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  • Gear Dependency Vs. Player Skill (Poll)

    Golelorn said:
    I think there is a reason why CoD/Battlefield and games like that blow MMO PvP out of the water. One depends on skill, the other depends on gear.
    Both are highly dependant on skill, it is just that gear can unbalance PvP more in MMORPGs than it does in shooters. 

    There are a ton of other reasons that FPS PvP is more popular, including:
    • Accessibility - might take hours / days / months before you can start participating in MMO PvP. With a shooter, you're just a couple of loading screens away. 
    • Learning Curve - it might take you a few minutes to learn how to aim, shooter, take cover, switch weapons....but thats it. After that, it's all about practice (to gain muscle memory) and psychology (predicting opponent behaviour). 
    • Balance - most shooters are primarily horizontal progression, so overall balance is maintained (as much as possible). In addition, shooter PvP is almost always instanced with equal sized teams. 
    • Newbie friendly - anybody can launch a shooter, join a game, chuck a grenade and get kills. No matter how shit you are, you can still get kills and get that positive feedback from the game. That doesn't happen in MMO PvP. If you're shit, it's almost permanent death with minimal / no kills. 

    All these things can be solved in MMOs (well, maybe not the learning curve. We can do it, but the result would be very simplistic combat systems, just like shooters). 
  • The 10 Greatest MMORPGs of All Time - 2017 Edition - The List -

    I'm relatively happy with the list. 

    The only one I would remove is ESO, and I'd replace it with LotRO. 

    Whilst ESO is a good enough game, what has it really given us? The gameplay is nothing innovative. Action combat had already arrived from other games and is done better elsewhere. The content is pretty standard, just your usual quest grind and small scale group content. 

    ESO's main contribution and shining achievement is really it's monetisation strategy. It proves that if you are honest and set fair prices, most people are happy to hand over cash for it and this has really worked well for ESO. 

    LotRO, on the other hand, has given us loads. Whilst it is often written off as a WoW clone, I would argue it is the best WoW clone and has continued to innovate over the last decade. In it's vanilla form, it was just a really well built game. Deep combat, loads of group content, some pretty awesome quests / storylines, truly open world. But, it has given us so much more. 
    • Awesome cosmetic system
    • An entire faction just for pvp
    • Horizontal progression at endgame
    • Skirmishes (fully scalable instances to both level and group size)
    • Mounted Combat
    • Legendary Weapons
    • Big Battles (as an alternative to raids)
    • Music system
    • Free 2 Play
    Not all of these have been a success, but LotRO continues to experiment and release content despite it's age and it's community remains one of the best in the genre. 
  • Gear Dependency Vs. Player Skill (Poll)

    Eldurian said:
    I think the only multiplayer games I can think of off the top of my head where I actually changed gear around to be suited to the task at hand were EVE and Dust 514 (The FPS set in the EVE Universe). I did some changing in Darkfall but that was mainly cost vs. risk while EVE and Dust I had fits based for certain situations.

    The best example is how I carry around different sets of low slot items in my haulers. Of course I have enough cargohold expanders to fully fit my ship with them but if I'm ever running partially full I start pulling them off and adding tanking modules just incase someone attempts a gank.
    I used to carry around multiple sets of gear in both LotRO and SW:TOR. 

    With LotRO, especially at launch, I had about 5 different sets of gear to suit needs. As it had horizontal progression at endgame originally, you had tons of options for how to build your toon and each option was useful for different situations. Being horizontal, you could complete the content with any option, it would just alter your tactics. I found this to be an awesome system as it allowed tons of flexibility in group setups and tactics. 

    Sadly, when they switched from horizontal to vertical (radiance) with Moria, it killed all flexibility so only had the one set. When they realised their mistake a few years later and switched back to horizontal, the flexibility came back so I collected multiple sets again. 

    SW:TOR was more about the specs. I had PvE DPS, PvE Tank and PvP DPS sets for my shadow. 
  • Is Destiny 2 an MMO:Poll

    Its MASSIVE......
    Its MULTIPLAYER........
    Its ONLINE........

    All words that describe something.....what is that something?
    Destiny 2 is indeed a massive multiplayer online game. 

    Destiny 2 is not a massively multiplayer online game. 

    Those two extra letters make a big difference. 
  • Gear Dependency Vs. Player Skill (Poll)

    First, I disagree with your definitions. 

