Maybe I’m showing my old-school nature here, but loading screens don’t bother me all that much. I cut my MMO teeth on games like Ultima Online and EverQuest, where loading screens were ubiquitous. Over the years, loading screens haven’t really gone away so much as gotten shorter as we move between maps in something like Guild Wars 2, map-travel in Elder Scrolls Online, or zone into an instanced dungeon in World of Warcraft. And whenever I see claims about loading-screen-free gameplay or seamless experiences, I tend to just shrug. Turns out it’s not all that important to me.
I started thinking about this thanks to another Jamie Madigan post on The Psychology of Video Games, in which he talks about “operational transparency” and how it applies here: Essentially, the studies show, people are much more OK with loading screens for all kinds of tasks and applications, including video games, when they know what’s going on, when the loading screen (or equivalent) is transparent about why it’s asking you to wait. For MMOs, I wonder whether informative tips and even jokes influence that too, especially for MMO players who are simply trained to be patient about these things.
How much do you mind loading screens in MMOs?