It’s funny, but I feel like I have so many game-related things to do – games to play, games to grind in, games I haven’t played for a long time but would like to revisit, game videos to watch, beta games to beta – that I keep resenting the feeling of obligation to get a daily post out.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from a week of doing this, it’s that I much prefer a 2-3 day posting schedule so that I have some in-between time to reflect a bit more, chew on things and ponder, before I can build up enough excitement/motivation/intriguing revelation that I want to share in a blog post.
Do you find it difficult to play a role outside of your typical class choices? This can be in an MMO, MOBA, single player RPG or any other game that uses class as a distinction for gameplay.
The short answer is, it depends.
I have a distinct class/role preference that I normally gravitate to first, in any game, especially when I’m just trying it out for the first time and want to play something within my comfort zone.
Specifically melee damage, sturdy/tanky, with preferably a side helping of support and/or control.
A Brief Word on Role Definitions
The holy trinity of Tank/DPS/Heals is too ‘binary’ for me, in the sense that I dislike the co-dependency of the ‘pure’ holy trinity roles. I would definitely lean more towards the tank + DPS side of the spectrum, but just saying that loses the usefulness of drilling down into specifics.
I’m fonder of using the more modern damage/support/control/(utility) role definitions, or a more City of Heroes style definition of tank(aggro control)/tank(absorb alpha strike)/damage(ranged or melee)/defending(support+heals)/control/debuffs to break things down into broader functions.
On Wading into Combat and Being Supportive
I gravitated to tanks quite early on, but if you asked me what I really enjoyed about tanking, it’s the following:
Being big and sturdy and leading the charge into combat
The sense of being able to control the battle from within the thick of things, to position enemies where you want them, to drag them to a corner or wherever (aggro control being a part of this)
Being able to thump things with a big badass weapon
Inspiring and supporting teammates from within the fray
Being able to take an immense amount of punishment and remain standing, outlasting the opponent and ending victorious
What I hated (and still do) about tanks:
The sense of being codependent on a healer to keep you upright, just being a big but squishy health bar reservoir to be kept topped off or blam, everybody dies
The feeling of obligation to know a dungeon well, in order to bring your little lost sheep (aka the rest of your party, who seem exceedingly content to be handheld through the experience instead of being equal partners) through safely, and to set a ‘good’ pace, for unfamiliar people whom you have no idea whether they like or hate your speed or lack thereof, and may be silently judging you
So generally, you’ll find me playing non-holy trinity games where everything comes with a side helping of damage so that you’re not helplessly waiting around for another person to ‘complete’ you, and looking for tough, high hp melee fighters that can apply control and/or offer defensive or offensive support.
On Spreading Out and Being Flexible
I enjoy variety and novelty and learning new things, and am a chronic altholic, so it is quite natural and easy for me to diversify roles. I just pick something that has most of the things I like, plus one or two switchups in role/function.
Ok, let’s do melee dps, but be squishy and stealthy instead!
Or let’s do ranged damage, but be relatively sturdy and have a lot of support/control/buffing functions up our sleeve!
Or let’s be tanky, but in a ranged fashion, summoning lots of minions to do your tanking/damage for you and control/supporting from the back!
Strangely enough in FPSes, I enjoy the sniper role a great deal, but rarely get to play it in a successful manner due to my ping and general lack of superb twitch aim.
So I have no real qualms about roles that involve sitting at the back and throwing vast amounts of damage and sniping or nuking things either.
One hit kills, be it from melee or range? Yes, please.
I enjoy the tactical and strategic aspect of waiting for the perfect moment and the payoff of the “BLAM, let the bodies hit the floor.”
Any roles that involve a great deal of fire-throwing? Absolutely, I have a little closet pyromaniac in me.
(I figured this out when I was playing fire tanks in City of Heroes where you get to burst into flame, /fire powers where you get to thump things with FIRE, fire blasters which throw great balls of fire and sheets of flame around, and fire/fire dominators which control things with the power of flame and smoke, summoning itty bitty demon imps made out of fire, and yes, deal damage by blowing things up with fire.)
