Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Dun Thin' That Word Means What You Thin' It Means

I read Elementalisty's thoughts on "dynamic" games. Read his post first. While originally commenting on his blog, I decided to post here, as I have been neglecting the blog for a bit.

According to dictionary.com:  "dynamic" is defined as "pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic." Further definitions and etymologies of "dynamic" use the concept of "force, power." I think the connotation of "dynamic=change" is rooted in the word "effective" in the dictionary.com definition. If an action is effective, you'll see the effect after the action is over. If there is no change, then the action is--by definition--ineffective.

Now, of course rifts change the way you play, and may even affect tonight's plan for questing in a given area. But I think most people who are whining are hoping/expecting something fairly permanent about the effects of the rifts and invasions. The effects of the rifts are gone within minutes. I think this expectation is unrealistic.

Is this any better than the phasing system currently used in WoW? Or systems in place in other games? I think the permanent change expected by some players when they say "dynamic" is shortsighted. They don't realize that it means they might not get to do some of the things that players who passed by just before got to do. Perfect examples would be the recent River of Souls event in Rift or the opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj. Talk about dynamic. Only one person on each each realm in WoW got the open the gates, and after a time, even new realms had the gates already open. The River of Souls phases 2 and 3 lasted about an hour total, then were over. How's that for dynamic? But people complained--justifiably--that they didn't get a chance to participate.

Single player games literally pause whenever you stop playing. The virtual worlds of MMOs roll on whether socially/player-driven or environmental/developer driven. I have said it before, I like that stuff slowly evolves while I am away from the game, for a day or a month. Otherwise I would stick with SPRPGs.

3 comments:

  1. Spot on sir.

    The expectations of players who want this "different' thing will forevermore be disappointed in their MMO's.

    The technology is not here yet. But, what has been started with Rift and the expectations that Guild Wars 2 will bring, will color all further MMO's and their "dynamics" to come.

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  2. People want it all, as usual :P

    It's a difficult, sensitive balance to strike for sure. On the one hand, people love having exclusive items and events like River of Souls, because it lets them say, hey, this was special, and I was there...it fits with the theme of creating a living, breathing persistent environment that goes on whether you're online or not. But unfortunately, it's also at odds with the real life business model. People want to experience the content they pay for, and having events with extremely limited time frames isn't inclusive, and make people justifiably upset.

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  3. Yes, that is the factor I forgot to include. Content that you pay for but never get to see. Another example a friend and I once discussed was that we'd never really see end-game raids like the Black Temple in WoW (TBC days) because we were not inlcined to put in the time with a raiding guild to get into the instance. That later changed for me with WotLK, but I still have not run Black Temple.

    People who *can't* devote the hours and hours to high-level raids get pissed because they are not getting content they've paid for. This is a major reason WoW is set on easy mode. The vast majority of people don't want to or can't spend the time to do complex things like end-game raiding, but still want to experience the content.

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