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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Explain this idea of "Immersion" to me.

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  Sunshinee

Novice Member

Joined: 5/07/11
Posts: 12

 
OP  4/18/13 2:53:12 AM#1

Maybe this is the same old thread, just written differently but I know a lot of you old timers on here love to talk how certain features in a game "break your immersion".

I've in the past have been in beta's and lobbied for group finder tools if they weren't present, flying mounts, instant teleports to dungeons etc etc the tools that make the game possibly more accessible, and weren't wasting your time in general.

Now I've been playing MMO's since pre cu swg. I played WoW before all the tools were available, and I embraced all the tools I've mentioned plus alot more that had come into existence in WoW and other mmo's.

I guess where I question people is at the point where I hear the argument that these break "immersion". I get how these things can be Anti social, but let's be serious with every supposed anti social tool you guys think exist, in any real triple AAA mmo that falls on each individual itself as to whether they want to be social or not. People have a wide variety of experiences with those tools like LFG tools and found plenty of people to be social using them, and vice versa.

So when I hear Immersion breaking as an argument I'm left confused. Are these individuals pretending that they are their own actual characters they see on screen and want to be "immersed" in this feeling of being in this great giant world fighting these evil beast as this mighty conquering hero?

This is a serious question I've wondered, when I've gamed I don't do any of this imagining. Granted this whole thing might just be predicated on each indivuals playstyle.I'm mostly competitive and the type of person who likes to be on the top so I play a game to play a game. Not to feel like I myself am in this pretend virtual world. On top of that in a mmo, there is thousands of other supposed "heroes" running around killing the same mobs as you are. I just have a very hard time seeing it.

Either way I'm curious to understand this side of the argument and or if I am possibly way off base and nobody does this? Either way, thoughts?

 

  muffins89

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/15/12
Posts: 1255

4/18/13 3:05:23 AM#2
this is a great topic.  so,  i hope some people respond.  as i am also curious. 

I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  Hedeon

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/27/05
Posts: 925

4/18/13 3:13:24 AM#3

Im not an old timer, and never use the term this break my immersion - especially it get silly to me, when people say other people break their immersion, since then it is impossible to play an online game..

but I do hate dungeon finders, because it change my perspective into....this is just a dungeon/gear grinder, I hate when instances is easy to get to, as the whole travel through an open dungeon is what Ive enjoyed the most, in my time with MMOs....travel through a dungeon to reach a hard to get to place, having to work on unlocks for those places....making the instance special - aint even certain it is possible to get that perspective back for me anymore though, but it is what I used to love in a MMO, and at times get frustrated by : P

but I dont play MMOs to play a dungeon/gear/level grinder...not to say I dont like abit of grinding

  Caldrin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 4271

4/18/13 3:14:40 AM#4

Never done role playing myself in MMOs.. not really into that kind of thing..

 

But anything that is out of the place in the world tends to brake the immersion for me... so lets say sun glasses and shorts in a fantasy game.. just totally spoils it for me... its stupid stuff like that..

There are other things i dont like about recent MMOs but they are not immersion brakers as such they are game brakers LOL :)

 

 

My 3D models
http://dragon3d.webs.com/

  Consuetudo

Novice Member

Joined: 6/20/12
Posts: 130

4/18/13 3:15:30 AM#5

An immersive world is one in which the feeling that a game is being played is kept to a minimum. That circumstance wherein the entire game revolves around combat, the player being a hero, bosses, and the typical mechanic, effectually distances the player from the world, and he becomes conscious that he is playing another game. On the contrary, supply him with bustling cities, amazing works of architecture, innovative quest sequences, a working economy, a dynamic crafting system, and the environment in general in which he can function of a citizen of that world, and he will very much find himself at times forgetting that he is playing a game, and so much sympathize with his character that he will ensure that the character sleeps on a bed every time he logs out. 

