MMO Mechanics: Eight annoying MMORPG mechanics that grind my gears

The inspiration behind this edition of MMO Mechanics is a recent conversation I had with my housemates about the column and the inner workings of our favourite games in general: It took a turn toward hilarious when we ranted on about the most annoying mechanics we’ve encountered, and I knew I had to start taking notes for a future article. I managed to make our rambling vaguely coherent by whittling down the list to the eight most annoying mechanics in MMOs, but the fun part is that the list is torn straight from our conversation. I present points from a range of opinions that I may or may not agree with, but I’ll be sure to explain why each mechanic made the list. Expect the discussion that lies ahead to be derailed by plenty of inconsistencies, blanket statements, and brazen exaggeration by our debaters!

everquest 2 - tab targeting

1: Tab targeting

This one made it to the top of my fiancé’s list, and I can’t say I disagree: Although I do appreciate hybrid systems that employ tab targeting to a smaller degree, I don’t think I’ve often found such a bland, just-because mechanic as tab targeting. There’s nothing intuitive or imaginative about tab targeting, and I’m kind of glad that more exciting action combat mechanics are now in vogue. I feel as though action combat is more immersive, and I understand the geography and the nature of enemies much better when I am required to navigate fluidly around them to avoid hits and take aim. The popularity of tab targeting might be dwindling, but it’s still common enough to have made our list.

wow - Fetch Carry Quest

2: Fetch and carry quests

Massively OP’s own Brendan Drain came up with this entry, but I think we all ended up agreeing with him once he brought it to our attention. Mechanically, there’s nothing compelling about the typical fetch quest, but I can at least see why they’re historically used. Fetching and carrying usually involves travelling through rather dangerous areas, so these repetitive little tasks were employed because they would help a developer tally just how much XP a player might earn in a given area by setting that drop or natural occurrence rate appropriately for the area’s enemy density and respawn rate. So many much more engaging and mechanically challenging quests exist, so gamers are justified in wanting something more than quests that downscale their beefcake characters into couriers or looters.

gw2 - simple skill rotations

3: Simple spell rotations

I wouldn’t have had simplistic skill rotations on my own personal list, but since I loved playing an arcane mage in the bad ol’ missile-spam days, perhaps I don’t have much taste in this department. Spamming the same buttons regardless of what you’re trying to kill isn’t very exciting, admittedly, so I find a nice happy medium in Guild Wars 2 with its simplistic skillset and heavy reliance on situational skill selection. Having a usual rotation is fine, but I much prefer systems that include skills with specific uses in certain scenarios so that I am able to really switch up my strategy to get the best out of my abilities. There’s nothing more satisfying than a well-timed reactionary ability or planting that CC at just the right moment, so it makes sense that I prefer systems that really showcase that flexibility. For me, button mashing isn’t a skill so I don’t care how complicated a rotation is, but I do like having an additional supportive toolkit for added punch.

ff11 - Tons of health to create difficulty

4: Excessive enemy health pools

Brendan pointed out how annoying it is when the main challenge in an MMORPG boss fight is draining down an overinflated health pool, and I most definitely find myself agreeing. Attempting to mechanise health in order to extend an encounter is such an unimaginative move, yet we see it pop up quite frequently in our genre. Give me a boss fight with varied mechanics throughout the fight, not a sack of HP that has nothing fancy in its arsenal. It’s not challenging to pummel something for longer in order to kill it, it just takes up more of my precious gaming time. Real difficulty involves so much more than health pools, and I expect a fight’s challenge to come from the boss’ repertoire or clever environmental mechanics.

wow - Flight making world small and easy(skipping enimes and zones)

5: Flight mechanics

Flying was fairly contentious within our group: My brother and fiancé both felt that it makes the beautiful, vast virtual worlds we inhabit feel much smaller and the challenges we find within much more trivial. I’d argue that it’s all about implementation: Travel options should be chosen to suit the map scale and the fine line between quality of life enhancement and lazy-mode enabling should always be observed. I like having several instant or fast travel options in my MMO and never begrudge mounts, but this should be kept in check so that I still engage with the virtual world I’m meant to be inhabiting.

