Dark or Light

The Worst MMO Abilities

Michael Bitton Posted:
Columns 0

Since last week’s favorite MMO abilities piece got some good responses, I thought it might be fun to flip the topic on its head. What are some of the worst abilities you’ve experienced in an MMO? This can be anything from stuff you thought sounded cool that just ended up being terrible, to abilities that were just oppressive, or my favorite, the noob traps. Below is my (non-exhaustive) list. Share yours in the comments with us below!

City of Heroes – Flurry/Jumpkick

Anyone who played City of Heroes for a length of time is probably nodding as soon as they saw the names of those two wretched abilities. There was no truer sign of a noob than a player who took either of these abilities (or worse, both). And you can bet your ass I would be a snob and inspect people to see if they did.

Why? Why do I hate these two abilities so much? Simply put, they were the ultimate noob trap in City of Heroes. They looked really cool, but their animations were hilariously long and didn’t have something like invincibility frames to balance them out. This often meant you would just be rooted in place for something like three seconds, which is a death wish in a game like City of Heroes. I’ll never be able to wash the memories of watching some players pull off a Flurry on a Freak Tank, only to get smashed to death. Just…why?

This is hilariously speed up, but it's the best I could find.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Tracer Missile

This one isn’t a problem anymore, but there was a time in SWTOR’s history where one could basically play a Bounty Hunter Mercenary by doing nothing but spamming Tracer Missile. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below. No further comment necessary.

The Matrix Online – Ranged Combat

This isn’t a specific ability, since it applies to all of MxO's actual ranged combat. There were plenty of flaws with MxO's unique Interlock combat system, but what really exacerbated the system’s issues was the fact that Monolith decided mixing in traditional MMO combat along with their unique Interlock system was a good idea. This was frustrating in both PvE and PvP, but especially so in PvP.

It’s one thing to be stuck in Interlock combat with an enemy in PvE only to watch helplessly as other NPCs shot or hacked (cast magic) at you from range, but in PvP it just made no sense. Anyone who opted to play a Hacker or a non-Interlock gun user was basically playing MxO with a whole different set of rules. To make matters worse, they even gave Hackers an anti-Interlock shield you’d have to break if you wanted to get in their face. I’m annoyed just thinking about it.

Star Wars Galaxies – Rifleman/Combat Medic

Again, not a specific ability, but it all ties together. Star Wars Galaxies had an interesting concept of splitting up your health bar into three different pools: Health, Action, and Mind (or HAM, for short). Your Health pool was typically the largest, your Action pool often came in second, and your Mind pool, well, that was the smallest. Well, guess what? SOE also decided to add abilities that targeted these specific pools and with Mind being the smallest, it was no wonder that players gravitated towards the Rifleman class tree, which housed the ability “Mind Shot”.

To make matters worse, the ability to combine multiple classes in SWG led many to take Combat Medic as a second class so that they could also throw around Mind poisons at players. Honestly, SWG lurched from one balance mess to another, so it was hard for me to pick just one scenario to rant about (anyone remember when Creature Handlers could roll around with not one, but three Rancors? Pepperidge Farm remembers), but I think the whole Rifleman/CM spam was probably the worst for me.

Warhammer Online – AoE Spam

Like SWG, I had a hard time deciding what I hated most in Warhammer Online. Was it chasing around those little bastards spamming heals? Was it being punted into the lava on Tor Anroc over and over with that one Rank 1 Morale ability? No, it’s not that, because I had as much fun doing that to others as I hated it being done to me, so fair game, there. I finally settled on WAR’s era of AoE spam.

Among WAR’s myriad issues was the oppressive amount of AoE in the game. Typically, AoE abilities are balanced for their ability to damage multiple targets by having lower single target damage, but there was a fairly long period of time in WAR where this wasn’t the case. AoE reigned (or rained, in the Bright Wizard’s case) king and just about every encounter devolved into who could lay down the most AoE pressure, especially when it came to keep battles which were target rich environments full of choke points.

What are some of the worst MMO abilities in your experience? Share 'em with us below!


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB