You are not special.

A few days ago I made the comment that current MMO players are ‘soft’ compared to those that played UO/EQ and such. Instead of using the word ‘soft’, I think I prefer spoiled. Spoiled by todays crop of games into thinking we are more important than we really are in an MMO world. The very idea of an MMO is that you are but one player in a giant, living world, out to make your mark on it in any way you can. Somewhere along the way, this changed to ‘you are the hero, and everything revolves around you’.

I’m not exactly sure when this happened, and I don’t think you can blame any one single game out for the shift in thinking, but comparing the MMOs of today to the originals and it’s very clear to me that this has happened. The old joke of doing multiple ‘kill rats’ quests reflects this, in that back in the day players often did seemingly un-heroic deeds to get by, while in todays games everything you do is wrapped around earth-shattering lore and conclusions. Instead of killing a few bears to feed a farmer, you now raid a food stockpile to save an entire continent from starvation.

The problem is that everyone is saving that same continent from starvation, only I did it in my instance, and you did it in yours. And somehow we both came out with the same exact epic sword as a reward. And since everyone has done this epic quest, it’s now just ‘quest x’ along the way to maxing out, so we can get together with x number of people and raid the pantry of evil to save the world; all for a far more epic looking sword, the same one you saw in town being used by twenty other characters.

In reality today’s MMOs share more with a single players RPG than they do with anything ‘worldly’. Somehow developers tricked us into paying $15 a month to log into a single players game, where we jump from instance to instance completing quests while gearing up. Oh well I guess we pay that $15 for a chat room of dubious quality and the ability to bring a few friends along on some quests, right?

To make matters worse, nothing you do can really impact the world you are in. No one outside of their server cares who the top raiding guild is, or who is the top PvP team. Hell even world firsts are forgotten as quickly as the forum post drops off the front page. Few of todays games give anyone the opportunity to be a Rainz or Istvaan Shogaatsu. Unless you have a hit youtube video, you are not likely to be the next Leeroy Jenkins.

Players today are tricked into thinking they are the hero, and in actuality any abilities to do something truly special has been stripped away. Instead of a PvP guild making its mark on the world by making certain regions dangerous to traverse, we now have repeatable ‘epic’ quests to open gates to instances, gates that will eventually open regardless of any one players actions. Instead of a famed smith producing rare items, we have an auction house packed with any ‘epic’ item a player could want.

This has also led to the trend of players expecting to get everything they want as quickly as possible. Anything that takes actual planning, patience, and yes work, is considered ‘unfun’. Far too often you read a forum and see a ‘I don’t play games to work, and I don’t want others interfering in my gaming’. Is this not what MMOs are about, are they not a living world that we INTERACT with, good or bad? If you truly want a safe ‘I’m the hero’ experience, should you not be playing a single player RPG?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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28 Responses to You are not special.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ahhhhhh, a blog that speaks out against the carebear mentality. Nice. When is somoene going to take UO’s game systems and slap some nice graphics on that bitch? That’s the game I’m waiting for.

  2. Talyn says:

    Single player RPG’s are fine, and the only way to be The Hero. But is it really asking that much, or does it have to be “carebear” if we ask to sometimes be able to be A Hero rather than Well Geared Mercenary Drone #3,473,284?

    Few of us are “special” (aside from the “rode the short bus” variety) in life. Games are escapism. That includes MMO’s. Despite the vast (or little) time some people spend in-game, I suspect many of us who work would rather *enjoy* the game not have it treat us as if it’s a second job. One we pay to work at, no less!

    Give me some meaningful and immersive environments, stories and encounters. World First? Oooooh, someone was the first to murder yet another over-guarded and over-stamina’d “boss” who just stands around waiting to be killed. Whoop-di-fuckin’-do… :roll eyes: Seriously, does anyone over the age of 12 care about that anymore?

  3. Talyn says:

    Followup comment: speaking for myself, when I say I don’t want a game that’s a second job, I do not mean I want everything given to me on a silver platter either. I prefer the slower leveling scheme of Vanguard, for example, to the faster WoW version.

