Blast from the Past: Tome of Knowledge and Sets

I am still waiting for games to pick up this idea from 2009. Achievement systems have proliferated, tracking all kinds of things, but most games want to give you cosmetic items instead of unlocks. One specific item in that last post has been addressed by many games: a mount tab instead of making you carry mounts around. City of Heroes has always rewarded players by unlocking costume pieces, and Borderlands 2 lets you find/win/buy customization options.

With the upswing in F2P, however, life moves in the opposite direction. Storage space and cosmetic customization are ways they make money, so of course they charge you per item per change in appearance.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: Tome of Knowledge and Sets”

  1. This keys right into the argument I was having at home just last night over per account and per character systems. The trend is very much towards the former and I strongly dislike it. Yes, it is far, far more convenient, but for me every extra convenience of this kind moves me further away from what makes the whole experience worthwhile to begin with.

    Taking the Mount as an example, it is enormously convenient to have mounts neatly filed away on a tab rather than in my inventory. For me, however, it chips away at the delicate construct of imagined reality that I require to care enough to log into one of these worlds to begin with. Carrying several ponies around in my bag is already too artificial in itself and requires some mental athletics to accommodate. The last thing I need is to have that rendered still more abstract.

    I much prefer the system used in Fallen Earth, where mounts exist only in the virtual world itself. You can’t carry a horse in your backpack there. Either you ride on it, walk beside it or tether it and leave it, where it’s subject to predation. If you want to have several horses you need to stable them at a livery stable and if you want to change the one you’re riding for another you have to go to the stable and swap them.

    Even this system is too abstract for my tastes, because you can swap at any stable in the world, not just the one at the exact geographical location where you left the horse last time. It’s a lot better than any alternatives I’ve seen so far, though.

    The principle of this applies to virtually all UI and systems changes made for the convenience of the player, from Currency tabs to instant map travel to automatic bag sorting. The kind of tasks these replace are largely the kind of tasks that originally drew me into MMOs to begin with. The more they are automated out, the more I am left with the so-called gameplay of combat, questing and achievements, which are the most “gamey” parts of the experience and the ones I used to spend the least time on. I don’t consider it to be a good trade, but as with all slippery slopes that lead down to a soft padded landing the descent and subsequent inertia is very hard to resist.

    1. And yet you’re not playing those games, instead playing games where you oppose the actual gameplay and wondering why everyone treats you as an ignorable outlier.

  2. The Tome was one of my favorite aspects of WAR. Really personal and immersive way of dressing up an achievements tab and like Bhagpuss pointed out, was different for each individual character which really helped connect you to that particular avatar.

    I think WoW did something sort of as a nod to this with the dungeon journal.

    Would really fit in nicely in a game like GW2 too, where the world is amazing to look at and walk around in but the lore is hard to find if you don’t have any 1st hand knowledge from playing GW1. Just pull out your Tome and turn to the Geography section to see what was filled in when you enter a new area.

Comments are closed.