Latest conclusions from the “flow”

I’ll have to add an index as I have time. Here I’m saving some final considerations and basic points that I’m squeezing out the ongoing discussion.

Raging Turtle:
I hear people complaining about power creep, but really, why the hell would you stay in the game otherwise?

Straight from Raph:

I don’t at all equate levels and character advancement. Levels is one means of providing character advancement. I very much disagree that increasing power is the sole way of doing this.

Why would I play a game? Because I’m interested in the experience it offers me and having lots of fun in it. Consequence -> I really want to be part and active subject of this world.

The power creep is really a detail, even for those who love the progression. Again from Raph (I’m starting to feel like a well-trained bot):

Rather, I agree with what you said the first time, which is that it’s about the journey. I don’t think very many people get much enjoyment solely from the levelling process. Rather, the levels are the markers on the road. The road is what needs to be interesting and fun. You seem to be saying that as long as the growth via levels is there, the game can be less. I think that the ways in which we acknowledge achievement — and yes, even grant increased power — are secondary to the actual journey. Saying that “the enjoyment is less about the game and more about the growth” is exactly what is parodied in ProgressQuest.

This is REALLY the most basic stuff. We shouldn’t discuss about this in this sort of community. We aren’t five years ago. With WoW there’s a REAL RISK to demolish all we learnt if that success is observed superficially like that.

I find it’s best to stir things up occasionally by pointing out that thousands of fun games have been made, but no one has yet succeeded in making a fun virtual world. They’ll deny that fact, but that’s what puts them firmly in the “wrong” camp. :)

Well, I didn’t deny the fact at all. Quoting from previous comments:

We all know how sandbox games SUCK. And they do. But this doesn’t mean that they HAVE TO.

What’s the first flaw of a sandbox? It’s lack of direction. The fact that you don’t know what you are supposed to do next and you feel overwhelmed and lost.

Still today the sandbox games are those where I had the LESS fun. So why I love them anyway? Because what I see is their potential beyond those flaws that have been impassable barriers for me. And if have that silly dream of becoming a developer it’s because I dream about what these games will be when those barriers will be removed.

That’s the myth I’m chasing.

Back to Raph:

Many many MMO devs disagree with you. I have heard many MMO devs cite “story” as the principal reason and strength for MMOs, for example. I happen to disagree with that, but there’s little doubt that this rigid control is a major success factor for WoW.

And back to me:

The point is: the rigid control is needed to overcome the huge flaws of freeform games (see the discussion on F13). What is interesting to figure out is why the rigid control is a success factor.

Imho, because it adds accessibility. And this whole genre has HUGE problems in the accessibility. ESPECIALLY Raph’s games (take that).

But it’s still possible to have direction and a whole collection of linear paths *within* a freeform sandbox. You would still preserve the possibility to go on your own, but the presence of those paths would allow you to still have a definite “purpose” if you need one. And learn/enjoy the game progressively instead of feeling ‘lost and overwhelmed’.

That’s the core point that isn’t working in the “other type” of games.

Leave a Reply