Instance and UI concerns.

Silver001

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Apr 17, 2006
My concern is this: instanced runs are only fun once, as far as I am concerned. EVERY time it is the EXACT same thing, making it a form of grinding instead of 'adventuring'. It is only an adventure that first time. And that is only if you have not gone online and searched for that particular dungeon to see who/what/where the entire instance consists of.

Second concern: Third-Party User Interfaces. Having an 'atlas' built into a User Interface ruins the entire concept of 'adventuring'. I absolutely hated knowing exactly where to go in WoW because Cosmos slammed all of WoW's content into the UI. If parts of the world are large enough with the coders' intention being to 'get lost' as other posts indicate, what is HJ doing that will fix this as a deal-breaker for me as far as something I am willing to pay for? It truly is a deal-breaker- I want to adventure, not grind.
 

PrestoAdam

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Apr 26, 2006
Concern 1: Instancing = Repeating

This is a WoW way of looking at things, and one of the main reasons I left WoW. HJ promises that the instance scales to the strength and capabilities of the party members entering it. Further, the objective of the instance can be acheived through multiple paths. Theoretically this translates to a somewhat different experrience each time.


Concern 2:

I completely agree about your UI issues. A configurable XML based UI sounds good on paper, but as you indicated in WoW, it gets crazy, annoying, and allows some players to have an advantage over others.
 

z80

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Apr 23, 2006
I agree about instances. Having to repeat the instance to be able to get all of its special drops is stupid and boring. They should all drop every time. Maybe randomize the locations or mobs that drop them but make them all droppable so people can get their stuff and move on to the next higher instance. This isn't a plea to make the instances easier, just less boring and repetitive.

As for cosmos and atlas. Those are completely optional. They don't come with the game. I cannot complain about optional stuff that doesn't even come with the game. Especially if they do not violate the code of conduct or the eula for that game.
 

PrestoAdam

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Originally posted by z80@May 6 2006, 04:28 PM
I agree about instances. Having to repeat the instance to be able to get all of its special drops is stupid and boring. They should all drop every time. Maybe randomize the locations or mobs that drop them but make them all droppable so people can get their stuff and move on to the next higher instance. This isn't a plea to make the instances easier, just less boring and repetitive.

As for cosmos and atlas. Those are completely optional. They don't come with the game. I cannot complain about optional stuff that doesn't even come with the game. Especially if they do not violate the code of conduct or the eula for that game.
I am mixed on the UI mods.

Clearly some mods allowed cheating, like Atlas or the ones that indicated where resource spawns were, but CT_Raid Assist was invaluable.

I think the point of mods is that the default UI did not meet people's needs.

I have yet to see a UI that got everything right.
 

Zee_CinVin

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About Concern #1
I want to point out an instance is actually just a tool. WoW used the tool to prevent camping of boss mobs by multiple groups of players. Contrary to most players view's WoW actually uses the tool for a gain for the reasons I've just mentioned. Just think how WoW would be if they didn't use instances but kept those same bosses in the same places but put a respawn on those bosses. You would have groups and groups of players sitting around waiting for the boss to respawn so that they could kill it again in hopes of getting whatever it is that they are trying to get.

In my opinion, WoW's flaw isn't that it used instances to place boss mobs that people need to farm in order to get the mostest uberest of loot!!111! Its the fact that they designed a game where you are 'forced' to farm for top loot off of boss mobs. That is one thing I found annoying about WoW and really has nothing to do with the use of instances. In fact, the use of instances, IMO, actually made the game go smoother. But... Like I said. I found there overal design to be quite dull.

Now... there is one actual downside to instances that is more closely linked to the TOOL than it is TO THE USE of the tool. That is the fact that there is less interaction with players outside of the party. This, as far as I know, is going to be a downside to instances, regardless of who designs the game or how it is designed.

