Tobold's Blog
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Open Sunday Thread

Need I say more? The now traditional open Sunday thread, in which you can discuss what you like, or suggest subjects for future blog entries.
Once the WoW expansion is released, that's it. Except for SG Worlds, a game that probably has zero chance of redefining the genre, it could be years before any new major MMOs are released.
Mmm... StarGate Worlds. I'm looking forward to that one. If nothing else, I love the lore. If they don't screw it up completely, it's going to be worth a peek. I similarly doubt it'll be a revolutionary experience, but it may well be a good one nevertheless.
Suggest subjects? How about suggesting titles? One week do posts comprised entirely of the names of Beatles songs and figure out what to write - Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite! could be about the pros and cons of mob kiting in MMOs. Now just fill in the rest and you're set.
- Do future MMOs need character levels in the traditonal form?

- Is there any chance at all to avoid the holy trinity of tank/healer/DD and 'leveling' that suits only to the DDs or group play?

- Is the WAR approach to add a 'lesser ward' to the sets a little bit too easy to set the pace for the PvE content?

- Is there a way to introduce trade in classic fantasy MMOs without removing fast travel to dungeons? Would it actually be fun? (In SciFI MMOs it IS a lot of fun)

- .. more questions next sunday :)
Would making travel fast but expensive work?

walking is free

taking a griffon takes 3 minutes, and costs a gold

teleport from an npc costs 20 gold

Or just make carrying large quantities of trade goods requires a pack mule, wagon train or ship, with a guarantee of bandit attacks along the way that you have to recruit player guards to fight off.
You can't avoid the holy trinity in a class based MMO unless you make your MMO hybrid only. The problem isn't the holy trinity, the problem is that hybrids and pure classes don't mix well, because one always has advantages over the other, and it's almost impossible to design content that accommodates that fact.

= # # =
There is a problem with the holy trinity, it restricts who you can bring with you. Unless your friends made the right "mix" of classes, you have to drop them to the curb in the name of group balance.
what if there was an mmo which was designed for players to amalgamate together to access content? For instance, when you start you choose a shape then you choose a color. You may start as a small shape and grow larger with experience. The world is full of physical obstacles and dexterous tricks that require players to fuse their shapes and colors together in various ways to pass or solve these. Example would be passing a gorge in a dungeon. PvP would pit groups of fused players against each other, letting their shape composition and color characteristics determine strategy and tactics.
DDO is an example where the holy trinity was softened.

As for a MMO in the horizon, although is still vaporware, i would say Warhammer 40K from Relic.

If they pull it off, and i'm lighting candles for that, i will be, at least lore wise, one of the best MMO's ever.
gems, glyphs, inscriptions, new talents, many talents, many professions- wow is becoming quite complex. I put on some old gear to try the new feral tree and was annihilated in PvP. New players are going to have a lot of exploring to do just in their character panes to figure out how to play. I think in addition to breathtaking lore-based cinematics, that Blizz needs a "How-to" video just to orient new players.
"wow is becoming quite complex"

you are kidding, right?
Where could Blizzard go after the Lich King? The Maelstrom with Azshara and the nagas, fine. I am more interested in that than in Northrend anyway. But what comes after? Some made-up continent of Azeroth, maybe the one the textures of which could be reached by exploration exploits, or some new, outworldy stuff like the Emerald Dream, which I find rather boring and... green. Meh.

Do people reading this blog see any possible territories and lore for the next expansions besides the aforementioned two?
Fast but expensive would make people bitch.

The holy trinity, for better or for worse, is here to stay. Even if you eliminated 'classes' as a general guideline, you would want someone focused on survival and threat generation to hold mob attention and you would want another person focused on healing to keep the group alive. The holy trinity can exist without classes and trying to make a game without healers or tanks would result in a very boring and bland DPS zergfest.

An MMOFPS could make this work, although I imagine a healer-type would still be on many player's wishlists. Some people like playing combat medic.

DDO only had it 'softened', because multiclassed hybrids were pretty much the most powerful builds unless you were going a caster route. /Cleric was an exceptionally powerful class to mix with any physical fighter, a common build would be Cleric 16/Figher 4, using the cleric self buffs and grabbing Weapon Spec from Fighter. (D&D CRPGs are pretty much an exercise in powergaming)
The holy trinity is only sacrosanct for as long as mob AI is so... artificial. Medieval warfare was composed of melee and ranged (different "classes"), but ultimately, it's the modern game AI that has created the "need" for the tank/dps/healer trinity.

I've said it before, but if Onyxia demonstrated proper AI, this thing we call "threat" would be very different. She would eat the healers first, crush the leather wearers, and then slow roast the tanks. The WoW threat mechanic is fine for a "game", but it's not the only way of making combat work.

Tactical positioning and spatial blocking are good avenues to investigate. Environmental tactics should be huge. (Onyxia can fly, so ground based blocking wouldn't be all that useful.) Perhaps even battle timing, like catching her when she's stuck in a narrow part of the cave, where she can be blocked.
Do you plan to get the Mines of Moria Expansion for LOTRO? You probably aren't in a rush to get it as you aren't at the level cap yet (from what i can tell from your blog)and you are a bit busy with WAR and soon WotLK. I just started playing this weekend and I like it much more than WoW.
They could easily code exceptions around the holy trinity to make fights more interesting. Examples:

- Boss randomly attacks different people
- Boss picks up a character and throws it at the others
- Boss hits, retreats to higher ground, fights again, CC's, etc.
- Boss attacks holy casters. Makes sense since they are supposed to be evil anyway.
- Boss attacks whoever hits him hardest, regardless of their Range/caster dps.

About MMOs on the horizon, what about GW 2? Or is that too far away.
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