Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mists of Pandaria is too fun to survive

One of my recurring problem with MMOs is the "this is fun" statement that defends a change based on how much fun it provides. Death penalty is not fun, minipets are. Now I'm not trying to claim that ones fun is nuisance for others, nor that some forms of fun don't belong to MMOs but to other type of entertainment.

Now I challenge the fun statement itself, based on Mists of Pandaria. I really like this new WoW expansion and it worth all the money I spent on it. I clearly play much more WoW than EVE now, which isn't what I planned. Don't worry, it won't last, exactly because Mists of Pandaria is fun.

Monkey gives laxative to sad pandas? Hahaha.
"Hozen party animal" being a real name of a trashmob? Muhahaha!
Rabbit-like humanoid mobs steal farm equipment and try to grow them? I laughed so hard!
Alementals? You got it, ALE-elementals?! Hahahahahahaha.
Yak-wash? God I rolled off my chair!

In MoP every second quest is a comedy which makes MoP questing addictive and funny. You don't want to miss the next joke, you read over the quest text looking for a hint, try to figure out who will end up locked in the outhouse, covered in manure, tarred and feathered, turned into rat or simply show himself a total idiot.

Same thing second time? That's lame. The main problem with "fun" is that it's based on novelty. The old joke isn't funny. An old joke is annoying. Without laughter over virmen there is nothing left but annoyingly fast-repopping mobs blocking my way from the quest objective. When you can no longer laugh on the "hozen party animals" all that's left is dancing between barrels.

The cinematics, the linear questing, the "story" is fun itself, even if not on the "hahahahaha" way. But second time it's simply awkward. That wall was broken long ago and even the wall-breaking beast was killed by a kung-fu master who could press literally one button. Why am I back where I was weeks ago? In old WoW the static World made sense: the actions of one warrior made little difference. Yes, you killed 10 wolves and you got paid. You helped that little farm with the wolf problem, but you know that there were more than 10 wolves, right? You saw them yourself. There are enough wolves for the next warrior. Now, in the story-based MMO you aren't one warrior who does his part. You are the hero who saves the World from all kind of terrors. You see the world changed (phasing) by your actions. The next guy should see the consequences of your actions. But he doesn't, he is the same hero on his own story and will kill the same epic evil I killed weeks ago. Funny that I wrote about this problem 4 years ago. Shame that Blizzard did not understand how is it a problem and choose to fix it by simply hiding it from our eyes by phasing. It's the ultimate alting-killer: you can pretend that the other players don't exist and you are a hero, but doing the very same stories as your alt is pretty dull.

The "fun-hahaha" and the "fun story" made Mists of Pandaria a fun game. But totally killed replayability and grindability. On the fourth month still fighting against the burning legion felt much more epic than still clearing rabbits and drunken monkeys from the same stupid brewery. A world must take itself seriously if it's meant to last. Fun games simply don't. You pick them up, you have fun with them and move on. MMOs want to last, so MMOs shouldn't be fun. Just check out EVE or vanilla WoW. They aren't much fun, but they last for years and kept collecting subscribers instead of losing them.

I love MoP and I'll totally going to buy the next WoW expansion. But I see absolutely no reason to keep my subscription in between. OK, maybe for one month a year from now to do the patch contents.


I made my very first nullsec trade adventure. I bought Drug manufacturing books seeded by null NPCs (for example Guristas) and hauled them to Jita. Since the neighboring nullsec is blue, it wasn't that hard in a cloaky frig. I bought them for 20M and selling for 25M. That's 5M profit on a book. Not much. On 100 books on the other hand that 0.5B. Just be careful, getting killed in a frig with 2B cargo can make you be famous!


For EVE trade and industrial discussions join Goblinworks channel.
If you want to get into nullsec, go to the official forum recruitment thread and type the name of the alliance you seek into the search and start reading. I'm in TEST by the way.
Thursday morning report: 170.4B (5.5 spent on main accounts, 4.8 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.2 on Ragnarok, 2.7 on Rorqual, 2.4 on Nyx, 2.8 on Dread, 17.4 sent as gift)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of this is going to change with each patch. Blizzard have cemented themselves into a big, overarching storyline with Mists.

