Friday, January 9, 2009

Why does this bother me so?

I was really hopeful that the new expansion for World of Warcraft would clear up the problems I had with equipment. But, like most things, those hopes have slowly faded as I see more and more of the end game.

One of the fundamental basics of game design is to help players not gimp themselves. If a melee player doesn't know his hit cap (which is very very hard to find out based on the game alone), he can easily get too much and gimp himself. The "fix" is to have lots of third party forums, articles, spreadsheets, and simulators to help people try to even understand their gear choices.

Though, if you think about it, the game also doesn't show you how well you do outside of living or dying. Mix in random effects that can kill players for "challenge" and you have a perfectly obscured system that has no measurable method of knowing how well you are doing or how to become better.

I challenge any raiding group in WoW to raid under these conditions.
  • No mods. That means no threat meters, no decursive, no DPS meters, nothing.
  • Each piece of gear that drops has to be worn by someone as you make progress through the content. Obviously, harder content means better gear.
I put forth these rules because I think that without the fabrications and discoveries of players, the content in the game would be too hard and too confusing. People would be poorly geared and unable to know how well they are doing. Prove me wrong.

1 comment:

Jeremy T said...

I think the point of all of this is to create a system so complex as to be inscrutable to the average player. Bury things deeply enough, and most people will just give up on min/maxing entirely, instead just going with their "gut."

The thing is, somebody - the minority, perhaps, but a substantial one - will tear down all your obfuscation and figure out the optimal path. And for every person capable of doing this, there are hundreds or thousands of people who are dedicated enough to gain the knowledge second-hand.

What you're left with is a division between the knowledge haves and have-nots. It's really just another form of gating content behind dedication.