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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Do You Hate Phasing?

Posted by MikeB Tuesday April 19 2011 at 9:43AM
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This week's Community Spotlight is focused on the thread "Phasing, why the hate?" by Deathofsage. Deathofsage makes the case for the use of phasing and wonders why the feature gets so much hate:

What is it about phasing, when done properly (no bugs/miscalculations), that people hate so thoroughly? I mean sure, it could be used wrong but until we have a game that truly answers to the claim of "living, breathing, evolving", this is the best thing we have to make it feel like our actions are having an impact on the world.

rygard49 dislikes that phasing separates him from other players:

For me a big issue with phasing is the seperation from other players. I can be in the same geographic location as my best friend, but since I'm three steps ahead of him in a quest line I can't see him or help him. It's very limiting in terms of grouping with the people you want to group with.

For world PvP it also becomes an issue when chasing a player through a zone. If you get the upper hand and he runs into a zone where his phase differs from yorus, you all of a sudden lose your PvP encounter.

Phasing is great at what it does creating the illusion that you're affecting the world with your actions, which was sorely lacking in MMOs, but the consequence is that now you're sacrificing the social aspects that you play MMOs for in the first place.

Loke666 feels that when done right phasing is a great tool for developers to use in MMOs, the problem is most developers don't:

Phasing is like instancing and cut scenes a great tool for the devs to add to the story if they use it right, However if you use too much it turns the game into a ghost town just like cut scenes easily turns into a snoorefeast if they overuse it (*cough* Dragon age *cough*).

The problem here is that certain devs who get a new flashy technology uses it in every possible situation and that sucks, MMOs should feel massive. That is the reason for the hate, few people complain about a few well used instances or phasing but it is rarely just that.

Worstluck evaluates the use of phasing in World of Warcraft:

Phasing was done pretty well in WoW's Wrath of the Lich King.  There was a moderate amount of it, and I felt that it added to the overall story of the game.  However, it was massively overdone in Cataclysm, to the point I could barely level to 85.  It just seperates everyone, moreso the instancing.  It was just awful in Cataclysm because it seperated everyone by what part of the quest line they were on.  I played on a very populated PvP server and I hardly saw anyone while leveling up, simply because of phasing.  All my Alliance "enemies" were in different phases of whatever silly quest.  At least with instancing, you can get a group together, regardless of what quests people have, and have at it.  With phasing, everyone needs to be on the same quest/storyline, or they will be in a different world. 

This applies to WoW mainly, as I really don't know of too many other games that do this.  Most just settle for open world or instancing of some sort because those concepts work well.  With WoW's phasing, it's like playing a single player game built into an MMO.

I personally haven't had too much experience with phasing, but I too am not ideologically opposed to the use of the feature. As others (including the OP) noted, phasing done right can be a great addition to an MMO. Star Wars: The Old Republic makes use of phasing in order to tell the player's story and in my brief experience with the game it's worked pretty well.

What do you think about phasing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

DarkPony writes:

Phasing of dungeons and quest- or personal story related interior cells is fine with me. But as soon as phasing of public areas occurs I will be a hater (that is gonna hate).

I Intensely disliked phasing of public zones in AoC. Haven't gone within 10 miles of a game doing that since.

Tue Apr 19 2011 12:05PM Report
mnemic666 writes:

Phasing in non-public zones or quest hubs is fine (since quest hubs are usually relatively safe areas), but when it gets to the larger world it can cause problems with you not being able to link up with friends to help each other out, or it ruins world PvP. This is primarily from my experience with it in WoW. I'm a fan of seeing the effects of your time spent in game picking up poop or hearding llamas, but not when it allows someone else to get away from my when they should have died and not when I can't help my friend with a difficult quest because I'm in a different phase.

Tue Apr 19 2011 12:11PM Report
eric_w66 writes:

All I see is a complaint "I couldn't gank as easily."

Tue Apr 19 2011 12:37PM Report
barasawa writes:

I agree with eric_w66. Most of the complaints seem to be from griefers that are annoyed that phasing interferes with their ability to attack a weaker character.

Honestly, outside of arenas/battlegrounds/duels, when do you ever see a fair or honorable fight between sides?  Never, those pvpers always attack those wounded from fights, currently in a fight, talking to an NPC (so they have text windows up and can't respond till it's often too late), harvesting a resource, much lower level, in a group far smaller than the pvpers group, or multiples of the above.

So if phasing screws that type of activity up, I think it's great.

For me, since I'm not a griefer, the glitches in phasing drive me nuts. When it's working right, it only annoys me when I can't meet or help a friend because we aren't in the same phase. If WoW at least gave us a way to identify what phase we're in, it would help alleviate that rather than spend 20 minutes with your friend whispering "I can't find you!  Where the hell are you?!"

