Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Would you press the "I win" button?

Let us imagine you are playing an mmorpg and that there is a button on the side of your screen which instantly, legally boosts your character to the max level fully equipped with max armour, max stats, max rep, max everything and all unlocks in the game. Let us further assume that once you press it you can never go back. You can go anywhere and do anything you want in game as a max level character but you skip all the pain and joy of levelling up.

Would you ever press that button?

Are you sure?

If you said no, do you really think you could avoid the temptation to press that button as you spend hundreds of hours grinding your way through the game.

If you said yes, what do you think you would do next?

Inspired by this post from Tobold. I will give my own answer in the comments.

6 comments:

mbp said...

Would you ever press that button?
No. What's the point? Once your press that button the game is over.

Are you sure?
Well....kind of.

If you said no, do you really think you could avoid the temptation to press that button as you spend hundreds of hours grinding your way through the game.
Ok... maybe. Maybe after playing one game solid for six months after I am bored to the teeth of that sodding rep grind and I just want to get into the end game dungeon to see that big dragon before I quit this grind-fest forever. Maybe then I would press that button.

If you said yes, what do you think you would do next?
Run around sightseeing the few places I couldn't get into. Goof off for a bit testing out my new leet skillz. Then log off and cancel my subscription.

Tobold said...

By posting that question in an extreme form, where pressing the "I win" button gets you to a place where the game is basically over, you already provided your answer. In reality the question is much trickier, because the button doesn't finish the game, it only advances you a bit further. For example your guild offers your freshly minted level 80 character a raid spot, and as they all have run that raid very often, you get most of the loot. Would you join that raid? Or would you try to find a group of equally badly equipped players and run the raid the hard way?

mbp said...

OF course you are right Tobold but even thinking about such an extreme action has helped me to focus my own thoughts on the wider issue of "easy mode". Even though pressing that button would effectively end the game for me I can imagine a time would eventually come when I would happily press it just to get things over with and move on. This is the point I tried to get across in my own perhaps clumsy answer.

My closest real world experience to this is the "God Mode" cheat that is available on many single player games which renders player all powerful and invincible. I would never dream of using God mode to play through a game. There would be no point. On the other hand I have on a couple of occasions used a "god mode" cheat to get me through a very difficult part or perhaps to allow me see the closing credits. Its not a decision I take lightly and it does leave a somewhat bitter taste if I have to do it but on the whole I see it as a healthy option - allowing me to control my own gaming and my own progress through the game.

I guess then I am in favour of players having the option to take or skip parts of the content as they see fit. Why not let a player start at level 80 if all they want to do is join raids with their friends? Does it really take 80 levels of solo grinding to learn to play a class? I don't think so.

Crimson Starfire said...

I've often come across game exploits that allow you to level much faster than intended, but I deliberately avoid using them. Once a game is made easy, it often becomes boring. The challenge disappears and so too does the fun.

If we are talking about WoW here, then yeah I would definitely press the button. I hate grinding in that game.

I guess it depends on the circumstance...

Lars said...

Would I press the button? Sure, why not. If leveling was no longer what was interesting me but there was another phase of the game that did, I would certainly enjoy an opportunity to bypass the parts I don't care for.

My time is valuable, and if there's another part of the game I would enjoy, I will do what I can to minimize the time spent in a part of the game I don't so I can get to the part of the game I do.

mbp said...

Hi Crimson, Hi Lars,

There seems to be some level of agreement that having the option to bypass boring stuff we don't like would be a good thing. This doesn't necessarily mean an "I win button". It could just be an option to start at a higher level.

I think I am veering very much to the argument that "I pay the money so I should be able to make the choice". Why not let folks start anywhere in the game at any level they want. You might complain about equity in multi-player games but bugger it - they are just coloured pixels.

I don't favour rmt as a means of allowing folks to bypass content though (eg allowing them to buy in game stuff for real money). That business model is fundamentally flawed because of the massive moral hazard which would encourage developers to make boring games.