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Casual Thoughts from a Semi-Retired Philosopher

I play MMOs as an alternative to TV. Sometimes it even turns into quality time with the girlfriend. Most of the time it's a distraction from doing something productive or meaningful.

Author: Hluill

How much of an Idiot do MMOs think I am?

Posted by Hluill Tuesday November 30 2010 at 8:49AM
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Aspect of these games always nag at me.  Just the idea that I can out-level mobs and become immune to their once lethal attacks.  I wish it worked that way in the real world.  I know an uber, decked-out commando that was killed by a kid with a rock.  I bet he wishes that too.

The immature sillieness of most games' combat-mechanics aside, these things are filled with stupidity that almost goes unnoticed.

How many of us have mined bronze or steel?

Killed a rat that dropped a chest?

One of my favorites is EQ2's "loam."  As a young soldier, I knew loam as a color on a camouflage stick.  I learned that it is the color of dirt.  Loam and dirt are synonyms.  So, not only am I mining processed metals but also dirt.  Yeah, we can only get dirt from SPECIAL places.

Would it have been too much trouble for the game writers to come up with a different name?  Would it have been too hard for them to actually look at a dictionary before naming things?  Nah, it's easier to just go with cool-sounding words, regardless of their meaning.

Another favorite is getting contradicting quests.  Like: the first NPC wants my character's help to figure out how the orcs are basically invisible.  The second NPC, ten feet away from the first, is asking you to hand out goggles that conteract the orcs invisibility.  Five mintues of proofreading and maybe these quests could've been written to make sense. 

Maybe I should stop reading the quest dialogue and go kill X number of X and not worry about why.

Maybe I should just close my eyes as mass media continues to dumb things down for us.  Maybe I should just pretend that life doesn't get harder and that adversity makes us grow.  Our real world lives focus on making things easier and less meaningful, so why shouldn't our MMO lives do the same?

It's not like we're trying to be heroes, after all. 

indiramourn writes:

A great game developer talking about game design once said, If the choice is between realism and fun, fun wins every time.

Tue Nov 30 2010 9:35PM Report
whilan writes:

While some realism is need for the world to make sense. Like the sky has to be up and the ground down.  Things like loam being in rocks does not have to be.  The biggest thing your forgetting is the world your inhabiting is infact a fictional one (not real) therefore things like Loam could  in fact be in special places.

Rats dropping chest always felt weird but its' how much of a suspension of belief you can have.  Maybe the rats in that game like to horde chests.

The idea that your getting tougher is why you get hurt less.The same aspect could be used in real life. Take someone who has done a whole lot of body building, Punch him in the stomach and see how he reacts (if he even reacts at all).  Now take that same punch (strength and all) and hit someone who has done none. Good chance your probably gonna knock him to the ground and bruise him.  Same concept here.

It's your suspension of belief that may be a problem in some of these cases and trying to think a fictional world is always going to work the same way it does in real life.

Wed Dec 01 2010 5:39AM Report
theAsna writes:

MMOs provide lots of static content. One of the main game mechanics is indeed to either outlevel your opponents or gather equipment for a similar effect. Someone looking for a challenging combat would rather see the opponents scaled in power, so that they are still a challenge but at the same time beatable as well. You can add this scaling to some MMOs (e.g. MMOs with instanced dungeons), but not all (e.g. MMOs with open areas).

The quest dilemma is rather a byproduct. People are screaming for content and the quests we are provided with are easy to create in huge quantities. Playing some MMOs feals like working on a check list.... yay...

Thu Dec 02 2010 12:25PM Report
jc234 writes:

Reality and virtuality is two directly opposite terms. When one thing maybe so in reality, it doesn't make it so in a virtual society.

Don't get mixed up with the two or you might just start to perceive one as the other!

Fri Dec 03 2010 9:38PM Report
penguin33 writes:

Yea I find alot of MMO's to have alot of these mass made quests that don't have any real purpose other than to create content to keep the players happy. I have also found that MMO's do dumb stuff down alot and at times it seems silly but, we must remember that there are people out there that still think this dumbed down version is complicated. So really I guess the best thing to do is wait till they come out with something better and feel good about the fact your smart enough to realize these things are silly.

Sun Dec 05 2010 1:22AM Report
redpins writes:

Perhaps it's time to move on and do some grand theft in real life. Games no longer can sustain your need for creative fun (mental state of being "entertained") so perhaps the chaps in jail will be more psychologically pleasing. Hidden jokes are allowed.

Sat Jan 21 2012 1:47PM Report
Hluill writes:

@redpins:  Hmmm, been there, done that, got that t-shirt.  Partially because of those experiences, I become easily attracted and repulsed by these digital worlds.  Nothing hidden here.

Sun Jan 22 2012 2:32PM Report
kinart writes:

No there's reality within a fantasy world (like we create these fantasy games - we imagine things - from this real world perspective - there's fantasy -within humans at least- in the real world) .

It's reality in terms of that fantasy world's context. If a game/theme defines that in its world the gravity is reversed, that could be all fine as long as they stick with it. But if for some reason on a specific spot of that world the gravity is normal, there should be a very good explanation on why that happens. Otherwise it's bullshit story, bullshit theme, bullshit game.

The terms fantasy and reality are only contradicting in their absolute value/sense as terms. In games - at least RPGs - we neither need a totally crazy/sureal game, neither a real life simulator, we use them in a relative sense.

Wed Aug 06 2014 4:13PM Report
kinart writes: Or, if you like, it's the conflict between these two elements, reality and fantasy, that creates an interesting theme, the balance between them, not the idealization of either. Wed Aug 06 2014 4:33PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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