An Opinion on Macros and AddOns in SW:TOR

Posted by on February 13, 2012 - 9 Comments »

This screenshots expresses the magnitude WoW can change with addons.

As we close in on two months of the anticipated and well enjoyed game, by Beararms, Sephalon, and I, issues and bugs have come and gone with the normal development cycle of any new MMO.

Yes, some features have been missing that the playerbase has deemed “mandatory”. Features that are essentially assumed these days. Yes, there are bugs that are incredibly annoying. Although, some things latch on to people more than others. What has recently been a call to arms by the customers is the state of AddOns and Macros.

I have to admit; I’ve never spent as much time on a game’s forum to find the latest news and updates to the game or learn what my fellow players are experiencing as I do TOR’s. Sometimes what people believe and say is depressing, others, it’s quite enlightening.

Personally, I feel like Macros would be a great addition to TOR, while AddOns should remain out of the question.

I know you’re asking yourself “Why, Mordil? Why allow macros but leave out the possibilities of addons?” It’s simple, in my opinion.

I recently read a forum post explaining the benefits of macros, and it blew my mind like a nuke inside a warehouse. Before that post, I saw them for simple things such as /1 [Insert Guild Spam here] or /target [Name of Rare Mob]. I didn’t have the know-how, or the cunning (need to stack more!) to figure out its capabilities, as listed in the OP of the forum post.

If BioWare’s developers were to control the use of them akin to WoW, and not like Rift – I’m all for it. I’d love to use it like I saw in the post.

However, I will argue to the death that AddOns – in principle – will destroy a game. Especially since we, as an industry, have seen what people want in an MMORPG for the last seven years of 3rd party development for WoW.

It’s unavoidable that people will make comparisons to WoW – regardless of what you do – because that is the benchmark of the industry, and because of that, studios need to see what it is that players regard as “necessary” and what is “extra”.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes. I’m speaking on things like Omen Threat Meters, Recount, Deadly Boss Mods, and the likes. ALL of these mods are unnecessary to me – if the developers realized the need, and implement something to server their purposes in the native UI. Their existence should be built in upon community feedback, rather than built by the community out of necessity.

I feel this way from years of experience from being a noob just before Wrath of the Lich King, to now, with raiding. Having to learn what addons were, how to get them, how to use them, and how to min-max required the subject of addons. I have never been a fan of requiring someone to download something extra just to play the core game.

Add on (zing!) the fact that min-maxing ruins the “fun” aspect between classes as you try to top the charts, and I start to turn as green as your cliché alien at the thought of Recount being TOR-enabled.

My solution:

  • WoW already has a pretty simple built-in Omen Threat Meters that enables tanks to see who they have threat on, who has threat, who’s gaining threat, etc., etc. – incorporate this.
  • Add a combat log. I know – as a fellow game programmer – that you had them at some point, to make sure the class, during testing, was shelving out the correct output. This will satiate the thirst of those curious to know just how much damage they’re doing – while still keeping the posting of Recount charts in general chat.
  • You already have the infrastructure to include DBM – it’s your codex system. Give codex entries for every flashpoint, operations, and world boss we may encounter, and tell us what abilities they have. WoW just implemented this in Patch 4.3 and it’s helped casuals to learn encounters at a fair rate, without showing them like in a TankSpot video, or DBM. Give us the lore in the codex entry plus experience and credits after we down them, and we’ll call it even.

I can’t express it further than that. It ends up subjective at that point and even then – petition for it to be included into the UI, rather than petition for the including of API for AddOns.

What are your feelings on Macros and AddOns in TOR? How about in general gamedom?