Monday, 12 November 2007

MMOon on a stick.

Welcome to my new feature, MMOon on a Stick. Here I'll just dump out random ideas that, riding on the back of cosmic rays, have struck my head and burrowed their way into my brain. They'll be fanciful, bizarre, incomprehensible, impossible, and all other sorts of ibles. It's just a quick dump of the contents of my brain when I think "Hey, what if?"

The first cranium crusader, and inspiration for this post, is as follows:

I was thinking about the hunter class in WoW, having been playing one for the first time recently. I've been enjoying the dynamic that exists between the hunter and their pet, with the pet as tank and moderate DPS and the hunter as DPS and moderate healer. It became clear that this worked well as a duo, but that once a hunter joins a group of adventurers their pet is often a mediocre tank compared to a warrior, and the hunter is not often the highest DPS compared to Rogues or Mages or Warlocks; I daren't suggest that hunters are mediocre DPS lest I call down the firey brimstoning wrath of a hundred thousand million hunters. Hoo boy, there are a lot of hunters, don't ever annoy them, they'll rise up and devour the world.

Anyway! What I thought was this: once the hunter joined a team, what if they could turn off their pet and in exchange get a boost to their DPS or crowd control abilities, such that they could contribute that much better to a defined role in the group. Extrapolating this a little further, it seemed like a fun idea to have any class have abilities that helped them to solo, but which they could turn off when joining a group in exchange for becoming a more pure class of tank, DPS, crowd control, healer, burger vendor, accountant or what have you.

Taking the superimposed reduction of this extrapolation into its primary quanta and then running it backwards through an inverted induction field (what?), I landed at the following: have players with skills that are unlocked based on the composition of the party. For example: with no healer in the party all DPS/Tank characters would have their innate healing abilities unlocked, but at considerably reduced DPS due to certain combat powers becoming locked and unavailable to them; they will be able to achieve the same content as they would with a healer, but it will be more difficult for them as they will have to concentrate on healing themselves at the same time, and it will be a slower, tougher fight due to their reduction in DPS. If a healer were to join the party the self-healing skills of the DPS players would be locked, but their greater DPS skills would become available, meanwhile the healer class's DPS skills would become locked but their more powerful healing skills would become available.

Changing the makeup of a character in this way seemed like not only an interesting additional dynamic to the game-play, but could also go somewhat towards alleviating the problems of solo play as a non-DPS class and group play when no healer is available. I use the healer example here, but it could work equally well for tanks and crowd control classes too.

So there you go, the self-induced public craniotomy that is Moon on a Stick.


Tholal said...

I definitely agree with the concept that groups shouldn't be required to have a dedicated tank and a dedicated healer. How that would be accomplished is a bit tricky, but I think your hunter concept has merit.

Here's a way you could do it with WoW's hunter class.

1) Beef up hunter stats a bit

2) Make it so that when a hunter has an active pet, their pet siphons some of their stats, making the pet more powerful and the hunter themselves weaker

3) Give Beastmaster hunters a talent to get better returns for their siphoned stats (ie, perhaps a 2-1 return instead of a 1-1)

With this method, hunters would be at full power when they didn't have a pet active. However, they do have the option of bringing out a pet for added versatility but at the expense of reducing their personal damage and survivability.

Shalkis said...

Get rid of a pet to boost the player character.. kind of like Demonic Sacrifice?

Melmoth said...

Interesting that there's already a sort of function, albeit for the Warlock.

And some interesting ideas for Hunters there, I like the idea of the pet sharing/leeching some of the hunter's stats, it lends itself to the idea that the hunter and her pet share a sort of symbiosis, which I like as a concept if nothing else.

It would be interesting to see if this symbiosis could be advanced such that it existed between classes within a group too, the more members in a group the more hit points a tank has, say, or spellcasters boosting each others supply of mana.

I don't know whether having a lot of options for party make-up would be a good thing or just end up confusing players too much. I'm not a spreadsheet using character min-maxer, but I did deeply enjoy the wonders of Magic: The Gathering when it came to finding new, and often unexpected, combinations of cards that worked well together. Ostensibly, that it what I would hope to capture with such a system: to not just make groups more dynamic, but to make that group dynamic new and exciting each time a bunch of new players got together.

Hey, I'm allowed to dream, this is the Moon on a Stick feature after all.