This post has been a long time in the making because I wanted to get it right. Recently with my getting back to Lotro, the mess I had in WoW with raiding and the news of the upcoming changes for Cataclysm, one thing is becoming obvious to me, we’re all pretty much dumb monkeys. Special thanks to Mmogamerchick last two posts for making me see how dumb I can get!
Don’t tell me how to play!
This seems so easy, everyone says it and everyone believes that they are playing their favorite MMO on their own terms. One can say he’s a PvP player, so that what he does! Another prefers collecting pets, so that what he does! But in reality, is he really playing the game on his own terms?
Let me take the example of the pet and mount collector. This guy hates commitment and raiding. What he loves the most is questing and grinding to raise reputations and get access to rare mounts and pets. However at some point he sees a pet he wants but can only get through PvP. Will he say screw it and just give up on that pet? Of course not… he’s going to grith his teeth and PvP until he can get the pet. A new rare mount from raiding? You can laugh your ass off as you see the guy try to become an endgame raider just to get a mount. Soon enough he’ll be doing his daily heroics just like everyone else even if he wants nothing to do with it.
Think about it, think about what you want out of a MMO and count all the stuff you did that you originally didn’t want to do. And what do we do when we are doing something we don’t want to? We aim for the path of less resistance.
Choosing the path of resistance
The path of less resistance is only that. There’s less resistance. It’s not the path of ultimate fun or the path of getting what you want. It only happens to be faster and/or easier.
Let’s say that what you truly enjoy is raiding with huge 25 man groups, you just love the challenge and the feeling of epicness you get. On the other hand you hate farming with a passion. You don’t want to run heroics but you figure you have no other choice…
Really? Think carefully about it. What prevents you from building a new raid group to raid Naxxramas and work you way up the normal progression? The raids are still there, the loot still drop and nothing has changed. There’s a quicker option to get to the latest dungeon but there’s absolutely nothing in the rules of the game preventing you from doing it.
Sure it’s going to be incredibly painful and complicated to get enough people to start raiding. Yes, it may take a few attempts to make it work. It’s a lot harder but there’s nothing that say you have no right to do it.
If you’re having more fun this way, why not take the hard path? Why would you buy into the system?
I have to thank Lotro and it’s skirmish system for opening my eyes. The skirmish system in Lotro is more or less the same thing as the LFG tool in WoW. Quick instances that net a ton of loot and xp. A great system to level quickly and gear yourself up. But since coming back to Lotro I’ve barely used it.
Why? Because I’m having more fun exploring the zones and doing the quests. It’s a lot slower and there’s a ton of waste of time traveling but for me it’s more enjoyable.
Games designers often put these alternate systems into games to offer more options to players. To allow someone who’s on his 10th alt and just want to get to endgame faster options. It’s a great idea and it should make games better but it’s not always the case. Alternate becomes required and soon enough you find yourself playing the game how others expect you to just so you can get ahead faster.
But there’s one thing a lot of people forget. None of these are required, you can always choose a slower and harder path, but one that might bring you a lot more fun.