Keep your shiny, I’ll stick with my rules.

It would seem that a ‘silly’ argument sure provides a lot of discussion, so after half a dozen posts and hundreds of comments, what exactly have we learned from last Fridays Blog War™?

For starters, the very fact that we DID debate which game has more content (DF or WoW), or whether Aventurine has added more content to DarkFall in one year compared to Blizzard in five says a lot. We are talking about a company here whose QA staff is larger than all of Aventurine put together, has far more money, and ITS FIVE FREAKING YEARS! Love it or hate it, if the biggest addition to your semi-annual content patch is a fix to your LFG system, that should raise some concern. So you either believe AV is just that much better at MMO design/implementation, or Blizzard really is that lazy. I’ll take a little of both, thankyouverymuch.

But “my game is better than your game” aside, the other big ‘discovery’ made over the weekend is that MMO fans can’t agree on what content is, or rather, they have different views of what they consider content. If you are an MMO dev, that should interest you. To oversimplify, it seems that some players are happy with a palette swap and a fresh texture over the same gameplay, while others will accept seeing the same art files reused if you just switch up the rules governing them.

And rather than looking for a ‘which is better’ answer, I think the correct one here is it’s a matter of preference. For me personally the rules are far more important then the shiny cover. Balancing PvP combat and creating open-ended virtual worlds is something I’ll take ten times out of ten over upgrading the visuals of an armor set or releasing another tank-n-spank or Simon Says boss encounter.

Playing with my fiancé, I have first hand experience with ‘the other side’, and while it still puzzles me, I at least know it exists. She does not really question the rules of a game too much, unless they are in-your-face broken, but will gladly complete dozens of ‘kill ten rats’ quests so long as they dish out item upgrades and are set in a different environment. When we played WAR, she grew bored towards the end because her character progression slowed, while I at the same time grew bored because T4 RvR is fundamentally broken. She could care less about the frequency of city sieges, while I was never bothered by the slower personal progression or fighting in the same location.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Darkfall Online, MMO design, Rant, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Keep your shiny, I’ll stick with my rules.

  1. Shamus says:

    I think a lot of what you’re talking about comes down to the fundamental difference between the two games. That one is a PvP orientated game and the other is PvE orientated.

    I’ve not played DF. My history is DAOC,WoW,WAR,Aion, with only WoW and Aion still ongoing.

    Some of the stuff you were describing in DF though is obviously player driven. Capturing and holding locations (and resources?). AV have delivered an environment in which you can enjoy that sort of stuff. Where the mechanics of the system you’re utilising cater to it.

    Blizz haven’t offered those sort of mechanics in WoW because it simply doesn’t have PvP interaction. The closest you get is instanced eSporting. Even the PvP zone in Northrend is a bit of a cop out with it being forceably changed hands and not even controlling much in the way of resource.

    But Blizz have introduced features that provide more PVE gaming. I’m willing to bet the 5-man instances didn’t seen nearly as much load pre the most recent patch. No new tiles, no new monsters, but lots more gaming.

    Partly it is sandbox vs theme park, but I also think it is PvP vs PvE.

    You’re getting a lot out of DF and not seeing anything in WoW. Others are getting a lot out of WoW and not seeing anything in DF. The hidden phrase in there is “of interest to them”.

    For someone who simply enjoys pushing the buttons and making their avatar do stuff, and defeating the game alongside others in order to improve their avatar’s stuff, then WoW offers that in abundance. Obviously that’s not your cup of tea.

    For someone who enjoys forming alliances and interacting with other players both cooperatively and antagonistically, and having an effect on the gameworld they share, it sounds as if DF offers that in abundance. But that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    • malakili says:

      Well, I think PvP is inherent in the sandbox mmo. Not necessarily just PvP combat, but economic PvP, political PvP, whatever. I’ve often said to people who say empire space in EVE is too “carebear” that there is plenty of PvP going on in Empire space, its just that it takes place in the marketplace, and not on the battlefield. You could say an auction house in a game like WoW is a very rudimentary version of the same thing (and you in fact do see players who get a lot of fun out of “playing the auction house”)

      I think the sandbox players ease towards those types of “meta” games. Political negotiations happen in Darkfall, but its not something that is like, built into the game, there isn’t a “negotiation” mechanic, its just people talking. That sort of thing MUST be “PvP” or you might say “PtP” (player TO player), because you can’t negotiate with an NPC. The best you could do in a PvE setting is give the player some dialogue options and lead them to a few different outcomes.

  2. malakili says:

    I wonder how much progression plays into this. For a lot of people, I think the idea of constant progression, whether it is level based, or gear based, is something that keeps them playing.

    I used to be like this, in a major way. I raided a lot, and I burnt out, some folks don’t burn out. In any event, lets go with the Darkfall / WoW debate again, cause it seems to be the thing to do here.

    In Darkfall, its less about progressing or improving your individual character, and more about progressing and improving a more nebulous concept like “the world” or “your clan.” Its often far more subtle, and there isn’t really a bar you can look at to see ‘how much progress was there today.’

    On the flip side, in WoW it is very much about progressing your individual character. How much more experience to I need, how many more badges do I need, how much more reputation do I need. It allows for easily measurably goals and progression towards said goals.

    I think that last part is what a lot of people like. Even outside gaming I am NOT a “goal oriented” person, and I think this translates into the kind of games I like these days, in which goals are at most set by the player or the clan, and sometimes not immediately available at all. This appeals to me as a person, and not just as a gamer.

    • Damage Inc says:

      Actually you’re wrong on this part. DFO is not only about progressing your guild but it is also hugely about progressing your character. Everything you do in game progresses your character even after you’ve maxed out an ability. Hit a mining node, you gain a bit of stats in Vitality, Strength and Wisdom. Do some PvE and gain progress in whatever ability you’re using to take on the mob as well as the stats that work with that ability.