The Role I Just Can’t Bring Myself to Play
There’s just one, the antithesis of my playstyle preferences, that I just cannot tolerate for long.
And that’s the -ranged- squishy pure support healer that is reliant on adopting groups and other players as their pets to tank and do damage.
Ranged is slightly discomfiting, but I can deal.
Squishy makes me feel useless if I keep dying.
What? I do damage like I’m waving a tissue paper around? Why am I even bothering to fight things then?
Whack-a-mole on health bars is not my idea of fun “combat,” since it’s more staring at the UI and less actively affecting the world…
… and are you serious, I have to rely on other people being competent and not braindead in order to make any headway? I can’t solo? Can I have some NPC bots to heal instead please? I think they’re likely to target faster and do more damage…
I wouldn’t mind damage/healing at long range, though it’s a role I’m not likely to play often or favor first. At least you get to do -something- in between healing, and watch/affect the flow of battle from afar with good timing.
In a similar fashion, a sturdy tank that hits like a wet noodle and only focuses on aggro generation and control and is heavily dependent on a third party keeping them upright with a constant stream of heals is also equally boring to me.
I could probably play it, in the sense that the role functions are familiar and fairly second-nature. But I’d definitely begrudge it after some time.
Fortunately, there are a lot more games out there that have broken away from the holy trinity and realized that players can deal with multiple roles, applying the appropriate skill at the appropriate time, making combat both more interesting and complex, and also allowing for -anyone- to be the hero and come in and save the day with good gameplay (be it throwing a heal or revive, tossing a crowd control or doing damage at the time when that function is most called for.)
This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, I for Izlain and “I keep forgetting to add this last line until I edit the post” and the number 7.
My television watching habits are supremely irregular.
That is, I don’t watch much TV at all.
All those crucial 45 minute blocks of time are spent gaming, rather than passively experiencing a story that goes absolutely nowhere except into yet-another-episodic-arc-designed-to-keep-you-glued-to-the-screen.
Nor am I a big sports fan.
Competition and me are not pals, having been bitten once too many times by an obsessive personality that would fixate too much on winning at all costs, if I gave it free reign. I’m mellower when I tell myself winning is not the goal, but having moment-to-moment fun is.
Still, there was a time when I was enraptured by the NFL and American football. It just seemed so much more complex and intricate than the football the rest of the world plays – lots more clear cut roles, different strategies every pass designed to get the ball the next 10 yards and beyond.
Until I took note of how many hours a night I was spending watching one game (3-4 easily) and how much gaming time I was losing out on as a result. Fell out of the habit shortly after.
It’s funny then that even I can get caught up in the zeitgeist of the moment. I just spent the last couple of midnights staying up till 3am to watch the semi-finals and finals of the FIFA World Cup.
Not as a rabid soccer or football fan, staunchly loyal to one team, but out of a pigheaded determination to discover an appreciation of a game that I mostly always viewed as “kicking a ball around a grass patch for 90 minutes and falling down with an agonized look on one’s face the moment the faintest contact is made, hoping for a favorable referee call.”
The internet helped.
Googled up “soccer strategies” and “why do people like football so much” and devoted some time to reading other people’s thoughts.
Apparently, it’s the continuous flow of action rather than the typical start and stop of American football that some find compelling, a constant adrenaline high for one and a half hours punctuated with more extreme buzzes whenever the ball gets close to the goal posts.
I’m somehow not wired that way. I don’t get adrenaline deliveries on cue, which may suggest a reason why competition isn’t that exciting for me. Instead, I enjoy watching the interlocked intricacies of each team member in American football performing their specialized role well, with the result that the football either gets passed or gets stopped, depending on which team outsmarted or outplayed the other.
…Surely, soccer has -some- strategies of this ilk? Just less obvious, perhaps?
