MMOs Are More Magical When You Can Cast Spells on the Move

In today's magic missile-casting episode of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Kyle DeBona discusses how wonderful it is not to be frozen in one spot with a horrible monster bears down on you, desperately praying for the casting bar to finish.

If you're like me, you've probably played at least on game in time where you cast a spell, it takes a few seconds to charge and fires. You also know that while it's charging, you can't move (unless it's an insti-cast spell). That has been something of a standard for MMOs for ages, the most notable example being World of Warcraft spell caster classes such as the Warlock, Priest and Mage. In my roughly 10 years of experience playing MMOs, dating back to vanilla WoW and the release of City of Heroes, it's been something I've come to accept with MMOs, that if I want to be a dude that flings fireballs or lighting I have to stand still like a Stop Sign and charge up.

However, I think that's going to change soon. Recently, I've participated in both the final Beta for Guild Wars 2 and the free Secret World weekend. A distinct feature in both games is a "Combat Roll" that can go in all directions and goes on a cool down when used. I also noticed that, (to a degree in Guild Wars 2, I only remember that Channeling spells do) in both games, you can MOVE and CAST.... MOVE and CAST. This is like telling Leon Kennedy in Resident Evil 4 that he can MOVE and SHOOT (he got the Memo for RE6).

What I encountered in both experiences, more so in The Secret World (which was a nice surprise) was just how much more you can put into a game once you allow more free action to all classes, Hack & Slashers and dudes in Wizard Hats and Robes. Let me give one of my most memorable experiences from The Secret World free weekend. The second major dungeon in the world is called Hell Raised, and, as the name suggests, it's a section of Hell that you visit after going thru Motel Room 13 (obviously for good luck). Without giving any spoilers away, what I encountered were 6 bosses, each with unique mechanics that presented a legitimate challenge, and all required a great deal of movement on the player's part.

The best example of this would be the aptly named "War Machine". This boss has three distinct features: His first ability is that he is shielded unless your tank stands on an area to deactivate it. The second ability is a cross-hair follows a random character, dealing high damage if they're standing inside it when it nukes every five or so seconds (I didn't time it since I always stayed away from them). Near the end of the fight (like around 10% HP) everyone had one of these on them except for the tank I believe. The third is where he runs to the center of the area, and sends out a wave of AoEs that loosely follow characters. Taking two or three is usually enough to kill you. Each of these skills require movement at all times- you can't just stand around and go "pew pew pew", you have to be mobile the entire time. Most of the time whenever I avoided something it was a very slim "near miss", I barely avoided it, giving such a simple action like moving such a thrill and reward. It kept my blood pumping the entire time, and I can say without a doubt that this was one of the most satisfying kills I've ever achieved. And this wasn't even end-game material, this was more like the Uldaman of The Secret World.

One thing to note before I continue; all of these bosses, with various mechanics that required quick reaction time to deal with them, could all have been fought if you only stood still casting spells. Even for War Machine, there are times when you can stand still and just attack, with a cross-hair following someone else. However, that's horribly ineffective and would take ages to fight them and most importantly, would suck the fun straight out of the actual fight. Not to mention when you're so accustomed to "S&C" (Standing and Casting), being able to move and attack makes you feel like you're cheating, which is always a thrill.

So I'd like to ask my fellow Kotakuites: Do you think that as far as new games that come will stick with the Classic S&C, or will go with a more action-based outlook and allow casting on the move?

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here. Much better, folks.