Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 16, 2013
No fun later

As Azuriel always disagrees with me in the comment section of my blog :) , it is worth mentioning that I fully agree with his post on Instant Gratification vs Fun Investment. So much that I'd even use the same examples, deckbuilding in Magic the Gathering and campaign preparation for Dungeons & Dragons: For time investment for a future return of fun to be worth while, the activity into which you invest that time has to be fun by itself.

Of course in the context of MMORPGs it has to be remarked that at least for me leveling up a character has been fun for many years. I did not just do it as a time investment for some sort of "fun later" in the endgame. At some point in time I had 5 max level characters, with only one of them participating in any multiplayer endgame activity. And I always suspected that I wasn't the only one who found leveling fun, because if leveling was a boring obstacle to everybody, somebody would have developed a game where you would raid from the start, or introduced an "instant max level" option in the cash shop.

Furthermore, after having tried both serious raiding during vanilla WoW and more casual raiding later, I found that in fact those activities were not any more fun to me than non-endgame activities. At times serious raiding felt more like a job, due to a strict schedule and participation requirement. That was the guild that kicked me for the crime of going on holiday for 3 weeks in the summer. Also in various phases of raiding I must say I didn't have a whole lot of fun when we had to tackle the same content over and over and over again. Other endgame activities were even worse: I found "keep warfare" PvP in games like WAR or GW2 ridiculous zerg fests, and consider that whoever invented daily quests should be shot.

So the whole concept of investing time for fun later seemed always a bit shaky to me. And when after years of MMORPGs the leveling part became boring out of sheer repetitiveness, with every new game working the same, I stopped having "fun now", and didn't believe in "fun later". There is only so long and so often that you can stand a quest to kill 10 monsters, even if in the new game that quest has voice-over or you get the quest when entering the area with the 10 monsters instead of at a quest hub. And sorry, the writing even in triple-A MMORPGs isn't exactly J.R.R. Tolkien or George R.R. Martin (probably because the writers of quests didn't have "R.R." in their initials). Most often it isn't even up to Robert E. Howard pulp fiction writing standards. All this is fun for some time, but that fun breaks down after a decade of little change.

Today I want to start a game and have fun right away. And if I still don't have fun after a few hours, I ditch the game and start the next one. There are too many games to waste time on those who aren't fun.

"the activity into which you invest that time has to be fun by itself."

that is the key but it is the half true. The other half is that time investment to this activity MUST NOT be controlled by the company(Dailies, weeklies, caps). I understand that this activity needs to last for long time, otherwise it wouldn't called "long time investment" but I prefer it to be difficult and need long "game time" time rather than easy and need small "game time" extended by dailies into long "real time".

Leveling is great example.
1)Is fun
2)takes relative long(damn you blizzard for making leveling trivial and linear)
3)It has no daily/weekly caps
The main argument against "Pay2Win" is that it will influence the way the game is designed. Specifically, if the "Grind2Win" option isn't grindy enough, then the Pay2Win option won't be used as much, so money is "left on the table."
Specifically, if the "Grind2Win" option isn't grindy enough, then the Pay2Win option won't be used as much, so money is "left on the table."

A) Wrong thread.

B) The exact same argument is true for a subscription model: If the game isn't grindy enough, people finish it too quickly and money is left on the table.
We'll have to see how Wildstar Online measures up. I got a chance to play it at PAX East, I thought it was pretty fun. The developers made themselves very available and they appear to get it.

Hopefully they'll open more beta access soon, so you can judge for yourself.
Yep....totally agree. And I'm someone who plays the leveling game but won't touch the endgame. I've been in exactly two raids in all the years I played WoW, and neither was much fun. On the other hand, I've enjoyed Rift for its very casual open-world public questing approach, although that's an entirely different style from the hardcore WoW raider mindset.
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I don't entirely disagree, it's just that I think that it is very hard to distinguish between "fun in itself" and "fun due to investment" activities. They feel quite the the same.
Imagine WoW leveling knowing that you won't ever gain a level, won't ever gain a new ability. Would you have as much fun?
What one thinks that might happen in the future as a result of one's actions has a direct effect on fun felt.

Creating a MtG deck knowing that you will never play with that deck isn't fun.
Painting in Warhammer knowing that after you finished you will have to use other pieces is not fun.
Raising kids thinking that your actions will have no results wouldn't be fun.
Building a house knowing that this house won't be yours to live in wouldn't be fun.

The future is linked with the fun we have in the present.
Evolution uses 'fun' to tell us what to do. So it's really no surprise. If you find an activity that is so much fun in itself that you never think about what you do next, even the very next second, you tricked evolution; e.g. you're on drugs.
Well, here's how I see it:

there are some people who just enjoy MMOs for reasons that I cannot really fathom. That's fine and their reasons are equally fine.

BUT, and this is a big but, the game world doesn't revolve around them, and it seems like there are not enough of those people to make games designed for them be successful.

What's not fine is this expectation that other people are supposed to subsidize their predilections by buying and subscribing to games that aren't designed for what they want.

And that seems to me to be the basic conflict here. The hardcore players want triple A budgets, and they want the peons to foot the bill for it. The peons are wandering off and doing what they want.
Honestly, the last economic downturn has changed the games we can play.

I used to have time for the rich reward system of mmorpg's. Now my leisure time is fractured and uncertain.

The real world has become more demanding. Conversely, our games need to compensate for that by being less so.
I think daily quests actually do appeal to a lot of people, especially slightly different things like bombing runs etc. in WoW. A few little things to get you settled in before the raid starts, for example.
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