More reading. More eye-glazing over various “formations” with hypenated player numbers. More beginner tips on how to appreciate soccer via watching how one player may outsmart another by looking in one direction while kicking in another, or using their body to block an opponent’s view of the ball, or players that criss-cross and cut in at various locations to become open for the ball and so on.
I guess there were -some- things that I could find vaguely interesting, after all.
So I watched the World Cup and admired Germany’s efficient teamwork and appreciated on a distant theoretical level why defensive football is so important by observing Brazil’s total defensive meltdown.
Still didn’t like the extreme boring nature of a super-defensive football game with zero goals scored in two hours (with extra time) – effective, I’ll grant you, but boring as heck to watch – and repeatedly rolled one’s eyes at the more unspoken sides of football – ie. sneakily damage your opponent as much as you can get away with, dramatically telegraph all contact in the hopes of a free kick or yellow/red cards, and apparently biased referees.
Seriously, if things are going to get that physical, then put on some padding and go to town like the Americans do.
It’s with some irony though that I find a parallel with MMOs and that I’m on the opposite side when it comes to computer gaming.
American football reminds me of the holy trinity.
Everyone has a specialized role, everyone works in unison and it’s beautiful when everything synchronizes.
Rest-of-the-world football is a non-holy trinity game. Perhaps, dare I say it, even like GW2.
There’s one primary role everyone performs, do damage or get the ball as close you can to the goal/stop ball getting close to yours, while still paying attention to the team and working in sync with them and supporting them as needed. There may be different “classes” or “soccer positions” with some variants in playstyle. There’s probably more going on under the hood than is obvious to the casual observer.
Soccer is said to be one of the most unpredictable sports. A weaker team has a good chance of upsetting a stronger team because the scores are so low. If opportunities fall their way, and are capitalized on, that may be it for the more unlucky team.
Some find this a reason why soccer is so exciting to watch.
Me, I personally find it about as thrilling as trying to predict heads or tails on a coin toss, and just as pointless. I guess I prefer to watch a good team demonstrate -why- they’re a good team.
Strangely enough, I find unpredictability a bonus if you’re the one actually participating in the moment.
Because it’s suddenly you that can become the hero with a well-placed rez, or good dodging or even indulge in a star solo moment, by catching the right opportunities.
To me, soccer or GW2 is a tide more individualistic, whereas American football or a holy trinity game seems a bit more skewed towards subsuming the self to make a team work like clockwork.
Not really sure where I’m going with this, but I guess the moral of the story is that people like different things, which may differ again if they’re spectating or doing.
And that we can all learn to appreciate (if only at a theoretical distance) stuff we thought we didn’t like before, if we try to look for its redeeming features.
After the World Cup, I’ll be going on one more spectator sports binge.
I was super-thrilled to win a beta key in one of Steam’s sales contests when it was in development. I installed it gleefully, remembering my very amateur DOTA games-with-real-life-friends, and tinkered around with a few bot games.
Then never quite got back to it again.
Every now and then, I log in, admiring its whole elaborate free-to-play structure of level unlocks, vanity costume skins that cost money, numerous beginner tutorials/build guidance/encyclopedias that are linked to community knowledgebases, on and on through an intricate ladder of intermediate to expert commitment.
Then I back out without having gained a single experience point.
Sorta like LOL, except LOL did seem a little simpler and I did get to around level 4 or so.
I want desperately to play them and learn how deep both rabbit holes go, but the truth is, I just can’t envision investing all that time into MOBAs.
A single match takes like 30-45 minutes or more. You have to play a lot of them to get familiar with the game. You have to play a number of heroes to get familiar with the heroes and gain some flexibility in what you can play. Getting skillful takes even longer.
It’s easier to just watch a couple hours’ worth of professional teams go at it, for a couple of days, and get the entertainment experience without having to personally grind your way up.
Maybe some day, I’ll give them another go, but not today.
It gets better the further up in levels you go, they say.
Well, here’s the stuff I found neat on my journey from 15-21.
Mah bike looks cool.
