Editorial by Robert Fitzgerald
Wouldn't it be great if everything you wanted could be handed to you right when you wanted it You could save yourself three hours of watching television awaiting the outcome of some football game, basketball game or other tedious sporting event and jump right to the end and know who won. Wouldn't it be great to cut through all the time consuming drama of last minute comebacks, touchdown saving tackles and buzzer beater three-pointers for the win and just know that your favourite team won or lost the game. Who has the time to sit and await the outcome anymore? Time is valuable, once gone it never comes back. Why waste so much of it doing something that you enjoy when you could skip directly to the climax of your emotion and get it over with in a few minutes. The end is the only thing that counts in a game, right?
Why limit our new and amazing power to sporting events when we could apply this wonderful ability to other areas of our lives in an effort to save valuable time. Who has time to go see a movie anymore? Let's use our superpower to condense every movie into a five minute synopsis with detail coverage of the movies ending. We could save ourselves one to two hours per movie this way. Why waste valuable time watching the drama, comedy or suspense unfold when we have the ability to prevent the inevitable emotional roller coaster associated with movies and just find out how it ended? Who really cares about all the stuff in the beginning and middle anyway? All of the value is found at the end, right?
Fortunately for those of us who are gamers, we have acquired this new power over our gaming lives. Why trudge through all the tedious quests and level grinding when we can just pay someone to do it for us. After all, it's not the journey that counts in MMORPGs it's the destination. If there is one thing I want to accomplish in my gaming life, it would have to be winning a game that has no end. I don't have time for tedious things like fighting intelligent mobs, figuring out challenging and creative quest lines, or interacting in a world built around the concept of immersion. Give me something pretty to look at, easy to play and a way to jump to the end without too much effort. In my mind, paying fifty bucks for a game and another fifteen a month in subscription fees, just cries out for another hundred dollars to be spent in getting to the level cap quickly. I am a busy guy and I don't have time to beat the game myself. Beating the game is what really counts.
I am sure some of you are completely confused right now. You're wondering "why play an MMORPG if you don't have the time to enjoy the challenge of working through it?" Working through it, which is exactly my point. Who wants to work through anything that is supposed to be fun? Work and fun don't belong in the same sentence. Don't try to convince me level tread milling isn't work, because we all know that it is work. I don't care how imaginative the mobs are, I don't care how creative the quests are, it is all work. I just want to get to the end of the game so I can head straight to boredom and then move on to the next great thing. I have only a few hours per week to enjoy MMORPGs, why waste that precious time struggling through the levels when I can spend it strutting around level capped in my epic armor?
I read this editorial about innovation in games and how the new breed of games seems to lack innovation. This article went on and on about intuitive artificial intelligence, more realistic and immersive environments and more challenging mobs and how improvements in those areas would improve the overall depth and quality of games. Depth? I don't have time for depth or challenging mobs. Make the mobs stand where they always stand and fight the way they always fight so I can whack the crap out of them for experience and loot. I have levels to gain and the clock is ticking. Innovation, are you serious? Here's some innovative ideas for Mr. Big shot editorial writer, innovate a way I can option out of all the quests and jump straight to the max level. Innovate a way those of us with busy schedules can level as fast as those players who are online 24/7 without spending the $100 for a power leveling company. Innovate a way I can enjoy the game without actually having to play it. Then endgame is what really counts, everything else is just filler. Why are game developers wasting their time and effort on things like flora and fauna in games in the first place? It rains, it gets cloudy and sometimes there's snowfall, so what does any of that have to do with me getting my next level. It's not like I can kill the pretty butterflies and other nice non-interactive animals the developers put into games for immersion. If developers are going to put realistic weather into the game, then make sure it helps me level in some way. If the rain isn't giving me experience, then I don't need it. What's the point of having snow if it doesn't spawn the "Snow Mob of Uber Experience Giving"?
Let us be honest here folks, if there was a Gameshark for MMORPGs we'd all have one. The whole point of playing an MMORPG is to win. Winning is everything even in a genre that technically doesn't have an ending. Developers love to tell us how they have an ever-changing world of endless possibilities and other nonsense. Endless, they can say endless all they want, we know if the level cap is level 60, then that is where the game ends. Sure, we continue to play the game a little longer after we reach cap, but that is only so that we can flaunt our uber gaming skill and phat armor. Once we have been recognized by the masses as the elite gamer that we are, we can cancel our account and move on to the next great thing. Give me convenience or give me cheat codes, either way I am headed to the end-game without delay.
Ultimately, games should be designed for people like me. I have a job and a family and limited time to devote to my beloved hobby, therefore I deserve instant gratification when I login. Those of you who have so much free time to spend on frivolous quests and exploration are the minority. You can wish and hope all you want for your "Innovative" games, but it's my money and the money of busy people like me who will continue to drive the MMORPG development trends. Give me easy, give me fast and save all of your innovation for some gamer who actually has time to stop and smell the virtual roses.