Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
 
World of Warcraft god mode

Imagine World of Warcraft had a god mode, like Skyrim does. What would that mean for the game?

My previous post about Skyrim was too long to get my point across, so this is the short version: I think that many of the freedoms you have in Skyrim, if transplanted to a game like World of Warcraft, would destroy WoW as a game. We do not want a MMORPG in which you can exploit terrain, can cast spells for zero mana, or can turn on god mode. Why do we want these features in Skyrim?
Comments:
To be fair... WoW exploits already exist since the vanilla era. Underground farmers are a good example. Dead-corpses spamming websites too.

You risk a permanent ban if you hack WoW, of course... but the game is far from being hacking-free.

A complete freedom in a MMO is not possible, in my opinion. There would be a complete anarchy, players would try to exploit the system all the time and "legit" players would suffer the consequences.
 
Bad comparison. In skyrim everything you do for yourself. You control your own enjoyment of the game.

In an online game, your choices affect how OTHER PEOPLE enjoy the game.

It's fine to cheat or exploit however you want in skyrim because you don't hurt anyone. At worst, you hamper your own enjoyment willingly, and at best you enhance your own enjoyment. The same in wow can hamper the enjoyment of thousands of people.
 
As I've commented on Azuriel's blog, CRPGs are a combination of performance challenges (“Can I do it?”) and narrative choices (“Should I do it?”). And in my experience, one of these two invariably gets trivialized. The only question is which one.

If you play a super-optimized "god mode" character, performance challenges don’t matter to you. Can you take out a fort full of bandits? Can you kill a trio of dragons? Can you single-handedly wipe out a demonic army? Yes, yes and yes.

On other hand, if you play a non-optimized character, narrative choices become a matter of research and analysis. Should you support a decadent empire or the bigoted rebels? Look up the rewards for both choices on the Wiki and pick the best one. Should you follow the orders of a treacherous and manipulative NPC? Of course, otherwise you’ll miss out on the reward that will boost your DPS. Should you forgive a repentant criminal or turn her in? Once again, the answer is determined entirely by the rewards.

(As further proof of this theory, I offer you Planescape: Torment and Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura. Both were hailed as some of the finest storytelling-based CRPGs of all time… and both had hilariously broken combat systems that made Skyrim look like a balanced e-sport)

Yes, god mode would destroy World of Warcraft because WoW's challenges are entirely performance-based. There are no narrative choices, no moral dilemmas to be found anywhere in WoW (which is essentially a DikuMUD with graphics and achievements).

God mode in SWTOR, on other hand, would be a wicked double-edged sword. With the reward-based justification gone, every Light vs Dark choice would suddenly become far more poignant and meaningful.
 
It is one of the major differences between multiplayer and singleplayer games.

In multiplayer, the right to do what I want ends when it intersects the boundary of your right to do what you want.

In that fuzzy in-between boundary lie the strange compromises, drama, politics, lose-lose, win-lose or win-win interactions that can occur in human relationships.

Sometimes, that makes for interesting stories, excitement, or "fun" when we crave it.

And sometimes it doesn't, or we don't crave it. Which is where having recourse to singleplayer games/options is also just as important.

A question that arises is, why can't we have both options?

Maybe WoW played on personal servers might offer an interesting new way to play, just as Diablo or Minecraft can be both played individually or across multiplayer servers.

I dunno, I'm currently very content straddling RIFT (for the random dungeon instance fix interacting and coordinating 4 other people game-style entertainment) and Skyrim (for pure 'me and the world' immersion).

When I need to fill a creativity urge, Minecraft will be waiting for me.
 
I don't consider terrain exploits, overpowered enchants and godmode cheats as the 'freedoms of Skyrim'.
To me, these are no more gameplay mechanics than Martin Fury or using Saronite Grenades to regenerate TLK's platform.

They will either be patched out or, in the case of godmode, are up to the individual to ruin their own challenge if they wish.

The real question is whether an MMO can provide truly non-linear questing and interactions with NPCs. The answer is yes, but WoW will not be that MMO.
 
