Making the Environment Work for You
It’s cool when the company you’re doing an internship with has a blog that writes about MMOs and virtual environments. One of the posts on the blog brings up the topic of user-generated content.
An example was how a raid leader used a dead gnome as a placemarker for where the tank should place a boss. I’m sure you all know by now that positioning is always important in raid boss fights. The objective of the tank was not to successfully tank the boss. It was to tank the boss so that it would land directly on top of the dead gnome when the boss is defeated. The raid leader shared that they had no more problems with raid positioning from then on.
If you’ve ever gone deep into the quests in Netherstorm, you might remember [Archmage Vargoth’s Staff]. It summons an image of Archmage Vargoth to complete and take new quests. I’ve never done this before, but an item like this (since it is not destroyed upon completion of the quest chain) can be used to identify critical positioning for raids. It might even help in positioning the raid for a Nightbane or Prince Malchezaar fight.
World of Warcraft provides little to no option for user-generated content, tools that may be necessary to enhance the gameplay. Because of this, people get creative with their environment. I bet you haven’t done musical chairs in Karazhan‘s Banquet Hall. (I haven’t either, but I would love to!) You can also play guild bank checkers and the usual steam tonk wars.
Cynra once told me she used to be a top designer for player houses in Ultima Online. The reason why many people ask for features like player housing and guild banks is to allow for more customization and interaction. It used to be that a guild bank is located on one of the senior members’ bank alts set aside especially for the guild. By adding guild banks, it opens up a whole new system of checks and monitoring to make sure people don’t abuse the authority. Player housing can allow us to brag about and share our spoils with others. (If Blizzard ever decides to implement player housing, I would definitely hire her to decorate my house.)
These things help promote the collaborative environment of an MMO. If this is a vision that Blizzard has for Wrath of the Lich King, I can’t wait to see what open PvP in Lake Wintergrasp is going to be like. Being able to control siege machines and destroy buildings (DotA style?) is a great way to bring about more player interaction and coordination.
How have you made the environment work to enhance your gameplay?