The immersive world is really escapism. It is the living through another, and any element in which the notion of a game retains too much significance will only function as a detraction from this immersive ability. 

As another thread states, we want worlds, in comparison to games. The single player RPG can function as a game all it likes, but when throwing together a bunch of persons in the midst of a common experience, a massive multiplayer world, as it were, then the only goal therein is the provision of such a world. Not a game. 

  Adamantine

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/07/08
Posts: 3365

War is not the ultima ratio, but the ultima irratio - Willy Brandt

4/18/13 3:43:04 AM#6

Well, I'm highly allergic to uses of the word "immersion". Not that I'm actually against it. Just because when people use this word, they always mean something different and something very irrelevant for actually having a great game.

Immersion is to me actually the effect that a game sucks you in.

How do you get immersion ? By good game design. And by nothing else.

The most immersive game I ever encountered was chess. A proven fantastic game design. Chess has stolen my sleep at night, because I couldnt stop thinking about it. No other game ever archieved that.

Now what do people mean when they use the word "immersion" ? They mean realism. They demand all kinds of riddiculous and awful things just to make games more "realistic". Your character should need food, your character should need to use the bathroom, and so on and so forth.

These are truely awful ideas because they dont improve the gameplay. They are just repetitive actions. Nobody will be sucked more into the game by this.

  psychobgr

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/14/12
Posts: 150

4/18/13 3:52:52 AM#7
To me it means a virtual world where things like night and day, weather cycles. A world where it is active things going on and gives you a feeling of a living world instead of a static world, npc's chatting and going about their business this to me is "immersion". Elder scrolls (Skyrim,Oblivion) does this well.
  ariasaitcho

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/20/12
Posts: 112

4/18/13 4:01:35 AM#8

Immersion for me is looking up at the clock and realizing that it's 3 hours past when I should have gone to bed. :)

 

What breaks immersion for me is the school girl sailor uniforms, swim suits, steam punk leather, etc. If you're going to do fantasy, do fantasy. If you're going to do steam-punk, do steam-punk. While I do understand that steam-punk is a genre of fantasy; sword and sorcery is what most people are referring to when they say "fantasy". The two ideas don't mix well. Seeing dragon mounts flapping mid air next to steam powered car mounts, with hot air balloon mounts floating in the distance is just idiotic.

  Reizlanzer

Novice Member

Joined: 6/04/04
Posts: 449

"Pain is only a pulse if you just stop feeling it."

4/18/13 4:17:51 AM#9

Now I’m going to tell you a lengthy and kind of detailed story about my first experience with the genre in effort to re-live nostalgia and explain to you what is “immersion breaking” about new games. This is likely TL;DR for most of you and understandably so. So I’ll tell you upfront that my point is basically, (To use a classic gaming analogy) todays games are more “Mario Brothers” and less “Zelda”. On the one hand you have a game that is really fun, replayable and instantly accessible and on the other you have a game with a story, leveling curve of sorts, mechanics and customization on a macro level. Todays games seem to have forgotten what it is to actually place things in their world that hold strong meaning. Mario has secret level skips... Zelda has secret shops that might offer items that drastically change the way you play the game but offer no distinct advantage.


Christmas 99, I just got Everquest after reading about it for a couple months in a 3 part review from Gamepro. I entered the world as a Human Warrior from Freeport. I went out into the newbie area, blinded by a sandstorm killing snakes and skeletons... getting beat up by orcs. Learning that you shouldn’t mess with town guards nor other players that con red to you. Wasn’t long that Human blindness at night wasn’t doing it for you so I searched out a Torch I remember a merchant selling. Used most of my money to buy said torch and reveled in my new found light. Wandered too far out into the commons and died repeatedly to high level stuff.


Made a new character with lessons in mind from my Human that stuck with me until my newly made Dark Elf Shadowknight was 60 and has his epic. Loved how ultravision worked, gave me light without having light - everything was a bluish hue.