Because Skyrim is a single-player game, and therefore any negative effects are limited to that single player.

It's like one of the more ingenious solutions to trolls; Instead of letting the troll know that they're banned, the visibility of their posts is altered so that they're the only ones that see them. They can rant and spam at their leisure, and the only one they're ever going to annoy is themselves. Since we already have phasing in WoW, we could let players have god mode.. if they would also be phased out from all other players. Blizzard has already used this solution with twinks: If you freeze your character level, you'll only see other twinks in battlegrounds from that point forward.
 
In an online game, your choices affect how OTHER PEOPLE enjoy the game.

Why would that have to be this way?

I mean obviously PvP is impossible if there is a god mode. But if me and my friends wanted to raid a dungeon in god mode, how would that affect the enjoyment of other people?
 
> But if me and my friends wanted to
> raid a dungeon in god mode, how
> would that affect the enjoyment of
> other people?

By running any instance in god mode you get more gold, more gear, more stuff, more achievements. So that's how your personal experience would (indirectly) affect everyone.

Of course if everyone uses that god mode... everyone is on the same boat. But what's the purpose of such a god mode? Clearing a dungeon in a breeze "steamrolling" everything would be fun the first 2-3 times, maybe.
 
"But if me and my friends wanted to raid a dungeon in god mode, how would that affect the enjoyment of other people?"

I don't know about dungeons, but God mode would totally destroy competitive raiding. Moreover at the end of the Wrath you were in God mode in the dungeones anyway. I used to play tank and the only thing I can remember from these days is gathering mobs and thunderclapping/shockwaving them, while the dpses showered them with blizzards, volleys, etc. No, it was not fun.
 
But if me and my friends wanted to raid a dungeon in god mode, how would that affect the enjoyment of other people?

Because you gain something from it. Badges, XP, loot or something along that line. You are gaining an unfair advantage compared to those that can't or will not cheat. Also if it's BOE loot you can flood the AH pretty quickly. If not you can gain enormous amounts of gold relatively fast.

I suspect you've already figured that out but is trying to get somewhere with that. ;)
 
Not sure I'd wanna see god-mode in an MMORPG, I don't think you can apply it to something like WoW as they're really different in essential aspects.

however, Skyrim would work perfectly well with a limited coop-modus - I'd absolutely love to have a 2-4player for this game. and I don't see that godmode would be an issue then either, if that's how you'd want to play the game together.

I find it funny btw how godmode and co. are being called 'exploits' here when concole commands are a legit feature of Skyrim implemented by Bethesda to let players enjoy the game in whatever way they want; must be the 'MMO mindset' of some commenters that cannot differ between a single player game and an MMO like WoW? or is there now also an offline e-peen (watch me, I did it without mods!)? :D
 
Because you gain something from it. Badges, XP, loot or something along that line. You are gaining an unfair advantage compared to those that can't or will not cheat.

Now compare that with using some raid addon, some boss mod, heal bot, etc.

By using these addons you are gaining something, badges, xp, loot. You are gaining an unfair advantage compared to those that can't or will not "cheat" by using addons. So how is that different?

The answer usually is "because addons are legit". But that is completely arbitrary. If Blizzard would introduce a god mode into WoW, by definition it would be legit as well.
 
Now compare that with using some raid addon, some boss mod, heal bot, etc.

By using these addons you are gaining something, badges, xp, loot. You are gaining an unfair advantage compared to those that can't or will not "cheat" by using addons. So how is that different?

The answer usually is "because addons are legit". But that is completely arbitrary. If Blizzard would introduce a god mode into WoW, by definition it would be legit as well.


Yes, I've always more or less thought that addons IS cheating to some degree. I would honestly feel much better without all those damage meters, boss mods and whatever. But when it's allowed I might as well use it.

The real downside though I think with addons is that it destroys the social part of the game and instead focuses on the min-maxing. But that's another discussion.
 
