I came across Tobold's MMORPG Blog
that had an entry regarding SWToR and how it
would be a bad thing for the game if they were introduced (I reccomend reading the original post) and saw the debate it sparked on the subject and
decided to bring it over to ATS (I did use the search and didn't find the subject, so apologies if it has already been covered).
The debate has started basically because of World of Warcraft (WoW) which is the most well known and arguably popular MMORPG on the market and as
such, all other MMORPG's are pretty much compared to it as a result.
Basically, Blizzard (the makers of WoW) have allowed the general public to write their own addons which interface with the game, in order to enhance
the players experience of the game. Addons range from anything from DPS meters to social emotes and the number now available for the game has reached
literally thousands and as a result, some of these addons have become 'must have' players but also, in some cases, the functionality of these addons
(like gearscore for example) have actually been adopted by Blizzard and added into the game, albeit with their own take on the subject (ilevel as it
Star Wars the Old Republic is,as the name suggests is the long awaited MMORPG that is set in the Starwars universe and is a must have for any Star
Wars geek (like me!) which was launched on the 20th of December 2011. Like all MMORPG's it has the usual questing, PvP and storyline that you would
expect (though ToR is more story driven and contains a heck of a lot more in terms of cutscenes than WoW) but unlike WoW, which at its launch 7 years
ago started out with the ability for users to write addons for it, has no such interface.
As a result, a lot of WoW players (like myself) whilst enjoying the game thoroughly are already starting to miss the added functionality that the WoW
addons provided, some of which I believe are essential; like tools to allow you to measure your peformance and see where gear changes, talent changes
effect your performance.
Now some people will automatically say that I am not comparing 'apples with apples' because WoW has had 7 years of development whereas ToR hasn't
even been out for a month, but this is not what this post is about. I am not comparing the games, they are two different games and I am also not one
of those people who will complain that the standard UI is rubbish, I personally don't think it is, it's just different. The discussion isn't even
about what Bioware (ToR writers) should or shouldnt have in their game persay either, just purely about the ability for users to be able to write
addons to help themselves and other players get more out of the game.
I have played WoW for about 3 or 4 years now and I initially played for probably a third of that time without addons. I also wasnt in a guild and did
very little in the way of group content, I just happily pottered around and did my own thing. This was fine although I did become a little bored
(which lead to 4 month break) and when I came back to the game later, I decided to join a guild and as a result a whole new side of the game was
exposed to me. Not only did I learn a lot more about the game and discover new game experiences but I was also introduced to the addons, which, as
time went by; added a further dimension to my gameplay experience. I got the oppertunity to learn from more experienced players which helped my
performance but I also got the oppertunity, through using the addons, to measure my own performance. This performance measurement wasn't just in my
ability to do better dps, but also things like the amount of money I made or with my crafting and so on. I also quickly found that if there was
something I wanted to do, change or measure that there was likely an addon to help me do that.
Now starting with ToR, I was under no illusion that I would have to go through a learning curve in terms of where things were, how the game worked for
the different classes and what things meant. This of course was no problem for me, its the same when you get any new game. However, in the last 10
days I have started to miss some of the things that the addons gave me and specifically, the ability to know what my actual damage output was. Tor,
like wow, gives each player more abilities as they level and also upgrades abilities ot make them more powerful; on top of that there is a talent tree
that once you hit level 10 (as in WoW) you are able to put points into to further enhance your characters abilities, with a lot of options (as per WoW
pre-cataclysm expansion, since cata things are a lot less configurable) that benefit different aspects of your charachters abilities. This, in itself
is great but without being able to measure your output and how said talents effect that (not to mention your gear or your rotation) they are, in many
respects, a bit pointless. Granted, if your happy to go with "a higher level and better gear means I must do more damage" approach, then your
probably satisfed but for those of us who are used to being able to meausre ourselves in order to improve, it isnt good enough.
The first thing that could be said here is that Bioware could just add a dps meter and that would solve my particular gripe above and in many
respects, thats true. However, I have only touched upon one particular facet in WoW that was enhanced by the use of an addon and there are many many
more. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that there was most likely an addon for anthying you would want available meant that the individual user could
effectivley craft his own gaming experience to his liking. This meant that the game to could be expanded without the users relying on Blizzard to
alter their game in the next patch to provide us with what we wanted, it left us free to do that ourselves as long as we stayed within Blizzards
boundaries (ie things like autoplay bots were banned and so on). So having experienced somethign like that, it is not surprising that people who now
play ToR would like to see the same option open to them, for things like the particular gripe I mentioned above to all of the other enhancements, big
The blog basically states that addons are a bad thing because they encourage seperation of the playing base and ultimately cause people to miss out /
be excluded from aspects of the game due to their dps or gearscore or whatever. On top of that, it states that those people who do the excluding are
elitest and ruin the game for the others and basically, I do not agree with this statement.
The fact of the matter is, this is a social game which allows players to embark on raids, dungeons pvp in a group environment and in the event of not
being able to complete one of these activities is dependant on the ability and performance of each player. As with WoW, the lower the level of
instance, the easier it is and thus, performance is less of a factor, but as you progress and the content becomes harder (even in solo play)
performace becomes more and more of a factor to your success and as you are in a group, each member of that group is relying on the other 4 or 9 or
whatever, to fulfill their role and if one or two people are the reason for failure, is that fair to the rest? Of course not. Spock said: the needs of
the many outway the needs of the few.