Tenfold Hate


Reality Asylum
November 23, 2007, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Gaming, MMORPGs, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

The other night I was listening to a discussion on Troy and Karen’s always thought provoking Voyages of Vanguard podcast regarding upcoming changes to travel time in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. From what I gleaned from the producer’s letter released a few weeks back, players will eventually be able to traverse the vast game world quicker, allowing them to spend more game time PLAYING rather than commuting from Point A to Point B.

Some hardcore players act like the sky is falling. Most of us, especially anyone who has a substantial commute to and from work in real life, really don’t need this sense of “reality” in the limited game time we have each night. Travel should be meaningful. But if half the gamer’s time is spent traveling from the guild hall to a dungeon on another continent, only to realize it’s bedtime upon arriving at the destination, well, that’s not fun no matter how you cut it.

The Voyages of Vanguard discussion turned to gamers’ definitions of “reality” or “realism” in games. Certain elements of reality add to immersion and enhance player experience. Um, like climbing ladders, scaling walls, kicking over a table, picking a torch off a wall, tying a horse to a hitching post—things that ironically, you can’t do in most of today’s most popular MMORPGs. And people are whining because it might take 10 minutes rather than 40 to get from Point A to Point B? Down with monorails and jet planes, I say!

I get the impression that these are the same people who LOVE crafting because of the sense of “reality” it lends to a game. There’s nothing wrong with crafting. Crafting adds a nice mini-game to most MMOs. It’s great to be able to make your own gear–and crafting can be an important pillar of a player-based economy. It has meaning in this regard. But the ACT of crafting? Boring.

I play games to do things I can’t do in twenty-first century society—cast spells, wear chain mail, battle fantastic foes, run around town waving a cutlass, etc. If I wanted to craft, I’d buy a decoupage kit. I can do it in real life with a much more satisfying end result. Crafting in real life–from woodworking to knitting–can be challenging, meditative, intuitive, mathematical, and extremely gratifying. Crafting in a game (for me) is a series of button clicks and probability rolls that occur in between half-watching The Office or talking on the phone.

Once again, I digress. Reality has it’s ups-and-downs, but that’s why we have things like games, music, movies, whiskey, and books to help ease reality’s grasp on us when we need a little breather. Let’s leave the more monotonous aspects of reality out of our entertainment time.

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2 Comments

I’ve always found it curious why people actually want things to move slower in MMOs and faster in real life.

Comment by darrenl

Heh heh. You basically encapsulated my 6 paragraphs of hot air in one sentence, Darren.
: )

Comment by tenfoldhate




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