Trending Games | World of Warcraft | Overwatch | Destiny 2 | Elder Scrolls Online

    Facebook Twitter YouTube Twitch.tv YouTube.Gaming Discord
Register
Quick Game Jump
Members:3,814,995 Users Online:0
Games:984 

Show Blog

PvP Normalization is Nonsense

Posted by t0nyd Saturday August 18 2012 at 7:03AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 

   I dont understand the rush to normalize the PvP environment. You create a game with a specific purpose and then you deal with the outcome of your actions. Normalization only affects gear oriented mmorpgs. So possibly if you fix the actual cause of the problem "absurd equipment" then maybe you are one step closer to normalizing the entire game.

   I am no fan of equipment oriented games. I am not saying that all equipment should be bland and lack any form of effect on game play. I just believe that gear should be a suplemental tool to molding your character into the combatant that you want it to be. The problem with almost all mmorpg's is that gear is the ultimate method of developing a character that is effective in combat? Choice, oh there is little choice. This is the easy fix or balancing method to determine how a class performs in combat. Tweaking skills and abilities is a method but you have to admit when 90% of your statistics, including damage output and health come from the items you wear, and there is only 1 to 2 sets of items for your class, you just created the easiest(lamest) balancing mechanic.

   Its about time we had challenging MMO content that is balance with both PvP and PvE in mind from the start. If a ability is absurd in PvP then in my humble opinion, it doesnt belong in PvE. If fearing a player for 10 seconds, with him never getting off one single attack, is game breaking, then why do I want to do the same thing to a mobile. If a new Flaming Plate Mail of the Rainbow takes you from barely losing a PvE/PvP confrontation to dominating it, where is the challenge in that, and do we want it in our games?

 Its time that we put aside gear as the go to mechanic in determining how difficult content is and revert to a new mechanic, be it player skill, intelligence, a combination of both, with gear as the suplemental mechanic it should be. Hell, I would even be happy if all mechanics combined evenly to create the whole. Sadly gear is usually 99% of your characters power, with intelligent and skillful play being crammed into the last 1%...

Tera: The console title in PC clothing.

Posted by t0nyd Thursday May 3 2012 at 9:04AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 

 As I toy around with Tera's combat system I cant help but think that this combat system is damn near perfect for a controller.  The sad thing for me is that this mmo seems much better suited to a console than the PC.  Dont get me wrong, I do enjoy the action oriented combat and I am not saying that this type of combat is suited to the console alone.  What I am trying to say is that in every other aspect this game seems dumbed down to the point that I believe it feels much more like a console platformer than the MMO I prefer.

  In my opinion, the primary aspect of an MMO that diferentiates the genre from most other genre (besides the massive multiplayer aspect) is the MMO allows you to develop a character over time.  When I create a warrior I like to ponder: how am I going to approach combat, what weapons and armor will I use, what abilities will I choose, how will I diferentiate my style of play compared to other warriors.  When playing Tera these options are null.  Your warrior will dual wield swords and focus on mobility as its method of tanking, other options, Denied!.  I am not sure I have ever played an MMO or Roleplaying game where character advancement is so perfectly linear. The lancer you just saw walk by, yea, he is probably exactly the same as you.

  When you take the term Role out of Role Playing Game arent you denying the aspect of the RPG genre that defines it most?  When I speak of Role I am not talking about the trinity of tank, dps, healer, I am speaking of a role in the broad sense. When you design a character, you should choose the role it fills.  Once upon a time, most rpg's had statistics such as strength, intelligence, etc and you controlled the distribution of these points to help define how your character played. Games such as World of Warcraft decided to limit a players control on the distribution of statistics by attaching the majority of them to gear. Tera is now taking it a step further. There are no talents, skills, attributes to modify besides crystals.

  I remember when terms such as tank/mage were created to help describe a player that has taken his character and itemized, distributed attributes, and chosen skills and spells in such a way as to make this Mage tanky. This player more than likely overlooked the high damage output nature of the common mage in order to develop his own style of play which can have a dramatic affect on combat, especially PvP.  With a game like Tera, this form of creative play is replaced by a designers stranglehold on customization in order to create a game that is much easier to balance. In the end which can have a more negative impact on an mmorpg, a players ability to creatively design a character to fit multiple roles going so far as to possible abuse mechanics or the game designer favoring control to the extent that allows the player no method to diferentiate his character from another?

  I hate to say it and I have argued against this mentality before but doesnt the lack of character design options remind you more of a first person shooter? Even in Team Fortress 2 I feel that I have more options when determining how I play a Sniper than I do in Tera playing an Archer.

the new MMO, a test of Patience

Posted by t0nyd Thursday March 15 2012 at 11:21AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

** Obviously, these are my opinions and I am not in any way shape or form attempting to insult young gamers, women, men, zebra, or your mother.

     After discussing the current state of WoW with several people, I have noticed a change in gamer attitude. People around my age  (34), they seem to be looking for that game that takes skill and intelligence to play. We are looking for a game that caters to all game styles be it: crafters, pve, pvp, rvr, pvpve, etc. For the most part, the older crowd seems to enjoy the thought process behind designing a character: whats this character going to look like, where shall i spend skills and attributes, am I aggressive defensive or support, and lastly lets take an hour to come up with a name. With old school games, we sought enjoyment the second we installed the game.

     The younger crowd doesnt seem concerned about roleplaying or character design. This new crowd just wants to get in the game and play. " Character name, oh lets just go with bigballs00 or some orther name that could offend, because thats what we enjoy ". To get to the topic at hand, " lets power through those levels as fast as possible because you know, the game doesnt begin til level (insert max level here )". I am not sure exactly when this new mentality started to take over. I would love to blame it on World of Warcraft and Halo, but I just do not think it started there.

     When did games lose the, " this game should be enjoyable from level 1" mentality. When did we tell developers, " hey man, I just want a game that wastes my time for a month, you know, I love monotony, then after a month of doing random EXPLETIVE that I hate, then the fun can begin!!!". I just dont recall that memo. Usually when people talk about " the game begins at max level " garbage, it usually pertains to game balance. I have noticed a rather large portion of people that believe " Its just to damn hard to balance a game at all levels, so balance only matters at level 1337, dude you can get there fast, just skip 99% of the game content, it will only take 137 days, then you can have fun like me". Personally I do not see the difficulty in balancing a game around max level and half that. A level 60 mage spell does 1000 damage and the level 30 equivalent does 500, hmmm, math is hard?

     I would say the biggest problem in balancing an MMORPG doesnt come from a vast number of classes nor a huge skill base. I believe that the majority of balancing issues arise from what I call " the shock and awe" campaign waged against your senses. Most developers have this idea that in 10 levels, you should quadruple your health and damage, a level 60 should have around 6000 health where as a level 70 should have 24,000 health and that level 1 oh he has 100 health. I just do not understand why there isnt one guy in a group of programmers with the common sense to say " hey guys, lets have this fire spell do 100 base damage + 10 per level + intelligence bonus" damn that sounds to easy. Seriously, by doing this we now have a solid base damage progression which includes every level from 1 to 60 what an absurd idea. Now the average developer shouts out "no way man, we need this spell to get better every 5 level, the damage goes from 100, 500, 900, 1100, 2000, and at level 60 man you do 9000 damage man!!!".

"As a developer you have to imagine scenarios like, two level 30s are fighting a level 60, man that level 60 is going to cast two AoE's man and boom, two dead 30s, cause you know man, level 30 cant be half as powerful as 60, it just cant happen man".

    I guess I just do not understand the concept of the new generation of gamers or developers. I am not a big "shock and awe" fan. Just give me a game that is designed logically. I want a game that gives me choices, that rewards me for roleplaying, that rewards me for doing what I enjoy, one thats challenging at level 1 through cap, one that embraces the content that is implemented meaning " do not add in PvP, Crafting, Etc, unless you are going to support it". I do not care if a spell has a 30 minute dynamic visual effect that ends with Demon Lord Boredom ascending from the pits of hell  to do that awkward anime stare at me for 10 mins then striking mine enemy with his Pitchfork of the Whale for 7 damage. Simply, I want enjoyable content. Is this to much to ask?

** Yes, I did attempt to insult developers. Suck it developers, you take our money and give us garbage such as: All Points Bulletin, DAoC Trials of Atlantis, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Fury, Tabula Rasa, the Matrix, and lastly but definitely not least SWG NGE ...

** If I insulted your favorite mmo, deal with it, your favorite mmo doesnt define you, you are not the contents of your paladins inventory, You buy gear.  You tell yourself, this is the last sword I will ever need in my life.  Buy the sword, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sword issue handled.  Then the right pair of boots.  Then the perfect shield.  The platemail.  The bags.  Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you. Yes, I just watched fight club...

  - Tony D the Bored...

In Response to: Content Locusts Killed my MMO

Posted by t0nyd Friday January 27 2012 at 8:47PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

   I will quote and respond to keep this post coherent.

 Isabelle Parsley  "So SWTOR’s first month is out the door and, predictably, the doom and gloom merchants have come out of the woodwork as server populations have dropped across the board. They have a point, of course: in the last few years, many games have launched with a bang only to fizzle go free to play after a few months, and while a drop in numbers is to be expected after the free month runs out, there’s a difference between an expected drop and full-on freefall.

   I have my own theories about this, and one of them has to do with general game pacing and what I like to call content locusts. One of the major differences between games in the early MMO generation (EQ, UO, AC, etc.) and those we have today boils down to something fairly simple but with far-reaching effects: leveling speed."

  The paradoxical nature of this argument blows my mind. Content locusts as you call them, I would prefer to call them "MMO zombies", is a symptom of poor mmo design and not a product of the mmo culture. Personally and I would assume that I am not alone in this, if I am enjoying myself I simply do not notice how fast the leveling process is or is not. Aslong as I feel that I can make choices that dictate how my character evolves and plays, I wouldnt mind if leveling took a year or two. The problem is that developers, like BioWare, are creating mmo's as if they are constructing a single player game.

   When playing a single player rpg, we care not if one path is more powerful than the next. Players do not worry about leveling speed, perfect micromanaged builds, nor do we care about rushing to that last cut scene before the credits roll. What a single player rpg gives us is a story that we can hopefully mold to suit the character that we imagine. What SW:ToR gives us is the exact opposite. SW:ToR brings a story that is far more similar to an MMO in that it will have no ending and the player has no measureable effect on. So since we are left with no story goals what do we have left, content.

   Content and leveling speed is completely dependant on how the developer designs the game. If the designer designs the game in such a way as that you can level to cap in 1 month, then I take it that their intention is that we can do this. You can not blame the player for playing any game in  such a manner that is obviously designed into the game itself. The content discconnect occurs when leveling is slow and content is simply not provided at every level range, forcing players to grind in random non-instanced areas or forcing the player to repeat that one instance that is in their level range over and over until they pull their hair out.

   What developers commonly choose to do is to increase leveling speed to such a point that end-game is reached without even coming close to clearing all the content that is provided through all level ranges.  By designing a game based on a fast leveling rate this allows developers to spend less time creating lower level areas, making these lower level areas smaller with less of everything, allowing them to spend much more time on higher level content. These developers use the early areas as a means to funnel you to cap level, where they can begin designing massive ammounts of generic content.

   The problem with this method of design is that it leads to the feeling of an incongruent world to play in. The world or universe feels much more like a bunch of random instances thrown together and less like a role playing environment. Skyrim is a good example of an immersive world to roleplay in. SW:ToR feels much more like Guild Wars in that you jump around to a bunch of loosely fitted instances.

   In the end can you really blame content locusts? All a content locust really wants is to move on to new and unique experiences. The content locust does not want to stumble around the same instance for hours on end feeling as if they are accomplishing little all the while leveling at a snails pace. Now if you design an area thats for levels 1-10 that is on the scale of Skyrim, then create 20 or so instances for them to explore albeit in a group or solo, that content locust just might turn into the player that you want them to be. Sadly, developers do not make these MMO's. Developers are to busy working on that assembly line churning out the exact same thing they created 20 seconds ago, only this time its colored red and bears a slight resemblance to a movie I watched as a child, one with lightsabre's in it.

MMORPG's are treated with kid gloves...

Posted by t0nyd Wednesday January 25 2012 at 6:05PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 

   MMORPG's are probably the one genre that reviewers seem to judge on a different scale than other games. Take the single player RPG genre for example. If SW:ToR were reviewed in the same manner  as say Knight of the Old Republic, SW:ToR would be woefully gimped in comparison and to be honest, would not even warrant a review. Let us start by breaking down a review that I read in a magazine.
 

 Reviewer says " I reluctantly made my selection on the familiar BioWare dialog wheel and betrayed my always-faithful insectoid allies".
  

   Isnt " I get to choose a theme and how i roleplay my character " a standard part of what an RPG is? We all know roleplaying isnt always packed into a roleplaying game but it should be and the example I quoted should be something that is expected and not praised. In my humble opinion the idea of roleplaying in and RPG should not be considered innovative.  "But", you say, " this is an MMORPG"! Why should an MMORPG be held to a different standard than an RPG I ask you? Yes I understand that graphics will always take a hit in an MMORPG. I do not expect SW:ToR to have the same visual polish as Skyrim but to expect the same level of story, roleplay, and immersion, is that really asking to much?

   To take this quote and the idea behind it a bit further, why didnt BioWare attempt to implement phasing in such a way as to make your choices actually matter? In the end, no matter which choice I pick on any BioWare dialog wheel does not the endgame remain the same? The question becomes, do these dialog choices become completely trivial in the end? The answer is an obvious, Yes, Yes every single choice that you have made is trivial. Now innovative would have been to take not every choice but major choices and make them matter. Imagine if that dialog choice you made exterminated an entire alien culture from the game. Now imagine that by making this choice, your character is now moved to a different server and on this server exists every single player that made this exact choice. I believe that this would begin to mold the world around your actual decisions and that of every player that participates in your world and this is the definition of "Role Playing" to me.

   " All 17 of the games worlds are brought to life with evocative architecture. meticulous set design, and a convincing population. Many quest hubs are the size of small cities with over a hundred soldiers, merchants, doctors, civvies, and the rest going about their business inside".
  

   As I read the review for a 3rd time, this quote jumps off the page at me. SW:ToR has the most static environment that I have ever seen in a current generation MMORPG. I have played free to play MMORPG's that have environments that are much more immersive. Even if you havnt played SW:ToR you can find countless youtube videos of SW:ToR environments where NPC's simply stand in 1 spot, motionless, like they are frozen in time.  I just do not see how anyone can use the phrase "brought to life" in the most static, stagnate environment to ever exist in a PC game. If you havnt, go to youtube and type: SWTOR lifeless static world and be amazed. When you see jedi in some sort of combat stance with their hands glowing, never once moving besides the constant bobbing up and down while their enemy leans over holding their head in their hands, never once moving even a half inch, frozen until the end of time, you will realize that "brought to life" isnt a phrase that BioWare understands.

   "The pool of playable species, however is miniscule-you'll be disappointed if you wanted a freaky-looking alien." 

  When character customization like Age of Conan exists, how can character creation in SW:ToR even be considered passable for a pay to play game. This is a role playing game and I wish to role play. When every other character looks exactly like you, how can you possibly feel immersed. Character customization visually and through game mechanics is beyond lacking, i was bored after 30 minutes of play. When I first played City of Heroes I spent more than 30 minutes just designing how my character looked and enjoyed every minute of it. I do have to say that I am an altoholic, meaning that I love to create a multitude of alternate characters and with the way SW:ToR is designed, I had no desire to make more than 3 characters. After playing with the talent tree's I found a lack of options to tailor my character to a play style other than the generic one that you start with, yet again leaving me feeling like every other agent or bounty hunter.

   "That said, the novel Bonus Objective system, which usually makes you 'KIll X' portions of quests optional, does a fine job of breaking out grinding and making it a separate choice."

   This is probably the first time ive seen a reviewer defend the option of "grinding" and I do respect that option although I felt that the quest system was so basic that everything felt like a grind. Grinding quests, grinding mobs, grinding linear no exploration flash points, grinding my teeth. Even PvP felt like a grind and I am a person that loves to PvP. Knowing that there were three warfronts to participate in at the low level of 10 put a smile on my face until I realized that I simply do not enjoy huttball and that there is no way for me to not queue for huttball when queueing for the other two warfronts and to top it off, you will end up playing hutball 2x more often than either the other two warfronts(grind!), To conclude the topic of questing, grinding ,and bonus objectives I direct you again to other games, when dynamic rifts may open up at any time, when world events can occur at any moment, hell even when public quests exist, SW:ToR brings nothing new to the table and if new isnt your thing, SW:ToR even goes so far as to fail to copy the things from its competition that would make SW:ToR a much more immersive world.

   The quotes I posted are from a review  of SW:ToR that I perused while sitting on the toilet. Reviews like this are made for toilet reading because they seriously make you want to flush them down the drain along with the other excrement. These kinds of reviews lead me to believe that mmo's are treated in a softer, kinder manner than most every other game genre and to be honest, I do not understand why. Yes mmo's take longer to develop and cost far more than a single player rpg would cost but on the flip side, that mmo costs the consumer far more to play than any single player rpg and the mmo has the potential to lead to much greater profit.  So in my opinion, there is no valid reason to not review an mmo in the same manner as any other game available.

