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Top 5 MMO Immersion Breakers

Suzie Ford Posted:
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MMORPGs are games that are supposed to give us a diversion from the humdrum of our daily lives. I understand that, I really do. I’m completely at peace with the idea that the games I play are supposed to take my mind off of bills to pay and the car troubles and all of those real world concerns. By and large, they do a great job.

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!

Here are five things that would go a long way to bringing more reality into my fantasy without being too over the top:

5.) Running Everywhere

Everyone in MMOs today is in such a hurry. Hurry to get to the next quest. Hurry to get back to the nearest town. Hurry to meet up with fellow raiders. See Sally run. Run, Sally, run!

What’s the rush? Our real life worlds are filled with the same type of angst as we rush from an appointment to work to school to the next thing. Why does this have to be carried into our off time as well? There’s a part of me that gets it. Most of us, because our real lives are full and rushed, don’t have a ton of time to game so we want to maximize the time we do have. Still, people zooming around like The Flash are a bit distracting. I can live with folks rushing around on mounts. That’s what they’re for, after all, but to see players running in 500 pounds of armor and weaponry without any threat of fatigue setting in is stretching it a bit.

One solution to this would be to implement something like Diablo and Diablo 2. At the beginning of the game, characters were pretty much 98 pound weaklings with little or no stamina. Players running all the time quickly found themselves walking, usually at inopportune moments. Over time and experience, a character’s stamina built up and eventually gave them the godlike ability to run most, if not all, of the time.  Simple, right?

4.) Mount Riding Indoors

This is something of a nitpicky concern but one that just makes my teeth hurt when I see it. What’s the deal with people being able to ride monstrously huge beasts, or any mount for that matter, indoors? Not only is reality stretched to the breaking point due to the sheer size of the creature and the lack of size of the establishment’s doorway, but it begs to be asked which poor schmuck will end up having to clean up after these behemoths.

Many games force riders off of mounts on entry into a building but they do so very inconsistently. For instance in Rift, players can ride all around the insides of both Sanctum and Meridian castles. These are the capital cities. These are the headquarters of the two factions yet hundreds if not thousands of players and their pooping mounts pass through the hallowed halls every day. Inexplicably, there are small out of the way establishments that force Rift players off their mounts. But this doesn’t happen in the capital cities. Go figure.

3.) Children

Where have all the children gone in our MMOs? Some games throw a few running children into quest hub towns and cities but children are missing as active participants in our MMOs by and large. While I doubt anyone would advocate seeing kids out battling the monsters inhabiting the world, the settings in most MMOs are rather poorer for not having children in them. Why not make them quest givers in towns and cities? Why not head into the local school for Career Day so the kids can “ooh” and “aah” over our character’s prowess? Child NPCs should be scattered throughout our game worlds. After all, without kids, why bother saving the world in the first place?

2.) Wonder Bras, G-Strings, Spiked Heels & Evening Wear in the Field

I have written about this before and it’s something that is a real game breaker for me. I don’t dress like a 2-bit hooker in real life and I do not want to dress like a streetwalker in my MMO s either. What is the obsession with placing female characters in “armor”, and I do use that term very loosely, that amounts to pasties and thong underwear? And don’t forget the six-inch spike heeled boots either.

One of the worst examples of this horrible trend was in the original Guild Wars. Think Mesmers here. I mean come on. My poor Mesmer had to run around in leather and lace with a party mask on. While I realize that MMOs are supposed to stretch the bounds of reality, this was simply too much.

And while I’m at it: What’s the deal with evening wear in MMOs? Do these people really think that some woman bent on saving the world is going to put on her gold lame elbow length gloves, spike heeled sandals and an evening gown? It seems so.

Do not give me that tired old “but most gamers are guys and want to look at something pretty” argument either. It’s a clear statistical fact that female gamers make up a more than significant percentage of gamers so that won’t work here. I don’t care if these clothing options are in game but at least make wardrobe slots that allow for a more realistic look, for Pete’s sake!

1) Oversized Weapons

What is it with oversized weapons these days? It’s pretty astonishing to see gargantuan swords unsheathed and swung around a character’s head like the Fairy Godmother’s wand in Cinderella. Or what about those characters who wield telephone poles as lances? I mean, come on! It rather makes one wonder what these developers are compensating for, doesn’t it?

They say a picture speaks a thousand words so, to save your eyes, here’s what I mean:

So what about you? What more realistic things would you like to see in game? Let us know in the comments!


Suzie Ford

Suzie is the former Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom