Monday, May 19, 2008

Dynamic MMO's versus Static thinking

I have been wanting to post on this subject for a while without stepping on people's toes too much.. I am not trying to offend anyone.. just trying to get people to think a little and reevaluate how they think. Heres my questions to start: When you do form opinions, how often do you reevaluate them? Do you ever change your mind? Do you feel it is wrong to do so or right to do so?

The reason I ask is because so much of opinion that I see is channeled into what people experienced instead of what is currently in existence. SWG may be a great game now.. it may have changed but many peopel continue to bash it, is this justified? (just an example, I have no idea how good it is)

Ok so put all that in any context you want but as far as MMO's go: how static do you feel MMO's should be? I think most people don't want them to never ever change. But, people do like consistency, MacDonalds got going and continues to thrive off of this principle: if you go into a MacDonald's anywhere you can order certain same things. Yes there is a rice burger in the Asian countries and yes theres some funky do thing somewhere else but by and large they are consistent.

So I'll be brief lest I lose your attention and my job here at work :P I submit to you that MMO's do need some consistency. Somethings have to never change. What those things are is not written in stone, nor should we regard it as such, but you also need to have some change, well actually you can get by without it for a while but then your game dies, slowly or quickly depending on how much change you introduce. But MMO's are subscription entertainment, not buy and play forever games run on servers like Starcraft and CounterStrike.

So what are you paying for? I'd say your paying for dynamic content, and thats the short and fat of it. Some more egalitarian people might argue that your paying for customer support and server support but I say you can get that one way or another.. either through making your own server with a hacked client on top or some other way. I would also argue that those things should be included in the original price of the game, as they have been with all computer games that are not MMO's.

Last but not least is my final point. Where should the balance lie in dynamic and static content. Do you want the dungeons to change every day? Every time you enter them? How bout never? I'm sure everyone has a different answer for this. What if a Boss could learn from your actions, what then? What if it stored what you did and the dungeon learned and got smarter each time? You would never have the same encounter twice would you?

How often should a company revamp their old areas? In Blizzard's case they think the answer is: NEVER :P In Lotro's case the answer is: constantly. Btw if a game does change significantly and your opinion of it stays the same as it was before the change, doesn't that mean theres a disconnect between your opinions and reality? I know my opinions of City of Heroes are outdated since I haven't played it in years and haven't even tried City of Villains, but thats just an example. Then there are games like world of warcraft which change so slowly I can keep a valid opinion for a long time :P Ok sorry for the wall of text. Feel free to criticize my points.


Anton said...

I just play WoW, so I'm no expert here, but I really like to get online with friends to go do a good holiday quest like Children's Week and Halloween events (including the battle with the Headless Horseman boss). I consider these as fun asides for the game, and they make the appearance of the world change a little every so often by dressing up cities with Christmas decorations for example...
They recently added an entire new Island to the game about two months ago, with 2 new dungeons and tons and tons of extra dailies quests for level 70 characters, plus better equipment upgrades in the new area. This kind of stuff doesn't affect the gameplay any, but it sure is nice to take my character to new vacation sites and participate in holidays every month or two, I think it's enough change to make things interesting.
I only play about twice a week, so I don't burn out the content as quickly as some other people, I have yet to get into one of the 8 or so Raid dungeons which are the biggest dungeons in the game, so there's still lots for me to see.

Thallian said...

thanks there bud you reminded me that yes there are seasonal changes to wow and I liked those a lot too. I kinda wish they were more deep but they were really fun. And yeah they do add content to wow on a (slow but steady) periodic basis, thats true. I was just using it as an example game where the old content doesn't change much. (if at all) Blizzard kinda feels like a really really big ocean liner to me.. its can't turn very fast. Other companies are more like little ships darting around. :)