I wanted to talk today about what events in MMOs ever had feeling or meaning. Many players claim MMOs to be mindless grinds.
Many of them are... However there needs to be a point in MMOs that is fun and gives the player a reason to play. No I am not talking about loot or achievements. I am talking about feeling.
For me MMOs are always about meeting up online with your friends and adventuring together. MMOs should feel like an adventure and many times they do not. The development concept of populating the world with rats and having people collect rat feet is lost in many ways. Look at WoW's current end game for Lich King. Almost all PvE content is instanced. PvP content is instanced as well. So groups of friends can do tasks with a point. However, beating ICC every week gets a big old. You still wait for your shield to drop...been weeks waiting on my shaman caster shield...but still you strive on. Yet in WoW I have no reason to play other than to do ICC at this point or maybe Wintergrasp.
This got me thinking about things in other MMOs I had accomplished that made the game fun. Dark Age of Camelot was PvP no question. Also I used to actually enjoy grinding through Darkness Falls to level up my friends and realm mates. I say realm mates because groups would form that were not just for one guild. In Ultima it was PKing or going out with my Blue to fight the other PKs. It had a purpose that was not put there by the game itself telling me I had to do XYZ. I could just log in and do what I wanted.
With instancing the issue stands that players can group together, but there is a limited number of instances. We will quickly figure them all out. However, what about desiging leveling so that it could be done through adventuring. I know DDO has done this, but in its early days you could not solo in DDO, big mistake. Solo is needed, more than anything for a player who has time to play but does not have his or her friends online to play with.
If a game is designed with feeling it gives players goals and objectives without making them part of the game specifically. Those reasons are given without them having to be spoon fed to you. They just evolve over time and soon you are playing for goals that you have set for yourself or your friends. Not goals that have been set for you.
Helping new players level should be rewarded, realm pride fights should be rewarded, passing on a piece of loot that you may need but someone who has worse gear needs it more should be rewarded.
All these things have feeling, and are lacking in MMOs right now. It is just a theory but finding reasons to play outside of the shield drop or emblem runs is a sign of a good game. Not that WoW is bad, but it has lost its feeling sometimes as to why we play it.