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[Column] General: I'm Not Special

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,367MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In this week's Tingle's Touchy Subject, Adam rants about the desire most game makers have to force the player into the role of "The Hero" and why that's not always a good thing.

In this week's Touchy Subject we are examining an issue that is close to my heart and internal rage-o-meter. Modern MMORPGs have a propensity to treat players like they are somehow unique; extraordinary; special. All the while ignoring the ten or twenty similar avatars all huddled around the one NPC with an exclamation mark above their head. Are MMO NPCs trying to emulate the role of "international playboy" stringing us all along by telling us that we are actually "the one"? Or have developers forgotten the key tenants of the genre somewhere in the past few years? Read on and I'll tell you.

Read the rest of Tingle's Touchy Subject: I'm Not Special.

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Comments

  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
    Awww but you are special

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • RadixMalorumRadixMalorum Richmond, VAPosts: 41Member Uncommon

    totally agree, that's one thing missing from newer MMOs, you're a hero from the start in most. I liked *earning* recognition.

    The other thing I find confusing about that is the reward system... "Thank you HERO! you have saved the world! Here, have this used pair of pants as a sign of our gratitude!"  "err.. thanks? is that a skid mark? gross!"

     

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Nicely put. Sometimes I feel modern MMO Developers are more interested in making movies then making games.
  • Shadowguy64Shadowguy64 Rohnert Park, CAPosts: 848Member

    Yes, quests are bad. Story is bad. No player should be able to experience the game the same as another player. If player 1 defeats a dragon, then no player should ever be able to defeat that dragon. It's already defeated.

     

    Quests remove this possibility. Once player 1 completes a quest, it should be deleted from the game forever since the quest giver's needs have been met. 

  • RyahlRyahl Houston Metro, TXPosts: 47Member

    Nowhere was this more absurdly put forwards than in TOR.

     

    Jedi1: Relax everyone, I have killed the Emperor

    Jedi2: No, no, you are wrong, I have killed the Emperor.

    Jedi3: You guys are totally confused and possibly mind-controlled, I certainly killed the emperor and my unique droid companion can prove it.

    Jedi4: ... I have a bad feeling about this...

    Jedi Council: It doesn't really matter, none of the other professions even know that all of you killed the Emperor and their story lines are still dealing with an emperor empowered universe.  Here, have a twinkie!

    Ryahl - writer of eye-bleeders
    FFXIV Fansite | TSWGuides
    Follow me on Twitter

  • Shadowguy64Shadowguy64 Rohnert Park, CAPosts: 848Member
    To be fair, and to maintain realism, mobs shouldn't respawn either. once someone clears out all the mobs, they should be gone forever until migration, reinforcements or mother nature repopulates the area. That should take days or weeks at a minimum.
  • IkedaIkeda Largo, FLPosts: 2,204Member Uncommon

    I call this the "beautiful unique butterfly" when I refer this to my wife.  People think they're better than others even when they're not.

    In games, everyone is a hero.  And most of them are not.  How many people defeated Onyxia?  (the original keyed setup)  How many Molten Core?  Then it got dumbed down so ANYONE could do it.  Wahoo!  Who's a hero?  You are?  (hands you a hero card)

    No, I want to start as a peasant.  Leave me alone.  Leave me do whatever I want.  If I want to gain recognition, I will.  If I want to be a farmer, then maybe people won't know me except that I sell a great head of lettuce or gigantic tomato's.

    Some of my favorite moments were doing things because I could.  Nekid wetlands runs for example.  I had fun wasting time, doing NOTHING related to questing in anyway.

    SWTOR: F2P or Premium? Want Galactic Strongholds early? http://www.swtor.com/r/LbMdN7 Use the referral for 7 days of subscriber access. Unlock your GS today!

