Brave New World

One of my biggest disappointments with MMORPGs has been the lack of actual adventure. Shortly after any MMORPG is released tons of information starts pouring in about the game. Large websites filled with detailed information about the game are set up. You don’t know how to complete a quest? Go look it up on a website, or, if you’re old school and/or your computer can’t handle an alt-tab, ask another player!

This aspect has always kind of ruined the immersive aspect of an MMO to me and rarely does a game discourage me from cheating on things like quests. You try and be an immersed player by reading all the boring quest text, but after a while you just stop. Why bother running into a boss without knowing anything about it when you’ve heard the best class combinations or some strategy or hint that makes the battle easy. Who wants to waste time discovering when all the information is widely known?

Sure, new content gets added to games but never is it added fast enough to equal the rate of internet information exchange. Some games are decent at regulating how fast players will discover the new content. FFXI, for example, doesn’t release the content of its expansions all at once plus the expansion content actually takes some decent amount of time to complete. This still isn’t perfect as eventually everything will be known, not to mention most of the content added to the games I’ve played seems to be end-game content.

One idea I’ve had is constantly changing content. What if the content a player experience now wasn’t even close to the same content experienced half a year later? Yes, even the newbie content. What if a game was based around a constantly changing story and world that included everyone, not just the high levels? What if a game didn’t have levels, better skills to learn, or ubar gear? Dare I think? Could we even call it an MMORPG?

Impossibilities aside, one of the best ways to get the experience of discovery is joining a newly released MMORPG. The downside to this is that newly released MMORPGs don’t seem to be the most stable and sometimes even lacking in content. Even then, the discovery will end eventually and you’ll be stuck with a game you know inside and out waiting for the next piece of gear to be released that will make you .1% better. Oh, the joy! I’m waiting for the MMORPG that’s not about what to do but about the experience. I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a while, good thing I brought a book.


6 thoughts on “Brave New World”

  1. Unfortunately, players like constancy in their gaming experience. They like to know that the dungeon they explored six months ago is still there, and ready to be cleared by an alt or when farming for drops.

    I’ve been toying with game worlds that change as soon as players stop looking at them, so to speak, but have been warned that I’ll turn a lot of players off if they can’t get back to something cool.

  2. I think you’re looking at the most complex solution to the problem.

    If the issue is that players can find the “best” solution to a challenge too easily, don’t constantly change the challange. MMOGs don’t have the programmer man-hours to do that, and all you’ll really do is force players to deal with the five or ten ‘old’ strats before finding the new one.

    Make it so there is no one best solution. That’s not really a hard way to do things; games have been offering multiple valid solutions for a single challange since the NES. Make that on a larger scale and players just won’t *want* to find the first solution thrown at them – they’ll want to find their own, and their own *better* solution.

  3. Games that change huh…. Hmmmm… Diablo II? …Now the layout (aka the towns) stayed the same, but the dungeons were different mazes every time you entered. That what you want? ;) Although Diablo II was a point and click mega-fest it still had mass appeal, for people chasing rare items and trying to lvl up so they could Hack’n’slash or FireWall other unknowing Town Patrons.

  4. To the topic of “that feeling of discovery”… I used to be that way, long ago in AC1. I was even appointed guild loremaster. I dove headlong into the lore of the gameworld.. I had so many odd facts and data on the backstory, it was downright nerdish. And one day, I discovered that the lore… hope your sitting… had no answers.

    When new content came out, and supposedly it was based on the backstory, the game lore -should- have given clues how to beat something. “Lord Darkthing Umulate was smitten by Kar of Id with his Sword of Buttersprechen”… but when DL Umulate returns with new monthly content push… how was he beaten? Not by going to Kar’s tomb looking for this sword as you might expect, but by collecting 15 drudge hides, and taking them to an NPC that was not alive back then, and trading them for some pocket shiney you pour on the head of a dead cat while singing three verses of “Louie Louie” during the 3 rainstorm of the the month, but only on a Tuesday…..

    The previous scenario was not an actual event, but it illustrates the point. I have yet to see an MMO that followed it’s own lore as well as it should.

    Look at any MMO, look at it’s backstory, it’s lore… and see how much that -really- has an impact on the game.

  5. Check out and the game there, A Tale in the Desert. Two is just wrapping up and Three will be showing up soon. There are some questions there that no one ever learns the answers to, others are known just to a handful.

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