Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Gripe: Trash

Monday, we meet again. You are the bane of the working mans existence. A perfectly pleasant weekend, ended by your arrival. Much like onions in my cheesesteak, you are not welcome. You have inspired a new Werit segment, where I will complain and moan about certain topics.

Today's topic is trash. I am not talking about this kind of trash. I am speaking of the worthless, frustrating, crap enemies that game developers put in their dungeons prior to boss fights.

The reason I most often see for including these poor souls is for 'pacing'. What that really means is 'How can we waste your time even more?' I don't mind trash, the first time. When you make players run dungeons multiple times (raid treadmill) it ceases to become fun.

They don't drop anything useful usually, and if they do it will likely not be useful to anyone. They are not challenging beyond the first time. It adds nothing to the immersion, because they don't matter. The only reason we are doing them is to get to the bosses. If we could skip them, I am sure we would. Although, there are plenty of sadistic individuals who would want to kill them for the rep grind (which is likely the subject of another gripe).

I find it hard to believe that the developers can find that the trash adds fun to repeated dungeon runs. I know it has killed a lot of my interest in raiding. Boss fights are fun, trash fights are not. Please, share your hate of trash, misery loves company.


The idea behind trash is to break up the monotony of boss fights, or so says Blizzard, iirc. That way the entire instance isn't just six highly complicated boss battles. Though, honestly, I vastly preferred dungeons like Gruul's Lair (with two-three trash pulls before a boss) than MC (trash trash trash...trash trash... shit that's a boss you just pulled).

The rest of my commentary is NDA restricted, but if the NDA lifts soon enough I'll come add an addendum.

Cheese widout! Personally, I was a cheese wit fan.

Pat's? Geno's? Jim's? Tony Luke's?


Yes! I am more of a Pat's fan, but they all are good. I don't get them much anymore since I moved out to the suburbs.


I'm sure they had good intentions, but it is still boring :)

It comes from old school D&D dungeon design and not thinking outside the box. Every single thing I can think about does this tho. All single player games in dungeons too. Like Zelda and Metroid and Phantasy Star. Developers are afraid to innovate.

Some trash can be fun, I think. Like gauntlet runs in raid instances-- the gauntlet in Sunwell is a blast, much like the ones in AQ40 and BWL. (All WoW of course.) But yeah, most trash is a huge drag.

There is something that can be inherently fun in trash, otherwise the original gauntlet game would have failed. It can be fun, but honestly, we don't really know why.

What is fun trash? Are hordes of trash that can be easily defeated fun and a few groups of trash that take a while to work through less fun? On the one hand, Gauntlet and D2's underpowered hordes of trash is always fun, but on the other D&D's hard fought, hour long encounters are also fun.

MMOs are a new and different medium from either of those, though. It's often overlooked that the massive medium really is a different beast from any of the old school RPG mediums. It can't be tabletop, and it can't be a singleplayer crpg. So what is our next step? Could we have take a Shadow of the Colossus style approach to boss battles? Do we really even need boss battles and raids?

Too many questions, not enough answers.

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