[MMO] MMO Holy Trinity

For people that don’t know it is:

1. Tank
2. Heals
3. CC/Down time reducer

DPS is not and never was part of the ‘holy trinity’.

People use it now (thanks to no down time in MMOs anymore) for:

1. Tank
2. Heals
3. DPS

This is incorrect because DPS is still an outsider due to massive popularity over the Tank and Heals roles.

The Holy Trinity meant that if you played this class you would get groups quickly. In fact, having one was a beacon for the other two. I can remember days where if you were looking for a healer, the healer would ask if you had a tank or Enchanter (really, it was just the Enchanter class in EQ, later also the Beastmaster somewhat) and if you didn’t, they’d pass or ask you to tell them if you did get one.

Now people use it to describe the three critical roles or foundation roles in a MMO: Tank, Heals and DPS.

Still isn’t anything Holy in DPS – it’s needed but there are so many of you (us) that you’re pennies in someone’s pocket.

Server Status on the Launcher?

I’ve always wondered why it was so bloody hard to put the server status right into the launcher. I mean, if you start the game and it takes you to a launcher before you can play, doesn’t it make sense to tell the users right then and there, “Hey, servers are down!” or “Server status is:  (list)”.

I understand it’s tougher for Blizzard to do since they’ve got more servers than some countries have computers, but a simple mechanic of setting up a server watch. Person fires up launcher, goes into options, selects Show Server Status, checks off a limited number of servers to watch, launcher pings those servers for status and displays them for the user so the user doesn’t have to click play, log in and discover the servers are down.

I’m not even really talking about Blizzard here.

Think about it.

  1. Start game.
  2. Doesn’t actually start game, it fires up the patcher/launcher. Okay, sort of needed for MMOs, gotten check files and make sure you’re up to date.
  3. Click play.
  4. Game actually starts. Depending on the game you might have to deal with the cinematic and various sponsors or companies involved. Some actually fail to have a mechanism to bypass this or require interaction to skip (WoW doesn’t it notes that you’ve seen the cinematic and likely want to skip right into the crack, er, game.
  5. Type username (if it doesn’t save it for you)
  6. Type password (maybe even an OTP from an Authenticator)
  7. You might have a loading screen here.
  8. Here is where games deviate; same will have a server selection, some will have character selection but almost all of them will tell you at this point if the servers are down.

That’s roughly 8 steps to tell you that the servers aren’t available when you could inform them as early as step 2, but instead you decided to fill the launcher with advertisements.

Yes!

Why wait or make a customer do a bunch of stuff only to discover the service isn’t available?

I’m flagging all the MMOs I think this applies to. I could be wrong because it’s been awhile since I looked at any of them and I hate to admit it, but I think DDO actually does show server status on the launcher. For others I simply can’t remember (DAoC, AoC).

EverQuest Next?

One of my D&D group members linked this from Massively on our boards and a discussion ensued.

Massively has some video footage of a press release about EverQuest Next (which is just a working name). The questions asked are quite good and actually touch on several points of frustration about EverQuest 2 (mainly). The answers are about what you’d expect; they answer with ideals and what they hope they deliver or how they hope to make things work.

In other words, don’t hold your breath. Wait and see what they deliver because the hype machine just turned on. From what they said, it sounds like they’re trying to aim somewhere between EQ1 and EQ2. It could be interesting.

Here’s my laundry list of things they did in EQ2 that they need to clean up:

- Get rid of the mechanics for the classes – there is one underlying mechanic that is basically mana and every class effectively dips into this pool to fire their abilities. Every class. Even the supposedly mundane warriors. It makes every class play in the same fashion with the same basic resource management required – no variety. Yes, the results are different in effect, but the core gameplay is the same. Don’t be afraid to make a different system or require that the player pay attention and what for some sort of cue making things even better. Damn, you had so much potential to make each of the bazillion classes mean something else but you missed it!

- Reduce the number of abilities. I can remember there being a huge grid of hotbars with all sorts of abilities on there for every class. It stops being about choice and starts being about which one is available. Whack-a-mole. Make the abilities active to the class and don’t rely on splashing some visible effect to it with a different color. It really does get to be an eyesore and people lose sight of what they did. Active abilities are fun! Include movement in some of the abilities! My favorite abilities in WoW all have movement tied to them; Charge, Disengage, Blink and Death Grip (now there’s a pull!).

- Make the classes mean something. In EQ1 Bards were more effective with instruments in their hands while in EQ2 they were just another type of Rogue that had spells and buffs (really, this is a symptom of the first point I made). Make a Paladin seem more like a basher of undead things or things unholy. The Paladin just felt like another tank type that got a free horse at level (which ever level it was). The Guardian and Berserker didn’t really feel any different (or look any different either thanks to tiered crafted armor) – one had more defensive buffs while the other had more AoEs but in the end, the gameplay felt the same. This came up in the video as well. I missed the Enchanters of EQ1 being able to make illusions or enchant metals – where did that go? Heaven forbid the crafting types require any real assistance from non-crafters. This complaint was a good one that came up in the video footage as well.

