Category Archives: UI

Could we please NOT have targeting highlights!

I hated them in every MMO I’ve ever played. Still hate them bigtime whenever I’m playing Rift.
I mean, just look at this!

Can you see me NAO?

What is it with the white frame all around my target? I have eyes and a target window popping up – I can already see what I got targeted! It doesn’t matter if they are white, green or any other shade; full-body target highlights are obtrusive, ugly and unnecessary!

I am extremely bugged by this type of visual aid in MMOs. I already have a UI with floating symbols, bars and buttons overlaying my illusion; do I really need the immersion destroyed further by bright highlights all over targets, myself included? Am I dealing with people, NPCs and mobs or RTS style units?

There are a few games that handle this more delicately, with a faint shadow or ring on the ground, maybe a brighter name-tag. It’s obviously a big deal for PvP especially, although one could argue that players should just learn to tell opponents or aggressive mobs apart themselves without a visual crutch. Brave adventurers that we all are, we can’t seem to go anywhere without our GPS, quest markers and target highlights…..

Why am I bringing this up now? Because I really do hope Guild Wars 2 will let you switch it off! There’s not just a target ring on the ground and a floating arrow above, but apparently also full scale highlights in different colors for targeting/mouse-hover:

Yikes! A target window is all I need. Add a shadow if you have to – but enough with the highlight disco already! I guess this is the perfect time to name my top 5 UI gripes in MMOs:

  • Bright and colorful target highlights
  • Sparkling quest objects or areas
  • Quest/event markers and paths on the map
  • White/yellow/green/red NPC state indicators
  • Chat bubbles (eugh)

…and pretty much every flavor of not so subtle hints and themepark rails. I know, this ain’t the real thing, I know I’m not really a fire mage but please – please let me delude myself as far as choosing my own path and knowing my own targets will go, thanks!

Weekend challenge: Guess the MMO UI!

Is it just me or has the blogosphere been rather full on strife and negativity of late? Damn all item shops, ME3 ending drama, the EVE Online controversy….and pretty much every flavor of “what devs do wrong and why they all suck”-type of posts. I’ve raised so many eyebrows lately, my eyes start feeling a little sore. I suspect some are burned out from playing old games or bored waiting for new ones. That’s usually the phase when MMO players are a particularly edgy bunch. I remember waiting for the next expansion in WoW – not a good time for raidguilds either.

Well, whatever it is – I think it’s perfect timing for a QUIZ! In my first weekend challenge, I asked people to find the name of five MMO developers in a rebus. It was immensely entertaining to create and despite being pretty difficult in places, some readers did an impressive job at being creative and figuring out the correct answers. In case you’ve missed that first challenge and love quizzing and wordplay, here’s the link (don’t read comments if you still want to take the quiz).

High time for the new game! This time around, I present you all with a mixed pictures challenge and the topic is, you guessed right, MMO user interfaces. MMO players can spend years on end looking at the same UI – windows, bars, icons and maps. Every UI comes in slightly different colors and shapes, but in terms of functionality most games will copy what’s worked for years. So…just how well do you think you can tell them apart?

How-To: The following SWTOR screenshot contains a total of 12 common UI elements from many different MMOs, old and young. I’ve mixed them up and worked them into a new, completely fictional interface. Your job is to guess them all correctly and be specific about what item belongs to which game. Like last time, I won’t acknowledge any correct or wrong answers in the comments until someone has succeeded to name everything correctly. As usual, eternal fame & glory goes to the winner!

Happy guessing and apologies to the UI-modders!

(click to enlarge)

Wanted UI elements:
1. Main game menu (bottom left)
2. Chat window
3. Stat window
4. Character & target frame
5. Buff bar
6. Mini-map
7. Quest tracker
8. Side bar
9. Bag
10. EXP bar
11. Action bar
12. Cast bar

Odd WoW graphX bug

While rummaging through several old WoW screenshot folders for an upcoming article, I came across this super weird snapshot I took of my character screen a while ago – quite possibly the oddest graphX glitch ever??

What on earth happened there..?
(and no, I don’t play gnomes – this is just a mule)