03/04/2012

Things You Didn't Know You Missed

One criticism I've frequently seen levelled at The Old Republic is that it's supposedly "behind the times", missing features that every modern game "absolutely needs" to have, or making people "waste time" with things that modern games supposedly shouldn't have. I always thought that this was a pretty silly argument on its own because it assumes that whatever is the newest trend in the gaming industry right now must be the best and most fun way of doing things for everyone. No really, some of us really liked things better the way they used to be.

I've already talked about some of the major "returning" features that I really like, such as non-automated grouping, lots of group content while levelling up, or the slightly more old-school endgame. However, I also keep bumping into minor features here and there that I never even realised I missed before... until they are suddenly back and I go: "Hey, this is actually pretty fun!"

Daily Dungeon & Raid Quests

I have a rocky relationship with dailies, so I was really surprised when I realised how much I enjoyed having all these daily and weekly quests for flashpoints and ops. WoW used to have a daily dungeon quest in Burning Crusade and early Wrath of the Lich King, and while I always enjoyed doing it, I wasn't exactly torn up when they removed it with the advent of the dungeon finder.

However, after thinking about it for a bit I think it makes sense that I'd rather have quests like these than not. After all, what is the point of quests in general? They add structure to your gameplay. It's more fun for most people to kill eight bears for Farmer Joe and ten kobolds for Innkeeper Moe than to just kill bears and kobolds indiscriminately until you eventually level up, one day. Considering that, is it really strange to enjoy being given an in-game reason to run a dungeon over just grinding instances for no reason, other than waiting for your currency bar to go up? It feels a lot more purposeful for sure.

Useful Potions

This is something that really sunk in for me when Syl mentioned "no potions" as something she was looking forward to in Guild Wars 2. In WoW I was an alchemist for five years, enjoyed it, and gradually had to watch the profession become more and more pointless over the years. Only one potion per fight. Health and mana potions restoring only minuscule amounts of health. Mainstream content becoming more and more trivial so that consumables simply weren't needed for most things. Bonus satchels from the dungeon finder flooding the market with flasks so that there was no point in actually crafting them anymore. Etc. But again, it wasn't something that really frustrated me at the time, I just accepted it and moved on.

However now that I'm playing SWTOR, I make sure to immediately drag whatever health potions I pick up onto an empty action bar slot on every single alt that I roll, because you bet that they are going to be useful. I like that. I feel clever if I survive a tricky pull due to chugging a potion at the right moment. And with enrage timers threatening at endgame, stims and adrenals can really make a difference to a group's success. I'm chuffed that there's actually a demand for the things I can craft!

I'd love to hear if other people have also discovered small things that they never thought they missed in other games... until they saw them (again) in The Old Republic.

4 comments:

  1. I surprisingly love being restricted to ground mounts.

    I started my first MMO with WoW, during TBC. I was given a BC book from release by a mate and a read all of it ..until I settled on the photo of the Engineering crafted helicopter. My god. A steampunk flying machine. I took engineering as my profession and gathered everything together as soon as possible until I could craft it (the cheap, non epic version..still cost me every penny I had) and I flew around everything. I Refused to return to the old world, as I couldn't fly on my mechanical marvel.

    Though Northrend (with level limitations) and Cata (without) I flew with giddy abandon. Until I got bored with questing this way and realised I had no connection to the map below me, I didnt feel like I was exploring anymore, like I was an intrepid adventurer.

    Being stuck with groud mounts might annoy some people...But I love it, I'm part of the world again. And while I also kinda miss the looooooong rides from Wetlands to Ironforge to set to Stormwind via the tram, I understand that by it's very design ToR can't do zones like that. I can live with it. You listening Bioware? No flying mounts mext expanion!

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    1. I agree with this too. In fact I wrote a post on this exact subject on my WoW blog two years ago. I suppose you could design an MMO that lets players fly in a manner that enhances the experience throughout... but simply letting people bypass a mostly 2D landscape by flying over it is something that's cool the first time, but rather detrimental to the experience in the long run in my opinion.

      (PS: I'm impressed and confused that Blogger initially flagged your comment as spam. What the hell, Blogger?)

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  2. Raffles beat me to it on one of my points ;-)

    1) Actually having to travel around the world is great. Although I of course use my speeder a lot, I do run around on foot as well sometimes just for immersions sake, SWTOR is my "no need to hurry" game!

    2) Varied difficulty in PVE: unlike many games (WoW especially) PVE content is quite varied in difficulty. As you said there are group missions, but beyond that there are tough (gold or even gold/silver) mobs out there to challenge you if you go looking. Also the tendency towards groups of weaker mobs makes it much easier to get in 'over your head' if you blithely charge around.

    3) I'll agree with you here Shintar, Alchemy was my first profession in WoW and Blizz killed it in Cataclysm. It's such a useful skill in SWTOR for solo and group play.

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    1. I think SWTOR has a pretty good balance between making you traverse the world and allowing quick travel. If you really put your mind to it, you can pretty much get from anywhere in the galaxy to anywhere else in about five minutes, but it's limited so you're not just porting back and forth between places all the time.

      I do love the varied mob groups as well. It really encourages you to tackle different pulls with different abilities and forces you to use your brain, without making things overly difficult.

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