Some upsides, that I see, of instances:

1) You do not have to compete against other players to kill a boss mob.
2) You can do things in instances that will effect the 'world' without ruining it for the players after you.
a) You can vanquish your foes by dropping a landslide on them, You can destroy a bridge causing your enemies to fall into the cavern below -thereby avoiding a fight with them, a quest may give you a goal of stoping a band of Ukar from building a mage tower... in an instance the mage tower can be gradually built as you and your party rushes to destroy it prior its completion, the opportunities are endless. None of this could be done, if you had 3 other parties of players trying to accomplish the same quest at the same time. Imagine you arrive to see your enemies outnumber you... you glance up to see if there might be some boulders you could drop upon them but find that a landslide has recently occured and because the boulders haven't 'respawned' you now have to fight them. Imagine your party wants to try to empty the pockets of your enemies or perhaps you want to interrogate them but you are unable to reach them, as they are on the other side of the cavern and the bridge is collapsed. etc.
3) Well... I think I've made my point.


All of this mumbo jumbo aside... I play Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games because they are just that, Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. If I wanted to be in instances most of the time, I would simply play a single player game. But I dont want to be. I want to interact not only with the world but also with its players! And at times I want to run off with a few buddies and participate in a freaking awesome, interactive quest.

So I'll end this by restating that instances are simply tools. A hammer is a hammer. It can be used to make a wooden shack or it can be used to create a jaw-dropping mansion. Its how the tools are used that really matter.

About concern #2

I've rambled too much so I'll make this short. A third party UI is always optional. If you dont like what it does... dont use it. That being said... I know exactly what you mean and I have NO IDEA what the official stance on this is.


Okay Buh Bye!
 

Silver001

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Apr 17, 2006
Originally posted by HJ-Zee@May 6 2006, 07:50 PM
If I wanted to be in instances most of the time, I would simply play a single player game....And at times I want to run off with a few buddies and participate in a freaking awesome, interactive quest.
EXACTLY! If HJ utilizes instances to distribute their .0004% chance of a single drop of a single pair of boots, given to ONE of the people in your party, it will fall to the WoW crowd of grinders.

IF, instead, HJ either gives ALL party members the same benefit of a quest, or simply uses some form of non-transferrable currency that can later be used to trade for non-transferrable items, say at a special merchant, I think the questing would be less tedious and more fulfilling.

The comparison of 'game instance' = 'one-player game' fits only too well. Yes, you may be with 4-5 people, but in essence it is no longer a MMORPG. I am not arguing with the necessity of an instance to prevent boss camping, I am trying to stress that so far instances have been poorly implemented and their method of reward must be heavily revamped for me to fall head-over-heels for HJ.
 

Silver001

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Apr 17, 2006
Originally posted by HJ-Zee@May 6 2006, 07:50 PM
A third party UI is always optional.
Is it truly optional if your party members (and more importantly enemies in a PvP environment) are walking around with UIs that present the world in a manner not intended by game developers? This includes altas setups that spoil the challenges of exploration with arrows on the minimap, detailed maps of dungeons, as well as scripts that play the game for you. I argue that when many players are using a UI that gives a set of benefits to those players, other players are forced to download the UI just to keep up. This degrades the quality of play because it is not how the game was intended.

UI development in HJ should be determined during beta and the most popular, balanced features be included. It should then be agreed in the ULA to not download and install third-party UIs. It is the only way I can see the game quality will not be deminished.
 

Zee_CinVin

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Originally posted by Silver001@May 6 2006, 09:22 PM
their method of reward must be heavily revamped for me to fall head-over-heels for HJ.
Whatever happened to the days where playing a fun video/PC game actually was the reward?

I speak as an individual here and not as a representative of HJ, but have we become so used to mediocre games that we rate a game based off of how many trinkets they give you in game? Dont get me wrong... I love phat loot and uber drops :P but shouldn't the game actually be fun to play? Even in the most boring of games, I've sometimes found fun things to do, granted usually its after I've been staring at the monitor, doing nothing, for long periods of time.

Sure you could get some neat stuff by finishing a quest but what if that was just a side effect? What if the real reward of the quest was actually DOING the quest? Of course for this to happen you'd need to put aside those stupid WoW or Lineage 2 "quests", that are usually nothing more than... go here... fetch that... kill that... talk to him... kill him. BOOOOORRRRRING. So what if at the end of a boring quest I get a rare uber leet ring of ultimate power? It was still borrriiing and now I have nothing more to look forward to than another boring quest so that I can get the matching rare uber leet earrings.

