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Old 02-23-2010, 07:07 PM   #1
Rothgar

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Several weeks ago we made a round of changes to improve server performance.  One of these changes was to throttle the amount of unnecessary command spam coming from the client as a result of the macro system.  This had a few side-effects that were noticable to the average player enough that we decided to revert those changes until a better solution could be implemented.

We think we have a better solution and will be making it available to the Test Server soon.  I just wanted to give you a heads-up with a quick explanation of these changes.

Macros will now be pre-processed on the client before sending anything to the server.  This extra "intelligence" will let us reduce the amount of spam and hopefully make them work better for you in the long run.

When you press a macro key, the first available ability will be sent to the server.  The last ability in the list will then be queued.  If the first first available spell has a zero casting time, the next available spell will also be sent. 

If you are currently casting or no spells in the macro are available for casting, the last ability will still be queued.  This mimics the existing behavior and still allows queuing to work.

These changes should achieve our goal without significantly impacting the way you currently use macros.

As always, your feedback is welcome!

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE THREAD BEFORE RESPONDING. 

This thread is an ongoing discussion.  Before you ask something that has been answered, please make sure you read the entire thread.

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Old 02-23-2010, 07:22 PM   #2
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If I am understanding this change correctly, then basicly you just removed the ability to use spell queuing from macros (in addition to the changes for client side pre-processing).

Is this correct?

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Old 02-23-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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So what is going to happen with the Wizard Fire and Ice shaping abilities? I currently macro them with the Fire and Ice procs that wizards also get. Since there is little to no point in using them separately. This change breaks this macro. The easy/better fix for this issue is to have the Shaping spells be addons to the proc spells (which has been asked for before). However, this is also a mechanics change since there are ways to extend the duration of the proc spells beyond the length of the shaping spells. Do you have a solution for this issue, or will it be passed over?
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:56 PM   #4
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[email protected] Bayle wrote:

If I am understanding this change correctly, then basicly you just removed the ability to use spell queuing from macros (in addition to the changes for client side pre-processing).

Is this correct?

Yes, a side-effect of this change is that spells won't be queued with a macro command.  They will still be queued if you use the spell directly. 

Bright_Morn

I can't see how this change breaks your Fire and Ice shape macros.  Please explain how it works for you now and how you think it will work after this change.

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Old 02-23-2010, 07:59 PM   #5
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I know this thread was not soliciting feedback, but if you would consider a /queue_ability command .....

I actually like the fact that you trigger the first available spell / CA and then dump.  Although, this means that I can make my "master DPS" button that I just push over and over and over and over and .....

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:04 PM   #6
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Rothgar wrote:

Yes, a side-effect of this change is that spells won't be queued with a macro command.  They will still be queued if you use the spell directly.

Will a macro that only contains one 'Useability' call still queue properly?

For instance:

/useability "Bloody Reminder"

/autoattack 2

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:09 PM   #7
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So this change breaks all single button macros to execute HO chains. Currently I have two macros for my HOs they look like this: HO Starter -> 1st ability ->2nd Ability....... what youre saying is this change will now break this and make me redo my hotbars for 2 buttons per maco?

This also means my 2 stealth attack macros which look like this: Attack -> stealth -> attack. The reasoning behind this is A) if I am already stealthed I can launch the attack, if not I go to stealth then lunch the attack.

I really have to say I DO not like this change at all, and it really seems like theres no point to macros with this change.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:11 PM   #8
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Rothgar wrote:

[email protected] Bayle wrote:

If I am understanding this change correctly, then basicly you just removed the ability to use spell queuing from macros (in addition to the changes for client side pre-processing).

Is this correct?

Yes, a side-effect of this change is that spells won't be queued with a macro command.  They will still be queued if you use the spell directly.

Anything that breaks queuing should be listed as critical/blocking in your bug tracking system, and NEVER introduced.  This is the one feature of EQ2 above EVERYTHING else that keeps me coming back to this game and loving it so much: the SMOOTH when triggering abilities.  Queueing is the entire reason behind it, and whenever I encounter something that does NOT fit into this paradigm (like how triggering items does not) then it just grates me to an incredible degree.  That you would consciously and knowingly introduce something that breaks command queueing baffles me.

Also, it just totally breaks many spellcasting norms.  For example, on my coercer I ALWAYS have a "/g casting mez on %T" macro that will tell the group exactly what I'm casting on.  And I trigger that RIGHT away when changing targets, since I can still be casting on my old target when I choose the "add" mob and hit my mez macro.  With what you're proposing, this will now break.  Similar to with my lifeburn macro for my necro (healers need a warning when a necro does that ability).