Now at this point, in effort to spare everyone from being too detail rich let me speed things up and bullet point a few things. I loved how punishing the game was if you were careless in exploration and didn’t have an escape plan. I loved how places like Kitchikor were hell at night and tame during the day. You and other players would gather around the zone line for safety and trade stories. I loved how groups formed out of necessity or choice rather than content gating. I loved how even old dungeons held value, even to your max level character (Mithril Greatsword anyone?)


There was something special about how Everquest was held together back in the day. What wasn’t special was how Spirit of the Wolf was a rarity even though it was a pretty common spell. In place of simply making it more accessible, EQ and every game since then has gone NUTS with Flight Paths, Insta-Teleportation, Mounts and instance warping. I think there are things that are fine about all of the aforementioned... but in excess alongside virtually no penalty for death, leaves game worlds feeling much like empty playgrounds. Playgrounds are fine and good, they have Swings, Slides, See-Saws and sometimes jungle gyms - but most of those are more fun with friends.

MMORPGs are no different, it’s cool that there are events and quest hubs and places that funnel players so everyone ends up participating together... there are rarely threats, or challenges or things that force you outside your comfort zone or even things that make you run away in terror. You are put into a position where you are invincible, win or lose who gives a crap. You’re out a corpse run, maybe some money or in extreme cases... stat degradation. Who gives a crap is a terrible feeling, because after the initial thrill is gone, where is the permanence. I bet I lost a good 80 hours of game play cumulatively from back when I played Everquest from dying and corpse runs. Did that suck? Hell yeah! As a result of that pile of suck however in hindsight, I had some great thrills and some of my most memorable MMORPG experiences to date. Not much has come close to it save Raid Bosses in WoW where we were against the clock trying to get a top 100 world kill on a boss or in PvP games where giant political messes came to a culmination in a spectacular fight.


So let me reiterate, when people say certain features like Dungeon Finder, Death Mechanics, Funneled PvP, Charity Gear and Passive Story elements are “immersion breaking”, they mean that there is just no way to obtain that old feeling of risk vs reward without the absence of a great number of these features. Sure, if implemented in a way that these elements weren’t the centerpiece of every feature they represented, it might be ok. But as it stands I think I speak for a great many when I say that it would be better if those features were present but separate from the rest of the game.


If someone wants a dungeon they can run through with party members formed from the quickest possible outlet, let them. I don’t have a perfect solution for everyone, I just know that I want a game that is current and gives me the kind of trepidation and memories that I’ve described in this post.


I’ve no problem with any of these mechanics, it’s that they are implemented at the exclusion of my favorites.

 

EDIT: Reading back at my post, I've realized that some of my examples especially the first one were poor. I've left it as is however, because I'm too tired to edit it.

People think it's fun to pretend your a monster. Me I spend my life pretending I'm not. - Dexter Morgan

  Jemcrystal

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 1369

Let em put a slave ring thru u're nose u're prob not going to like where they're taking you. Think.

4/18/13 4:38:15 AM#10

The attitude toward mmo's has changed over time and the "old timers" can't figure out why so they blame all the new stuff.  Their lack of immersion, what ever that means to them, has not been caused by dungeon finders or faster leveling or whatever.  It's being bored of doing the same shiz over and over.  It was great "way back when" only because it was new to humanity.  Humans must advance or we get bored.  We always hit a tech wall right after a tech speed boost.  Hell yeah you old timers thought you had it good.  You were playing with Pick Up Sticks before mmo's came out!

There is no way to go back to that era unless we erase from our brains every mmo we ever played.  The newness has worn off and it is not the dungeon finder's fault.

But yeah, someone need to define "immersion" if we continue to use the euphemism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6EoRBvdVPQ

  kjempff

Elite Member

Joined: 10/12/04
Posts: 759

Make worlds not stories

4/18/13 4:39:05 AM#11

You sort of answered your own question. Immersion is basically imagination, beeing drawn into the game world and accepting its premises; That you are a character by the name of Heywood who met some other characters, not people, but the dwarf Sharpaxe and the elf with the drinking problem who wierdly enough always comes through and heals you when needed.

