If I could change the world [of MMOs]…

I’ve been too busy to spend much time gaming lately, but to be honest, I haven’t really wanted to play all that much either. Many nights I spend my precious gaming time searching the net for new MMOs instead.

Why? Because I’m bored. Timezones and restricted gaming time make it impossible to do typical MMO endgame stuff – such as raids – and I’ve never enjoyed pvp, so now I’m leveling up another character on GW2 [Guild Wars 2] and feeling nostalgic about FFXI [Final Fantasy 11 online].

There were very good, and compelling reasons for leaving FFXI, but player housing was not one of them. In fact I probably kept on playing the game for far longer simply because player housing gave me an alternate reason to keep playing.

You see in FFXI, player housing was a bit like having a real life house of your own. You could furnish it with all sorts of things from antique tea sets to various styles of furniture. Think of it as having a very sophisticated and elaborate doll’s house in which you could move around.

And no, FFXI player housing didn’t look anything like this… but wouldn’t it be fun if it did?

Beyond the fun of redecorating though, player housing had other functions as well. Most of the items in our houses aided crafting in some way, and I always loved crafting so I could spend hours just messing around ‘at home’.

I have always loved ‘gardening’ as well, and in FFXI you could grow crystals in garden pots. I don’t want to go into what crystals were used for – just accept that they were valuable in-game commodities. Caring for my ‘garden’ took yet more time, time I was happy to spend.  And of course, finding the materials to feed my crafting and gardening took many more hours.

-sigh- I really miss that aspect of gaming. Not only did it give me something to do beyond upgrading my weapons and armour, it also made the game feel more life-like. After all, isn’t that pretty much what we all do in real life? We work to make life comfortable, and that includes buying clothes and shoes, cars or motorbikes, the latest gadgets, furniture, apartments or houses, vacations, entertainment etc.

In modern MMOs however, we can only really spend our in-game money on three related things – more powerful weapons, better armour, and mounts [personal transportation]. Sadly, GW2 doesn’t even have mounts so the incentive to keep playing is reduced by 1/3.

Now I know an awful lot of players will disagree with me on the question of incentives – most are young and are only really interested in the battling aspect of MMOs. But as those players get older, they too will begin to face the same life constraints that I do, and when that happens they will either stop playing altogether, or they will demand ‘more’ from their games.

In my not so humble opinion, MMO developers who want longevity for their products would do well to bring player housing back into the equation – as a standard part of the game dynamic. The MMOs that retain player housing also seem to retain their playerbase. Just saying.

Another thing I’d do, if I were a developer, is rethink the whole question of armour. At the moment, most Western MMOs combine the look of armour with its function. So for example, the Warrior class wears plate armour while Mages wear cloth, and you cannot mix and match to customize your appearance. This has the net result of making characters look alike, apart from a few small differences.

By contrast, A Perfect World International and Aion both split form from function. This allows for a great deal more individuality in appearance.

I would go one step further. I would make all armour neutral, and stats [functions such as defence] would become slot items.  This is not so very different to what we have now. It would merely formalize  upgrades into standard components. The difference would be that appearance would be completely separate to function.

In my ideal MMO, a Warrior could wear flowing robes, and a Mage could wear plate. 🙂

Well, the clock is ticking and this little detour into daydreams must end.  À bientôt mes amis!

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

12 responses to “If I could change the world [of MMOs]…

  • Anne Lawson

    I have to admit that I didn’t understand a single thing about your blog!! 🙂 It is obviously a whole world (or many worlds !) that has gone on under my nose without me noticing! I hope there is someone less ignorant out there who can help you with your dilemma — whatever it may be!!

    I am like EllaDee. I love the idea of secret worlds, [did you ever read ‘The Borrowers’?] but I already have too many things that take me away from my painting (and housework isn’t one!).

    Like

    • acflory

      -grin- I am sorry Anne. Sometimes my inner gamer breaks out. Time is a huge problem for me too, but basically I don’t watch TV [except for Dr Who and the news] so after dinner I relax ingame for a little while. For me it’s a reward for being a good girl all day. 😀

      Like

  • Jon Jefferson

    My quest for games lately is to find a decent tablet game that can draw me in. Recently I found that Knights of the Old Republic has come to Ipad. I might pick that up at some point (though I don’t like the 9.99 price point).

    DnD online has been the pc mmo of choice for a while now, though I rarely have time to play. It gives me the feeling of playing the tabletop version without having to wait for a gaming session with others.

    Like

    • acflory

      Another gamer! WELCOME JON! lol

      DnD is one I haven’t tried but I might check it out. The problem is the downloads. They are getting so big now, and take so long, I’ve become a lot less adventurous. And I know what you mean about time. I have the same problem.

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      • Jon Jefferson

        I agree. Even with decent high speed it can take a while. But then I also remember trying to download games on dial up. 90megs was a 6 hour task or longer. Now it is a few minutes.

        Like

        • acflory

          Gah…. we went straight to cable [only thing Foxtel was good for] so I’ve never had that pain but I have spent all night downloading mmo’s that crashed half way through 7 or 8 GB. Did not make me happy, especially as we only had a 20 GB download limit back then. 😦

          Like

  • EllaDee

    I have never gamed but I love the idea that you could be doing battle one minute, gardening or moving furniture the next… sounds like my in-laws house 😉

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – nice one. 😉 Check out the video clip in the second post I put up. It might even tempt you over to the dark side.

      Like

      • EllaDee

        You’ve tempted me enough already 😉 I have so many no productive thinsg to do and so little spare time.
        I have Wool waiting to be read, I’m in and out of reading The Barsetshire Diaries, and I’m reading Cross Stitch (also called Outlander #1 for the US market) by Diana Gabaldon which is cross between a historial sci fi fantasy genre and 50 Shades of Grey… and considering if I should embark on the entire series… I’ve been hiding the cover while reading on the train… but this morning a woman said to me with a smile “Oh, I LOVED that book…”
        I just can’t see me gaming, but thanks 😉

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        • acflory

          -giggles- you know if you bought a Kindle you could read ANYTHING on the train and no-one would know. 😉
          But I’ll stop teasing. I know gaming is not everyone’s cup of tea and time is always a factor in everything.

          Like

  • metan

    I am not a gamer, the seriously slow Internet here makes playing them online impossible, but I totally see why you would want to be able to have an online ‘life’ within the game.
    It is strange that you aren’t able to customise to your hearts content, everything we have these days has a million ways to make them our own, surely you would think it should carry through to that too. Perhaps it is too expensive for the developers to make a separate non-fighty part of the game?

    Like

    • acflory

      Player housing seems to go in and out of gaming fashion, but maybe it /is/ making a comeback. Just threw up a quick post about a new MMO called Wildstar. It isn’t available yet but player housing is part of the core design. In fact the whole game looks like a lot of fun. If you have the bandwidth, check out the video clip – I think you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

      Like

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