And it doesn't make much sense to me either.  From a "trying to reduce server load" I'm totally with you, but my understanding is that queueing was CLIENT-SIDE anyways.  If this is false, then OK, it's wrong, but I always thought that in periods of lag, queueing didn't help a whole lot because it was client-side anyways, and waited for the previous spell to be done (from the server telling it so) before sending the command for the next.

Either way, your proposed "fix" will break any macros that are even simple ones that involve simply text to accompany a macro spell cast.  This is really really bad IMO.  I don't like the 1-button DPSers, and certainly not lag, but breaking queueing to do it is not the right approach.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #9
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Anything that can prevent players from lumping all spells into one button to mash repeatedly should definitely be implemented.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:29 PM   #10
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I use a macro for my Gravitas on my dirge that attempts to cast it on up to 4 people, the first person without gravitas immunity gets the spell for a smooth transition from 1 person to the next. Is this what is being taken away? Will I have to remember (while fighting) the last person i cast it on and target through the raid window in order to cast it? As of now I have less than 2 seconds every 30 seconds that gravitas is not being used. IMO macros reduce the time it takes for targeting other players, especially when using an older computer, when it comes to high lag areas. On my laptop i sometimes have to click the persons name in the raid window a few times before my target will change. Macros allow me to never change my target but still get the same results as someone with a good gaming pc. My 2 cents.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:42 PM   #11
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[email protected] wrote:

So this change breaks all single button macros to execute HO chains. Currently I have two macros for my HOs they look like this: HO Starter -> 1st ability ->2nd Ability....... what youre saying is this change will now break this and make me redo my hotbars for 2 buttons per maco?

This also means my 2 stealth attack macros which look like this: Attack -> stealth -> attack. The reasoning behind this is A) if I am already stealthed I can launch the attack, if not I go to stealth then lunch the attack.

I really have to say I DO not like this change at all, and it really seems like theres no point to macros with this change.

No, you won't have to break them into two separate macros, you'd just have to hit them twice.

First press = HO Starter (instant cast) + 1st ability

Second press = 2nd Ability

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:46 PM   #12
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Jasuo wrote:

Anything that can prevent players from lumping all spells into one button to mash repeatedly should definitely be implemented.

The problem is that this solution breaks basic queing macros that are legitimate and used to simply conserve space on the hotbar.  The vast majority of my macros consist of two queable spells/abilities of a similar nature with similar recast times that I intend to use together.  When I press that particular macro I fully intend for both abilities to fire in the qued order I set them up with.

This "fix" will force a complete redo of my hotbars, likely cause me to add additional hotbars  when I already have 7 full ones showing at all times, and force a complete change in how my characters are played ... all for no gain as far as what the servers will see from my characters.

I think this is the wrong way to go.  Breaking queing - legitimate queing that was designed into the game and working as intended for the past 5+ years - is shortsighted at best.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:47 PM   #13
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Eriol wrote:

Rothgar wrote:

[email protected] Bayle wrote:

If I am understanding this change correctly, then basicly you just removed the ability to use spell queuing from macros (in addition to the changes for client side pre-processing).

Is this correct?

Yes, a side-effect of this change is that spells won't be queued with a macro command.  They will still be queued if you use the spell directly.

Anything that breaks queuing should be listed as critical/blocking in your bug tracking system, and NEVER introduced.  This is the one feature of EQ2 above EVERYTHING else that keeps me coming back to this game and loving it so much: the SMOOTH when triggering abilities.  Queueing is the entire reason behind it, and whenever I encounter something that does NOT fit into this paradigm (like how triggering items does not) then it just grates me to an incredible degree.  That you would consciously and knowingly introduce something that breaks command queueing baffles me.

Also, it just totally breaks many spellcasting norms.  For example, on my coercer I ALWAYS have a "/g casting mez on %T" macro that will tell the group exactly what I'm casting on.  And I trigger that RIGHT away when changing targets, since I can still be casting on my old target when I choose the "add" mob and hit my mez macro.  With what you're proposing, this will now break.  Similar to with my lifeburn macro for my necro (healers need a warning when a necro does that ability).

And it doesn't make much sense to me either.  From a "trying to reduce server load" I'm totally with you, but my understanding is that queueing was CLIENT-SIDE anyways.  If this is false, then OK, it's wrong, but I always thought that in periods of lag, queueing didn't help a whole lot because it was client-side anyways, and waited for the previous spell to be done (from the server telling it so) before sending the command for the next.