- Tiered/level gear system sucks. The path of least resistance became using the not-so-rare rare crafted items for armor and weaponry for all classes. Again, the underlying mechanics were so similar it was just tiresome. How do they change this? Make drops more useful and place limitations on just how much you can craft. Don’t let crafters make a full set of anything. Instead allow them to make various parts or even the odd piece that is really awesome but self only so they get some sort of reward out of crafting that isn’t just another product they can sell. There is no heart in the crafting; nothing to want or look forward to aside from the next tier of gear or something I can sell. Make some fun tradeskills too! Take Engineering from WoW as an example. This complaint also came up in the video.

-The bell system and lack of any real zone boundaries that didn’t involve a door of some type. This is a huge must. EQ1’s zones felt better and more natural than most of EQ2’s – most of them. In EQ you felt like you were transitioning from area to area in a way that made sense but with EQ2 that was often not the case. Commonlands to Nektulos Forest? Come on. That was lame. It got a little better at the higher levels and in future expansions, but it didn’t really change my feeling that I’m in a big box and in that box is this type of stuff.. and the only hole out of the box is right here and it only takes you to this place. It felt too contained.

- Content was sort of dead and inanimate. Oh sure, some wandered around the towns and said things but it still seemed a little heartless and empty. I’m not really sure why. I think some of it is that the enemies just seemed to be there for the sake of being enemies. They were pretty inanimate. The odd patrol or wanderer but most of them just sat around at camps or at spawn points without doing much else. Even the named didn’t really seem to have a point in a lot of cases. There was little that gave you a clue as to why they were there (and yes, I read or listened to the quest stuff). There should be more scripting to the encounters or bosses or something of interest. In the Thundering Plains there was a small town that was randomly attacked by centaurs but nothing ever came from that. Why not? Missed opportunity.

- Dungeons weren’t big enough or were often a little too linear. Some had some pretty big scale to them, but were still very linear. There was little exploration or secret areas to discover in them. I think Varsoon’s was about the only one I played in that wasn’t all that linear. Some of the higher level stuff was better, but you need to keep people interested and rewarded for going into these places.

One of the other voiced complaints was, in essence, about forced grouping. While I don’t dislike being able to solo, I do also enjoying grouping and playing along with friends. EQ2 eventually went the route WoW did and made most of the outdoor content solo content while making the indoor content mostly ‘heroic’. Yes, I use that term loosely. I’m on the fence about forced grouping.

Those were my main issues with EQ2.

Good Times, Who Knew?

Raid was a success last night. We cleared all of ICC (butcept the King) in the 2.5 hour allotment of time. We actually took no breaks and were laughing almost the whole way. It was a crazy night. Lots of jokes floating, smack talking, and general hilarity.

I think things tend to move a little faster when you’re horsing around a little. Unfortunately, things weren’t necessarily as clean as they could have been. It was one shots all the way through except for Putricide where we were letting one of the new guys do the Abom so he had to learn how to suck up the goo.

Yes.

That was a big source of entertainment from the raid.

It was sort of sloppy, we had a couple of puddles of goo on the floor but beat him anyway. Only had a couple of people die (myself included) right near the end.

Oh! I got to call out, “Focus up!” I don’t know if everyone took me seriously or not because they shouldn’t have. Not in the least. Tim is suggesting that be our arena team name – we’d actually have to PVP to do that though…

Aside from that, I had a blast from the past send me a tell earlier in the day when I was sorting out daily transmutes, JCing and playing around in the auction house a little.

Sabist!

No idea who that is?

He goes back to EQ and my time on Stromm where I was playing an Erudite Cleric named, “Fabinusar Fabulous”. I’m not kidding – I actually argued with a Guide over that last name who said it sounded too much like a title. So I did a /surname Marvelous which worked and asked him to look at my last name. He escalated the ‘issue’.

Sabist was a Wizard who played along side his wife, Wiskas the Vah’shir Beastlord. Kaldonar (playing his Ogre Shadowknight) and I used to group up with them a lot and were in two raiding guilds with them.

Great sense of humor, easy going and was reliable. I can remember one raid (this was back when we were using chat channels in game and raid size was 72 people) where he died several times (overnuking hehe) and I kept having to rez him, cast a buff on him that cost a material component. I said I’d rez him, but I’m not going to waste any more peridots on his ass. Laughs all around.

The peridots were actually provided by the guild.

Later he and his wife (who never seemed to say more than six words at a time) popped into EQ2 with Kaldonar, Celem and me. Good times.

