In the MMO gaming scale, time is far more valuable to me than money. $60 for a box or $15 a month is a trivial amount compared to the amount of time I spend gaming, so free crap is not something I bother with and paying for something I enjoy is always a good deal.
Given the above, I don’t really understand what Azuriel is doing with his 3-part Darkfall series. Yes, AV sent him a free copy, but why waste so much of your time just to prove that ‘doing it wrong’ is a good way not to enjoy a game? I mean, I’m not going to grab Axis and Allies, slot two hours for it, and then slam the product as inferior to Candyland because in my two hours I didn’t have fun and ‘lulz the UI’.
Wasting time aside, the series was in part the inspiration for yesterday’s post, because while it’s pretty clear Azuriel went in knowing he was doing it wrong, I’d bet many themeparkers have a very similar approach and a “must have fun NOW” mindset. I don’t know if it’s just an age/generation thing, or just a normal difference in human nature put on display thanks to things like Twitter, but in no way can I relate to that kind of approach to things.
Investing in something to build towards a ‘payout’ later is just something I’ve always done. I spent hours painting Warhammer miniatures because at the end, I’d have a great looking army to play with. Not once did I consider painting yet another foot soldier ‘a grind’, nor did I expect every miniature to look as special or unique as a leader/hero unit.
I approach MMOs the same way. It’s why I invest in the social fabric by joining or running a guild, reading the forums, and trying to keep up with that is happening in-game. It’s why short-term MMOs like GW2 feel to pointless to me; I’m not looking to have 3 weeks of instant fun, I’m looking to add a solid block to 15 years of MMO gaming.
It’s why seeing clans like Lords of Death, Sinister, Blood, SUN, LotD, OTG, and others is special; people and clans have gaming history with those names and the people behind them, sometimes YEARS worth of history spanning multiple titles. Those rivalries take time to build, but that time is well invested and the payout is worth it when clashes happen.
It’s why I deride the notion of the “jump in, jump out” MMO, or those that dabble in multiple titles at all times. While maybe that works on an individual level for some, an MMO should be far more than just your individual story or instance, and if you are constantly leaving you never become a piece of something greater.
In a way, it’s a bonus that a game like DF does not attempt to cater to that approach, because it weeds all those players out quickly and you refine down to your ‘core’ faster. DF:UW also has the carryover benefit of DF1, so much of the established history transferred over, and the distilled core was in place day one.
This is not to say new players can’t become part of such a world. They very much can, and do all the time. But in order to do so, you have to invest. And the investment does not have to be all-encompassing. You don’t need to be the leader of thousands to ‘get it’. But you also can’t just log in, look around, and expect things to happen. Joining a clan is one step, of course, as is being social-enough in that clan to learn from others and get up to speed. Being an active member is another; like the game itself, most clans won’t bring the fun to you, you have to interact and find it with others.
If any of the above sounds like a chore or pain to you, maybe this genre is not the right one for you. It is, after all, pretty niche.