Sunday, June 17, 2007

Exception to the Rule

Back in the oldest times, me and my buddies came from the crowbar-murder-squads of Half Life and the psychologically crippling Quakewhore Clans to the world of MMOs.

Suddenly, well, mebbe not that suddenly, heh, but eventually, at least, instead of just killing everybody and showering in their blood and eating their souls, we realized that we could actually use our evil circle-strafing super-competitive supernaturally-selected-uber-gamer-powers to help people.

Y'know, by guiding them through dangerous places in EQ, and making the other guys that wanted to be as horrible as we were shut up, y'know, stuff like that heh.

I'm one of those otherwise friendly semi-roleplayery guys that still give in to the random duel invite about fifty percent of the time.

I used to always give in to the random duel invites, but its been a very long time since I learned anything new in pvp combat (in MMOs especially), so now I only do it for nostalgia purposes, and to make buddies with newbs that wanna learn how to bend game mechanics to their advantage and stuff, 'cause if those random duel invite guys bother to keep playing an MMO (which is extremely rare), they'll eventually become really good friends to have around heh.

Of course, me killing somebody in a duel usually shocks and horrifies the gentle "I hate pvp" folk I tend to hang out with, so I'll usually only do if I'm running around by myself ahaha.

Anyways, all this hairy chest-thumping threat-display-posturing braggery bullcrap aside, what interests me the most in these games is the parts of them that are cooperative, and not competitive.

And though I may be a savage at heart and all that stuff, compared to some of you folks, at least, the parts of these games that really do seem to be designed to be cooperative are actually extremely few and far between.

Almost everything about these games is actually competitive, and not cooperative at all.

Heck, most of the cooperative stuff I see is players actually working against the game design to be cooperative, you basically have to put a serious hurt on yourself mathematically to do anything benevolent for somebody else in these games heh.

And I thought that was okay, at first, 'cause if there's one good reason to put aside endlessly competitive game mechanics, using it to prove yer not a greedy little human rat is a pretty good one heh.

But jeesh, man, you'd think somebody would try to make a game that was a little more cooperative than what we've been playing.

One where you didn't have to fight for loot, something with more-the-merrier style grouping, one where crafting wasn't pvp, one where you felt like you were a part of something bigger, where at least some of the stuff you did sorta helped the other human beings around you.

There's a million ways to do stuff like that.

But nobody is even trying 'em.

Even in games that "say" they don't have pvp (when what they actually mean is that they don't have any good pvp heh).

Hmm, actually the game that probably tried it the most was Shadowbane.

Okay, let's just forget I said anything AHAHA.

Well, whatever, it seems like these games wanna be all about bringing together people on the surface, but then every game system they got actually works against everybody in the exact opposite direction.

I dunno why that is.

Mebbe folks just ain't thinking about it or something, y'know, but building the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is uh, kinda dumb heh.

I think its just one of those results of the human capacity for selective memory, y'know, where we all remember great times, but we forget how they were literally the exception to the rule or something.


Michael said...

I completely agree.

CoH/CoV's SK system is easily one of the best things about that game. It's great that they've added it to EQ2, as well.

Here's hoping there's something like that in WAR, as I'm very much looking forward to that title. I tend to doubt it, though.

Sundry Chicken said...

reflections of a greater whole
(or hole if you're talking soul).

remember to pvp up when leaving home kids. the world eagerly awaits you.

begs the question... have any societies successfully cooperated without killing their neighbors, be they orcs, humans, zoroastrians, or the like?

you'd think in a fantasy world pplz could just get along.

Ole Bald Angus the Monk said...

I think that IS sorta what its all about heh.

Game mechanics and simulations created by the kid that got picked on every day is gonna be a little different than one created by a guy who wasn't heh.

Art about greed and the glory of capitalism for sale, ours is cheaper and better than the next guy's!

On the other hand, I'm not really after anything high falutin and political.

Just simple stuff, like spells that wizards could cast together to be more powerful (instead of only needing one in a group), or systems where crafters could work together to make junk (without some step where they cut each other's throats selling crap) to fill the kings armory, and auotmatic "behind the scenes" loot distribution, or like the Sidekick System Michael was talking about, carried even farther, where you could have QUESTS to help newbies, or whatever, there's literally HUNDREDS of ways you could at LEAST gloss over the Doctor Smith Bitter Human Fraility stuff instead of highlighting it and junk, and you can go a lot further with it than that into the positive side while yer at it, y'know?

Its not so much that I think it needs to be ENTIRELY like that, as I wonder why its so rare that its EVER like that in games about folks that are supposed to be all heroic and shiz heh.

We're not usually being rewarded for showing compassion for our brother man and working together and stuff, we're usually being punished for it and doing it anyway (if we're dong it at all).

Social simulations for antisocial people, where all the other players around you are IN YOUR WAY and OUT TO GET YOU heh.

I'm just saying there's lots of other ways to do it, lotsa PLAYERS been doing good guy stuff all along AGAINST the behavior reward system of the game mechanics.