Kill 5 rats, and then...

Friday, June 24, 2011 | 4

Game developers must think we're idiots...

Quest premises imply that they were created for a mentally touched audience. In the time before all this internet mumbo-jumbo someone decided that an obligatory step on the way to becoming the savior of humanity is killing a bunch of vermin in a tavern basement. This, of course, provides new players with a way to calibrate themselves to a tutorial-level enemy so that they don't get embarrassed by goblins on the road to glory.

This type of obligatory right of passage is expected in MMORPGs because it serves a purpose. You kill the 5 rats and collect their rat-juice to make rat-margaritas which teaches you how to fight, collect, and craft all in one short introductory quest. The problem the comes when the chief of your local village starts asking hardened warriors to collect dragon-juice to make dragon-scotch. Where does it end? How is this a game?

I can only assume that patrons of the modern MMORPG are either fans of waiting in long theme-park lines (but not riding the rides), or that pathetically starved for social interaction that they don't mind doing horribly boring things as long as it leads to a political conversation with a 12 year old in general chat. I'm just not sure what the point of it all could be.

Demand more.

In my exclusive awards ceremony, I picked on a game that isn't even in beta yet: Star Wars - The Old Republic by implying that they're entirely missing the point with all of their funding, licensing, and production values. That is primarily due to the press behind the game that would indicate that other than graphics and flare, the game basically plays exactly like World of Warcraft.

You can confirm it here. As you can see, from purely a UI and gameplay standpoint - this game has been made before... at least 5 times. Also, that vehicle in the video seems to indicate that vehicles in a galaxy far far away require exceptional core strength to operate.

For those of you unfamiliar with the title, Star Wars - The Old Republic boasts the largest development budget of any new MMORPG to date. When BioWare put their fat heads together, the must have decided that the thing that is missing from popular MMORPGs is voice acting, so they seem to have devoted all of their creativity to that aspect. Don't get me wrong, BioWare is one of the few groups that actually puts effort into storytelling and character development, but the inevitable success of this game is only going to set a new standard in the industry that could set creativity back 10 years.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Star Wars - The Old Republic will be full of rat quests that are beautifully executed. The rats will sound convincing, and you will understand their motivation, but in the end you're still just making the same stupid rat-margaritas.

For the record, I loved the KotOR series, and I will definitely give this game a look once it is in a playable phase. I just don't subscribe to the idea that hearing NPCs tell you to get rat-juice is any better than just reading the prompt.

Off the topic even further, but in Star Wars news, Star Wars Galaxies is coming down soon as another example of SOE mishandling assets. Maybe someone will hack them... Oh wait!

4 comments :

  1. Are you a wizard? How did you predict the future?

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  2. "All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again..."

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  3. I want to say that it isnt bioware's fault because SOE asked them to make a MMO about 4 years before the announcement of SWTOR (around the time SWG tanked)and the bioware teams pretty much said "are u nuts? we do narrative RPGs, how would u translate that into an MMO where almost every eon will have to have the same experience?" and then a few months after EA bought them look who is making an MMO. but really it is their fault, they could have atleast TRIED to make an innovative game.

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  4. They could have tried, but I think you're right. They really have no business making a MMORPG that is largely single-player.

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