Mostly concerning WoW / FFXIV. I think it is pretty matter-of-fact that these plugins (DBM/Bigwigs/Cactbot/Triggernometry) are not needed in most encounters and trivialize mechanics that would generally be interesting.
WoW players will often say that "the encounters are designed with the plugins in mind", but that's really only true for a tiny subset of mechanics in a tiny subset of fights on mythic difficulty (i.e. mythic azshara decrees). In FFXIV until the latest expansion heavy addon use was mostly shunned by the raiding community, but it's picked up steam lately and was heavily normalized by many groups in the latest Ultimate fight (Epic of Alexander) and at this point, most people probably don't care anymore.
Am I the only one that thinks that these plugins are insanely unhealthy for raidfights in a game and honestly borderline cheating? Here's just a few examples:
- I don't even think on WoW HC I have to talk about it. Literally everything that does anything will have DBM blaring a horn into your face and a giant text with what you have to do. All players with debuffs are called out by name. Chances are if you have a ground AoE on you, your character will put a text bubble in chat with their name on it. You don't have to check your character, you don't have to check your debuff bar, you don't have to see if that ground aoe is on you or the guy standing on top of you, you don't have to communicate to your healers if you need a cleanse (or respectively, they don't have to check in their party list), or to your teammates that you got e.g. the initial chain lightning on Ra'den, the plugin will do it for you.
- One of the most insulting things I saw was N'zoth Paranoia on HC. There is literally a tether between the two affected players, and yet the default setting of DBM makes the characters put matching symbols in the chat so you can mix and match the shapes and colors like a fucking toddler instead of looking at your character for 1 second.
- When I first looked at a Mythic guide for Ra'den, which is a boss with a technically interesting set of mechanics, the recommended way to resolve the mechanic was "just download this WeakAura". There was no explanation or pointers to how the group could set up and solve the mechanic on their own, possible patterns or soak groups, just "download this weakaura and have your raid leader set it up, it'll do it for you".
- Xanesh WeakAura that puts a fucking straight line on your screen so you know where the ball is going because you used the last 3 braincells you had staring at her pixelated ass instead of your character.
- In FFXIV, many mechanics in savage or ultimate depend on animation telling. The most annoying shit in the video game is when you are trying to actively look at the fucking boss to figure out what it's doing, and some dumbass with Cactbot tells you the pattern before it's physically discernable in the game what is happening. This reached its climax in the latest ultimate fight, where a big part of the last phase was completely trivialized, because it was based on following a set of animations on a clone of your character for like 10 seconds to figure out the correct composition of positioning. Only to then have some dipshit tell you half of the mechanics and their own job (therefore limiting the pool of what you yourself can get) 0.5 seconds into the clones spawning and using the rest of the time as a free dps phase.
Maybe I'm the only one, but I think these trivializations should be, in both games, shunned by their respective communities, except in EXTREME edge cases like azshara decrees. They discourage learning and thinking for yourself, they discourage communication, they limit design space because any mechanic that involves tells by animations might as well not exist. In some content, like FFXIV ultimate, it borders on cheating in my opinion. Even if you are just running early HC fights in WoW or extreme trials in FF14, if you run these plugins to tell you what to do, you don't deserve whatever loot, achievement or title you got from it. Would you say a chess player deserves his ELO if he has a computer that whispers "bad" in his ears everytime he is about to blunder a piece? If every boss in dark souls had a timeline that told you precisely what attack is gonna happen at which time, and a giant text in the middle of the screen told you where to move to avoid it, would beating it still be considered the same achievement as it is now? I don't see why it should be different in MMOs.
Sadly these plugins are like cancer and they won't go away. As long as people would rather cheat the game than learn it, and as long as we don't get kernel level anti-cheats like in valorant, nothing will prevent a piece of software from just reading network packets. The only way to do anything about this is to stop normalizing using these things to tell you stuff you can figure out by just looking at the screen. Even if it makes the fight a bit harder. Even if it means you accidentally drop your combo every once in a while because you had to check out the boss animation. Even if you will wipe 2 more times on Xanesh because the ball hitbox is janky. Even if you have to figure out your own Ra'den groups and remember them. Because that's how the fights were designed. Not monkey read monkey do.
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