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Reader Comments (27)

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 5:11PM WorkKai said

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Most of your 'why can't X class do y awesomeness' can be answered with time. For most MMO developers it isn't cost effective to create content for only one class when in that same time period you could create something that everyone can enjoy.

Yes, with infinite money and time developers would love to make content that makes every class feel unique and worthwhile in the party, but the current industry is trending away from that as costs increase and release dates get tighter and tighter.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 5:12PM Chambers said

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There is a huge problem with doing what you say in WoW. It goes against EVERYTHING blizzard has been trying to do for the last 4 years. Ever since the very first day they allowed a non-conformist (we can call it that right?) spec into a useful role in there dungeon by design, they all at once threw out class quests, unique class abilities and what would generally be described by many people as "flavor", and all this in favour of "bring the player not the class".
While i totally agree with what your saying, if a trap was put in one of the new icecrown 5 mans then it would fall into one of two catagories... either it would be so strong it would REQUIRE a rogue to finish the instance, or it would be so weak that no one would care and everyone would simply just run through it anyway.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 5:50PM Russell Clarke said

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"Traps, on the other hand, make you think."

There you go, no place for that in games.

Also, I notice that there are usually more 'rouges' than 'rogues'. Perhaps this is part of the problem - there's no role for makeup items in these games!

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 5:51PM (Unverified) said

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I don't understand why you bring up Wow. You said yourself, "back in the day" rogue abilities were useful. That's true. They WERE. :\ You're just coming to the realization, I think, that Wow is making their gameplay more and more bland with each expansion, and each patch. I agree with what you're saying completely, absolutely. Rogues should have more useful passive abilities, and non-combat abilities. Classes ARE much more than just DPS machines. But that's the opposite of what Wow is doing. If there were traps, it would be hard. If there were a lot of locks, people would actually have to work to up their lockpicking. That's not Blizzard's plan lately.

More RPG elements in RPG's is a great idea. Something that's falling by the side, even as story and immersion increases. Doing something besides stumbling through the story - amazing idea, no? But that makes it more of a thinking game, a game where you have to pay attention, a game where you have to be careful because their are traps, and ghosts, and other dangers you have to watch out for along the way from boss fight to boss fight. Most players don't seem to want to think. They just want to mindlessly stumble through the game, and call it "just having fun" - I'm just having fun too, but real play involves your brain. (play is how we learn, after all).

And D&D online isn't as popular. Had to move to Free-to-Play. Etc. People don't want that, it seems. The free market of the masses has spoken.

but maybe I'm just being cynical >.>

The ranger is a good example too. (That picture bring back memories, haha). They're not just archers/dual weilders with a pet. They can track. Survive in the wild. cast non-combat spells.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 6:00PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Yeah, trust me Maika, I realized WoW was making their content more bland back in the Burning Crusade days. It's one of my long standing issues with the game, even though I was a raid leader and an avid raider during BC/WotLK.

People cry, Blizzard knocks it down a peg. They cry more, Blizzard does it again. It's nice that they (kinda) listen to their community, but the game is far from the type of game I'd like to play online. It's a nice title and worthy of the things it does, but I wish another game would take a path that isn't World of Warcraft.
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Posted: Dec 18th 2009 9:36AM thesage42 said

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Blizzard are somewhat limited by their playerbase, the game has spread so far beyond the usual gaming crowd and the devs are forced to take this into account. I suppose it is similar to the position Nintendo now find themselves in with their new Super Guide. The average wow player is far worse at the game than you or I can even imagine. The absolutely worst people you will ever meet in a pug are nowhere near the bottom of the barrel, they're pretty average. The game needs to accommodate all types of players, which is why the latest patch includes a bunch of features and changes that make the early game even easier, new tutorials with big arrows, no aggressive low lvl mobs whatsoever, etc. For anyone who has played any kind of rpg before it was already trivial but a big chunk of wow players are not in this group.

The addition of 10-man raiding and separate easymode versions of raid bosses has massively increased the number of people who actually raid. Not doubled or tripled but orders of magnitude bigger numbers. You have to remember that anyone posting on a site like this one would skillwise likely belong in the top 5% of wow players.

In a sense vanilla wow was a tremendous failure since the majority of development time and content was not aimed at the vast majority of the playerbase, not just raid instances but things like Dire Maul tribute runs or the complex layout of Blackrock Depths. Many of the things we remember with most fondness were simply not accessible to most players.

The bottom line is that the bland "McDonalds" type of content provides a lot more enjoyment for a lot more players than the type of content you or I would prefer. But it's not all doom and gloom, the hardmode raids are still very much on par with the old raids, even slightly harder at times.

As for class specific content this is not gonna happen, developing something for 1/10th of the playerbase is too inefficient. BWL style trap disarming is not coming back either since raids are smaller and may not include a Rogue at all.
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Posted: Dec 17th 2009 6:17PM AlamoeJones said

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I completely agree. DDO did many things right, rogues being one of them.

Also, where did you get the first picture in the column? I like it.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 6:28PM (Unverified) said

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The picture is Garrett of Thief fame!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thief_(series)
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Posted: Dec 18th 2009 2:30AM Seraphina Brennan said

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Mr. Clockwork is indeed correct. It's from Thief. ^_^
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Posted: Dec 17th 2009 6:21PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with this article, but I would like to raise a point: Traps are tricky business. Many things can go wrong. For instance, if traps are in the same place each time you run a dungeon, then they're no longer serving the purpose of making the group take their time and plan their movements; They're just another mediocre dungeon element to waste time on, and once someone knows where they are, they can either have their rogue disarm them or - even more likely - just avoid them. And given how quickly information spreads these days, perhaps one or two groups would stumble upon the traps on their own before word got around that hey, there are traps there, go around.

