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Thread: Surprise, Risk, Reward, Challenge, Discovery

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irat View Post
    The two instances which people have spoken of fondly so far Blizzard developed for 8months (BWL) and 6months (Ulduar). The 2 months difference would make a considerable difference over ToC and ICC. Now I’m not innocent enough to believe that Blizzard went working on the content beforehand but trying to squeezes and raid like ToC in to give you more time to work on ICC is going to do as much harm as good.
    Despite TBC's pacing being a bit wonky, I think you are underselling TBC's content a little bit--inasmuch as TBC had Karazhan, Tempest Keep, and SSC all as new, full-fledged raid instances as well. TBC managed to pump out 2 extremely solid 10-man instances and 5 25-man instances in over its lifetime.

    Wrath, in comparison, has provided 3 new 25-man instances, one of which was composed of two rooms. Wrath has no unique 10-man content. So basically we are comparing 7 unique instances to 2 1/2 in Wrath over nearly the same time period.

    If you look at the time scale for the release of AQ40, Naxx, Karazhan, SSC, TK, Hyjal, and Black Temple they were able to produce those instances on a ridiculously fast time-scale all things considered. From a raider's perspective, that was 7 large instances and a major expansion released within a 15 month period.

    I don't think it's at all unresonable to feel that Wrath has been a bit lackluster in the content department, even if Ulduar was pretty good. For the most part, they have mostly relied on hardmodes and reuse of content to try to keep us 'busy' rather than having the resources available to pump out the levels of new content seen in TBC.

    This is not unexpected, as it appears that the resources devoted to WoW development nowadays are not as large as during the TBC days. Still, it shouldn't be a surprise that people can look fondly back on the pre-Wrath periods as having some considerable upside.
    Last edited by Kojiyama; 02-25-2010 at 04:23 AM.
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  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    I would argue there were plenty of videos and diagrams for Vashj yet it still remained a spotanious and engaging fight even after having watched them.
    To be honest, I never really liked to tank this encounter that much. Nothing much to do in p1, some basic add tanking in p2 (and you needed an offtank mostly just for this part), then some moving the boss around in p3. Of course this is very subjective, but it just wasn't very special to me to tank and it's not really that different from a lot of encounters today either. That is not to say the rest of the encounter wasn't engaging for other people in the raid. Maybe I just didn't like her hair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    I also pretty strongly believe there are plenty of ways to design encounters in new and exciting perspectives. I believe the 'only so many ways' argument is a little bit of a cop-out that doesn't give them credit for what they are actually capable of. ICC certainly does touch on a few interesting mechanics--but, unfortunately, I don't really think they went quite far enough with every element of each fight to make many of them really stand out.

    I really don't believe they have done everything they could possibly do in TBC. Perhaps at a basic level, but an encounter is really more than the sum of its parts. The way an encounter is put together can have a dramatic impact on the experience--it's hard to compare Sarth-3D to any other encounter even though it is fundamentally not a very 'original' fight mechanically--don't stand in fire or in front of badguys--and didn't really pave huge new roads in new-feature land. The encounter as an entity, however, was pretty compelling.

    Even one simple mechanic like the 'throwing' one set Vashj apart along with its unique design perspective, even though the majority of the encounter was composed of somewhat stock elements. WoW has plenty of creative angles that could be applied in fun ways in order to make an interesting encounter--I think Professor in ICC is one of the best examples of this, and is a very successful encounter because of it. Shame there weren't more fights like that.
    I agree there are plenty more ways to deliver an experience in the game, but when you boil it down to the technical mechanics that are used in an encounter, they will always be very similar. Movement, healing this, using that etc.
    I don't really see how ICC failed so badly with the experience. Except for some mechanics being too forgiving, at least on heroic mode, I don't have many bad things to say about this instance. There are plenty new things in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    Despite TBC's pacing being a bit wonky, I think you are underselling TBC's content a little bit--inasmuch as TBC had Karazhan, Tempest Keep, and SSC all as new, full-fledged raid instances as well. TBC managed to pump out 2 extremely solid 10-man instances and 5 25-man instances in over its lifetime.

