I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve not been playing WoW for the past few days. Oh I’ll go back (already started thinking about a Paladin alt) but I just needed some time out, y’know? Aside from the fact that I’d hit a bit of a brick wall at level 85 and didn’t fancy the PvE item grind circus much I was getting fed up with PvP. I’d collected every piece of Honour Point armour possible and was getting in deep with the arena crowd. In fact, I’d made “friends” with a few peeps who wanted to get up the arena ladder and I ended up being their go to guy. Eventually I started to realise something though. As much as I was looking for fun and camaraderie, they were just looking for someone to help advance their own characters. Yep, I’d become a little Conquest Point prostitute.
Posts Tagged ‘mmorpg design’
One of the biggest difficulities I had in adapting to WoW after playing games like Everquest and Everquest 2 for so long as the size of party it offered. WoW is 5 players; everything else (pretty much) is 6. Oh Blizzard, why did you have to go and try and be special? There’s a reason for the magic number 6, y’know.
Back in “the day” (read: late 80s & 90s), video games were simple things. You bought them, you played them, you moved on (unless you were an obsessive nutcase or Japanese). There was no such thing as downloadable content and the concept of achievements and trophies was rare. Today though, we’re flooded with it. You can barely look at a game on either the PC or a console and not see adverts for DLC or the billions of things you can accomplish inside it. It seems to be happening in every genre of game but it seems most prevalent and heavy handed in MMOs.
I’ve been hinting at this post for a while now as I keep raising the point how item progression in MMOs bugs me. I’m not going to sit here and sing the virtues of sandbox games because, frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with a good ol’ fashioned themepark MMO (or whatever it is the kids are calling them these days). In fact, I spend most of my time playing those sorts of games because they’re a heck of a lot of fun. As much as I love the potential of a game like EVE Online, WoW and co are a real blast to play.
I’ve been playing a bit of Sins of a Solar Empire again and boy oh boy, is it a damn fine game. It’s your usual real-time strategy sci-fi affair in the same vein as Star Wars: Empire at War and Homefront and if you’ve never played it before then I’d highly recommend that you give it a shot (and find yourself saying “damn, what a fine game” in the process). Although MMORPGs are my favourite gaming genre, RTS’ are up near the top of my list too and recently I’ve been pondering what would happen if they both were to combine and produce some sort of crazy mutated MMORTS offspring.
Inspired by all of the talk about death penalities in MMOs and the risk and difficulty it brings, I wanted to share an idea about about a type of failure that hurts like hell but doesn’t actually kill you…
When I first started work, over half a decade ago, I used to have terrible trouble sleeping at night. Not because of any health problems or disturbances but just because, one night, I wasn’t tired and couldn’t fall asleep. That single incident kicked off a vicious cycle in my head and I spent the next several months not sleeping simply because I used to lie awake at night worrying about not sleeping. See, I’m the latest in a long line of cronic worriers. My parents worry and their parents before them worried and their parents before them worried and so-on and so-forth for many hundreds and thousands of generations all the way back to Caveman Gor of clan We Fly Pterodactyls who used to lie awake at night worrying about which sabertooth tiger skin would go best with his loincloth for impressing the cave ladies.
I know I harp on a lot about immersion in MMOs and how I want to feel my character (figuratively speaking) and escape from my every day worries when I play but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to talk about exactly why it’s important. Truth be told, I’m not sure I could’ve given you a very eloquent explanation and probably would’ve just mumbled something about roleplay before distracting you with a photo of a cute dog trying to hump a chair leg and then made a run for the nearest exit. That was until today when Dàchéng (blogger of The Dàchéng Diaries) made a very poignant and powerful comment on the subject in my post moaning about Real ID:
“…It is your sense of immersion in the game world that lets you believe that you’re killing things…That suspension of disbelief is what immersion brings, and when it ceases, you are just clicking buttons in a dark room while the sun shines outside.”