Massively Multiplayer Musings

Good evening!

Earlier today, as I cruised my morning RSS feeds and daily-updating favourites, I came across some articles that I thought were very interesting. They’re about some unique problems and solutions found in Massively Multiplayer Online games. Now, I’ve previously said to people that I’m not a fan of MMO’s. That’s not exactly true: I just have some serious issues that are inherent to the genre. These articles each speak about one of those problems, so they attracted me like a bug to a zapper. Neither are very long, so I’ll link you to both and describe them, and in a few days, I’ll write up a combined response. In the meantime, I’d love it if people would read these two, and post their thoughts here, if any. It’s not very often someone actually tries to analyse WoW rather than bitch about it!

A View From the Road – Screw Warcraft IV. This article, written by Escapist regular John Funk, details the means by which Blizzard have actually screwed us out of a 4th Warcraft game. And by using World of Warcraft as an example, he goes on to argue that an MMO can indeed tell a story. I personally disagree, and I’ve said so on the comments thread, but I’ll write a little more about that in the coming days. Until then, check this out. Because even if we dislike it, it’s what’s happened, and there’s nothing that’ll change that.

Publisher’s Note – If They Are Persistant Why Do They Need Sequels? Alexander Macris, CEO of the guys who own and publish The Escapist, writes about one of the most significant yet unresolved issues regarding MMO games today. He calls it Database Deflation, but it’s the process by which challenge is reduced as people become better at the high end, so harder challenges and better loot are rewarded. This is one of the things I hate most about World of Warcraft; that a vast amount of the content is deprecated, so give it a read if you want to know a little more about something very important to online games like WoW, yet is rarely discussed.

Oh, and to be clear, I’ve played the following MMO’s for more than an afternoon: Lineage II, Mabinogi, City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Champions Online. So I reckon I’ve given the genre a fair go, and found it to leave a bad taste in my mouth on most occasions. But more on that in the next post!