Archive for the ‘General MMORPG’ Category

Is Balanced Worth Boring?


A reminder to all that WoW's colour palette should probably be avoided by those with epilepsy

Although it’s early days with SW:TOR and I’m still somewhat off to the level cap, I’m an avid PvPer and queue for Warzones almost constantly when I play it (they’re a lot of fun). Taking a breather and switching back to WoW Battlegrounds for a few days though highlighted something I always suspected: it’s ridiculously unbalanced compared to The Old Republic.

It’s no surprise really. SW:TOR is a new game and designed from the ground up to cater to both PvE and PvP and, whilst I’m sure there will be balance issues of some sort (it’s unavoidable really), the PvP is a lot less frustrating than, say, WoW and none of the classes seem to stand out as being ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than any of the others. At least not yet. Of course, it’s not perfect and you still have to deal with the issues of level divides and gear progression but, unless you play PvP specific MMO like League of Legends, I’m not sure it’s ever going to be possible to solve those problems.

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DPS Only Classes Are Now Redundant

RIFT Justicar

The incredulous, exuberant, marvellous paradigm of multi-role perfectionism - the RIFT cleric

One of the reasons that I’m not a fan of the Advanced Class system in SW:TOR is because it fills you with hesitation and regret. Having invested four or five hours into your character, you’re suddenly forced to make a huge decision that’s going to impact your playstyle forever more based only upon a tiny Codex entry and a brief glance at skill trees. Furthermore, you sometimes have to pick between giving up any chance of tanking or healing and become a full on DPS only class. The Jedi Sentinel/Sith Marauder and Gunslinger/Sniper are the examples in question. Just why, oh why, would anyone gimp themselves to such a degree?

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Skyrim: Everything A MMORPG Should Be

Skyrim Nord

The backstory for my character was a Nord who recently went on vacation to work on his tan

I’m quite enamored with Skyrim. Partially because it makes me say things to my wife like, “honey, I’m going to play Skyrim, come get me in three hours” but mainly because it gives me everything I’ve always enjoyed in a RPG and always wished for in a MMORPG: freedom, immersion, exploration and a real sense of satisfaction.

Skyrim’s not perfect. The UI is awful, the combat is a little clunky and a lot of the voice actors sound like poor Arnold Swarchenegger impersonators but all of these things, for me anyway, are easy to overlook as you get sucked into a pure, honest and unashamed role-playing experience. The game doesn’t pander to you and it doesn’t patronise you but neither does it make your life hard for the sake of creating artificial challenge or immersion. There’s no mandatory grinding and practical concepts like fast travel and providing exits at the end of long, winding dungeons keep you from getting frustrated. It’s the perfect blend of hardcore and casual (something I’m hoping MMOs will get right one day).

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I Don’t Hate The Holy Trinity, I Just Don’t Think It Works

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 - "Look ma, no healer!"

My post last week about MMO designers using class flexibility as a way to keep the Holy Trinity on life support rather than find alternative solutions drew a lot of great feedback, fantastic comments and interesting discussions. I always love it when readers know more about a subject than I do and aren’t afraid to get stuck into a debate about it, however it did raise a lot of good questions about my motivations for writing the article in the first place. To be clear, I don’t hate the Holy Trinity (in fact, I’m rather fond of it), it’s just that I don’t think it works in today’s MMORPG.

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Monks, Souls, Hybrids And Life Support For The Holy Trinity

Pandaren Monk

Pandaren Monks. Filling every role and making every other class obsolete.

Let’s face it, the holy trinity mechanic for MMOs isn’t going anywhere. No matter how restrictive it is, no matter how much it impedes gameplay, no matter how much it puts the whole silly concept of raiding at odds with the leveling game (I just despise the idea of a single ‘main tank’), its here to stay for a long, long time. Regardless of how much we might want the holy trinity to accidentally asphyxiate itself during a sordid little sex game with its dirty sandbox cousin, it’s never going to die, especially not when developers have found a way to keep the darn thing on permanent life support. Y’know what I’m talking about – the concept of hybrid classes and versatility.

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MMO Or Baby? Baby!

Ninja Baby

You all know my kid would be a badass

No, my wife isn’t pregnant. Yet. But it’s definitely on the cards – turns out the biological clock of a woman is an insane force to be reckoned with. Last time I likened it to a nuclear time bomb but I was wrong, it’s more like the most dangerous ninja on the planet, ready and waiting to attack. And attack she did. A couple of weeks ago I was awakened from a deep slumber in the middle of the night by the woman pouncing on me in a burst of animalistic sexual desire. It wasn’t until the deed had been done and she rolled off me with a smirk on her face that I realised just what had happened and a wave of utter terror flooded over me.

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What’s In A Name?

Gordo the Abomination

That bastard stole my name

I can’t play characters that don’t have good names. I don’t know why but it’s just wrong somehow. To me, the name of my avatar embodies his personality, his spirit, his role. Call it roleplaying on a low level nature. I don’t walk around spouting “hail, kind sir” or what-not but I absolutely have to a name that suits my character. Very occasionally comedic, often always serious, the name has to be right because without one, I simply won’t make the character or, worse yet, find myself deleting them after a few hours of play.

So many times I’ve had an itch to try a new class but have put it off for weeks because I just couldn’t come up with a name that felt right. Other times I’ve sat staring at the character creation screen for what felt likes hours on end just trying to come up with a name I liked and wasn’t taken. It’s not as easy as one might think. Thinking up with a suitable name that fits the race, class and my imaginary background for my proposed character can be rather tricky.

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