Either way, your proposed "fix" will break any macros that are even simple ones that involve simply text to accompany a macro spell cast.  This is really really bad IMO.  I don't like the 1-button DPSers, and certainly not lag, but breaking queueing to do it is not the right approach.

Actually queuing *is* on the server and not on the client. 

That said, making it queue the last ability in the macro is no problem.  But you guys were asking to disable queuing in the last thread for macros, so this is just a case of difference of opinion.  SMILEY

There are multiple ways to handle this. 

1. Have every macro queue the last ability.  This keeps the existing behavior but doesn't give people the opportunity to disable queuing if they would like to.

2. Create a new macro step to queue an ability.  This would work the old way where it would attempt to queue if casting and if not casting it would just cast the spell.  But this method would require people to change their macros.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:47 PM   #14
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I didn't mind the previous fix at all. This one, however, is annoying. As a Troubador, I use a macro that casts "Bump" to turn me invis, then casts Nightstrike immediately following. It was a very convenient macro and I don't see why this kind of functionality needs to now be lost simply because some people want to put ridiculous amounts of commands into their macros.

I'd MUCH rather see a cap on the number of abilities in any macro than this change.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:53 PM   #15
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wardman wrote:

I use a macro for my Gravitas on my dirge that attempts to cast it on up to 4 people, the first person without gravitas immunity gets the spell for a smooth transition from 1 person to the next. Is this what is being taken away? Will I have to remember (while fighting) the last person i cast it on and target through the raid window in order to cast it? As of now I have less than 2 seconds every 30 seconds that gravitas is not being used. IMO macros reduce the time it takes for targeting other players, especially when using an older computer, when it comes to high lag areas. On my laptop i sometimes have to click the persons name in the raid window a few times before my target will change. Macros allow me to never change my target but still get the same results as someone with a good gaming pc. My 2 cents.

Hmm, this will require a solution.  The reason this works now is because you send 20 commands to the server, each one with a different name.  It goes through all the checks on the server side to determine if that spell can be cast and checks to see if that player has immunity.  If he is immune, the spell fails and it moves on to the next spell until it finds a target that is not immune.   So yes, in this current situation it would always try to send the first command only, which might be a target that is immune.

The spam going to the server and contributing to lag is what we're trying to stop.  I will continue to think on a better solution.

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Old 02-23-2010, 08:55 PM   #16
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As wrong as I think this is for adventuring abilities it had better not break the basic harvesting macro.  One button harvesting has been the norm for years and the crafters and "professional" harvesters will climb all over you guys if you break it. 

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:17 PM   #17
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I have elaborate targetting macros at the moment.  Just for targetting. And mostly for avatars.  I'm not sure that I'm going to need these targetting macros any longer, but will this change affect them? On my healers I have macros for announcing cures, group cures and curse cures.  Will this effect those?  basically it's a useability with a tagged line of /r curing %T

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:20 PM   #18
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Skywarrior wrote:

As wrong as I think this is for adventuring abilities it had better not break the basic harvesting macro.  One button harvesting has been the norm for years and the crafters and "professional" harvesters will climb all over you guys if you break it. 

After speaking with Domino, we can't think of any reason why we ever forced you to have multiple harvest abilities in the first place.  Especially considering that double-clicking the object chooses the proper harvest ability anyway.

So if there's not already a "use" command to activate your current target, I have no problem looking into consolidating all of the harvest abilities into a single command.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:22 PM   #19
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I <3 this change!

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:27 PM   #20
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Rothgar wrote:

Skywarrior wrote:

As wrong as I think this is for adventuring abilities it had better not break the basic harvesting macro.  One button harvesting has been the norm for years and the crafters and "professional" harvesters will climb all over you guys if you break it. 

After speaking with Domino, we can't think of any reason why we ever forced you to have multiple harvest abilities in the first place.  Especially considering that double-clicking the object chooses the proper harvest ability anyway.

So if there's not already a "use" command to activate your current target, I have no problem looking into consolidating all of the harvest abilities into a single command.

I saw a link to this thread from EQ2 Wire and was going to ask about harvesting.

