I read with interest a post by Rohan on a puzzle boss in Final Fantasy 14. I’ve no experience of this myself, but imagining it I doubt I’d be able to do the maths quickly enough to stand much chance of success at the mechanics. His comment that such a boss in World of Warcraft would be implausible, given the likelihood of an add-on being produced by players that would make the fight trivially easy, did set me thinking though.
Add-ons are available in many MMORPGs but I rarely use them outside of WoW anyway. In WoW I wouldn’t have dreamed of playing without altoholic, auctioneer, deadly boss mods (DBM) and similar extras. In other games, the only addon I can think that I’ve made much use of is the excellent AI Research Grid in Elder Scrolls Online.
I’ve certainly never used an addon like DBM to simplify boss mechanics in any other MMORPG. If a fight is tough in Secret World or Dungeons & Dragons Online, we may well read up some tactics, but the first thought isn’t to reach for an addon to shout the dance moves at me via on-screen prompts.
Addons could potentially simplify / spoil certain puzzle missions in Secret World, I didn’t look long enough to find anything, but there is one to warn you if a hidden lore is nearby. That’s a step too far for me, the thrill of discovering lore as we (re)explore the zones is part of the gameplay experience I feel.
I feel that having addons as optional helpers to gameplay are a good idea, certainly they are usually quite a boon to sharpen up the often lacklustre default UI design in these games. Extra features like altoholic are a real boon to gamers who play alts too – having to log in and out of characters endlessly is not a desirable gameplay feature in my book. I guess the danger is that the game’s community will start to pressure for addons as mandatory features – anecdotaly I’ve seen this many times in WoW over the years.