Tobold on Wildstar dungeons and the broader combat issue

Tobold has a post addressing the debate around the difficulty of Wildstar’s group content, in particular the dungeons. For the record I didn’t choose to subscribe and play the game after my beta trial and the biggest reason was the perceived difficulty of all the content, I didn’t get as far as the dungeons but then I didn’t need to.

The game plays at a fundamental, combat level just like Tera – it’s a pretty full-on action MMORPG. This means almost constant positioning and dodging, it means the most basic fights against monsters out in the world can be dangerous and take some time as you’ll have telegraphed big attacks or stuns to avoid. When I was playing Tera I leveled really happily for the first half of the way to cap on my priest, the healing in group content was frantic but fun. However the leveling itself started to wear on me as even the simplest fights took quite a while so the pace of leveling was slow and the combat didn’t vary in intensity much – it was always slightly too tense.

Now Tobold and most others commenting on this are referring to the dungeon difficulty as the big issue, I’ve watched a few videos of dungeons and would agree that it’s simply too intense for me – it’s very like WoW’s current normal mode raiding. I did flex-mode and normal mode raiding in my last stint in WoW and found normal mode to be too stressful an experience. As a healer there is way too much to dodge and too many mechanics to learn. Watching Liore’s video of the first dungeon makes me think I’d tire of Wildstar’s dungeons very quickly – the game doesn’t pace a build up to raid-style content, it throws you in there with the first group content you do!

Tobold goes on to argue that there’s no good reason for Carbine’s not to introduce an easier alternate mode to the dungeons in Wildstar. However I think the overall game’s combat tuning, like Tera’s, is too intense for me to have subscribed – the dungeons are just a continuation of the whole game experience in this regard. Fundamentally the humourous artwork and broad content of the game was very appealing (except that level up thing!) but buried under the layers of whimsy is a fundamentally different game from one I’d want to play for very long.

It’s a pretty core issue – would you play an MMO in which you didn’t like the combat for very long?

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One Response to Tobold on Wildstar dungeons and the broader combat issue

  1. Kyraeus Wulf says:

    I think others have summed this up in a couple of ways. I’ve heard it said that Wildstar was more or less created for the hardcore MMORPG fan, rather than the casual crowd, and I tend to agree, at least in part. Not ENTIRELY, due to the fact I think additions like ridiculously customizable player housing (on the level of second life/sims) and some of the other systems will definitely keep the creative crowd interested. Warplots sounds like an amazing Battlegrounds-esque system that actually makes me look forward to PVP somewhat.

    Two other thoughts however: One, I’ve also heard this referred to as similar to a return to vanilla WoW, and having played through that beta and the early days, I tend to agree. Before WoW was polished for YEARS to become what it eventually did, it catered pretty heavily early on to the hardcore crowd, and was pretty difficult in it’s own right. Personally, I MISS those days, before things were handed to me on a golden platter.

    WoW’s advances were pretty cool, mind you, but over time, things included in wildstar like attunements, raid wipes (I WANT fights that make you fail till you learn the mechanics of them), innovative boss mechanics, more environment interaction… Some of which were in WoW previously to a larger extent… seemed absent in later renditions after vanilla WoW. Cataclysm in particular seemed to ‘easy mode’ a lot of the content, and undermined the fun in it.

    Second point from above: I LIKE the difficulty. I’m not there to have them hand me loot on a platter for showing up. Games are partly fun because of challenge. While it could DEFINITELY use some tweaking (then again, what MMO a week or three out from launch couldn’t?), I love the fact that the combat is of that ‘easy to pick up, difficult to master’ bit. Healing in WoW at one point pretty much factored down to ‘Stand back, avoid splotches on the ground once in awhile, and push a key to watch a bar go up.’. I was damn good at it, and I loved doing it, but frankly, it was boring. Healing in Wildstar, once you take time to practice a little, is rewarding, relatively intuitive at least, and it’s FUN. You don’t stand there like a nimrod waving your hands as sparkles shoot out. You run your ass off with everyone else, dodging god knows what crap the boss is tossing your way, and praying you don’t make a misstep.

    Add to that, the fact that a lot of that holds true for world encounters and even just normal fights sometimes, means that the rest of the game doesn’t lose its luster and get boring as easily.

    So yeah, basically I suppose they could probably toss in an ‘easy mode’ for people who are burned out by the intenseness.. But that seems to go pretty much counter to what they wanted to create here. Everybody’s entitled to an opinion though.

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