I hear it is possible to upgrade the look of mounts later with rear and front flairs, which I think is a great system for further customization along the self-expression and showing off prestige front, and of course, the endless collection of mounts is a captivating system for collectors.
Mah sword looks cool.
The teen levels appear to be the home of some really neat two-handed sword designs. WTB similar stuff appearing in GW2, just less cartoony and more fantastical.
I also discovered that the warrior sword skills count as a spell cast and were only being performed on button up by default, rather than button down.
Which was probably inducing further delay into the stately swings, between my latency and tendency to press down on keys rather than release quickly.
I heartily recommend going into Combat Options and selecting “Use Button Down instead of Press Twice” and “Hold to Continue Casting” (which should select all three options.)
This allows you to still see the telegraph indicators for range, but also simulates a kind of auto-casting by holding down the relevant key.
(When you’re 200-250ms behind, any kind of automatic casting that allows you to sneak in more attacks is welcome for maintaining dps so that you don’t look like you totally suck on damage charts.)
The Shiphand solo instances demonstrate yet again why storytelling is best conveyed via a solo one which you can traverse at your own pace, and not be spoiled by some other guy in your party having done it already rushing you through it.
I tried the Hycrest Insurrection Adventure at lvl 15, a 5 man instance which is apparently set at a more lax difficulty level for casual PUGing.
There was a vote option of multiple paths to pick and choose, similar to GW2 explorables, except the option came up three times in that one Adventure, leading to presumably more branching possibilities and ostensibly more variation.
I say ostensibly because while my first group was probably entirely new to it and the majority just ended up picking the first option every time, my subsequent group had someone who had been presumably playing since Closed Beta, because that someone matter of factly announced, “2-2-3 is the best xp” and guess what path we ended up doing, by unanimous vote.
There was a fair amount of varied mechanics in that one Adventure, from snipers that shot at you from range and you had to dodge *ahem* dash to avoid being knocked down, NPC citizens which you stayed near to put on a disguise and thus ‘stealth’ through certain parts without drawing aggro, a timed portion to stop a moving convoy by defeating all its guards (bit of a vertical fight, one had to jump up on two platforms of a slow moving vehicle, have one person pull a lever which opened a door for others to go through and plant a bomb, etc.)
Bosses were usually two-phase or more, with varied shapes of AoEs to dodge and could move around quite a bit.
And of course, the odd room full of fire and falling rocks to sprint and dodge your way through.
At the end of the Adventure, a little scoreboard screen comes up to show you how you did.
It’s a bit odd, I suppose, in that it’s neither here nor there. You can’t compare how other people in your party did, though I suppose add-ons for that will pop up like a bad penny later.
I’m not sure what staying alive means, beyond extreme cowardice and maybe the least damage taken, which seems a bit unfair to tanks. Certainly -I- wasn’t tanking, I was safe and sound DPS with high armor and an itchy trigger finger on the dodge key.
The first was a group that didn’t really have a clue what we were doing, the following was being shepherded by someone competent doing the tanking. Albeit, a ranged engineer tank, which added some variety to the well-established holy trinity.
A scoreboard does set up a bit of an inferiority complex though. You keep wondering, maybe my warrior isn’t an optimal choice to bring versus say a stalker with much faster rate of attacks or some ranged dps which can spray and pray more sustained damage while dodging.
No doubt, the speedruns will come in due time, and groups who can’t finish in like 15 minutes or less will be considered lousy.
Finally, at level 20, the first dungeon. Stormtalon’s Lair.
People keep singing the praises of Wildstar’s dungeons, for some reason. Oh yay, it’s hard, it’s challenging, the trash mobs are actually scary and a threat!
I feel like I must have missed some super easy dungeons in the interim. Maybe because I don’t play WoW.
It felt like a normal oldschool dungeon where you are expected in a hardcore fashion to spend hours in, in order to complete.