    What I do expect, however, is a *GAME* that is *FUN* not *WORK* Unless you’re a rock star or a porn star, work probably isn’t “fun.” Just look around the MMO general public — how many players spend so much time in-game because in life maybe they’re a little on the socially inept side? At least in-game they have an opportunity (should they take advantage of it) to be a little more outgoing, a little more popular, and they and their characters can *PERHAPS* feel a little more special than they do in life. You honestly expect me to think they’d be attracted to a game that also shoved “you suck, you’re average, you’ll never amount to anything, you’re just another number” in their face? My guess is they get enough of that for real on a daily basis, no one wants to pay for that.

  4. syncaine says:

    Actually Talyn you are missing my point. What I am saying is that todays games come out and tell you “you are the hero”, yet by doing so limit how great you can be. My point was that in a game like EQ2 or WoW, you don’t have the freedom to experience some of the better moments an MMO can provide, because the system itself limits you, much like a single player game limits you and forces you to follow it’s set path.

    I don’t remember for example my first Ony kill, yet I still remember some of the good times I had with my guild in UO just patrolling a dungeon for targets, down to specific encounters. Yes it was harder in UO to get your character to that stage than it is in WoW, but the payoff is much higher due to your increased freedom.

    That’s why I hope Warhammer is not as controlled as say WoW or EQ2, and Mythic actually lets the players shape the game, rather than providing us pre-set battles. If they give even half the freedom a game like EVE provides, WAR will be a PvP blast for a long time. If it’s WoW battlegrounds with Warhammer lore, I doubt many people will be falling over themselves for that.

  5. vajuras says:

    Good read here I agree with it. I really do not like the negatives that come from these “Instances” they indeed remove our impact from the World. I have realized though our blogs on Instancing sort of fall on death ears because the average gamer has not experienced a world where they can actually make a name for themself in a seamless universe (or zoned).

  6. Pingback: Kreation’s Edge » Blog Archive » Positive and Negative Sum PVP

  7. Talyn says:

    @vajuras: I’m truly curious how “making a name for yourself” is any different *whatsoever* in a virtual world with no instances (Vanguard or old-school games) vs. ones that do use instancing? Either way you go, the only thing you have to show you’re Kind Of A Big Deal is armor, weapons, or a title over your head. Instances or no, everyone still gets their shot at the exact same content for the exact same rewards to make the exact same name for themselves should they choose to.

  8. syncaine says:

    Not exactly Talyn. For example in EVE certain Corporations control certain areas, and everyone within the game world knows what territory belongs to what Corp. You have nothing like that in WoW or EQ2. Even on a PvP server, no guild can dominate an area and effect a players decision to enter it. In EVE, and in UO, you could. Players won’t enter your area if they know it is risky and they might suffer a penalty. Remove the penalty, and you remove any fear or persuasion a PvP player might exact on the area.

    If a notorious PK patrols a certain bridge lets say, he will build up a name for himself if he constantly makes crossing that bridge costly. If he can’t inflict any kind of penalty on a players, no one will bother to notice him.

  9. Talyn says:

    Yet in Guild Wars — a *highly* instanced not-quite-MMO game — guilds also compete via PvP to control towns and outposts in Cantha (the Factions campaign). I’m not into GW’s PvP game so I have no clue if there’s any real meaning behind it other than seeing your guild’s name there.

    Perhaps I’m once again missing the point, but are you actually saying you miss the days where griefers are the ones who “made a name for themselves?” In my book your “notorious PK” is nothing but a childish punk-ass griefer, and it’s *them* (and perhaps the gold farmers who steal our mobs or nodes) about whom we issue our “we don’t like other *interfering* with our game” complaints. Interacting is perfectly fine, it’s why I enjoy the genre. Interfering with my game is something else entirely and I don’t appreciate it.

  10. syncaine says:

    Most of the children made poor PKs, and were only minor annoyances. The truly ‘disruptive’ ones were the memorable ones, and few were young that I knew. The life of a PK is far more harsh than that of a ‘carebear’ by old UO standards, and most kids did not have the stomach for it.

    But a skilled PK is just one example. The ruthless merchants is another. In EVE entire sections are controlled by certain econ Corps, driving away competition and making a killing. Again not children, but rather calculating and creative players, able to do what they do thanks to a system that does not limit them. They achieve goal far grander than any raider or PvP team ever will, if only because those goals are there own, not a carrot the designers placed for all to chase.

