Do you ever think about games you have been playing for ages, and what it would be like for someone to join them now? I know a lot of people are scared of trying a new MMORPG, or trying one for the first time, because there is just so much to learn thanks to the various moving parts and the layers of complexity added over several years. But at some point, everything was new to you in the game you call your second home.
Games have a habit of not always explaining their mechanics well. Sometimes we are bombarded with tutorials, so you just hit skip to get through them all before feeling overwhelmed, or as the game aged, some things just stayed as the law, but it isn’t explained anywhere in the game, or it is explained as a small footnote to something else, or via mechanics.
One such example popped up in World of Warcraft just recently. A guildmate was told they would do more damage if they did melee attacks from behind the boss. They asked why after the raid, and the people who had been playing since the early days of the game explained how attacking from behind meant an enemy couldn’t parry the attack, meaning more DPS would be done.
It turns out the older players knew about this because long ago, there was parry haste, which caused the next melee hit to occur sooner after a parry. Thus if a group of melee attacked a boss head on, they could cause a tank to die by making the boss attack more often. Getting parry gibbed sucked, so tanks and healers learnt to shout at DPS to get behind the boss.
Design wise, the game tried to help encourage certain classes to get behind bosses, like Rogues with abilities that only worked when behind, or doing more damage. Thus players wanted to get behind an enemy, because they could do more damage. And we all know it is easier to encourage behaviour if there is a direct advantage to the person doing the extra legwork.
But Retribution Paladin has no abilities that work better from behind, or any hints that say you should be behind the enemy. Parry haste is gone, so tanks and healers don’t care about where DPS stand unless there are cleave mechanics. Because some fights don’t have cleaves, melee can hit from anywhere, and without knowing about doing more damage from behind a target, there is no reason to move.
Anyways, that was a long explanation of how I hit this topic. Do you know something that you feel improves your gaming experience, but the game didn’t really teach you? We are keen to hear.