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Nameplates & Suggestions to Blizzard
31/12/2008 em 03:00
In my entry today I'm going to discuss two little issues which I feel aren't being paid enough attention. Nameplates and the default threat system. You may be asking yourself, "What in Azeroth's three continents does threat and etched dinnerware have to do with each other?" The answer, of course, is you are silly. No, but seriously, these are two little topics which I'm going to present separately, then show you my suggestion to Blizzard to help truly maximize some of the already included features in the game.
Stick around for some exciting highs, disagreeable lows, and a lollercoaster ride you'll never forget. Okay, maybe not. Stick around anyway!
What's in a Nameplate?
For a rose by any other name doth not smell as sweet? This one is actually quite simple. A nameplate is a little graphic icon and 'bar' which hovers over every players' head. What? You haven't seen one before? What am I talking about? Before you start calling me a loon for seeing things, press your 'V' key in-game.
Note: Check your in-game keybindings and look for any listing which says "Nameplates." One may toggle ally, enemy, or all nameplates or change them at a whim.
Good? Bad? Just Plain Ugly?
A nameplate over someone's head can be a valuable tool. Not only can they be knocked unconscious at supper time, the nameplates also serve as a great selection tool. With nameplates on, one could potentially heal a nearby ally in a battleground. Likewise, one could view the health bar of an enemy unit without having to click them, picking the lowest health target and punching them right in the chin.
Right in the kisser!
We have had access to nameplates since the game's release, but they are disabled by default, and for good reason. They are hard to ignore, clutter the screen, and make it hard to see the auctioneers. All this, despite the fact they are on a toggle. I have been forced, as a healer, to turn off friendly nameplates in all cities (and of course, I always forget to turn them back on later). This makes it a small burden for something otherwise ugly and obtrusive to my gaming experience. The simple solution is to get into a routine of toggling them on and off, but I have a lot more on my mind when I actually get to play between work and life to remember that between dungeons or Arena games, etc.
Nameplates also suffer a fatal flaw in design--range. The current distance in-game is set for close quarters combat, or may as well be, since players at range such as mages or hunters are usually too far to trigger a nameplate over a unit. This means the only ones truly able to benefit from this system are melee players. In PVE, nameplates are probably most helpful to tanks since they can size up the situation and determine which creature should die next. Tanks are able to see if another player is not focusing their DPS on the same target, and in the case of today's exhilarating tanking styles, select one of the six creatures all piled on top of one another by
actually clicking the nameplate
instead of the creature. That's a big +1.
Monitoring Threat 3.0
As we covered in previous articles (
Threat & Aggro
), monitoring threat is an important aspect of not only tanking, but healing and dealing damage as well. Blizzard has introduced a threat system open to all players in
Wrath of the Lich King
. With a streamlined threat system, the inner workings behind a threat meter add-on such as Omen or KTM have been made much easier and more efficient than ever before. Despite these steps forward, though, we must continue to push and call for change to further the game's evolution.
At present, the system shows a rating (high, low, etc.) of threat levels in a creatures tooltip. This is great for fighting bosses or single targets, but nearly useless on trash pulls. The very fact one has to move the mouse over a target to get the tooltip information is unwieldy.
In addition to the tooltips, the floating combat text built-in by Blizzard will also indicate whether or not one is gaining or losing threat over a targets head. This part of the system works well as one can be notified immediately in the middle of the gameplay area where a player is most likely to notice the warning. This system is not specific in the warnings or indicators – a player is only warned with terms such as high threat, losing threat, gaining threat, etc. I admire the simplicity which gets the job done with no fluff. The problem is it isn't readily available, especially since many players who like scrolling combat text use a third-party add-on instead of the built-in combat text (that's a whole other topic).
Condense the size of the nameplates to be smaller, perhaps with a thin border and no background. Splice the health bar in half with the top portion showing health and the bottom showing threat on a scale of 0-100% so that players may see individual threat levels among all creatures in combat simultaneously. This works exceptionally well for melee, but doesn't work for the long-range DPS or healers.
This is where the threat monitoring system comes in. Though this could be done with
, it really needs to be built into the game by default. Regardless of the source, though, a "target of target" threat bar would be excellent for the healers. This one single bar would reflect the threat of whomever the person is currently targeting (and most likely healing).
These ideas aren't foolproof or fail-safe. There's a lot which could be done, but the nameplates system could definitely be put to more use. With proper implementation, they could become mainstream for close quarters combatants. With further work on the threat monitoring system, players could learn to play better, and more competitively all around.
This is your chance to voice an opinion loud and clear for Blizzard to see. Let them know how you feel they have done thus far and what can be improved.
What do you think of the nameplate system?
How about the default threat system? Do you actively use either of these systems and if so, what do you like or dislike about them?
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