Triceratops Summer: Beyond the Illusion of Permanence

What do you do when there is no tomorrow? Blizzard invited me back for a free pre-Cataclysm week, and this might inadvertently be the best possible gift to my MMO mental health.

What would you do in your MMO if progress were not saved? Would you even play? The immediate effect I see is the removal of Achievement. Yes, the servers will save whatever I do, but it is not as though I will be re-subscribing. The characters effectively go away after that week. How would you play differently if your characters were deleted at the end of the week?

This should be Explorer heaven: see as much as you like in a limited time frame. There is not much for the Achiever, as character advancement is meaningless, which raises the further question of how meaningful it ever was. And how far can you advance in a week? Okay, that could be an amusing Achiever expedition. There might be more for the Socializer, but I never much loved my server, there are few I would want to see that I do not have access to out-of-game, and I am not one to form new bonds only to sever them a week later. It could be Killer heaven, except that my characters would be several thousand gearscore behind the competition (and/or a large level grind).

I do not know if a week in WoW would be worth the download and install time, but the offer has given me much food for thought about what I do in-game and why.

: Zubon

7 thoughts on “Triceratops Summer: Beyond the Illusion of Permanence

  1. Coppertopper

    tbh WoW hasn’t changed in a positive way since release. Same excellent combat and meh plastic sheen outdoor environment, Disney-like cities, ect. But watched some Cataclysm videos and seeing a Harley drive up some steps into a store basically spelled out the truth for me. You can change the color of the wrapping paper but if the contents are the same, your experience will be the same after you’ve unwrapped it.

  2. coppertopper

    And now for an on-topic response:
    I would treat it as any trial. Try the combat, explore a little to see how far I can get outside the starter zone before the creatures get too tough, see how quests work, try a few different classes/factions. And then ask myself – is it worth $15/mo?

  3. Derrick

    It’s interesting. I recently picked up two months of playtime – basically, to watch the leadup to cataclysm, and a month to romp and play in the new content.

    I have no intention of staying beyond that.

    I’ve hooked up with a few old friends (realid is very cool, actually, great to have cross-server/-faction chat!) and none of them understand. Why bother, they ask, if I’m not going to stay?

    To be honest, knowing I’m not staying has made my game time *fun*. I’m having a better time in Warcraft now than I’ve had in years. I run the odd instance, help friends lowbie alts out, explore the new stuff that’s been added since I’ve been gone.

    However, I don’t do anything tedious and “worky”. Sure, I could grind the random heroic thing and get T11, but why? It’s not a fun experience, and the reward is meaningless for two reasons: first, cataclysm will render current gear useless, like both expansions before it. Second, I’m not staying anyways. I won’t be raiding, or doing any “serious” competitive pvp. I’ll just be leveling to 85, and exploring the new world. When I run out of that, I’ll put the game away just like I would a single player game without the slightest qualm.

    The removal of the “this game is forever” expectation that (most) MMO’s foster makes them a world more fun. You neither expect nor want endless content. Just enjoy the fun parts of the existing content and move on after. Keeps costs down too!

    I do this every expansion. It’s just like buying the sequel to a single player game I enjoy, and playing it with my friends for a while. I think more people should step back a bit and try this approach to MMO’s.

    1. Mikey

      Good call. It would keep personal costs down tremendously and most of the complaints that people currently have (grind, not enough content, etc) wouldn’t be an issue anymore.

  4. Tesh

    “This should be Explorer heaven: see as much as you like in a limited time frame.”

    Speaking as an Explorer, I’d say that time limits are anything but heaven. When I explore, I want to just meander and take the road less traveled at my own pace. Time limits suck the fun out of the experience.

  5. WitchDrAsh

    Wonder what a game based around a 7 day life span would be like, your character is deleted, including skills earned (skill earning would have to be very quick), but you create a new character and push on, perhaps if you character could leave a permanent mark on the landscape his successor could continue that work, so your aim, and that of every ones, would be to push the server state on, but your character would age and die over the course of a week.

    Failing to maintain your impact on the world would cause it to fade over time too if not maintained.

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