So in a weird twist I want to discuss resource builders, as they currently stand in MMOs. Personally, I find resource builders to be outmoded. Why? Because it tends to interrupt the normal flow of the game as it stands as all you end up doing is pushing one button repeatedly until you build up enough of an X until you can actually use Y. This is made even more frustratingly complicated when it is combined with a cool down. In short, they are disguised mana bars, and it doesn’t change how they function. This is one of the things I really do not like about TSW’s combat, for instance. I sit and spam one button 5 times to build up resources so I can get the best possible effect out of my consumers. It doesn’t evoke strategy as mind numbing approach to whack-a-mole.
Needless to say, the function of the mana bar has changed over the course of the life span of MMOs. Originally, the mana bar was just reserved for the mage types and thus they had increase resource management while physical weapon people were left maybe with cool downs. So this ends up giving mages double duty.
As time went on the mana bar was spread to other classes. In games like Dark Age of Camelot everyone had an energy bar, which was just a different name for mana, and basically everyone had to play resource management next to cool downs. It was a basic solution to an otherwise nagging problem of one class being heavily restricted while the others were not. WoW of course tried to change up that formula by giving each of the resource bars its own name, such as rage, or focus, or mana or what have you. But even that wasn’t enough as later on they would add a second resource bar to every class increasing the need to micro manage, and this is still on top of the fact that powers had cool down numbers.
Now, the latest version of resource building is some bizarre twist on what WoW does, basically where everyone has to build up their attacks to be able to use their best stuff. CO does this with its energy bar and TSW does this in spades with their resource bar for every single weapon set up you could have. The level of micro management is getting tedious, to say the least.
Why I don’t like this is because it is tedious micro-management and adds too much busy work. They can cut the entire middle part of building the resource entirely and just rely on cool downs and base it on an acceptable level of DPS that they would like it to reach in a reasonable avenue. Hell, CO has near practically abandoned the need of resource building as almost every power set over there now has some way to return energy without using an energy builder.
So, this is how I would view the future of resource builders in MMOs. They are gone. Yep, that’s right, resources builders are gone. The only reason I would have some sort of resource is for flavor but not something that dictates the flow of the actual enjoyment of using the abilities. All of the abilities that would need it would have a cool down to give an acceptable level of DPS. If there was a resource it would influence something like giving you better defense or a bit more damage on certain attacks, something to make it less tedious overall than sitting there spamming the exact same key over several times until you can unleash your attack to consume said resource and begin the process all over again. The only, and only place I would put a resource builder is a type of charge up attack that allows you to use an ultimate power, but only reserved for the best of the best abilities, not your entire attack chain.
Basically put, this is yet another step that I think the next generation of MMOs will need to take. The resource builder doesn’t really have a place anymore in this day and age of gaming. It is one of those outmoded systems that needs to go the way of the dodo, as games these days keep pushing more and more to be more action oriented and less turn based in the MMO genre.