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This has been a big pet peeve of mine for quite some time on the forums. I have been putting this off for months, hoping people will see the error of their ways, but its become painfully obvious that the majority of the people just dont understand. So what is it im talking about? Well, everytime a new MMO is about to be released, usually part of the hype is all about innovation. Then when the game is actually released, players come in droves to the forums and complain that there was no innovation in the game, and the Developers all lied to us to get us to buy the game.
Unfortunately, we the player in this case, are the liars, not the Devs. It seems somehow that players started to believe that Innovation means Invention. But what do i mean by that? Well, Invention is creating something new. Thats what players say they want in games. Innovation is taking something already present and created, and changing, hopefully for the better. That is what game designers are doing. Need some examples?
Television was an invention. HD Television was an innovation.
Airplane was an invention. Jumbo jets were an innovation.
Telephone was an invention. Cell phones were innovation.
Are you starting to see the difference? And how does this play out in MMOs? Well, anyone who has been around MMOs for awhile can tell you, they arent what they used to be. Questing has gone through major changes. In Eq1, you had to actually type to the quest giver, with specific words or phrases to be taken through the dialogue and granted the quest. Then it was simply clicking on the NPC and reading or skipping the text. Innovation. From quest hubs, to open exporation. You used to have to complete all the quests in one area before being able to move on to get new ones. Then you were able to skip quests if you wanted to just level past them by grinding. The hubs were still there, but no longer required to progress. Now you are free to roam, picking what you want, ignoring what you dont.
A hot button topic is DEs or PQs. Many games have them, its not just WAR and GW2. But even those two games do it differently. GW2 never claimed to have invented DEs, but they certainly improved the way they worked and behaved, and therefore innovated. In WARs, or even Rifts, you either finished it and got rewards or you didnt. There was no pass or fail, and there were no different paths for each. In GW2, if you succeed, one thing happens, and if you fail, something completely different. In chains, the paths will differ even more as you continue to succeed or continue to fail. There are multiple outcomes, not just closing the Rift to get your quest NPCs back, or getting some random roll of the dice for loot in WAR. I hated the fact, that in WARs PQs, you could get top marks for partipation, and some noob who only hit a mob once, can get better loot than me, because of the dice roll after the event.
So now you see, games are innovating. From the way quests work, even how you are presented them at all. Maps become more detailed, crafting hasnt always been improved, but its still had innovations. Innovation tried to make things better, but it doesnt always. Sometimes change doesnt work, but its still innovation. Next time you compare two games... any two games, stop and think. Was it just a copy of the same system? What is a clone? Did I recieve the quest the exact same way? Did I have to talk to an NPC to get the quest, or turn it in? Was I able to explore the world on my own, or was I guided from one place to another? Am I able to climb, swim, jump the same way? These are all important questions, and most of the time, you will see that there are differences, even small ones. Those my friend, are still innovations. Speak up, be heard, dont be afraid to tell a Developer that you dont like the change, or would like to see it done differently, but dont be that guy on the internet that everyone laughs at because you dont know the difference between something thats changed and something thats entirely new. Invention and innovation, two different things.