You are your character and your character is you for awhile, escapism at its finest. Offcourse it is not possible to stay deeply immersed in a mmorpg, but depending on who you are there are degrees of immersion you can build up by playing for awhile without interruption. Like reading a book is immersive, so can a mmorpg pull you in if you let it (and if the game lets you). But Immersion is not roleplaying, that was an example; it can also be playing the builder in a RTS game, it can be 5 pixels whacking away in minecraft, it can be anything that will let your imagination fly.

Immersion breaking is simply stuff that brings you out of this state, and that is individual how much it takes. For me Immersion breaking can be real life references in game, voice chat, spammers, ingame references to item shops or reminding me of something out of character, to some degree unnatural stuff like receiving stuff without interacting with anything in the game (looting something, talking to a npc), floating islands without reason (magic, space). Railroading, and basically anything that forces your imagination into a box can be a Immersion breaker.

An Immersive game world is one that I can beleive would exist even if I didn't play, that I am just a guest visiting a reality with a set of rules that makes sense within the game setting. Creating a world too obviously created just for a player, and not a character is a sure way of killing immersion; Quest hub hopping is an example, although it can be done with various degrees of finesse. If I generally beleive in the setting and premises the game presents to me, then I can look past some stuff but when there is too much static/bull the scales will tip.

add: This thread was possibly just a bait to get an answer that can be used to trollolol away with, but owell there was my definition of immersion if anyone was genuinely interested in trying to understand.

  Shaigh

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/07/13
Posts: 337

4/18/13 6:25:07 AM#12

Noone looks for full reality because that would make for a very dull game, so we will accept lots of unrealistic things because it makes the game better. Its only during the moments when unrealistic things becomes things you dislike about the game and you prefer something more realistic that you start hearing about how it completely breaks the immersion.

 

Gaming for me is about having fun, and I am having more fun when I just try to enjoy myself. When I see things that could break my immersion I put on my 15 seconds memory, make a groan about how stupid it is, and then I focus on having fun again and it simply wont break my immersion.Gaming stops being fun when you do your best of being negative about everything you see.

  fivoroth

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 2927

4/18/13 6:41:17 AM#13
Originally posted by Jemcrystal

The attitude toward mmo's has changed over time and the "old timers" can't figure out why so they blame all the new stuff.  Their lack of immersion, what ever that means to them, has not been caused by dungeon finders or faster leveling or whatever.  It's being bored of doing the same shiz over and over.  It was great "way back when" only because it was new to humanity.  Humans must advance or we get bored.  We always hit a tech wall right after a tech speed boost.  Hell yeah you old timers thought you had it good.  You were playing with Pick Up Sticks before mmo's came out!

There is no way to go back to that era unless we erase from our brains every mmo we ever played.  The newness has worn off and it is not the dungeon finder's fault.

But yeah, someone need to define "immersion" if we continue to use the euphemism.

I agree with this post. The old timers want to have the same excitement they had when they first played an MMO. The vast majority of MMO players tend to be super biased towards their first MMO because they experienced all the MMO mechanics for the first time. Then they compare their memories, which are even further biased by nostalgia, with current games and they greatly dislike them. Most of these people are bored with MMO mechanics. The thing about MMOs are that they are super addictive the first time you play them. It's all shiny and new and very different to what you come across in other game genres. MMOs encourage people to play crazy hours. What happens is that people simply get bored with MMO mechanics. MMO mechanics become boring much quicker than in other genres. People can play FPS and RTS for ages without getting bored with their seemingly repetitive mechanics. MMOs however don't tend to age this well. Once you are burnt out on MMOs, you are usually burnt out for good.

