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.