Game vs. Experience

First, I want to say that I had the privilege of being a guest host for the upcoming Show 13 of No Prisoners, No Mercy, and it was a truly great experience. On the show we’ll be discussing part of a blog from over at TheGreenskin.com entitled “Making a “Game” vs. an “Experience.”” It is a very interesting read, and I suggest you check it out. Here are some of my thoughts on the article:

About the Tier Based system

Tier-based, disjointed world

This is a pretty cool way to set up your over-arching RvR campaign so that everyone from rank 1-40 can contribute, however, the drawback is that you divide your game world up into segments. Add that each of these tiers are divided by a loading screen for performance sake and you break the flow from tier to tier. The fact that you can also fly to a completely different continent with a 2-minute loading screen also makes the game seem disjointed. Remember running up to your capitol city in many other MMOs in awe of the high walls at a very low rank? In WAR you fly there and can’t even really see it from the outside until you’re in T4.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. One of the biggest draws to an MMO world is Exploration. Don’t get me wrong, it’s convenient to be able to fly places without having to hunt down flight paths, but at the same time, don’t you want people exploring the world you created? I feel the ability to never leave a warcamp from levels 1-40 if you so choose may not be the right answer. I’ll never forget in Everquest, seeing the outside of Qeynos and Freeport for the first time and being in awe. Or in WoW, making that climb up the mountain to Ironforge or strolling into Orgrimar and just being shocked at the detail. Not being able to see the outside of your home city until Tier 4 is a hinderance and possibly an oversight on Mythic’s part.

Lack of community and chat

The strides Mythic took to making grouping a quick and easy processs seems to have had an unforeseen counter-effect on community. With open grouping you can simply add yourself to anyone’s group from anywhere in the zone and start doing your job. Because they take the personal contact out of the process of joining a group (/send <playername> hi, do you need a rank X <classname>?), it’s just as easy for people to quit a group because there is no mutual understanding of commitment.

I’m torn on open grouping. As the Greenskin blog points out, people can enter and leave your group at-will. While Open Parties might not be the best idea for PvE situations such as group and raid content, it works amazingly for Open RvR and Public Quests, allowing groups to be inclusive where anyone can join in on the fun, instead of exclusive, like in  WoW, where it’s more of “This mob is mine!” mentality that proves to actually tear apart the community. I can think of more than 1 time where I’ve been scorned by another WoW player working on the same quest. If I see someone on the same quest as me, I just do /invite so they can get the kills as well and we can work together, the idea of that seems to be a dying breed though.

As for chat, the chatbox is actually quite powerful once you get the hang of it, but the original two windows we’re given when we first start the game are a spammy mess. Just to keep everything under control, I personally use four chatboxes and even then I don’t use my party/warband/scenario/guild/tell/say chat as my primary window because there are other important bits of information I need to keep up on in my other tabs. I haven’t fully cusomized my UI or looked for client mods, but I’d like to see my chat window beside another important information window (side by side at the same time). That should be the default layout for everyone (set the chat tab as primary/active and the other as passive so you can quickly reply via chat rather than having to click around too much).

I couldn’t disagree more. I like having my main chat window as one window, and this is coming from a person who had no less than 5 windows up at any given time, more during raids, in Everquest. I HAD to have all of my information in front of me. I actually posted a screenshot of what I see during raids on my old guild boards and they just laughed at me and told me I was crazy. There was a little square in the middle of the screen where I could see what was going on.
But I like the new UIs as of late. In Everquest, you almost had to have a custom UI to get by, as their default UI was attrocious and nothing but an eye sore. WoW and WAR have really changed the way of default UIs, making them more
user friendly and accessible. I’m not saying the custom UIs that are made for more recent games are bad, it’s just that they’re not as much of a neccessity.

Lack of death penalty in PvE and PvP

This is a tough one because if you penalize death too much, people won’t be willing to die or even engage in RvR unless the odds are heavily in their favour. That would be bad news in an RvR game. But if you don’t penalize it at all, then death becomes meaningless (in WAR you respawn right beside a healer and spend a few silver to completely remove any ill effects). Death is so meaningless in WAR that it’s the most efficient way to travel! Finished with your quests and want to quickly get back to a camp to turn them in? Just suicide and you’ll respawn at the camp, saving you 5-10 minutes of optional travel-time. Meaningless death that doesn’t affect your character definitely kills immersion. I want to actually fear death in an MMO. Otherwise, where’s the risk and/or excitement?

I hail from the lands of Norrath. If you want to see a real death penalty, go play on an EQ Emu server that is pre-guild lobby. Not that I’m condoning stealing anything from Sony, but playing Everquest when you had to actually retrieve your corpse was an experience in itself. Oh, and did I mention you lost experience when you died? Yikes! WoW, and particularly WAR, make death almost meaningless, at least in WoW you have to repair your gear. As the author at Greenskin states, you spawn next to a healer in WAR that will remove your death penalty for a minimal fee. You would be able to loot 2-3 mobs and make up this fee.

You can read the rest of the article at TheGreenskin.com, but I felt what I hit on above was the real meat and potatoes of the blog. For the most part, I pretty much am in complete agreement for the rest. Thanks to Sister Julie for pointing me in the direction of the article now as well. You should be able to find a link to the Greenskin Blog on my blogroll as well now.

Anyway, I’m interested in hearing feedback. What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree or disagree with my conclusions? Speak up, I LIKE lively discussions!

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