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Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:02AM Chambers said

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To me at least it seems seems silly, far-fetched and particularly cackle-worthy that a blogger on such a widespread website seems intent on pushing the term DIKU which is a reference to a game which has about as much bearing on today's MMO's as a wooden javelin does to a gun. I have never heard this word used to describe the genre outside of this website and i bet you 50% of the people who read your article click on the wiki link you put in there. If you replaced the word "DIKU" with "game play" your article would read exactly the same and it would not sound like it was trying to push a term that no one wants into the mainsteam vocabulary.

OF COURSE.... i could just have got out of bed on the wrong side?

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:30AM wagonfactor said

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@Chambers im with you. even after reading the wiki link i still dont really know wtf it means. in reference to the article though .... you have a good tank, which means dps just has to stand back and dps. so therefore ... umm wait... what?! youre saying its boring once everyone gets gear.... isnt that the way its supposed to be? rofl. i dont get it. from an immersion standpoint, the monster is dumb, he doesnt know the dude in the back is causing him the most damage. the monster is more focused on the guy right in his face that keeps slamming him with a shield. from an immersion standpoint, i dont think the "monster" has real life meters running to tell him who he should attack. maybe im just really confused
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:35AM DeepSleeper said

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@Chambers

Not studying your history doesn't somehow make that history invalid.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:46AM pcgneurotic said

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@Chambers

Definitely the 'wrong side of bed' dude. The harping on the etymological angle gives it away. ;)

In other news, I came onboard with EQ, so I have no MUD experience beyond the more recent Discworld MUD. However, the way I justify the situation you use to illustrate your piece, is that even though the mob would *like* to break off and nail the damage dealers, he is psychologically sttuned to dealing with the mobs right in front of him.

It's like when you play Champs; standard mob grouping is 2x easy mobs (Henchmen) with 1x tougher mob (Villain). So the question becomes, do you focus first on the toughest mob, who is hurting you the most but takes longer to bring down, or do you first deal with the multiple weaker mobs, who are together maybe causing you as much or nearly as much pain but will go down quicker?

Speaking as a devout warrior and tanker of ten years+, I think the answer to that question depends on how much pain you can absorb before it becomes a problem, and for a tanking class , it's generally easier to focus on the big guy first then deal with the little, annoying mobs who will die relatively quickly (even for you). Doing that with less health because you just dealt with the heavy hitter first is, 9 times out of 10, easily accomplished and hugely exciting too. LOTRO, DDO and Champs have their tanks very nicely balanced to provide a 90% guaranteed win for the tank, with a 99% guaranteed thrill too.

Apologies for any logic lapses, I'm drunk as a skunk.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:47AM pcgneurotic said

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@pcgneurotic

Shoot, I meant *attuned, not sttuned, ofc. doh!
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:11AM Mystal said

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@Chambers

Maybe it's time to get educated about the history of MMOs.

Everquest was derived from a popular MUD known as DIKUmud. World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy 11, and Everquest 2 were all derived from Everquest. Most other games in the genre were derived from World of Warcraft or one of the other EQ derivatives.

So as the author states, virtually the entire MMO genre is derived from DIKU. Exceptions to this rule would be things like Ultima Online or the original Star Wars: Galaxies.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:14AM joemarra052075 said

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@Chambers

Or you could just not know your gaming history at all. Though it is more like comparing a old west 6 shooter to a new .45 cal semi-automatic with a 30 round clip. Same mechanics/improved design.

Wooden javelin/gun different mechanics/different weapon type

All current MMO's are loosly based off of the MUD code called DIKU. DIKU was one of several popular MUD codes, though it was the most popular. It was closely followed in popularity by ROM and ENVY. The farther back in MMO history you go the more the MMO looks like a DIKU MUD. Everquest even had the exact same /commands origionally (don't know about anymore...they might have updated the interface...was going to return to it awhile back but it would freeze after character creation).
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Posted: Feb 7th 2011 12:58PM cored said

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@Chambers

I'd have to agree with you there. The Wiki link doesn't mention anything about this particular mechanic.

If we are talking about history, we could just as easily refer to D&D, saying that the plate-wearers are up front and the clothies are in back, with the thief/rogue behind angling for a backstab-type situation. Or push it further back to older battlefield strategies, with infantry up front and the lightly armored archers (ranged DPS) in the rear.

I generally refer to this game play mechanic as "spank n' tank" myself.

The author's point is a good one though. This concept, while easily understood and easy to script encounters for, is definitely not immersive.

"Taunt" is a ridiculous mechanic. Why would a boss mob, especially a supposedly intelligent demi-god or whatever, decide not to take out the healers/DPSers 1st and focus on the tank, just because the tank...what? Insulted his lineage? A "your mama" insult maybe?

It's pretty unrealistic, and we definitely need to replace this tired paradigm. It will be a long time coming though, because without that, you need to totally redefine class roles so that players can survive fights without it, yet there are still enough differences and compelling reasons to play different roles.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:34AM Lobotomist said

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DIKU=>Everquest=>WoW

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:38AM MMOaddict said

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Yeah, I sat here for a few minutes going what the hell is DIKU? My MMO gaming started with SWG. Sure I've dabbled in MMOs older than that but only as far back as UO/EQ1.

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 9:54AM (Unverified) said

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Okay, then let's spell it out.

DIKU style is when you have a plate class tanking the target holding it's attention, a cloth class healing in the back, and whatever else doing lots of damage without the target noticing them.

