Piercing the Veil and Losing the Monkey

I have not really been playing MMOs much for the past three months. I went on a trip for a week and had lost the urge when I came back. I am reminded of Heavy Metal and You, in which our protagonist gives up smoking for a couple of months then finds himself unable to stand the taste of them. “How did I get started on this?”

One thing is that there is nothing new under the sun. I have already killed that rat twenty thousand times, although sometimes he was named “goblin prowler” or perhaps “rock monster.” Rats, wolves, and giants usually do about the same things, with different models and different number values. It is the problem of procedural content: you may never run out of missions in City of Villains, but eventually you realize that the newspaper only has four or five options, and half of them are pretty much the same. “Guys, do you want to beat up Archon Fontaine, steal the plans from the Council, or beat up Archon Morena?”

As in single player games, the difference between easy mode and hard mode is just the numbers involved. This monster is epic because he has 15000 hit points instead of 1500. Maybe my Civilization IV subjects start rebelling earlier or my Warhammer 40,000® Dawn of War™: Dark Crusade™ enemies now do 50% more damage. There is no reward for doing it the hard way except knowing that you did; you can always make your own hard way by adding your own restrictions; and in single player games you are always just a quick cheat code away from easy mode when bored or frustrated.

When your character is nerfed, you are in much the same position. Your powers still look the same as yesterday, but now they do 10% less damage, or 1/3 of the enemies now have 25% resistance against it, or enemies drop 12.5% less gold, or your trade skill now has a negative return. In one sense you can do everything you could before, but you range of effectiveness just fell. If you clear the right threshold, the character changes dramatically, say if your wizard can no longer drop enemies before they get to him or your health regeneration is 5% less than your enemy’s DPS rather than 5% more.

: Zubon

8 thoughts on “Piercing the Veil and Losing the Monkey”

  1. I know the feeling. I’m slowly withdrawing from the world of MMO’s. Vanguard is not so much the vanguard as the final stand, t’would seem, against hanging up my monthly subscriptions. The funny bit is that I’m avoiding the traditional MMO game whilst running around doing diplomacy quests. If they have a trial running, I’d suggest you take a look, if more for the novelty than anything else. The game’s still in a state I’d classify as late alpha rather than the mid-to-late beta of most MMO’s, but it’s refreshing enough in its crafting and diplomacy systems to count as a diversion. It may or may not have a population problem. I wouldn’t know as I just found out the server I’m on is actually Oceanic, and I play during their morning->afternoon.

    Single-player games offer rehashes of mediocre clones of decade-old good games, and even board games oft fail to yield anything new. I’ve started reading through the pile of books that’s been building on my shelf, and find myself looking at RPG sourcebooks again… Gods help me….

  2. I came back to WoW with the addon, but again, it begins to feel boring. The only thing holding me back are my friends who are in the same guild, but all the new stuff already feels like the old grind. I came back to EVE Online, but again, I get this feeling that it could be so much more if they made a real game, not a sandbox out of it – and when you’re doing missions, they are all pretty much the same, as in CoX. Thinking of that, I really liked CoV – if the PvP wasn’t so unbalanced, if the EU servers had a decent population, I guess I’d be back on the Rogue Islands.

    There is one good thing though: It’s spring – a good time to quit all those virtual worlds and get back in the real one :)

  3. I’ve just started a 10 day trial of WoW for the first time. I could not agree more: there is nothing unique about WoW that isn’t in any other RPG game since NetHack.

    Is anyone inventing a better mousetrap, or is this the end of the road?

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