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[Column] General: Taking out the Trash

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,724Administrator Uncommon

We're not too fond of the "trash" mobs used to fill out much of the MMO raid and dungeon content out there. In this week's column, we offer our thoughts on the subject, including a few alternative ideas. Hate trash as much as we do? Share your own alternative ideas in the comments below!

Let me come out and say I’m not an expert raider by any means. I have fairly few traditional raiding experiences to speak of in my MMO history, and I certainly wasn’t one of the many gamers who took part in World of Warcraft’s hefty array of raid content. Still, in my limited experience, I’ve had the unpleasant privilege of dealing with what has been aptly called “trash” by fellow MMO gamers.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Taking out the Trash.

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Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • shastaman401shastaman401 cottage grove, WIPosts: 5Member
    Trash is part of the crawl... don't like the trash? Don't do the crawl...
  • DeserttFoxxDeserttFoxx North York, ONPosts: 2,360Member Uncommon
    Secret world did afantastic job with dungeons, you go in there, the whole place has  story every boss has a reason, there is very limited amounts of trash mobs, as it should be.

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  • OzivoisOzivois Phoenix, AZPosts: 598Member
    Trash mobs are not trash.  They are an important part of the game.  They are protecting the bosses. Keep it that way.  No, make the crawl longer, I say.
  • stuxstux Lake Forest, ILPosts: 462Member

    Look to Asheron's CAll.  They did it right imo.

     

    I think most mmo game worlds are full of the "trash" as well.  There is something to be said about empty space with some scenery.  Most game worlds are so over filled with mobs it is annoying.  Some areas can be over crowded some not.  Instead, its all the same.

     

    The way loot works in modern mmo is pretty lame imo as well. Again, this is an area I feel Asheron's call handled it well.  The trash mobs typically had a chance to drop rare items which gave and appeal to grinding on them.  How they handled the loot changed the way you looked at the high spawn areas.

    They also dropped keys which where interesting and craft items.  Again, the rare drop on every day mobs make them more interesting.

     

    My 2cents.

  • adam_noxadam_nox hays, KSPosts: 2,036Member Uncommon

    Dungeons should involve skill based challenges.  Like you should need two competent lock pickers, someone good at disarming traps, and those who can detect hidden levers and mechanisms.  Not all on one character, each of these abilities should be something a character has to focus on. 

    There should also be charisma checks, and parts where you have to platform, puzzle solve, and use raw strength, climbing ability, stealth, etc.

     

    There's SOOOO many things they could add, including randomized parts of dungeons that act as a maze, that would make it more than just combat combat combat boss fight, repeat.  The amount of trash clearing could be reduced, along with the normal amount of tedium and grindyness that is felt when playing these dungeons. 

    Need developers with balls to get it done though.

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.
  • HarttzHarttz Jacksonville, FLPosts: 91Member

    I think it really depends on the quality of the trash and the rewards involved. Sometimes, trash is fun but usually it is just a time drain. Making it more rewarding is nice, but then you can get situations where people go into the raid just to farm the trash (BoT/Firelands in WoW come to mind). I think making everything more boss encounter-oriented would be a positive step.

    Mini-bosses with decent rewards would also be a welcome step. You could have bosses that drop epics and have mini-bosses that drop rares (with a small chance at dropping epics) in order to make them worth doing. 

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    I actually enjoyed trash mobs in WoW. They taught you how to play your role in a group and dropped lots of either loot you could wear or trash you could vendor to pay your repair bills. And in the raids, I loved the rep gains.

  • BetaguyBetaguy Halifax, NSPosts: 2,590Member
    EQ raids were insane... no joke, try getting 60 people together and only able to use chat text no voice overs what so ever.... lmao.

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  • LethalityLethality Apopka, FLPosts: 61Member Uncommon

    It would be completely boring if you walked right in to face the boss - anti-climactic.

    Think of every cop show or movie ever... hell, think of Batman. There are always henchmen to deal with first.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Have to agree with the tsw post above, it has great dungeons and hardly Amy trash mobs.

    That said I may not be the best judge as dungeons aren't really my thing.

    As for raids, I feel daoc did them best, massive outdoor encounters everyone on your realm could pile on. Brought players together, unlike your instanced raids which take big groups of players out of the actual game world and encourage elitists and stuff like gear score.
  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by RefMinor
    I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

    Yeah most mmorpg's do.  To many trash mobs in open world.   It is insane.  Seriously way too fuckign much.   They don't resemble world anymore. 

    And I was laughing from Lineage II in it's times that it had so much mobs in open world. Fast forward and now western ones have it as much.

