WoW’s LFR and SWTOR companion system

Stubborn has an interesting post up about the LFR experience, and how little this may prepare you for actual raiding:

 I can see why no one knows how to do the fights the right way.  In another perfect example of Blizzard’s pedagogy, LFR does not teach you anything practical about raiding, in the same way that leveling teaches you nothing about end game, normal dungeons teach you nothing about heroics, and heroics teach you little about raiding.  Each stage of the game requires a complete rewrite of behavior, knowledge, and performance, so it’s no wonder that so many people are unprepared for entry-level raids.

The amount of learning you gain from such an experience depends a lot on you the player. Someone who cares about their performance and role will probably benefit, but many just do it without really learning anything about raiding or their class, as Stubborn states later in the post, as a “once a week daily”.

I would add that this lack of ‘tutorial for raiding’ is not a problem just in WoW. Arguably Rift does little if nothing to prepare you for raid level gameplay. Even the open group content out in the world is generally done by hordes of DPS with the odd support or healer – tanking is mostly optional and even when a tank is present they seem to ignore the mobs beating on my cleric while I’m trying to heal. LoTRO certainly doesn’t provide any training for large scale group play and since the advent of the ‘inspiration’ buff is heavily focused on solo-pve content these days.

The odd one out among MMOs when it comes to actually introducing the trinity roles is SWTOR. Playing constantly with a NPC companion gives you an implicit glimpse of concepts like threat, taunts, crowd control (and breaking it!) and healing others from an early level. Sure you can play mindless of this and just bullrush through the content and possibly get to the cap oblivious. But it certainly makes these core concepts of dungeons and raids (flashpoints and operations in SWTOR) more a part of the general leveling experience than other games.

It is ironic that a system that is blamed by some for promoting solo-play over group-play is also the omnipresent reminder of some of the core skills of PVE end game.  It’s harder to ignore these tactical issues in SWTOR because so much content is tuned for you + companion, whereas in most MMOs it is tuned for solo played only.

I’m not aware of any MMOs that actually tutorial this all properly. I suspect WoW now has something in the talent spec descriptions, but one line about ‘protecting others’ isn’t preparation for tanking your first dungeon. I think MMOs should have optional solo dungeons where you get to practice tanking, healing (and managing healer aggro), crowd control, interrupts etc. Do any games have this already, I wonder?

About these ads
This entry was posted in Gaming, LotRO, Rift, SWTOR, WoW. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to WoW’s LFR and SWTOR companion system

  1. Shintar says:

    I do find it noticeable that I seem to run into very few people in SWTOR who don’t understand their role at all. People may still make mistakes or do low dps or whatever, but I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t know how to use their crowd control for example.

    • Telwyn says:

      Perhaps SWTOR didn’t attract that many MMO newbies, though you would think the IP did drag them in. But then there are plenty of ‘vets’ in other games that seem to have learnt nothing about group play from their other games anyway!

  2. pkudude99 says:

    A common complaint in the forums back when I was playing was “Can’t beat this boss in my story missions. This game is too hard!”

    The response was invariably: “You have Interrupts. Learn to use them!”

    I remember that even a lot of the silver and gold overland mobs that you’d fight would usually have some sort of nasty mechanic you could probably ignore but that if you interrupted it you’d be a lot better off, so I got very used to doing interrupts as a matter of course. It helped that the interrupt skill’s cooldown was only 8-10 seconds, depending on the class. It meant that when you needed an interrupt, it was nearly always available. I did enjoy that mechanic and I’ve carried it over into other games that I play now, especially TSW. You really only “need” interrupts in the Nightmare-level dungeons in that game, but I find I like having 2 of them in my solo build also.

    Conversely, in Rift I usually grab the interrupt skill “just in case” but simply don’t ever use it. Just no need in that game that I’ve run across. :-(

    • Telwyn says:

      I agree that leveling up so far in Rift doesn’t require much in the way of these skills. Are there any of the rare-ish world boss types in SL? I’ve seen named mobs to kill but I’m talking like the giant tree in Stillmoor – the wandering mobs that only groups could kill. That might count as something I guess?

  3. pkudude99 says:

    I haven’t found any Elite overland mobs in SL that I couldn’t take without difficulty any difficulty. In Seratos there’s a quest elite back in a cave that is designed to be taken on by a group (or you can simply avoid it, which is what I did after 2 deaths trying to take it on). The other night in Kingward there was a level 58 quest mob that I killed with my 56 warrior and it was difficult but doable. Due to generally not needing interrupts I didn’t have one on that solo build, and there was one skill the mob used that made you fly up in the air for a bit, then dropped you for about half your health. Couldn’t use my cc breaker to get out of it, sadly. I’m half tempted to use a different build with an interrupt and go back and see if that will work. Still… between the “No Permission to Die” skill and a health potion, I still managed just fine.

    TBH, I’ve never really spent any time in Stillmoor, so I don’t know anything about the mobs there.

  4. Meznir says:

    Things are slowly creeping into WoW. The Brawlers Guild has solo PVE matches against NPCs and each have their own gimmick that you have to work out how to get around with you class/spec’s abilities – such as kitting, rooting, not standing in the fire etc. it’s not exactly tacking the trinity, but encourages people to take a good look at the skills they never use. Similarly the new Scenarios encourage you to use other abilities – though not as much and they’re too rushed through in pugs to learn much or experiment.

    Another edge towards this is the Monk daily and level quests. You are pitted against one of the monks who virtually tell you what ability to use to defeat them.

    Lastly, and more to your point, a lot has been mooted about using the Scenarios to create Training Grounds – scenarios where people are taught to tank etc. It’s not in the game yet, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t working on it.

    • Telwyn says:

      The training grounds is actually what’s needed in most MMOs. If you have the trinity then you should offer players a explicit chance to learn the roles of their class/spec. Otherwise the game is outsourcing some pretty fundamental learning to wiki’s which is just lazy, albeit it’s also very common.

Comments are closed.