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News & Features Discussion  » General: Top 5 MMO Immersion Breakers

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16278

OP  11/06/11 8:13:09 AM#1

Have you ever stood around in your favorite MMO and given it a critical look? While not one to be fanatical about immersion, Associate Editor Suzie Ford occasionally gets tweaked about some immersion breakers found in MMOs these days. Check out The List today for Suzie's top slaps to the face immersion-wise. Add your own thoughts to the comments.

I’m not one of those people who demands total immersion in my games either. I really don’t identify too closely with or ‘become’ Aniewiel or Kalia or any one of the hundreds of other characters I’ve created over the years. But even saying that, I do wish that developers would add just a touch of realism into some of the games I play. No, I don’t want to watch my characters taking showers or reading on the porcelain throne or wearing wrinkled clothes. But come on!

Read more of Suzie Ford's The List: Top 5 MMO Immersion Breakers.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


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Posts: 3189

11/07/11 8:28:01 AM#2

Personally number 5 and number 3 of that list are mine as well. One thing i didn't like about City of Heroes was how everyone was flying everwhere going into all these intances.

I'd barely get to see a players name before they were gone let alone say hi or follow them.

and the child thing always confused me. Big towns but no children. I don't condone violance to children but monsters aren't exactly picky about who they capture. So having to rescue a child from a group of monsters wouldn't be out of the way. Bounty bay (or it's sister Voyage century) had children (was that where you got the pic?) which were cool and made the town more believable.

The one thing i did like about City of Heroes which i see very rarely in other games is a NPC who wanders talking about your exploits. Heck i'd like to see more of cities with people just walking around going to stores. Would make the world more believable.


Really what devs need is to take time and make their city an actual city instead of quest/commerical hubs. Not every NPC or area has to be of use. Sometimes it can have no point at all except to make the town more lively. Have kids playing hop-scotch (if it's approiate), have concerts that you can listen to. Have fireworks go off (not all the time mind you or the fireworks wouldn't be realistic).  More of the stuff that makes the town seem interesting instead of always being there for you to take quests or sell stuff in.

I totally agree with the fact of slowing players down, take time to look at the landscape, it took a long time for the designers of the game to build this big world be a shame just to zip or port right past it in a blink of an eye to get to where you need to go.

Help me Bioware, you're my only hope.

Is ToR going to be good? Dude it's Bioware making a freaking star wars game, all signs point to awesome. -G4tv MMo report.


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Joined: 4/16/06
Posts: 898

11/07/11 8:28:07 AM#3

You'll never win the argument to dress females in proper armor on this site. Men just don't get why we women object to our avatars being dressed like harlots.  If I hear " it's a fantasy world" one more time I will break my keyboard. The real immersion breaker for me is high heels. Really? Practical monster hunting shoes? Women can barely walk in high heels, let alone fight monsters.

The real problem isn't how many gamers are men or women, its how many game developers are men. They are the ones creating these ridiculous outfits. Please, at least give us a choice for non-whorish armor, so those guys who do want to play streetwalkers stll can, and those who want a  warrior woman can have that too.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/09/05
Posts: 27

11/07/11 8:34:15 AM#4

I agree with all of them except 1. I love me some big weapons.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/25/09
Posts: 199

11/07/11 8:39:08 AM#5

I wanted to see teleports. Man I hate those things.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/18/10
Posts: 1031

11/07/11 8:41:28 AM#6

Originally posted by Senadina

You'll never win the argument to dress females in proper armor on this site. Men just don't get why we women object to our avatars being dressed like harlots. 

Although I agree many men don't get it, that doesn't mean that none of us do.

The real problem isn't how many gamers are men or women, its how many game developers are men. They are the ones creating these ridiculous outfits. Please, at least give us a choice for non-whorish armor, so those guys who do want to play streetwalkers stll can, and those who want a  warrior woman can have that too.

The real problem is not that many game developers are men either. The real problem is creating a game for a specific demographic, nerdy teenage boys, while that isn't the demographic of the people who will actually play the game.


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/08/04
Posts: 207

11/07/11 8:52:20 AM#7

i love BIG weapons! >..<


Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4889

11/07/11 8:57:22 AM#8

The Biggest Immersion Breaker out there for me is.....

"Upgrade to premium now and get this quest for free or buy this quest pack from our store!"


Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/04
Posts: 11

11/07/11 9:10:06 AM#9

I have seen players ride up to a merchent, get dismounted because they interacted with that merchent, saddle back up and ride over to the next merchant 5 STEPS AWAY !!! It took longer for the mount animation to play than it would of taken for them just to turn their point of view a little bit...............WTF!


Novice Member

Joined: 9/06/11
Posts: 30

11/07/11 9:11:25 AM#10

OH man, immersion breakers!

I got so many I don't know where to start, but I agree with the 5 up here, though mounts indoors doesn't trouble me that much.

