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The Quinquennial (or sometimes more often)

Various thoughts on online gaming, often pulled from articles I've written for other sources.

Author: Quizzical

Is that worth it?

Posted by Quizzical Saturday January 17 2009 at 11:54PM
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Far too often, I’ve seen people ask whether a quest or dungeon or whatever is "worth it". Well, worth what? Worth half a sack of rice and two Argentine pesos? It is sometimes enough to make one want to grab the poser of the question firmly by the shoulders, shake him vigorously, and ask, what is wrong with you? Why are you playing this game if you don't like doing the content?

What they mean, of course, is to ask whether the reward given at the end of the quest is enough to make doing the quest worthwhile. That is, there is an implicit assumption that they won’t to do the quest if it gives no in-game rewards, but if doing the quest is the way to earn something they want, they will.

That is completely preposterous. You "earn" things by doing something you don't want to do, in order to get something you want. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a job you love, then your job may still be worth doing in order to get enough money to buy an online game subscription--and not starve. For things that need to be done, such exchanges to make doing work worthwhile are quite useful.

That should not be so in online game that is played only for entertainment. If there are people starving in the world, it's not because you took too long to reach the level cap and get a bunch of epics. The content along the way, and in particular, the means by which levels and gear are obtained, ought to be fun in itself. To make yourself miserable in order to get epics in a game that you fundamentally hate cannot be "worth it" in any sane sense.

All too often, players try to compound this problem. They’ll pick up on something stupid that takes a long time to do, and then say that it should give big rewards because it takes so long. This is completely absurd. If you got a thousand characters to level 5, would you expect epics for that? Emphasizing time spent over skill leads to mind-numbingly repetitive content, which is exactly what should be avoided.

Indeed, many players are aware that what they’re asking for big rewards for is a complete nuisance. They implicitly admit it when they claim that if there aren’t big rewards for going on some raid, then players won’t do it. That is, they’re admitting that it’s not fun in itself. And that is precisely why it should not give such big rewards.

The most important reward for having accomplished something is that you have done it. If anything more than this is required in order for the accomplishment to be “worth it”, then the answer is, no, it’s not worth it.