  Tony D

mmorpg the new fps...

Posted by t0nyd Monday December 12 2011 at 9:30AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 Earlier today I was argueing with a friend over what really differentiates an mmorpg from a first person shooter. We reminisced about the good old DAoC days, having so many people in open world pvp that the server struggled and it was very obvious that it was. It seems to me that games like WoW have done everything in their power to take the word massive out of mmo. I can understand why. Graphics and player capacity are inversely proportional. The more attractive the game looks (skyrim), the less likely you are to see thousands of people running around the game world. Developers assume that the average first person shooter mantra of "it better look realistic or I aint buying it", is something that rpg'ers subscribe to. With games like Skyrim, its pretty obvious why. In my opinin Skyrim is loads of pretty and lacks much substance but that is an arguement for another time.

 When it gets down to it, I believe that rpg'ers and mmorpg'ers have split at some point in the last few years. Where mmorpger's want innovative and dynamic content, rpg'ers are fine with stagnate worlds that never change. Personally, as an altoholic, i detest static worlds where if I am to create a new character, i dont want to be forced to repeat the same exact linear play over and over. I also do not believe that mmo'ers are as visually obsessed as our rpger and fps brethren. I believe we are perfectly fine playing a game that's visually 2001, if we get a truly massive rpg.

As time goes by i notice that developers are still assuming that the mmo'er is of the same mind as the rpg'er. They give us new and improved graphics engines and the "instance" plagues us at every turn. I understand the need to instance some things. I for one am all about instancing starting areas due to the fact that an mmo is going to be overwhelmed with new players at launch and it is perfectly fine to instance these areas at the beginings of an mmo. The problem is when half the so called MMO becomes instanced as to where you are lucky to observe 100 players in a particular area. When I ponder a 25 man raid, the word massive does not come to mind. I remember playing first person shooters with 50 people in the same match. This leads me to believe that mmo's are becoming match based game play much like an fps.

 Take the time to actually ponder what has become of MMO's. Remember having so many people on the screen at south shore that the server shit itself. So how about we move small portions of the player base into instanced battlegrounds. Open world bosses? How about we move small portions of the playerbase into PvE instances and call that Raiding. Ummm. Did they even try to give us a reach around when they took our so called massive multiplayer games and turned them into first person shooters. Blizzard did not even try to hide the fact. Hey lets play capture the flag. Sweet some team fortress 2. No man, I mean WoW. uhhh....

And let the sheeple rejoice, led into games they do not want to play, paying for it all the while...

Skyrim: Why a good mmo it wouldnt make...

Posted by t0nyd Sunday December 4 2011 at 2:04AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 I simply do not understand why Skyrim is getting all this recognition. Skyrim is obviously a pretty game, which never translates well into an mmo due to the average user not being able to play it at max settings and due to obvious performance issues with 20 people on the screen let alone 100. in my opinion, Skyrim wouldnt make a viable mmo and here is why I believe this...

[Simplistic Combat]

I would say that the biggest bane of the elder scrolls games has been its combat. I simply do not see how people enjoy the combat in this game. Swing, Block, Swing, Swing, block, does combat ever get any more complicated than this, no. Simplistic combat seems to be the common denominator of skill based roleplaying games. This type of combat brings to mind Darkfall and do we need another Darkfall?

[Roleplaying]

Can you imagine 9000 dragonborn running around. This being an mmo pretty much destroys the theme of Sklyrim, that being dragonborn are rare. The same problems occured in SW Galaxies with Jedi. For me atleast, it destroyed the theme of galaxies when I first noticed a screen full of lightsabers. Skyrim is a world built for one and it should stay that way.

[Engine]

When you play an mmo like WoW, its obvious that it is crafted in such a way as to do what it does and do it well. A game like Skyrim is crafted in such a way that there are a myriad of frustrating glitches. Physics glitches alone are numerous. I have a friend with a pretty much identical system and like clockwork, every hour upon the hour his game crashes. I simply can not see Bethesda creating a stable enough engine that would support an mmo.