      I would actually say that as character progression goes, DFO is miles ahead of WoW because everything you do in game leads to further character progression. This will only stop when characters max out their stats and even after almost a year, nobody has done this yet. On the other hand, you have WoW where you progress through levels, up to 80 and gear.

      Personally I prefer DFO’s progression style. I’ve always enjoyed the progression style of MMORPG’s like Ultima Online and Asheron’s Call compared to games like Everquest and World of Warcraft where almost everything your character does betters your character.

      I played Asheron’s Call for almost 2yrs. In that time my character made it to level 79, the level limit was 126. The entire two years, each day everything I did progressed my character in some way, very much like in DFO.

      • SynCaine says:

        I’d also add that, in addition to stat/skill progression, you have progression with wealth. The difference in DF is that your wealth can either progress or decline, and can be somewhat unpredictable. You might get PKed with a fresh set of top PvE gear on, or you might kill someone only to find out they were on their way to cash an L key or something.

        The nice part is that while your skills/stats are always going to make you stronger the more you play, you can NEVER have enough wealth, and that’s something you can always use more of.

  3. sid67 says:

    I still think you are confusing CONTENT with SUBSTANCE. One being the actual “shiny” and the other being the quality and depth of the “shiny”.

    When speaking about substance, I think you have to look at all parts that make up that content. While this includes the ‘graphic’ it also includes all the rules and other moving parts that make it work.

    No one wants to walk around a photo-realistic world that does NOTHING. But by adding substance or depth to what we see, we improve the overall experience.

    I think when you talk about a sandbox game, the parts themselves have to have more substance to them in order to enable people to ‘build’ things with them.

    In a themepark, you only need to be as deep as the one intended use for the part.

  4. adam says:

    Hey syncaine, I took the plunge and bought Darkfall. Through your link. So I expect some assistance in the form of being able to join your clan/guild when I’m ready. :)

    Anything I should know going forward? Like should I stick to a certain race/region or anything?

    • SynCaine says:

      VAMP has rather high requirement standards, so it’s gonna take some work to get there. Regardless of which race you pick, I would join NEW to learn the game with other beginners. It’s by far the best way to get into the game, as those guys will teach you the basics and how to avoid unneccessary frustration.

      After the 30 day limit you will know more about the game and the direction you want to go in, and then you can see which clan would fit you best.

      • Chuck says:

        I took the plunge as well and joined through your link Syn. I got to play a few hours last week but still trying to map my keys how I like it (being a lefty always has its challenges!)

        So far I am enjoying it quite alot. It’s nice to play something so completely different that other MMOs and its kind of fun to be lost right now. Getting PK’d on my way to my first mob, then going back and getting killed by the first goblin I tried to kill (damn Shamans) was quite a change of pace. But I eventually got my revenge.

        By the way, how do you get in contact with NEW?

        • SynCaine says:

          Seems you an Adam were not the only ones, I just checked my DF account, slurpies for everyone at the cafe, I’m rich bitch.

          Right right, DF. To contact NEW I think all you have to do is apply to the clan in-game. Click the ‘clan’ option from the main menu, then ‘menu’ again once that screen loads (welcome to DarkFall), then ‘apply’, and find the NEW clan. I believe they accept everyone without question, or at least contact you that way.

        • Damage Inc says:

          A good helpful tip for newbies fighting goblins. I believe each city has 3 goblin spawns with one of them NOT having any Shaman. Try to find that one and do those goblins, makes doing your starter quests much easier.

        • Chuck says:

          LOL…I figured that out. Scouts go down MUCH easier!

      • adam says:

        High requirements as in you have to play a certain amount or have certain stats or both or what?

        • SynCaine says:

          To get in you have to show you are a good PvP’er, which usually means dueling a current member. A new player with limited character skills is going to have a tough time even with great player skills (because the person you are facing is not exactly a slouch himself). I don’t know exactly how well you have to do (beating who you are dueling is not a must), but better-than-average is expected.

          No ‘you must be online X amount of time’ or anything like that though, once you are in there are few rules other than to be on vent when playing and of course try to respond when people call for help, plus not be a dick in general (combat looting and such)

        • adam says:

          Ah, well that’s fair enough. At least it’s more or less based on merit. If I don’t cut it, it’s because I suck or can’t dedicate the time necessary to get better or obtain high character stats, not because I wasn’t able to run Molten Core because of my guild situation or conscript a blacksmith into making me fire resist gear (guess how long it’s been since I raided in WoW).

  5. Stabs says:

    Thank you for co-hosting a very entertaining blog war, thanks too to Tobold.

  6. AgainstContent says:

    I really like a roller coaster the first time I ride it. The second and maybe third time still gives me a thrill, but after that I don’t really see the point.

    I think that’s why I prefer the sandbox model to the themepark model of MMO design. Some may see the variations in gameplay resulting from the unexpected behavior of real players as minor, but for me it still creates an experience which interests me more than running the same instance for the 20th time.

    From a business perspective though if you have enough people willing to buy admission (how many boxes would you have to buy right now if you wanted to start WoW?) you bulldoze every soccer field and turn it into a roller coaster.

  7. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    I would have to say Syn this is a very good post with an interesting conclusion that I personally hadn’t thought of. But I am still not playing DF…

  8. Zubon says:

    For starters, the very fact that we DID debate which game has more content (DF or WoW), or whether Aventurine has added more content to DarkFall in one year compared to Blizzard in five says a lot.

    The fact that people debate whether Barack Obama is an American citizen says a lot. Both examples say a lot about the debaters, less about the topic.

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