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Ask Massively: Forbidden screenshot edition

Eliot Lefebvre

OK, so this past weekend I was in a beta for... well, I can't tell you that. And I had to heavily censor this screenshot from the game. I also can't tell you what sort of character I was playing, where I was standing, or how the game actually played. Oh, and I definitely can't tell you what the interface looked like. But I hope the edited form of this screenshot still brings you some excitement. I was going to leave in a bit of elbow, but I was told that would be considered a spoiler.

This week of Ask Massively will not discuss this forbidden screenshot or the game that I can't talk about. But it will talk about novel mechanics and schadenfreude, albeit in two separate questions. If you've got a question you would like answered in a future installment of the column, leave a comment in the comment field or just mail it along to The screenshot will not be discussed.

Dumac asked: What do you think about Lineage Eternal's mouse gesture combat, and why do you think is it that a decade-old (at least!) mechanic is a new feature in MMOs?

I am reminded of my own emotional reactions to the Wii. When Ms. Lady and I were gifted a Wii for Christmas (and yes, this was back in 2006), we were beside ourselves with glee. There was so much stuff that you could do with the system -- you could swing the controller and it would be like you were actually swinging a sword, or a tennis racket, or...

Cut to the present, when the only games that we really load it up for are Wii Fit and New Super Mario Bros. The former is only a game in the most cursory sense, and the latter barely even uses the motion sensitivity. It turns out that swinging a remote is not really like swinging a sword, no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise, and all it does is make things more difficult to pull off. The best interfaces are the ones in which it's easy and almost transparent to perform simple tasks, and shaking the controller to attack is not simple.

I'm not saying that the whole mouse gesture system won't work; I'm saying that the feature alone is not enough to carry the game. It's a system that can also work well (something similar was done with Okami), but it's all going to depend on execution.

As for why it's new to MMOs: It's a mechanic highly reliant on an execution that isn't mired in lag, and the genre generally isn't the first to the feature parade, which also makes sense, since you can get away with certain mechanics in an offline game that don't fly in an online game.
Fienemannia asked: Why do people get so excited about news involving a drop in World of Warcraft's subscriber numbers?
Same reason people spent several years cheering against the Yankees in the late '90s and early '00s. You're so accustomed to seeing the same team on top (or the same game, the same person, the same brand of diet soda) that you're just happy to see the playing field get a little more even.
Devilsei asked: Well if you hate [always having a sneaking mission in the Metal Gear series], think how Old Snake must feel?
Probably the same way as I do, except a bit calmer because he's got a cigarette.
Looking for some advice on which class is best for soloing in Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!

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