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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