Alright, I just got home from watching the new Star Trek flick. Yeh, a little late to the party, but I already hate theaters enough and REALLY hate having to go to packed shows. It's just weird, all these people claiming their little spaces with their loved ones, cuddling up with their favorite sweater in place of a blanket, staying in the conversation with the rest of their circle through their cell phones.
It's like everyone is in their own little private living room, but they are not. They sitting next to me with their loudmouth kids easting stinky pickles. PICKLES! WHO buys those pickles at a move theater??
Anyway, the movie was grand, but I won't go into details because this isn't a Star Trek review. For some reason I get REALLY into actiony flicks and scary parts more than when I was younger. I mean, I will grip the damn armrest while gritting my teeth. I'm glad I can enjoy excitement so much.
But what do I really like about the idea behind Star Trek? The idea of sticking it out, together. Of pooling our resources so that we might survive. Of giving it your all, even in a society that money has no meaning in anymore.
That's why my favorite all time thing to do in any MMO is attend a live event. And I mean world changing events, like the giant demons showing up outside of Orgrimmar, the Kitin Patrols kicking up in Ryzom, or even holiday events that everyone participates in.
Most MMO's seem to exist only to serve not individuals, but small groups of individuals, which is the same thing. 1 person locked up in an instance is the same as 20 people locked up in an instance. But when something happens that effects the entire game, everyone pokes their heads out, takes a look around...chips in. Levels mean nothing, because even lower levels or lesser experienced players can either take part directly or help out those that can.
Why don't more MMO's HAVE live events? Why? They are what MMOs are all about.
Picture this, set in a game that none of us have played yet, and pretend it is set on a desolate planet that we are just trying to survive on: One day we all come out of our pods to see that a giant blue orb has settled in low orbit in the sky. It hums with power, but with no explanation. Slowly, players are fed clues as to what it is, but it stays there for a week or two, doing nothing.
Slowly, the Orb changes to a red color, and over days starts to make threatening sounds, pulsing with danger.
Could you imagine the stir in the community? Even if this game had instances, every single player would be talking to other players and would be trying to figure out what the hell the thing was. It would be gripping.
Look at the real life example of this: we are all just driving along when suddenly an accident happens. I saw one the other day, as a matter of fact, and it was a bad one. A car literally FLIPPED over. Suddenly every human on that block was outside, many ran to the crash to see if they could help. Some did it so fast that it was as though they reacted by some backwards instinct, going TO the noise instead of AWAY from it.
Three minutes earlier we were all in our little world inside the bigger world, not noticing anyone else. Minutes later we are talking to strangers, asking "Can I help?" or "What did you see?"
I want more of that (not accidents though.) More of the stuff that brings us together, and less of locking ourselves into instanced worlds within worlds. Right now in Ryzom there is a live event going on in which all of the communities must build their set of 6 towers in order to stop the threat of an invasion.
The developers have set up a website to track the progress of the servers, and inside those lists you can see how each race is doing, too. A good-natured competition has fired up to see which race will "win," but we all know that whomever gets to their goal first will quickly just run to the other lands to help with the remaining towers.
Why? Because something outside of ourselves (the players) has threatened us. And even though we don't get along all the time, we will still defend the sum of our kind. Not only have I been trying to help in my meager ways, but I have been checking the status page 15 times a day. A simple live event seems to have re-ignited a community for a several-year-old game.
I hope we can all pull it off.
And I hope to see more Live Events drag players out of their worlds within worlds.