swtor - Forced group event

6: Forced group events

This one comes from my own list of pet peeves, which is more than a wee bit hilarious since I’m such a social little bunny! I absolutely hate what forced grouping does to the social element of MMOs, though: I want to join like-minded people who desire my company rather than being thrown into a group that don’t want to thrown into that scenario in the first place. Forced grouping more often than not makes people clam up and just run on through the content to get it done, and I find that it can actually put off those who prefer to be a lone wolf.

eve - Forced openworld PvP(eve)

7: Forced always-on PvP

My fiancé really dislikes when he doesn’t have the choice of whether or not to flag himself as a PvP target in MMOs, so massive open-world “gankboxes” will never appeal to him. Brendan and I didn’t quite agree: Obviously Brendan championed EVE Onlineand although I’m not into PvP, at least you know what you’re signing up for when you take on an open-world PvP MMO. I can totally see how the sense of danger and risk makes for amazing battles, and the strategic element to orchestrating these encounters is not to be downplayed either. On the flipside, I can’t ignore how offputting newbies can find such environments, and when you do take heavy losses I’m sure it is very annoying, so on the list it goes!

gw2 - Stun abiltys(stun locks)

8: Crowd control mechanics

I’m sure that every MMO player can identify with how enraging it can be to be constantly kept under CC: Fear, polymorph, stun, sleep… whatever the effect, it’s so disempowering to disarm your toon in such a way. I particularly dislike CCs that make my character perform actions I have no control over, especially when a well-timed fear forces me to pull a passing mob and my whole party wipes because of it. I’m a massive hypocrite, though, because I love being able to CC others, but when the tables are turned I see red in a way I don’t usually. I guess I need to learn to let the devs play with the same toolset they throw my way, huh?

Over to you!

I really enjoyed sharing a little at-home debate with you all for this edition of MMO Mechanics. Sometimes I forget that I have three other MMO enthusiasts in my home that I can draw inspiration from, but I should really get their opinions down on paper more often.

One person’s dream MMO is another’s hellish nightmare, so I’m sure that some of the mechanics that we found annoying would never have made your lists. Share your own personal gripe list in the comments below, or better yet, put the question to your friends and try to make a collective list together. You never know, it could point your gaming group toward a new MMO that avoids the pitfalls that irk you all.

MMOs are composed of many moving parts, but Massively’s Tina Lauro is willing to risk industrial injury so that you can enjoy her mechanical musings. MMO Mechanics explores the various workings behind our beloved MMOs. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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161 Comments on "MMO Mechanics: Eight annoying MMORPG mechanics that grind my gears"

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jakubtyl2
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jakubtyl2

I need to know, what is the Boss on the title picture of this article? I thought it could be something from Gould Wars 2, but I didnt find such in GW2. From which game it is? Thank you

solaru
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solaru

This might be controversial…

Trash Items are the worst answer to economy issue.  I miss FFXI’s system of where every item had a use, and even the most common “trash” drops could be re-crafted into materials or were materials.  Crafting was a choice, but providing back to the economy was necessary.  For crafters, it ment there was rarely a drought in materials (unless it’s the really difficult to find stuff) where as for wanders and adventurers, everything was a question of “Does this make something” or “can I NPC it more then the markets right now?”

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

vinicitur Anarchy Online has snares that can last up to half an hour. If you didn’t happen to have enough snare-removal stims or kits with you… well good luck! Who in their right minds thinks half a bloody hour is a reasonable time frame to leave a character crippled for?!

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

1. Tab Targeting – eh I’ll have to disagree right off the bat here. I like having variety and different styles of game and combat suit different types of targeting better. Mouse targeting in a massively busy scene is a nightmare. Straight up aiming targeting in every game means that unless your FPS skills are on point, you’ll fail at playing an MMO which is silly. In other words some games suit tab targeting much better than mouse or FPS, and vicer versa.

2. Fetch and Carry quests – ugh. Just… no. DONE with those. In total agreement here.

3. Simple Spell Rotations – again, agreed. 1,1,2,4,3,4,5. Rinse repeat for the next 5-35 minutes, adding in some fire-dodging or the occasional press of 6, 7 or 8. I much prefer an ability priority system: ‘if this, then that’ instead of something so rote and repeated you can get a basic programmable keyboard to do the whole thing for you.

