25 Apr 2010

Getting Time To React

One of the things that I’ve seen thrown around lately is how reaction times are going to become important in Cataclysm. It’s not enough to have phased fights where a boss might require you to change tactics three or four times in order to defeat it. In the new expansion I’ve heard that we’ll need to pull off Nintendo-kid button-taps with incredible precision if we’re going to get near the top grade content.

One of the things I like about MMOs, particularly Warcarft, is that I don’t need some ninja-keyboard skills in order to play well. My reaction times aren’t nearly as great as when I was a d-pad wielding kid on Sonic the Hedgehog, and I like a game that respects it. Not only that, I like that the game runs on a variety of connections and doesn’t expect you to have the purest broadband money can buy. You don’t have to be lightning-fast in order to play, just reasonably stable.

The other thing that gets me is how reaction time is relative to what you’re doing. If you’re expecting something to happen, you can react to it quickly If you’re not expecting it or you’re focused on something else (like mashing your buttons as hard as you can or playing Grid whack-a-mole), then your reaction time is much worse.

Reaction times also change according to the role your playing. I know that I’m much better doing some things on my priest than I am doing them on my mage.

Besides, it’s not like tanks don’t have their own set of problems during boss fights. Their ordeals even extend into trash pulls.

It’s not like I don’t want there to be some challenge to game content – I want to face struggles and difficulties in-game as it makes the taste of victory so much sweeter. By the same token I don’t want an army of middle-aged geek gamers to feel that they suddenly can’t keep up because they don’t have the reflexes they had when they were 10 years old.
Warcraft rocks because it’s attractive to a wide demographic, not in spite of it.

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7 Responses to Getting Time To React

  1. Sven says:

    Couldn’t agree more. One of the main reasons I play MMOs is that they’re more about strategy than twitch.

    If that changes, I’m outta-here.

  2. Rachkalos says:

    I have to say, having discovered your blog a couple of days ago, that your oh-so-painfully-accurate observations on this game are brilliant!

    Why I’m reading a mage blog, I have no idea… the content here must just amuse me that much; I have no desire to take a walk on the squishy side at all – absolutely not.

    You’re definitely right about reaction times and healer aggro though – nobody messes with my healers!

  3. Len says:

    I think it might actually get a bit less stressful in Cataclysm, particularly for healers. At the moment there are encounters where you have to spamspamspam 100% of the time and one missed gcd can mean death and a wipe. We are able to do this (latency and fingermashing skill aside) because of few mana concerns, so without requiring us to do it the encounters would be too easy.

    From what I’ve seen they want to move further away from this type of play in Cataclysm, and more towards the ‘right, people are taking damage but it’s ok, they won’t die immediately so I can take a sec to work out which heal will be the most useful/efficient’. At least I hope so.

  4. Gazimoff says:

    @Sven – I’m hoping they don’t go as far as to make it twitch over tactics. I did my time playing Counter-strike, and unless I’m playing a sniper I suck.

    @Rachkalos – I’m glad you’re liking it! I should probably confess though – my girlfriend/fiancee/soon-to-be-wife plays a warrior tank for her main, so I tend to pick up on stuff quickly :)

    @Len – I’m hoping healing moves away from the spamfest it currently is. The current set up is both stressful and tedious from my limited experience as a healer. I hope that we do get time to choose what to cast more and make healign more siuational, but I’m worried that it just won’t happen.

  5. Pindle says:

    I had to giggle about this one :D I play a Warrior tank as main and a priest healer as alt and I totally relate to those reaction times, especially the part about healing yourself (which I forget ALL the time) and getting mobs off overagroers (which I “forget” too).

  6. Jagger says:

    Pity the Australian players, where 350ms latency is NORMAL. (can be 250ms if you’re not in group, alone in a relatively deserted zone).

  7. Andy says:

    Haha, I can definitely relate to the “DPS pulls when I’m tanking” bar.

    “Oh sorry, is that mean vrykul hitting you in the face with his axe? One moment, I’ll ask him to stop.

    *strolls over*

    Excuse me sir, would you mind terribly not… oh you’ve killed him. Well just don’t do it again, ok?”
    .-= Andy´s last blog ..Worldview: Felwood =-.