Give me PvP that actually means something (L2 castle sieges/clan hall raids), give me dynamic quests that are fun to do regardless of the loot I get, give me an awesome group of players to socialize with, give me, ME, ME a way to change the server or to actually be an individual (not like 3000 other clones on the server). Give me something new and not played out, something that isn't in every single other game, sure sure keep some of the good things from other games, let my character be famous - not because of the number of Fame Points I have but because people know ME (or my character that is :P ). Let me be a hero or vilian.

A one-of-a-kind bloodied butchers cleaver, an worn battle helmet worn by the Great Lord Draglar in his triumphant victory of the evil, bloodthirsty Ridic, the infamous cloak worn by Lyonis the Ranger ... this is the type of gear I want and it would even be an added benefit if this gear did kick some major ass! Let me play the role and to be entertained. But whatever you do but dont bind me into the small box that so many other big 'worlds' cram me into, forcing me to rate my level of enjoyment based off of the trinkets you make me toil for.

I'm not saying any or all of this will be in HJ. Its just my dream.

By the way Silver, this post isn't aimed at you but rather at the mediocre gameplay that so many, including myself, have been programmed to believe is actually rewarding.

As far as the UI goes, I'd tend to agree. I'm not a coder but I believe that something such as how the UI will work is considered, if not set in stone, much much earlier than beta. But one thing that I do know, is that your computer only knows what it knows and controlling what it knows is something that the Onsite Staff has, is and will continue to do.

Okay... enough ranting... I've got some work to do. :)

BTW- Silver... keep up the posts... I love discussing gameplay!
 

PrestoAdam

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Apr 26, 2006
Zee,

You hit on the major reason I left WoW. I did not understand why I should continue playing to get loot that I really did not need, and that required repetitive gameplay to acquire.

The dream, to have the gameplay itself be fun, is also what I crave.

Is it possible HJ comes close to this formula?
 

HJ-Rowell

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Mar 9, 2006
I think something that is being missed about Quests/Instances, it's not all about the uber loots....it's about the storyline. Remember, Hero's Journey tailors the adventure on the character's storyline, so that if you make 2 different characters, you won't have the same exact experience.

What does that mean? Well, if you go into an instance with your Character A....there's a very good chance that your experience in there won't be the same if you enter with your Character B.

I play WoW as well, and it's pretty funny that there are maps of instances, and little dots and numbers denoting where the mobs spawn. In EverQuest, long ago, there were sites that even included the spawn times. That's a little too mechanical and unfun for my taste.

I think that you'll find the HJ Instances are greatly different than those you'd find in other games. I wish I could say more to REALLY make you drool, but those pesky NDA's. ;)
 

Silver001

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Apr 17, 2006
Originally posted by HJ-Rowell@May 7 2006, 04:07 AM
I think something that is being missed about Quests/Instances, it's not all about the uber loots....it's about the storyline.
Maybe it looked like I was focused on getting items by the way I wrote my post. This isn't true though - I was referring specifically to the experience, whether it came out that way or not. I was using the .0004% imaginary statistic to show that going into instance 'A' for uber item 'Z' yielded almost NO chance of getting that item, which forced grinding and took focus away from the experience itself. This is why I suggested replacing uber item 'Z' with non-transferrable currency of some kind that might be tradeable later to a merchant that may only come so often to the world, and with different things (i want my tattoos!!!!). I dont even care about the drops themselves.

Page 2 of uber item 'Z' @ .0004% drop after 4 hours of questing: third-party UI map systems with pinpoints and respawn rates. That style of play almost forces someone to 'cheat' (as i call it) to get the item set they want, especially in WoW. And with that third-party UI comes the changes to gameplay I segued to - and the spoiling of the experience I described. The spoiling happens when the player knows what to expect in advance because the screen tells them where to go, how far, whats in the way, and it may very well be their first time in that dungeon. They don't have to adventure at all! Just follow the arrows or the guide that was typed up by someone else.

