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Originally posted by jpnz I find it highly ironic that the 'convenience' MMOs have a longer history (7+ years) than any of those 'old-school' MMOs. Who's the 'old man get off my lawn' now? :P Pretty sure MMOs with 'never ending adventures' are still out there; EVE, AoW.
Only citing games that are still up nowadays, of course:
UO: 1997, that would be 16 years ago.
EQ: 1999, that would be 14 years ago.
AC1: 1999 too, 14 years ago.
DAoC: 2001, 12 years ago.
AO: 2001, 12 years ago.
To answer the title question, immersion is when the MMORPG has a huge, living, breathing world. Little things like mobs hunting each other, NPCs coming to you to ask for help spontaneously, hidden places you can find by exploring the world, and also tons of things to do without being "on rails" all the time, improve immersion. And also, of course, a coherent setting and graphic style with elements all fitting into it, for instance a space ship in a Middle Earth based game would be completely immersion breaking.
A good example of a MMORPG which had a quite immersive world at release but dumbed it down into a linear grindfest is the allmighty World of Warcraft. At release, you could quests wherever your level permitted it, there was no real order to do the quests except some quest lines of course. Nowadays, you have to do the zones in a specific order or further quests won't be enabled, further areas will be "phased". The last "immersive" WoW expansion was arguably WotLK, cataclysm and pandaland are both very linear grindfests feeling very artificial and therefore less immersive.
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I applaud you sir on your willingness to attempt to understand players who have a different point of view.
My take on the topic deals a bit less with 'immersion' and a bit more with spontaneity ( though they help to perpetuate one another). All of the convenience tools you mentioned help to remove players from the actual game world. Most players simply sit around a city pressing buttons on their UI. It basically turns the entire game world into a lobby for all these other 'mini-games' people are playing (instances, BGs, etc.)
While that is good in the sense each player can choose to do what 'mini-game' they want right away, it simply provides easy access to repeating content, which quickly becomes grindy. Gamers will always click the UI buttons because they are the fastest way to get whatever they want.
Now imagine that you only remove those buttons (I'd prefer you remove the BG's etc as well, but we won't go there for this post). A player would now have to talk to other people and get a group together. This is an otherwise missed opportunity to create friendships. I'm not saying you're going to wind up being best buddies with everyone you group with, but a 1% chance of that occurring is infinately more than a 0%.
Now you've gotten your group together. Your group decides to do an instance. In order to do it, you must travel to the actual entrance of the instance, placing you and the group out in the world, where any number of spontaneous things could occur. You may run into a group of players from another faction and roll them (or get rolled). You may end up engrossed in a 3 hour long PvP fight with them you never saw coming. You might run accross a rare spawn mob that happens to drop a recipe you've wanted for ages. You might find a mineral vein and get that last skill-up to max out your mining. You might see someone getting killed by a group of mobs and ride in to save the day.
While not all that will happen to you every time you leave the city, they CAN happen. And if everyone is forced to leave the city like yourself, you will discover that these types of random encounters occur more often than not. Events like I've mentioned are spontaneous and fresh, they are never dull or recycled because each one is a truly unique experience that only happens once.
At this low point in MMO gaming, I refuse to play even the shiniest turd.
"I love reading that. It's got that sense of nostalgia for me, but also a real sense of innocence, maybe even naivety. They made the game that they themselves wanted to play. It just doesn't happen like that today. Today, the game is made to suit the demands of the people that are backing the game financially. Too often, those people simply look at the success of past games and want this new game to follow that design in order to achieve similar profits."
Why do people defend capitalism like it's some holy grail or altruistic idealogy?
Obviously MMORPG's are an extremely convincing case of when capitalism fails and ruins things.
A better system, socialism, provides higher quality products. Kickstarter = socialism.
I'd honestly like to see more socialism in our games (Making the games devs themselves want to play, funded by crowds of gamers who like the idea), and less capitalism (WoW clones, boring pieces of crap, free 2 play vampirism).
I also don't understand people's backwards-logic defending companies, simply because they are "in the business to make money, not video games."
I'm sorry, but a video game company should not destroy the quality of its product simply to make a larger profit. That does not make it moral, even if the company only exists because of money.
Does no one have integrity or a sense of morality anymore? An idealogy that confirms the need for developers to get payed, but NOT at the expense of awful shitty products? Is the Almighty Dollar worshiped by many here as God, truly important enough to defend companies when they act out of a false idea of self-preservation (that is not preservation, it is simply overindulgent greed) instead of shun these companies for surrendering to greed watering down OUR games?
After all, we play them. They are our games. We buy things we play.
There's a significant difference between being immersed and being engrossed. Many posters in this thread are confusing the two terms.
When I played games like Space Invaders, PacMan, Asteroids or Missile Command in the penny arcades decades ago, the real world ceased to exist for awhile as my senses were 100% focused on the game.
But I wasn't immersed in those games, I was engrossed. I didn't imagine myself as a little yellow disc flying down a corridor munching little powerups floating in mid-air. That was not relevant, the mechanics of the game were the important things.
