[Stood In The Fire]January 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Posted in General | 7 Comments
Tags: game design, mmo events, rift, World of Warcraft
Just this weekend, I became the recipient of the achievement: Stood In The Fire. My window into the World of Warcraft gained that sort of special tinge of red that screams; “Your video card is borked!” and just as my headbrain was processing the concept of borked video card, the screen turned orange and I was given the opportunity to press the “Release” button.
I also gained the aforementioned achievement.
Well, at least it meant no requirement for a new video card, but a few things were put into stark relief for me, enough to warrant a rambling post. One that looks and reads exactly like this one, in fact.
Let me lead off with this; I did not feel like I’d achieved anything. I didn’t know what was going on, and only found out once the achievement had hit. Subsequent research at WoWWiki did not make me feel any more like an achiever. I had just happened to be in the zone when an appropriate number of 1s and 0s hit the appropriate combination. Nothing more, nothing less.
The random nature of the event didn’t make me feel special, or lucky, or even particularly grateful. I didn’t feel the need to run out and buy a lottery ticket, and being the sort that’s still somewhat bemused by achievements I’m still somewhat wondering about it.
Why is it an achievement? All I achieved was having to release and then res. I was actually in the Twilight Highlands, in the process of killing Warlord Halthor, so it’s not like I was aiming to get it.
If it has achieved anything, I suppose it’s defined “Hubris” for me. Whilst killing Warlord Halthor is required for the daily rep-quest, I’d actually completed that quest about half an hour before. And, having solo’d the big elite blokey once, decided to show off and kill him again (as well as all of his mates). Then, during my third solo attempt, the drrrrrrrrrrrrrrragin struck.
So it’s not as if I could have escaped, by perhaps hearthing out. I was in combat. By the way, *is* there an achievement for *avoiding* getting ganked by the random event?
After ressing, I got to spend a few minutes ho-humming whilst waiting for all the flames to disappear and the mobs to return so I could finish my dailies and move on. At which point, zone life continued as normal, and as if nothing had happened.
In fact, the only thing that had changed was me being slightly disappointed about the nature of the whole thing.
When I first saw the links as they appeared in Guild Chat, I thought it might be an achievement as the result of a the culmination of a quest chain. Follow the quest through, see Deathwing at the end, have him kill you. The achievement equivalent of “My parents went to Azeroth and all I got was this damn t-shirt”. That sort of thing. I didn’t realise it was *just* a random event.
Having discovered how the achievement is gained, I’m at a loss about the name. “Stood in the Fire” implies that I had a choice; that there were places where the fire was not, and that I had made the wrong, or unlucky, choice. I shall chalk it down to me not having the same sense of humour as Blizzard developers (again).
And most of all, I didn’t feel like my game had been enriched by the whole experience. I hadn’t done anything special, and there was nothing I could do about it.
It had all just happened to me. There was no rhyme nor reason. There was no opportunity to participate, no choice of what to do. It just was, in the same way that volcanoes erupt, or that tornadoes strike.
And afterwards, there was nothing. No opportunity for revenge, no opportunity to partake in something. It was as if a volcano appeared, erupted, and then disappeared taking the disaster with it. Five minutes after the event had occurred, it was as if it had never happened, and I didn’t do a thing apart from sit there and wait.
You might be wondering about the “thrown into stark relief” comment I made earlier?
Well, that would be with regard to Rift. Rift is all about the rifts, one might say. Random events that spawn mobs, whole gangs of them. Invasion-level gangs, one could say.
They open at random, and even (according to the marketing) can even happen on top of a player-character if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And the difference between Stood in the Fire and a rift opening is?
Well, that’s the stark relief bit. I didn’t enjoy it in World of Warcraft, so what’s going to make me enjoy it in Rift?
I would hope that rifts in Rift have a bit more warning, allowing the player the chance to decide whether or not to get involved, even if it’s just the sound of stampeding hordes approaching; an opportunity to hitch skirts and run, if you will. I’m also hoping that Rift will allow me something that my encounter with Deathwing did not; some revenge.
If my game time is going to be arbitrarily and summarily affected, then I want to be able to get involved in the aftermath. I want to be able to get in there and smack something in the face about it. I want to be able to turn that negative moment into *good game*. Because the game is based around such things, I’m hoping that Rift has ensured that its random encounters are filled to brimming with good game goo.
That hope for Rift is mirrored by wonder at Blizzard. Are they attempting to patch into some sort of retro-based MMO cool, with their own Sleeper?
Well, whatever the reason, I think I’ll be looking forward to seeing how Trion have implemented random events more than I will be looking forward to participating in one of Blizzard’s.