Turns out he is in a mature raiding guild over on Exodar. I have to admit, RealID came in handy there.

While I seemed like I knew what I was going to do, that sort of waffled again yesterday evening. I’m sort of torn again. I don’t feel up to much more than raiding at the moment. It’s sad.

My only goal now is to get the Lich King dead and get one of those motorcycles. I might still play around with the Troll Hunter a little. I managed to get him a pinkish colored Raptor who I promptly named, “Lyle.”

Blast From the Past…

Earlier in the week I popped onto IM and saw a request from a familiar name so I approved it but it was a request sent while I was offline so he wasn’t on… or at least who I thought it was wasn’t online. But that’s a good thing. If it was some porn spammer I would have had immediate response.

I got an IM from him just a short while ago but was in a meeting.

Who?

Sabist.

He was a Wizard I played with on Stromm in EQ1 and later ended up with my level 65 Cleric in a three way trade (where Kaldonar ended up with Sabist’s Necromancer and I ended up with Kaldonar’s Shadowknight).

But that was awhile ago.

Sabist (and his wife) joined us in EQ2 when it came out where we created a guild together which later merged with another friend’s guild. In other words, a good number of my long standing MMO buds should remember him.

After EQ2 we sort of lost touch until Vanguard came out. Sabist gave it a try but didn’t like too much for plenty of good reasons.

Man, it has been awhile! Several years – I wonder what he’s up to?

Hai!

I was just reflecting on gear and some of my favorite items in the MMOs I’ve played. I think the recipe for valuing the gear is how long or what was involved to get it, what fun thing it does and how long it stays valuable.

I’m trying to think of what item would be considered my favorite of all time, throughout all the MMOs I played…

It wasn’t a weapon since they tend to be a little less exciting, just more damage or faster swings. Most don’t really have a cool proc on them.

It wasn’t armor, though there were a few out there that would have been cool to have like the chest plate armor that gave you invis in EQ1.

I think I have to go with the Levitation Cloak in Vanguard.

Why?

Well, the quest to do it took some time but it was possible to do solo. Unfortunately it was a dull brown color but it had a clickable levitate effect (there was a cloak in EQ1 that had a permanent levitate effect though I never aquired it). The effect was simple and let me run across water/oceans while mounted. It let me jump down from high heights. And it added something to my character’s abilities that he didn’t have through his racial or class abilities so that is always a plus.

Runner’s up would have to be an item we gained out of Greystone, in Vanguard, that allowed you to change form into a black skeleton. That was neat. The quest required a group and involved delving into various parts of the dungeon – which is always a plus in my book.

And, this was a close one, my epic water sprinkler for my Cleric in EQ1. It had a clickable rez on it making recovering from wipes easier. The usable effect wasn’t really what did it for me though, the thing that made it valuable was all the time I had to sink into getting it. I spent time camping a rare spawn goblin (even wrote an app so I could get warned when he was about to pop). A guildie passed down an earring that let me breathe underwater so I could camp a rare under water. Once that was done, there was a matter of collecting a bunch of components and organizing some raids for various parts. In short, the item was less of a reward than having everyone else help me out and the memories of what happened along the way.

Now?

Not as common.

Everyone seems to have to have their gear handed to them or items are so watered down that they just become numbers on your way to doing MOAR whatever.

I think Blizzard is taking a step in the right direction with some of the items coming out of Icecrown Citadel but I also think they’re losing sight of some of the things that made the original game so cool. Everyone ends up sort of the same at the high level… it’s like you’re rushing to the level cap only to find you’re character looks much the same as everyone else. There is nothing distinguishing other than maybe a title or a mount.

Blizzard is starting to produce less content for its subscribers. I think they need to adjust this model. Go back to having worthwhile drops from the raids instead of just badges and gear that doesn’t upgrade over badge gear – and if it does, it looks the same as badge gear. Leave badge stuff around for people that want it but make raiding more worthwhile than just “getting the same shit sooner” or in the current case of 25 mans, “getting upgraded shit that looks the same as none upgraded shit”.

Really the only other things of value coming out of raids are trinkets, possibly jewelry and hand items (including weapons and shields). The bulk of the armor, cloaks, and what not are all easily available through badges. Even the recipes don’t require random drops, just a Primordial Saronite.

Gone are the days of things being rare.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good they’re trying to make raids more accessible to players and I like that they’re added in the hard mode switch for people that want more of a challenge, but the rewards just seem… meh.

If they’re going to make raiding more accessible, I think they should create a complete tier set of badge gear and a separate, better tier of gear that can be gained from raiding – and I don’t mean a simple upgrade to the badge gear, I mean a different look… not just flipping the color of the gem in my shoulder armor from yellow to green either.

Do it.