Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some Gaming Philosophy For Your Thoughts

 Greetings! This week I want to do a bit of theorizing.  Recently, with me playing such games as League of Legends and learning about the game mechanics of World of Warcraft (and similar games), I have come to discover that they tend to be dominated by the “tanky dps” (damage per second) or it is a “requirement” to have some sort of healer in a party in order for a quest to be completed.  With this said, aren’t these two “classes” the same as a monk/ranger (tanky dps) or a cleric/druid (healer)?  So this is to say that in many, if not most, mainstream games (in this genre) lend themselves to having one character do all the damage and another character passively throwing out a heal spell?
This brings up the question of whether this a good game mechanic.  Is it “fun” to let one character completely dominate and others just hang out in a limbo of only moderate helpfulness?  In League of Legends for instance, there are three champions: Lee Sin, Jax, and Tryndamere, all of which are nigh unstoppable unless you kill them frequently in the first 10 minutes of the game.  In World of Warcraft it is my understanding that without a healer, many quests or dungeons are unable to be completed.  Is this “right” in terms of how games “should be”?
If you think about it, Dungeons and Dragons is “plagued” by these same mechanics.  Our party right now would not function if we had no healer (we would have died almost immediately in many of our fights if we hadn’t had our druid throwing out heals).  At the same time, it is ok for there to be a dps as long as it is balanced by generally “squishiness” (like our rogue).  It is our Barbarian’s job to soak up enemy damage that would otherwise be directed at the Ranger.  While the dynamic between the support and the dps is a solid one (you kill stuff and I’ll make sure you can keep killing stuff), it breaks a game if the dps can fulfill both roles as a support AND dps. 
            Maybe it is just me, but it seems like a change would be welcomed.  Hopefully, these changes will come with Guild Wars 2, which claims to have no tank or healing classes.  Everyone is responsible for their own survival and skill determines success rather than exceptional damage output and a healer in the background.

Do you agree with me or am I just ranting?

Until Next Week!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Real Combat???

Greetings! This week I did something a bit different: I have made a new friend who actually spars on a fairly regular basis, and he invited me to one of his sessions. Now when I say sparring, I mean we use Nerf swords, maces, axes, glaives, and shields to hit each other until the other person is “dead”. Basically, if you get hit in the arm or the leg, you lose that leg/arm. If you lose both arms or both legs, or if you get hit in the torso, you are out. This was really fun since we got to mess with all the different weapon combinations like dual wielding short swords, using a shield and mace, or going all out with a two handed glaive.

While this was definitely not real combat (although there are a few scrapes and bruises), it was about as close to the experience as you can get.  Either way, it was different, it was interesting, and it was fun.  I would encourage you to try it at least once so that you at least know what it is like to be in combat for real (sort of anyway).

Until Next Week!



Player Tip of the Week

Find synergy with your teammates. While not always possible to plan this extensively before a campaign, you should try and find some synergy with you and at least one other member of your party.  Your effectiveness both in and out of combat will increase significantly if you have good synergy. 
For instance, in a short campaign that Endos and I participated in, Endos was a neutral evil Halfling rogue and I was a neutral evil, Gnomic Wizard with a specialization in Illusions. This combination worked incredibly well because I was able to cast reduce person on Endos which would have made him a tiny creature increasing his attack rolls and AC.  What was beautiful about this though was that he still hit for full sneak attack damage.  So basically I distracted an enemy with illusions while Endos stabbed them in the kidneys over and over and there was nothing they could do about it.

DM Tip of the Week

Have your battles roughly prepared ahead of time.  Perhaps I’m too used to having a DM with all encounters prepared ahead of time, but in all seriousness, the campaign goes so much smoother if you have them prepared. 
            For instance, in the past we had a DM who had not one encounter prepared for traveling and it took him 10 minutes to set up every encounter.  While improvisation certainly should happen, encounters take long enough as it is without waiting on your DM to come up with them in session.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sword and Fist Book Review

Greetings!  This week I thought it would be a good opportunity to review the Dungeons and Dragons accessory book Sword and Fist: A Guidebook to Fighters and Monks considering that I am playing a Monk in Endos’ current campaign.
            First off are the new Feats, which I must say actually are quite interesting.  Such Feats as Dirty Fighting, Dual Strike, and Off-hand Parry give a kind of diversity to combat on the part of fairly straightforward characters.  Some of them may be more overpowered than others, but they serve their purpose as unique “accessory” feats to the regular ones. 
            Next are the prestige classes.  These I thought were all incredible entertaining as the Ninja, Drunken Master, and Samurai are all possible prestige classes.  While these prestige classes are very entertaining, they are more useful to Fighters than to Monks (that’s just because monks at high level become practically invincible).  However, most if not all of these prestige classes are really fun and unique, if not quite as powerful.
            In addition the feats and prestige classes are new pieces of weapons and equipment.  They basically make enhancements to all the existing weapons like a Whip and Dagger, a Mercurial Long sword, and others.  However, what really made me laugh was the introduction of Tanks.  Literally, the book has the stats and construction for a medieval tank… with a mounted turret on top.
            Overall, the book tries to give greater depth/complexity to classes that are typically restricted to “I want to stab/punch stuff” by incorporating how the classes interact with the world around them and devoting an entire chapter entirely to battle tactics.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars for its usefulness and attempt to add depth to fairly simple classes.

Until Next Week!