    Wrath, in comparison, has provided 3 new 25-man instances, one of which was composed of two rooms. Wrath has no unique 10-man content. So basically we are comparing 7 unique instances to 2 1/2 in Wrath over nearly the same time period.
    Bit of a sidetrack here, but your count is really not entirely fair, many TBC instances had very few bosses. Sure it was still a different environment, but the tier content was split up. Ulduar and ICC have as many encounters as tier 5 and 6.

  3. #83
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    The thing is, instances (at least non-TotC ones :P) are designed as experiences. The trash, bosses, environment, etc. were all part of the experience. The number of bosses is honestly somewhat irrelevant.

    For example, Marrowgar + Deathwhisper are killed within 5-10 minutes of eachother with virtually no trash between them. Neither are super-engaging and the instance between them is a staircase with a couple trash pulls. The fact that it is 2 bosses does not mean that those 10 minutes are more interesting than perhaps 1 section of SSC. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't--but the boss count itself really doesn't make much difference.

    The point being that a new instance required a process of learning and clearing the dungeon as a whole. This is usually the same 'process' regardless of the precise number of bosses in the dungeon. ICC may have more bosses numerically, but can you say it was a longer or more engaging experience than SSC, for instance?

    Of course, some of this is quite subjective. But, for instance, if TotC had 8 bosses instead of 5 in the same environment, would it be any more engaging? My guess is no.

    It's not so much the number of encounters, but what you do with and how you frame those encounters that makes an instance good or bad. There are some very good encounters in ICC, but the net result of the instance as a whole: considering the difficulty, pacing, reward, etc. leaves me, at least, with a bit of a bitter taste. Perhaps that's down to the difficulty pacing, or perhaps the length of the dungeon, or various other things. The bottom line being, though, that I can't simply add up that ICC has 12 bosses so therefore it's an equal experience to two SSC's stacked on top of eachother.

    (SSC can be substituted for anyone else's example instance as well. Again, this is subjective. But, for me, I enjoyed the SSC clear/progression phase quite a lot. As another example, I hardly think it can be argued that ICC is more rich of an experience because it has 12 bosses to Black Temple's 9.)
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  4. #84
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    I agree with all those points you made about trash, but I guess we just disagree about what makes trash good. ICC could probably use some more mobs in a few spots, but not much. SSC on the other hand is a very bad example in my opinion. Tedious, horrible and frustrating are the first things that come to my mind there. The original SSC trash was very badly designed, the same is true for TK. It took too long, was too hard and the respawn interfered with your boss attempts.

  5. #85
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    Well, I think my main point is simply that more isn't always better when it comes to bosses.

    It was mentioned a bit ago that even the devs said that Ulduar was probably a bit too long in those regards. Would it had suffered with a few of the less interesting bosses removed? Probably not. It still would have been a great instance.

    I don't think anyone stops to count how many bosses there were in Karazhan, SSC, AQ40, or Black Temple. The dungeons were just what they were. Naxx was considered a massive and extreme example with its 15 bosses and was generally considered a bit overwhelming to most. I'm almost surprised they stuck with the Naxx-ish philosophy--although that was likely a product of starting Wrath with the Naxx remake and needing to compare to it all the time--instead of returning to a more measured approach.

    Either way, my point is simply: yes, Wrath's boss count is pretty high...but I don't feel like that is a substitute for providing unique instance/zone experiences. Perhaps it was required as their resources became more restricted, but I do feel that it has lessened the complete experience somewhat.