[Conclusion]

 I find it odd that people even compare single playing rpg's and mmo's. People like to go on and on about story and cut scenes but they simply do not realize how a single player game vs a massive multiplayer game do not compare even in the slightest. What is beloved in a single player game can be disruptive and unfun on a massive scale. When crafting a single player experience, balance isnt much of a thought and story becomes the prime focus. When you are in your own univierse you care not what levels the fastest, what the best gear is, or if you get to endgame content in a reasonable time. Its your world and thats entertaining all on its own. The moment you throw others players into the world is the moment all the tiny holes that you noticed playing solo become massive chasms that ruin your enjoyment of the game.

Lineage 2: How does this game even exist...

Posted by t0nyd Sunday December 4 2011 at 1:07AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 

 A friend of mine recommended Lineage 2 as a PvP mmo option. Obviously I am bored to death of the current so called PvP mmo's out there. I decide to install l2 and give it a go. Thankfully I had little to no expectations because if I did, I would have been disappointed.

[Soul Shots]

In an age where a majority of mmo's are steering clear of consumable based ranged attacks, L2 has consumable based melee, ranged, and magic attacks. What an odd concept. When I imagine the tedium of using a consumable on every single melee attack, fun doesnt come to mind. This is probably the worst concept that I have ever come acrossed in an mmo, especially of the item shop kind. All this concept is, is a money sink. If everyone must use a consumable on every attack to be optimal in combat, this mechanic has no impact on the game due to everyone everywhere always using it, thus making it a rather pointless mechanic.

[Leveling and Class Variation]

I have always hated the concept of minor classes lead to bigger and better classes. Lineage 2 epitomizes the failures of this concept.  Anyone that enjoys making multiple characters will be displeased with the fact that if you want to create multiple casters, you will have to level from 1-20 the exact same way with the exact same abilities, doing the exact same quests, in the exact same newbie area. Once you have accomplished the level 1 to 20 newbie experience there is simply no reason to ever do it again other than you are forced to if you decide to create a new character.

Thankyfully the level 1-20 experience can go pretty fast if you rush it, and you will. Now you are out of the training zone and off to more of the same? As I hit 30 I wonder, still more of the same? Of course its the same kind of boring quests or grind as you have done for the first 30 levels. So where is this PvP my friend was talking about.

[PvP]

The only PvP that I have seen has been when a random stranger attacked me so I decided to fight back. I died due to not using soul shots of my appropriate level because I simply refuse to use a consumable on every attack and to be honest it is the only way to make the game challenging at all is to not use soul shots. As I respawn I find that no npc will talk to me and thats when I notice that my name is purple. I ask around and I am quickly informed that I am an asshole PKer and that I must farm mobs to remove bad karma and to top it off, I do not get exp for those kills. This blows me away. I get ganked and defend myself and now I must suffer a penalty. With the frustration of this and the fact that this guy also whacked my pet, which is causing me to be constantly spammed by a "your pet doesnt have suffiencient hitpoints to do that" message at such a rate that it is near impossibly to communicate with anyone, this concludes my voyage into what I was told was " A PvP game"...

Rift: A PvPers perspective...

Posted by t0nyd Monday March 28 2011 at 10:04PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

As the title states, PvP is what I enjoy doing and that isnt to say that I dislike PvE. I do enjoy a bit of PvE now and then to break up the chaotic mess that PvP usually is in most games. With that said...

 

War Fronts

 In my humble opinion, War Fronts are mostly a waste of time. I do enjoy a bit of scenario based PvP but the first few War Fronts that you are presented with, offer little to no interesting mechanics. Grab this and hold it to win or hold these points on the map to win. I hate to say it but I miss the simplicity of the old DAoC Battlegrounds. Even though the Battlegrounds in DAoC were instances, it still gave you the feeling of accomplishing something when you conquer and defend the keep that sits in the middle of the map. It is also nice to have an area to PvE and Quest as well as PvP. I do not mind capture the flag, I just do not believe that should be the primary and only option for early to mid level PvP. Warfronts are simply not enough.

 

 Equipment

 With the lower levels, equipment does not matter that much and in my opinion, this is a good thing. As you level, gear becomes an important factor when determining your PvP viability. With early to mid level PvP being based solely on War Fronts and War Fronts offering little to no viable equipment rewards, this leaves you in an awkard position, forcing you to either quest, craft, or run rifts for gear. I am not totally opposed to gaining gear through PvE but the gear obtainable in PvP is simply not incentive enough nor will it keep you competitive with PvErs. In the 1st bracket of PvP you can expect to get maybe two items, a helmet being one of them, thus leaving most item slots open for craftable or farmed gear. I am not a raider nor do I want to be forced to run raids to be competitive in PvP as I dont expect PvErs to be forced into PvP to be competitive in PvE.

