Efficiency in MMORPGs

I read over Tobold’s latest about World of Microtransactions, and how we got there.  There’s been new ideas brewing in my head lately about his and other bloggers ideas on RMT.

The more I read the more little contradictory messages pop up in between the lines on the subject of RMTs business model.  More specifically how it effects the players experience or value.

I agree with the last paragraph in Tobold’s post, but the rest of it doesn’t really cater to me.  I noticed it’s based on assumptions.  Assumptions like many others have, which I think lends itself to some validity.  Enough people seem to be concerned about some issues. That’s valid enough for me.

You can read it for yourselves but I wanted to comment on some particulars.  He talks about how we get to having a slew of facebook games and reward systems that are opposite traditional board games in how you spend your time.

You have to remember that even if these MMORPG players are or are becoming the majority(I don’t know), they aren’t all players.  Casual games, like facebook games account for the largest market within the video game industry and make much more money than any other sector.  Because people play them.

But assuming how the majority(and I don’t know if they really are the majority) play MMORPGs and then taking that scenario into specific areas of MMORPG game play can muddy the waters.

What I’m saying is that Tobold has a good post, but it still stays within confines of an arbitrary argument.

I myself have tried to spell out to people how there’s too much real life that enters in effecting peoples time spent in a game and how they choose to play it.  But there’s a rub there.  How you choose to play it.

Look at it from the stand point of “How can I derive fun”.  In real life I don’t go looking for something that will give me fun.  Even if you say, “You go to the mall to have fun.”  It is really a form of you seeking out that fun.  You don’t go to an arcade because the arcade gives you fun.  You go to the arcade because you are likely to take a lot of fun from that place.

What’s this have to do with efficiency?  Well if you play an MMORPG and are trying to be efficient by leveling fast and by taking the best quests and all that jazz, then maybe that’s part of how you have fun.  Efficiency comes into play for me sometimes.  I like doing things the best possible way.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction.  But efficiency does not equal fun in itself.

If you try to stay efficient because you have fun and/or try to compete in a PvP setting that’s fine too, but PvP is a minority group when it comes to MMORPGs.  Look at how many PvE servers there are compared to PvP servers, and how many casual games exist.

I also agree with a bit of Tobold’s paragraph on time spent and rewards:

The influence of time spent on rewards and thus social status in MMORPGs has led to a curious reversal of how people regard time spent: In other forms of entertainment the time spent in the entertainment activity is a gain, in a MMORPG time spent is often considered a loss, a cost. If you paid $15 for a movie ticket, you’d be seriously annoyed if the movie lasted only 5 minutes, because you counted on having paid for something like 90 minutes of entertainment. In MMORPGs, if it would take 90 minutes of killing monsters to do a quest and get a reward instead of just 5 minutes, you’d complain about “the grind”. Any time spent in a MMORPG in an activity that doesn’t give a reward is considered pointless, and any addition of a reward even as silly as an “achievement” to a previously pointless activity will make players pursue it.

But knowing what Tobold mentions previously, we see that this paragraph is more of a description about a pre-existing minority of MMORPG players than anything else.

Then we go back to my comment on how all this is still stuck into an arbitrary argument.  Where does the fun really fit into all this?  It doesn’t.  Fun transcends all of this.

Just like Tobold eluded to, people wanting rewards to be motivated or how they feel about a reward after 90 minutes of “grinding”.  Does that feel like grinding for a majority of players?  and are all rewards created equal?  Even if the rewards were intended to provide some sort of game balance, or more correctly, to be a reward without creating imbalance.  There are titles you can earn in Runes of Magic that do nothing, yet I like some of the rewards more than others simply because of what they say.  Water Purifier that anyone can get at level 5 was kind of neat to me, while Order of the Dark Glory Temp at a much higher level was less “valuable” to me.

It’s still a lot of semantics within this arbitrary argument.

The last paragraph where I agree with him, is on how I think the majority of players feel about different business models, not on the fun they are deriving from a game.  Basically What tedious content?, where?, and why and who is it tedious for?  The minority?

I don’t think we should oust the minority.  I prefer playing on PvP servers, it’s like getting more options.

In the end, I think it’s a great post, but I think it continues to feed misconception.

It’s fun to hypothesize, philosophize, and analyze, but don’t buy into or start selling short what a game has been since before tiddly winks.  For a person to have fun.  Arbitrary arguments like these, in my opinion(:Alik wink) seem to too easily overpower a persons thoughts, and then they use it as a sounding board or jumping off point for improving MMORPGs.  It’s faulty because these aren’t really the sources for that.  That’s been proven by looking at the success of casual games and the success of both RMT and reasonably priced subscription models.

  • Crafting is not the greatest in Runes of Magic, but I get a huge rush, sense of fulfillment, and fun when I’ve gathered for hours and made some nice gold(and it’s not derived from comparing it to how much someone else is making, but it could be).
  • I’ve stood in the city square for hours having chatted then logged off, and went away happy and having had fun.
  • Any argument, or debate about the current state or future states of F2P are fun to discuss, but I’ve never let it cause me to have more or less fun.  I make fun:)
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One Response to “Efficiency in MMORPGs”

  1. bonjour, merci pour cette info , moi j’adore les jeux gratuit .

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