The Daily Grind: Do MMOs go overboard with particle effects?

    
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There was an old joke among myself and some of my friends playing World of Warcraft about how it was convenient that bosses are all big so you can see them through the spell effects. Of course, there’s some truth to that. Even in a dungeon, it’s easy to lose sight of a boss under the effects of a few people hitting the same target; in content with large groups, you can often lose sight of the boss completely beneath an explosion of special effects.

It’s neat to have effects to go along with your abilities, of course; seeing the flare of something happening to your targets is part of how you know you’re doing something. But City of Heroes in particular had people claiming they couldn’t even see what was happening half of the time, and there are certain bosses in Final Fantasy XIV with facing-reliant attacks where it’s hard to not just pray you’re avoiding where the blob of spell effects is facing. What do you think? Do MMOs go overboard with particle effects?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Di Kelley

Oh God yes! I run tank, and I had no idea until tonight that it was possible to turn them off. With all those flashes going off in my face I can’t see to pull aggro on the mobs and I end up dying. Lots. I’m planning on turning off all effects as soon as maintenance is done tonight.

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AGx-07_162

In a game like BDO I turn off all but mine. It somewhat takes away from the game but in groups I feel like I’m attacking the other players’ particle effects rather than whatever monster is hidden beneath them.

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Toy Clown

I rather enjoy the bright and shinies, depending on the MMO. Ones that are more realistic in nature I’ll turn off, but the cartoony ones I’ll put on full blast, as if I’m in an overheated disco! Works well in Wildstar and Wow.

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Robert Mann

All too often. I’m a frequent user of options like “turn off other’s FX effects” not because of hardware, but because I can just as easily go blind staring at the sun.

The problem with that solution is that all too often NPCs get involved, and I end up quitting as there’s just no happy middle ground. One NPC can make my screen explode with bright lights, with everything else so dark I am starting to strain myself to see where I can walk.

I understand some people like these things. Great. Can we perhaps have this be yet another point where game design doesn’t have to be a constant, but rather has variety for different people?!?

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Tony McSherry

I seem to have adapted to WoW’s particle effects, but I do occasionally find it hard in other games to see what I want to see. You can change particle density in WoW, normally to affect performance, but it should make them easier to bear. You can also set Depth effects for particles. but I have no idea what that does ;-)

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Little Bugbear

Yes. In groups it’s hard to know what is happening.

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Ian Wells

This is one of the things I have come to really appreciate about BDO. Even the more extreme effects are up for just a second before fading away. Even Witch/Wizards, the most garish of offenders, only become obstructive when there are multiple high leveled characters dropping high end skills at the exact same time.

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Adri

The biggest issues are fps drops especially in PvP games. Lagging because of the mighty fire storm is bad.
Even in PvE content. Sometimes you can’t tell what you are hitting or were the target is. You just have to follow all those VFX and when you see damage points you hit the right place.
Or just tab till you tab something that is possibly the main boss / target and not a minion.

The biggest problem is when the boss does something (like an animation) to indicate a certain action and you can’t tell because of all the VFX. That’s really bad.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

Yeah it has gotten a bit out of hand. It is hard to tell what is going on as a melee character in ffxiv when your entire screen is full of effects and you can’t even see the ground targeted attacks. Ashes is already looking a bit annoying with that sorceress’s attacks.

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PurpleCopper

One character doing a flashy movie is nice and all, but a 100 characters doing flashy moves?

Particle effects overload.

Almost every MMO has this problem.

Hell, even non-MMOs have this problem as well. Just look at Overwatch, there’s only 12 players in a match, and yet there’s particle effects fucking everywhere.