Do all MMO’s assume we as players are stupid? Certainly seems like it…

     With very few exceptions, it certainly feels as if every MMO company out there feels that we who are playing it are not intelligent enough to figure out how a game should work, or that the only thing we can do is repeat the same thing, over and over again, ad nauseum.  My question is: Why?  Why is this the only option available to us as gamers?

Some games like EVE just leave everything to be learned, and nothing can be taken for granted.  I like this approach.  Assume that your playerbase actually has some form of IQ higher than a radish, and a willingness to innovate and do things by themselves.  Brilliant!  Allow people to think for themselves! Brilliant!  Other games, such as WoW, EQ2, or LOTRO take the opposite approach.  Players have to be herded into different areas, to ensure they don’t “get lost”, and to make sure they “get the most out of their gaming experience”.  Um, ok?  If I can’t figure out after a couple of minutes that wherever I am is a lot higher or lower level than where I should be, then I would *hope* that I would have the common sense to try and go somewhere else and find content more appropriate.  I’ll admit it may be a bit more frustrating to some people, but for those who were introduced to MMOs by WoW, I’m sorry, not every MMO is built with the E-Z button in mind.  Get used to it.  I for one do not want to be coddled by my game, afraid I’ll fall and hurt my poor fragile self esteem by dying in their game doing something stupid.  It’s a fucking game.  If I make a mistake, I should learn from it, and move on.

If I ever made a game, I would lean more towards the EVE route.  Let players find their own way, with some very very minimal guidance.  Is it going to attract as many players as one of these “E-Z Mode” MMO’s?  Almost certainly not.  But do I want players who will get frustrated when their every move isn’t directed for them, and they actually get PENALIZED *gasp!* for doing something stupid, running around in my game?  Absolutely not.  America is way too soft on ourselves;  everyone gets a trophy, everyone gets an award, nobody gets left out.  Bullshit.  WELCOME TO REAL LIFE, people.  Not everyone gets a trophy in my game, but they get something else in return.  Something a lot more valuable than some $2.00 piece of plastic and metal:  self respect, and a sense of self-accomplishment.  I think that’s worth a lot more than some little shitty trophy that says I was the “Most In Need Of Improvment” in my activity.  The kid gloves have come off;  who’s more likely to do better in the world… someone who expects it to all be easy, or someone who’s willing to get their elbows dirty and do it themselves?

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~ by trollonfire on October 20, 2007.

One Response to “Do all MMO’s assume we as players are stupid? Certainly seems like it…”

  1. Craig here (via Dusktreaders)… I’ve got you linked on the sidebar of my blog, finally!

    I have to admit, some of this I agree with, some I don’t… and I suspect it’s a matter of perspective, and precisely which part of the game we’re talking about. I actually wrote a post on one aspect of this, from the opposite perspective, Saturday morning before I got embroiled in another problem (sigh).

    My opinion is, once you;ve learned the basics of the game, then things can get more difficult. But dumping a player’s character into the world and saying “have fun!” with minimal or no direction on how the game works is largely self-defeating… especially when the game imposes non-obvious or even counter-intuitive limitations on activities as part of the play.

    I do agree the _flow_ of the game doesn’t need to be easy: I have no problems personally with games that present difficult and/or indirect challenges… altho it should be noted, few people play (pay for) a game in order to consistently lose, a modicum of restraint may be in order if you’re angling for commercial acceptance. However, explanations of the basic mechanisms of play should be straightforward, IMO, and not stop with just introducing the interface.

    My two cents…

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