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The Lameness of Warcraft 354

Slate is running an article lamenting the fact that, despite World of Warcraft's popularity, it is a deeply flawed game. Author Chris Dahlen makes the statement that Blizzard's MMOG should take its cues from single-player RPGs by offering further customization, morality based choices, and dynamic events. From the article: "Blizzard has written new storylines before. Last winter, it challenged players to team up and fuel a worldwide war effort. As a payoff, it unlocked new territory. This was a good example of letting the users drive a story, but Warcraft needs more of them. New wars should break out, cities should rise and fall, and all hell should break loose at least once a month--and the players should be the ones to make it happen. After all, in a world that never changes, you can never make your mark." I want to be snarky and point out that this guy obviously has no idea how these games are designed, but I think he pretty much nails what every MMOG player really wants out of a game. Now, if only it were feasible within the bounds of money, time, and talent.
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The Lameness of Warcraft

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  • by L7_ ( 645377 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:34PM (#16877118)
    Some counterpoints:

    1/ Consumables based on collected items exist in every game. This is not new, and WoW does this quite well. [OT: I thought AC motes were used for the weapons? Its been awhile...]

    2/ See Shadowbane [shadowbane.com]. See 5am raids, see 'zerg [wikipedia.org]'. See server wide alliances. L2 also had something like this castle thing, I haven't heard much about it, so there is no comment on it. DAoC was the first to implement something like this with thier Artifacts: 3 static world objects that grant 1 of 3 realms various bonuses.

    3/ Uhh, lag. Also, see "dialup users". Positioning doesnt work when the server and client have to sync up for positioning and time sensitive distance checks.


  • by Gerad ( 86818 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:10PM (#16877570)
    I hope you're not just trolling and are genuinely curious, so here goes:

    When you are killed by a monster, all of your equipped items lose 10% of their maximum durability. If you've ever played Diablo 2, the system is similar - item repairs are rarely going to be hugely prohibitive, but they add up, and aren't something you want to do needlessly. If killed by a player, you lose no durability.

    You then have the option of waiting to be resurrected by another player, or releasing your spirit from your body Releasing doesn't keep someone from resurrecting you, but it will prevent you from getting credit for any monsters killed by your group between the time you release and the time you come back to your body. This is relevant for things like quests, and making sure you can loot an item off a boss.

    If you are raised by another player, you come back to life with an amount of health and mana based on the spell or effect used to raise you. If you release, you respawn as a ghost at the closest graveyard. There's usually at least one graveyard in each zone, and it generally won't take more than 5 minutes to get back to your body. As a ghost, you can't interact with the world around you, but you don't have to worry about being attacked by wandering monsters. You can either run back to your body and get raised with 50% health and mana, or speak with an NPC called a Spirit Healer. There's a Spirit Healer at each graveyard where you respawn, and it can return you to life, but will cause all of your equipment to suffer an additional 25% durability loss, as well as giving you a debuff that reduces your stats by 75% (I think) for the next 10 minutes (one minute less for every level under 20 that you are).

    There's a couple of minor exceptions, but that's the basic system. As a mostly casual player, I think the system is pretty good because it discourages carelessness that could lead to dying, but doesn't impose excessively harsh penalties for a little bit of bad luck, or the stupidity of your teammates.
  • by jasmak ( 1007287 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @08:15PM (#16878270)
    Yes it would be pretty cool if you could make your character look different from all the other male Trolls running around, but keeping it just a few simple bodies that are only wearing different things is how the game stays so fast. If everyone looks completely different, every time you run through a city, your computer would have to load the graphic(and therefore need to be given the specs) for every character in the city instead of just which outline they chose and what the character is wearing. This would increase lag a ton and make it much harder for the game to run at fast speeds.
  • by j0nb0y ( 107699 ) <jonboy300@NosPam.yahoo.com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:11PM (#16879788) Homepage
    Some people like grind oriented games because it allows them to differentiate themselves from other players by merely spending more time playing the game.

    "But I *should* be more powerful!! I spent more time playing the game!"

    MMOs are infested with this type of player.