People make it sound that the mechanics in EQ were vastly different to WoW but that's not entirely true. The fundamental mechanics are pretty similar and most MMOs have a lot in common which is usually to be expected just like FPS/RTS games have a lot in common.

Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  AlBQuirky

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Joined: 1/24/05
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Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

4/18/13 7:01:39 AM#14


Originally posted by Sunshinee
Maybe this is the same old thread, just written differently but I know a lot of you old timers on here love to talk how certain features in a game "break your immersion".

I've in the past have been in beta's and lobbied for group finder tools if they weren't present, flying mounts, instant teleports to dungeons etc etc the tools that make the game possibly more accessible, and weren't wasting your time in general.

Now I've been playing MMO's since pre cu swg. I played WoW before all the tools were available, and I embraced all the tools I've mentioned plus alot more that had come into existence in WoW and other mmo's.

I guess where I question people is at the point where I hear the argument that these break "immersion". I get how these things can be Anti social, but let's be serious with every supposed anti social tool you guys think exist, in any real triple AAA mmo that falls on each individual itself as to whether they want to be social or not. People have a wide variety of experiences with those tools like LFG tools and found plenty of people to be social using them, and vice versa.

So when I hear Immersion breaking as an argument I'm left confused. Are these individuals pretending that they are their own actual characters they see on screen and want to be "immersed" in this feeling of being in this great giant world fighting these evil beast as this mighty conquering hero?

This is a serious question I've wondered, when I've gamed I don't do any of this imagining. Granted this whole thing might just be predicated on each indivuals playstyle.I'm mostly competitive and the type of person who likes to be on the top so I play a game to play a game. Not to feel like I myself am in this pretend virtual world. On top of that in a mmo, there is thousands of other supposed "heroes" running around killing the same mobs as you are. I just have a very hard time seeing it.

Either way I'm curious to understand this side of the argument and or if I am possibly way off base and nobody does this? Either way, thoughts?



I'll take a shot, as I am one who likes to use that term, "Immersion Breaking."

First, let me address the part I underlined of your OP. People looking for immersion hardly ever think anything in a game is a "waste of time." People who like this accessibility usually are goal oriented players that want to "get there, get it done, get the reward" as quickly as possible. Nothing wrong with that style of gameplay. It is enjoyed by millions of players :)

However, without those tools, unforeseen adventures may take place. You may be running from point A to point B when you happen across another player possibly struggling in a conflict. You may stop to lend a hand, even ask if they need help. People used to sit outside of dungeons looking for a party. Some people may gather and conversation may take place amongst them. It may be found that a group with common goals or playstyles may form. If that happens, conversations very likely will continue on into the dungeon within the group. You may even stay grouped after the dungeon run and go elsewhere seeking adventure. I'm not saying this cannot happen with group finder tools, but in my experience, it is much more rare.

Immersion is the intangible things in a game that draw you into it. In EverQuest, they had languages. Most people would ignore that, but people seeking immersion may sit down with one or more people in a group and learn/teach each other different languages. Then, they might use that language in chat. They could understand others using that language. Nothing game breaking by any means, but something that draws a player into the game.

Other immersion enticing activities are the ones that do not give an immediate or obvious reward. Crafting, spell research, lore gathering, and the like are not really needed to advance in the game. But they do draw the player into the game.

Another activity that EQ had and many HATED was when a magic user used their spellbook, they saw nothing else but their spellbook. Immersion-wise, that made sense because the magic user was supposed to be meditating, or concentrating very hard on their magic. Many a mage died while meditating because they could not see the incoming monster that smacked them silly. The mage could see the chat text, but that was it. It drew some players further into the game because it made sense.

What it really boils down to for me is, "Do I get to decide for my character?", or does the game? Every decision that is taken out of my hands means that I am no longer playing the character I want, but rather a character the developers want me to play. I'm not talking total freedom, for that is impossible. But given the guidelines of the game, there should be lots of possibilities within those guidelines.