  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
    I like muh stories

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • adam_noxadam_nox hays, KSPosts: 2,036Member Uncommon
    You convolute special with being the hero or center of the story.  Kind of a fatal error that invalidates the rest of your article.  The problem wasn't that SWTOR tried to make us special.  The problem is it made everyone 'the star', while making us feel very boring and ordinary.
  • MysteryBMysteryB Midland, TXPosts: 290Member Uncommon
    I agree, but I would go on to say that EVERYONE should start out ordinary BUT there should be certain things that can make your character above others. Maybe an item that is almost impossible to get but not because of a low drop rate, but because it is hidden behind an army of enemies, treaturous land and harsh seas and is so hard to get most people simply can't. Starting as a peasant but knowing with drive and determination you could become more than your average player can, that is what MMORPGs are lacking

    Mystery Bounty

  • ragnarianragnarian liverpoolPosts: 1Member
    you want a game where your an average guy, we just need a major company to make a warhammer 40k game where you play as an imperial guardsman, there is NOTHING special about these guys, there is at least a million other guys just like them, it would also be a good game to emphasise teamwork since the imperial guard are teased for being a 'flashlight brigade' due to their weapons ineffectiveness against almost all enemies!
  • mech4221mech4221 Mesa, AZPosts: 33Member

    This was referred to as 'uncle owen' in the original SWG, and there was good support for it.  Not everyone had to fight the empire.  You could have a lil moisture farm all your own and live out a quiet life as a homesteader.

     

     

  • lostscout5lostscout5 patchogue, NYPosts: 57Member
    Originally posted by Shadowguy64

    Yes, quests are bad. Story is bad. No player should be able to experience the game the same as another player. If player 1 defeats a dragon, then no player should ever be able to defeat that dragon. It's already defeated.

     

    Quests remove this possibility. Once player 1 completes a quest, it should be deleted from the game forever since the quest giver's needs have been met. 

    No, quests and story are not bad. Telling EVERY player that they are the savior of the universe is  bad. It's stupid. Now if you like having your ego stroked, than I guess it's ok. But if you have anything even close to heathy self esteem it can be a bit much.

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,229Member Uncommon

    Well a game just needs to update lore and whatnot, but technically you are a hero in every MMO you play.

    You're not regular Joe Schmoe no matter how much you want to pretend you are. If you were regular and not special, then that means every sheep herder, cook, tree pruner and flower picker in the game world can do everything you can . . . such as shoot fireballs out of your butt.

    First thing you do in these MMO's is go around killing things that are too much for the general populace to handle. Can you imagine in real life saying, "Oh, I just came back from killing 10 wolves with this tiny hatchet, I'm just a normal guy." Really? That's normal?

    And in short order you're dispatching armies of enemies, if a soldier from any military in the world wiped out 50 enemy combatants in hand to hand combat and came back without major injury you can pretty much believe he'd get every honor possible.

    Then you start killing supernatural beings like ghosts and dragons and whatnot and yet you still want to pretend you're normal.

     

    All I'm saying is that as the genre stands, you ARE a hero. Until a game with lore that supports this type of behavior as typical, you are heroic through the most basic actions of your character.

  • NordiqueNordique Philly, PAPosts: 14Member
    So what was the point you were trying to get across Tingle?  That MMOS nowadays are on rails and what you would like is an open adventure again? Questing and making the players all "Heroes" didn't kill MMOS.. The need to make ludicrous amounts of money did.. WOW killed MMOS..  
  • Shadowguy64Shadowguy64 Rohnert Park, CAPosts: 848Member
    Originally posted by Nordique
    So what was the point you were trying to get across Tingle?  That MMOS nowadays are on rails and what you would like is an open adventure again? Questing and making the players all "Heroes" didn't kill MMOS.. The need to make ludicrous amounts of money did.. WOW killed MMOS..  

     

    I know. We need to get back to our roots where money wasn't an objective. We need to get back to the idea that games are made to be fun. Not just a product to sell. The best way to do that is to remove all pre-fabricated content. Quests, instances, mini-maps, fast travel. Just give players some land to fight over and some sharp sticks to fight with and keep the electricity to the servers going and we'll be happy.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    These very boards are littered with posts from people seeking to be "single player" special in an MMO world.

    I find myself agreeing again, Mr. Tingle. I am a background kind of player. In the MMOs I've played where I did save the world, I did so because I had to. My other choice was to quit playing or just grind monsters to the end.

