Lok’tar Ogar: Five Things SWTOR Should Steal from WOW

On account of the holiday, I took the week off and instead decided to take the easy way out with another Dumb Top Five list. Back in early 2005, the first MMO I played was World of Warcraft, and although I quit in 2013, I still have friends who play and I recently decided to dip my toes back into the waters of Azeroth. I am certain that any WOW vs. SWTOR discussion ends only in madness, but despite everything that World of Warcraft has going for it, I will confess that this blog will not be renamed “This Week in Zandalari” anytime soon. Nevertheless, there are some quality of life features that I’d love to see SWTOR swipe from WOW.

Before I begin, I want to state clearly that I’m not a developer or programmer or someone with any actual knowledge of how an MMO-RPG gets made. It’s easy to make suggestions, but I understand that the resources Blizzard can throw at a problem are considerable. Whether what I’m asking of Bioware is feasible is an entirely other issue. I’ll leave that to the professionals.

The Launcher

Blizzard’s battle.net launcher is pretty slick, and the thing I most like about it is that it recognizes when I’m logging in from home so that I don’t have to input my password and security key every time I play. I know this only saves a few seconds of typing, but it’s nice feeling like I can jump in to the game that much faster. SWTOR’s launcher received a makeover a few years ago, but I think it could stand a modern overhaul.

The Pet Journal, Mount Collection and Toy Box

I don’t really consider myself a mount or pet collector, but over the years I have accumulated dozens of different speeders and critters to the point that I sometimes forget what I have rusting in the garage or going feral in the backyard. Having a better interface to sort through the many jet cars, rocket bikes, fearsome beasts and tiny robot pals I’ve collected over the years would be a welcome improvement. And if such an interface could also include regen items and other toys such as the Life Day Snowball Bomb that would be great and perhaps open up some needed (to a pack-rat like me) inventory space.

Multi-tapping

One of the least fun parts of the MMO experience is waiting for mobs like Trapjaw on Tatooine, Valen Korik on Dromund Kaas, or the Eradicator Droid on CZ-198 to respawn especially if you arrive just as someone else has engaged them. Even worse is competing with your own faction to tag a mob. Multi-tapping allows everyone who hits a mob and participates in fighting it to get credit for the kill and a share of the loot. I believe SWTOR may be one of the last MMOs to not allow multi-tapping, and I think it’s long overdue. In an MMO, you should want and like to work with your fellow players when you encounter them in the open world (outside of PVP, of course).

Extendable Raid Lockouts

I’ve started running Veteran Mode ops again, and it’s been a lot of fun. But we run once a week, and each week we spend much of our limited raiding time re-clearing bosses we already have killed in order to get to the fights we’re still progressing on. In Warcraft, you can extend Raid lockouts from week to week so that the raid group can jump right into the fights they want to work on without fussing with stuff they don’t. I’d love to be able to do this in SWTOR. Thanks to Galactic Command, we don’t need loot from the early bosses, and skipping ahead to the fights we haven’t done would allow the group to more efficiently finish the operation and move on to the next one we want to learn.

Flex Raiding

My small guild runs a weekly Story Mode ops night and all are welcome. However, it’s not unusual for there to be too many people for an 8 person group but not enough to upgrade it a 16 person operation. There is no worse feeling as a raid leader than asking someone who has shown up to play and have fun to sit out because there just isn’t room. Flexible Raiding gets around this problem by dynamically scaling the difficulty of the instance around how many players are in the group. If you have a couple extra folks, the bad guys will be just a little tougher to account for the extra firepower. I would love to see this system in place for SWTOR’s Story Mode ops. I can see the logic in keeping static sizes for Veteran and Master Modes where mechanics and tuning are more tightly controlled, but if Story Modes are meant for everyone, I say let everyone play.

Honorable Mention: Jokes with Voice Emotes

“So I have this idea for a great movie…” and “She sounded like a Murloc!” are two of the little things I miss from WOW. SWTOR’s voice acting is of course one of its best features, but it makes me sad that my characters in SWTOR don’t crack wise using the /joke emote. So let’s do it. Hire some comedians, have a contest, swipe some groaners from dad and get that great cast to record some gags!

I realize that at least three of these suggestions would affect other systems in SWTOR. How should loot be handled by multi-tapping? How would extending lockouts influence Conquest where last boss lockout farming is a thing? Should SWTOR adopt personal loot? Should a lockout extend or end if anyone in the group clears the operation? These are problems that are easy to point out, but more difficult to solve.

That said, I think they are nuts worth cracking. SWTOR’s debt to World of Warcraft is obvious, but if WOW can adopt AOE looting and finally allow players a choice or two after SWTOR did, then I think it’s fair that The Old Republic can still steal a notion or two from its older sibling too.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Dumb Top Five, General SWTOR

4 Responses to Lok’tar Ogar: Five Things SWTOR Should Steal from WOW

  1. Heh, every time I see a post with a title like this I mentally prepare myself to go “nooooo”… because while I suppose there are a few things from WoW that I wouldn’t mind SWTOR copying, I tend to strongly disagree with most people about what qualifies for this. You did fairly well, because I only disagree with about one and a half points.

