Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WAR again... or then not.

I just spent precious worktime reading through a selection of blogs. All more or less related or connected to WAR.

What really keeps amazing me about the blog entries is well pictured in my former post about the content and it's value to the generic player. The WAR blogs mainly tell about the game mechanics, how PQ's and RvR works and maybe, just maybe, about how the blogger's character survived through the evening.

But where are the detailed descriptions about the lore and background, which is so living, depressing and haunting in the original Warhammer IP? The WHFRP, though based on the miniature game's rules, contained a wealth of background and material from which to create content, and the initial opposition of the humanoids and Chaos Gods was so promising. And the additional material in the form of Tomes and manuals just made the creeping Chaos even more tangible to the player (and GM alike).

Nobody writes about the content. Only the mechanics.

I'm feeling like a complete idiot over here.

Like I earlier stated, in WoW I'm a horde player to the bone. Even to the point that I had really hard time accepting that my son wanted to have an Ally toon. Well, I gave up, but so did he after a while and switched to Horde. But that's another story. However, now that I have been forced to play on the Ally side, I've come across long and wonderfull quest lines that I feel are lacking on the Horde side, and I've found the 'other side' of the Azerothian lore. Or I'm unravelling it to me currently. As I don't have a background on the Warcraft-series, I don't have any previous understanding of the background of the world. I just have to rely on the information I get from the game to make a coherrent picture of the lore.

Sadly, World of Warcraft has done what the WAR bloggers are doing: cast the content aside and put the emphasis on playing the game. Instead of playing the game, by which I mean that this wonderfull role-playing environment is being used not as a place to adventure and grow the character, but to find a way to win the game, which -because of being a fantasy role-playing game- cannot be won.

I doubt that all the Bartle-test Explorers really are explorers. Based on the enormous emphasis of winning the game I'm pretty certain that most of them are achievers and/or the term explorer is somehow misused in the test results. It's not exploring for finding out new things, places and monsters in the game, but to explore the limits of the mechanics and finding a new way to win the game.

I am an explorer first. But I'm digging in the lore and places, finding more delight in new places and acquaintances than in beating the opposition to pulp. But I have to admit that I'm affected by the other players and their ways in the game.

And other bloggers.

I'm off to read a scroll.


Sara Pickell said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The Bartle test is interesting, but not very useful in determining player motivations. The very structure of the test presupposes that you must fall within the types.

As far as setting errata, part of it, for me, is that the dialogue doesn't engage me. It's in a freaking pop-up window, you know the things that most net savvy people tune out to preserve their sanity. It also doesn't come with any choices, at all, meaningful or otherwise. Why would I want someone to tell me my freaking story? It doesn't talk to me, it talks at me, and that's about it.

I can withstand kill ten foozle, I can even enjoy go here talk to x, what I can't enjoy is the way they streamline the quests cutting out all the good parts to make them work faster. I realize this isn't a single player game, but buddy Jesus people why are there no real quests? You know the kinds where you have an overarching objective to get to, and everything along the way is a way of moving towards the objective? Yeah, /rant...

Anyways, I'm still debating doing my own write up on WAR. If I do it'll be about game mechanics too, but then, that is what I study.

Copra said...

I can completely relate to that: the quests could be more involving in the sense that you could be active part of the discussion. Let it be multiple choice or just an appropriate click at a time (they've done it in several solo games already, how could that be so hard to script into a MMO?!?).

I'm a gamer, so I write about playing. I understand completely if you are involved in design that you write about mechanics, but why do everyone else concern themselves with it and claim they are just interested gamers?



Capn John said...

I think most Explorers are also Achievers, because you achieve something by exploring. In WoW you uncover the Map and that's an achievement, of sorts.

When I first started playing WoW that was me. I went everywhere, even places I shouldn't have, and often long before I should have. By lvl 30 I'd mapped literally every zone on the Eastern Kingdoms side, including both Plaguelands. Yes, I died, a lot.

I'd run through a zone from one side to the other, then look at my map for the blank spots. I wonder what's there? And back I'd go.

Not too long ago I made a Blog entry about the Quest System I'd like to see. Although I think it's a lot more RP oriented than many of today's MMO Gamers would be willing to accept. Rather than get into the Game to solve its puzzles, most MMO gamers only know how to do one thing.
/1 Where's Mankrik's wife???

Copra said...

Totally, completely agree with you capn john. Especially on the last paragraph you nailed it correctly. Instead of going for the cues and clues, people tend to take the short road.

I think that proves my point that people are playing the game to win, not to immerse themselves into the setting and lore.

There is also the point that WoW doesn't reward you for doing the exploratory 'achievements' and for most the exploration isn't an achievement in itself. As you can tell by the amount of praise Tome of Knowledge is getting for all this and then some.

I'm off to read your post, Cap'n John. Mayhaps I spot something that gets my eye.



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