A few years from now, maybe a few more, probably never, these are the top five things we’d like to see in online gaming, three from me, two from Raster:
1. Let’s rethink this whole healing gig. Personally, I’d like to see the primary healer role eliminated completely. I realize there must be some people who enjoy the primary healer role, the pure defense character, but crimony, every goddamn game it’s the same issues … faster burnout, repetitive play, short supply, limited solo’ing options. I’d like to see multi-player gaming either move to a model where every class has minimal healing/recovery abilities or, at least, something like Guild Wars with a primary/secondary class choice system. I realize this would homogenize classes somewhat, but surely someone, somewhere, can figure out a better system than the current one. (Foton)
2. Let’s rethink travel. Guild Wars did this quite well and I’d love to see instant travel moved over to more games. EverQuest provided portals to a majority of zones with the Planes of Power expansion, which was better than nothing. Sixty minute hearthstones are not the answer, Blizzard. Neither are slow ass griffins which usually take the longest possible route to get anywhere. If I’m not in combat, I should be able to port myself to any major city on the continent, and there should also be an “express airlines” to cut down on unwanted travel time. There are enough time sinks in games already, and travel needs to be done away with as one. Don’t even get me started on bag space and inventory space … (Raster)
3. Let’s rethink loot. MMO loot is a lot of the fun of gaming, but it’s a lot of the pain as well. Two things I’d like fixed: randomness that bites you in the ass and worthless trash mobs. There’s a few ways to fix the wonky randomness, maybe a self-correcting behind-the-scenes randomizer that just gives you the damn loot you’ve been farming for 290,348 hours; or, how about meaningful faction systems? High-factioned players can just buy from NPC vendors what they didn’t loot. (Similar to EverQuest’s Lost Dungeons of Norrath and Warcraft’s Blood Elf Ghostlands area — an idea I LOVED in the beta, by the way.) And trash mobs, either they should drop useable items or equipment FAR more often, or once a group or raid of players have bested a dungeon, they should never have to clear the trash again. I know that’s unreasonable, but goddamn, I hate trash — there’s got to be more interesting, or less annoying, barriers to boss fights. (Foton)
4. Let’s rethink play styles. I don’t care if a game is classified as Massively Multiplayer, sometimes I just want to solo or do something with a friend. Forced grouping to get any worthwhile equipment is ridiculous. Raiding especially is a chore — with EQ forcing 72 people to show up (later 48) and WoW going the 40 man route (25 in the expansion). Add in PvP, and the gear difference from raiders and non raiders is just magnified. Please don’t take this as me advocating people should just be able to go kill some random easy monster and get the best gear in the game, I don’t. I just feel every style of play should be offered worthwhile rewards (no, reputation grinding to be able to purchase maybe one or two decent things does not count) and there may be hope on the horizon. The Burning Crusade promises much 5 and 10 man content with ample rewards, here’s to hoping. (Raster)
5. Let’s rethink play sessions. Sometimes I wonder if what we really need in MMO gaming is a pause button. Those of us with discretionary income have jobs, and families and mortagages and other obligations … we need fast travel and fast recoveries and fast groups and fast fun. The days of multi-hour LFGs and multi-hour experience groups and multi-hour corpse runs are over. I’d like to see better chunking of the content into shorter play sessions. Quests are ideal for that, of course, but we need raid content with easy entry and exit points. I think two hours or so should be the most time required to complete an instance. Add in group/raid formation, travel time, yap yap about loot time and that’s a solid three hours. Naturally, the first few times attempting a dungeon/instance will add to that, which is fine. Games shouldn’t require lenghthy time commitments to accomplish something. (Ya, SHOULDN’T.) (Foton)
Thursday, Five Assholes from 2006 We Want to Remember FOREVER.