Solutions? I suggest firstoff that a dungeon never spawn the same twice. I say that as maybe, based on the configuration of the group, the configuaration of your enemy would change. Example: a level 50 wizard/necro, (making up levels here) a level 10 bard/cleric, and a level 30 warrior/rogue enter dungeon 'Y'. They storm the front, and (maybe utilizing nemesis?) the system knows to place a larger level archer, or more medium level archers, to try to combat the wizard from afar whereas their healing critters might be a low level or nonexistant to permit the bard/cleric to keep up. This is a horrible example, but gives the idea of what i mean. The key here is I almost want an evolving dungeon system so you cannot possibly know what to expect.

On top of that, perhaps having the system keep track of who has done what dungeon, and make a previous path inaccessable. Imaginary character Ugthug says, "The front drawbridge was how I first stormed the castle, but dammit, they raised it this time!" And so on.

Different groups of critters may path to different areas of the dungeon based on what path you take into said dungeon. Example: if you decide to dig under a wall instead of storming the front gate, the enemies would force the front-door defenders to react after an alarm is tripped deeper into the dungeon, leaving just enough to keep sentry at the front gate. I always hated walking into an instance of WoW and having to 'pull' a critter or two at a time for 4 hours. There could be a group of five standing within earshot but never reacted because their imaginary lines were never crossed. This of course turned into bringing a lvl 60 person to 'raid' the dungeon for the lower level people. In this scenerio there is NO game play at all, just follow-the-leader.

Whew! Ranting is frustrating.
 

Javewa

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May 5, 2006
HJ's Instances will be different from 'old-school' instances like EQ's or WoW's, I believe.

I have actually no problem going into an instance more than once. The first time you get there you are mostly task-oriented and do what you are there for. Repeating visits help me to familiarize with the place and still have fun being there. You notice all the little details the creators put there and might find alternate routes and neat little tricks.
So, as long as you don't have to grind mindlessly, I have no problem going to one place a little more often. That fun obviously stops if you go for, say WoW's Molten Core, the hundredst time.
But as I said, I believe the HJ Instances to be alot different. Havn't played CoH or GW, so I can't compare to their systems.

As for customizable UIs, I think that was one of the most fun aspects of WoW and I hope in the spirit of customization, HJ will get that too.
The flaw with WoW was, that the original Interface wasn't very good and Blizzard added the customization not to give freedom to the players, but to out-source UI-creation.
Sure, addons like Auctioneer that take away skill should be considered with care. Freedom to arrange you UI, extra buttons, macros, additional readouts, statistics, etc., on the other hand, is somewhat of a must for me.

Yes, WoW was an MMOG, not an MMORPG as I hope HJ will be. For an RPG I'd sacrifice modding abilities for immersion.
 

Silver001

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Apr 17, 2006
Originally posted by Javewa@May 7 2006, 06:57 AM
Freedom to arrange you UI, extra buttons, macros, additional readouts, statistics, etc., on the other hand, is somewhat of a must for me.
Even GSIII, in its text-based glory, had a customizable UI. You could move the thought window, the round-time window, and change font sizes/colors. You could flag certain words or phases to be color-coded. I do definately want customization.

I think that simple things such as additional buttons, readouts, and statistics should be incorporated in the original plan. These of course do not take away from experience, it helps you enjoy the world and worry less about how long a spell is gonig to last.

I keep focusing on the UI telling me where to go, how far, and what is in the way - and that is where I have a huge problem. All is good as long as it is what the developers had intended the experience to be.
 

Seeria

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May 2, 2006
I have to disagree with the idea that an instance run is only fun once. Sure, I’ve seen some that fit but for most part, I can get a few runs out of an instance.

Examples:

GuildWars and DDO both have interesting traps and such, mob placement is a pick of random set layouts, and the environment and/or AI tends to make the first few runs challenging enough to enjoy.

