Sunday, September 16, 2007

Timesinks

As I speak Throg is waxing 55 pieces of Lebethron in order to achieve Artisan level forestry. This process will take about 5 minutes during which time my character is locked up and all I can do is watch a progress bar repeatedly fill up and reset. I choose not to watch that - I'll blog instead thank you.

This is not fun. This is pointless time-wasting. I wouldn't even bother only Throg needs that skill in order to prospect higher level ores and since one of Throgs main income streams comes from selling ore he better do it.

Yawn. I know why games do this. I know that progress in game is time related and all things must take a certain amount of time. I know developers must ensure that character don't burn through content too quickly so there must be time sinks in the game.

I know but I don't care. I don't want to wait around while I watch a progress bar. I don't want to have to compromise my enjoyment just to satisfy the requirements of the game developers.

A long time ago I did a course in marketing. One of the things that stuck in my mind is the following: Early entrants into a new market often force their customers to make compromises in order to suit themselves (the suppliers). For example Ford forced every customer to have a black car because it saved manufacturing cost. A proven strategy for attacking the market lead of early entrants is to discover those types of compromise and give the customer what they want instead. Give them multi-colour cars in other words.

Current MMORPGS force their customers to make all kinds of unpleasant compromises just to suit the needs of the game developers. Guild Wars abandoned most of the time sinks but it forced players to make an even worse compromise - to live in a lifeless instanced World. The game that figures out how to make a living breathing world without these stupid compromises will probably be the game that unseats World of Warcraft.

When that game comes out I will play it. In the meantime I'm not sure if I am prepared to keep playing the current generation of MMORPGs.

2 comments:

DM Osbon said...

I agree with your comments on Guild Wars, the instance world that you play in most of the time felt worst than playing a single player game!

I think I will be heading back to my Orc hunter(WoW)in Mid October. I still enjoy the unknown horde side to the game. Do you fancy returning mbp?

mbp said...

In April 2006 I quit WOW and I haven't logged into the game since. At the time I was playing an average of 3-4 hours every day and spending another few hours every day browsing help sites, and blogs relating to the game. I know that only puts me into the halfpenny place compared to many raiders but it was a huge thing for me and I decided I had to quit. I don't know if I can ever go back.