Everquest, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings... What do these games and many more have in common? Over zealous equipment. For the last 5 or more years, the equipment has been defining our characters. From a chest piece that doubles the base stats, a sword that increases the attack speed by 40 percent, a pair of boots that makes a person immune to roots, to a cloak that adds large numbers to all of our stats. Where is the line drawn on equipment?
Since the rampant increase of equipment bonuses, boss fights without better gear drops are even skipped, unless forced to fight. Sure, it is fun to go deep into a dungeon or instance, and get my hands on the newest and best loot. However, this should not be a deciding factor on a challenge. Take a moment and picture what your character is using and wearing. Now, imagine all your bonuses reduced to merely 50 percent, half, of what it currently is. Your suddenly feel helpless, weak, and incapable. Just as an example, a cleric in Everquest can more than triple the amount of mana he or she has, just with equipment. In World of Warcraft, you can gain about 4 times or more any stat by focusing on the gear for it. Some games have developed so far that without your equipment, you can barely defeat a mob 30 levels below you. Is this what we have reduced our gaming experience to?
In a perspective, this is turning our gaming experience into a button mashing contest. There is no need to use all our skills, if our gear makes us unhittable, uncatchable, and undefeatable. In return, are we being slighted on the amount of skills that we have, due to our equipment being our safety net. Why give us powerful skills, if we can just add 190 damage with a enchanters buff on our weapon, or something equivalent.
Guild Wars... This is one of the few games still on the market, that has reborn the idea of skills above equipment. Just imagine what a game with the size, graphics, and UI of WoW, but with the skill/equipment concept of Guild Wars, could be like. To rely on our own judgment and timing of skills that is provided to us, rather than the fact that stats are so buffed, I could not possibly fail.
A long time ago, games were more in moderation, and I believe that it was from that moderation that made Ultima Online one of our favorites.