4. Excessive Enemy Health Pools – agreed! In vertical progression games, with increased player stats comes increased mob HP. Bosses become giant bullet sponges and lower level mobs are one-shot kills. There has to be a smarter way of maintaing progression to allow for more advanced characters to kill more advanced enemies without devolving it into a simple ‘more numbers’ game, and without trivialising lower content. Controversial opinion time: I actually like the idea behind Aegis  in TSW as a means of solving this. Lower mobs don’t have Aegis so Aegis progression doesn’t reduce TTK on those, preventing the steamroll by higher QL Aegis gear. Higher mobs do have Aegis so that’s where your progression lies and whilst yes, technicaly it is ‘more numbers’ it’s different types of numbers you need to keep an eye on :p

5. Flight Mechanics – in a zone/area/game designed for flight I absolutely love it. But it depends on what you want out of it. Full-on flying simulator style, accounting for wind speeds and thermals and aerial combat vs just flying a jetbike from A to B. 

6. Forced Group Events – well, that rather depends on how it’s done. I don’t like it if, for normal story quest progression, you absolutely HAVE to form a group and go to X place to do Y thing, and in particular if you have no choice in the matter of who you get stuck grouping with. On the other hand the one-click Join Raid button for a zone event boss in Rift is fantastic.

7. Forced always-on PvP – if there aren’t some safe areas then it’s crap. If it’s also not communicated that this area/event/mission/entire game is open flagged pvp then that’s doubly crap. If it’s a self-described full pvp game then, well, it’s doing what it says on the tin!

8. Crowd Control Mechanics – one word: Stunlock. Begone! CC is great in small, controlled doses. Anything that takes control of your character away from you for more than a few seconds in a combat situation leaving you at the mercy of whatever is just no fun. Might as well go afk and do something else because you’re not even playing the game at that point. But I will conceed that in Anarchy Online having my character be Mind Controlled and then rush off and start killing someone else is hilarious, and it can happen right back at me too. It’s something that only occurs in about 3 places in the game (Deranged Xan, Sector 7, Pyramid of Home) so it’s not a random surprise and everyone’s prepared for it. Those last 2 points are the key difference.

Valkyrie Noel
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Valkyrie Noel

Listed simple skill rotations as something they hate; uses Guild Wars 2 as an example of a good middle ground. One of the worst skill rotation game ever to be created. A game with garbage CC, and gun-to-head inducing game play for optimized rotations.

jonny_sage
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jonny_sage

Line with more hugs jonny_sage MatthewRiddle thats because once you remove competition, its not a sandbox, PVP cames arent trying to be WoW though, they are happy to be niche and their players like it too.

jonny_sage
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jonny_sage

TrippinNinja jonny_sage Syppi exactly. action combat feels a bit more action though

srmalloy
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srmalloy

orionite One of my pet peeves is the open-world mission goal on a long respawn
timer, and the variant of having a particular unique mob drop an
extremely desirable item with an absurdly low drop chance, both of which
result in time-wasting camping, sometimes with large groups of players
stacked up waiting for their turn to interact with the goal (assuming
that they’re not jerks and ninja the goal when it respawns).

srmalloy
Guest
srmalloy

mysecretid orionite Well, the flip side of the escort character running into every spawn of enemies you pass is the spawn of enemies standing around watching you pound their buddies into the stonework and not responding at all, because you’re outside their aggro radius, even though you’re flinging enough industrial light & magic to moonlight as a Fourth of July celebration. “Oh, that’s just Fred and his crew getting beat up again. I never liked him.”

lorenleah
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lorenleah

dragonherderx lorenleah …yes, that was my point? I was saying that it’s not so much that I love tab targeting as that I hate the alternative?