5.0 sets us up with the story, the Vale, the factions, etc. We're fighting the Sha, the Mantid, the Mogu, we're learning about the different races and their backstory.

5.1 already looks like big faction warfare, we know Garrosh will be a raid boss in the expansion, and it's funny you mention the Burning Legion because I'd wager we'll see them crop up too - Wrathion's little intro confirmed that.

I think we'll see a lot of change from patch-to-patch in Mists - I hope we will, at least, because you're totally right in terms of never wanting to go through the same tired old jokes five or six times.

Anonymous said...

it's dead, they killed it with WotLK, it's just taking a while to realize it's dead. I'm 89 on my main and don't really want to log in to grind out the last stupid quests.

It's a game, it should be a challenge, you should die once in a while. You're not supposed to face roll your way through a game. I didn't enjoy Half-Life for example because I face-rolled it. UGH! I enjoyed it because I had to figure it out and then perform to complete it.

Dàchéng said...

Agreed. I was tired of the jokes the first time I read tehm, because I want to take my world seriously. The odd joke is fine, but like you say, do we really want most quests to be jokes? What are we doing planting peas and killing cartoon rodents in Pandaria, just two weeks after the destruction of Theramore? Isn't there something more important we should be doing?

dobablo said...

@Dàchéng
You say that as though it is all comedy. Panadaria is a seriously messed up place. Yes, there is one comedy zone and another that has some optional Grummle light relief but everything else is destruction, death, corruption and hatred. If it wasn't for some of the light-hearted aspects then this would be a very dark, bleak game.

Yaggle said...

I will have lots of fun with Mists of Pandaria also. I will get it for free in a year or so when they give it to me when somebody sends me a scroll of resurrection. Then for 3 x $14.95 for 3 months I will have a blast! I will leave Blizzard make the extra money from the M&S who pay $39.95 for MOP now or worse yet got Diablo 3 for 'free' and been subscribing to WoW for past 6 months also.

Bristal said...

"I really like this new WoW expansion and it worth all the money I spent on it. I clearly play much more WoW than EVE now..."

@Yaggle
Did you just call Gevlon and others M&S because they want to play the newest fun game now while it's new?

@Gevlom
Are you seriously (!) trying to argue that MoP will fail because people like it too much? That clearly a better strategy is a less fun game?

I'd love to hear that investor pitch.

Nomazar said...

Try Guilds Wars 2. It's worth every penny. Big world to explore without quest chain rails. Plus plenty of chances to get yourself killed. Level scaling makes running low level quests/zones if not challenging but at least they can not be face-rolled by hight level character. Plus story and lore is there.

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps Gevlon is trying to make a distinction between "fun" and "enjoyable".

Eve is enjoyable - it has a high degree of replayability and sucks you in with its "slow burn" approach to almost everything. There is no instant gratification and actions have meaning (Gevlon himself claims in another post that he is at least part of the reason for the overall reduction in implant prices in Jita, thanks to his war on 0.01ers - action with meaning right there).

Theme park mmos (and theme park games in general) are "fun" but do not have long term enjoyability because they cannot be replayed. Each replay becomes more and more of a drag (I actually suffered this recently when I took 2 fresh accounts and newb missioned them all to decent standings for trade - replaying those n00b missions again and again was really not fun. The first time was ok/interesting as I hadn't done the latest iteration of n00b missions before).

So Eve is enjoyable, but not always fun.

MoP is fun, but does not have much to offer in terms of long term enjoyment.

Johnicholas Hines said...

In the real world, there's a required return, something like 5% annually, in order to be competitive.

That 5% summarizes a bunch of smaller expectations - that a $1m business ought to be able to grow to a $1.05m business (or pay equivalent dividends) as well as that a $100m business ought to be able to grow to a $105m business.

However, the summary obscures some of the truth - that actually returns on very large projects are and ought to be smaller; in the real world it may be mostly linear across a broad range, but not entirely linear.

You gave an example of making 0.5b with 2b, and there's some fixed assets (ship, fitting, pilot) that enabled that trade. I don't know how long it will take to move that inventory (a day? a week?) and I don't know how many others are in the Drug skillbook importing business - but your market share for the day is probably high. Can you give other datapoints, try and outline what you think the curve of reasonable returns as a function of capital and/or market share is?

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