  • CorthalaCorthala LagosPosts: 283Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by fenistil
    Originally posted by RefMinor
    I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

    Yeah most mmorpg's do.  To many trash mobs in open world.   It is insane.  Seriously way too fuckign much.   They don't resemble world anymore. 

    And I was laughing from Lineage II in it's times that it had so much mobs in open world. Fast forward and now western ones have it as much.

    Secret World has this problem but is possible to past a +ack of mobs without getting aggro, mobs don't have 360º aggro detector, they can only see player in front of then or if you get to close from the back.

    And also when it come to dungeons nothing beats secrt world, They are low on trash you u can skip most of them. If there's a wipe you can rezz near the boss.

     

    I remember in RIft that some players would go berzerk if you decided to use some dungeon bugs to skip some mobs.

     

    The only point to have Trash mobs is to make dungeon/raids take longer, some mobs may have decent item drops but nothing special.

    "you are like the world revenge on sarcasm, you know that?"

    One of those great lines from The Secret World

  • gravesworngravesworn charleston, WVPosts: 324Member
    It really comes down to presentation, sometimes you need to polish the turd for lack of better anaology. I use to AFK in 40 man raids just because it was boring. Hell, it is sad that after 6 years the content formula of raids hasnt evolved or changed.
  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon

    I think the separation between "trash" and bosses is too clear-cut in some games. You can have challenging fights with multiple non-boss opponents that drop decent loot. These fights don't even have to be much easier or less complicated than the boss itself.

    TSW's dungeons are fun, but you could also say many of GW2's dungeons don't have trash mobs, because their normal mobs are often more challenging and drop better loot that the bosses.

  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 956Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by RefMinor
    I have to say SWTOR is a bad offender in its levelling world, you can't move more than 50m in any direction without going past a stationary trio of trash.

    But the fans of sandbox had no problem with that when it was done the same way in SWG.

    [edit].

    How does one design a dungeon. First they determine the objective balance, reward = challenge. Reward is defined as a combination of loot drops, experience, monetary, and game play. Challenge is defined as Defense (D) and Offense (O) per area. These numbers are relatively constant. One could just place all the dungeon D & O into one single boss and do away with so called trash mobs. But that would make that Boss harder hitting and harder to kill. So skilled level designers spread the joy around the zone. Total D & O / 1,000 mobs. Next we distribute this D & O over the mobs. The Final Boss (FB) will be equivalent to 100 mobs out of 1,000. The FB will have 10 FB Guards (FBGs) each equivalent to 25 mobs or 10 x 25 = 250 (trash). Around the zone will be 4 Minor Bosses (MB) each equivalent to 80 mobs each or 4 x 80 = 320 (MB). Each MB will have 2 MB Guards (MBGs) each equivalent to 20 mobs or 2 x 4 x 20 = 160 (trash). Now for surprise effect we sprinkle about some random mobs each equivalent to 10 mobs or 17 x 10 = 170 (trash).

    So we have a 1,000 mob equivalent reward dungeon = 100 FB + 250 (trash) + 320 MB + 160 (trash) + 170 (trash). So we take out all the trash mobs and leave just the unmodified bosses and their drops and loots. So now we have 1,000 reward = 100 FB + 320 MB = 420 total Bosses. [edit].  In reality the loot table would also be adjusted, but I wanted the disparity to stand out. [edit].

    Pardon any spelling errors
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  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,193Member Uncommon

    I don't mind the trash mobs, but I absolutely despise games that respawn them in an instance.  Everyone is going to wipe once in a while, but having to redo all the trash mobs again, is the one reason I will not raid in most of these games anymore. 

    When a dev things that respawning trash mobs in an instance is necessay, they need to take a step back and think why they are doing such an outright stupid thing.

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon

    I guess to look at how to fix this problem we should look at how it started. Why were dungeons created in the first place? If you ask me they are there to:

    1. Tell a story

    2. Provide a challenge that can't be tackled alone

    3. Give you loot

     

    So, #1 only really happens the first time at most a couple of subsequent times. #2 is also usually only there a certain amount of times, after a number of tires the challenge starts to lessen. #3 can potentially always be there.

     

    Were does trash come into play? It doesn't help #1 and in most cases it doesn't help #3 either, only in #2 does it play a role. But you can achieve #2 without them, the problem is that sometimes challenge tends to be measured in not how hard it is but how long did it take you and thats were trash mobs are priceless.

     

    If the trash mobs go, do we make bosses HP that much more bigger or do we just have shorter dungeons? Is it "ok" to have a shorter dungeon? does that mean the rewards have to be bumped down? Is the answer to bring better AIs to mmos so there isn't such a thing as "trash mobs"?

