The Daily Grind: Do you have any love for jumping puzzles in MMOs?

    
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It’s hard for me to be sure exactly when MMOs decided that jumping puzzles were the thing to include as an option. Guild Wars 2 certainly made it into quite the feature, but it’s hardly alone; you’ve got special stat-boosting items in Star Wars: The Old Republic asking you to daintily prance across things, you’ve got sightseeing vistas in Final Fantasy XIV that require elaborate hops along beams and windowsills, you had an entire path of jumping puzzles in WildStar. Designers just love adding in those jumping puzzles.

But is the population there for them? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not vehemently opposed to jumping puzzles, but neither am I very fond of them and I’ll frequently decide that a jumping puzzle isn’t worth the effort. But what about you? Do you have any love for jumping puzzles in MMOs? Do you think that they add an interesting angle of content to the game, or do you generally feel like they’re a waste of time and tertiary to the game’s appeal at best?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Peregrine Falcon

Like anything, it depends.

I love jumping puzzles in GW2 because the controls are tight and accurate. I hate jumping puzzles in SWTOR because the jumping is horrible and difficult to control.

What I don’t like is the new GW2 zones. I like jumping puzzles but that doesn’t mean that I want the entire zone to be one gigantic jumping puzzle. That’s just ridiculous.

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Fenrir Wolf

The population for them is those who don’t want to grind. It’s bigger than you think, and that’s why they started being included. Plus, whilst the kind of people who’re into things like roleplaying, jumping puzzles, and exploring where they shouldn’t isn’t quite as large as that which plays the game as more of a traditional MMORPG experience? It doesn’t matter.

As ArenaNet found out with Heart of Thorns, the casual players who like these things do generally make up most of the profits that an MMO enjoys. The why of this is… tricky, so do bear with me, yes? Thank you.

Jobs. The average, mainstream MMO player sees the grind as a job. It’s a valid form of work toward a goal. I’ve witnessed this attitude enough that I’m no longer surprised when this — the largest — contingent of MMORPG players feel entitled to free content updates.

You see, they’re “working” on the MMO, thus the MMO developer owes them. They can’t seem to wrap their heads around the concept of entertainment and fun, that these video games are meant to be a way to wind down, to escape to another world where things aren’t quite so overwhelmingly hideous for a whee while.

Thus, making an MMO is balancing the initial sales and expansion pack sales (the traditional players) with those who’ll make a lot of purchases on the cash shop to support their favourite games (my demographic).

My demographic, the maligned cazjuals, aren’t shy with cash shop purchases. In fact, we’re often looked down upon by the rest of the players as though we’re scabs, as if we were betraying the workforce, somehow.

As if it were a workforce to begin with.

The thing is? The cazjuals tend to be put off by constant balance changes and a hardcore focus, so you need content that’ll keep their interest to maintain them. Here’s the difference, though: The cazjuals feel no entitlement to free content, nor do they feel they can expect the lion’s share. As such, a group that pays more for less is worth capitalising on.

Guild Wars 2 openly capitalised on us. And we’re fine with that! The really fun open world events and heart quests that offer an admirable degree of variety (and don’t always focus on combat), along with the aforementioned jumping puzzles is an appeal to us.

As someone of the mainstream, I’m not at all surprised that you’re not aware of us. I feel most MMORPG players aren’t besides from when we provide ambient, background entertainment with our thespianic efforts, those theatrical roleplays come from somewhere.

Though even some of those are bitterly resented, wherein roleplayers have to be very careful to keep everything very white, straight, and PG-13 lest they be traduced with rumours of ERPing.

We’re viewed as grotesque swains and serfs who make the world ugly compared to those who raid for the best gear, yet we’re also the ones who cover most of the cost of an MMO. Again: Heart of Thorns.

Jumping puzzles require actual skill rather than just a time investment tied to a random number generator as a nicely attired operant conditioning chamber. As I’ve pointed out, MMOs tend to play themselves, there’s very little int he way of actual skill required. What “get gud” actually means in the context of an MMO is “devote your life, devote your time, and devote yourself to a guild.”

That’s not too popular with the cazjuals. We’ll do it if there are other factors we enjoy (such as the story, characters, lore, and what have you), but it’s not something that really draws us in. The Secret World had lore, mysteries, puzzles, and ARGs for us to chew over, just as Guild Wars 2 has its non-combat events and jumping puzzles.

The races in Path of Fire, for example, feel very specifically targeted at us. As in, with a laser range/measuring tool.

We’re here, we exist, we pay for your raids, you’re welcome.

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Zeph

When they’re snuck in by creative level designers and tied into some environmental storytelling, I think they can be interesting. The GW2 approach of ‘here’s some conveniently placed ledges and a big glowy for you to click on’ doesn’t do anything for me.

