Wednesday, May 26

The Problem of Too Many Skills

Maybe I'm the only one that has this problem. I'll be playing along, tossin out some heals or whatnot and then it happens. The big whammo. The smack that is layethed down. The big wipe. It's frustrating at times (stupid nub) because of the various reasons (Leeeeeroooooy Jeeeenkins!) that it comes about (just a sec and CHARGE! are not synonymous, contrary to popular opinion).

But then there's the reason that no one really knows about. Or maybe they do and just don't mention it as much. It's the problem of having too many skills. Inevitably, I'll be playing along (and mostly it's by myself) and some kobold protecting his candle will manage stick his knife in my back causing my premature demise. As I'm laying there, eating virtual dirt, I realize my Super-Duper Mega Invincibility skill is sitting happily on my skillbar gathering dust. Why is that, you might ask? I forgot. I forgot I had it. I've only got 5 fingers you know, and only 4 are really useable to activate skills.

So what's realy the problem? Am I just a special case in my mental capacity? Or could it be that having 10 (or more) slots for skills assigned to the 0-9 keys not ideal? Or maybe it's just that we've got way too many skills in games to begin with?

I could probably write a small essay examining all the different points, but right now, I don't want to. So gimme just a sec (that's MMO speak for CHARGE! btw). In other words, Ok Go...


  1. Yep. Too many skills don't do it for me either. Especially if I am an attacking player I am don't think to execute the 5 second/percent debuf. I rather shoot or slash once more. If my health gets low, and the boss's health as well I start panically looking for those extra buttons. Usually to no effect since at that moment I don't even know what they do. Like healing all team members when I am playing solo, or rooting the opponent that is 1 feet away from me.

    So does this mean I like simple combat? I don't think it does. I don't really want combat to be based on twitchy movement skills. I guess for me it is mostly about preparation. Cleverly picking of the the mobs, knowing which four buttons will do the trick and then just do it.

    Ok, maybe I do want it simple. MMOs are not about challange, but more about the illusion of a challange, right?

  2. Mmmmmmmmm.
    I spent an hour configuring my AoC UI to use 1-5, CTRL+1-5, ALT+1-5 and Shift+1-5 just beceause I know I'll never use the 6-0 let alone - and = buttons even if they do have skills on them sometimes. I try to do that with my hotbars in any MMO.
    I tend to be ok with a large number of skills/attacks/abilities/whatchamacallitinthismmo? as long as I use them frequently and are easily acccesible from my WASD hand. It's the Once-in-an-hour skills I tend to forget about. Or specific debuff-counter spells and such.

    Semi-related, I find it's becoming exceedingly difficult for me to keep track of the debuffs and curses and such cast on me with each new generation or iteration of the MMO concept. To the point where I just tend to ignore them and hope spamming heals/potions will get me through. For some reason I always expected better graphics to result in a more useful representation of things. Oh for the days of simple iconographic monochonamic status displays :-)

    Anyhoo, been there, done that, forgot to loot the t-shirt.

    I can relate with Phè a bit oo, though I think i want a little more involved combat. a little bit of twitch is ok. I still kinda like the way AoC does melee. I think they messed up on spellcasting and above all non-magical-ranged combat though. Part of the reason I did that reconfigure of my shortcutbars was that I want my combo to be on a location that'll start with a keystroke that the first swing of the combo will be. So something starting UL would be on 1, CTRL1,ALT1 etc. Very annoying that Funcom decided to have combo's increase in swings by changing the starter swing first. Grrrrr.

  3. Things could be a lot simpler that's for sure although I did find in AoC that the multitude of short lived buffs, that I had previously ignored throughout solo and small group content, suddenly became very useful in a raid situation, in fact I relished the complexity and probably would have been happy with more. For solo and groups all I want to know is what does the damage and what does the heals and BP just like you I missed that mega invincibility skill on several occassions.

    The most annoying thing is that lack of UI functionality when it comes to skills, AoC has a completely useless standard UI but thankfully had the foresight to let players mod their own.

    If the UI gives me enough space to group skills in the way I want I'm happy and can usually remember which does what, that's not to say I've never tried to electrocute a party member or heal a foe..hell I even tried to attack myself yesterday when the tansform potion I used had turned me in to one of my foes.