Wednesday, March 19, 2008

making room for the little guy

From IGN's preview of Warhammer Online:

"At this point, a large hydra steps off the Ark, accompanied by his Dark Elf beastmaster. Players have twenty minutes to defeat these bosses before the whole quest resets and starts over again at the beginning. This massive, multi-headed baddie was far too powerful for our little fifth-level Swordsman, so we had to be content with darting in to get a few quick hits in while some higher-level players distracted him."

The emphasis is mine. This is one of those things that should occur in all MMOs, but sadly doesn't: weak characters helping powerful characters to conquer a shared encounter.

Let's face it... Frodo was a child playing a man's game. He was tiny. He was weak. He was inexperienced. And yet, he participated in combat with trained badasses like Aragorn and Legolas; and yet, he was a hero.

A player doesn't have to be capable of single-handedly slapping a dragon silly or stuffing a kraken in a goldfish bowl to feel heroic. A player doesn't even have to be capable of killing his enemy to feel heroic. The player just has to feel as if he's contributing to something of great importance, and in a way that reveals individual merit.

I, like so many other gamers, am more than willing to play characters like Frodo and Samwise. I'm more than content to act as just a small character in a drama that stretches far beyond my own involvement.

I, like so many other gamers, am more than willing to play characters like Aragorn and Legolas. I''ll take weaker friends along on my journey, knowing that their contributions will be worthy of remembrance, too, if they are only made capable of individuality. Don't you think those veterans would have been impressed by and laughing about Sam's masterful use of a frying pan against his goblin foes in Moria? After the battle, were they talking about the elf's crazy arrow work or the lowly hobbit's surprising possession of a mithril chainmail vest?

Enable true individuality (in skills, possessions, experiences, etc), create common causes to fight for (ala Warhammer or SWG), and the grouping of the powerful with the weak will be commonplace and fun.

2 comments:

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  2. PQ's are easily the 2nd biggest thing I'm looking forward to (second to keep sieges of course). They sound like the perfect solution to PvE, grouping, soloing, LFG, level diversity, and dynamic play. I'm psyched.

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