YTMND. I suggested such a consolidation awhile back in the "What bugs you the most? 2009 Edition" thread. The harvest abilities definitely should be merged, and I couldn't see any design reason why they were separated in the first place... other than to add needless complexity to a game that's already hardcore by most standards. I also suggested adding "/target_nearest_npc" (target nearest resource node) to the consolidated harvest ability.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:30 PM   #21
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The way the harvest macro works is thusly:

/target_nearest_npc/collecting ability/fishing ability/trapping ability/mining ability/gathering ability/foresting ability

Order doesn't matter, of course.  You run up to a node of any harvest/collection type, hit one button and it works.  Same button, every time and no double clicking necessary.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:31 PM   #22
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Just brainstorming here, but what if you sent the first TWO available useability commands to the server?  Wouldn't that solve the queuing problem?  And then don't restrict the useabilityonplayer commands so things with immunity still function properly?  I'm thinking that the useabilityonplayer commands being spammed are probably a fairly small percentage of the macro spam anyway so separating them out so that the limits are different may solve the problem someone mentioned above.   Just a thought. 

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:33 PM   #23
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Grugg wrote:

I saw a link to this thread from EQ2 Wire and was going to ask about harvesting.

YTMND. I suggested such a consolidation awhile back in the "what bothers you most" thread. The harvest abilities definitely should be merged, and I couldn't see any design reason why they were separated in the first place... other than to add needless complexity to a game that's already hardcore by most standards. I also suggested adding "/target_nearest_npc" (target nearest resource node) to the consolidated harvest ability.

I can only assume that the reason we have separate abilities for each harvest type is because each type has its own skill level and progression.  That said, I have no idea why there is a Collecting ability and a Gathering ability since both abilities use Gathering skill.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:43 PM   #24
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The fact that the harvesting abilities use different skills doesn't really justify separate abilities.  There was a lot of unnecessarily complexity in the early days and I can only imagine it was done with "realism" in mind.  Domino reminded me of the old days where you'd have to have 6 hotbars full of tradeskill abilities just to craft your items.  I had forgotten about that, but I imagine the harvesting abilities came from the same line of thinking.  I'll look at merging them into a single ability.

As far as the other suggestions for queing, I could queue the first and second ability which would be new behavior, or queue the first and last ability which would mimic existing behavior.  However, there was really no compelling reason for existing behavior, it was just how it worked at the time.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:44 PM   #25
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Rothgar wrote:

Skywarrior wrote:

As wrong as I think this is for adventuring abilities it had better not break the basic harvesting macro.  One button harvesting has been the norm for years and the crafters and "professional" harvesters will climb all over you guys if you break it. 

After speaking with Domino, we can't think of any reason why we ever forced you to have multiple harvest abilities in the first place.  Especially considering that double-clicking the object chooses the proper harvest ability anyway.

So if there's not already a "use" command to activate your current target, I have no problem looking into consolidating all of the harvest abilities into a single command.

I "f"click but one button would be welcome.

Along with other macro's like gravitas, Jcap and others that force a rotation through immunity, you may also want to look at abilities like racials and illusions that have cast times but don't need them and forced spam skills like bind wound.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:47 PM   #26
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Rothgar wrote:

As far as the other suggestions for queing, I could queue the first and second ability which would be new behavior, or queue the first and last ability which would mimic existing behavior.  However, there was really no compelling reason for existing behavior, it was just how it worked at the time.

As long as logical combination macros like the Bump/Nightstrike one I mentioned earlier will work with whatever new system it is, it will be fine by me.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:48 PM   #27
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For those folks who are fast casters, like my self during raids I have 17 different spells I'm constantly cycling every 1 to 1.5 secs, along with jousting, and curing, and feeding other groups pwr.  The spell qeueing ability is a life saver for macro's for these classes.  I hope we do not lose that functionality.

If I spam the macro will it still queue the next avail spell?  Or only the first two in the macro?

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:52 PM   #28
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[email protected] wrote:

Just brainstorming here, but what if you sent the first TWO available useability commands to the server?  Wouldn't that solve the queuing problem?  And then don't restrict the useabilityonplayer commands so things with immunity still function properly?  I'm thinking that the useabilityonplayer commands being spammed are probably a fairly small percentage of the macro spam anyway so separating them out so that the limits are different may solve the problem someone mentioned above.   Just a thought. 

Nevermind.  Now that I think about it, this would just lead to people doing useabilityonplayer and targeting themselves, unless those were somehow filtered out to only allow the first two and then we're down a rabit hole of complexity that I hadn't considered. SMILEY

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:55 PM   #29
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[email protected] wrote:

[email protected] wrote:

Just brainstorming here, but what if you sent the first TWO available useability commands to the server?  Wouldn't that solve the queuing problem?  And then don't restrict the useabilityonplayer commands so things with immunity still function properly?  I'm thinking that the useabilityonplayer commands being spammed are probably a fairly small percentage of the macro spam anyway so separating them out so that the limits are different may solve the problem someone mentioned above.   Just a thought. 

