not been without its share of hot button issues over the last couple
months, but for the most part a relative calm has settled over the
game. That calm was recently broken with the announcement and inclusion
of an addon API on the test shard. It’s hard to imagine what could have
players so up in arms in this day and age where almost every modern
MMOG has some sort of player generated modification or UI reskin.
The most probable answer is that only the upset are prone to get vocal
about something, and nowhere is that more evident than on gaming
forums. Those who are happy are too busy playing to bother wasting
precious moments bitching and moaning. But let’s assume that there is a
smattering of well adjusted folks who are genuinely distraught over
this addition, that their concerns are more legitimate than simply
wanting to be different from WoW.
Would you prefer no UI at all?
Instead of trading barbed insults, or regaling each other with tales of
walking through Kithicor Forest uphill in the snow both ways, perhaps
some rational discourse would be a better course of action. First,
let’s address some of the more valid points against addon usage.
play the game for you – Knowing that Trion has learned
from the mistakes of other developers and have guarded against code
that allows for the automation of tasks, this argument boils down one
of over-simplification. It’s true that so called boss-mods can alert
you to various mechanics in a much more direct manor than the stock UI,
but they can’t make you perform your role or move out of fire - they
simply provide a more direct flow of information that the player must
react to. It’s akin to thinking that a tachometer will somehow teach
you to drive a manual transmission.
- Allowing addons will make Rift too much like
WoW – Look, anyone who honestly believes that there is a
ton of difference between these two titles is simply delusional. I am
not calling Rift a clone, far from it, but both are fantasy based theme
park MMOGs and both share many of the same core mechanics. There is no
need to rehash in-depth the old “don’t fix what isn’t broken” argument
here, allowing addons or disallowing them will make no difference in
the comparisons between the two games.
- GearScore ruined WoW, it will do
the same to Rift –
Really? The community of WoW was devolved in one fail swoop by a mod?
We know this simply isn’t true. The jerks in WoW were jerks long before
GS came into play, and are still the same now that the mod has been
improved as PlayerScore. I don’t want to start a philosophical debate
on gun control, or motorcycle helmets, or anything else that pits the
personal responsibility crowd vs. the greater good folks – but blaming
a tool for people acting like tools is a lazy argument. I personally
have more faith in the Rift
community, and I know that the game is a bit more
complex in terms of roles and specs to allow players to be pigeon-holed
I don’t expect to change the minds of those dead-set against certain
types of mods. Someone who hates damage meters is unlikely to be swayed
by my opinions, but perhaps there are angles to this debate that they
have not considered. Let’s look at some of the more positive aspects of
player created modifications.
– Some of the most integral and powerful aspects of the
current WoW UI began their lives as player created mods. Open sourcing
this aspect of a game empowers players, the ones who spend countless
hours playing, to create tools that meet their demands and solve their
problems. Often developers may miss something that relates to the core
critical tasks that players are involved with on a day to day basis.
Allowing them to create their own remedy of sorts, and then incorporate
into the default UI can be a huge boon to the continued development and
growth of game.
- Perspective –
should be fairly obvious that we don’t all see things from the same
point of view. Instead of thinking of this as a basis for conflict
however, seeing things from a different perspective in a video game can
often be a way to accomplish a goal. UI mods are a perfect vehicle for
sharing that information and creating cohesion. Most of this revolves
around roles and the mechanics that affect them, such as the ability to
gauge tank threat for DPS, timers for crowd control or understanding
cooldown timers for various abilities. Streamlining the flow of
information between players fosters a better understanding of inherent
limitations and increases group awareness.
– The floodgates have opened and the demand for
end-game content has reached a frenzied pitch. It may have once been
the exclusive playground of an elite few, but raiding is an activity
that has become genre defining in the MMOG. Even though a minority of
players would prefer it to be an exclusive club, the secret is out –
killing bosses and taking their stuff is damn fun. I find it hard to
believe that folks need to be reminded that the whole point of playing
video games is to have fun, but that seems to be the case. UI mods
allow a greater percentage of the gaming population the ability to
access and enjoy all that there is to experience – and we aren’t just
talking about dumbing down challenges. For many gamers physical
limitations can be overcome through the use of advanced mods. Hearing
impaired gamers can use visual cues, players with the use of only one
arm or limited mobility can benefit from advanced keybindings,
colorblind players can use graphical enhancements to differentiate good
elements from bad – and the list goes on and on.
Often times when we become impassioned about an issue we forget to look
at things from outside our narrow scope of experience and addons are no
different. Like it or not the API is out there and the change is
coming. Just remember, like any other tool these additions are
ultimately at the discretion of the end user and if we don’t like them
we can simply chose not to use them.