MMO Skill Levels

I’ve been re-introducing myself to The Secret World since their Issue 6 update. I have been burning through the Savage Coast with righteous fury following some build I didn’t understand. Understanding builds are critical in The Secret World because the game is difficult enough that it will punish players with slapdash loadouts.

I personally hate making builds in any game. I don’t mind tweaking them, but I am just not of the build-making mentality. So after feeling that I liked blood magic in the pick-a-weapon area, I found what I thought was a decent build for that based on affliction/penetration. It sucks. It doesn’t feel right, and I did more digging and…

Wouldn’t you know? The Secret World had ready-made decks in the game. This was a major head-smacking moment for me. Perhaps I would’ve found a build more to my liking if I had noticed these. It is partly my fault since I did not watch all the tutorials. I actually wish that I had been forced to “choose” a deck or at least “none”.

I am starting to drop blood skills, just finding it too weak for my liking, and I am heading to a sword/chaos build. I might not have that much more DPS, but at least I will be more survivable. I should be able to tank in dungeons as well, which should help me find groups.

I am starting to pay a lot more attention to these types of details since I have been helping Mrs. Ravious learn Guild Wars 2. She is starting a square one for learning MMOs, and honestly, she hasn’t played any movement-based video games in a long time. It is a personal eye opener for so many mechanics I just take for granted.

Targeting, facing, skill cooldown, and healing are still lessons of the day. Camera controls remains a large issue.  Who knows when we will touch things like upgrading and inventory. I see whole systems in new light. I can’t even imagine someone picking up an MMO without a mentor to help them along. Active video game experience seems required.

She constantly asks me “what am I supposed to do?” I just assumed it was obvious. I meekly answer, “don’t you want to unlock things, get to the next area, fill that heart?” It took her awhile to even get that. When she did, I sat back and watched her complete to hearts without much commentary by me. I don’t think she is hooked, but I see her start to incorporate many things that are so deeply burned in to my muscle memory / knowledge-base that I can barely put them in to words.

My daughters continue to mostly play Guild Wars 2 as a toy, although my eldest is getting interested in pushing the personal story along a little. She is determined to stay in Queensdale for the foreseeable future, regardless. They have a new game now that resulted in my making 120 Ruminant Tonics from last month. One turns into a moose in the Bandithaunt Caverns and the other has to lead the moose out safely. Many, many giggles ensue.

I honestly haven’t taught my daughters that much about the game, but they apparently don’t need to know much to have fun. I’m pretty sure youth + neuroplasticity + osmosis is the best combination for playing any games, video or not. I wonder if deeper understanding of the designed fun and hidden mechanics will erode that glee. At least their rudimentary appreciation for levels has not had any appreciable effect.

My favorite games are all MMOs, but it seems like the more I play, the harder it is to understand how complicated these games are. Sometimes I have to experience my favorite MMOs through another’s eyes to get that understanding.


8 thoughts on “MMO Skill Levels”

  1. Just be happy that Guild Wars 2 is nothing like it’s predecessor when it comes to build complexity. It it weren’t as dumbed down as it is you’d have much more on your hands then just conditioning your wife into the carrot-hunting creature most MMOers are nowadays. Your daughters however are pleasant to hear about. They are just enjoying the game it seems – without regards for achievements, titels, items or wealth.

    1. She’s a goal oriented gamer. Back in her college days she filled up a SimCity 2000 map completely with arcologies because that seemed like “the goal”. I am pretty sure that if I introduced MMOs as E, S, or K… she would not play them.

  2. I read up on TSW decks and builds before I started playing, so I at least had a little direction. I went with Assault Rifle and Blades to begin with, but eventually converted to Blade/Chaos for my solo build. I use Assault Rifle/Shotgun for dps in dungeons, Fist/Blood for healing, and Hammer/Blade for tanking, though I used to use Blade/Chaos back when Escalation was “required.” I also ave various other builds for specific situations — a no-afflict build for certain nightmare mobs in Transylvania, a hinder build for 2 other mob areas (1 to split small “helper” mobs from the main one you want to kill, and another area where the mobs do 50% more damage to you *unless* you hinder them), a Shotgun/Blade build for AE farming for signets. . . . .

    So many builds, so many things to do with them. . . .

    FWIW, my solo build is here, if you want to look at it: It works really well. Only downside it that you have to use an aux weapon for range, but that’s not a big deal.

  3. Anet has talked in the past about the possibility of offering some pre-made builds. I don’t know their current thinking on that. Fortunately most of the game requires no set builds. That is one of the features I enjoy in the game. Players can have fun on many different levels. Sometimes I am simply in awe of the artistic graphics.

    1. Having weapon-oriented skills is basically that. Flipping utilities is so easy that one can experiment quite readily in comparison to other games requiring a retrait.

  4. I love hearing about your daughters – and other people’s stories about kids playing GW2 – because a lot of us grown-up types find it hard to appreciate playing the game as a toy, as you put it. Personally, I love the idea that there are people who come to Tyria as a neat virtual hangout in which to make their own games. Maybe that’s because I enjoy roleplaying, which is often pretty close to that childish make-your-own-fun, at least the way my friends and I do it :D That sits alongside our more achievement-focused gaming.

  5. Same problem with my wife : she has never played a FPS before, and juggling with the camera is hard for her, moving at the same time with direction defined by the camera is just stupid for her ! She loves Diablo 3 because it is so simple to play !
    As she hate being teached by me, she just lost patience after 15min. I took the direction whereas she plays the skills, but this is not that fun.

    The problem is I have not been able to think a way about how arena net could have made it Beginner compatible without changing the game. Only solution : playing with a gamepad ? But how to deliver the 10+ skills ?

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