"The answer usually is "because addons are legit"."

No, it's because addons are *possible*. There have been plenty of addons that Blizzard banned because it trivialized the game.

Yes, you can play with your friends, and you can set your own rules of the game. But what about the LFD, pick up raids, the future LFR tool - the expectation would become that you have God mode on. When your guild wipes a couple times on a hard boss, how many people out of 25 are going to start saying, "guys lets just turn on God mode and be done with it."

And if you choose not to participate, you are still going to be surrounded by people who did, and they'll have the gear to show for it; and either they'll be too 'elite' for you, or their gear will trivialize anything you attempt to do.

Eliminates the "massive" from "MMO".
 
Now compare that with using some raid addon, some boss mod, heal bot, etc.

By using these addons you are gaining something, badges, xp, loot. You are gaining an unfair advantage compared to those that can't or will not "cheat" by using addons. So how is that different?

The answer usually is "because addons are legit".


No it's not.

Addons don't remove entire gameplay elements out of the window. They add convenience, nothing more. Having an addon shout out you that you're standing in fire doesn't mean you will survive it (ie. you delayed for 2 ticks and died anyway)

Having a raid that is completely invulnerable removes tanking and healing from the game, as well as any encounter mechanics put in by developers.

Saying that addons = cheating is probably the worst strawman arguement I've ever heard. Ever.
 
Addons add a visual help and some addons are NOT legit, indeed. This is why -for example- Blizzard banned the addon that allowed to place circles and markers on the map/ground. And this is why Auctioneer got chopped when Blizzard limited the amount of simultaneous queries.

A God mode would be like adding a free merchant in town, with free gold and free gear. I don't see the point of implementing that.
 
I play god mode in WoW all the time. Using a level 85 to play 95 percent of the content is essentially god mode.

I can wander and do quests and dungeons without regard to any risk at all. And I'm completing achievements, clearly designed for this type of play. Doesnt seem to adversely affect others, until I run into a group of levelers, who's mobs I'm mowing down.
 
Are you SURE we don't want MMO where you exploit terrain?

Because i've seen some where it works, and in most cases to kill anything worthwhile you'd need to exploit perfectly for many minutes straight - same as Heroic Ragnaros, really. Just another mechanic you need to use properly.
 
The reason MMO's don't use terrain isn't a balancing issue as much as a major technical limitation. The entire MMO world is more about keeping down server load and bugs than it is a decision that flat planes are the most fun levels.


And the easy fix for being able to use terrain would be for mobs to run away if they can't get you. You know, like most animals probably would without even trying to attack the hunter. You balance realistic terrain by adding realistic behavior.
 
"Now compare that with using some raid addon, some boss mod, heal bot, etc. "

The addons you list are one reason I quit playing WoW. I started to feel like I wasn't really playing WoW, but "deadly boss mod" or some other addon.

But there will always be those who want an easier game and those who want it tougher. That has absolutely nothing to do with the game - it's a personal choice. There will always be those that decide to go into "god mode" in SPRPG's and those who decide to never raid, do dungeons, or PVP in an MMORPG.

While I might have grown to dislike WoW because of the addons, I don't blame Blizzard for that. Just because something is available doesn't mean we have to use it.

As for whether this could work as an MMO? I don't think people believe that every mechanic in Skyrim would work as intended if placed in an MMO. I think they just wish they had the option of discovering parts of this world or running through dungeons with friends.
 
I already thought wow was eq in God mode!
 
Somebody already said this but it bears repeating: Skyrim's God-mode and terrain exploits are much more serious examples of cheating than using addons in WoW. God-mode is a "cheat" and abusing bandit pathing by swimming across a river is "cheating." Neither of these things is really a "feature."

Additionally: If God-mode and terrain exploits were missing from Skyrim, people wouldn't mind or notice. If addons were missing from WoW, the game would be nigh-unplayable.
 