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Dug From The Earth

Being that 99% of all mmorpgs have horribad controls, physics, and character responsiveness when it comes to things like platforming/jumping…

HELL NO

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MassivelyMacD

Warframe (technically not an MMO, i know): yes.
Everything else: hell no. If you can’t do positioning and collision detection right in your game and your input device tracking is bad or too infrequent, don’t go for jumping “puzzles”, where players most of the time don’t fight the puzzle, but your game engine.

Especially if you have untrusted client as an architectural rule, which includes the quality of the internet connection in the problem.

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Dug From The Earth

warframe is an mmo
its not an mmorpg

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MassivelyMacD

Actually, thinking of the different warframes and the types of play the offer I feel that the “role-playing” is stronger than the “massively multiplayer” :)

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Fenrir Wolf

Some of us deal with it just to know we did it. It’s like overcoming any obstacle that requires a real measure of skill — like wall-walking. Some people actually got good at Lair for the PS3 (I was one of them, people who saw me play thought it was some kind of trick).

It’s the reason people do speedruns (god I love speedruns), I guess! One of my proudest recent video game efforts (which I will refrain from referring to as an achievement as it really isn’t, achievements in leisure is a silly concept) is speedrunning Ori and the Blind Forest.

That game took mad skills and I loved it. I mean… sorry (actually sorry) if that bothers anyone, but I just like tests of skill!

I’m oldschool like that, I suppose.

I’m the kind of person who speedruns VVVVVV on a tablet with touch controls just because I can. I like pushing myself. I enjoy growing. It’s… just a thing. I don’t know.

But, yeah. Some people will bounce off of something for not having the most pinpoint accurate controls. Others might see it as a challenge and be stubborn.

Depends on the person. Nothing wrong with either, really. You can be good at a game with good controls. It’s just a matter of tolerances, yeah? For some, their tolerances won’t match the control scheme of an MMO. For others? It’s just a new type of challenge.

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Alli

No. This was part of why I quit Maple Story way back when.

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Matt Redding

Jumping puzzles are a blight upon gaming. Game movement controls are often a bit wonky and at best lacking in fine control. These puzzles often require you to jump and randomly land on a pixel. Just last week I was in Dragon Age Inquisition trying to do a small jump to get to a collectible, I had already spent quite a bit of time doing a series of jumps up a hill and I was close to the top. With my character in position I tapped the jump key and my character turned around to face the screen and stepped off the ledge ruining all my work.

How often has the puzzle been something that in real life you could unerringly hop to but in the game you just need to hit the magic pixel? Or the jump is just a foot off the ground or a small ledge you should obviously be able to climb up to? It’s nuts. If a game is like Assassin’s creed where the character can actually autoclimb using handholds then it would be fine. But piggybacking it on to a different game with limited movement and controls is sadistic.

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Bullwraith

No. I dislike them and always will.

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Orenj

I have Feelings about this. I’ll jump right to the conclusion that I don’t feel I’m over jumping puzzles as much as over *jumping itself* as being the only way to traverse non-flat/discontinuous paths. I feel like we’re stuck where in an analogous situation to where the industry was with GW1 and FFXIV 1.0, with no jumping at all, just one step further. Hugely flawed as it is, BDO’s rudimentary implementation of climbing mechanics has basically ruined me for other MMOs, and the only other games I’m seeing anything like it in are survival games, a genre I have no interest in.

Why is this? Exclusively bottom-line obsessed execs cutting out anything that’s not part of a core kill-loot gaming loop? Controlling devs loathe to give up their ability to use terrain and objects to funnel players? If Buggy Desert Online can do it, I can’t see there being any kind of serious technical hurdle there. Make Movement Great Again! (sorry)

As an aside, I see some people praising GW2’s movement while others curse it–I’m in the latter camp; realising exactly *why* I was having such trouble with the jumping puzzles (which I’m not usually too bad at) was a big reason I stopped playing it. I grew up playing stuff like Zork and Phantasie and Gold Box games; I’m guessing if you were a console platformer player instead, then the lack of inertia makes sense to you (someone alluded to me that I guess Mario was like this?) I log back in every once in a while, try a jump, check the settings to see if a bone’s been thrown on that front, then log right back out again :(

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Stormwaltz

Jumping puzzles are the one sort of content that consistently causes me to rage. If I enjoyed that gameplay, I’d be playing a platformer, not an MMG.

In my opinion, most “jumping puzzles” are not puzzles. A puzzle would mean seeing where you need to go, and figuring out the path to it from where you begin. The problem solving of Portal, not the twitch skills of Mario.