The group finder suggested to bracket 75min for the dungeon, and horror stories talk of 3+ hours and PUGs disintegrating on the first boss, with folks cheering on this level of ‘challenge’ as refreshing.
There were trash mobs. There appeared to be two main varieties of spawns. One spellcaster with two melee animal mobs that could generally be tanked-and-spanked.
Group up, AoE ’em down. The Storm Watcher appeared to have some spells that caused AoE that needed to be either dodged, or a good group could use interrupts to stop this.
The other main type of trash mob spawn was a melee and spellcaster healer duo, a sentinel and shaman of some sort, linked together.
Naturally, PUGs will beeline for the nearest target, ie. the melee one, especially if you have a ranged tank engaging and backing away reflexively. Which then sets up the unending chain of letting the shaman freecast heals and keep Mr Melee up for an indefinite period of time until sheer force of dps burns through it – assuming your own healer hasn’t run out of mana *ahem* focus to support the tank first.
The trick, as some people explained, was to go for the shaman first and synchronize interrupts when it tries to heal. This is, of course, much easier said than done in a PUG without voice comms, but my first not-so-coordinated but seemingly fairly experienced PUG managed to pull it off maybe 75% of the time, while the second fail PUG did not. I was probably the only person with interrupts on that one, whereas the first PUG had two warriors (so 2 interrupts each, plus one more dps with one interrupt. Land 3 at any one time to get stuff done.)
Really -competent- tanks will manage to pull the melee to the spellcaster so that both are grouped up and can be burned down together. (Which I thought was basic competency for a tank, but apparently the people who queue up in a tank position in a group finder are extremely luck-of-the-draw.)
Our first PUG by the way struggled with a middling engineer tank with bruiser bot, who left after three wipes on the first boss, and was replaced by yet another engineer tank without bot who was plainly geared properly for his role and very very competent. The healer remarked on how much more easy it was to heal him, and this veteran of the dungeon explained all the mechanics and brought our newbie group through with only minimal wiping.
The first boss also had a reputation of being a PUG destroyer. (Sorta like Kholer, I guess. Except this one is unskippable.)
He involved three phases. First one was basic tank-and-spank, but he did a plus shaped AoE that needed to be dodged out of. (Or interrupts coordinated, I’m guessing.)
The second one involved him going invulnerable while the four adds that surrounded him went vulnerable. Pick the right one that the tank is also focusing on to burn down. Random people get marked with a bomb AoE that is centered on them. Dodge out of AoE, but pros apparently -move- the AoE to the mob first before dodging out so that it gets caught by the AoE and damaged. A randomly moving static discharge AoE that caused stun would start to plague people as more adds went down.
Last phase was tank-and-spank again, except this time there were a lot more randomly moving static discharge AoEs to avoid or be stunned, plus the boss would do a BIG AoE that covered most of the room except a few defined safe spots. Except since the AoE pattern is -probably- based on the tank’s position, the safe spots may not necessarily be in the same place if the tank wiggles around too much, and the tank does have to move to avoid the static discharge stuns, so it’s fairly reflex based in a PUG that hasn’t coordinated any set way to make his AoE predictable.
Combined with my latency, this generally meant that I got caught if I was a split second too slow, but fortunately it only hits for around 3k damage with knockdown, around 1/4 to 1/3 my health bar, and eventually healable by a healer when they get around to it.
However, it -is- possible to coordinate interrupts and disrupt his AoE entirely, as we discovered by sheer chance one AoE pattern. (Or rather, someone had spammed an interrupt and I saw the interrupt armor indicator at 1 and -hadn’t- spammed my interrupts prior to this, so I banged down on my keys and got the knockdown through. Which was fairly satisfying.
Though I admit that I wasn’t a god of interrupts at any other time as muscle memory hadn’t set in, nor was one used to reading all the cues necessary while trying to avoid AoEs in a fight one was seeing for the first time. I’m sure it’s learnable though.)
Ironically, one member in my second fail PUG said that the second boss was, he felt, the hardest boss. Well, my first PUG would beg to differ.