    Games that rely on gear dependancy use gear as a gate to content. If your gear is below this level, you cannot complete it. If you gear is at this level, you can do it at the intended difficulty. If your gear is above this level, you can do it at a reduced level of difficulty. 

    Player skill simply means that the outcome of the fight is based off of the player's actions. All games require player skill. I know of no game where you can initiate combat, do nothing, and still win because your character is strong enough. They might exist, I don't know, but I'd imagine they'd be extremely boring. 

    There is a very close relationship between gear and player skill in typical mmorpg mechanics. Usually, gear is used to determine the level of player skill required. Got great gear? Player skill required for success is minimal. Got poor gear? Player skill required is a lot. 

    There is a further issue at stake in a conversation like this: do the combat mechanics allow player skill to shine? I would argue that very few MMOs really allow player skill to shine. In my opinion, player skill is a combination of the physical and intellectual capabilities of a player. 

    The physical is your typical twitch-skills: do you react quickly? are you observant? can you aim accurately? can you concentrate for 10 minutes in a row? These are skills that anyone can learn (baring disabilities) and simply require time to acquire. The move towards action-combat has placed a greater emphasis on physical player skill than past games. 

    Intellectual player skill is all about problem solving: do you know the tactics? do you know the correct rotation? do you know what to do when shit goes wrong? are you choosing the correct skill to use next? are you able to support your team mates properly? can you predict the other players actions? The move to action-combat has massively reduced the need for intellectual player skill. When you only have movement + 5 skills to choose from, how hard is it to know what to use next? With hardly any inter-class dependancy left in modern MMOs, plus the trinity class design reducing possible tactics, there is very little opportunity left for a "smart" players to shine. 

    Personally, I love games with deep combat systems that allow intellectual player skill to shine. The last one I played was LotRO before I left for SW:TOR in 2011. Between the resource management, inter-class dependency, large amounts of skills to choose from and the inclusion of 3 dedicated support classes, LotRO really let player skill shine. My captain (support - buffer) had a standard rotation of 6 or 7 skills, but about 30 situational skills (short duration buffs, triggered skills, defensive skills on long cooldowns etc) as well as a large array of consumables. It meant that at any given moment, I was having to make a decision about which skill to use next, a decision that was not easy given the large amount of variables. The decision was also meaningful - use the wrong skill or target the wrong person and it would have a profound effect on the outcome of the fight. 

    I was hoping SW:TOR would be similarly deep - each class had just as many skills as LotRO and there were 8 classes, rather than 7. Sadly, SW:TOR turned out to be really shallow. Resource management was ridiculously easy. Inter-class dependency was non-existent beyond threat and healing. You only had a few emergency skills. Every fight just became "execute rotation, avoid the crap, if below 20% HP use emergency skill". No brain power required. 

    My personal preference is that difficulty should be balanced around 80% intellectual difficulty, 20% physical difficulty. We should be winning fights because we understand the tactics, know how to work together in a group, fully understand our classes and thus choose the right skills at the right time. There still needs to be some physical difficulty - we should still require quick reactions, we should still require good observation of our surroundings and we should still be required to concentrate for extended periods for the hardest content. 

    From there, gear (and general character setup) should alter the difficulty by much smaller amounts. I am a big fan of horizontal progression, meaning that overall power level of any character stays the same throughout the game. Progression in a horizontal system is all about specialisation. Start off an all-rounder, then steadily unlock crit builds, burst versus sustained, AoE versus single target, glass cannon versus tanky etc. 

    With that in mind, I believe that content should start to be balanced around the absolute worst setups (bearing in mind everyone has the same overall power). 

    So, lets say you were going to do a raid with 20 of the worst setup characters you could imagine. All the DPS have specialised in burst aoe, but it's a single boss with masses of HP. Healer's have opted for HoT builds instead of big heals, despite the boss dealing burst damage. 

    In such a situation, that raid should be able to complete the content if all 20 players hit 100% of their capacity. This means everyone avoids as much damage as possible, never misses a skill in their rotation, never chooses the wrong skill, kills any adds in the right order, pulls levers / moves at precisely the right time. A single mistake and they fail. This is basically saying they'll never complete it as there is no way in hell that 20 players will play perfectly for the duration of an entire boss fight. The sorts of players that are capable of that would not be using the worst setups. 

    Then, take 20 players with the absolute best gear / customisations / setups. In such a situation, I believe they should succeed if they hit 50-70% capacity. As the customisations they've chosen should be best suited for that boss, they'll be able to hit DPS levels easier, they'll be able to soak up a few more mistakes and stuff.