Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Link Rollup: Standing in the Stupid

Lots of good stuff floating around the blogosphere today, I may just make this a true web log post and just briefly comment on links.
Where'd everyone go?
Stubborn and Psychochild are both trying to figure out how to increase the social factor in MMOs. Stubborn discusses how a good guild can make a great MMORPG, while a poor guilding experience might just ruin it for an individual player. Psychochild focuses more on the grouping experience, and how a "pip" system might help folks find each other again, even through a random LFG tool. I am a player who has (1) sworn off PUGs after the toxicity of WoW LFG and (2) managed to become part of a meta-guild of game bloggers that fulfills my social gaming needs. I totally agree that social ties will increase player retention rates, and I think fewer, stronger bonds is the way to go. Devs tend to approach MMO players as if they were a homogenous group even as they cater to widely varying playstyles in an effort to appeal to different types of players. I've touched on the idea that MMOs are like cities far more than they are like small towns before. I feel devs should focus on the players' monkeysphere (while avoiding factionalism) instead of trying to make us all be friends.
I shouldn't even have to dodge these.
Meanwhile, Zubon is talking about the danger of thinking that, because a game (or even a specific scenario) caters to your own playstyle, you are in some way a superior player. He even touches on the long tails of the RNG gods, and they can skew the individual player experience severely, even while maintaining the appearance of even-handedness in the aggregate. I have fallen victim to the playstyle aspect in various games, and seen it happen to others. The Secret World seems to have a particular knack for reminding me that I'm not so hot, simply by changing up which mobs are resistant to what ability procs. Luckily (or frustratingly), the ability system is designed to be flexible enough that I can (and must) adapt. So just remember, (like in real life) if you have a buddy seemingly incapable of accomplishing a task you skated through, it may have nothing to with your respective skill, and everything to do with how well (or poorly) the task matches up to the stats (talents) and tools you have been given.
Sometimes the Stupid is actually difficult to photograph.
And lastly, my new phrase of the day from my buddy Belghast: "Standing in the Stupid." Of course, we've all stood in the fire or the filth or the poison. The Stupid encompasses them all, and is a perfect generic term. It has the added bonus of integrating well with another old friend's favorite retort. When someone cannot seem to get out of the fire/filth/poison, I can just say, "You, sir, are stuck on Stupid."
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  1. I really liked Zubon's article, too. One of the last times I played GW2 was during the Halloween event, and that Mad King Thorne instance, I was beat up left, right, and sideways. Squishy elementalist, and borked up-leveling mechanics didn't mix, and it became an exercise in futility.

    I was told A) I should use some survivability gear, B) That I was just a terrible player and C) Should've looked for a group. Right. A) Finding whole other gearsets way before levelcap, for one fight, is a lot of wasted time and just wastes bank space. B) Maybe, but my overall gaming skill is pretty good. C) Nobody was willing to group for a one-off instance that many people were saying was easy. No groups to be found.

    The mission was a screw, and I was approaching it with a hammer. The instance was just not designed for a under-leveled, squishy elementalist. Once I beat it, I was derided for considering it so tough, which in turn doesn't make me want to play GW2 any more and made me think of the community less. Ended up being more of a loss than a win.

    1. Yeah, those people were jerks.

      Part of the recent trend to jack of all trades characterization that players bemoan is a a result of the difficulty devs face in balancing an encounter in a rock-paper-scissors system. If you design the encounter for around rock mechanics, either the paper or the scissors will find it damn near impossible to beat. Spread traits across character classes, and the problem is ameliorated, at the cost of the unique snowflakes.