EQ2 and Daoc instances.. EQ2s bore me the first time. Daoc’s quest ones are great the first time, lacking there after. Daoc’s task and general instances are never fun the first time. zzz

EQ’s LDON’s are decent the first few times through as they do use sets which they randomize. Once you’ve done all the sets with a few group combos it gets second hand. Of course if you toss in a bad player, things tend to get exciting (granting you don’t die repeatedly).

HJ-Zee mentioned “That is the fact that there is less interaction with players outside of the party” when discussing the downside to instancing. I agree that it does just that to certain degrees, though I am confused on whether he meant non-proximity communication or PC avatars being face to face type communication.

If you take a look at GuildWars and DDO and their use of an entire instanced world you can see in extreme just how cut off multi player interaction is (Read: Community blocker). In games that are less intense on instances, like EQ, you see how they interfere only temporarily…the period residing inside the instance. The majority of player to player interaction takes place despite the small usage of instances because there is a stabled, persistant world. WoW uses instances more than EQ, btw.

For communication… a simple server wide chat system can solve the problem. That in itself has problems, mostly the removal of a sense of immersion for most people. But… that’s another topic. For the more immersive feel communication, I don’t see an answer to it. Instances will be used, so less interaction with non-group players will happen while there. I’m fine with that as long as instances are not the majority of the game world.

PS .. I just want to say that this thread has split into roughly two topics now… any chance of a split?
 

Faemus

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Originally posted by HJ-Rowell@May 7 2006, 09:07 AM
I think something that is being missed about Quests/Instances, it's not all about the uber loots....it's about the storyline. Remember, Hero's Journey tailors the adventure on the character's storyline, so that if you make 2 different characters, you won't have the same exact experience.

What does that mean? Well, if you go into an instance with your Character A....there's a very good chance that your experience in there won't be the same if you enter with your Character B.

I play WoW as well, and it's pretty funny that there are maps of instances, and little dots and numbers denoting where the mobs spawn. In EverQuest, long ago, there were sites that even included the spawn times. That's a little too mechanical and unfun for my taste.

I think that you'll find the HJ Instances are greatly different than those you'd find in other games. I wish I could say more to REALLY make you drool, but those pesky NDA's. ;)
Do you know if that info will be coming out at E3? Or is it after the game gets further down the dev cycle?

Also, I'm convinced that an epic instanced quest with a group of friends can be cool. . . if developed intelligently. But most instanced experiences to date have involved Grinding for Hours and Hours. (I'm speaking more along the lines of Raiding Instances here, rather than HJ's casual / small group instanced content. It seems those will play much like normal quests, as opposed to stereotypical instanced dungeons with Big Boss fights.)

On the Grinding side of things, I understand why developers give incentives in Instances that cause players to go back again and again and again and again. Essentially, that repetitive instance is "recycled content". Usually a player experiences content once, with that one character and moves on. Once all of the content has been experienced once with no additional motivations, then developers need to crank out new reasons for the player to keep playing. Hence big groups in instanced dungeon with incentives to lather, rinse and repeat.

Regarding Long Long hours, in most games if there is any heirarchy of loot, the "uber" loot is rare and hard to aquire. If it wasn't rare and was fairly easy to get, then the loot would no longer be "uber" since everyone and their pet had it. So mmorpg developers typically reward effort with reward. People who spend more time and energy in game get better gear/items.

However, that model for "uber" loot aquisition is somewhat flawed, especially with the ever-widening definition of "gamers". The after-school gaming nerd with consistent blocks of consecutive gaming time, is an inaccurate archetype to develop games around. Other age groups with varying levels of disposable time are also willing to spend their Time and Energy in fun games to get "uber" items, but the old-school 4+ hour instance runs aren't an option for them. Instead, their Time and Energy is spread out over weeks/months, but its there just the same and they need to see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.

So in regards to Grinding and Long Long hours in instances, HJ's unique approach to the mmorpg genre, particularly the constantly evolving world put into the caring hands of an Army Of GM's, gives me hope of that many of my gaming headaches may finally go away. Simu's willingness to do things differently (apart from the Fantasy) represents a kind of innovation that could finally find solutions around these tired, old problems.