Nevermind.  Now that I think about it, this would just lead to people doing useabilityonplayer and targeting themselves, unless those were somehow filtered out to only allow the first two and then we're down a rabit hole of complexity that I hadn't considered.

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Old 02-23-2010, 10:00 PM   #30
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I've said this before but I think it remains relevant. In essence, CHANGE THE CODE if need be, but DO NOT FORCE PLAYERS TO CHANGE HOW THEY PLAY.

  • Somehow the word macro has lodged in some people psyche's as a bad thing, some sort of naughty activity that only gold farmers, and hackers do.
  • The second lodging is that somehow putting abilities on keypresses is somehow less skillful than putting abilities on banks of icons to mouseclick.

Both assumptions are simply wrong. The existing macro system is definitely one of the best features of EQ2, it's a great way of allowing playesr to optimise and streamline their play with so many abilities in the game now. There are too many abilities to go back to pre-macro days, the game just doesn't work that way. Macros aren't inherently bad, and no matter how much some people might like to cast them in that light, they are in the main an option you are missing out on in your interface setup, if you aren't using them.

I have 26 "regular use" macros some short (5+ abilities) some long (12+ abilities) clustered around my movement keys as keypresses, these arrange various abilities in all sorts of different groupings and priority orders and I know the exact layout & sequence of every one. Each macro has a different aim, whether it's fire the next fastest single targtet heal available, the next biggest single target heal available etc. I know what the last queued ability is for all of them, I watch the timers and countdowns of all my abilities without the mouse in the way, always read the cast bar. I will often press different macros DURING a cast in order to change what's needed next, sometimes several times as situations, detrimentals and health fluctuate during a single cast, AND when needed INTERRUPT what's casting and switch to something more neceessary than that spell's completion, sometimes manually, sometimes using macros with /cancel_spellcast built in.

Queueing abilities, processing macros during a cast, switching the next queued ability during a cast, interrupting and casting something more urgent during a cast, all are completely REQUIRED feature for my play.

At the same time my mouse is swapping targets, firing click to cure/decurse at group/raid members, adjusting camera view to check general agro/positions/mobs/adds/LineOfSight etc, moving to lesser used abilities icons, or UI click to abilities - my fingers dance to the most appropriate macro for this second for this target, next second for next target, every "evil" macro of mine has specific goals and is laid out with that order in mind.

Because I am using both hands at once I save masses of time moving my mouse around - whether or not you regard it as more "skillful" my healer become massively more inefficient if I am forced to introduce a lot of human delay into my play with mouse movements between every target switch, every cure, every ability. Possibly "macros are bad" makes sense for a class that is slower casting, just doing dps, not whack-a-mole curing, or not needing to potentially throw stuff at any member of the raid at short notice, and more forgiving of mouse delay generally than I find my healers but I think players of every class have valid reasons for not wanting the established macro system to be taken away, no-one is forced to use it, however no-one should be forced to have current functionality removed when there are ways to change the code, not force the players to change..

Radically changing how the our game works isn't acceptible, It's not acceptible to any of the players regardless of class. When the macro changes were attempted we stopped and meaningful play until they were reverted. Our guild's personal clusters of macros are our developed, refined and essential way to play. They are in no way less skillful, each person's setup has taken a long time to evolve, and are extremely efficient for us, and all different, but all are severly impacted by changing the queuing, the number of ability checks, the ability to adapt mid-cast and adapt the queued ability etc etc.

No-one should force people to do it their way, each of us does things differently, a huge change to what the macro system accomplishes isn't acceptible.

We need a solution that retains all existing functionality, that suits all players and is not in danger of driving off a section of the playerbase (i'm going to speculate include many of the well performing healers who have far more screen estate to click around) who don't want to play a new game suddenly bereft of the decent sized macros they require to keep the game playable and enjoyable and above all endurable for them. You thought raiding had a high attrition rate on certain classes, wait until you cripple the interface and see how it works out.

My words are a healers perspective because that's what I play, from my perspective whack-a-mole curing, and al the fail conditions funneled onto on healing is having a high enough impact on your healer players, ontop of the natural target switching and juggling of abilities necessitated by healing. If you now expect healers to have all the icon surfing of a dps class while they're target switching and whackamole curing ontop - I think it will be more than just myself with serious decisions to make about the ongoing playability of this game.

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