It's a style that was made popular by the DIKU muds, hence the reference.

Why practically every mmorpg following has adopted this style, ignoring the possibility that the target had the brain capacity to crush the weak healer, focus on the highest damage dealers first, and then take it's sweet time with the tank in the end, is the question posed in the article.

I got the DIKU reference, not because I played DIKU muds, but because similar references have made me look it up.
So now dear reader, you will also be able to "get it" when you run across the term in the future. You've learned something new today. You're now "in on the historical gaming reference".

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 11:27AM Pingles said

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@(Unverified)

Thank you. That was my assumption but the Wiki link seemed to draw it into some strange MUD origins which I had trouble deciphering.

Isn't there another acronym for tank, heal, Mage mechanisms in games?
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 11:49AM PaterFrog said

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@(Unverified) Thanks, I guessed as much from the article, but it was still rather diffuse.

Luckily GW2 takes a break from it and we'll maybe soon see other stuff following.

I guess the only way I could viably excuse the old trinity tanking/healing/dps is if the tank is big and heavy. You know, the boss might want to get to those tasty looking roasters in the back, but there's this annoying guy who keeps tripping you up. Deal with him first then.
In other words, there shouldn't be any bosses five times bigger than your tank.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:12AM cforciea said

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I personally also like that this continues to happen even when there is another guy in a robe waving his arms around and the tank's wounds are closing on their own. Some MMOs making healing draw a significant amount of aggro, but otherwise you have to wonder how the monsters got to be adults in a world where roving bands of adventurers intend on genocide without figuring out that you always smash the healer into pulp first.

Or running away. Mobs will beat on a guy who gets back up looking peachy over and over, they are mauled to the point where they are barely breathing, and they almost never turn tail and try to live to fight another day.

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:16AM KvanCetre said

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I've always wanted a game to destroy the idea of "The Tank". Guild Wars 2 seems to be a step in the right direction.

Ever since I saw Fellowship of the Ring - the scene where they battle the Cave Troll, I've thought I'd like to see an MMO with more dynamic combat. You didn't see Aragorn standing blocking and parrying the Troll (No crits!) while the hobbits stood behind it stabbing it's feet and Gandalf stood behind in the back. And you certainly didn't see Boromir running up to all the adds and kiting them around...

There may be some technological factors limiting this gameplay, but I suspect it's that its hard to pull off and still make a balanced game.

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 4:53PM ErikC said

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@KvanCetre It's definitely not a tech issue, just a matter of finding a way to make it fun. People have figured out how to build fun encounters using the holy trinity, and it works, even if it is a bit silly. But I agree with you. I'd like to see someone try a model where everyone is a tank as well as being whatever their other role is, and just as you describe, the person currently on the defensive changes as the enemy decides who it wants to smack down next (which could still possibly use some sort of hate system, but if so, probably one that only cares about what has happened to it most recently, or for smarter mobs, what COULD happen to it in the near future).

You could do cool things with group dynamics that way too, by having the tanking abilities often work well with other player abilities. So, like, maybe a mage "tanking" ability could involve blinding the enemy with a flash of light from your staff (which you can only do while being actively attacked), which for a few seconds also allows any rogues to go into stealth. Because the players can't control who gets attacked, you can't intentionally set up those combos in every situation, but at the same time, you don't need to watch a huge list of debuffs to know when you can do an ability combo, cuz you get the huge visual queue of the big monster attacking your wizard friend. Like, "Ooo, wizard's being attacked, I should be able to do X soon... yep, there it is."

But yeah, short answer is that it's an unknown how or if alternate methods would work, and MMOs basically fail to be completed most of the time as it is, even using traditional mechanics.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 4:56PM ErikC said

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@ErikC
It's times like this that I hate not having an edit button to change "queue" to "cue."
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Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:19AM Mystal said

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In answer to the original query, I think the silliest holdover from DIKU/EQ is the concept of ability ranks. The idea that I can toss a fireball, and that I later become more powerful through adventure, but still need to go back to a trainer in order to learn the next "rank" in order to actually use that power just feels very arbitrary and game-y.

I'm also not a huge fan of levels as the ultimate expression of player progression. The idea ingrained into most DIKU games is that if some one or some thing is more than a few levels different than you, it's all but invincible. This leads to weird situations like being able to easily kill a lower level dragon, while getting crushed by a higher level wolf. It's just weird in a game like WoW, travelling to some place like Northrend, and finding out that the local wildlife could pretty much over run and conquer all of the rest of Azeroth.

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:20AM joemarra052075 said

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The reason that MMO's use this style (monster concentrates on the tanks, ignores guys dealing damage) isn't lack of technology, it's that players don't actually want mobs with brains. Istaria (when it was Horizions) had a short lived period where the Withered Agies (kinda like the scourge, but a year before WoW) mobs grouped up. They would have a tank, healer, one or two mages, and a melee dps. Then these mobs would work together and would tend to go for the damage dealers first...all while healing their own people. This inovation was NOT well received as experienced groups quickly got their rear ends handed to them and they all cried foul.

Posted: Feb 6th 2011 10:24AM UnSub said

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@joemarra052075 Very true. Players want the illusion of challenge, not the reality of it. They want to be able to pull mob by mob, not have the first goblin sound the alarm that locks down the goblin caves while the players are caught in heavy crossbow fire.
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