FacelessSavior
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FacelessSavior

You can’t expect pvp’ers to stay just because, “Hey! We have a tacked on pvp system! Enjoy!” I’m especially not spending money on a game/company that treats my playstyle like an adopted child it can just stick in a corner and forget about. Zenimax in particular really talked up the pvp campaigns and the rvr pre-release, only to almost not support it since then, and even cancel the pvp aspects of future updates, like the thieves’ guild.
It’s the other side of the coin with “pvp” games. I hate terms like “Gankbox,” but the current titles available don’t provide much in the way of defending those monichers. Same as the Theme park pve games with tacked on pvp, you can’t expect us to flock to your game just because you’re offering a no frills combat simulator. Even though I want pvp in my mmorpgs, it doesn’t mean I’m willing to overlook a complete lack of substance.
I suppose I’m not your average pvp’ers as I like pvp in how it pertains to freedom of choice in an open world sandbox ‘virtual world’ environment. But even the straight pvp’ers in mmo’s need more depth than grind levels and kill people. What do we get? Darkfall, with a death penalty that’s similar to your garden variety themepark. Sure, you lose your gear when you die, but so what? All the gear is nearly identical, there’s no depth to crafting, and it’s really just a minor inconvenience to go suit up in another set of armor that everyone else is also running around in. The pve is pitiful, and there’s no real reasons to explore, or anything to do or find if you did.
If all people wanted was a murder box, well, there’s other genre’s that do it better, and without the level grind entry ticket. We want more than that.
But I suppose you could say the same with the shared single player experiences most recent theme parks try to pass as mmo’s too.

wjowski
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wjowski

You can have complicated skill rotations or you can have active combat.  Trying to do both will always result in an ungodly mess.

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

sray155
And both the best action and strategy games on the market have OS mechanics.
A dragon bites your head, you’re dead. Pretty damn logical and immersive. A dragon bites you every seven seconds to give work to your healer. Your game failed hard.

One shot mechanics are just part of a tool box. A bite is lethal, a tail swipe not so much. learn the pattern, and make do with it.

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

jonny_sage Line with more hugs MatthewRiddle
I see what you mean, it’s true that many WoW-likes are PvE centric.
But WoW (and others) had plenty of PvP before. Now they don’t. So… either those players left the genre, or found another game. 
Lookin at the state of full on PvP games like Darkfall or the various survivals, I’m not sure how well that’s going for them.
Open world PvP games are just not very popular, but are incredibly numerous. Can you even remember the name of a PvE sandbox right now? Because I can’t.

TrippinNinja
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TrippinNinja

jonny_sage Syppi Action combat: point crosshair at mob, 1 1 1 3, loot. I’m not sure there is much difference in skill rotations between these two types of combat. Both usually use some kind of builder and spender abilities with some others that “light up” under certain conditions. Throw some not standing in telegraphs on top and you have most combat systems, tab target or action. /shrug

mysecretid
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mysecretid

Zarkov 
Yeah, Drive-by taggers. Urgh.
Had a jedi player throw his lightsaber to tag my target in SWTOR recently, and my patience with this tactic just evaporated.
I unleashed my most catastrophic AoE ability on the entire mob group, killing all the rest instantly.
“There ya go. Darth Douchebag. You get one. The rest are for me.”
I guess I’d just finally hit my idiot quota for the week. :-D
Cheers,

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

xania
Tab targeting suffers from being “the norm”.
It’s totally viable in many ways. Take a strategy game: works fine. Many other uses for that, but for targeting….
In modern day MMOs, it means “real old school like the games you liked”… except with cleave on all those abilities. And all those targeted AoEs. And those two classes because they’re different. And healers because you need a mouse overlay.

“See! It’s totally tab target!” 

Except for 80% of the combat which is identical to any action MMO like for, say, a mage in WoW and in Black Desert.
But you have a relic from the past in form of a few auto targeteted skills because the engine was made like that.

mysecretid
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mysecretid

Vellik 
Yeah the trait research in ESO is pretty ridiculous. As I’m sure you already know, the special craftable gear sets found in the world require you to have X traits for the pieces you want to make, before you can craft them.
By the time I research all the traits I need to craft the higher-end special gear sets on offer, I will have out-leveled all of it to the point of uselessness.

That can’t be how they intended it to work (I hope).

