Quick question about EQ2 that hopefully someone can comment on and answer. Are most quests voiced, or only some/few? I noticed the first two camps all the quests had voice actors reading the quest, but the last camp that we reached last night did not. The NPC would say a simple “hello” and the quest was all text. What percentage of quests are voiced?
Moving on, a (hopefully) interesting thought crept into my mind as I was listening to the latest Virgin Worlds podcast. The topic of designing more content for casuals came up, and how WoW did a good job of this, and that perhaps future games should push this even further. That the ‘hardcore’ players will plow through whatever amount of content you give them quickly, and then complain for more. So if you ignore that small population, and design for the casual player who goes at a much slower pace, you will appeal to a much larger base, leading to greater sales.
Seems simple enough, right? While the base of the idea is decent enough, I think it ignores one important aspect of human behavior, the pursuit of greatness. Given the choice, most people would want to be the best at something, or at least great at it. Be it sports, acting, math, etc, we try to be the best at something. Problem is reality usually sets in and most of us realize we will never be the MVP of a sports league, star in a major movie, or publish a top selling book. What we do instead is follow the lives of those that do; we feast upon celebrity news, and get all excited when we meet one of them in person. If we can’t have it ourselves, we at least want to see what its like through the eyes of someone else.
MMOs mimic society in a lot of ways, and I believe the above also applies. I believe most players would love to be in a top tier raiding guild taking down world firsts if they could. Reality again sets in for most and we realize we don’t have that kind of skill/time to commit to a game, and instead play at our own pace, whatever that may be. Yet we still inspect that decked out raiding when we see them in town, we read about a guilds journey to defeat the final boss of some instance, and we sometimes go to a database website and search out the best gear for our class, just to see how it looks or its stats.
While many of us will never raid, it is still something that we MIGHT attempt at some point. Just like you are not likely to star in a movie, you might be an extra in the background, and we all know you will point that out to all your family and friends when it comes out. It’s just something we do, and that’s ok.
MMOs need that type of endgame, in some quantity, to provide that ‘dream of what could be’ quality. It should not dominate the developer’s time, and it should not force the majority down that path, but non-the-less it should be in the game. Just like in real life, a MMOs world needs its superstars.
Note: I’m not saying raider or hardcore players are ‘better’ than the casual player when I say superstar. Just like I would not consider some Hollywood stars better than the common man (looking at you Paris, Lohan, Britney, etc).