Okay, folks. Got another little thing eating at me, this one is less political. Well, not political at all.
Lack of ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in MMORPG's.
Now, I know these new MMO's coming out keep spouting innovative features, but really, they are the same mechanic, just in a different uniform. Quests, leveling, skills, classes, races, etc. Now, i'm not saying one can't take a working, and well made feature and enhance it, but that is not innovation, that is updating.
MMO's were infants for years. They lacked mainstream appeal, a well known IP, and money. Until Blizzard snuck up and threw WoW out for us all to enjoy. Now, i'm no WoW hater. I just don't like the game. Boring, simplistic, monotonous, grindfest, unoriginal. But that's not to say MMO's don't owe WoW the credit it deserves. It threw MMO's into the spotlight, and helped other, lesser known ones get attention. But, the new MMO's coming out and that have come out since WoW's birth, have become the wannabes.
There are very, and I mean VERY, few MMO's out there that I find truly innovative and fun.
City of Heroes is one of the first to have the most in depth, expansive, and detailed character creation i've ever seen. I spent hours JUST making characters, combining different parts, colors, designs, etc. The options were endless.
EVE online is one of the very few that the Devs actually introduce, continue, utilize, and support Roleplay. Their storyline is continuous, not just changing month to month, but literally day by day. And it both is affected by, and affects the players. Their actions fuel the story, the story fuels their actions.
Anarchy Online is one of the few, more original sci-fi concepts out there. Yeah it uses cliches, but, it uses them as new and fresh. Who cares about the sub-par graphics. The content, story, and originality alone is enough to keep me engaged for hours.
Runescape is, in itself, a darling. Now before you haters start spouting your fiery breath at me, I love this game. It was my first MMO. I learned how to lead a clan, I learned how to work as a team, I made many friends. It was cheap, it was fun, and it was loaded with things to do. I played it for six years. My clan is STILL going, four years since I left. THAT is amazing to me. I STILL talk to friends I made in that game. It is an introductory MMO, maybe a bit simple, but it is original and damn fun.
Now, That is not all the MMO's I have enjoyed, thought as genius, etc. But those are the ones that made a positive difference in my MMO experiance. They were creative, different, driven, and innovative. MMO's today? They follow a formula. Tried, tested, and true. That's all well and fine, but when all MMO's begin to feel and play like the same game in different skins, something is wrong.
I tried WoW, got bored. I love the Warcraft series. I tried LotRO, got bored. I love the LotR story. they both feel, act, and play damn near the same. Same quest log, same leveling system, same gear-centric advancement, same quests. It's one game in two skins.
Now, I know, i've been rambling on. And you say, but what do you propose? What do you think is needed to spice up, differentiate, and make games look and feel creative? Well, let me give a few of my opinions.
Quests: No more "Go kill 8 boars, bring back the tusks to prove you killed them." That is not a quest, that is a mundane task. An errand that i'd send my little brother out to do. It's not heroic. It's a mockery of my growing badassery. I want heroic deeds, I want to save the princess, assassinate the evil prince, break into the dungeon of an ancient dragon for the mystical spellbook. I want quests that shake the world, change the story, and make me look the total bad ass.
"But, then everyone will run around, being badasses, that's no fun." I agree. Each quest should be tailored to your character alone. Well, character or party. Now, I know that would require, *GASP!*, involvement of either Developers or Game Masters. Oh my, what? I'm suggesting they actually come and talk to us? Yup. I want a Game Master who leads me along an adventure, deciding the outcome of my choices. I want him to set up a quest for me, one that only *I* will be able to I did. One that will make me look like a bad ass. When 2 million different characters all have slayed Tragmadiloria the Red Dragon of Lame for her Chalice of Sameness, does that really make you feel THAT badass? Not really, makes me feel like I was a bit slow in catching up. And that Tragmadiloria is, actually, lame.
Now, there are some side effects of such a feature. Interaction between employees/volunteers and the players will sky rocket. The Devs will get to know and understand what the players really want, and will, by God, probably listen to us. It will though, on the con side, require a lot more GM's, time, and money. But that can be easily taken care of. Get players to volunteer to be a GM for their party for a day, for a group of people for a week, what have you. It will inspire, teach, and reward all involved.
Now, the rewards. They need some originality to them. No more receiving some random sword with the name of so and so NPC in the header. It's a damn sword. Now, I want a reward that will mean something, that will require me making a decision on when, how, and why I should use it. Now i'm not saying getting a sword is bad. No, I want a damn sword, heh. But I want a sword that will either A) Make a difference, or B) Be the ONLY one of it's kind. Yes, again, uniqueness tailored to you. But that again, would truly make you bad ass. To be the only dude walking around with the Frostcleaver Mace. Out of 2 million people.
Gold is cool, we all need gold. And that, I do not believe, should be changed. But Experiance Points/Skill Points? Yes, that needs a face lift. I want to be able to choose what I get. Perhaps not directly, but I want to gain experiance through the choice i've made during that specifically tailored quest i'm doing.
Say, for example, I must get through a locked door ahead. Now, normally you would have to get a key, or beat some bad guy for it to magically unlock. Lame. No, that's blah. I want multiple paths, each with different choices, and each reward me differently.
So, a locked door. Here would be the options:
1) Bash it down.
2) Pick the lock.
3) Use acid on the lock, disintegrating it.
4) Throw a fireball at it, burning the wood.
5) Find a key.
Now, those are basic choices, but each are different, each work, and each will get you to the same conclusion. You got the door open. But dependant on those choice, will depend on the consequences that follow, and the reward should reflect this.
Say I bash it down. I should receive some point, or experiance towards my strength/bruteness, etc. But I may have woken the sleeping orc guard on the other side. Now I have to deal with him.
How about i melt the lock with acid. I should recieve experiance or a point towards my ingenuity/intelligence. I slowly open the door, and see the afore mentioned sleeping orc. Now I can decide on the best way to take him out with as much or as little confrontation as I desire.
Choices give consequences, and my rewards should reflect that.
I'll end there for today. Tomorrow, Part Deuce of The Humming Disc.