 

Souls

 For the most part I am at a complete loss when it comes to the mentallity of the developers concerning the Soul system. In low level PvP, if you cant self heal, dont participate. In late level PvP, if you have mana, do not participate. These two things seem to be the general ruls of PvP.

 In low level PvP it is very simple to excel. Create a cleric and combine some offensive aspect of inquisitor with some healing aspects of warden and a shield. You are damn near unkillable while spreading dots and hots accross the battlefield. Depending how far you go into inquisitor or Warden will determine if you focus on healing or dpsing. Funny enough, I almost always end up in the top 5 on healing and damage output. With healing and damage output being so readily available in one spec, why spec anything else. There is but one reason to spec anything but a cleric, most clerics simply cant kill other clerics unless you have half an hour to waste. This leads to most victorious teams consisting of 75% cleric and 25% cleric killers. Cleric killers being mana drainers and this leads to higher level PvP problems.

 WIth High level PvP, you better not have mana or expect to be useless by the time you have read this sentence. When Mages and Void Knight can empty your mana pool in a couple seconds, why play a character with mana.  To be fair, Mages have very little choice in how to spec for PvP. Either a mage goes the Pyro route to gain crowd control immunities or he goes the dominator route to deplete your mana pool. Warrior on the other hand has several viable specs that deal significant damage in later levels even at range. A ranged Rogue vs a ranged Warrior has a reality check very fast when after losing he realizes the warrior is probably not even near half health and the kicker is that the ranged Warrior is far more mobile than the rogue. A Riftblade will constantly be hopping around while spamming instant casts and keeping you perma snared. When you add in the ability to permanently slow a target you take out tactics and simply develop an arcade style of game play. A Riftblade can be successful limiting himself to 4 hot keys and most good ones use macros to where they can simply have 2 hot keys.

 

Conclusion

 As I said at the begining of this post, I am a PvPer and this is a take on Rift as a possible PvP MMO. What I have experienced of the two instances that I have participated in and the thousands of rifts that I have closed gives me the sense that PvE is above average and somewhat enjoyable. Now as a PvP game I have seen more depth in combat and tactical play in a MOBA style game, a game consisting of 4 buttons...

Rift: Whats missing...

Posted by t0nyd Monday January 31 2011 at 10:17PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

 

 I have subscribed to just about every single MMO that I could get my hands on. I say that in order to show that I have some perspective when I speak about my experiences as an MMO player. For a long time I have been in what I like to call the MMORPG " Burnount Club ". I am simply tired of the same rehashed questing goals with gear dependence being the motivating factor of the game. Now that I have cleared that up...

 At this moment I am enjoying Rift. Fun is a fickle thing and maybe in a month I will have a different opinion but as of now, Fun is the appropriate word. I am of the type of MMOer that find enjoyment from an overabundance of character creation options. That is the main reason that I enjoyed DAoC as much as I did. The soul system gives many options for molding a character to your liking and to be honest, it adds a ton of replay value for us Altoholics. This is not to say that the soul system is perfect or that Rift isn't missing some key things.

 

  The Soul System

 The soul system lacks some depth due to class mechanics. If you choose a soul such as Void Knight it adds a unique mechanic called pacts. The problem is that almost every soul uses the same class mechanic it is derived from and does not add a unique mechanic. A majority of the class mechanics lack any sort of depth. Warriors for example have combo points, yes its not exactly like the rogue ones but the similarity between the two makes them feel rather generic. If I was Trion I would start by removing all class based mechanics from the game and insert soul based mechanics, which would lead to far more variation in play between the souls themselves. Some souls already have their own mechanics that make them unique and Trion just needs to take it a step further.

 This leads me to some of the soul based mechanics. A soul like the Saboteur feels very unique where a lot of souls feel generic. Yes, Saboteur uses the combo mechanic, which could easily be removed due that a Sabo places up to 5 charges of any type on a target anyway. Sabo naturally have the 5 combo limit so why even include it. There is a lot of charge types that are all viable and varied consisting of: damage and snare, physical damage, earth damage and armor reduc, stun, damage over time, AoE, etc. I haven't even broached the subject of bombs yet. With Sabo, the main source of damage comes in chunks or bursts. While applying them to a target, they do absolutely nothing. When you detonate them is when they have their desired effect. Saboteur feels like a very solid soul grounded with unique mechanics. This leads me to...