  11. Erebus says:

    The problem with games that give a true opportunity to distinguish onself is that most people won’t. UO was a great example of this – for every feared player-killer in UO, there were hundreds of players who never amounted to anything more than hapless victims. For every crafter tycoon, there were hundreds more who could never manage to even place a house. Is a system like this immersive, engaging and realistic? It certainly is. But is it fun? People play these games to be Sir Lancelot and rescue the princess, not the guy Sir Lancelot rides his horse over to get to her. In my real life career, I am ambitions and willing to work to distinguish myself. In games, I want to relax and have an entertaining experience. At the end of the day, I pay my subscription fee for escapism and fun, not to be impressed by other people’s accomplishments.

  12. syncaine says:

    Well in UO, I think it’s unfair to say that hundreds of players did nothing more than be victims. Sure they might have been killed a few times, but they also adventured with friends, got into crafting, explored the world, etc. If motivated enough, they pushed further and became more. If not, they still had a good time being casual players and interacting with an unpredictable and unscripted world.

    The real problem with the ‘be Lancelot’ idea is that if EVERYONE is Lancelot on the same quest, instead of being special you end up being a nobody without a chance to separate yourself. That leads back to my point about today’s MMOs being a pay-to-play single player game, with everyone being the ‘hero’.

  13. Wait, but I’M special, right? …right? *tear*

  14. Coherent says:

    The ability to kill other players or make their virtual lives a living hell does not make you “special”.

    In the final analysis, THERE IS NO WAY FOR ANYONE TO BE SPECIAL in a massively multiplayer developer-mediated game.

    If the players could create content for the game then people could distinguish themselves by creating better content such as avatars, animations, quests, items, etc. But that requires hard work and dedication. You have to give more than you receive! Your reward is the sincere appreciation of players that interact with your content.

    But when you can not contribute meaningfully and honestly to the common wealth of the game world, there is no way for you to make a positive mark on the world; you can only contribute negatively, by harming someone else’s enjoyment.

    Sure, in a PVP world you can make your mark. A black mark, right next to your name: K.O.S. or PIRATE.

  15. syncaine says:

    What about the ‘orc clans’ that sprang up in UO? Possible only because of the lax rules of UO, entire groups not only entertained themselves, but also provided content for others by playing a tribe of orcs. Not exactly possible in WoW, now is it?

    A pk was one example, but that is certainly not the only possibility. What about players that love crafting, and would like to just focus on that? Very possible in UO, and in EVE. Not even close to possible in WoW/EQ2. Again based on the rules the players are given.

    An open-ended ‘sandbox’ game is actually accessible by multiple play styles, while a on-rails game like WoW/EQ2 supports only one, quest and grind to max level.

  16. Swift Voyager says:

    Not only can you take control of parts of the gameworld in Eve, but if you are enormously wealthy you can actually construct your own permanent structure in the gameworld. They are called “outposts” and they are truely permanent. Once one is constructed, it can never be destroyed. They can be captured and taken away from you by attacking forces so creating and defending an outpost is a truely monumental thing to do in Eve. To the best of my knowledge, only a handfull have ever been created, and it’s big news when a new one goes up. Before you counter with a comment about how only the elite players can access that level of gameplay, a small corporation recently made Eve history by being the smallest group so far to construct one. That’s what I call leaving your mark on the world, and it doesn’t mean that you are the worlds biggest griefer. Another way to make a mark in Eve is to fly or BUILD a ship called a Titan. Once again, they are prohibitively expensive, and only a few have ever been made. However these can be destroyed. When someone builds a Titan it’s a game-world-changing event, but when someone LOSES a Titan, it’s like you just completely deleted a significant portion of all the epic gear on a WoW server. And it’s worth noting that there’s only one server with Eve, so anything you do really can affect every other player in the game.

  17. Coherent says:

    The reason developers don’t let people do that is because by loosening the reigns to allow people to make themselves exceptional, they also allow wide opportunities for exploitation as well. So it would be wonderful to allow players to become “The Master Adamantite Forgesmith”, it only contributes to the game if the exceptional character is played in a way that benefits the entire game, and not just the guild bank account of the exceptional characters.

    Commercial exploitation of exceptional status destroys the community value of having an extraordinary character. Look at EVE, for instance! Have PVP guilds and exclusive tradeskill items made it a player’s paradise? No! In fact, for the common player, these things are a detriment!

    What we have here is a classic elite-masses argument. You’re arguing that the game would be deeper and more involving if players could become elite and special. And you’re right! …for the elites! But, for the masses, it is a bad deal!

