Please make NPC interactions easy…

Some MMORPGs have user interface issues, issues that you come up against again, and again, and again. Basic stuff like interacting with NPCs for instance. This is mainly an issue in ‘action MMOs’ – games where the cursor is locked to your characters viewpoint. The counterpoint to these issues is the sheer UI brilliance of Elder Scrolls Online’s UI design. It’s an action MMO but there are different keybinds for interacting with NPCs versus other players.

An elegant separation

This simple differentiation means that a bulk of players sat on a banker NPC in a major town does not block your easy access to NPCs. A different key is used for trading with party-members or other players stood nearby. Other action MMORPGs have one key for both functions and boy does this annoy me.

Crafting in a crowd

In Secret World Legends it is infinitely less convenient to interact with NPCs if any other players are nearby – friend or random passerby. Likewise in DCUO, a game where the flying fast movement ability that gives such freedom of movement also makes simple NPC or object interactions quite the pain.

Green ! are my nemesis…

Actually DCUO needs a ‘interact with object’ key separate from NPCs or players more than anything else, but I digress. I do think that ESO has a particularly intuitive and effective UI here compared to other action games. This issue is a mute point in most non-action MMOs (like WoW or The Secret World’s original incarnation…), but that’s not to say that action MMOs UIs are inherently inferior, I do actually like to have a ‘click key to loot’ button compared to the more old-school right-click variant.

Do keybinds matter in the action MMORPGs you play?

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2 Responses to Please make NPC interactions easy…

  1. Sylow says:

    The whole “have seperate buttons for interacting with people and items” was something i brought up several times during the TSW beta. Sure enough, it annoyed the hell out of me when to do missions there together with my wife. Whenever there was something to use, we didn’t use it but got the “interact with player” menu instead, as apparently that one has priority over items. (Even if the player is standing a little away. )

    Also, i during the beta pointed out that the “one button for everything” can easily be used to block progress, with the primary example being the first phone-book in Kingsmouth. The new design of the questlines requires the player to use the phone-book to ever progress, but if any other player stands near that book, it can’t be used.

    Of course, Funcom did what they did with all other feedback in the beta: ignore it. And not really surprisingly, the first day after launch people were there, standing just next to the phone-book, mining salt from those who complained on chat that they could use the book.

    I couldn’t remember if ESO always had two seperate buttons, or if it evolved based on player feedback. (After all, ESO at launch had a plethora of issues, which were rooted in the game at that time being built as online-single-player game with a lot of things implemented to prevent player interaction. It’s really lucky that the developers actually read and understood the players feedback, turned the ship around and converted the game into a great multiplayer experience. ) But i fully agree that it’s an essential advantage over the “one button does it all”, which is just a pure nuisance.

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