    Maybe some players have selective tunnel-vision? They can blot out out the other hundreds or thousands of other "The One" heroes in the game?

    On the other hand, I do want my avatar to "look different" than everyone else in the game. If I roll up a Human Wizard, I don't want to look like every other Human Wizard in the game. I did not write up being a twin or octuplet in my back story :)

    Let me color my robes/armor. Give me more than 10 faces and 10 hair styles to choose from (many the same across differing races). Let me adjust my height, weight and age. Looks do not make someone special, usually.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • crack_foxcrack_fox WellingtonPosts: 402Member
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    Let me color my robes/armor. Give me more than 10 faces and 10 hair styles to choose from (many the same across differing races). Let me adjust my height, weight and age. Looks do not make someone special, usually.

    This exactly. I want my character to be unique - or at the very least, to look unique -  I do not need or want them to be 'the chosen one'. Trudging through the same 'hero' story as one of a hundred thousand identical saviours doesn't make me feel special. It makes me feel like a product on a conveyor belt and about as special as a potato. 

  • crack_foxcrack_fox WellingtonPosts: 402Member
    Originally posted by Rusque

    And in short order you're dispatching armies of enemies, if a soldier from any military in the world wiped out 50 enemy combatants in hand to hand combat and came back without major injury you can pretty much believe he'd get every honor possible.

    Then you start killing supernatural beings like ghosts and dragons and whatnot and yet you still want to pretend you're normal.

    Indeed, and when you've crossed the entire world, butchered countless foes and acquired the powers of a demi-god, then and only then are you the equal of those max-level town guards you see in most games. Makes you wonder what the pay and conditions are like for those guys, and why the authorities don't send them out to deal with well..anything ;)

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by crack_fox

    Originally posted by AlBQuirky
    Let me color my robes/armor. Give me more than 10 faces and 10 hair styles to choose from (many the same across differing races). Let me adjust my height, weight and age. Looks do not make someone special, usually.
    This exactly. I want my character to be unique - or at the very least, to look unique -  I do not need or want them to be 'the chosen one'. Trudging through the same 'hero' story as one of a hundred thousand identical saviours doesn't make me feel special. It makes me feel like a product on a conveyor belt and about as special as a potato. 
    Yes. Reminds me of the great scene from the movie "The Incredibles" where Dash and his Mom are having "a talk" in the car from school.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • wowclonezwowclonez Scripps Ranch, CAPosts: 74Member
    Originally posted by Shadowguy64
    To be fair, and to maintain realism, mobs shouldn't respawn either. once someone clears out all the mobs, they should be gone forever until migration, reinforcements or mother nature repopulates the area. That should take days or weeks at a minimum.

    With 1000s of people running around the servers killing things, all mobs would be extinct in a day, then what?

  • TheodwulfTheodwulf Brockton, MAPosts: 231Member Uncommon
    one of the few things I liked about SWG was the fact I was just another "space loser", rather than the man of destiny.
  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member

    check out the game Kenshi for a unique take on 'not special'. this indie rpg, still in alpha, specifically states that one of its goals is not to create heros with artificially inflated stats or status. the developer writes:

     

    "You are not the chosen one. You're not great and powerful. You don't have more 'hitpoints' than everyone else. You are not the center of the universe, and you are not special. Unless you work for it."

     

     

    you can find it here on Steam. it looks pretty cool and im considering picking it up, in spite of its alpha state. i know, i know, im getting tired of this purchasing model as well, but there are some exceptions i think, and this is one of them it seems.

     

     
     

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member
    Originally posted by wowclonez
    Originally posted by Shadowguy64
    To be fair, and to maintain realism, mobs shouldn't respawn either. once someone clears out all the mobs, they should be gone forever until migration, reinforcements or mother nature repopulates the area. That should take days or weeks at a minimum.

    With 1000s of people running around the servers killing things, all mobs would be extinct in a day, then what?

     

    actually, this is what EQN is promising: movement, change, migration in landscape as well as mobs.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

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