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Posts Tagged ‘computer games’

Last night I got together with Alan and Andrew for our every-other-Tuesday board game night.  When they arrived, I mentioned to Alan that I’d played Rift over the weekend (since he’s a WoW addict) and this sparked a 4 hour long conversation about MMORPGs.

I found out that WoW (by far the largest MMO ever to have existed) is very much a gear grind.  That sucks.  In fact, that mechanic is a”keep them playing, keep them paying” mechanic.

I also found out that WoW has 40 minute long grouping queues.  Suck x2.  This is, of course, symptomatic of building your game around the “holy trinity” of tank, healing, dps.  While it’s definitely viable, eventually world balance is created in such a way that (a) it’s the only viable option and/or (b) everyone can solo.

Questing also came up.  I reiterated the problems I had with questing in general: click on an npc, don’t even read the explanatory text, kill what you need to kill, return for reward.  It gives a direction to the game (which can be good), but it also gives XP, which is bad, and I’ll tell you why: it creates a game of soloists.

One of the problems Alan mentioned was that max level characters didn’t have a clue in WoW.  They’re “still learning” how to group.  Still learning how to really use their characters.  In EQ, grouping was essentially mandatory unless you could kite, root/nuke, had a strong pet, or could charm.  In most of those cases you often spent most of your time in regen downtime.  In this present generation of MMOs, since questing is the most xp efficient way to advance, people quest.  And since you can only do a quest once, and quests open at certain levels or have other prerequisites, not everyone has the quest.  And since you don’t absolutely need anyone else to fulfill the conditions of the quest (kill 10 rats), you don’t even try to find a group to adventure with.  You’re playing a solo game in a persistent online world, but without any real human interaction aside from the dubious quality conversation found on open chat channels.

I’m coming to think more and more than Guild Wars 2 will be just what the doctor ordered.  Quests are created to provide flavor and direction, but as you can see there are downsides to their implementation.  GW2 has a dynamic even system designed to replace quests, and a storyline system intended to provide flavor.  It dispenses with the dps/tank/healer paradigm in favor of a damage/support/control paradigm.  Now dps == damage, but the other two are distinctly different.  Obviously any game like this is going to require DAMAGE.  But there isn’t even a dedicated healing class.

Getting back to our conversation yesterday, we also spoke about such diverse matters as: Diablo II expansion rune rarity, Blizzard and Bioware being top developers, Dwarf Fortress salt water irrigation, FPS game altering bugs that made the games better, strafe-looking, Leroy Jenkins and “more dots” (wherein my new bluetooth portable speakers were employed), and the weight of power supplies being an indicator of their quality.

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