A classic: carrying 5 bags filled to the brim, donning a heavy armor, having another set incase you'd be wanted in a different role, maybe another set for laughs, several mounts somewhere on you etc... I mean.. what race did you pick?  Behemoth?

Or a small snake appearantly carrying 5 silver and 3 copper (ok she could've accidently swallowed that) and a ringmail vest.  ...  Well it doesn't bother anyone much since it's an accepted gaming fact.  But don't we all just pause once in a while, wondering what that bear was doing with that Double Axe of Doom?


I really agree with the running.  Some games still punish running with fatigue, which is ok.  Other just called that 'sprint'.  Fact is that people don't want to 'enjoy the scenery' in a part of the game where they've already passed 1000 times, and increasing travelspeed brings them quicker to the good stuff.  That I understand and agree with, but when you're idling about, try and find that button to switch to walking?  I think you'll find yourself calming down a bit as well.  I also think that mounts shouldn't be able to run forever, but I've yet to run a distance ingame that far that'd make me believe that my mount could be tired by now.

Currently playing: Skyrim, SWTOR
Looking forward to: Guildwars 2 ! modestly excited for: The Secret World
Have played intensely: Rift, Eve, AoC, WoW, Conquer 2.0, Astonia 3
Have played less intensely: just about everything else


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/11/07
Posts: 180

11/07/11 9:13:25 AM#11

It's a good thing I don't play MMOs for realism.

So many of these suggestions would ruin my Gameplay experience.

Slower movement? Please..

No mount riding Indoors? Then give me a speed boost when I'm inside or in a city. The cheapest method in terms of development costs is to allow mounts indoors. MMOs need to implement Fast Travel systems like Oblivion, and Fallout. Allow me to use player craftable stones to do a Mark and Recall style system as well. 

G Strings, Leggings , bras et al? Could care less. I like watching women, I like watching naked women. Women like watching muscular, well proportioned men. Studies show that Women also like watching other attractive women. I don't want to see fat, ugly heroes or look at armor all day unless it's really nice armor and let's face it - the nicest armor is reserved for those that Raid. Solution would be to have every MMO separate appearance from Stats like Champions Online or City of Heroes. But even in those games Women create characters that show a lot of skin!

Oversized weapons are stylistic and artistic license. Again...realism about the size of swords in games where people can hurl fireballs from their fingertips without scorching their hands and burning down cities?



Novice Member

Joined: 8/29/04
Posts: 3091

11/07/11 9:14:47 AM#12

To also name a few:

- Instanced dungeons

- Unusable mob drops

- PvE mobs that spawn from no where

- Static PvE mobs

- Raid Gear

- PvP gear

- Player crafted gear trumped by magically appearing gear from Raid or PvP zones

- Day cycle only

- Loading screens

- Weak or non-existant death penalty

- Lack of risk/reward

- Absence of adventure

- Invisible walls

- Unscaleable terrain

- Symbols above NPC heads

- Jumping not affecting stamina

- Instant travel

- Inability to dye cloth or Armor

- Lack of contested lands or risk, rewards, remarkable and meaningful and realizable incentive to PvP


Novice Member

Joined: 5/07/06
Posts: 1075

11/07/11 9:16:18 AM#13

Immersion breakers:

1. Bloated UI

2. Annoying sound effects/animations (think Draenei Warrior saying: "Need more rage!")

3. Ugly/weird armor and Circus Clown Set +1

4. Linear leveling experience (especially when there's a Quest Helper)

5. Mindless grind



Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 3001

The more you hype an upcoming game in your mind, the more it will fail to meet your expectations.

11/07/11 9:17:35 AM#14


How is Cash Shops/Item malls not in this list, let alone not number one?


Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/11
Posts: 232

11/07/11 9:17:50 AM#15
+1 the guy above said

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/11/04
Posts: 3338

11/07/11 9:20:18 AM#16

One of the biggest immersion breakers for me is people who use brackets to denote roleplay.  I can usually just mentally filter stuff not related to the game, but something about seeing (( hi! )) immediately screams to me: "hey! it's a game, but ME, i'm being IN-CHARACTER! I'm NOT being the behind-the-keyboard-ME! I'm REALLY my character! Unlike all these OTHER people!  THEY ARE LAME!  They are NOT real! But ME, I'm my character! LOOK!"  


Seriously dude, if you can't figure out whether someone is in-character or not based on what they're saying, no amount of brackets is going to help you in life.

"I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."

- Raph Koster

Currently Playing: EQ2, Firefall


Novice Member

Joined: 10/23/05
Posts: 15

11/07/11 9:25:51 AM#17

I belieive number 5 is always dependent on the art style of the game, if they look rediculous, and if they match the quality of the game. The picture posted above shows a Berzerker in TERA, weapons are a exaggerated, but that's part of the art style, everything is bigger, more bold, and more decorative. And because of that, and it goes with the art style of the game. I find it to be fine.

