Monday, April 27, 2009

You Crazy Kids and Your Mods…

Back in the archaic days of floppy discs and turning to page 42 of the user’s manual to get the authenticity code to convince your PC game to let you past level 2 little fledgling modders crawled out of the primordial ooze to crack open our favorite games and scoop out the sweet juicy insides. Years later we’d enter the Bronze Age of modding and these evolved creatures would use their powers for the good of all gamers and circulate discs of versions of DOOM where all the demons where replaced by Simpsons characters at tradeshows and conventions and all was good in the world. Years later, let’s call it the Iron Age, we’d see games being played online and now people were starting to develop their own levels and maps and still, all was relatively good. You see, these mods didn’t take control of the games from players rather they served to entertain us and give us new ways in which to play the games. Now that we’ve entered the Space Age of gaming (that’s the last of those analogies I promise) mods have in a SkyNet fashion become self aware and now seek to challenge our position on the gaming ladder as the “player” of the game and are moving towards our extinction.

Ok, that may be a little extreme but still, I don’t care for the current state of modding and I’ll explain why as to how it pertains to games like World of Warcraft. I’ve been playing WoW since its launch and as soon as they started emerging something felt inherently wrong about this new breed of mods hitting the streets. I’ll admit I dabbled in a few at first, “gateway” mods if you will that were meant to get me hooked at a young age and usher me into the harder stuff but mod after mod I began to see a trend emerging that every mod in some way took some level of control of the game away from me, even the seemingly innocent ones where actually hidden culprits lurking in the shadows. Take for example a mod that calculates what gear works best and what pieces to pair up with each other. Sure it seems all fluffy and sweet but let’s face it, isn’t that your job as the player to know what works and what doesn’t? I believe so. Back in my younger days of WoW I rolled a tank (if you don’t play MMO’s and don’t know what that is I’m not taking the time to explain it, sorry) in a high end raid guild and did so rather successfully completely mod-free. After months of tanking and successfully downing bosses I pulled back the curtain and revealed to my crew that I didn’t use any mods to play the game to which a very angry guild leader felt the need to chastise me for not using tools that will help me play the game. I was quick to point out that the evidence was there given my track record that mods didn’t make the player, but rather their own skill and understanding of the game. The truth was I had to have a better idea of what was going on in front of me than my guild mates because I didn’t have any add-ons serving as training wheels.

Now years later I still play (although not as a tank) and am still proudly mod-free. In fact, I haven’t been involved in a raid in several months where I wasn’t one of the top three people on the damage charts.

**side note, I don’t have a damage meter installed because I consider that a mod **

A few nights ago we were getting ready for a raid and I was listening to some guild mates discussing their character class. One of them suggested to the other to go online and find the “correct” way to assign his character’s skill points and a particular mod that tells you what moves to use and when. At this point ol’ Uncle Fuzzy (fuzzy being the prefix of my character’s name) decided to step in and offer up my two cents. A mod that told you what to press when was something that frankly I found disgusting. Why would you want to willingly apply something that essentially prevents you from the playing the game yourself? Truth be told, you could train a monkey to respond to cues to press certain buttons at the correct times and that’s what these players are to me. Let’s not forget folks, it’s a video game. It’s something you play for fun and not something you should be looking for shortcuts on that will play the game for you. If you were playing an FPS would you use a mod that reloaded your gun for you? Or how about a Ryu fireball spammer mod so you don’t have to be bothered with that pesky issue of pressing buttons and holding onto a controller during Street Fighter sessions?

Essentially, real gamers play the games themselves.


***EDIT***

Last night after posting this I healed my first raid (10 man) free of mods and while it certainly involved a lot of fast clicking on my part, mostly due to being new at healing, it was a success and there wasn't a single death. Further proof that mods are not necessary and in my opinion, make for lazy players.

11 comments:

Midwest Gamer Podcast said...

While I don't have a ton of experience with WoW (lvl'd a priest to like 35, once?), I can gather that the existence and widespread popularity of mods within WoW are a result of the extreme competition between, and hardcore nature of alot of the players.

Everyone's looking for any way they can to get ahead of the next guy, and mods allow them to do that. I was aware of mods when I was playing, but because I approached WoW as more of a casual player (played with a group of 5 or 6 friends and no one else unless we did small raids), I found mods a distraction and weren't interested in them at all really. But it seems like anyone playing the game seriously has to jump on the mod-wagon just to keep up.

Matt (MWG)

Epic Fail said...

That's what they want you to think. Back in the day I used to be a tank in a hardcore raid guild without any mods and I did just as well as anyone else. Now as a dps class I regularly top the damage charts and put up the best numbers in my guild, all mod free in a hardcore raiding setting.

I totally agree that a game like WoW breeds a very competative nature among the more hardcore players which is why I like to think of myself as "evidence" in the anti-mod resistance.

The game is designed to be played successfully without mods really, sure players may have to pay closer attention to what the bosses are doing and react quicker without a mod giving them a heads up but it's certainly do-able.

Naked Eskimo said...

Just about all my mods are UI enhancements. I dont have anything that plays the game for me that I can think of. My UI is seriously modded up, though, because I can't stand the default UI for WoW. The closest I come to a "plays it for you" mod is Decursive, but even then, I still have to click myself to remove the curse. Ill post a shot of my layout, tonight.

Travis said...

There was a time when I used mods for WoW but it was only for my warrior and I used a timer that would tell me how much time was between my attacks so I could time out when to use my abilities to get awesome dps.... Then I went casual and stopped using that mods, lol.

I just canceled my WoW account too....but all this talk makes me want to get back to it.... :S

Epic Fail said...

Yeah I left out UI mods on purpose to be honest. Yeah they don't have any impact on the gameplay but rather how you view it which doesn't really factor into my complaint with mods. I played around with some UI mods, not in WoW but in Vanguard and I was never really happy with them but that's more my own personal preference.

Epic Fail said...

Don't do it Travis, break the addiction cycle! I keep trying to tell myself this will be my last expansion with WoW and that once Arthas is dead I'll be done but who knows.

Naked Eskimo said...

In all likelihood, Diablo III will mark the end of my time in WoW. Till then, I'm hooked.

Epic Fail said...

You know I never played Diablo but I may check out 3 when it comes out if I get bored enough.

Naked Eskimo said...

Diablo was, imo, one of the games that spurred the MMO to the forefront. I suspect Diablo II Online's success had something to do with them thinking an MMO was a fine idea.

Epic Fail said...

I agree with that 100%

poshgamer82 said...

Personally, I love mods. They give me a chance to explore new opportunities within familiar and beloved worlds while I wait years and years for the official sequels or add-ons to be released (I'm looking at you, Blizzard Ent.!).