Shouldn’t hafta

A blog post I recently read (can’t remember who’s) was commenting that she really didn’t like having to use addons to get the most out of the game, and then provided some examples that really (to me, at least), didn’t support the statement of "have to have to get the most out of the game".

For example, Dominos is nice to have, but you don’t really lose anything by not having it. While the default action bar behaviors are obscure, they are, nevertheless, learnable given time and patience.  Dominos, and others like it, is a convenience addon. Claims that it is "required" are and should be viewed with skepticism.

However, I share the annoyance at addons that ARE more or less required for certain things. Or, more correctly, that they are necessary at all. the addons, of course, are lovely.

If you’re a raider, for example, you’re going to be at a real disadvantage if you don’t have Deadly Boss Mods or something similar.  In some cases, you just may not be able to do your job at all.

Well, truth be told, I’m not annoyed at DBM. I’m annoyed at Blizz, and the way that some things – raids, in this example – are designed in a general way of speaking.

Look at why we use DBM in the first place.  It isn’t the cooldown bars, or other quality-of-life features as much as it is the situational awareness features that tell you that Ultraxion is about to do his twilight thang, or Onyxia is taking a deep breath, or Flame Wreath is about to go off.

Now, not all of these are impossible without an addon.  If there is a chat emote, you COULD watch that. But those that don’t … those that have visual cues only … or sound cues … those make a lot of encounters nigh impossible.  It’s not necessarily a matter of graphics setting, all of the time – though that is one case. Sometimes the effect is just buried in all the busy-ness of the encounter.

These are the things that make DBM and GTFO and their ilk necessary. And that’s what annoys me. We should be able to glean what we need from the default interface and visual cues should be clear and not require a graphics upgrade to see. The best raiders are not always the best equipped in the meatspace world, after all, and it would be a virtual travesty if they had to sit for that kind of reason.

Now – before I start sounding like Cyn, let me clarify that I totally understand that in order to improve, the game’s requirements must by necessity be increased as the years march by. That’s fine. What I’m speaking to is the load on a system that is well within the stated requirements of the game ((Taken from the very box, donchaknow.)) and yet which cannot fully access the basic parts of the game.

You may consider raiding to be a non-basic part of the game. After all, estimates show that raiders are probably well below the ten-percent mark of player population in the game. However. Let me note here that the story line of each expansion, including Vanilla, all terminated deep within the final raid of said expansion.  Raiding is, and always has been, integral to this game.

In the past, when a critical shortcoming has been noted, Blizz has done just enough to overcome that, and no more. Well-known examples of this are the default raid frames (Pit Bull, X-Perl, Grid, et al), or movable unit frames (ibid. ish.), or those little spell alerts that let you know that a special ability has popped (Power Auras et al).

So it’s entirely possible that Blizz will respond to the escalating need for DBM-ish with its own raid alert system, and that it will be just barely adequate but not usable by most peoples’ standards (and likely will be very buggy at the start, too).

I truly hope not. What really needs to change is the approach to raid design, and making each raid work within the constraints set forth by the system requirements on the box, and not some sunny-day estimate.  Addressing the core problem is always more effective than slapping on band-aids, and aping an addon is just that, a band-aid.


Posted on September 10, 2012, in Addons, Game mechanics. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Blizzard has added a lot over time in the sense of warnings. Bosses do emotes, they also make sure some of these emotes come up in big letters in chat boxes. At first i thought its dbm, but then i forgot to switch it on for some raid and saw that warnings are improved on their own.

    DBM is still useful if you need a few seconds to prepare to react to some things, but you can raid without it. You just have to pay really really good attention to everything, which means if you are tired…


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