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Reader Comments (65)

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:19AM LeBouc said

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I think the real problem is that in most of these "WoW derivatives" too much gear is bracketed into just one or two grades of quality, for example every max-level characters in WoW or Rift has full set of "purple epix", similarly for SWTOR.

This basically means instead of say, 5 different colours being used to grade gear quality, it becomes only 1 colour, differentiated by "stats". And it's harder to brag/being smug about "my number is higher than your number" than "I'm more purple than you" :P

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:49AM DarkWalker said

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@LeBouc
I personally tend to put players that brag too much about their gear, or that belittle another player's gear, in my ignore list. Also, given the fact most MMOs only give the best gear for large group content - content in which it's quite possible to carry a terrible player - I don't see good gear in MMOs as any indication of skill.

I play to have fun, not to participate in an EPEEN contest. In fact, in WoW I prefer to transmog my gear to look like matched but low level gear, and in WotLK I use cosmetic appearances based mostly on simple (usually low level) matching items.

It's one of the most immersion breaking things I find in computer RPGs. The character, specially it's power level, is often more defined by it's gear than by it's abilities. In this regard, I often find action games better at immersing me - sure, there might not be many ways to customize the character, but at least he is usually more defined by what he is than what gear he is using.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 9:12AM HackJack said

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@DarkWalker ^ Basically this. I find it ridiculous that my avatar's strength comes from some over-the-top items rather than personal growth in power and expertise (skills aside, of course).

Also a deal breaker: 30-foot bosses that stomp my avatar's face for less than his total HP. Did I miss something here? How does that even work? Meh.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 12:11PM Saker said

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@HackJack Well said!
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:36PM h4ngedm4n said

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@Saker @HackJack @Darkwalker
Well said, guys! I'm with you that gear is overemphasized in many MMOs.

However, if we look back to Age of Conan at launch, they tried to de-emphasize gear. Gear bonuses were trivial compared to the character's own progression, and I thought that was ideal. Unfortunately all the "gearscore" type players complained so much that Funcom switched it over to a normal gear-driven system.

So the problem is tons of players want this, and we are in the minority.
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 10:54PM KvanCetre said

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@HackJack
But isn't that pretty much every game ever?
Sure, sometimes they may not be giant... but they may be shooting you in the face. Or stabbing you in the face. Or something that would be realistically fatal.
Like, ya know, dragons breathing fire on you.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 2:46PM Daverator said

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@HackJack

Yea, I mean in any game, your character is going to survive unrealistic situations.

Dragon bites, engulfed in flames, multiple bullet wounds, slash wounds.

The fact is a modern FPS is much closer (but usually still errs on the side of long life) in terms of your characters ability to absorb damage. But most MMO gamers dont want to have their bossfight end after the first shot, slash, or whatever.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:33AM DarkWalker said

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Visible stats by themselves already reduce immersion. Clear-cut item tiers reduce it even more.

For me, though, good game systems are often more important than immersion (and more so for MMOs). In this specific case, I believe the trade-off is worth it in order to have a balanced game.

I don't like when tiers start multiplying and the resulting stat inflation, though. Taking WoW as an example, I would prefer if there was just one tier of epic gear per expansion, with all raids from the same expansion tuned to it's gear level.

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 5:05PM (Unverified) said

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@DarkWalker

An awesome suggestion, which I would agree with

Sadly, it leads to a money sink for the devs. They have to make the newer content have new stuff, so people have to do the new stuff, which often makes them subscribe longer in order to learn the new content, and then perfect it long enough to gear everyone out.

Of course, if the devs actually did funnel their work into providing loads of content, even if that content didn't offer advantages to the current "maximum", I think people would stay subscribed anyway. It would mean groups could decide what content they wanted to run, instead of being forced to do whatever was "best".

You know, as opposed to the current model of subscribing for a month, doing the newest content to death, and then letting their sub lapse until the next update.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:41AM Wisdomandlore said

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I miss D&D-style loot, where a Belt of Giant Strength actually had a significant impact on your character's ability. In the process of creating gear grinds, though, developers have created large amounts of gear with incremental advantages. There's rarely a point, especially at the endgame, when you can equip a piece of gear and feel like you're much more powerful. Instead you're slowly gaining +5 Str (when you already have 1000!) or +1% Melee Resistance. You don't so much feel like your advancing in gameplay, but you can objectively observe your advancement on a spreadsheet.

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 9:16AM Cyclone Jack said

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@Wisdomandlore

Good post. I agree and also miss how gear worked in D&D. It was simple, yet extremely effective. Sadly, until MMOs get off their skinner-box gear-grind design, we'll not see any thing different that the Diablo system.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 3:42PM Blyn said

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@Wisdomandlore

a friend explained something to me yesterday during a discussion about League of Legends that i think fits here.

see i just cannot enjoy LoL, it's BORING. i would much rather play Planetside and run around killing things, and he said "yeah, LoL is all about numbers" and min/maxing

that's when it hit me... WHAT is the target audience for MMO's? NERDS! and who love numbers more than boob? (ok, that's not true) NERDS!

i can barely count to 9 so it's no wonder i don't like LoL and i don't raid.

so i think the gear/stat race is a logical and inevitable outcome of combining two loves of the core MMO audience: dragons and math.

and TERA will be dragons, math, AND boob.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 4:26PM (Unverified) said

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@Blyn

Numbers on LoL? I never really noticed it...but then again, I only play LoL every once in a while, so its less about numbers for me and more about my pint sized dark wizard trying to be evil XD.

I do agree though, Planet Side is lots of fun.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:05PM Cyroselle said

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@Wisdomandlore Oh man oh man.

That's something I've really been missing from most of these modern MMOs. Sure, many of them do use a set prefix and suffix system, but as you said, it doesn't really mean anything other than incremental upgrades.

I think that 'Ranger's Halfboots of Alacrity' should make you run slightly faster! Instead though it's usually a plus to Dex, which though useful is whole-heartedly disappointing.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:08PM Cyroselle said

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@Blyn Dragons, Math, Boob.... this really needs to be a Venn Diagram.

Think I'll make one.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:43AM Petter M said

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I think I agree with Koster. My favorite item quality system is in Ryzom, where the materials gathered can produce various results depending on *their* quality. Crafters and their skill and knowledge of how various materials interact with each other really stands out in that game. Add items degrading and finally breaking creates a game where good and experienced crafters are in constant demand.

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:11PM Cyroselle said

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@Petter M The crafting is a little different, but FE does this as well. Basically you can only repair items and weapons a finite number of times. However when a weapon does break for the final time, you can either cannibalize it for parts or use it as the base architecture for another weapon.

It's a good crafting game. It's where I go for my fix when other MMOs don't deliver.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:48AM TehKlute said

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The 'green, blue, purple, etc' from wow was fine for me, but I could do without the item level aspect of it. I can decide by myself which armor is better.. Armor with flavor text was always more interesting to me than item level because it made an item feel like it had a story and a past.

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 8:55AM (Unverified) said

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I am hoping that GW2 will be my personal new standard. You get to max level, get the gear for that level and you are done as far as stats go. Any new gear past that is visual and prestige only. Stats are basically the same, with total value staying the same, though one piece might have more power and another more crit. I am so tired of the gear grind treadmill for more and more stats. WoW is proving that doesn't work in the long term. It will be interesting to see how they do the item squish or the "mega damage". Either way I don't think that will truly solve their problems.

But if transmogrify and appearance tabs have proved anything, vanity means MUCH more to me than pure stats, so color quality means nothing to me.

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:58PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)
7+ years and millions of subscribers, yeah totally doesn't work. LoL.
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