Now if, back in 1978, you’d told me that there were going to be three main character classes in future MMOs, I would probably have assumed some kind of rock/paper/scissors relationship among them for reasons of balance. Archers beat infantry, cavalry beat archers, infantry beat cavalry — that sort of thing. I don’t believe for a moment I’d have gone with what we have, which is the “trinity” of tank, heals and dps. The tank takes all the damage issued by the opponent, the healer reduces this damage, and the dps gives damage (dps is “damage per second”, non-players) to the opponent. This doesn’t make a great deal of sense in gameplay terms: the healer is redundant (they’re basically just armour for the tank), the premiss is unrealistic (“I’ll hit the guy in the metal suit who isn’t hurting me, rather than the ones in the cloth robes who are burning my skin off”), it doesn’t work for player versus player combat (because players don’t go for the guy in the metal suit) and it doesn’t scale (a battle with 1,000 fighters on either side — how many tanks do you need?). Don’t get me wrong, it can be a lot of fun, but it’s a dead end in design terms.
One of my main concerns while watching many of the videos the Guild Wars 2 folks have been sharing are the little one-liners the characters shout when they attack. You know, things like “Take that!”. I knew right away I would get sick of hearing that sort of thing all the time. Thankfully, they agree with me. Read this quote from their latest news, Talking Heads: VO and Dialogue in GW2:
We’re also aware that there can be too much of a good thing, which is why we’ve developed a sound throttling system so you won’t hear the same combat chatter repeated over and over again during fights. Those concerned about the game being diluted with “snappy one-liners” can breathe a sigh of relief. You won’t hear quips every five seconds, and most of them aren’t smarmy in nature. That annoys us just as much as it does you.
Make sure you listen to the samples while you are there.
I grabbed a lifetime account on Free Realms for both of my kids. One of the perks of becoming a member is that you get a house as well as the free apartment everyone gets. Problem is, the house is only for one character and it is not shared over the account. Even though you can have 3 characters (I’m not sure why you’d want more than one) only one of them gets the house. The rest get apartments. I really do not understand why you wouldn’t share it to all 3 but hey that’s the rule.
The first thing my daughter does is create a new character (again it was a perk of gaining member status to get 2 more character slots) and the “you have an item to claim” icon shows up so she clicks it and next thing you know she has a house. Excitement! Decorating! Then she logs into the character she has been playing since the game came out and hey what’s this apartment thing? Where’s my house? She had no idea. So she deletes the new character thinking that the house will show up on the only character left. Oops! She just deleted her house. It’s gone for good. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m sure it warned her that the house is tied to one character only when she claimed it but for whatever reason she did not digest that information.
SuperDad steps up to the plate and contacts Free Realms support. After a few emails back and forth they grant the house to her main character and remind me to remind her not to delete that character because if she did she would be out of luck and have to buy a house in the future.
I really only have one question for them: Why would you do it that way?
You can read an excerpt from the upcoming “Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon” book by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb here. Small excerpt of the excerpt here:
The sylvari set her chin and concentrated on a patch of the bones lining the left side of the passage. She swung her arms and fingers in a complex pattern and spoke words that made Dougal’s head ache slightly. A greenish glow formed in the wall of bones and coalesced around a human-sized set of remains.
As Dougal watched, the bones detached from the surrounding patch and assembled themselves into a coherent skeleton. The deep-green glow, rather than sinew and tendons, held it together. The right side of its skull had been bashed in, and its jaw was missing, as was the lower part of its right arm, which terminated in a pair of jagged breaks. It stood before them like a servant presenting itself to its betters.
One of our latest and frequent spam comments (emphasis is mine):
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“Traditionally, massively multiplier online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars – combat, exploration and character progression,” Derek Smart continued. “In Alganon, in addition to these we’ve added the fourth pillar to the equation; a story. We delivered a fun, immersive adventure that gamers expect in a top quality massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, we’re not done yet. A whole new adventure with new updates will follow soon, starting with a consignment house, new classes, PvP and much more.”
Now check out this statement from the SWTOR folks, dated October 21, 2008.
“Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars – combat, exploration and character progression,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare and General Manager/Vice President of Electronic Arts Inc., “In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation – story. At the same time, we will still deliver all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a AAA massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe.”
The December first launch of the game “should never have happened,” and Smart is working to fix this. Among other things, he says the “WoW lookalike rubbish” is gone. The design team is throwing it out and working in a completely different direction to give the game its own unique look and feel. “You don’t go competing with WoW when you don’t have a WoW sized budget or the manpower to match.”
They copied World of Warcraft, realized it was a dumb idea, and are going to take all that WoW rubbish out.
“Traditionally, massively multiplier online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars – combat, exploration and character progression,” Derek Smart continued. “In Alganon, in addition to these we’ve added the fourth pillar to the equation; a story.