Can the Trinity be damned?

Can the trinity of tank, heal, damage roles in online rpg games be removed? Really?

An old question, and perhaps one which is both too subjective for each game style in question, and also blisteringly obvious for MMOs. Blessing of Kings has a great post where the discussion thread is the perfect primer for the issues and the potential degrees of how effective the solutions will be. A darn good read.

trinity-dangerousTo me it is all about degrees of effectiveness vs the suspension of disbelief. No solution I’ve ever read provided a summary for an MMORPG that has no role based system, without a set of quasi-magical powers to manipulate the monster’s behaviour. And that is not what might really happen.

If nine of my friends and I decided to attack a giant, I don’t think the giant would understand taunts enough to only swing at one person, or that two of us were good at recovering from wounds so might be better to kill early. The giant is going to kill easy targets, targets that hurt it a lot, and then the rest of us.

Similarly a grizzly bear will attack one of us until it can get a good meal, unless we keep poking it with spears in which case it will hurt the spear carrier and probably ignore any others just standing to the side waving their hands (healing, caster dps).

In MMORPGs I don’t think it can be totally removed. I don’t think I’d want it removed either. We have a method which is essentially in support of the fun, and while the mechanics of that illusion might be tweaked, the illusion is useful.

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Ars Magica Computer Game Kickstarter

Its no secret that I’m a huge fan of Ars Magica and also of computer games, and  now an agreement between Atlas Games and Black Chicken Studios is seeking to combine those two wonderful hobbies.

Black Chicken Studios, working under license from Atlas Games, is delighted to present a new simulation role-playing game for the PC. After 25 years and 5 editions, Ars Magica will at long last be paid tribute in a single-player, turn-based video game.

Authentic to the original, this is a faithful, beautiful, and accurate depiction of covenant gameplay and the RPG’s legendary magic system during a dangerous century in the Stonehenge Tribunal. With your help, we’ll bring Ars Magica: Years of Conquest and its tapestry of wars, intrigue, invasion and, above all, magic to life!

The Ars Magica – Years of Conquest game is seeking backing via a kickstarter campaign.

I can only rave about how passionate Atlas Games are about Ars Magica, and really hope this concept gets through to reality.

If you are a fan of either, spread the word.

Re-posting: Ars Magica Computer Game Kickstarter, on the The Iron-Bound Tome.

Playing many games, casually.

I’m in that happy state where I get to play many games. World of Warcraft has taken a significant backseat due to real life events, and along with that I’ve chosen to look into the MoP Beta and the Diablo 3 Beta. The odd distracting iphone game gets a look too.

Playing of the big three games very briefly and casually is actually more satisfying in the short term than trying to play one game solidly. Initially I would doubt that to be true. In a nutshell I think being moderate has pushed my expectations, and I now find the small elements of fun amongst a range of games. For now its working. I am looking forward to the official release of Diablo so that I can see the full content and play online with some friends that it is hard to hook up with in other games. I would still like to get SWToR loaded and play that in the future when my PC has been upgraded, as the content was impressive enough that I think it will be a fantastic distraction.

There is also a set of play-by-post tabletop RPG games that distract me, and between them, the healthy posts from the players, and the rest of life short stint gaming is still working. So for now a quick 15 to 30 minute session will do, with much gnashing, power-ups, and gear to be swindled from the nefarious foes.

Happy gaming folks.

More creative and consistent names

Aside

Update: As this was published I noticed that the patch 4.3 name rules have changed too:

North American realms (excluding Brazilian, Latin American, and Oceanic realms) no longer permit letters with accents in character or guild names. Existing character and guild names with special characters will be unaffected by this change.

How many times have you seen these type of names?

Ãrthás, Ægigbird, ìcemage, lololas, undeaddeath, or ikillsunow. Iamatank (who is dps), pvpggodd, or any darn name which uses a keyboard crushing special character. It is a short step to bigtool7 as a character name, and most of the examples above are from actual toons.

Moons ago I wrote a small blogpost about naming a Death Knight, as at the time the Wrath expansion was announced but not released, and players were creating and reserving names left and right. It was done as a PSA type post so that (I hoped) the wow population would have less silly and unpronounceable names.

How’d that go? I saw no direct affect; but then didn’t really expect to see a major shift. I was more just standing on my soapbox yelling at the world (now we have twitter for that, and bloggers have multiple avenues to shout about the things that frustrate them)…and shitty names still frustrate me.

The characters like “Bloodelfdk” are still happily jumping around in WoW, and it seems that players are keen to use every special keyboard character they can when re-using names. I guess that won’t change much either.

It would be interesting to see an MMO which prohibited these type of names more, and if that rule had a significant affect on the player base. Would a restriction such as that hinder the growth of the game?

Take the SW-ToR game coming in December – can I create a character called DarthVedar? Hanssolo? Chewiebacka? Aaanakin?

These names are just as silly as Arthaaas and all the rest based on the Warcraft lore, and as ToR is based on story arcs and events, it seems something they might wish to consider – especially if the NPCs will be using the character names in some way:

Npc: The elderly noble rises from his ornate throne and says “We hail PrincisLayher, you efforts to force back the Imperial troops were a boon to my people. What would you ask of me as reward?”

Player: “dude epix, lol”

Npc: …{shakes head}

It breaks the story, and makes me a little sick just thinking of it.

OK what to do:

  1. Valid Random Names – The random name generator in the character creation screen should not show you names that are in use. It frustrates me that a name is shown, might actually be useful, but is not available. As an armchair programmer this does not seem to be a huge issue, the list could be updated on batch, and then re-checked every day to ensure the error rate would be low.
  2. Prohibit special characters – I know this affects some legit European names, but then you’re not playing yourself in Second Life, you’re playing Warcraft. Names like Redhand are far more lore worthy than Phîlll. And yup, it would wreck a huge amount of current character names, but hey – I hate those names so on this point I’m going to be inconsiderate of those players.

Remember the Fallen

An odd but very interesting Blog Azeroth – Shared Topic today:

“Your character has been chosen to be published in the revered guest column section of a major publication (Ironforge Times, The Steamwheedle Port Journal, The Orgrimmar Post, etc). Share a clipping of their editorial, guide, meandering nostalgia piece, impassioned call to action, scathing political takedown, or shameless self-advertisement on your blog.”

For this topic I did not choose a regular character I have, but instead took the personality of one of my alts. As a Priest of the light, Yierah is devoted to all ways that the holy can be experienced in the world. The material below would be a short statement of remembrance.

Remember the Fallen by Brother Yierah

As we turn our steel toward the nemesis of Deathwing we must remember the fallen who have been left behind.

Recall the brave army which marched into the Molten Core, eight ranks deep, their bones burnt into dust by that unhallowed fire. What a disgrace of fortune that soon we must again vanquish Ragnaros from our plane.

Do not forget those who fell as we took our first handholds in Outland. Those lost souls reside forever amongst the twisted energy of the nether.

Praise those who fell against the Lich King, and pity those fallen knights who were raised as abominations to serve that cruel oppressor again in unlife. My they all find the peace of the light.

Remember that we will fight for all those heroes who’s glory has been lost. We ensure that the midnight dragon’s reign of fire is quenched once and forever, and the light of dawn returns to our lands.

Peace be to Azeroth.

Happy gaming.