*edit* All this is based upon the assumption of "OMGWTFPWN Uber Lootz". I've read that HJ's weapons are customizable and grow/level/progress/ along with the character over time, so parts of my earlier statements may become a non-issue in Elanthia.

In place of "Uber" loot, HJ might actually have totally original incentives to do the "Epic Quests". And THATS assuming that there are epic quests are all. . . . I need more info!! :P
 

Sisca

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May 2, 2006
I think Zee and Royce have answered these questions pretty well with our limitations but I do want to add one very important thing.

The philosophy of the entire design team for HJ is "More fun, less tedium".

This comes from the top down, we don't want to build another example of must grind InstanceX repeatedly so everyong gets ItemY. Other people have done that, and in the case of Blizzard done it fairly well, so why build a game that you can find elsewhere.

As for the UI modding, personally I consider it a major minus if the game DOES NOT have a moddable UI. I have been playing these games for a long time now and I've developed a very specific layout for the screen information that works for me.

s it truly optional if your party members (and more importantly enemies in a PvP environment) are walking around with UIs that present the world in a manner not intended by game developers?

For the record, almost every WoW or EQ2 UI that I've seen may be providing information that the developers didn't think to include in the UI but it is still information that is there for the players so you can't really say that it wasn't intended. If WoW wants to make the harvestable spawn point map UI useless they just have to randomize the spawn points. Since they're static points then you have to know that someone is going to figure that out and log it. Whether they put it in a UI mod or have it in a notebook doesn't much matter. If you don't want players to be able to display the location of enemies on the other side of the zone don't send them that information, it's not needed by their client until they have to draw that enemy anyway. If you send the information you have to expect the players to use it. If you have a customizable UI they'll add it in there if possible but if not they'll display it out of game.
 

z80

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Apr 23, 2006
Originally posted by Presto@May 7 2006, 04:54 AM
Zee,

You hit on the major reason I left WoW. I did not understand why I should continue playing to get loot that I really did not need, and that required repetitive gameplay to acquire.
You really did need uber loot to survive the higher end content. If you really want to see every high end boss and beat them you needed the boosted stats provided by uber loot. People that were bored of repetitive instance farming or who didn't have the uninterrupted hours to get the uber dungen sets simply weren't going to see the whole game. I agree that if you didn't want to see the whole game then you don't need the uber loot...but those who did were sadly assed out if they didn't want to (or have the free time to) repeat and repeat raids that got boring after so many repetitive repeats. I'm glad HJ won't fall into that rut?
 

PrestoAdam

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Apr 26, 2006
Originally posted by z80@May 7 2006, 07:11 PM

You really did need uber loot to survive the higher end content. If you really want to see every high end boss and beat them you needed the boosted stats provided by uber loot. People that were bored of repetitive instance farming or who didn't have the uninterrupted hours to get the uber dungen sets simply weren't going to see the whole game. I agree that if you didn't want to see the whole game then you don't need the uber loot...but those who did were sadly assed out if they didn't want to (or have the free time to) repeat and repeat raids that got boring after so many repetitive repeats. I'm glad HJ won't fall into that rut?
Thing is, after you do Molten Core 20 times, no other loot is really necessary. Nothing I got in BWL made me so much better than MC that I felt I needed it to increase my survivability.

For this reason, doing BWL became repetitive to me, and made me feel that I really didn't need other loot to continue playing. All I was doing was farming high instances, and that simply was not fun.
 

PrestoAdam

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Apr 26, 2006
Originally posted by HJ-Sisca@May 7 2006, 08:47 AM
As for the UI modding, personally I consider it a major minus if the game DOES NOT have a moddable UI. I have been playing these games for a long time now and I've developed a very specific layout for the screen information that works for me.
I am all for this, as long as my modified UI doesn't go to cr_p when the game is updated.

This really bugged me in WoW.
 
F

frostydf2

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Some of the mods in WoW could have been considered hacks, cheats, 3rd party programs easily. To name a few, re-target when charmed, slept, anything like that. Auto-target any totems, and instnatly cast a low level spell with low cooldown on them once found.

Those are pathetic, I hope it isn't that modable.
 
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