Cheers,

mysecretid
Guest
mysecretid

orionite 
The first one, for sure! I hate how, in certain games, the defenseless character I’m trying to escort to safety will literally walk right up to every single group of enemies between our start point and the safe zone.
So much for a believable world …
I’ve seen other games which do it better — the NPC stays close, and follows my lead, but hidden bad guys will ambush us at points along the route.
Definitely the way these sorts of things should be handled. Same amount of risk and combat, but 100% less stupidity. :-)

Cheers,

mysecretid
Guest
mysecretid

dorn2 
This reminded me of that mission in SWTOR where one is tasked with chasing down a saboteur hacker over a series of missions (it’s the Republic-side macrobinoculars questline)
One of the non-solo segments requires jumping between moving and non-moving air traffic on Coruscant. It’s actually pretty cool as a set piece — but whenever somebody misses a jump, they get sent back to a respawn point, and have to jump even more merely to catch up.
What starts out being fun ends up being a misery; the jumping controls in SWTOR are not finesse-capable, so most ordinary players will “die” at least once.
I was lucky enough to go through all this teamed with a real-life friend, and we just got stubborn and hammered through until we finally got it — but it felt like a product of repetition and luck, rather than any sort of victory.
Unsurprisingly, the boss battle at the end of it all was far less difficult than what we went through to get to him.
Cheers,

DigitalQ
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DigitalQ

Rohirrim Perfectly stated

Pandalulz
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Pandalulz

Rohirrim The Mana games, the Alundra games, the Ys games, the Zeldas, all the weird ARPGs on the SNES that I can’t think of the names for like Illusion of Gaia and a pile of others, etc.

MyNameIsIllegal
Guest
MyNameIsIllegal

crackfox “I’ve been scything through your friends for the past five minutes. Lightning bolts have flashed from the sky, golems have risen from the trembling earth and pounded your fellows into sticky red smears. All this, barely ten feet from where you’re standing, yet you don’t appear to have noticed. Are you on your mobile?  ”

Thank you for my new headcanon lol

MyNameIsIllegal
Guest
MyNameIsIllegal

“I like having several instant or fast travel options in my MMO and never begrudge mounts, but this should be kept in check so that I still engage with the virtual world I’m meant to be inhabiting.”

Stop trying to force other people into your play style. If you don’t want to fly, DON’T FLY. The option is there. You can choose whether or not to use it. If you fly just because it is available, clearly you don’t actually care about “engagement with the world.” I also fail to see how having to deal with random mob #92345 is engaging, but I’m not advocating for getting rid of them because some people do. Why do people keep trying to make this either / or. Flyers and non-flyers can exist perfectly well in the same game. Just put down the god damn pitchforks.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

That is really killing me in BnS.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

In all games you pay for more storage. It has nothing to do with only paying for part of your storage. You are paying for more storage. Now if you want to complain about the way BnS does it where the way to expand the space is to find some odd bag, then I will agree. But buying space makes sense.

Lethality
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Lethality

GoJammit No, it’s simply a better way to play in a rules-based system. When the item hunt encourages you to build up your stats (RPG mechanics) it doesn’t make sense to trade out a stat of “hit” (arguably the very core RPG stat) for twitch gameplay that you cannot progress.

Again, if take the stats out of the game – then action is fine. But for an RPG, selecting a target makes the most sense – if not the only sense.

jsmooth1
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jsmooth1

jonny_sage Syppi
This ^ … This right here is my biggest gripe with tab targeting. I understand that some people prefer it over “action” combat. And maybe I’ll go back to it when my reflexes can no longer keep up. But, I keep thinking about my WotLK days in WoW. I was trying out different types of DPS. But, I quickly found out that most of the classes I tried could be distilled down to a set 4 button rotation…

GoJammit
Guest
GoJammit

Yes, but you don’t have to hit a button on your sword to select you target. And even if you did have a target in mind, your swing, wild or targeted, is still capable of damaging other things besides your target.
Toss out your notion of a real sword fight right from the beginning. It’s not real. It’s a video game designed for fun. No talk about how a real sword would work belongs anywhere near a game involving magical wield non human creatures.
You know what else doesn’t happen when you swing a sword at a guy in armor? It doesn’t go through him. But in video games we accept that swinging a weapon wide wil go through multiple enemies… As long as we use the right skill.
Also. The game still using a dice system. It’s just mart enough to to not need to have something targeted for it to start rolling dice.
I’m sorry but it seems to me like all of the complaining about action combat and losing tab targeting boils down to nostalgia, and a desire for clunky, less organic gameplay.

