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MMO WK

Behind this mysterious title I'm hiding some hard work that might be published someday ;) The purpose of this blog is to share thoughts with you who love/hate MMO.

Author: Deewe

Time to get rid of RESTRICTIONS

Posted by Deewe Thursday August 12 2010 at 9:47PM
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Unless you have been living in a very remote galaxy for the last 10+ years, you certainly have heard about BioWare and their next flagship: SWTOR.
 
As a SW fan I have been enjoying most SW video game up to Kotor I & II and also, you can guess the very controversial SWG. Of which I still have the collector’s edition displayed on my desk, 3 feets away from me. Yes I have a huge desk! It helps to organize all geek stuff we can gather through decades of hardcore gaming.
 
As TOR details are being slowly, chirurgically delivered by BioWare buzz machine we, are starting to be able to draw a more accurate picture of this expected MMO
 
Without denying it shall be a well polished game, and certainly a FUN experience, there’s something that’s been tickling me regularly about this game, the last strike being the “announcement” of a space on rails or tunnel shooter:
 
=> The overwhelming usage of restrictions.
 
Without having yet the chance to try out the game it seems, from an external view, that as BioWare loves to say so “choices will matter”. But to what extend do we really have a choice?
 
Among many other:
  • You would choose either your specie or your class
  • LightSaber types are class restricted
  • Species are factions and even more class restricted
  • Space ship chassis are imposed depending on your class
  • Companion races aren’t selectable nor you will be able to customize their physical body
  • You choose either your story line type or your combat game play (class)
  • Your class will decide how you will look
  • You will either choose your look or the gear stats
  • You are “required” to use companions for PUGS and PvP
 
One can argue all this is normal for a theme park MMO, however I tend to disagree. While we can see restrictions on some MMO it seems SWTOR is the apogee of it.
Once upon a time MMOs, while not perfect, were virtual world in which players could venture around a nicely laid out world and that was mostly it.
 
The idea to make everyone feel a hero through very delimited storylines and perfectly smoothen out experiences, sets everything on rails. The player isn’t anymore in control of his character at all.
Sometimes it makes me wonder if some designers think they know better than the players themselves what’s fun for them. Didn’t we already see the results of such mindset in other games?
 
Now instead of obliging players to live with restrictions, wouldn’t it be more fun for everyone to deliver a fully fledged world, theme parks quests too (so none can say I’m a sandbox lover ;) ), but let players enjoy all this great content the way they want to?
 
For example I ask this very question where’s the fun in restricting players to combine class A with race D? Or why obliging all Class Z players to wear skirts? In virtual worlds, and so MMO, we can find almost limitless reasons to explain why an almost naked warrior using a stone knife can efficiently tank against a 100 feet tall dragon. So why obliging tanks to wear heavy armours either?
 
I’d say it’s time to get back to the roots and have the devs giving the players tools to enhance their imagination, not restrict it.
farfanugon writes:

some times when they say its a matter of space and file size ... it really is.

Thu Aug 12 2010 10:34PM Report
Sevey13 writes:

I dunno. In theory, it may seem like a great idea, but in reality I'm less sure.

 

Consider this:

Life comes with restricitons. The average person is restricted by money/time/location, whatever. Sure, we may go through life wishing we had more time/money/travel, but we make the best of what we have and many are happy.

Now consider that one of these 'average' folks who wins a $500 million lottery. These restrictions are lifted. Money isn't a worry. They can quit there job and have all the time in the world to accomplish whatever amount of traveling they want. But what happens to most people who win the lottery? They end up depressed, divorced, whatever. When the honeymoon's over, they end up worse for wear. Having these restrictions help us have that 'grass is greener' feeling that the developers are counting on to keep us playing. For every alt we make to try out different combos, that's another couple of months of subscription payments they can count on.

Fri Aug 13 2010 6:53PM Report
Deewe writes:

Very interesting, view Sevey13, I appreciate your input.

Some restrictions, I can understand, but it seems TOR raised the bar too high. As to deliver a "perfectly polished story feeling" they choose to put everything on rails... space combat too :p

However, you do have a point many players could feel lost with too many choices. Then if you look at the long term it enhances diversity and let players have their own characters match their needs.  Still it can lead to let you see others character very far off what you would fits your view of the world.

As you can guess I choose the "let me do what I want to, I can accept some diversity" path.

Fri Aug 13 2010 8:09PM Report

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