Tue Apr 19 2011 1:34PM Report
rygard49 writes:

@eric_w66:

That's an over simplification of the opinions and really presents a skewed perspective. In all honesty it's impossible to 'gank' in a lot of MMOs. I'm thinking of WoW specifically, as that's where my phasing and PvP experience comes from. You have to either be on a PvP server, or flag yourself to allow PvP. Both of those things indicate that you are knowingly and willingly ready to participate in fighting other players. It's a part of the game, and you could be playing on a PvE server if you don't want to PvP.

That being said, my reference above was based off of an experience of chasing a same level opponent who initiated the combat and having him jump into an NPC town and phase out right before I could finish him off. He was the one abusing the system to kill players with less risk.

Tue Apr 19 2011 2:39PM Report
kjempff writes:

I only know phasing from WoW. For some reason in WotLK I found phasing great, but in cataclysm I hated it after just a few hours. I can't put my finger on what it was, but I don't think it was phasing itself that made Cataclysm boring.

So for phasing and instancing, it can be done well and work without breaking Immersion, but it can also be done poorly. Phasing in WotLK was in public zones, so I am not sure that argument holds. Need to see different uses in other games to make an opinion on phasing in general.

Tue Apr 19 2011 2:46PM Report
eoweth writes:

Anything that griefs a greifer is spectacular.

Tue Apr 19 2011 4:10PM Report
Worstluck writes:

Personally, I am not a ganker/greifer or whatever.  But phasiing literally took all those chance pvp encounters away for me during Cataclysm.  Now mind you, there is not much world pvp in WoW to begin with anymore, but some of the zones in Cataclysm took even that small hope away of a chance encounter.  One of the more annoying things I saw in one of the zones was seeing mining nodes just disappear right from under nose.  Someone from a different phase got their first.  If it was an alliance member, normally I could attack (and probably die trying).  But with phasing?  Nothing I could do.

Tue Apr 19 2011 8:32PM Report
daltanious writes:

When bug free(!) the best thing that has happened to mmo in long years. Period. Ads a looooot to immersion. I always hated to kill some main boss, leave some area ... then return and he is there alive and happy again. Who does not care for immersion I guess could be even annoyed, but I guess he/she should at best ignore feature. But if bugs are present ... can be very annoying. Like landing for mining just to discover at moment of landing there is nothing there. Or guess for pvp-ers jumping on throat of enemy but when landing he is gone.

For pve (I could not care less for pvp than I do) is great great great.

Wed Apr 20 2011 2:36AM Report
maniacfox writes:

I don't play on PVP servers so most comments so far are by-the-by for me. On the whole I think phasing is good, it adds to the story and makes the world seem more dynamic.

I think WOW's implmentation of it is a bit shoddy, I've lost count of the number of times I've turned up at an area and there are no NPCs, only for them to suddenly appear a second or two later as the phase updates.

Wed Apr 20 2011 2:37AM Report
Veryll writes:

What i really dislike about phasing is not the idea itself, but rather that it removes the player from the world, the world is no longer a world, as it is different depending on the player. If your actions have an impact on the world, that impact should be visible to all, no matter where they are (i know this is very complicated, and that the reason to use phasing is to allivieate this problem)

But you essentially destroy the immersion for me and the feeling of being in a living and breathing world. It makes the game feel more like something unreal than it already is.

So i will always be against phasing, but i understand why it is beeing used and used right it's probably going to please more players than it hurts, so ultimately i'm just going to have to accept that fact.

Wed Apr 20 2011 5:46AM Report
fadis writes:

More or less... it's pretty lame.

If I want to play a single-player RPG... I'll play a good one.  Otherwise, I want to play in the same world as everyone else.  If my actions are going to have effects... they have should have effects for all to experience. 

Wed Apr 20 2011 10:10AM Report
ElderRat writes:

If

I correctly understand the concept it only occurs in 2 spots in LOTRO. The first is the prelude to Moria, where if you completed it you cannot enter it with someone who has not and help them. The other would be Mirkwood, where you have to complete the Elven invasion of Mirkwood, or at the least the begiining of it to enter the rest of Mirkwood and those who have completed are seperated from those who have not. The second was very confusing because half of the gm's I talked to had no idea of it happening. For example 1 gm had completed it and could see a stable and 1, like me at that time, had not and could not see the stable, and didn't know there should be one there.  If players are well informed of the phasing i see no real problem with it, however in this case not all players were aware of it.

Wed Apr 20 2011 5:03PM Report
kjempff writes:

If phasing annoys griefers and gankers, I say phase me baby.. phase me forever.

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