Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's a Wipe!

Ziggyny told me about a new game on Steam called It's A Wipe! which is essentially a simulation of being a raid leader running raids with a bunch of annoying and incompetent raiders.  It is cheap in all senses of the word - art and animation that would be reasonable for a game released in 1985 and a price tag of $5.  I don't mind incredibly craptacular graphics if I can get a good core game though, and It's A Wipe delivers.

You play as a raid leader and so one of the characters is your own.  The other nine are drawn from seven different classes with a variety of specializations across buffing, dpsing, healing, and tanking and divided amongst AOE and single target specialists.  The raids are very much drawn from World of Warcraft (unofficially, of course) and just like in WOW you need to pick your raid and your strategies based on what sorts of fights you are having difficulties with.

You get to both direct your raid in fights and also perform the other challenges of raid management like talking to players who need extra attention, worrying about which raiders deserve the next drop, and figuring out who to bench.  Raiders all come with personality quirks like being hardcore raiders and never wanting to take a night off or being particularly obsessed with loot and taking it hard when they get passed over.  Initially I tried to have a deep roster so I could bench people on a regular basis when they needed time off but eventually I settled on running just ten total raiders and just taking nights off now and then when people got burned out.  This meant that they geared up faster because they weren't sharing loot and that I never had weird raid compositions.

The fights themselves have enough interesting mechanics to force you to pay attention but just like real raiding as your gear improves you can eventually trivialize mechanics and just brute force your way through.  The initial raid dungeon is pretty boring but the ramp up works pretty well, I think.  There are a ton of different commands you can enter to tell your raiders to swap roles, heal a specific target, change dps targets, get out of the fire, hug the monster, and more.  The trick is that these raiders often get bored and do things you do not like.  Sometimes the healer will decide to start attacking and you need to yell at them to get back to healing but you also need to tell people to get out of the fire.  This is a challenge because you can only yell one thing a round so you have to prioritize.

There are some issues with the game, primarily that of combat speed.  There are some combats that take a long time and have limited inputs and the fastest possible game speed isn't very fast at all.  I would have liked a game speed called Ludicrous to actually be Ludicrously fast instead of just twice as fast as Normal speed.  It would be good to be able to speed past the spots where there aren't a lot of decisions to be made because the fight is already on farm.

I don't think It's A Wipe has a ton of longterm potential because once you have beaten it I don't know that it will be worth going through again with a different team.  However, for the price tag I think it is a real win especially if you have fond memories of raiding in times gone past.  You can have fun learning raid encounters on a friendly schedule and gear up and that is good times.  It is a game worth playing.

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