out and then everyone else in the raid who can do the mechanic has to pay for it. It's not healthy and just causes immense aggravation and the concept of "sitting the person" when Heroic raiding is already in a rough spot thanks to Mythic being the 'endgame' and so many people putting more of an emphasis on M+ ... it's just flat out annoying to do this to a raid.

    I would much rather reward in failure someone who messes up but can complete the "mess up mechanic".

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Otimus View Post
    I think there's a genuine culture in pugging that they're terrified to ask for help out of fear of being kicked for asking a question. Probably a genuine fear for 90% of pugs. I remember seeing people get kicked back in WotLK just asking where an entrance for something was and it was a pretty regular, weekly occurrence too lol.
    As someone who pugs, please speak up. If you get removed, the group wasn't for you to begin with. But people can't can give help when there's no one speaking up about needing a bit of help.

    There's also a level of entitlement in people who pug to skip straight to the end. I have a friend who will raid only on Heroic. I tell him, please, at least go run through Normal and experience the fights first, but he won't because he's an M+ pusher. He does well with many things, but there's always some mechanic or other that isn't obvious and he will mess it up and get yelled at, which he then gets upset by.

    Hopefully there will be some level of shift in pugging if people use the newish "group type" qualifiers properly. After the first two weeks you get people who have already gone through group after group of teaching people stuff and are exhausted in doing that. Don't join those groups if you don't have experience; if you do, realize that you're joining a group of people who are exhausted from spending hours and hours cycling through person-who-can't-learn after person-who-won't-ask after person-who-won't-even-care and we just want others who have had that experience.
    Last edited by TobiasAmaranth; 2022-05-24 at 01:33 AM.

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