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You Begin to Miss Things

December 8th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

I’m playing Neverwinter Nights 2 for review purposes, and I’m mostly enjoying it. I’m still in the first chapter and am just about to go into the endless orc caves of despair. My paladin has a pony tail, my dwarf wants to beat people up and my mage keeps dying. Standard RPG stuff. A full report should be available in the next week or so.

But I really miss drag-select.

When you play a lot of real time strategy games, you rely on drag-select. It’s fast, easy, not-too-specific and, most importantly, it happens on the playing area. You manipulate the fighting beasties by lassoing a bunch of them and throwing them in the right direction.

NWN2 doesn’t have that. You can click on your rogue in the action screen, but the pointer isn’t precise enough. So, you have to use the portrait on the party bar to the right, which automatically takes you out of the action. You aren’t selecting that person with the shortbow, you are selecting the picture of the person with the shortbow. You should always keep the players’ eyes on the action, not the sidebar.

This is not how interface is supposed to work. Baldur’s Gate had drag-select, so this isn’t a genre convention, either, except that NWN2, Baldur’s Gate and Age of Empires 3 are all real time. And real time requires shortcuts to keep the player moving forward. Bit by bit, games are moving towards standardized features and interface options and ignoring them in favor of something that is not clearly superior seems a little selfish to me.


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