An idea to make MMO’s more Engaging

Given that I’m not apart of a larger online community that plays online games and most if not ALL of my friends don’t play any MMO’s (save for the occasional WOW straggler, and thank you but no… And by that I mean never ever again). It occurs to me that the one thing missing is the bond you create with either additional playable characters or the NPC’s in the realm.

Sure these named characters exist, but thanks to the hashed and rehashed systems, these NPC’s request 20 spleans and that’s the end of it. As a result every MMO has really felt, well, empty. Its teaming with other player characters and more and more the visuals are just breathtaking. But when you solo in these games they feel really void of any depth.

How do you fix that?

Excellent question!  A couple thoughts that come to mind are that you could make this more like an old-school RPG and actually have Party Members as it were. People whom you can either control (or not) in combat and they run around with you in this vast world. They can have their own story arcs and engage you in a way that I’ve found every story in every MMO just simply lacking. You want Character Development? Then have you character develop by intermingling with NPC’s. They might grow fond of you or for their own selfish motives come along with you for the ride. In worlds vast as these, you could have Hundreds or thousands of options. And just think, that high priest who stands in that one spot might actually be useful for something. They join you on your quest and when you go to next town, he’s ableto get you into see the high chancellor of Yarlesburg. Or perhaps your party Members split when you enter cities and through their mere existence you’re able to access more missions and story.

I know this is no small ask, but just think of all the quirky interactions you could have via Dragon Age where in you team up with another actual player and your parties intermingle. They chat, perhaps people come and go through dialogue cut scenes.

I want to play some of these games pretty badly until I actually play them. The repetition and hollowness just kill it for me. And the occasional co-star for a mission further drives the lack of depth. Why not try something more dynamic and interesting? Get me to care about my character, the people, and the world I’m in?

Ah well. There’s my two cents.

Update: A penny more. Also? Banter. You ever notice how when you interact with NPC’s you get monologued? Who in real life walks up to a stranger and willingly stands there while three pages of back story are thrown at you? Context is great… but if I only have a handful of missions with/for you. I don’t care if your family was burnt and now I need to pilfer their poltergeist forms. Come with me and pilfer the ghastly beasts. Engage me in conversation. Don’t lecture. Give me some incentive rather than gold and experience point. Why the hell should I care?

And there’s the crux. Get me invested in what I’m doing. The world should be fun in its own right. The goal shouldn’t be grinding. Why do people play Team Fortress 2? Certainly not story, but because its fun. Find that balance of a game with a story resulting in 60-100 hours of play time with almost infinite replayability (League of Legends?) and bam… You’ve got a solid gold unicorn.

A Facebook Detox

With my nerd glasses properly perched, precariously on my nose I sit here and sigh… Figuratively speaking.

I’ve got a bad habit worse than food and its called, browsing the same four sites over and over again. The sites I’m lurking on aren’t exactly uncommon or unknown to most. But darn if they don’t distract me from what I’m trying to get done.

The sites are:

  1. Facebook.com
  2. Engadget.com
  3. Macrumors.com
  4. Kickstarter.com

So as of tonight, I’m stopping this browsing habit. Why? Because while technology is important in my field, I find that the articles in these websites lead to more consumeristic tendencies that I care for. Namely I can either afford to buy (or back in the case of Kickstarter) more crap that I don’t need or pay more off my student loans.  Frankly, I want those loans gone.

End of story.

So instead, I’m done. I’m going to use this wonderful extension called Stay Focused to try and cold-turkey myself back into the world of the productive. Basically I can block or limit the amount of time daily that I have access to sites. Wonderful eh?

I’m sure some curses shall be uttered over the next few days. But I’ve got too many ideas to keep getting distracted by cute baby cows and the latest review.