there is certainly a tough dynamic in play here and there is no really obvious solution.
On the one hand, players asked for years for raid bypasses. I wouldnt be surprised to see that the first post after originally announcing the DDO Store was asking for raid bypasses. They are a very popular item, and rightly so. They also are probably still one of the top selling items (not everyone has cards or timers left). Reducing the use of this item, that as varg pointed out is an item many people have paid for, is very dangerous water.
On the other hand the ability for players, particularly high end game players, to grind out what they want from a raid in 2 weeks never to run it again is a serious problem. It leads those players to wait impatiently for the next thing and/or burn out on the raid. they have no desire to run the raid any more after a much shorter than traditionally seen. It also leads to a “generational” gap in the raiding scene. Historically, these are the players that learn the raid and teach it to others, who teach it to others and so on. You end up with several generations of players running the raid. I would hazard a guess (without really paying attention) that players being able to “finish” a raid so fast before the next generation is ready to run it severely limits the ability of that generation to get into the raid as much as they used to.
So whats the solution? Its probably not full proof, but this humble thinker would look at adding some kind of carrot to the raiding scene. Not just the new raid – ALL of the (epic) raids. This carrot should piggy back off the quest ransack feature. Lets say if your quest ransack xp penalty on the particular raid is more than 50% you can’t get it.
That carrot could be raid loot – it would allow for higher drop rates without as many concerns about drop rates needing to account for raid bypasses (i have no idea if they do or not, but would surmise it would be so). But that doesnt really get us anywhere since the assumption is you will only get raid loot at 20th runs.
Heroic Commendations? it has potential, but that system is only used in 2 raids which have a function. It would require developing other functions for the items.
Comms of Valor? there’s more potential here, but I think you again need to develop more things to do with them that are meaningful. I’m only using them for hearts right now and the heart seeds on lvl 28 completions doesnt make this compelling for me.
A new ingredient? I am not a fan of new ingredients, but something that can be used for fun compelling things? limiting the ingredient to ALL epic raids (seriously, all of them) has some interesting potential. Their drop amounts can be adjusted based on the raid. Its another barter system (again, more barters? jeez) but imagine if you could turn in varying amounts of these epic raid ingredients for some really fun stuff. Things like actual raid items (who’s cost could be adjusted based on which raid its from like their drop rates), Tomes of all sorts of sizes (they are already in the store), astral shards?, hearts of all kinds of wood (cough lesser cough), xp/slayer/guild pots, mirrors of glammering? – there are a lot of possibilities to explore down this route and it opens the possibility of new life to older epic raids (seriously, if this route is taking, all epic raids get the epic raid ingredient in appropriate amounts). Varying purchase items can have appropriate costs relative to each other and the chem to get them. And there’s a real incentive to run raids – even ones you are “done” with – and not just run them, but only run them a limited time per toon. Hey, i could even see these epic raid ing as being BTC.
and there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from running the raid 20 times in a weekend.
This is also posted in a DDO Forum thread discussing the issue