The Importance Of Performance In MMORPGs
I was excited about Age of Conan. In fact, I was so excited about it that, almost exactly one year ago, I decided to buy a new PC for pretty much the sole reason of playing it. Sure, my old PC could just about chug it along but the performance wasn’t good enough to ‘enjoy’ the game properly. I remember PC specs and frame rates being the hot topic at the time – seemed to be that everyone in my guild and local chat was comparing their frame rates and settings, talking about how well or badly it ran and what they could do improve it. AoC had been highly sold on its superb graphics and getting the best visuals and performance seemed to be on everyone’s mind.
Ironically, I only lasted a few months in Conan and about six months later I found myself totally hooked on World of Warcraft for which performance isn’t even an issue. In fact, there’s people out who can run the bloody thing on their Netbook. I don’t have a Netbook but I do have a laptop and I actually really like the fact that I can run WoW on it… and know that wherever I go, I can score my gaming crack (which is either very sad… or very awesome).
I’ve got to hand it to Blizzard. They managed to create a game that’s totally accessible and runs really well on a huge variety of PCs, so much so that most people don’t even consider the performance of it. Whereas on the contrary games like Everquest 2 (which still runs terribly by the way) and Age of Conan which really sold themselves on their graphics have always been the ones that have caused people to obsess about it. Not only does that create another barrier for entry but it is also takes people out of the immersion of the online environment if they’re constantly watching their frame rate.
At the end of the day, the awe of great graphics eventually wears off and you’re left with the core underneath. It’s like dating a supermodel (yeah, cause I’ve got SO much experience with that) – make sure there’s more going on underneath the hood before you get engaged.
So what’s the important of performance? Absolutely nothing if you never even notice it, yet absolutely everything if you do.