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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at, write for, run and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Alternate forms of control for 3 great F2P's.

Posted by beauturkey Monday August 10 2009 at 9:06AM
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Anymore, I have to first look at a games controls to consider if it will be a good game for me to play. I might first open the options panel to see what can be re-mapped to fit my "mostly keyboard" style. I usually am best with movement being on the WASD keys, along with the arrow keys. I also like to find a few ways to attack, to loot (if applicable) and to travel long distances.

Consider it for a second: how many tiny clicks or hand movements do you make during a gaming session? Ever have achiness in your hands, or take a break to massage your arms or wrists? Ever do that thing where you shake your hands around as though they have sticky substances on them? That's because slowly, but surely, you are causing damage to your arms/wrists/hands.

I've been causing this damage for most of my life. I have not only been playing drums, but been playing drums HARD. I have been a painter, too, sometimes doing detailed or massive artworks that required huge brushes. And then there is the last 10 years of PC usage. Overall, I have hurt myself, but it's not so bad that I can't work around it. At least for awhile.

So seeing how some of my favorite games are going F2P soon, I want to look at how they work with my play-style. I just want to concentrate on the basics with this article, because the first thing to consider in a game is how you might go throughout the world.


DDO Unlimited: This game has been absolutely thrilling to play again. When I played it for the show a while back I enjoyed it enough, but when it came time to pay the sub I chose to spend my money elsewhere. Although I can afford several subs per month, I have to pick and choose how much I spend like anything else. And now that this game is going F2P, well, I am more than excited.

It plays wonderfully smooth. The game looks incredible but runs great, even on my older system. The cash shop is a nice balance of functional and cosmetic, and the beta has been a blast.

But, I was worried about the hack and slash FPS style controls. If there is one thing that destroys me, it's holding down a move button while controlling views with my mouse. All those little clicks add up to one big pain. But, this game has so many options for controls it's crazy! I can basically re-map anything, and in a couple places. I can now be in FPS mode (if I chose to be) and with the push of the T button, can be in a customized "classic" version with two movement key sets, three attack choices (either ctrl key or a mouse click) and many other click-saving options. It's been wonderful to play, being able to switch on the fly between play-styles. I can also control the camera movements with a button set, and attacking is pretty accurate and smooth. Overall, I am thrilled to be playing this game again.


The Chronicles of Spellborn: I raved about this game for a long, long time. When it came out it was almost like I couldn't believe it actually came out. I loved the look of the game (it is probably my favorite art style besides Ryzom) and enjoyed the game play. Granted, running for 4683 miles is not that fun, and the linear story-quest leveling gets a little clunky, but the story is engaging and the world is beautful.

Again, though, when the time came to pay the sub I had already played to near level 20 on the over-seas servers. When the North American version came out, I was not thrilled to be playing the same character, basically, following the exact same story. In fact, that's one weak point about a story driven game (SWtOR?): re playability is low. Once you go through the story, being forced to go down it again gets very old very fast.

But you can play to level 10 now, and when it goes F2P you can take your time and gain high levels without the pressure of a subscription. Being that I have already been through a good deal of the earlier levels, I can only play it in chunks.

So, how does this "FPS" style game do for me? Well, it does OK. This morning I played with the controls and was shocked to be reminded that there is not a single control for cameras besides zoom out or in. I am actually able to pull out my weapon, hit the mob and fight pretty well by using classic MMO modes. Granted, the attacks normally have to be clicked by the mouse to go off, but I found that pushing the number that corresponds to the attack will fire it off also. So, I can actually play it pretty well if not for the lack of such a simple thing: camera control.

Yes, I know the game was meant to be played FPS style. The point is though that these small controls can be the difference between having many players being able to play and many players avoiding your game. FPS style is so taxing that alternate forms of control would be helpful for almost anyone.

wiz screen

Wizard 101: This "kids" game has been very successful due to the fact that it has fun and surprisingly deep game-play. It is basically a card collecting combat game, but has brilliant player housing and a cash-shop for all the impulse buyers out there. It will run on older machines, but the animations and effects are far from amateur.

I became concerned when I couldn't figure out how to control the game during combat with anything but the mouse. I almost lost several fights because I was trying alternate buttons just to see what they do! In time, I found out that you can arrow over to the card you want and select it with space. Then, you simply arrow over to the enemy you want and hit space again. Voila! Instant destruction! Moving and camera work is not complicated or anything new. In fact, the camera is pretty restricted so you don't even worry about that.

Over all, I am so happy that these games are going to be more comfortable for me to play. Even with only playing maybe a few hours per night, I am up to icing my arms at least twice a day. If this can cut back on the discomfort, then I am a happy gamer.

I am going to look into more alternates for these games and see what I can come up with. It's nice to see that there are options, but I could always use more.


sfraden writes:

Errr,,,While I agree with your article in its essence, you seemed to have failed to talk about your chosen topic, the alternate forms of controls. 

While the only game here i played was Spellborn, you never even mentioned the twirly hotbar control, which is totally unique to spellborn.  It is certainly 'alternate'

Next time, attempt to keep to your chosen topic.  This fails.

Mon Aug 10 2009 10:01AM Report
beauturkey writes:

  Actually, maybe I should have made myself more clear for you.

 I am referring to alternate forms of control to the controls that are the default for the game, and not the normal "mouse and keyboard" combos that most MMO'ers use. I think you would agree that, while a mouse is the "normal" method for attacking/selecting in DDO, an alternate would be the U button. In most of the settings for these games, these are controls that are not bound normally.

 I actually think you just failed by missing the really basic point of this blog.










Mon Aug 10 2009 10:21AM Report
Delvie writes:

I mouse a lot at work and use the mouse with my right hand there.  When I'm gaming I like to mouse with my left (just physically swapped over not changed to left handed configuration).  Took me a while to become 'ambdimoused' but works well.  Most games that have WASD also have arrow keys.  Drives everyone else nuts that try to use my computer (hmmm my secret security system).

A lot of games don't have WASD movement and only allow clicky movement - I can't play those games for very long before my wrists just go nuts (whichever hand I'm mousing with).

Much sympathy on your situation Beau.

Mon Aug 10 2009 11:29AM Report
sfraden writes:

Beau - Learn to remap keys.  Barring your inability to grasp a games control scheme, your blog is still vague about what you might be talking about. 


Mon Aug 10 2009 12:48PM Report
beauturkey writes:

Delvie: it's funny you say that, because I have done this, too. I used my left so much that it is in the same boat as my right, if not worse for some reason (because it is not as strong maybe?) I actually got pretty good at writing with my left, too.

 Sfraden: way to recover, buddy. Once again you speak of the obvious point of my blog while simultaneously ignoring it. I AM re-mapping keys, and talk about it in the blog. Do I need to quote it for you?






Mon Aug 10 2009 12:56PM Report
Torak writes:

sfraden....'s in the second darn sentence of the blog.


"I might first open the options panel to see what can be re-mapped to fit my "mostly keyboard" style."

Wed Aug 12 2009 2:11AM Report writes:
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