On MMOs

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This was originally going to be a comment to Spinks, because I caught sight of the post over David’s shoulder this morning…  But it was running long, and moving further away from a direct reply, so instead I’m just gonna post here take advantage of the post.

As former WoW’ers, David and I are currently doing some low-key goofing off with a couple F2Ps and a lot of Dragon Age. However, we do have our eyes on both GW2 and SWTOR as the big contenders for our next MMO-bucks.  The appeal of both comes from the potential of different, but I don’t really feel I can (as yet) embrace either whole-heartedly. In the main, it’s because I just need more information, which is to be expected with both being definitively pre-Alpha. But also partially because I have reservations about each.

SWTOR, unfortunately, suffers from being a Sci-Fi game. I know, I know, it’s horribly shallow. But the aesthetics of swords and knights and dragons have always made my heart go pitter pat in a way that blasters and spaceships just can’t.  GW2 is a bit more complicated. Until reading the information on the “shakeup of the holy trinity,” (relinking to Spinks, it’s a good post) every bit of information I saw about GW made me go “OH NEAT!” Reading about a lack of dedicated healing class rocked me back on my heels a bit and made me go hmm.

For those who don’t want to check the link, to sum up, GW2 is not going to have dedicated “tank” or “heal” classes, instead multiple classes will have mob control/group support abilities.  And objectively speaking, that’s kinda neat.  It does away with most class balance issues, and spreads the group responsibility between everyone in the group, rather than “wtf y i die?”

But…  (y’all knew there was a “but” there, din’tcha?) I’m a dedicated support player.  I dabble in DPS and tanking in various games (except Dragon Age– there it’s rogue except when it’s warrior), but I’m a healer at heart.  While the lack of a healing class may be a bonus in a lot of ways, and a smart game decision, making the game better for those people stuck in LFG looking for a healer (most definitely the majority of any playerbase) being one of those healers makes it potentially a bad choice for me.

Part of this is my situation, I’m certain.  I don’t solo, at least primarily, so I don’t care as much about DPS capabilities or soloability of my characters.  There will always be another person I spend 95% of my game time with, and as such I’m already a minority.  I don’t expect games to cater to my situation.  However, there’s a lot of people out there who ARE primarily support, and don’t find healing to be boring.  The GW devs seem to be entirely ignoring that playerbase.  Moving away from a system where you can’t do X without a dedicated tank and healer?  I’m okay with that…  But not enabling those who enjoy the tasks to do them seems like it’s cutting it’s nose off to spite it’s face.

There may be very good reasons.  People may not be willing to TRY the new system if there are dedicated tank and healer classes they can lean on.  It could be issues of balance.  And, you know, those are all very good reasons.   But that’s not what they’re saying.  They’re saying that healing is boring and only needed when you’re losing anyway.  And, um, no.  That’s totally not how to entice a playerbase.

So, while I’m still keeping my eye on new information, my enthusiasm has been seriously dampened.

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10 responses »

  1. I’m definitely the bigger Star Wars Fan here, but I may win you over yet. Not that Guild Wars 2 lacks appeal if it sticks with the GW 1 pricing model – but if Star Wars: The Old Republic plays anything close to as fun as Dragon Age (go Bioware) the combo of good gameplay and Star Wars-ness would definitely be a win.

    • mmmmmmmyes…. But blasters and spaceships? I mean, I know I love me some Star Wars and Star Trek, but as far as games go, I’ve just never really had the desire.

      You know me– Dragon Age Yay! Mass Effect meh.

      • It is, of course, up to you to decide what you like – but Star Wars has long been a kind of meeting place between Sci-Fi and Fantasy. For all the blasters and Spaceships, there’s also lightsabers, and the Force which pretty much is shorthand for Swords and Sorcery.

        • Shorthand, yes. But at the same time, the look is different. There’s something very different between swinging around a piece of metal vs a piece of fluorescent lighting.

          I want to be as excited about SWTOR as you, I really really really do. It would make some things much easier. But at the same time, the information I see is all “Yeah, that’s very interesting” in a way that totally is my brain and not my gut.

  2. Have a look at the article on the GW2 page itself, and then look at this interview with Eric Flannum, one of the developers, http://www.gamona.de/games/guild-wars-2,interview-pc:article,1770674,page-3.html.

    I think you’ll see you’ll still be able to be a dedicated ‘support’ player, but with more options. You could go in as an elementalist, say, and instead of focusing on fire damage spells, you could go in with water spells to do more damage mitigation and healing. You could still be a dedicated healer/support; you just wouldn’t be a monk. To me, it’s not that ArenaNet is trying to get people away from playing that role, they’re trying to get away from a game that requires at least some people to play each role.

    If you think about it, in Guild Wars now, the protection monks (damage mitigation) are more effective than just straight heal monks. GW2 just says, “You can’t play a monk and do that, but you can play any other class and do that.”

    In Guild Wars now, every group wants a monk. No getting around it. Even restoration ritualists, who can do some serious healing, are good enough. With GW2, if a team is looking for support, an ele can just switch from a fire staff to a water staff and they’re off. Even a greatsword warrior could switch to a shield/mace, it seems, and they would be set.

    • Yes, the primary reason I felt compelled to reply to Spinks was I’ve been watching both SWTOR and GW2 (though primarily GW2) for the past couple months and saw the post in question last night. ;)

      I don’t actually have experience with GW1 to speak of. I did a free trial a few years ago, and while I felt it was VERY pretty, I didn’t find any of the classes terribly intuitive and targeting to be occasionally clunky (Why am I targeting that mob 100 yards behind me when I’m trying to click that one right in front of me arrrgh!) so I’m kinda nervous coming at this from an outside perspective. I’m not used to posting anything game-related when I don’t know my shit.

      However, since I *don’t* know my shit, I’m left with what GW2 tells me… Which is part of the reason it was such a disappointment.

      Don’t belittle the SUPPORT role by calling it heal. Healing is the least dynamic kind of support there is. It is reactive instead of proactive. Healing is for when you are already losing.

      Okay, yes, maybe. It’s your game. But what you’re saying is healing isn’t important (because it’s belittling to call support that) and that it means you’re losing.

      I’m not going to go so far as to point and scream “They’re calling me a tiny loser!” because I’m not seven and I’ve been around the internet long enough to know that not everything is personal… But at the same time, they seem to be creating a game biased against the thing I most enjoy doing.

      I’m not trying to say the game is bad by any means… I still find all I’ve heard about it and seen of it so far to be very interesting, and I’m going to keep an eye on it most definitely… It’s just the first wrench in the works that says “Marianne, this game may just not be for you.” :)

    • However *points up above at Tarsus’ comments* all this discussion may be somewhat moot since the spousal unit is rooting so hard for SWTOR ;)

      • omglightsabers. *Vwarown* (that is lighsaber for “pew pew”, don’t you know.)

        I might note, somewhat ruefully, that due to an apparent lack of Mac support for either game it seems sadly unlikely that we will have the pleasure of spousal combo Lori/Matt to play with. That is sad making.

  3. Pingback: More on MMOs « Marianne’s Musings

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