    Multi-tapping: Now, I’ve played other MMOs that have this, so I don’t think it would be the end of the world, but I do think the current system has its own benefits. I like competing with other guilds for world bosses for conquest for example. With multi-tapping this would become pointless, as you’d just get a couple of hits in yourself and get credit that way. I also like the experience of meeting someone at a contested mob spawn and throwing them a group invite. It’s a small gesture, but it says: “I see you. Let’s do this together.” With multi-tapping I find that other players in the open world become largely invisible to me as their presence basically doesn’t matter, and it seems to me that people actually become less willing to group up with multi-tapping, because it’s perceived to offer little benefit anymore.

    Flex Raiding: When this came out in WoW I thought it sounded really neat, but… we actually rarely have to turn anyone away for story mode ops as it is. If 10 people show up, we just scale up to 16 anyway. It actually makes somewhat worn out content like EV more interesting again to have a bit of a challenge. If we do run into a wall at a later boss, it’s usually not hard to drag a couple more people in “just for the last boss”.

    With flex that fun of challenging yourself would go away, and unless Blizzard managed to solve that problem since then, it also creates an incentive to make the weakest players sit out. With a fixed group size, every additional warm body helps, but with bosses scaling exactly to the number of players, someone not carrying their own weight actually makes things harder for everyone else.

    • OK, looking around a bit it seems that the current issue with flex is actually the opposite, that it doesn’t scale well to smaller group sizes. Doesn’t really invalidate my point about basically just trading one potential issue for another. 😛

  2. TWIA-Mark TWIA-Mark

    This reply is late, but it’s that time of year again.

    I’d been kicking around ideas for this list for a while, but was prompted to dust it off for a couple reasons related to your points. My experience leveling in WOW matches your impression of multi-tapping as being largely impersonal. As I’d clear my way on foot to a rare spawn, it would not be unusual for a max level character to swoop in, annihilate the mob and fly away without so much as a “How do you do?” Even without flying mounts and CRZ, I do see this happening in SWTOR. To get a screen shot of a grey tagged mob, I knew Valen Korik on DK would be the place to go, and I was not disappointed. Sitting in stealth, I watched three ungrouped players compete to tag him. I often seen people despise the very notion of having to group up to complete any content in SWTOR and it baffles me that some would rather risk waiting ten minutes for a chance at a quest mob than click that join group button and maybe say “Hello” and “Thanks” to another person. I guess I shouldn’t blame them. As you pointed out on your blog recently, SWTOR has moved away from allowing any grouping for story, and the fun of competitive rolling during conversations only exists now in the occasional LS/DS choice in older flashpoints.

    With the renewed interest in Conquest thanks to the upcoming Guild Perks, it’s been very difficult to find World Bosses and Battlemasters during prime time. I’m not sure multi-tapping would make a big difference, but there have been a few occasions in the past when my guild raced another to form up and pull a named commander. I would trade the thrill of coming in first for the satisfaction of cooperation with another guild. On this week’s Escape Pod Cast they discussed multi-tapping, and Sema pointed out that since SWTOR isn’t cross realm, it’s not unusual to encounter the same guild or even individuals again and again. If two guilds get to be on friendly terms because they helped each other out killing a Battlemaster or one of the new Ossus world bosses, I’d call that a good thing.

    Finally, can I amend my request to be “Flex Raiding That Works”? WOW’s large group raiding being generally easier than smaller is something I recall during my time even back in Wrath of the Lich King. It’s a drag to think that small guilds still have it rough. Having more DPS to throw at a boss seems to make everything easier I guess. The cause of this wish comes from my guild still having folks who haven’t killed Izax. We’ve been working on cycling everyone through, but striking the balance between having enough people to handle the mechanics and finding spots for everyone hasn’t always been easy. I don’t do enough 16 man operations these days to know if they are easier than 8 man or have additional mechanical differences, but SWTOR’s Story Modes are so forgiving (as you said, nearly all of the Story Modes can been done with fewer warm bodies than intended) that I imagine they could put in place some sort of Flex system and make it work. I’m not yet at the point where I’d want to tackle 16 man Gods from the Machine with 10.

    • I shall counter by replying even later! 😀 (I totally get what you mean about this time of year…)

      In regards to tagging I was originally going to say that maybe Valen Korik isn’t the best example as on such a low level planet you might have a higher percentage of newbies who don’t even realise how the tagging system works. But then I just did CZ-198 this week, and when I met another Republic player at the big droid’s spawn point, he started spamming AoE in an attempt to secure the tag for himself. I sent him an invite and he accepted, but it was weird to me that his first instinct had been to compete instead of trying to co-operate. Maybe SWTOR players are just a lost cause and would be better off with a system that just lets everyone share credit. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      My guild’s been doing more 16-mans lately and I just wanted to say that basically on SM, they are definitely easier, on VM it can go either way depending on mechanics (things like correct positioning can be harder, while dps checks are often a bit more lenient), and on MM 16-man is harder due to some mechanics scaling in weird ways. We just finished clearing 16-man MM EC this week and I had no idea before that you needed three tanks on Kephess to rotate his debuffs for example…