 The Necromancer soul is simply a let down. Like most developers, Trion went the safe route. As a Necro, you have a pet and your pet feels very generic. To be honest, this is a problem with all pet classes. Guild Wars is the only MMO that I can think of at this moment, that made your pet choices not feel generic. I don't want to be out in the field with 20 other necro having the same skeleton clone walking around. Would it be hard to have it so that once we kill something, we can store that visual representation and use it to give our undead pet its look. This alone would add much more varied look to a stale soul. Visual differences is not the only problem. Even if you skeleton has a different appearance you have very little to no choices in making it perform any different than any other necro on the field of battle. I would even go so far as to say, hey, let Necro's equip their skeleton and let its weapon determine is abilities in combat. This can be said of basically any pet summoning Soul.

 Soul synergy is another big issue. With a lot of abilities having obfuscated descriptions this leads to the player having to do lots and lots of testing to see what synergizes well with what. The Saboteur soul is a prime example of a soul that is fun but hard to synergize well with. When you choose Sabo as your primary soul, you go in knowing that you are going to stack charges up to 5 every chance you get and then detonate them. You are not going to be able to toss in swift shots or any other combo generating skill due to the fact that it will simply waste time that could be used to add another charge. This leads Sabo into choosing souls that give passive bonuses to optimize. The only soul synergy I see with Sabo at this moment are rift/nightblade or rift/ranger. One Nightblade gives stealth and passively increases damage while only giving a single useful ability, that in the ability to blink. The other gives you a pet and increases chance to crit while also giving you the ability to blink. Try as I might, I cant find any uses in any of the other rogue souls, for a primary Saboteur. I don't even see much Synergy between the PvP rogue soul with Sabo.

 

 Player vs Player

 Player vs Player options are far to limited and this much enjoyable play style is simply not developed. You may participate in the Warfronts from as low as level 10, which gets those that want to PvP into the fray at an early level. The problem being that you cant really gain equipment through PvP until level 25. I just do not understand the concept of saying, crafters you can gain equipment from level 1 and so can you PvEers, but you PvPers tough luck. A players enjoyment is hindered when they can not advance using the method that they choose. In no way does it take from a crafter or PvEers enjoyment of a game if PvPers can gain gear through PvP. So why limit PvPers in this way?

 Warfronts seem like an after thought. They are semi-enjoyable but they took the WoW idea of battlegrounds and regressed them back to their previous state when they should have looked at Warhammers. There is no boosting mechanic so if you go into a Warfront at level 10, you are level 10. The brackets are also 10 levels and combining that with abilities scaling at random player levels and you have a train wreck. This leads to people being forced to avoid PvP until they are at least in the mid level range of a bracket. So why open PvP up at all for level 10-14 when its simply going to be frustrating.  This leads me to...

 

 Ability Scaling

 I would have thought that we have learned by now that scaling of abilities at random levels is an archaic and absurd method. So if you are fighting a player that has the exact same gear and is 1 level above you, if that level just happens to advance an ability that is your primary source of offense, you are going to get wrecked. Just a single level difference can amount to a huge difference in damage, mitigationg, or healing. There is simply no reason to use this method of ability scaling. There are two other options those being: Abilities scale with level or Abilities scale with Soul level.

 I prefer option two. Imagine if abilities scaled with Soul level. Now you have just added more variation with Soul choices. Should a level 30 that has saboteur as an alt soul and has only 5 points invested in the soul do the same amount of damage with detonate as someone who is level 30 with 20 points invested in the soul? I think not. There needs to be more variation between specialists and jack of all trades. What I mean by that is as of now, the only difference is that a specialist will unlock more abilities and passives through specing deeper in a soul but a jack of all trades will have far more variety when it comes to options in combat. With the current ability scaling, if a soul has a very effective ability in the lower tiers, a jack of all trades will have it and be just as good with it as the specialist. This does not seem logical to me and even approaches on game inbalance.

 

  Conclusion

  These are just some thoughts by a guy who has been around the block. Take them as you like. At the moment I am enjoying this game. I do have doubts on wether it will hold my attention for very long. Once the glitter fades away from making alts and testing out soul combo's, I just dont think this game has the PvP depth that I desire.

  t0nyD