    The ultimate question is, do you want to make a small group of people very happy and the masses unhappy, OR make EVERYONE somewhat happy with the game?

    What I’m arguing is: elite players only contribute to the commonwealth of the game if they are played in such a manner as to do so!

    So we would need some sort of behavior control over them, or reward mechanism for playing their characters in a selfless manner.

    You can’t just have ordinary idiots playing extraordinary characters or roles, or you get a massive SNAFU situation every day in your game, and nobody is happy.

  18. syncaine says:

    Well in EVE, because of the PvP, crafting ordinary items such as cargo expanders is not only viable, but one of the better ways to make money, with a very low barrier of entry.

    Sure the ‘major players’ dominate the high-end aspects of EVE, but because of them the ‘average’ player is able to do things he would not normally be able to do. What does the high-end raiding guild add to a WoW server, other than people to inspect in Ironforge?

    And while having an open-ended system in no way assumes ALL players will be a positive addition to the game, I’ll take a few bad apples mix in with the good rather than have everyone be an on-rails copy.

  19. Erebus says:

    In response to”. . . instead of being special, you end up being a nobody without a chance to separate yourself. That leads back to my point about today’s MMOs being pay-to-play single-player games, with everyone being the ‘hero.'”

    But in order for you to be “special,” the majority of players, by definition, must be unremarkable. While the idea of being exceptional certainly motivates some gamers, the fact is that the very concept of individual achievement requires individual failure. In UO, this distinction was almost always achieved by a stronger player killing and robbing a weaker player.

    Your assertion that the majority of casual UO players were able to enjoy the game despite PKs indicates to me that you really didn’t spend much time with those players, or that you’re looking back on that game through rose-colored lenses. The mass exodus of players, first to Everquest and then to Trammel, would seem to indicate that many players did regard player-killing as a significant, even game-breaking, issue.

    It’s a deliberate mistatement to call WoW (and other curent MMOs) a glorified single-player game. There’s certainly a difference between the old-style and the new, but to infer that payers don’t meaningfully interact in WoW begs the question of your defination of meaningful interaction.

    WoW is a virtual theme park where customers pay their admission, and visit the attractions. Older-style MMOs, UO in particular, are more along the lines of virtual schoolyards. Unchaperoned schoolyards. In such a place, there’s going to be bullies and the bullied. Whenever someone talks about the “good old days” of “freedom” in UO, they’re really talking about the freedom to be a bully. By definition, there will always be more victims than victimizers, and playing that role hardly consitutes most people’s definition of fun. I give you that the interactions that took place in such an enviornment were certainly more “real,” and arguably more interesting. But the fact of the matter is that there’s amn obvious reason why Disney Land gets more tourists than Detroit.

  20. syncaine says:

    Actually the majority of my time in UO was spent playing a GM Miner/Smith. I owned a well places small house near a mine, and ran a very successful vendor. Yes at times I would log on to my PK and run dungeon patrols with my guild, or go hunting after certain players, but more often than not I played my smith, interacting with neighbors in other houses, group mining, crafting, whatever. That type of character is impossible to play in any major MMO today not called EVE.

    And when I say ‘make a name for yourself’, I don’t mean it has to be worldwide. My smith was known in our area near Minoc, his house known as a reliable source of mining gear and GM crafted armor/weapons. I had plenty of people mark my location to recall over and do some shopping. If I happen to be around while they did that, we would generally chat about what they would like to see on the vendor and at what price.

    But even something as simple as that is impossible in today’s games, and those conversations and interactions felt far more meaningful than completing any raiding set or buying some epics with PvP points.

  21. Ross Smith says:

    I notice you conveniently ignored Erebus’s main point in your last reply: “Your assertion that the majority of casual UO players were able to enjoy the game despite PKs indicates to me that you really didn’t spend much time with those players, or that you’re looking back on that game through rose-colored lenses … Whenever someone talks about the “good old days” of “freedom” in UO, they’re really talking about the freedom to be a bully.”

    As he said, the mass exodus of players from UO as soon as PK-free alternatives were available is pretty clear proof that your kind are in a small minority, and most players want a casual game where they don’t have to worry about griefing or work for a living. The vast expansion in the MMO market since the days of UO, from games where 100k players was something to celebrate to ones where 10 million players are the norm, is precisely BECAUSE the designers shifted from catering to the Syncaines of the world to catering to normal players.