GoJammit
Guest
GoJammit

There a whole lot of things that were different from the start. It’s called evolution. Know what else we didn’t have back in 95? Analog control. High speed internet. Multicore processors. Everything was turnbased, and the things that weren’t were trying to simulate turn based. Tab targeting was a necessity, one we no longer need.

Darth Fez
Guest
Darth Fez

I agree that crowd control and PvP are not a good mix. It’s extremely risky to disempower a player by removing their control of their character. Admittedly I’m not one for PvP, but I remain very curious how games in the vein of City of Heroes will handle crowd control and PvP. The controllers were, as the name suggests, all about crowd control. How does one reconcile a style of play / combat that is all about locking down and controlling their opponents with the concept that one shouldn’t remove a player’s control over their character?

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

Anyone wanna guess what mechanic annoys me the most? Surely I’ve ranted and raved enough about it. So I will mention other mechanics that get me worked up. 

Skillbars – I think they are waste of screen space. We don’t need to see them. Vast majority of gamers use keybinds for them, so they don’t need to be on the screen. The only reason they are permanently docked to the screen is because of cooldowns and icons that might pop up. Frankly I think this lazy programming. Why can’t we have our character visibly show fatigue and recuperation? Why do we need icons when we have photorealistic graphics? Which leads to my next gripe.

Character action animations – Where are they? Where’s the animation that shows my character running out of breathe? How about animation that corresponds to the cause and effects of your enemies? There’s so many details missing in today’s characters all in the name of having a more responsive control of our character.

Combat – It has become nothing more than series of epileptic macros. Yeah the health pools are insanely bloated because let’s be real here a spear in the chest of a dragon should be enough to down it and let it bleed out. Hacking further would seem like overkill, but apparently a giant spear is equivalent to a gnat and you need a bazooka to fire 13 more times. Yeah health pools are not the way to make more challenging encounters. What really needs to change is making mobs more unpredictable and bosses need to be controlled by game masters who can make the encounter more about striking a timely blow than the quantity of damage over time. Bosses need not to stick around and take punishment, instead they should be hard to hit by being more mobile and difficult to reach. 

There’s other things I could rant about but for the most part these things as well as you guessed right…leveling annoy me.

crackfox
Guest
crackfox

Nordavind CistaCista Things I should be doing instead of playing MMOs: cleaning my guttering, repairing the sealant on my downpipes, waterblasting my decking, painting my fence, removing the moss from my roof, trimming the hedge, cutting back the roses, removing the tree that’s fallen across the path, installing garden lights, cleaning the carpets, clearing out the garage…
The above also serves as a non-exhaustive list of activities that I find only marginally less appealing than playing with housing in a video game.

crackfox
Guest
crackfox

BoE/BoP – In fantasy literature, items that attune themselves to their owners are invariably objects of great power – Stormbringer, the One Ring etc. In fantasy MMOs, every other pair of pants is imbued with this mystical property. Once you pull on those trews, nobody else in the world can ever wear them. 
Gear Repair – I may be able to craft armour that can shield me from dragonfire and weapons that can fell a god, but if I need to repair a nick in my blade or a dent in my breastplate then I’m SOL. Fortunately, I’ve yet to meet a trash vendor who isn’t also an accomplished master of all known crafts. So why are all these guys in the trash vendor business? It must be more lucrative than it appears.
Trash Vendors – what do they want with the steaming mounds of bloody viscera that my character collects for them? They must have some purpose for all those wings and husks and teeth and guts. Whatever it is, it can’t be good. 
Fetch Quests – descending in to Hades to rescue your lover is a quest. Stealing the Golden Fleece from a dragon is a quest. Fetching your dad’s pipe from the house across the road is not a quest, even if there is a goblin in the garden.
Aggro Radius – I’ve been scything through your friends for the past five minutes. Lightning bolts have flashed from the sky, golems have arisen from the trembling earth and pounded your fellows into sticky red smears. All this, barely ten feet from where you’re standing, yet you don’t appear to have noticed. Are you on your mobile?

GoJammit
Guest
GoJammit

Mildly off topic: Why am I not just killing Yonkai when he is two levels below me? I’lll leave it at that as to not get into spoiler territory.

