Good Riddance To These Game Mechanics Of Yesterday
Let’s face it, most veteran MMORPG old-timers love to sit around virtual fireplaces and reminisce about the good old days and how everything 10 years ago was so much more rewarding, challenging and sensual (OK, maybe I’m the only one who felt that way). Nostaligia is a powerful thing and I’m guilty of giving into its dreamy whims on occasion too but here’s a list of a few MMO game mechanics that I’m definitely glad to see the back off. Not surprisingly most of them are from Everquest.
When Everquest first came out there was no in-game map system so the developers came up with an utterly brilliant way of compensating for that fact. Instead of, y’know, just giving us maps, they allowed all characters to train the skill of Sense Heading because apparently being able to magically determine what direction you’re facing is far more realistic than the ancient art of cartography.
Like all Pros I soon learnt the clever trick of binding my Sense Heading command to my move forward key and thus was eternally bombarded with the words “You have no idea what direction you’re facing”. Eventually the magical Wizards of Norrath developed the compass and all were happy across the realm.
Items have weight. Logical. People can only carry so much weight until they become encumbered. Logical. Monks have their fighting skills lowered proportionally by the weight of their possessions. Not so logical and not very bloody fair.
Out of all of the mechanics that are used to enhance our sense of realism, item weight isn’t a bad one I’ll give you that, but it was incredibly frustrating nonetheless. It was bad enough not being able to carry anything as a puny Mage while the Ogre Warrior ninja looted until his heart was content but penalising Monks who went over a minuscule weight limit was sheer lunacy. Play a Monk in Everquest and prepare to be poor. Until, of course, you can afford a magical bag with 100% weight reduction. Which you won’t. ‘Cause you can’t loot anything to start with.
Hello darkness, my old friend. I’m so glad I can see the world at night now. Having to equip a torch in my second hand slot just so I could see three feet in front of me was a huge pain in the arse. Especially when I died in a cave somewhere and leaving my torch on my body (silly me) and thus had absolutely no hope in hell of ever finding my corpse. Oh well, at least I’ve got an in-game map and a compass to help…. d’oh.
Weapon Skill Levels
OK, so technically this still exists in most MMOs… but not for long. Cataclysm is going to see the removal of all weapon skill levels from World of Warcraft and no doubt new MMOs will follow suit. Not that I’m particularly sorry to see the mechanic go as the idea of of having to level up skills to become more proficient at a weapon is contrary to the design of most theme park MMOs but undoubtedly many people will cry foul play and cite it as an example of Blizzard dumbing down the game again. And they’d probably be right.
Have you got any old game mechanics that you’re glad are gone?