    Yes, EVE has the kind of “deep, meaningful” (i.e. frustrating and un-fun) gameplay you’re looking for. It also has on the order of 1/100 the subscription level of WOW. Perhaps there might be a cause and effect relationship there?

    Personally I think this shift in game style is still only partially complete. There’s probably room for another order of magnitude increase in popularity once designers abandon the Syncaine mentality entirely, stop wasting all that effort on content like raids and PVP that’s only of interest to the hardcore, and focus purely on casual players. (Think how much more accessible-to-all content WOW could have if they didn’t keep wasting all that development effort on raid content for 1% of the players.)

  22. a blogger says:

    I’d rather be nothing in an online game than be just another “super mega maxed out armor wearing no-life” player.

    If you hate Pk’ers, become a Pkk’er.

    It’s sort of the reason I’m not playing any right now. I keep trying to go back to Final Fantasy XI, because when I try to play anything different I always compare it to FFXI, as if it was an old girlfriend with special “skills” that the new one lacks. I’m hoping Aion lets me make my mark, as that seems to be what I want to get into.

    You all say you don’t want another job, but I don’t see how any mmo’s, or any games for that matter, are unlike having another job. Especially with the grind, the situations where you have to be there at the time, how you waste so much time on them, and whatnot. The only difference is that you don’t get paid.

    I’m not trying to say that mmo’s aren’t fun. I love to play them.

    I do agree with Syncaine, though. There isn’t really any memorable aspects to share with anyone sans those involved. After you quit you aren’t remembered.

    There won’t be any accomplishments without sacrifices, or as the cliche goes “No pain no gain.”

    MMO’s don’t make me feel like a hero, or anything at all, compared to a single player rpg.

    (I know, none of my thoughts are structured in an organized manner, but I’m not an organized person.)

  23. You people are incredible.

    Sorry to resurrect a dead article, but this is truly amazing to me – that people would actually express a desire to be mundane, like some of these comments have expressed. You claim that a freeform game is defective, because it allows a few elite individuals to dominate through clever gameplay, while leaving a majority of unknowns to putter about their business without recognition. Don’t you have any human drive for self-improvement, for acknowledgement? Everyone out there loves having their names up on a billboard, everyone out there wants to be rich and famous – anyone that says different, is lying and a weakling. The reason games like Eve are awesome, is because – like the developers themselves stated in a beta-era trailer – your greatest weapon is not the weapons on your ship, but the mind of the player.

    The reason there are elites in Eve, is that those players are smarter, faster and more cunning than the masses beneath – and this creates a desire for those gray, featureless masses, to strive to exceed the elites in standing. The game community is a constant flux of galactic tyrants being crushed by upstart rebels, only for the rebels to become fat and insane with power, turning into the next tyrants, and enraging the subsequent generation of rebels. And that’s just one example. Any MMO that doesn’t rely on the railroad track model of pre-measured enjoyment dispensation is a haven for such automatically evolving content.

  24. James says:

    I can’t help but read this, and get all teary eyed at the loss to the community for the /potential/ that ShadowBane would have had…had the software part of it just not had so many issues. The /concept/ and design ideas were the most brilliant, and balanced in potential (needed some work, still…but)…

    It was buggy, and a frustrating experience because it was released poorly, which led to “cult classic”ism. But, all in all, it was the de-facto “I helped make a difference” feeling of any game I have ever played. I … really can’t recall if that game had any quests at all. If it did, it was in the starter areas only? I didn’t need a writer to make up my story. I made up my own. I was my own person, I was Ardal, the Irekei scout! I hailed from…well, you get the idea. I am not horribly opposed to quests. I do rather enjoy the distraction they provide in EVE, etc. But, I have to agree… being Soldier #123,292 to solve the entire continents food shortage all on my own some how seems… lack luster. It’s “OMG, YOU SAVED US ALL!” in a can.

    In SB, a hundred or more cities littered several massive continents that were all player built, and managed. Each city had it’s merchants (NPC) and Guards (NPC) that were player managed to have “KoS” listed so certain people were stopped from coming in. Doors to the cities could be locked outright for guild and/or alliance only entry. Each city management teams would likely be guild, or alliance upper echelon (but not necessary). I myself helped manage a little tiny city for a merchant and bank near our favored hunting grounds.

    We’d collect gold, and items to recycle to put money on the city, etc. We never had to hunt for “Super Sword of Doom: +1 to Pinching” because your city (or whichever city you liked to shop at) rolled up items each day/night. If you found what you wanted, there ya’ go. If you didn’t? You’d have a cheap piece of crap from any town that didn’t have that one spec point in something that you’d otherwise live just fine without. High emphasis on all armor types for purely armor value, commonly available, but there was that occasion where you could get a nice little leg up with that one special piece that had “+10 to evade” which sounds neat on the surface, but if you already have 120 points in it, what’s 10 more? An edge, but not an emphasized one. Certainly tolerable to live without, until you can find it, if that is important to you. But, once you had it, you had it…just uh…don’t forget to repair it…or…back to the shop!

    Oh, another SB wonder was the (un)fortunate combinations that I /believe/ put the possibilities in the thousands for character cross-class combos (maybe only 1800 or so combos?).

    You could literally meet 50 other scouts, and they’d all be different. I had Khans (a hand weapon) and another had a bow, while another used swords. All in the play style whether you win, or lose. The down side was no one understood that all these choices existed until you had wasted a lot of time making a character that is no longer viable to the intent you started with. Re-roll. A great player guide would have solved that, etc. Alas, too small a community to get those types of things out to the people in a better way.

    Sorry…moving on…

    Death was wonderfully done in that game. It could be the time sink of “Holy friggin’ crap, it’s going to take me an hour to get back to you guys” (Bane/Siege death) and all inventory lootable on grave (money as well) and armor damage. Short answer, don’t die in large player battles or your night is going to hell in a hand basket with only very minor exception (summons from druid).

    With PvE death, it was inventory loss, and XP loss and armor damage. You’d never lose a level, but, you could conceivably build up so much XP debt that you would spend the next two levels worth of XP just digging out. This wasn’t a horrible thing as a 10-hour-a-week gamer could have a character from 1 to 75 in about 6-8 weeks. But, it was a loss that you wanted to avoid.

    Another angle of death, group to group PvP; it was a nuisance to run back to the spot from your local bind point (player city) and again, armor damage. Keep in mind, though, your inventory items are lootable on your grave. The loss comes after an hour of collecting items/gold, that is now ripe for the pickins’ by the group that just took you out. There is a real sense of loss without going over-board.

    Armor repair was pretty cheap, but was there to annoy you heavily if you ignored it long enough. Items that break or gone for good. No bringing it back if you let it go. Though, there was no “condition” like in DAoC, so it never went away as long as you repaired.

    Plus side to open PvP with lootable graves: Grouped with a guy in the guild that is a loot-whore? Kill him, take the crap, disperse it to the group, and move on. The loss is what you earned just now. So, the intrinsic value of loss was relative to how long since your last bank run. This allowed you to decided whether to risk greater, and stay in a good group, or risk less, and make that run to the bank hoping the group would let you back.

    MASSIVE (and this is another point where the game failed for stability) sieges. Player cities could be “baned” (challenged for being made vulnerable to siege/attack, I’ll avoid the lengthy mechanics explanation). When that time came, you and 100 of your guild/alliance mates sally forth to take out the walls with large catapults. Once a wall is down, you and your mates pour in, and start taking out guards, and players alike. Oh, but what’s this? One of the guilds in your alliance just went rogue, and decided they liked the folks in that city better, made a deal, and now they are killing you!….haha *tear* I miss that adrenaline rush!

    The point is, I used to /hate/ PvP for the frustration of loss, but, learned to enjoy it in DAoC where the loss was very controlled. Then, I began to play games that were more and more open. World War II Online anyone? (yikes!) SB came around, and then I had found a PvP system that allowed me to have down time where I wasn’t threatened constantly (sell junk times) and still allow me to run amok with consequences that kept me from being too insane.

    Anywhere out in the world literally anyone you cross paths with could be your next victim (or you, theirs)… with nasty consequence. Death lists. That random guy you just killed? Turns out he’s a buddy of the guy that owns the city you like to shop at. oops. Next time you go shopping, you find yourself dead half way to the merchant. He didn’t catch your name? No worries, it’s on a placard in his “You’ve been killed by: XYZ” list to admire for the ages.

