Tobold's Blog
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Open Sunday Thread

You know the drill by now: Propose subjects for discussion, ask questions, and discuss among yourself on my Sunday off from blogging.
You talked in an earlyer post about how well a dps , a tank and a healer can handle single content. Regarding Wotlk , the conclusion was that lately , tanks seem to kill mobs almost as fast as dps classes can , but they have a much greater survivability. Here is a possible solution to the problem (others may have came up with it before me and if it was already talked about here , then i apologize). Keep the killing speed of tanks and dps clases similar. And , for single content , keep their survivability similar as well. In stead , improve the tank's endurance for groups. An aura/efect like "when in a group , all damage towards you is mitigated by X percent" could help. Or an efect like "whie ability is active , mitigation improves by X% but damage is reduced by Y%" , which is essentially how tanks were. They could last more , but hit for less - by using an ability like this one they could be just like tanks were , only that it would be a voluntary choice.
How feasible do you think this is ?
It's now being reported that the developers of Star Gate Worlds are out of capital and no one is getting paid. Looks like that will be one less MMO to worry about. In fact, the outlook for gamers bored with WOW, WAR, LOTRO, and AOC is pretty grim. Literally nothing new is on the horizon for years. The only title I can think of is Champions Online, but no one is salivating over that title anyway. As I posted a few days ago, I expect next Summer to be a real drag for the die hards, with nothing new to play and little to look forward to.

I'm a great fan of this kind of approach. Blizzard seem to have attempted something along these lines with the warrior stances, but I'm not sure it goes far enough. It's perfectly possible to give classes similar DPS and survivability when soloing without compromising their group roles. So, for example, up a holy priest's DPS, but increase the mana cost of shields. Make the difference between defensive stance and berserk stance greater, so that there is much lower armour in "DPS mode" without hurting tanking. Make most of a rogue's DPS come from backstab attacks that don't work when soloing, etc.

There's one that has been/will be released soon (depending on your region): The Chronicles of Spellborn (though I'm looking at it with a wary eye). I'm kind of but not really that interested in it, but I thought I'd throw that out there.
City of Heroes released it's Issue 13 earlier this week, along with a special "Reactivation Weekend", that gives everyone who used to have a CoH account a few days of free game time. (Which, by the way, is an interesting inversion of WoW's model - whereas Blizzard makes you pay extra to get an expansion, NCSoft makes you actually pay less in certain circumstances. Is this difference more of a case of Blizzard being so sure of their market position that they are certain existing subscribers will shell out more money, or NC being desperate to get people back to their game? Hmm...)

One of the most interesting features of the new expansion, genre innovation wise, is what they call the "Day Job System". Functionally, this is very similar to the Rested XP from World of Warcraft, giving a character small rewards for time spent logged out, but takes it a step further: here it's not just experience - you get different perks depending on the location you logged out at. These can be improved drops (several different varieties), temporary powers, store discounts etc.

Furthermore spending enough time on a particular "Day Job" awards you badges, and getting two badges that form a theme grants you another badge, which in turn gives you improved perks from either job.

As you can see this is similar concepts to Rested XP, but made much more complex and interesting. Will the idea catch on with other games? Will we see new ways of interacting with your characters both in and outside of the game? Or is this just single-game curiosity which will be quickly forgotten by the industry? Any opinions?


Okay, maybe I should have told you about the Reactivation Weekend thing before it was coming to an end...

I think it may very well appear in other games. While "day jobs" as a theme works well in a superpowered being context, the game mechanics behind it could very well be used for other types of MMOs. I certainly hope that more games try out ideas in this area.


Aion, Jumpgate Evolution, Fallen Earth and as mentioned Spellborn are some titles than comes into mind in addition to Champions Online. And there are already other titles to try out that has been available for years if you are bored with some of the mainstream fantasy titles.
The only "big name" title there is Aion though. And it has the "Anime" look strike against it in Western Culture. For some reason these games do not do as well here in North America for example (unless it is Final Fantasy).
Aion has a lot to prove...

As to Spellborn. That one is a no starter. Too many issues with distribution (looks at Acclaim with an evil eye) and a simplified game based on all accounts of information (Standard questing, kill 10x wrapped in an FPS) equals no new MMO worth a darn in 2009.

WoW has won the WAR
Isn't Guild Wars 2 coming out next year?
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