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  • OzivoisOzivois Phoenix, AZPosts: 598Member
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    I don't mind the trash mobs, but I absolutely despise games that respawn them in an instance.  Everyone is going to wipe once in a while, but having to redo all the trash mobs again, is the one reason I will not raid in most of these games anymore. 

    When a dev things that respawning trash mobs in an instance is necessay, they need to take a step back and think why they are doing such an outright stupid thing.

    I think it's brilliant (respawned trash mobs). It makes a dungeon crawl really mean something, and keeps everyone honest. Outright stupid are groups that wipe all the time.

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    Trash mobs is part of the process in EQ2 you always have a chance for something nice to drop from a trash mob,  now in SWTOR I never saw a darn thing drop from a trash mob but you had to pull them especially in eternity vault in order to get to the boss, with one exception the puzzle boss if you know the rout you could hug the wall jump across the lava and bypass most of the mobs in that zone, the only problem being is if you wiped. 

    I will say this if soe would pull out all the trash mobs it would make raiding a lot quicker, but you got to think about that who wants raiding to be quick,  oh I forgot the care bare crowd.

     

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,647Member Uncommon

    I actually like trash mobs in 'dungeons'... they act as a barrier and a real challenge at times in most games that I have played.

    I hate trash mobs in the open world though with a passion... it seems most of the time they are jammed shoulder to shoulder in the most unnatural groups simply to slow down the travel time and be a pain in the ass.

    Rift, I am mostly looking at you here, though you are not alone. Even GW2 is guilty of this.

    The day of fields rammed of mobs standing around waiting to fight us should be long gone IMO.

  • ragz45ragz45 rochester hills, MIPosts: 688Member Uncommon

    Trash mobs were orrigianlly added to make the zone and area feel more alive.  Not as a deterrant or time sink to the raid.  It made the world seem more alive, as if the mobs were actually living in this castle you were raiding.

    Lately programmers have gotten lazy, and started to make raid instances that are just borring meaningless zones filled with mobs that seems just spaced around as a time sink, not to give life to the zone.  The trash, and zone it's self, doesn't make it seem like a living world in many of these new instances.

     

    Raid instances that seem lifeless and as if trash was just dumped hapharzardly about

    • Greenscale Blight - Rift
    • River of Souls - Rift
    • Firelands - WoW
    • Bastion of Twilight - WoW
    • Molten Core - WoW

    Raid instances that actually seemed to be living.  You could imagine why the mobs would be there, they were going about activities etc.  (some of these are very graphically outdated, but they still gave that feeling at the time)

    • Karazan - WoW
    • Ulduar - WoW
    • Blackwing Descent - WoW
    • Lady Vox - EQ1
    • Venril Sathir (Karnor's Castle) - EQ1
    • King Tormax (Kael Drakkel) - EQ1

     

     

     

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,466Member Uncommon

    Sort of depends on how well laid out an instance is.

    If you have a pile of weak mobs leading the way to a boss,then ya it is a waste of time.

    HOWEVER....

    If you have a boss that spawns trash mobs with hate reset,then they automatic go for the healers,you can really keep a group on it's toes.The whole  problem with Raids is you have too much room for error,one tank dies,no prob got 5 others /sigh,a couple  healers die,no prob got 5 more.

    With normal boss type fights that only ocnsist of a 6 man group there is no room for error,so 5 newly spawned trash mobs can spell the end for the group if the healer is not suddenly protected.While doing this the Boss is now left alone and the healer being attacked might have his heals interupted from the trash spawns.

    It is all in how well a developer  can create scenarios,many games are just amateur design 101 in 90% of the boss/instance fights.

     


    Samoan Diamond

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Once again, time to point to Ulduar.  Quite possibly the best raid ever, in any MMO.  the trash in that place was often interesting or fun to deal with, and set the stage flavor wise for the bosses that followed.   Want to know how to design trash mobs?  Look at Ulduar.
  • OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by adam_nox

    Dungeons should involve skill based challenges.  Like you should need two competent lock pickers, someone good at disarming traps, and those who can detect hidden levers and mechanisms.  Not all on one character, each of these abilities should be something a character has to focus on. 

    There should also be charisma checks, and parts where you have to platform, puzzle solve, and use raw strength, climbing ability, stealth, etc.

    There's SOOOO many things they could add, including randomized parts of dungeons that act as a maze, that would make it more than just combat combat combat boss fight, repeat.  The amount of trash clearing could be reduced, along with the normal amount of tedium and grindyness that is felt when playing these dungeons. 

    Need developers with balls to get it done though.

    This. ^^  Let's bring back some freaking variety.

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