Back in City of Heroes, being good at the game was a function of memorisation of maps, monster behaviour, but also of building characters to serve purposes. If you knew what you were doing with building, you could make almost any character sing in almost any scenario. Some characters were walking balls of destruction, blowing up huge clouds of small threats. Some characters were heavy on control, able to protect everyone at once. Some characters could solo the hardest individual targets in the game – mostly, this all came down to build, and memory. There weren’t a lot of things that cared so direly about ping. There weren’t many templates to move out of.
To be good at World of Warcraft Cataclysm heroic dungeons in randoms, as a tank, was a function of communication and memorisation. If you understood how the dungeons worked, what the bosses did and how they signalled it, you could avoid a truly amazing amount of damage. If you knew what your allies should do, and could inform them, you could hit targets even with mediocre damage dealers. A number of the bosses could even be solo’d by a conscientious tank, though, it often took quite a long time to do it. You could have a truly terrible ping – 1.5-2 seconds – and if you knew the patterns and planned for it, you could still down the bosses. You could down those bosses and excel at them, topping damage charts.
To be good at The Secret World requires…
To be good at the late game of The Secret World as it’s currently being played around me, involves an area of Tokyo called Kaidan. It involves a sequence of the game full of unsignalled templates (so you have to react to them as they’re being cast), interrupting short casts, and adjusting a dynamic system on the fly to make sure you’re attacking opponents’ weak spots. Enemies are lethal, they give you windows to heal, and they have reactive sequences to deal with. If you have a good ping, I bet it’s really, really exciting and interesting and fun.
I don’t think I’ll ever get to feel what it is to be good at The Secret World.