Of Swords and PloughsharesNovember 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
Tags: fallen earth, game design, mmorpgs, World of Warcraft
I am more than aware I have been striding purposefully down the “Bah humbug!” path when it comes to Events in MMOs over the last however-long.
That’s “Events” with a capital “E” because I’m not just referring to the seasonal events beloved of so many (right-thinking) players, but also things like the Elemental Invasion in World of Warcraft, or the Trivia Nights and Motorcycle Rides in Fallen Earth.
At the same time I look at recent (well, for *me* they’re recent, they may well be old hat for you) changes in the way that Rogues work in World of Warcraft, and I find myself not particularly caring that the game has been “dumbed down” to use the terms favoured by detractors, or “improved” if you’re a developer who worked on that particular area.
In point of fact, I tend to find that I approve of most of the changes.
Let’s take poisons. Nasty rogueses and their poisons.
Almost 6 years ago, a rogue had to go and buy potion bottles and herbs, and then sit there making potions. It was a skill-based progression just like any other profession skills, and was the immersive option. Then Blizzard decided it was a waste of time; a redundant skill, and an opportunity to stand there doing very little that was actually fun for a few minutes. So whilst poisons were still level-based, they were sold as consumables by vendors.
Now, they’re not even level-based. They just scale the damage according to level.
In the midst of all this, the way that poisons worked changed as well. They stopped having both a time limit and charges, and just had time-limits.
Sorted. Big thumbs up from the slacker here.
Less work, less silly “wastage”, less carting around assorted crap in bags.
Of course, your opinion might well vary on whether or not this trend amongst games to step away from the minutae and towards an “enhanced” gaming feel is something you appreciate or not.
And it really depends on your opinion of what a “persistent world” should be. Is it an actual world, where players can exist as a part of the world, or is it a playset, there to be a backdrop for the game?
Are MMOs about the world, or the game set in it?
I used to believe in the Persistent World Dream. The fact that the technology couldn’t support it when I started playing MMOs didn’t mean that each successive generation of MMOs couldn’t and wouldn’t take us closer the dream. But time has managed to savage that dream, with a succession of slings and arrows.
Not all of them are related to software developers, game publishers, and evil marketing men (okay, not all marketing men are evil. One or two *must* be nice; it’s the law of averages at work). I’m not the same geek I was even 3 years ago. I have wife, job, and a lot less time to spend in front of a pc living the virtual life of an orc.
And if I want the virtual life of an orc, I can go to… Second Life. Whatever Second Life is doing at the moment; I never entertained Second Life as a gaming option because it isn’t a game in the way that I would see a game. I am, at heart, still a gamer. I like rules, and a win condition. So I know it’s there, but I’ve no interest in the opportunities it offers.
I’ve also no need to play Offices and Accountants. I get to live in a mundane world as part of normal existence. I want adventure, I want crazy mad action, and I want huge piles of trez at the end of it.
Just without the requirement of getting shot, stabbed, stamped on, denied frequent access to tea, or any of the other really horrible things that happen to real people who go on adventures.
Events just seem to get in the way. I was positively outraged at those elementals that decided to attack Stormwind as I was attempting to find the Shaman trainer with Shaman Herewerd. I couldn’t have cared less about attacking elementals; I was trying to get Herewerd set up with talents, and they were *JUST IN THE WAY*.
My gaming time is quite often a snatched hour away from other hobbies, chores, or quality time with my lovely lady. I log in with a game-plan of things I want to get done. And anything that gets in the way of the shopping list I want to get done is bad and wrong, and shall be given the short shrift it deserves.
Don’t get me (too) wrong. I enjoy logging on and pottering about in an MMO, but to me that pottering about isn’t about reinforcing my position in a world by doing mundane things. It’s more about casually murdering a few monsties for their trez.
I want to miss out the boring stuff, the pointless and petty grind of such tasks as making poisons. I want to get on and game:
I want swords, not ploughshares.