Complexity and Class

I recently read a series of posts about the Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm (WoW). It is a fantastic series, I highly recommend reading it, even if you don’t play WoW, or do play and love it or hate it.

At least read these entries:

The info is applicable to general play issues, not only specific to WoW!

And if that is TLDR, the summary is:

  • Players gravitate away from classes that are too difficult for their power/effectiveness
  • Players mentally organize what they need to do into chunks, and most people can only handle 4-6 chunks easily
  • The leveling process (gain skills, pick talents) needs to make sense throughout the whole process

Thought provoking, and it made me think of games I play. Full disclosure: I quit WoW (the first time) with a level 49 Warlock, so the article as a whole was very interesting and even applied directly (to a degree – there were other specific issues that led me to quit).

Anyway, I can apply this to me in LoTRO, as far as the characters I’ve been playing. Before taking a break last year, my favorite chars were my Lore-master, my Burglar, and my Warden. After coming back, I gravitated towards my Guardian, who at the time was left behind all my other characters in Echad Eregion!

But my Guard was easy to pick up again. Mentally, the chunks referred to in Cynwise’s article were:

  • do the regular attack sequence
  • if a Block occurs – go down the block reactive chain
  • if a Parry occurs – go down the parry reactive chain
  • if I’m grouped, mix in various taunts and threats
  • use emergency skills if things look bad

Straightforward, and fun for me. The first three cases are probably 80% of action during a typical battle. Guardians are pretty durable, especially fighting on-level mobs, so the emergency skills don’t come up often (aside from interrupting an induction, but against regular mobs missing an interrupt often doesn’t matter). When an emergency does arise, there are several skills to choose from: increase morale, increase avoidance, restore power, reset skills, and even drop aggro via a racial skill (obviously, don’t do that when grouped – the last thing a group wants to see is the tank drop aggro!).

My Burglar is similar, with main differences coming from setting up an initial attack – from stealth? and if so add a few more skills. Also, timing tricks and their removal for optimal effect add a lot of fun and depth.

I found it really tough to get back into playing my Warden after an extended break. Sequences I used to know, down to the muscle memory involved in building gambits – mostly gone. My ability to time and stack HoTs so that I was balancing incoming damage against incoming healing – mostly gone. It also didn’t help the class underwent some big changes.

Anyway, I just thought those articles were excellent and that they resonated with my own experiences!

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