Rohirrim
Guest
Rohirrim

Theoretically, no one say that rpg should only be tab target, but can you name me a popular rpg from 1990 – 2005 that had action combat?
A while gaming generation grown up and loved a genre, surely not because of action combat…they would have chosed action adventure or fps instead.
Rpg maybbe a loose term, yet the games that create the genre fanbase, had specific mechanics and combat systems.

ApathyCurve
Guest
ApathyCurve

Robert80 CistaCista 
That’s the point:  they used to be done that way.

Xace
Guest
Xace

xania If you dont have tab targeting then you need to provide local servers for people that live outside the US or EU or the game is unplayable due to the lag.

dragonherderx
Guest
dragonherderx

I have a problem with the “simple spell rotation” thing. I think having a large pool of skills is good, but I think an overall player rotation should only be focusing on a “Skill deck” sort of scenario. I think the overuse of too many skills in a game like World of Warcraft and a few others ends up showing a flaw in the non simplified rotation in that you don’t really need to make a varied choice for your overall rotation and everyone that plays a specific class ends up pretty much the same particularly in WoW where if you are a fury warrior you are literally the same outside of a few things you actually “get” to choose.

A skill deck scenario can also allow you to make a game that is truly non class based and make the person’s actions and discoveries in game evolve their skill set (though you could do this without the simplified skill deck scenarios). There is little to no reason you need 20+ or 30+ skills up on your screen at any given time and that is where you see the “simplified” rotation becoming a good thing. The generalized issue thus far has been the overall design of said systems inside of a game like TSW (which for all intents and purposed does it the best way seen so far) and GW2 in that (and TSW does it to a lesser extent but still does it) that the overall skill pool choice is done minimally on top of this overall design. Having a big skill pool + a skill deck for a limited rotation would require people to make conscious choices about what skills are best for them and better yet we could also bring back a system where using skills more often actually levels them… 

I think as current designs go an overly scattered rotation like World of Warcraft (where people only use a few skills realistically anyways) isn’t any better than a skill deck with a limited skill pool. I think we have no meaningful choices made with too many skills on varying action bars and a skill deck system with a large pool makes your choices more meaningful for sure, but for the love of god stay away from GW2’s design with it…

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

lorenleah Well that’s your basic method for combat unless you flat out go turn based combat like atlantica online…. You are going to deal with reticle/free form sorta combat where it’s more action oriented or tab targeting or some hybrid mix of the two like Blade & Soul uses…

Robert80
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Robert80

xania  Yeah, I’m firmly in the “not every game must be the same” camp… and feel that action combat, much like turn based, has it’s place and fun!

AilsaN10
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AilsaN10

xania I think there is a place for tab targetting when soloing. But in a raid or PvP, it is nice to have someone who calls targets for easier indentification of the targetted mob when there are dozens and dozens of mobs on your screen.

johnmynard
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johnmynard

Wandris 
1) Don’t disagree with, there are different ways to handle it  Power Scaling is the other side of the equation of Bullet Sponge.  Super powerful PCs require targets that can withstand more than they breathing on them.
2)So you would remove one of the few meaningful choices modern gamers have left to make?  What they bring with them and what they leave behind?  Stick it all in a menu somewhere and forget the challenges of reacquiring an item you didn’t have room for anymore but later decided you wanted/needed after all?  Granted this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but still, griping about inventory limits is goofy.  Computer’s have finite limits in memory and processing speed, larger databases are harder to search and thus less efficient.  Putting limits on individual player’s inventory seems silly, until you realize that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of individual databases that have to be sorted and searched every second of everyday.

3)This is a hold over from the tabletop forbears of modern video games. 
It’s a mathematical expression of your characters knowledge, skill and experience from time spent training and as an adventurer. 
It explains why a level 1 one mage can’t summon a water elemental but a level 10 mage can all wrapped up in a single number.  Over the course of the time spent as a mage reading spell books, practicing their casting in peace and war time, ect until one day, it just clicked and she understood how to summon that water elemental.  One might argue that levels have become largely meaningless since WoW has 100(soon to be 110).  It could be counter-argued that it’s only because there are so many levels that all these other issues have become large enough to be annoying and that instead of simply changing the way the power creep grows, they change the rate at which we gain levels.  Make level 10, 20 30, and 40 significant achievements by reducing the total number of levels.  A level 7 warrior in D&D for example is an unmitigated, unquestionable master of multiple forms of combat, weapons and commanding men across the field of battle.  Similarly, a level 7 mage can lay waste to whole armies with a few fireballs.  Meanwhile in WoW, a level 10 warrior has a hard time defeating more than one wolf at a time and a mage can’t even do that sometimes.  I mean if you wanna get nuts, let’s get nuts, a level 20 D&D mage can kill you with a single word, lay waste to entire cities with meteors and conjure illusions so horrific and terrifying that the overwhelming majority of people that behold it drop dead and those that can withstand it’s horrific presence still suffer debilitating heart attacks and strokes.  So yeah, levels are important.