Far, far more people played Mario Bros, Sonic, Lemmings and other games like those than played Ultima RPG's on the PC. And an even smaller group played DnD with groups of RL friends.
Yet the first mass-market MMO's (UO and EQ) were essentially translations of the Ultima SPG's and the DnD PnP games. Those early MMO's tried to create virtual-worlds with a wide variety of activities for all kinds of players to indulge in.
But developers soon discovered that the target audience for virtual worlds was a niche group in the greater computer game playing mass market. So they started changing MMO's to appeal to the larger group. That larger group wanted focused bursts of fun entertainment. They didn't care about immersion, they wanted to be engrossed in highly stimulating activity in relatively short bursts that they could join or leave at will. To them, the "in-between" bits were tedious wastes of time.
They'd far rather watch some fun clips on YouTube while they wait for their BG or dungeon queue to pop. They are there for the BG's and dungeons, and couldn't really care if there was a "virtual world" that those features existed in.
So MMO's shed their focus on being virtual worlds and instead started becoming linear stories or action game lobbies. The concept of immersion is no longer relevant in the "new style" MMO's.
To me immersion means that my game play is happening in a world that I find consistent and believable. It means that I can transport myself in my imagination to that game world. Sometimes things will go very well, and I'll "win", sometimes they'll go badly and I'll lose. That's the way RL plays out too, so it reinforces my feeling that the game world is "consistent". The losing gives the winning extra sweetness. Chopping wood for 2 hours to build a boat makes that boat feel like an achievement, because I endured the pain to achieve the reward.
Originally posted by SpottyGekko There's a significant difference between being immersed and being engrossed. Many posters in this thread are confusing the two terms. When I played games like Space Invaders, PacMan, Asteroids or Missile Command in the penny arcades decades ago, the real world ceased to exist for awhile as my senses were 100% focused on the game. But I wasn't immersed in those games, I was engrossed. I didn't imagine myself as a little yellow disc flying down a corridor munching little powerups floating in mid-air. That was not relevant, the mechanics of the game were the important things.
Originally posted by Ortwig Originally posted by SpottyGekko There's a significant difference between being immersed and being engrossed. Many posters in this thread are confusing the two terms. When I played games like Space Invaders, PacMan, Asteroids or Missile Command in the penny arcades decades ago, the real world ceased to exist for awhile as my senses were 100% focused on the game. But I wasn't immersed in those games, I was engrossed. I didn't imagine myself as a little yellow disc flying down a corridor munching little powerups floating in mid-air. That was not relevant, the mechanics of the game were the important things.
Have to agree, that's a good way of putting it.
Originally posted by Sunshinee Maybe this is the same old thread, just written differently but I know a lot of you old timers on here love to talk how certain features in a game "break your immersion". I've in the past have been in beta's and lobbied for group finder tools if they weren't present, flying mounts, instant teleports to dungeons etc etc the tools that make the game possibly more accessible, and weren't wasting your time in general. Now I've been playing MMO's since pre cu swg. I played WoW before all the tools were available, and I embraced all the tools I've mentioned plus alot more that had come into existence in WoW and other mmo's. I guess where I question people is at the point where I hear the argument that these break "immersion". I get how these things can be Anti social, but let's be serious with every supposed anti social tool you guys think exist, in any real triple AAA mmo that falls on each individual itself as to whether they want to be social or not. People have a wide variety of experiences with those tools like LFG tools and found plenty of people to be social using them, and vice versa. So when I hear Immersion breaking as an argument I'm left confused. Are these individuals pretending that they are their own actual characters they see on screen and want to be "immersed" in this feeling of being in this great giant world fighting these evil beast as this mighty conquering hero? This is a serious question I've wondered, when I've gamed I don't do any of this imagining. Granted this whole thing might just be predicated on each indivuals playstyle.I'm mostly competitive and the type of person who likes to be on the top so I play a game to play a game. Not to feel like I myself am in this pretend virtual world. On top of that in a mmo, there is thousands of other supposed "heroes" running around killing the same mobs as you are. I just have a very hard time seeing it. Either way I'm curious to understand this side of the argument and or if I am possibly way off base and nobody does this? Either way, thoughts?
I'm certainly for all the tools and options that they can give a gamer. What you are describing is role-playing, and yes a lot of people do it. We/they really do imagine they are that little virtual person. Sometimes it can be fun, depends on the game. It could be anything from walking through a village instead of running, to taking a smoke break and watching a thunder-storm on a hillside.
I can remember way back dreaming of a game where the chat was done by some sort of homing pigeon kind of thing. With the bird being fair game to kill and intercept messages too. With local chat only working within yelling range.
Anything but 1st person view was "immersion breaking" too. But some games you just don't stand a chance unless you zoom out. I'm used to looking over my own shoulder now-days. Ha.
Originally posted by Studdley
I don't play games to watch a thunderstorm. If i want to do that, youtube is right there.
And chatting with pigeons? I will pass. What if my friend is half a virtual world away and i want to group with him. Give me LFD any day.
Immersion should not be in the way of fun.