I'll use GW2 crafting for an example here. I thought I would do the vaunted "experimental crafting" one day. I had all my materials and set down to craft. When I clicked on one item to combine, suddenly only items that would combine successfully with that material were available to click on. All other materials were grayed out, not click-able. I could not fail. I also could not experiment. The decision was taken out of my player's hands and I was following what the devs wanted me to do.

Now, immersion can easily go overboard. Everyone has their specific breaking point. Having to eat food by clicking buttons 3 times a day and sleep for 4-8 hours every 24 hour period is a bit much for my own tastes. Having to keep food and drink handy in a player's backpack to be used automatically by the game when your hunger and thirst arise is fine by me.

It is a tough balance between accessibility and immersion. Immersion used to win the game, but accessibility has taken a HUGE lead lately. I hope that made some sense :)

PS: Do games even have diseases of any significance any more?

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  thexrated

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Joined: 11/26/04
Posts: 1379

4/18/13 7:38:35 AM#15

A lack of immersion for me can come from multiple sources, but I list few main ones here:

- Graphics, items etc. do not conform to the lore and setting . A common occurance is when games that are supposed to be about a fantasy world use pop-culture references from our modern world.

- Disassociation and dislocation, an aspect of the game makes you feel like you are no longer a part of the game world or the setting.  

- Breaking material/physics laws, a game mechanic breaks certain laws that make it appear ridiculous and not approrite for the setting.

For some people, some might be quite serious and even game breaking. Some might not care at all.

"The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in."

  MumboJumbo

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Veni, Vidi, Converti

4/18/13 7:49:29 AM#16

It's the old wizard of oz trick: Pulling back the curtain and you can see this wee gnome pulling the levers and speaking into a loud-speaker to amplify his voice and twiddle the nobs and buttons etc. Gamify 3d environments vs simulating virtual worlds. Devs know standard ways of doing things now to increase accessibility -> leads to more gamifying and more immediate fun. But perhaps less long-lasting fun?

  thexrated

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Joined: 11/26/04
Posts: 1379

4/18/13 7:59:02 AM#17
Originally posted by MumboJumbo

It's the old wizard of oz trick: Pulling back the curtain and you can see this wee gnome pulling the levers and speaking into a loud-speaker to amplify his voice and twiddle the nobs and buttons etc. Gamify 3d environments vs simulating virtual worlds. Devs know standard ways of doing things now to increase accessibility -> leads to more gamifying and more immediate fun. But perhaps less long-lasting fun?

Yep, think about Frodo teleporting to Mount Doom and dropping the ring into lava without the need to journey from Shire.

"The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in."

  jpnz

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Posts: 3565

4/18/13 8:14:14 AM#18
Originally posted by thexrated
 

Yep, think about Frodo teleporting to Mount Doom and dropping the ring into lava without the need to journey from Shire.

Which would have saved countless lives. What's the problem? :P

Gdemami -
Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  Volkon

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Joined: 9/14/10
Posts: 3813

Facts do not require fiction for balance.

4/18/13 9:12:40 AM#19
Immersion for me is simple. It's when you look up at the clock and say "Oh crap, I need to get to bed!".

Oderint, dum metuant.

  Volkon

Novice Member

Joined: 9/14/10
Posts: 3813

Facts do not require fiction for balance.

4/18/13 9:13:46 AM#20
Originally posted by thexrated
Originally posted by MumboJumbo

It's the old wizard of oz trick: Pulling back the curtain and you can see this wee gnome pulling the levers and speaking into a loud-speaker to amplify his voice and twiddle the nobs and buttons etc. Gamify 3d environments vs simulating virtual worlds. Devs know standard ways of doing things now to increase accessibility -> leads to more gamifying and more immediate fun. But perhaps less long-lasting fun?

Yep, think about Frodo teleporting to Mount Doom and dropping the ring into lava without the need to journey from Shire.

 

If he could have, he would have I guarantee it.

Oderint, dum metuant.

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