Why do we assume the first mob we fight in an MMO should be an easy kill?
I’m serious, how many MMOs can you name where the first mob you face has a legitimate chance to kill you? I mentioned the goblins in DarkFall yesterday, and certainly in Ultima Online the first mob you faced could kill you since the game did not have quests and you were not placed specifically close to easy mobs, but any others? WoW, WAR, EQ2, LotRO, etc, all start you off with mobs for miles that roll over when you look at them funny.
Of course the first reaction to this is “you want to give a good first impression”, and certainly you don’t want a totally new player getting one shotted, teabagged, and have a pop-up appear with a link to the account page, but if the first encounter actually required more than just standing still and auto-attacking a targeted mob, would it be that horrible to not succeed immediately and you know, have to learn one or two things before seeing some success? The first ‘mob’ in Mario one shot killed you; did everyone immediately turn off their NES and smash the cartridge? Nope, you got another life, ran back a few steps, and learned to jump over/on the little guy. How is it that all the little kids playing their NES back in the late 80s could deal with a minor setback, yet in 2009 the 18+ crowd playing MMOs needs to be spoon-feed for the first few (or 80) levels before any remote challenge is presented?
I’m not saying the average MMO should be Nintendo Hard, but does it have to be My Little Pony easy? I remember a few years back people joked about a Hello Kitty Online MMO (before it became a reality), and how anyone who could not handle playing MMO X should just go play that (In a way this was the precursor to the current “Go back to WoW” phrase we use now). How much easier is Hello Kitty Online compared to WoW? I mean really, how much harder is it to reach level 80 in WoW compared to doing whatever in HKO? Does it bother anyone else that most current MMOs have literally ZERO challenge for hours/days, and what little challenge exists is tucked away in a corner? What happened to gradually getting better at a game like Tetris or Mario, where you truly did start off as a noob and gained more competence as you played? How is it that in 2009 a few purple pixels, and a hollow ‘ding’ rewarding nothing more than successfully typing in your account password is enough to make people overlook the utter lack of any challenge or growth?