Our patient tank explained the mechanics to us. Phase 1: Tank-and-spank. Phase 2, he splits into three adds, burn ’em down. Then he knocks everyone back and we have to run through a gauntlet of tornadoes, reach him ASAP and interrupt.
Perhaps, as I said, we lucked out with two warriors in this PUG. Our leveling bar tends to have two interrupts and we’re very used to spamming kick to knockdown so that we can actually get some decent damage in with our one spammable power attack. We simply cannot level at a passable pace without having learned to use what Wildstar calls a Moment of Opportunity, which is extra damage when the mob is interrupted during a telegraph and goes purple for a time.
While the gauntlet was indeed somewhat annoying – I kinda felt I spent most of my time in the air while running forward at a snail’s pace, we could at least fling our ranged interrupt once we got semi-close and then spam our kick when finally in melee range. Thump, went the boss. Repeat this twice more, and then done.
More trash mobs of the same ilk. One miniboss with some more shaped AoE to dodge and interrupt.
And finally, the last boss. Stormtalon. Who turns out to be sorta shaped like a dragon.
In the words of our esteemed tank. “Tank and spank to start, don’t stand in front of him, has a cleave. He’ll knock us back and stun, gotta break out and rush to him to interrupt. Lastly he’ll target a random member, making a safe zone around them. Rest of the room will be red, we gotta follow that person as they circle the boss. Lightning bolts will constantly target them.”
Which actually went pretty well and was downed in the first go, though two DPS bit it at the last phase, me included.
Oh look, almost exactly 75 minutes.
Since the tank and healer survived, along with one melee dps, they got the other quarter or so of its health down and dead.
As for what killed me: the safe zone in phase 3 was centered around me and I was perhaps a little too anxious about keeping still enough to not accidentally kill -everyone- by running around like a headless chicken, and I must have inhaled some lightning circles by staying too still.
Would I be keen to repeat the fight and get better at dodging all that crazy AoE?
Yeah, I would.
Would I be keen to repeat the whole Group Finder experience and gamble on random PUGs on the offchance that I might eventually reach Stormtalon again to practice the fight?
I’m afraid not.
If I were someone with a regular North American time schedule, had a guild full of friendly regulars to play with, and often ran together with voice chat, such group dungeons would be PERFECT experiences for an established regular party of five.
But since my times are more of an irregular sort, I’m left PUGing it in various games.
My second Wildstar PUG ended up with another engineer tank who was plainly in pure assault gear as the healer simply couldn’t keep him up. He was as fragile as toilet paper.
When he died, I stayed up for just about as long by mere virtue of having heavy armor, a health bar and being able to dodge, although I was no tank at all either, due to not having any tank statted gear, nor any APM or skills slotted for tanking or threat holding. Basically, it was four DPS dying in sync with the healer also biting it somewhere in the middle.
And no, despite my pleading for -someone- to use and slot one interrupt so that I could use my two interrupts to apply knockdown (something I wanted to practice at getting better at), at no time whatsoever did the interrupt armor on any boss drop from 2, leaving my interrupts ineffectual.
Naturally, we wiped three times on the first boss and ended up standing around looking at each other, while the healer tried to explain to the tank that he needed the right gear to step into the tank role.
One DPS ran out of patience and dropped out of the party. We re-queued, and guess what, the engineer wordlessly insisted on the tank role again. With the same healer. When he actually could have taken the open DPS slot.
We stood around looking at each other again, while one more random DPS joined. Then the tank opened a vote kick on the healer.
Since this was the epitome of stupidity, I was driven to sufficient trolliness to reject the vote kick on the poor healer, and then I subsequently opened a vote kick on the tank.
(It’s not like I have a reputation to maintain in Wildstar. This is cross-server Open Beta and I don’t intend to be here for long.)
The tank quit the instance before the vote kick ran its course.
Of course, we then opened up the queue again, but since we were running in off-peak non-NA times, 10-15+ minutes passed with no tank stepping into the role and the party broke up shortly after.