How is this comparison even relevant? One game is an MMORPG and the other is a single-player RPG. Cheating in single-player does not hurt any one but your own experience, and even that is arguable for someone who just wants the story. God mode in a multi-player game affects other players. This is just a comparison that makes no sense at all. Cheat all you want in your single-player games, have fun with it.
 
God mode in Wow means you walk where you need to go, but you teleport back, and the auctionhouse becomes irrelevent since you can give yourself as much gold and fancy gear as you want. It's fun to give yourself the Warglaive of Azzinoth. I've never found any other god mode abilities particularly useful or fun.
 
It's all about challenge.

When I play a game I want to find the right difficulty mode where I neither steamroll it, nor get to the point where I just can't get through. I'd define the optimum point as, after two beers I can do it, after three I can't. I have found that exact point in Forza Motorsport and at those settings I just love it... It is never easy, it is never impossible, I just need to concentrate.

WoW single player hasn't been at that point for me in ages, it has always been too easy ever since the first expansion.

The thing is, if a game is too easy for me, after a couple hours playing I just don't feel like I've done anything. If it is too hard, it is just frustrating (Original Ninja Gaiden anyone?)

But if somehow I can set it up so that it hits the sweet spot of needing me to be on my toes without me needing 15 toes, now that is just nice. And actually hard to get.

I love it though when it does work out that way.

Unfortunately, in MMO's, you don't get to adapt difficulty, other than by picking quests above/below your level, but that would mean skipping content in many cases. And I DO NOT want to skip... I want to see the game evolve, show what it has. Skipping 20 quests so it becomes a right level challenge again is just not cool.

IMHO MMO's cannot ever get this right for everyone. It's one of the main points why I like single player games. If for instance, in Fallout 3, things get way too easy? I can turn the difficulty up a notch. But in an MMO? Oopsie.

That is why I quit WoW as well. When Cata came out, I resubbed, started from L1 again and... In the end I got bored as there simply were no challenges by the end of the WotLK content. Just a walkover.
 
"If addons were missing from WoW, the game would be nigh-unplayable."

Sorry, but for me many of those addons are what made it "nigh-unplayable".
 
I made a post about designer responsibility, and I am honestly baffled by the lack of nuance shown by most of the prior commenters here.

Just because a game is single-player does not abdicate the designer's responsibility to craft a balanced, well-paced experience.

Surely none of these people would be fine with a Skyrim that gave you max skills after the first monster was slain. "Just don't slay monsters then," amirite? Something is lost when the designers are too lazy to fix the holes in their weak game design that allows -25% mana usage to stack to -100%, or in Oblivion when you can instantly slay every monster in the game with a cheap, custom spell (-100 HP debuff at a 1 second duration costs less than a 25 damage Fireball). I could absolutely ruin otherwise perfectly good games by turning XP knobs up or down by 10%, and people honestly believe no one gets hurt by exploits in single-player games?

Having godmode be a toggle in the console is one thing. Having godmode be an easily achievable state in the game proper simply by maxing Enchanting or moving some sliders around is either lazy or incompetent game design. We have all experienced terrible last bosses (Borderlands anyone?) or games that simply fall apart at the end, despite the fact that it is possible to make them "challenging" to ourselves by not playing at 100% of our capacity. But if we have to dumb down a game to even have the chance of being entertained in a single-player game, why the hell are we even playing to begin with?

It is almost as if people are saying that non-bug patches for single-player games are a waste of time. It's madness.
 
My statistics say: more possibilities to hack a game more people will join and enjoy the game.
Examples: Tibia, MU, WYD, PW, Combat Arms, Point Blank.
 
For once I completely agree with Azuriel. If trying to progress a char within the rules make the game less fun then why should the rules allow this?

If a game uses character power progression (cpp) to create more engagement with a game, it also needs to make sure that the CPP remains fun throughout the game.

Skyrim would be a (even) better game if it respected this design rule.
 
The only Add-On I can remember using in WoW was one to stop Duel Spam. Other than that I found it completely playable using just the default UI.