    In a way, they gave people what they were asking for: less trash, more loot. The problem is, what people say or think that they want doesn't always give them a better experience. One can make a decision for all the right reasons with lots of requests for it and still have it ruin the equilibrium of the experience in an intangible way. Making 10 times as many items per tier, for instance, hasn't made people any happier about loot.
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  6. #86
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    I would have to say that to me, someone definititively in the bottom 99%, I wouldn't entirely agree with saying that someone in the 5% range or 10% range or whatever is comparable to someone in the 80% range, which is what you inherently suggest by breaking the gaming community into the top 1% and the bottom 99%. There are far more players in the bottom 99%, meaning, at least I would think, that there is naturally more variance within that range than is being addressed. Furthermore, I think this approach demonstrates that while you may not consider yourself top 1%, you think like a 1%er, and want to be a 1%er. Nothing wrong with that, it was just a very minor flaw that I saw in the post. Other than that, I mostly agreed with what you were saying.

    One thing I wanted to say, on the issue of hard modes, is that I think hard modes were best implemented in Ulduar and Sartharion. Those two raids offered players basic levels of progression, but allowed for better guilds (or simply guilds looking for more challenge) the opportunity to push themselves with more difficult and changed encounter mechanics, without replaying the same encounter 4 times a week. I don't have ICC hard mode experience yet, but I do have a bit of ToC and Ulduar hard mode experience (and a Sarth 1D from back in the day before everyone zerged for it), and it seems to me that at least in ToC, the encounters didn't change significantly. They just required better healing, stronger tanks, and quicker dps. There were minor changes sometimes, but not much. ToC hard modes, imo, also seem to have dropped much quicker than Uld and earlier hard modes. While these hard modes may not have added new mechanics to the game, they increased the difficulty by stacking more mechanics into the same fight. Similar to how you mentioned that Yogg 0 hid already existing mechanics by layering mechanics together, I feel that this is what the other best hard modes (or at least the ones that took longer to topple) share in common. The current hard modes, just as Ciderhelm stated, seem to be something added to keep the top 1% busy. That's boring and unfair to them, but it is also unfair to the bottom 99%. When you can activate a hard mode during an encounter (or at the very least toggle it before an encounter) with no other prerequisites, you allow bottom 99% guilds to challenge themselves, while also not forcing top 1% guilds from beating their heads against the wall waiting for unlocks.

    Sorry, that all rambled, but I can see what Ciderhelm is saying. I don't think the situation is as dire to the bottom 99% as it is to the top 1%, but I think that the best approach would be something akin to hard modes instantly available and accessible by changing your approach to a fight, and by adding layered mechanics when activating hard mode (rather than just a boss w/ more hp that hits you harder).

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reev View Post
    OK, so make major mana regen cooldowns inneffective, and make a raid-wide aoe damage debuff that increases in damage the more melee dps are in range, in order to avoid melee stacking.
    That would involve breaking a serious amount of players (healers!) abilities and value some classes and specs over others. Take for example priests. Holy has a large amount of spirit which would naturally generate a large amount of mana regen. Disc doesn't, as it gets mana back from the talent Rapture.

    Holy Pallys would be SOL as their entire build (holy light spam) is based around huge amounts of int and massive mana pools, which would become impossible to play with.

  8. #88
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    The biggest thing I think that needs to be taking into consideration is, as others have mentioned, the fact that World of Warcraft is a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game. From what I'm seeing in a lot of these posts is that most people looking for more of a challenge are people with a history of video game playing. This means not only are they most likely more skilled then others, but they are use to playing games that offer many different types of challenges and experiences.

    Whether or not you view World of Warcraft as a social networking tool or not, the simple fact remains that for many people, it is. It's really no different then Second Life, except you pay for it and you can't build houses, etc. Instead of building houses, you form guilds and kill stuff (and before you start protesting that it's nothing like Second Life, bear in mind that this is an official WoW-fansite and most people are posting using their in-game persona ;-) ).

    Now, I'm not saying that this doesn't mean they could make better content, or more versatile encounters, etc., but what I am saying is that when you sit down to play WoW, you should sit down expecting to play exactly that: a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. This isn't a single-player game, which is designed to test the individual skill of the player, although they have put in duels, pvp, and Arena for that purpose.

    I say this not to attack or defend WoW, but simply to state the point that it's not meant to be the only game in existence. If anything, especially if you're bored with it, play other games. That's what they are there for. While it is true that Blizzard will need to continually improve to keep their player base, and they are entitled to adding some new content, etc. since they have a pay-to-play player base, nonetheless the bottom line remains that if you're looking for a game that tests your individual player skill, or that doesn't involve frustration of dealing with other (sometimes bad) players, WoW is not that game.

    Yes, it can be individually challenging, and teamwork can be a lot of fun, or a lot of frustration, but to expect the same amount of gameplay, individual skill, etc. and even story that you find in a single-player game is folly. That's not the game Blizzard is trying to make: they make other games that do that.

    If anything, and don't hate on me for saying this, I don't really know how much I'd mind if they "simplified" the game a bit more - a part of me would hate to see it get "easier," but on the other hand that just means I could spend more time doing other things: playing other games, hanging out with friends, etc.

    Now, I think it's great that Blizzard is still making an effort to appeal to hardcore gamers, and is still trying to implement ways to keep them involved. I think a lot of this comes from the fact that many of the developers are gamers themselves, and they don't want to make WoW into a Facebook app game, and that's not what I'm suggesting. All I mean is that if you play the game when you feel like playing a MMORPG, and play other games when you don't, I think you'll find it more enjoyable when you do log on! It can be hard at times, games CAN be addicting, but I think it is its own reward. I've been purposefully not running daily heroics that much: not because I usually don't have time (although that's sometimes the case), but because it feels like I have to, sometimes, and that makes me stop and not run them for that reason: I can do without my Frost Emblem loot for an extra two weeks, there's no reason for me to devote all my time to grinding so I can improve myself, only to still wipe for reasons others have stated above.

    As much as people complain about casual players that don't know how to play, etc. I think sometimes that they are the ones who have it right. Downing a boss, even an old one, is exciting for them! I think the most fun I've had playing this game was leveling my first toon: exploring the world, wasting all my gold every level on random green gear that wasn't all that good for me, dual-wielding in my Arms spec... I had no clue what was going on, and I loved it.

    My first raid, Karazhan, was already old news by the time I zoned in... but it was an awesome experience - fresh, new. That's the main problem that all MMO's suffer from, and WoW is no exception. Regardless of how many X-pacs they release, WoW is still WoW. It can't recapture that first time feel in full. Even with new content, a raid is still a raid. This doesn't mean the game will stagnate or disappear, I think it's a compliment to Blizzard that it's still doing so well after 5 years, and is still a lot of fun, but to try and compete with brand new games simply isn't a possibility with WoW, because despite what they do, it will never be a truly "new" game again for anyone that's played it a while. Burn out is most likely inevitable - no game can stay fresh to everyone forever.

    Anyway, sorry about the wall of text... :-P
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    As an aside, I wouldn't mind seeing more fights that require, as Cider said, a few people to step up and do more - "controller" toons, as it were, that are expected to do the harder or specialized parts while others do other stuff. One idea that came to me is a Mount Hyjal type encounter (and the Caverns of Time would be a perfect setting for this), where one person from the raid has to be the "controller" - they use an orb, and they control all the npc's that help fight off the monster swarms... and they control them RTS style. So while 24 people are playing WoW and fighting a boss, one person needs to play Warcraft and use resources, build armies to keep the adds at bay.

    This clearly would draw some complaints from people, but that's another thing I think could freshen it up - non-linear raiding. Release two raids at once, both having equal rewards, etc. - don't always make the raids a linear progression. Or release one raid that drops 300 ilvl loot (example number), the next one comes out next month, and also drops 300 ilvl, but has gear slots the first one didn't. Not everyone would like it, but it would keep things fresh, and allow more "gimmicky" encounters in some raids, less in others.

  9. #89
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    It's a downside of the genre (MMO's) as a whole however. Once the content is run through once (as you would with a singleplayer game), then doing the same week after week is always going to eventually get stuck in a rut.