The healer maintained that this state of affairs was NOT a result of the holy trinity but more due to “tanking being hard to learn” and thus no one wanting to be tanks.
Whereas I’m sitting in my chair thinking that if this is the usual state of PUGs in traditional holy trinity MMOs, it’s no wonder that tanks hide, take refuge and tank only in their guilds, and that there is really no need to put up with all the inherent pains of finding the ideal holy trinity group when I could LFG and get a PUG in under five minutes in GW2 because no perfect trinity is required.
You might ask, why didn’t I swap specs and try tanking?
No tank gear, for one.
Nor had I looked at that portion of the warrior tree and skills that involved holding threat yet. But mostly no tank gear in my bags.
(I do note that Wildstar loot looked interesting in that Adventure and Dungeon loot seemed to contain a lot of supportive stats – which makes a certain kind of sense, people who like to group should run their group content and get gear that is relevant and useful for their needs.)
People say that Wildstar dungeons are fun. And challenging.
It really makes me wonder about how and what they define a challenge.
Mechanics-wise, yeah, they’re complex and interesting. But learning how to perform them well seems to be much less of a challenge than assembling a properly prepared (read: gear and build) group together in the first place.
If one considers the random nature of the PUG as part of the challenge in a difficult dungeon, then I could also say that getting a precursor in GW2 is so fun-and-challenging because one is battling a most cruel RNG in the form of Zommoros’ Mystic Forge.
Personally, I’m left feeling less ‘challenged’ per se, and more helpless.
It’s the same sort of challenge as the Marionette. You could teach until your tongue turns blue and ultimately, your progress is still at the mercy of someone else not screwing up. It is RNG.
RNG you could skew in your favor by joining an organized community – a hardcore dungeon guild, or TTS marionette-running instances, fer example, but still RNG, rather than a challenge that one can defeat through one’s efforts.
Maybe I simply over-analyze these things too much.
I’d love to hear from someone who found Wildstar dungeons fun and exactly why they found it fun, for them.
Are they running with a regular group of friends, for one?
Which would imply they could learn and improve together over time, whereas PUGs are forever luck of the draw – you cannot count on running into the same people again.
Or perhaps this is just a foundational mindset difference in perspective.
I enjoy GW2 dungeons because my deaths are my fault. It’s always in my locus of control to not die or to break off and run and prevent a death by letting the mobs leash if the rest of my party has wiped. I might even be able to save the day and rez three dead people with my warbanner and turn the tides or solo the thing if I can perform the mechanics well.
In some cases in Wildstar, my deaths are my fault. I stuck around in the AoE and failed to perform the mechanic correctly. Looking forward to doing better on the next try and the prospect of improving is exciting, yes.
However, needing to rely on a tank or a healer to not suck, or dps to be actually competent, and waiting for the stars to align in the correct position so that one gets a good group are things that are not within my personal locus of control and are a complete buzzkill.
Nor can I turn any tides if I’m set up to be DPS, I traded off aggro generation or survivability. So if the tank screws up, or the healer screws up, I’m paste. I suppose eventually one could have a damage set of gear and a support set of gear in one’s bags, plus two sorts of specs, but that’s going to be way ahead in the future, rather than in the first dungeon.
In the meantime, we end up with a blame game where everyone points fingers and blames another party for not pulling their weight, causing the death of the group.
How this is fun and enjoyable, I”m not really sure.
It’s these sorts of foundational underpinnings that lead me to suspect that I’ll be done with Wildstar by the end of the week, if not sooner.
I don’t really need to play a game that breeds hostility and competitiveness and elitism, and that’s simply what the traditional MMO model does.
I do enjoy the combat system that Wildstar has chanced into creating though.
Maybe one day someone will make a subscription-free single-player or cooperative multiplayer game with the same underlying combat mechanics – fast frequently recharging dodge rolls and sprints and lots of telegraphs to dodge – I’ll be happy to play that.