Moo Tang Clan: February 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

classes in a skills-based world?

While reading the latest blog meme, which includes discussion of classes vs skills based character development, I had this passing thought... instead of all players being able to improve whichever skills they want, how about providing in-game trainer NPCs which only offer a specific set of skills. Thus, Master Yoshi of Black Mountain might offer a bunch of stealthy combat skills, but eschews anything better than a hard leather cuirass. Meanwhile, Warlord Wagan can teach you everything you need to become a master of arms, capable of dominating close combat, defending others.

Classes, in other words.

Provide lots of different trainers with different skill sets, possibly even add new trainers as interesting hybrid builds evolve. Provide some bonus skills or skill points if you keep going back to the same trainer so as to discourage rampant skill shopping, but nonetheless still allow the player to pick and choose nearly any skill of all available. Have some skill trees only become unlocked from a given trainer if the player completes a difficult task or quest for that trainer. It will still be possible to build a completely custom hybrid character, but you'd need to put in a lot more work.

Would you play in a world like that?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

we barely got out alive

We carefully picked our way to the boss's inner sanctum, went over the plan one last time, and then unleashed hell. The fight was going well, our hero commanded the villain's attention while our cohorts pummeled him bodily and pierced him through with our sharpest arrows. Brother Ereidos kept our spirits up, and tended to our wounded too.

Where things went wrong we don't know, but suddenly our champion was mortally struck down and it was now our turn to suffer his wrath. What few survived his initial assault fled - all but bold Tomas, he gave his life in one last desperate bid to distract him with some vile taunt, but to no avail alas. The rest of us took that boon offered by Tomas, we heeded his final exhortation to flee.

Now, we were scattered and broken, and the alarm had been raised. Patrols were fervently searching for us, some of us took cover in side rooms, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse, making our way to the broken door which was our entry to this hell.

Hmm ... a scenario unlikely to occur in WoW - when the tank dies the raid will typically quickly wipe. If you run, if you can, if you're not locked in the room, he will relentlessly pursue you with incredible speed and unerring omniscience, and deadly potency. The lair will not be abuzz with patrols freshly roused. There are no games you can play with line of sight to escape capture and a sound beating. It matters no difference if you release your spirit or await the return of your comrades to render aid, there is only one state of defeat, there is no lingering incapacitation.

Side note: how about, at least, instead of being locked in the room there would appear additional enemy troops who stand back, obedient to their master, letting him deal with the interlopers (oh, the folly of the arrogant evil overlord, so used to their omnipotence they little realise the real danger facing them). If the boss goes down, the patrols are routed, fleeing in fear that our attention will now be turned to them. If any players attempt to flee then they face certain death for themselves, and may even trigger an all-in reaction (to their immediate and eternal ire of their fellow raiders).

Side note the second: just once, I'd like to see a raid boss set up such that once he's down we now have a new fight on our hands just to simply get out, or for our colleagues to rejoin us. I don't mean finish off the adds, I mean your exit is blocked by mobs. There should be ample time to recover from the boss fight, raise your dead, patch your wounds, summon reinforcements. If however you down the boss with only the tank and one dps still standing then they have an uncomfortable choice on your hands. Simply surviving the fight wouldn't be enough now.

In Naxxramas there's at least one point a little bit like this: to fight Gluth you must drop into his room, and once done there you have no way you can simply walk out. You must either hearth, port, be summoned, or fight through the rest of the construct quarter. Or die. Your comrades can join you in this predicament very easily though - you can simply walk in then jump into the room with you. So, not the same.

There's also a few cases where time is used as the limit to your freedom - both timed events for strathholme mean you don't have the luxury of releasing and walking back in, you not only have to survive each fight but must survive it with strength to spare.

Conclusion: yeah, getting bored with the reboot-video game design of raiding right now. Someone please make a more interesting game kkthxbai.