Tobold's Blog
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Earning rewards vs. owning them

Back in 2013 I blogged a lot about Card Hunter. I liked that game very much, and its icon remained on my desktop, but I haven't played it in years. The game is complex enough that you forget how to play it well if you stop playing for several years. And then it is hard to get back into the game when it is somewhere in the middle of the campaign. All those nice rewards you collected aren't doing you much good if you don't play.

So I made a decision and mailed the Card Hunter support and asked them to reset my game. They mailed me back, reminding me that I would lose all the items I had collected. I replied that I had more fun earning rewards than owning them. So they reset my game, I started the campaign again from the start, and I am enjoying the story of Gary and his brother Melvin a lot. I don't even remember all the epics I had previously, I'm having fun collecting common, uncommon, and rare items.

If I look back at the MMORPGs I played, I remember some of the rewards I got, but only because of the effort it took to get them. Camping the Mammoth Cloak in Everquest for 16 hours, or getting the Will of Arlokk in vanilla World of Warcraft. I'm sure I was happy when epics dropped for me, but most of them are long forgotten now. Getting the rewards was fun. Owning them not so much, especially when the next expansion made your previous set of rewards obsolete.

This is so true. Games rely a lot on giving you a sense of accomplishment, which you get by completing challenges of all kinds. Rewards are a *signifier* of the accomplishment, but it's nothing more than a medal: a sign that "you did this". An Olympic gold medal is awesome if you win it, but for everybody else it's just a thing.
That sounds like a super classy customer support interaction. It's nice that they were both willing to do that for you, and provided the warnings about consequences and potential regret.
I always find I like the start of RPGs the best - when the world is full of mystery and you are gaining power. (I guess part of that is that in real life I am starting to hit the other end of the trip.) Anyway, relatively few games are compelling enough for me to complete. There are a few, from time to time.

I played Card Hunter too, maybe even heard of it here. I haven't in a while, but I think it was mostly because the cards/items got more complex and abstract. But what Tobold says was also true for me. For a long time while I still played, I only played the Mauve Manticore user-created scenarios, which have no relation to the power level of the characters you built.
Maybe MMOs would be better off if instead of expansions they would have new titles and you could copy your old characters there, while the old expansion would stay on a separate server as it is. New players would start with a generic gear lvl [last max] character on the new server.
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