DavidBrown2
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DavidBrown2

I see you showed GW2 there.  One of the reasons that I stopped playing was the lack off diversity in combat abilities.  Instead of just have say, 5 abilities for a 2-hander like GW2 does, I thought there should have been a pool of, say 10 abilities that you can pick and choose from.  So you could have an AOE bar or a CC bar, etc.  I also agree with the forced PVP; EVE could be so much more than the E-thug playground CCP tries to make it.  And, as a largely solo MMO player, having forced group events sucks, especially if it’s in the story-line quests.

dorn2
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dorn2

> 4: Excessive enemy health pools
High health pools are a symptom of their stupid design process.   The problem is the core design for these encounters.

1.  They create easy mechanics with high penalties for failure: ie jump over a puddle or die.
2.  They demand that 25 people jump over the puddle at the same time.
3.  They make 25 people jump over the puddle 10 times each.  This is where the health pool comes in.

With 250 attempts of jumping over a puddle someone finally fails.  The devs then pat themselves on the back and call their content hard.

This is the consequence of a demand for large group content though.  They can’t actually make group content obviously hard or nobody can do it.  So instead they make it appear easy. When someone finally fails you blame that person (your friend) instead of the devs.

xania
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xania

Tab targetting is starting to feel like ‘turned based RPG’. Suddenly everyone hates it, calls it archaic and says it’s got to go and make way for the superior action combat but I don’t get it. It’s a perfectly fine style of combat, not every game would be suited for full action combat.

camelotcrusade
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camelotcrusade

Qarran  Agree on the doodads but I’m not convinced on the enrage.  I’m not talking about new rules for dungeon runs; a balanced party will always be the first choice.  But when you don’t have one (either by circumstance or preference) I hate to see content closed off.  I have some great memories pulling off hard content with a MacGyver group; the game just has to give me a chance.

Wandris
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Wandris

1) Power scaling-Years ago it was hard to imagine anything different, but over time games tend to lose grasp on this as they age and more content comes out. It is a fundamental problem with many MMO’s, a good design from the outset don’t scale well later on making old content which should still be good extremely trivial.

2)Inventory mechanics and general quality of life. Games have come a long long way to make minimize the time it takes to mamage loot, break it down, store it, sell it, use it. It is painful going back to older games that literally require >25% of playtime dedicated to doing mundane chores to manage your gains. 

3) Levels- Another fundamental problem with many MMO’s. Usually you can out level quests and content in a single game area or overland zone. Over time XP curves are downgraded due to player demands which make it hard to even stay in one area long enough to enjoy it, or fully experience it before you are bored to tears with how easy it is. There are creative ways around this but none are ever perfect.

Mysk Needs (More) Coffee, Probably
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Mysk Needs (More) Coffee, Probably

Uh huh. I could’ve written this article myself. I haven’t nodded this much since listening to good music.

Qarran
Guest
Qarran

The mechanic that is most annoying is the doling out of vault or inventory space especially for games that I sub.  

Come on man… once I get my vault, all of the slots should be available.  All of them.  The same goes for the inventory I carry. Being limited to 2 rows or 4 rows until I get an unlock is assinine.  Having to spend more time managing inventory space as opposed to being out in the MMO world questing or exploring or whatever is not a part of a good experience.

I get that this may be a part of f2p mechanics, but sub games have it too.  As a sub even on a f2p game I can see being limited to one or two tabs until I can unlock others through game play or with in-game currency but locking it down by rows is nothing more than a cash grab.  And… I already paid!

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