And frankly, that - to me - is worse than the complete lack of traps.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 7:57PM (Unverified) said

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I think you missed something:
The traps location can be changed everytime you enter the instance, in other words: random location.
It was a very interesting reading, and I do agree with you.
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Posted: Dec 17th 2009 6:22PM (Unverified) said

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Very interesting article and observation about MMOs as a whole. The entire genre is moving from character/class uniqueness to a bland amalgam of stats that anyone can faceroll with.

The LFG feature in WoW, while on one hand a great way to get past the gear check needed to experience the content, is also highlighting just how McDonald's people have become. There is not attempt at strategy, cooperation, or even dialog...it's just queue, run, get badges, say bye (if that).

Everyone is complaining about what they get as a tank for the party, but no one ever looks at the DPS and complains about not having a rogue (or complaining about ANOTHER DK or ret pally).

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 6:54PM Dranaerys said

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Intresting arguments, and while I agree hat wow has dumbed down its content considerably (to the point of me recently cancelling my account) at least in ICC they added frost traps for rogues to disarm in ICC trash.

Of course.. since everyone is farming rep there now, nobody actually wants you to disarm them. Sigh.

@Sorcefire: You know, its funny about the LFG tool, you are right, nobody cares what kinda dps you take, it made me remeber how back in tbc, when heroics were heroically tough, you had to carefully balance your groups to make sure you ahd the right amount of cc to manage your pulls. Nowadays.. tanks pull it all and you jsut spam the aoe button as a dps. Bleah.

Wow really has become the McDonalds of MMOs.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 7:51PM (Unverified) said

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That last picture is of a ranger; I find this unsettling.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 7:56PM Seraphina Brennan said

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The last two paragraphs weren't about rogues anymore. =P
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Posted: Dec 17th 2009 8:10PM (Unverified) said

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WoW has bigger problems that its issues with rogues, but for the sake of this discussion the problem with rogues is that because they can only dish out damage they should do more damage than other classes that might fill multiple roles. Warriors, for example, can tank or dps. rogues can only dps. Therefore, rogues should do more damage, despite the fact that warriors can only fill one role at any given time. I stopped playing WoW before the secondary spec swap thing, but even with that a warrior will have to gear for two specs and will likely not be able to perform in a PvP setting. If, on the other hand, the warrior only wants to play DPS, then he is second class to the rogue.

I think LotRO got it right. Strict adherence to class roles provide a clear definition of the rogue as the supreme debuffer and highly valued in groups, though not necessary.

As for flavor, what this article seems to be talking about, I found it more nagging that a warrior with two huge hefts of razor sharp metal was less a threat than a rogue with two little daggers. WoW assumes that rogues just plain cause damage, while LotRO lets players put their targets in compromising positions and the damage takes care of itself. I prefer the latter.

Also, that is a D&D ranger you have there, not a rogue :)

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 1:14AM (Unverified) said

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Quote:

Furthermore, passive abilities FTW

The rogue here is only the tip of the iceberg at hand, however, as more games seek to dethrone the use of passive skills that utilize a class's position in the world. Why can't a priest see ghosts and talk to the dead? Why can't a mage inscribe hidden runes on walls to leave messages for other mages? Read unknown languages? Speak other languages other than your own dialect? Perception to see traps and hidden doors anyone?

There are plenty of openings here in the traditional classes that we know and love that can be fleshed out without going to extreme lengths to find new ways to play. Some of these can even open up brand new gameplay or social experiences that you can share with your group.

end quote:

sorry not sure if there is a quote button

you hit the nail on the head Seraphina

why dont priest see dead people

Why can't a mage inscribe hidden runes on walls to leave messages for other mages? Read unknown languages? Speak other languages other than your own dialect?

im not sure about the languages part but the messages part makes sense so why don't game developers do that?

im sure someone somewhere will say as Aglon said and while that is a good point you can not spend money on either thing i also find that argument very faulty.

the main reason is if and we see a lot more people asking for more than grind in there games is that not doing things differently will cause people to go oh look another clone.

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 1:50AM (Unverified) said

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Ha ha you tell it girl,
tell those Blizzard Bastards that they need to retool,
or better yet keep telling future developers to generate a sense of
creativity when it comes to game mechanics design.

Thanks for this!

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 5:00AM Vandell said

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I disagree with your desire to have rogue staples, such as disarm traps and pick locks, be required elements of any given instance, as it would require a rogue in every group, bar none. That means if the rogue leaves before the trap section, you're boned. Do not pass go.

I'd only allow these required disarms/lockpicks if you were willing to have these rogueish abilities spread out to other classes, and lots of them, which would arguably diminish the rogue's flavour.

Kudos to the Thief image, though. Garrett is love.

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 10:50AM Seraphina Brennan said

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Ah, I think you misunderstand me. As a longstanding DM, I know one of the first rules of designing a dungeon or anything like that -- "Never say no."

These abilities should never be required to move through an instance. There should never be a locked door barring a player's way. Instead, multiple options should be offered to the player, so that they may make a choice as to where to go.

Perhaps a locked door or a secret passage are but two of those choices, while the third is a standard direction that any party could take, regardless of party makeup. This way, you've made some gameplay element additions and are able to change the instance up from visit to visit without completely barring someone's way.
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