    The game itself is not why most people play, it's playing with others on a regular basis and working together. Without the chat and fun within a guild, or a regular group, then certainly I would stop playing wow. If those people which I enjoy playing with took up other MMO's then I would probably join them.

  10. #90
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    I'm a bit surprised there hasn't been more talk about another aspect of raiding that I feel has gotten increasingly frustrating with WotLK. This aspect is the badge system and all that a raider is forced to accomplish day in/day out and week in/week out in order to continue progression. Why am I forced to do 7 dailies, a 10 man, and a 25 man, and 2 VoA's if I want to gain enough badges to keep my gear up to par. This farming lasts for 2-4 months until I've recieved the necessary gear and I'm left with a choice. Continue farming for off-spec or gold (in the form of orbs/primordials) or stop completely, only to have to start again 2 months later when a new content patch is released.

    Some time ago, Blizzard realized that raiding required too much "farming." Progression guilds had to endlessly farm for mats for flasks, pots, this and that. Farm old raid content for a two hour buff to go and do the real content. Blizzard reduced this by creating limits on available buffs in the form of elixir, flask limitations and only "zone wide" buffs. This was a great success.

    Yet here we are, a couple years later, and now we are back to farming roughly 30 minutes a day, and another 4-5 hours per week just to keep my gear up to par on the badge system. I am all for having a system that promotes badge gear for casual players, I simply feel they need to redesign this system to prevent having to "farm," unneccessary content on a daily basis.

  11. #91
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    But you have to remember that the daily heroic is the only thing which keeps 95% of 'raiders' doing any of the 5man content. Without it, some people would log on for their raid, run it, then log off until next week. Once you have 232 gear and all your rep covered, then theres little to no reason.

    That is however one of the failings of WOLTK, there is little to no reason (other than daily/weekly) raids to cover old content, including Ulduar which is a great raid.

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by suffer View Post

    Yet here we are, a couple years later, and now we are back to farming roughly 30 minutes a day, and another 4-5 hours per week just to keep my gear up to par on the badge system. I am all for having a system that promotes badge gear for casual players, I simply feel they need to redesign this system to prevent having to "farm," unneccessary content on a daily basis.
    I totally agree. Let there be an upgrade path for casual players via badge gear, but don't put it on par with what drops in 25 man raids. Same with the VoA bosses, they should not be dropping 264 T 10. Speaking of Tier bring it back to tokens from raids only, leave the badges out of it.
    There is something so appealing about backhanding someone across the face with a shield.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solitare View Post
    But you have to remember that the daily heroic is the only thing which keeps 95% of 'raiders' doing any of the 5man content. Without it, some people would log on for their raid, run it, then log off until next week. Once you have 232 gear and all your rep covered, then theres little to no reason.

    That is however one of the failings of WOLTK, there is little to no reason (other than daily/weekly) raids to cover old content, including Ulduar which is a great raid.
    I do like the idea of the weekly and think it was implemented well. Only once per week is a nice addition. The "weekly heroic" would be a lot better than the "daily heroic." I realize your concered that less people would run heroics, but with the new LFG system, there are so many doing it already, I don't think it would make much of a difference. In fact, you would probably wind up with less individuals who want to skip bosses and go straight to the end, or in other words less folks that are wasting 15 minutes instead of 25.

    There are a ton of other reasons to log on and do things outside your raid nights.
    BG's
    Alt heroics
    Alt raids
    Arenas
    1000 ways to farm gold if you need an expensive item (like a Hilt)
    Achivements

    I barely have the time to devote to an alt anymore when I have to do "daily farming" on my main.

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solitare View Post
    But you have to remember that the daily heroic is the only thing which keeps 95% of 'raiders' doing any of the 5man content. Without it, some people would log on for their raid, run it, then log off until next week. Once you have 232 gear and all your rep covered, then theres little to no reason.

