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Feb 12, 2009

Comments

1.

Very insightful post.

2.

Some excellent points, but I think it is important to recognize that there are trade-offs.

When praise is heaped on Eve Online, it is almost always for its underlying mechanics. You don't hear a lot about how awesome the story is or how epic it feels. These are things you do hear from a lot of people when they describe Blizzard games. "Eve has good mechanics. WoW tells a good story." That seems to be the prevailing wisdom in a nut shell.

Story and dynamism seem to exist on a continuum given the current economic realities of gaming. I would love to see someone turn this correlation on its head, and find a way to make a world that is both dynamic and well written, but so far the best anyone seems able to do is to make a conscious choice regarding where they want to fall on the continuum.

3.

Nexus: I am not a WoW player, so correct me if I am wrong, but the sense I've gotten is that while WoW tells a good story, it is not through the actions of the player, really—the story exists in the world independent of the players, and they are effectively an in-world audience. Conversely, the story in EVE is entirely player-action-driven, and thus really more like real-life ebb and flow than author-created dramatic build-up.

If this is the case (and I reiterate that I don't actually know enough about WoW to know), perhaps the key to good story and dynamism would lie in players, and a system that rewards dramatically appropriate actions? It's a sort of spur-of-the-moment thought, influenced by my experience with tabletop RPGs, but I think it might be a viable route.

4.

Kit: I think your analysis of WoW is actually pretty accurate, but I think it is worth noting that a lot of people game to escape the ebb and flow of reality. :)

A lot of this is going to come down to personal preference. I come from a tabletop background as well, but the benefit you have with that setting that you lose once you take things into the MMOG scale is selection. People who want a pure hack and slash game will tend to game together, as will people who are interested in storytelling. In heavily player-driven MMOGs people who enjoy hack-and-slash tend to actively prevent any other play style from occurring. Admittedly, this is the biased opinion of someone who scored 0% killer on Mr. Bartle's personality test.

The weird thing is I'm a big proponent of player control when it comes to social virtual worlds, but not when it comes to gaming, at least not of the implementations that I have seen to date.

5.

"The weird thing is I'm a big proponent of player control when it comes to social virtual worlds, but not when it comes to gaming"
if by "player control" you mean "choices" as opposed to "requests upon" or "demands" then why would that be "weird?"

thats the real difference between "win" goal oriented "games" and "exist/experience" virtual worlds be it for social or not reasons.

Whats "weird"..lol is that culturally you now see that desire as something out of the norm.

c3

6.

"The weird thing is I'm a big proponent of player control when it comes to social virtual worlds, but not when it comes to gaming"
if by "player control" you mean "choices" as opposed to "requests upon" or "demands" then why would that be "weird?"

thats the real difference between "win" goal oriented "games" and "exist/experience" virtual worlds be it for social or not reasons.

Whats "weird"..lol is that culturally you now see that desire as something out of the norm.

c3

7.

Somewhat off topic but Coraline is just your latest variation of Alice in Wonderland. Just compare it to Mirror Mask from 2005.

I'm not sure about your point that people make virtual worlds less empty and terrifying. If we consider console-based RPGs, we can see the kind of loyal following that these solo-plays have. I think that's indicative of the role of storytelling a la "Avatar, Avatar, you've finally returned" (I think that's what you're greeted with). The MMO version of a virtual world shouldn't be considered as the only definition.

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