Friday, April 17, 2009
Life on the fast lane
It keeps surprising me how fast some people go from "this is the best game ever" hype phase to the phase where they mostly see a game's flaws and only stick around because their friends play, or they are hoping for a miracle patch. Keen, who leads a particularly fast life in this respect, only needed one month to go through these phases with Darkfall, and now calls it poorly executed. Meanwhile Syncaine recovered from Tourette's and actually posted a thoughtful analysis on why many players are losing interest in Darkfall now. Who would have thought he would ever echo Scott "anti-PvP" Jennings' thought that a lot more players THINK they like PvP than really do?
Kudos to Aventurine for either realizing this truth beforehand, or having been extremely lucky in having had only the financial means to open up one server, because that is all a niche game like Darkfall is ever going to support. Contrary to popular belief I don't "hate" Darkfall. I wish them lots of success and financial stability for many years to come. Some people just take my totally realistic remarks on the size of the hardcore PvP market for negativity or "hate", when in fact PvP mostly evokes a feeling of indifference from me. It is really hard to hate a game you're not even playing, and have no interest to play. I play them a bit, in an effort to remain informed, and then usually quit fast, having found that none ever overcame my principal objections against PvP games in general.
Syncaine calls Darkfall a "sandbox" game, which to some extent all PvP games are: A large portion of the "content" is the interaction with other players, and not developer-produced content. Which wouldn't be so bad if that interaction wasn't so fundamentally negative. I do like PwP (player with player) sandbox interaction games like A Tale in the Desert far more than I like PvP games, in which players constantly work against each other. Not to mention that some people in these games make you think that "sandbox" game is a reference to the kind of tantrum-throwing behavior you'll find from 3-year olds in a sandbox on the playground.
But to come back to the original subject, I do find that PvP games evoke far stronger emotions than PvE games, which by nature a more passive, and about the consumption of developer-produced content. Developers make sure the content they throw at you is at least minimally pleasant: The monster might kill you, but at least it won't teabag you. And I do have the impression that by force of these stronger emotions the hype-to-burnout cycle for PvP games is faster. What do you think about that theory?