    When details of WoW's honor system were announced, I made several posts here and on WoW's forums about how the honor system was "just another grind," and rewarded time played instead of actual PvP skill. I predicted that the players who have the highest ranks would spend 60+ hours a week grinding their PvP rank. And I also said that this is a bad thing.

    The most common response I got was "But these players *should* have the highest ranks! They spent more time playing the game!"

    IMO, games shouldn't encourage and reward players who give up their lives to play the game. Doing any single activity for 60+ hours a week is not healthy. No game should explicitly encourage this kind of behaviour, but most MMOs do.

    Granted, some players would play this much a week without the extra rewards for doing so, but I still don't think we should give players extra rewards just for playing more. Playing the game should be reward enough. If a so called "ranking system" requires a 60+ hour time commitment a week to maintain the highest rank, then a rule change is certainly in order.

    Fortunately Blizzard is ditching the current system shortly. I said they should dump it before the system was even in place. Guess that's what they get for not consulting me...

    The replacement system is better in two ways. First, it no longer purports to be a ranking system. Second, it no longer depletes your honor by 20% each week, thus eliminating the requirement that players spend ridiculous amounts of time each week to maintain high pvp ranks. Unfortunately the replacement system is still "just another grind."

    There is hope for the future though. BC will have a PvP arena system, complete with a ranking system. Here's hoping it's not "just another grind."
  • by Mathonwy ( 160184 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:15PM (#16879808)
    "Blizzard has written new storylines before. Last winter, it challenged players to team up and fuel a worldwide war effort. As a payoff, it unlocked new territory. This was a good example of letting the users drive a story, but Warcraft needs more of them. New wars should break out, cities should rise and fall, and all hell should break loose at least once a month--and the players should be the ones to make it happen. After all, in a world that never changes, you can never make your mark."

    There ARE mmorpgs that have non-static worlds that the players feel like they can change. (Because they can)

    Might I reccomend some, such as a tale in the desert [atitd.com] or possibly eve [eve-online.com]...
  • by Panchoe ( 1028498 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @02:37AM (#16880924)
    For everyone who hates WoW there is someone who will love Darkfall.
    I love the fps nature of this game, and the persistent mmorpg aspect is a nice bonus.
    It should be entering beta soon and be released next year.
    Well worth the wait if you ask me.

    I ripped this from the game's forum.

    just some points of interest:
            * full pk/pvp - no restrictions to who you can kill
            * full loot - even items equipped
            * item deterioration - items will be lost (making crafting lucrative)
            * complex crafting construct
            * instant travel will be difficult - opening up more pvp/pk confrontation
            * player/guild run cities - capturable / siegeable / destroyable
            * 100's of weapon designs for customization and personalizing your chars
            * no levels!
            * skill based structure - skill gain by use, skill loss by neglecting to use
            * instant interaction - you do not have to grind before you play the game
            * dismemberment - after unconscious, dismember (a killing blow) or revive/res
            * no floating names - terrain cover actually works
            * no targetting - you have to aim at who you want to hit
            * no health bars - you have to judge by appearance how someone's doing
            * ships - pirates / pirate guilds / sea transportation and storage for merchants
            * huge underwater environment - no wasted space by a large part of the world
            * 100's of underground environments - dungeons etc
            * no instances
            * zerg based guilds will have drawbacks
            * party members take AOE damage; and radius mellee damage - from their group
            * manual blocking
            * manual attacking
            * usable "moves"/"skills"/"spells" like in most games we're familiar with now
            * manual parrying
            * move while blocking
            * increased damage from behind
            * close range 3/4 mellee view
            * FPS view for ranged (bow&arrow / magery)
            * cookie cutter free - invest time in any skill you want to
            * collision - no more walking through anyone (bodyblocking does apply)
            * pushing
            * formations will be key
            * strategy and co-op for large battles will be key
            * playing as an individual will be feasible
            * griefing friendly
            * racial anamosity and NPC faction - A and B get along, but not with C, D or E guards apply
            * character appearance extremely customizable
            * unique playstyles or tactics will be important
            * minimal playerbase spread - no overabundance of servers
            * limitless things to do during downtime
            * racial benefits and drawbacks
            * no classes
            * shit talking friendly

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?