Of course I lost interest around Level 70 and I would never have raided even if I hadn't so maybe if I'd hit max level I'd have found I needed Add-Ons. Doubt it, though.
 
We do not want a MMORPG in which you can exploit terrain, can cast spells for zero mana, or can turn on god mode.

You put these three into a single bucket, but these are three different things. It's almost like you're bent on proving how terrible game Skyrim is no matter the cost.

Personally I'd love an MMO where using the terrain to your advantage is a viable strategy. I can bet that I'm not alone in this. It needs AI and pathfinding type of balancing, but it can be done with today's technology.

Zero mana casting? It's how magic works in this world man, you can put on 4 items and you have unlimited magical powers. This takes 4 of your 7 item slots, so you better know your spells well. It's an in-world rule. I'm not saying it's a perfect solution, but if put into an MMO in the form it is presented in Skyrim, it's just a choice. It's either that or other useful items. And if you get killed by a 100% magic-resistant player and robbed of these 4 items, you'l probably have to figure out another smart 'cheat'.

And the console god-mode is a cheat. Not a part of the game, so I wouldn't put it in the line with the other two.

But if there was a legit god-mode in World of Warcraft, it wouldn't really change anything important. Completely different game flow, that's for sure, but then it would only mean that some rules on giving loot/rewards would need to be tweaked, and you'd get the same game. I mean, seriously. You're immortal in the game anyway. Mobs do not kill you if you have a brain, and you can come back to the same spot everytime something kills you and try again. The only meaningful death is when your group wipes on a raid, and the built-in god mode would then ease things up - you wouldn't be rewarded for surviving, doh, co there would be no failures at all, but instead there would have to be a ranking of the group performance and rewards that are calculated from that. That would in fact be more rewarding, as the worst thing that would happen is a low reward (always a reward). There would be those, who would call it too easy and those who would like it for the 1raid=1bosskilled equation. The game would be the same lootgrinder as it is now. You'd still have to kill as many mobs possible on the corresponding level to advance and then still would have to learn the dance to kill the boss, it would all just be freed of the risk of death, plus there'd be no rewards for survival.
 
@Azuriel - good points.

Making it easy and consequence free to cheat devalues achievment. Any good game designer would prefer to be able to close all the loopholes were that feasible. The only reason these things remain in Bethesda's games is that it wouldn't be cost effective
to both make a game with the kind of freedom of action that Skyrim has and to close all the loopholes.

Game designers have long realized that players are their own worst enemy and a major part of game design is saving them from them their own instincts. A good game doesn't just allow you to have fun - it makes you have fun.
 
We do not want a MMORPG in which you can exploit terrain, can cast spells for zero mana, or can turn on god mode. Why do we want these features in Skyrim?

Who says we do want these features in Skyrim in the first place, and who says we don't want these features in MMORPGs? You're making all sorts of faulty assumptions here.

Exploiting terrain was some of the most fun stuff in Vanilla WoW. You could explore the underside of Orgrimmar, go into Old Ironforge, etc, and feel unique because the masses never did this. Blizzard fixing terrain exploits was a real bummer. So I would definitely want terrain exploits in an MMORPG.

God mode / zero mana costs I don't think I'd want in an MMORPG, but I wouldn't want them in Skyrim either. Discovering these unique exploits would be a massive cool point in my mind, but that's different from just reading up on it online and then doing the exploit.
 
"Just because a game is single-player does not abdicate the designer's responsibility to craft a balanced, well-paced experience.

Surely none of these people would be fine with a Skyrim that gave you max skills after the first monster was slain."

Who's to say that the Skyrim designers didn't? You use an extreme example which most would agree, but the other examples lie along a far more fuzzy spectrum of subjectivity.

Being able to regenerate magicka at an extremely fast pace comes at the cost of equipment slots, you give up fortifying carry weight, or other skills - or you can cart around various armour sets, in which case you give up the convenience of not having to swap clothes all the time or being able to load yourself with books or brooms or cabbages to indulge unwholesome hoarder lusts.

(Also the perks spent in the enchanting line takes away from that character's total perks, so unbreakable lockpicks or being able to steal the clothes off a person may not be achievable with that character.)

Your version of well-balanced may lie along the lines of something more realistic and punishing, but perhaps the designers made the choice to tilt towards the personally epic or "easymode" style of fun.

A Skyrim character can get away with a ludicrous amount of things - baskets over guards' heads, Thane of Whatever excuse for all crimes, 15x dagger backstab damage, arrow sniping from sneak, being able to be the Arch-Mage Head of Thieves Guild Companion of Dark Brotherhood Awesome Overlord Leader Dragonborn Vampire/Werewolf Thing.

Perhaps the designers of Skyrim chose to balance for individual freedom and being able to construct wild and funny narratives, rather than a universal "fairness" of balance across all players' Skyrims.
 
I'm with Bezier.

God Mode would actually make some sense to put into a game like WoW. How about allowing a raid group to enable God Mode, in an instance. Doing would prevent all faction, exp, item, gold, quest and achievement gains from happening for that raid ID. God Mode would only become an option for a dungeon once it had hit some arbitrary limit, like one month after at least one raid group on the server had finished it. This would allow everyone and anyone in the game to eventually see all of the story the game has. But the experience of seeing the story could be made the only reward for raids that enabled God Mode.

From my understanding WoW has already had periods where playing intelligently meant having unlimited, or nearly so, mana. And terrain exploits have been rampant in almost every MMO I've seen. My favorite in WoW was Line of Sight pulling, it wasn't game breaking but it certainly made caster heavy instances more livable as a warrior tank.

The funny thing about Skyrim is that I actually made the game much much more challenging for myself because I didn't realize how the leveling system worked. I got my smithing up to a level where I could make nice armor and in so doing made most of my enemies too difficult for me to handle. So while you can do some absurd optimizing like the free spells for 1 school of magic, you risk gimping your character for a very large block of play time, and if you don't plan ahead enough you could totally screw it up by not being able to obtain the materials to craft the gear that makes your end goal possible.

Pathing in Skyrim might be an issue if you know about it and choose to exploit it but I've yet to come accross it through normal play. In fact the intelligent pathing of dear, foxes, rabits, and goats has annoyed me to no end. My archery skills are bad and so I need two hits to kill any of the larger animals that drop leather. Meanwhile every single one of them flees at the first hint that I am nearby and they seem to be far better at detecting sneaking characters than bandits, which makes sense I guess. I love that killing a single deer is actually more challenging for me because of it's AI and ignorant skill/leveling actions on my part.
 
WoW had god mode in the form of 'open servers'. Not many folks ever bothered with them, though.
 
In single player games, it is great to have choices that are too good and choices that are desperately bad. It's not that I disagree with Azuriel's comment that designers should craft a well-paced experience - they should. But giving you options to make things very hard or very easy for yourself just opens up the possibilities for fun.

The original Legend of Zelda was a very well paced experience. If you know where all the secrets are you can make it really easy on yourself right off the start by picking up the blue power ring. If you don't pick up the sword then you can make it hard on yourself.

In a single player game it is entirely up to the player how much they want to exploit or how much they want to challenge themselves.

In an MMO you have other people to think about. That doesn't mean that God mode can't work, it means that whether God mode works is up to the community. If the people playing the game think that typing in a code that makes you invincible is cheating, then allowing it is going to cause a lot of strife (and everyone thinks this is cheating, even in single players games, it's just that in single player if you want to cheat it's fine). If people broadly felt that add-ons were cheating then I think they would have been removed from the game. If you feel that add-ons are ruining the game, then it is partly the developers fault that you find the game unenjoyable, but it is as much the fact that you simply don't get along with the other people who play the game. After all, none of that would even matter if you could find a play group that also didn't use add-ons.

In an MMO the developers can do a lot to steer the community, but ultimately I don't think you'll ever convince people that god-mode doesn't feel like cheating, and letting people "cheat" in multiplayer games is bad.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool