Over the years I’ve played my fair share of MMORPGs. From the good old Ferentus (my number one favourite) to Lord of the Rings Online, Dragon Ball Online, Black Desert, World of Warcraft and many, many more (maybe except Everquest, which I’m not sure if I did or not). And from playing all of these games, I’ve learned different ways to improve myself as a player.
Today I want to share with you what I’ve learned over the years to help you improve in any MMORPG game you’re playing right now. These will all help whether you’re playing casually, competitively or if you’re in between. The most important thing is listed last, but the rest are pretty important too, so we’ll start with add-ons.
If you’re playing an MMORPG that doesn’t support add-ons, then you’re good to skip to the next part, but it’s still good to know just in case you end up playing something that does support the use of add-ons. There are plenty of add-ons to choose from, spanning over multiple websites. There’s Curse, mmoui.com, CurseForge and many smaller sites, but these are the main sources to get your add-ons from.
The thing is, you probably aren’t looking for auction house or inventory add-ons. So I’ll give you an example of a great little tool that will increase your awareness of enemy cooldowns when PvP’ing in World of Warcraft. NameplateCooldowns show important abilities that are on cooldown, above enemy nameplates. This means you can see if Divine Shield or an interrupt has been used recently. It’s very useful because you it’ll help time your burst attacks better and if you’re a caster, be interrupted less.
Or perhaps King Boss Mods for Rift, which tracks boss abilities and tells you when certain attacks happen, so you know when to avoid death. These things aren’t compulsory, but if you want to get serious and more competitive, these will go a long way.
A lot of MMORPGs don’t support macros to use with abilities and I’m only really familiar with them in Rift and World of Warcraft. They allow you to execute custom commands such as casting a sequence of spells (note that you would still need to press the macro to cast the next spell in the sequence), a ‘burst macro’ which you may have heard of or mouse over commands where you can simply mouse over your target and cast a spell on them, instead of removing your current target. I only really started to use them after Cataclysm and it’s when I started to notice some solid improvement in both PvE and PvP environments.
Here are a couple of examples in World of Warcraft and Rift:
Elemental Shaman Macro
/cast Elemental Mastery
/use Draenic Intellect Potion
With these abilities, you shouldn’t use a cast sequence because all of them aren’t affected by the global cooldown (GCD) and can therefore be used all at once. This frees up space on your action bar and reduces delay when using this burst macro.
#show Lightning Strike
cast Ice Shield
cast Lightning Strike
cast Ethereal Blast
cast Crystalline Missiles
cast Raging Elements
cast Elemental Forces
This is a little bit different to the previous macro. What this does is essentially give you your rotation in one button, which will save you several spaces on your action bar(s). It won’t cast every spell at once because they’re on the global cooldown, so you’ll need to keep pressing the button to cast the next spell on the list. Pretty handy right?
Macros aren’t exclusive to combat. You can use them for emotes, executing profession actions such as milling and other things. Go nuts!
Firstly, it’s important to know that there aren’t any ‘best key binds’. The best (key binds is a nice read) key binds are the ones you set yourself. It’s all personal preference. If you like have utility spells bound to 1-8, then that’s cool. I prefer having offensive spells usually bound on 1-7, 8 for interrupt as a caster (F for melee, I don’t even know why), main healing spell on 9, some utility or defensive cooldowns on 0, – and = but they’re bound to three buttons on the side of my mouse. Then I make use of Z for my freedom trinket, T and G for my burst cooldowns and CTRL/ALT 1-5 for extra defensive and utility skills. These are the best binds for me, since I’ve been used to it ever since The Wrath of the Lich King. Which brings me onto the next point.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!
Repetition is easily the second most important thing to do in order to improve as a player. Even after you install some add-ons, make a few macros and sort out your key binds, you’re unlikely to automatically become rank 1 or the top raider. Sure you might notice some improvement here and there, but what you need to do now is practice. Keep practicing your key binds and have them memorized, so you don’t even need to look at the keyboard to find that interrupt macro you’ve created. Keep yourself familiarized with the add-ons and macros you’ve added. I didn’t think I could get to grips with key binds and macros, but I managed to do it after some time.
Losing and wiping are also something you shouldn’t get too wrapped up about. It happens to everyone. The best thing to do is to learn from them and improve.
It’s just like any other thing in life.
Repetition, repetition, repetition! (Yeah I got that from a Tedx talk) =)
Guides, Try Other Classes and Observe Top Players
Another good thing to do is to look at guides, boss tactics, forums, watch the top players and try out other classes (if you’re going to PvP seriously). The reason why you should have a play around with other classes is so you have an idea of how they work. It’s a lot more difficult to counter someone if you don’t know what they do. You could read up on them, but it still won’t be as beneficial than playing it yourself. And who knows, you might even find a new main or another fun playstyle.
There are plenty of guides out there and I can guarantee you that there’s a forum board for almost any MMORPG. Below you’ll find a list of the main sites that are great for guides.
Rift ForumsMMO-Champion for Blizzard Games
Blizzard Forums for EU and US
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) Forums
Dulfy for SWTOR, Elder Scrolls Online and Black Desert Online
Icy Veins for Blizzard Games
Since I’m not all that familiar with top players in MMORPGs apart from World of Warcraft, I’ll just list a few here. If you know anyone from other games, let me know and I’ll add them. =)
World of Warcraft
I’ve also put out some guides on this blog, some of which are now outdated. But I’ll put a couple here that are still relevant. I’ll be putting out a couple of guides soon relating to levelling in Legion.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward
If there’s anything you should take away from all this, it’s to make sure you enjoy yourself. There’s no point if you’re not having fun. If you’re not liking a spec or a class, then re-roll to something you would find more interesting. It’s not always fun to be the FOTM (flavour of the month).
If you incorporate any of these into your play, I can guarantee you’ll improve!
Do you use any add-ons? If so, which ones? : )