Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Playing, gaming...

We've had some nice discussions with my son over the Christmas. This is the oldest one of them, at the tender age of 16. He's pretty clever - I know, I'm his father - and a pretty avid player of games of all sorts. A bit too avid would his mother say, to which I can only add my last words in any such discussion. Being "Yes, dear".

Anyhow, we've been discussing about the current games and how people play them. In fact, he brought up how he's being sick and bored of the people complaining about how MMO's are this and that and how they dig and tweak their characters to a point where they can take on any boss they like. In his words "that's not playing the game, that's playing for winning the game!" To which I can only add that it's the way you play any game to see the 'Game Over' screen and take heed on the signs to continue life.

The most recent incident of the sorts I have encountered comes from the new favorite of the MMO world. Yup, guessed right, it's SW:TOR with it's shining...whatever (yes, haven't played it and most probably won't in a while). I was kind of shocked to learn that people are getting anxious about the end game already, as they have capped their characters already. Come again? The game has been out about two weeks, has eight archetype based advancement lines and accompanying stories to go through?

And people have already 'won the game', gotten all out of it there is to have?

This is the thing with all MMO's out there, thanks to the competitive nature of current day people. Instead of taking the time to enjoy the game/life/hedonistic pleas, we take for granted that we always have to win. In MMO's there is nothing to win except the enjoyment of playing the game. Not gaming the living daylights out of it!

In a way, I would say to the designers of MMO's only this: make the content during the levelling the best content in the game, with fluff and extra doing for the people who enjoy it. They will stick with your game no matter what as long as there is new crafting skills to cover, new discoveries to make, new anything to gain or experience. Let the players blasting through the levelling up to the cap be disappointed, because they are the ones who get bored first and leave your game at the first sign of not being 'challenging' anymore.

Hecklers! In any MMO (I wish I could add the RPG in there, too...) the character who gets to the top of the levelling curve should be a revered hero and ought to retire. Instead, s/he will be living in eternal middle age crisis, trying to prove her/his worth to anyone who wants to listen.

Which isn't many, except the lot of similar failures out there.

Like I've said, I love to play the games for their content: 'end game' content is artificial and there should be the GAME OVER sign above the end bosses lair. But when I want to play a game for winning, I choose something else than a MMO to do it.

I'm more in favor of playing than gaming anyhow. What's your choice?