Just when you thought you’ve seen every type of online griefing known to man, here comes another. In An Age grouses about how ARK: Survival Evolved recently added handcuffs to the game, allowing players to keep others chained up indefinitely while force-feeding them so that they couldn’t starve to death. He said that this moved raised the bar for “sociopath simulators.”
“There’s fun, and then there’s fun. I’m more in the mood for the latter,” he said, concluding that he was going to leave the game not just for this move but also because of its low frame rate.
This is but the start of our exploration of the MMO blogosphere this week. Read on to see bloggers bite back against cash shops, defend licensed IPs, and explore the concept of the “single-player MMO experience.”
It certainly does seem as though people are quick to attack licensed IPs as being a detriment to MMOs rather than a boon. Personally, I can see both sides, but since I’ve never had a problem with video games allowing me to explore these licensed universes before, I don’t think I’m going to start now.
Chaosconstant lays out a multi-point case for why IPs can be quite beneficial to MMOs: “Let be honest, MMOs are businesses, businesses need to market their products, and brand recognition is huge. I know it’s hard to imagine, but there are people out there–gamers even–who have never played an MMORPG and know absolutely nothing about Guild Wars, EverQuest, or possibly even (gasp) World of Warcraft.”
Telwyn does us all a great service by sitting down to tackle the question of hooking up with friends in MMOs by comparing several titles and their features in one handy-dandy chart. He assigns a score to each based on whether they offer, say, mentoring and level-agnostic dungeons.
The best games for friend grouping might surprise you! “Two games stand-out as being particularly ‘just play’ friendly at the moment: RIFT and WildStar are [tied for] first, with Star Trek Online in third and SWTOR fourth. Of these four I have group-levelling and dungeon experience in RIFT, WildStar and SWTOR and can attest that each game offers a pretty easy grouping experience.”
Sick of cash shops in MMOs? You’ve got a comrade in Liore, who says that she is 100% over and done with such stores in her games. She makes the point that earning something gives it more intrinsic value than taking a shortcut with money.
“I spent weeks running Emerald Isle meta-events in RIFT classic for an absurd hat, and when I look back at some of my favorite moments in gaming, I think about that hat,” she writes. “I earned that hat. When I think about it or see it in screenshots (or in the old days logged on and looked at it) I have good memories that make me smile. It’s not a huge deal, but that hat means something to me, something more than dropping pocket change and getting a hit of instant gratification. I fear that in most MMOs, this is no longer an experience that people get to have.”
Is there such a thing as a “single-player MMO?” Seems like an obvious contradiction, no? Well, Psychochild thinks he’s found just this with the in-development Ninelives, and he chronicles his thoughts and feelings exploring this very MMOish title.
“I wrote a previous blog post asking what separates out an MMO from a single-player game beyond just the other people in the MMO,” he notes. “I thought Tony’s comment was interesting: ‘Single-player open world games are not quite complex enough to fully emulate (and populate) the randomness and trends that you can experience with an MMO in single-player mode.’ Other people add chaos to the system, even if you’re not directly interacting with them. As people pointed out, it’s easier to have what feels like a ‘real economy’ when there are other people than when a developer creates an economic algorithm that can be reverse-engineered.”
Sometimes it’s great to simply bask in someone else’s joy of gameplay, especially when they’re having a blast playing a particular game or role. Take this post from Burro, who squees over how awesome it is playing an Engineer in Guild Wars 2.
“I launch another rocket boot-assisted kick at the third creature, deliberately aiming for where I assume its testicles reside, and them roll backwards to a safer distance where I once again pull out my trusty flame-thrower and put the bulwark gyro back into use. The fire pours and flows and explodes all over them as I circle and fire, circle and fire until, with a hideous caterwauling of screams and cries, both of the vile monsters dies in a writhing mass at my feet.”
The author takes Blizzard to task for the studio’s incredibly dismissive stance regarding the possibility of classic World of Warcraft servers, pointing to the popular underground emulator movement as proof that there are people looking for a specific type of experience.
So what could Blizzard learn from these rogue players? “For many others, it is also the concept of experiencing Warcraft in a way they’ve never been able to before, so in essence it is ‘new’ but crucially not. What makes me laugh most about this video, as it did at the time, was the utterly dismissive nature with which the person in charge of Warcraft responded to the question, as if even the asking of it was pointless. That’s why someone published the response, because when your parents tell you not to do something, that’s often exactly what ends up happening.”