Chibi anime games with Lances 4x the characters size, glowing pink with green lightning, rainbows, and an angry unicorn handle, just looks wrong.

I agree with the rest, but I do like to see distinction in armor between male and female, just not whoremer.

Lastly, you forgot the worst of all. LolSepherothXXIXIXZ <--- I think its self explanitory.



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Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 2370

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to post."

11/07/11 9:26:45 AM#18

Originally posted by Senadina

You'll never win the argument to dress females in proper armor on this site. Men just don't get why we women object to our avatars being dressed like harlots.  If I hear " it's a fantasy world" one more time I will break my keyboard. The real immersion breaker for me is high heels. Really? Practical monster hunting shoes? Women can barely walk in high heels, let alone fight monsters.

The real problem isn't how many gamers are men or women, its how many game developers are men. They are the ones creating these ridiculous outfits. Please, at least give us a choice for non-whorish armor, so those guys who do want to play streetwalkers stll can, and those who want a  warrior woman can have that too.


I have to love the irony of someone arguing against general sexist moronity by using general sexist moronity.


As to the article I think all your points are spot on Suzie. As to what I would add to the list from my own pet peeves, I'd say every and I mean EVERY character having the body of a greek god, and games where adventuring means just going out and whacking things with somehing heavy. About the only MMO I've played that offered alternatives was LOTRO with the hobbit quests.


I'd add my two cents about the issues of the silly chain mail bikinis and bulletproof nudity to help give you a man's perspective on the subject, but considering posters like the one I quoted, I feel there is probably very little point in doing so.

I will at least say that yes sadly sex does sell, but what annoys me is that marketing departments in every aspect of the entertainment industry seem to have have come to the conclusuon that it is the ONLY thing that does.


"Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "


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Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 18490

11/07/11 9:32:37 AM#19

I'm down with most of these except the children and the oversized weapons. Oh, and I loved my character's mesmer outfit. It wasn't skimpy at all. However "skimpy" armor doesn't fit in some settings and seems congrous in others.

From my experience most of the oversized weapons stemmed from the Asian mmo's and those the visual presentation for those mmo's is about "something else'. It's nto about "being real" so much as it's about  being representational, usally representing some sort of iconic idea.

I would rather not have players playing children. There really is nothing for a child to do as children don't generally have a lot of say in any world. I could see a solo game benig told from a child's poitn of view and perhaps being about that child's journey through an adult world. However, I don't see it working well in an mmo. Anything that a player would want to do wuold be curtailed by the restrictions a child would have and allowing children to have an adult "say" in the world would be an "immersion breaker".


I very much agree with the running everywhere. I"d walk more places in LOTRO but the walking animations are atrocious.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/10/08
Posts: 44

11/07/11 9:33:20 AM#20

Out of those 5 I'd say the biggest issue for me is number 4... big mounts indoors... usually covering a banker so you can't even target that NPC. (btw, they added it later on in Rift that one could ride indoors inside capital castles, so I quess it was requested)

As well as 4, though I do like my characters to look pretty, but I usually change gear while questing vs visiting cities (thank goodness for visual slots so don't have to carry around all that gear... in EQII and vanguard my female char had all the possible dresses).

But other topics that I find immersion breakers:

- NPCs standing around 24/7 in one spot and repeating the same sentence or movement.

- NPCs spawning out of nowhere, some mobs don't even seem to have females, so how do they actually do it? (I guess this links with your children topic), or some mobs like wolves, they usually hunt in packs/groups, so why are there one here and one there... or bears that have a large claimed area, you don't see them close to each other. Ok I do get it why you do in games, but some thought there please.

- odd items dropping off of mobs... like where does a snake keep his coin or a shield? loot should be appropriate for the mob. And I'd like to see more of the gear that the mob has actually on themselves to drop (e.g. if I'd like a piece of armor they have, I could go get it)

- oh and almost forgot, why spiders and other crawlers are so HUGE, I mean wouldn't it be more of a challenge if they'd be closer to their real size *grins evily* then the weapons wouldn't have to be gigasize.  On the note of spiders, seems most of the devs have arachnofobia as so many games have spiders as their most common mob ;p

- fighting is one thing, my brother loves to play games where he has to use skill and that actually impacts the kill. Like headshot is headshot and kills instantly, not after 15k hp down by shooting the mob 10 times. Also where you hit impacts. Like if you chop their head off - one would think their head would roll on the ground and the mob would die. Though same would happen to me, and as I'm not as skilled as my lil brother, no wonder I play mmos heh.

- one doesn't truly die - ever, some games have explained it that you just get unconcious, that at least tries to explain why you live forever, well not really, you don't even age. Sometimes I think I could play a game where my character would die (to a mortal wound that doesn't get treated, there would have to be a level of degree on wounds in this case). It would cure my alt-ism and it would truly show your skill if you'd survive through the game. But I guess folks play so fast through that they don't really care how many times your character dies. I got used to this as well.

I guess I could come up with more but better stop here ;p

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