    That is however one of the failings of WOLTK, there is little to no reason (other than daily/weekly) raids to cover old content, including Ulduar which is a great raid.
    Why is it bad for established players to not have to run 5 man content? I think a lot of the complaints and frustration seen in 5 man content are largely because you have too great a mix of gear/skill levels. You end up with healers who get pissed that their tanks don't have 40k unbuffed HP for UK. Or you get tanks who are pulling the entire instance when the dps and healers aren't gear enough to keep up yet, then getting pissed at the rogue who just dinged 80 yesterday and is still doing 1500 dps.

    Let the 5 man content be for the new level 80 players. With the new LFG system, they can find runs easily enough (after all, they don't have a problem finding runs while levelling), and it's level appropriate content for them. Making established players run 5 mans daily is like asking new level 80s to run Heroic Slave Pens daily. There's no reason for it. They out level the content, and it has no benefit for them.

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by suffer View Post
    Why am I forced to do 7 dailies, a 10 man, and a 25 man, and 2 VoA's if I want to gain enough badges to keep my gear up to par.
    No one is forcing you to do that. You could gain your badges more slowly if you wanted.

  16. #96
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    Which is why he said...
    Quote Originally Posted by suffer View Post
    ...if I want to gain enough badges to keep my gear up to par.



  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinks View Post
    No one is forcing you to do that. You could gain your badges more slowly if you wanted.
    While technically correct, you are missing the point. I'm not certain this analogy completly fits, but think of it this way. It's like watching TV without TiVO or DVR. I'm not forced to watch the commercials, I could close my eyes, but at the same time...do I reallly, really have a choice?

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritus View Post
    Healers will, invariably, carry the lions share of the burden in a "randomness" or "AI" world if the game does not radically change.
    I know, right? If only something were to happen that might fundamentally change the game and its mechanics.
    Got a question? Try here: Evil Empire Guides and here: Tankspot Guides and Articles Library first!

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eravian View Post
    ...if you're looking for a game that tests your individual player skill, or that doesn't involve frustration of dealing with other (sometimes bad) players, WoW is not that game.
    But WoW IS a game that test individual player skill in conjunction with cooperative player skill. Dealing with bad players can be one of the most frustrating parts to raiding, but playing with equally skilled players to take down challenging content can be some of the most fun and rewarding. Watering down the challenge in raiding only bores the skilled player and doesn't help the bad players improve, meaning the next game everyone plays has to be tuned down to their level also. As you said, a lot of us have a history of video game playing, meaning we were all noobs once but we worked on our skills, our hand-eye coordination, etc because we enjoyed playing games, whether for fun or for a challenge. If newer game players really enjoy raiding, why should they not be expected to work on raising their skill level as the rest of us have?

  20. #100
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    Patch Notes:

    We have made some minor changes to the way classes will be played:

    Melee classes: Melee classes do combat in third person, and have to manually swing each attack and special ability. Various new abilities have been added to all classes, such as sideways rolls, wall-jumping, and backward feints. Certain classes have additional abilities which allow them to move in other ways, i.e. double jump, Charge, etc.

    Hunters - Hunters now do combat in First-Person, and have to manually fire every round and special ability. Ammo is still required, but can be picked up from dead enemies and found in crates around dungeons. If a hunter enters melee range, they can attack with their melee weapon by pressing the "F" key.

    Casters - Casters can now toggle between first and third person while in combat, to suit the targeting needs of individual spells and playstyles. Each spell can be cast with separately by pressing whichever key it is bound to. More complex spells may require a combination of buttons to be pressed at the right time in the right order for proper execution.

    Combat:
    Smart Targeting: To accommodate the new class combat styles, smart targeting has been implemented on bosses and monsters. Targeting certain areas of the enemies body (the head, chest, etc.) will result in different amounts of damage being done. This targeting will change depending on the boss, and will be worked into the fight mechanics of some encounters.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Radical changes like that, you mean? ;-)

    If I ever made an MMO, it'd be pretty similar to that...

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