Still Killing Dragons

About 10 years ago, the only raids that existed involved killing dragons in EQ. Today, you can go into the IG-88 instance in SWG and face giant droids with flame throwers. It might seem dumb to have an entire group chipping away at the health of a fire-blowing giant assassin droid, and it should. It is dumb. After all these years, we’re still killing dragons.

Really cool characters like IG-88 shouldn’t be crammed into a raid-mold that was invented for dragons.

It’s not just the dragons either. We’re still doing everything we’ve been doing. Stimpacks are just a health potions. Your armor and heroic jewelry has magic enchantments that makes you stronger and faster. Your medic is effectively just tossing out healing spells. After all these years, we’re still playing the same game with slight changes to avoid copy-right infringement.

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Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

15 thoughts on “Still Killing Dragons”

  1. Star Wars is an odd genre, to some extent a genre of its own.

    The film was conceived as a way to revitalise the war film, a genre that had dominated cinemas from 1945-1977. Hence the Empire and its Nazi-style war machine.

    For cinematic reasons they wanted swords in rather than laser guns. To sci fi them up they decided to make them laser swords.

    They then decided to throw a magic system into the pot.

    So it’s a sci fi film based in the genre of World War Two films with fantasy-themed hardware used by the heroes and military-themed hardware used by the villains.

    Additionally they firmly departed from traditional hard sci fi values of scientific validity, hell their scriptwriters didn’t even know what a parsec was.

    I love Star Wars but it had never stood up well when one stops and thinks hard about it. You just have to go with the flow.

  2. ^^ Cite sources.

    My aversion to raiding actually began early in EQ, when I found that my character was expected to kill dragons (namely Vox and Nagafen). I’m not entirely sure why, but I found the idea repugnant and decided never to have any of my characters be even partially responsible for the death of a dragon.

    I was much more disciplined as a role-player back then, of course. I played a druid in EQ for over five years without ever killing any creature that didn’t attack me first and no animals at all, even if they did. Nowadays I just kill anything that gets in my way or has stuff I want. What a degraded experience it all is.

  3. I agree, but I don’t see it as a big problem.

    Fire is cool (provided your graphics are up to it) so fire-breathing enemies make sense. Any Sufficiently Advanced medicine is going to make your medic just like a fantasy priest, and insufficiently advanced medicine just isn’t going to be convincing in making medic a worthwhile role.

    Well, yeah, OK, having IQ-88 as a raid boss is jarring and awful. (And is he the one you’re calling ‘giant’? I really wish developers would stop using human-sized raid bosses if they insist that raid bosses must be very large.)

    A combat system that would cater to teamwork, have distinction between roles and make everyone feel valuable while _not_ having a feeling of plinking away at a dragon-sized health pool is essentially the Holy Grail. The fact that SWG – a fairly old game that in my opinion lost its soul when they put classes in – happens to be EQ in space isn’t really so bad, considering.

    Do you want to propose what you’d have instead? I know I’m not ready to :-)

  4. In part I’d say its the old problem of translating 400 page books into 2hr movies. Games need to squeeze stuff like healing in the SW universe (jedi meditation or bacta tank submersion), as well as years of combat training into fun game format. So to keep the action moving along we get stimpacks and levels.

  5. @Stabs: not insult to anyone here, but that’s the most interesting comment I’ve seen here in a while. I’d love it if you would cite some sources. Even if they are “gasp” offline, there are some of us that still read books and have access to libraries and Amazon.

    In any case I agree with your assertion that Star Wars is science fantasy. It’s a smooth blending of genre conventions from high fantasy and science fiction. Even if GL is a total nutter that pisses on his own achievements, he created a genre blend that remains extremely compelling.

  6. Sorry guys I wasn’t basing my comment upon some quote from someone, it’s just opinion.

    I could now write a literary/cinematic essay drawing parallels between the Errol Flynn – Nigel Rathbone fight at the end of Robin Hood and the Obi Wan – Vader fight, between the Nuremburg rallies and the formations of Stormtroopers (the name is frankly indicative of what they were thinking of!) parading for the Emperor but at the end of the day it’s just how I see the Star Wars films. Any evidence is there for anyone to see or not see.

    Getting back on topic I don’t think it’s completely out of line to have giant raid bosses in SWG. The Sarlacc was certainly not something a warrior could solo – there’s no question in the film of Luke or Boba just killing it. The Droideka in Ep 1 are too tough for Qi-Gon and Obi-Won who run from them despite being two of the toughest characters in the galaxy. And arguably the battle of Yavin could be considered a raid to beat a giant menace (the Death Star).

    The mechanics in the game might be annoying or just too done to death but lore-wise raid bosses do fit the Star Wars genre.

  7. I’m pretty sure that, given a good repulsorlift skiff and enough thermal detonators, I could solo the Sarlacc, to say nothing of Luke or Boba. Easiest kite target in the world.

  8. *Enough* thermal detonators? From reading supplementary material, those aren’t hand grenades… they’re mini-nukes.

  9. Yeah, I am sick of it all. I will probably go back to WoW, that’s what I do, I play, get sick of the treadmill and get off, then later get back on. Not because I like the treadmill, but I like other things. And my “IRL” friends are there, unlike other games. I’d play LOTRO more, but my friend calls me wanting to work on our druids.

    But it seems like I get sick of it right when a big patch hits. Somehow handing out tons of turn-ins for grinding out the same instance over and over does it. Instead of “wow now I can gear up my alts” I think “wow, is that all I’m doing is repeating the same grind?” Funny the patch really drove the point home and drove me out. The patches near the end of TBC did the same thing to me.

    That’s why I’ve been playing Wizard 101 lately. It is pretty different than the average MMO. Enough to keep me playing, and the pay as you go setup means i can pick it up or drop it whenever I feel like. It can be a grind if you are trying to get good drops, but there are enough interesting combos of powers that making new alts is fun. Now I have to figure out how to find people.

  10. Hmm I think my post was slightly off topic. I didn’t mean it to be about grinding, rather I meant it to be, I have been playing the same game forever in one form or another. And no matter what it is, feels grindy, because what do I ever get out of it? So I get sick of them. but I still play, while not having fun.

    man that is sad.

  11. :shrug:

    There are a number of different alternative design choices, which is the odd part. City of Heroes had little problem building a raid where the most difficult part was fighting giant waves of bad guys, with the “dragon”, U’kon G’rai being a relatively minor aspect compared to the hordes of relatively minor enemies. Champions Online has the healing potions and medics tossing out healing spells, but you can just as easily take down “dragons” with a trio of blaster-style characters using Block to play damage sponge.

    The problem isn’t the option of other design choices. They are out there. It’s that players don’t actually seem to want them. Even games that specialized in over-powered player characters blowing away hordes of bad guys, like the endless parade of Dynasty Warriors games, people remember the dragons and not the levels without them. Beating up a million minions is fun, but without a big villain with actual personality behind them, it’s simple bullying. No matter how much better a Force Fielder would be in City of Heroes, people get stuck on stupi… I mean healing.

  12. What’s the solution though?

    You want to have an online game, in which groups of people act together in different roles to accomplish things. You want it to be star wars and reflect the universe, but you also dont want MMO tropes at all, since they break immersion.

    However it has to be character-driven; it can’t be X-wing Online or anything. What would be positive mechanics that could help?

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