    • Adam says:

      Quit moaning and go pickup

      mostly what you want and less buggy

      • James says:

        Haha! I wasn’t moaning ; just being nostalgic :) (ok, maybe moaning a little :P)

        More over, the point was what the article is about (at least by extension), and what’s missing from the majority of games. Making the death penalty free, or “diet death” (all the taste of death with fewer calories…er loss) makes killing a random, and boring event which extends into “nothing special”-ism.

        But, fair enough, and advice well taken.

        Though, I did play Dark Fall for a month. What I quickly learned was that the character combo idea that I was talking about? In SB, I could be different from 49 other scouts.

        In DF, I am just like everyone else after 12-18 months of play. There isn’t a way to short-change skill branches, and force you to put those points into a particular tree, as such. 12-18 months in, /everyone/ has Run/Sprint/Sword/Axe/Bow at 100, etc. Which means there is no system to allow me to be a scout over another. Sure, 49 other people had the skills I did, but not 10,000 people with the same skills. If I have no means of selling myself as a niche to a particular group of individuals, then that “I am special” feeling can never happen based on my actions. I don’t need that “I am special” feeling necessarily, but, to have the option of something that /I/ did making a difference, if only in /my/ part of the world was made by my actions, and not by a script.

        I have to admit, the ability to be a play style in DF is pretty cool because not everyone truly takes the time to skill everything up, but still, it feels a little too mundane when you consider what SB had for that particular mechanic. Everyone will have run, and sprint up ; as a scout, I /should/ be faster at the expense of other skills. Eventually, everyone else has their run skills up, and can scout themselves, making my selling points mute. Ultimately, I think you are right. Eventually, each player moves into a given role based on how they want to play, but not having a niche/edge for a particular function takes the punch out of the game pretty quickly.

        Scouting out preemptively an area of attack for my guild was my specialty. I went in ahead of the crowd, and took out the highest priority target ID’d back to my leads, who ordered particular people be dead on their arrival. Easy.

        It’s missing some of the characteristics that allow for /some/ level of uniqueness that I enjoyed.

        I otherwise rather did enjoy DF the very little I played.

      • Adam says:


        “””Haha! I wasn’t moaning ; just being nostalgic :) (ok, maybe moaning a little :P )”””

        haha good spirit… you do like pvp games :)

        “””Eventually, everyone else has their run skills up, and can scout themselves, making my selling points mute. Ultimately, I think you are right. Eventually, each player moves into a given role based on how they want to play, but not having a niche/edge for a particular function takes the punch out of the game pretty quickly.”””

        Yes this is what I like about Darkfall “class” system, and yes we will see how it goes over time though.

        In Darkfall everyone can get a fairly close approximation of each others skills and abilities.

        This has actually been a boon because those of us who like bow and melee can still compete with the magic lovers while we wait for a bit of balancing to happen. If there is an op flavor of the month you can just shift your focus until it gets sorted out in other games you wait for your classes cycle on the buff/nerf wheel).

        But whats really good about it is that instead of your class and build telling you how to play its the character and nature of the player himself that determines that.

        We have 2 “scouts” I’m thinking of that we almost always send into enemy cities solo. They are good at getting in on their own and getting the hornets nest stirred up so that 5+ enemies come out to our waiting ambush.

        It’s actually fairly important that they not be toooo tough when pulling these groups because they won’t come out otherwise. Another guy we had do it was soloing 2-3 of them at a time and no one would leave the walls ;) (yes much lolzing in ventrilo over that one).

        That to me is a “scout” in Darkfall and some are most definitely better than others at it.

        In the same sense we have a few guys that are more natural melee players because they are simply better at getting on peoples grill and NOT getting in the way of the ranged players.

        Anyway hope you get back in game… second expansion and eu-1 > na-1 transfers incoming.

  25. Dblade says:


    The problem is the same as in real life though. Everyone wants to be the best, but the time, talent, and effort needed to be such is very much beyond most of the players or people in the world. You can talk about the drive for advancement all you like, but even in MMOs advancement to elite levels comes often at a prohibitive cost.

    I played FFXI, and it doesn’t kill me to say I was average in it. My best friend in it was not average, and the amount of time and work he spent doing that was tremendous, and prevented him from doing a lot of things for pure enjoyment. For him to be elite took work, and most people simply aren’t going to spend the work it takes to make a name for themselves serverwide.

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