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What do you guys think? I've made a few questions for discussion if you want to skip to the bottom of this post.
Before I jump into the topic I would like to attempt to prevent any arguments as what is scary or not. We are all different, and we are all smart enough to realize not everyone is scared of certain things/moments.
I would like to first say I'm a big baby. I'm the guy who you would bring to a scary movie, so you can have some laughs. I can't help it. I just get into the movie too much, and I fear the worst for the character in any movie/game. I've played Dead space, and their were moments when I just had to stop because I was too scared lol. I was screaming during the part when you had to trap that immortal monster with the moveable cases. There are even moments in Mass Effect that make me feel on edge and scared (I know some of you are laughing at me ....... STOP lol).
There is something special about the feeling of fear. There has to be. Why do so many of us seek it for entrainment? There is just a fun factor for fear when you know its not really real, and you can have a good laugh about it after you've jumped out of terror.
I do believe if there was a mmo that had a fear factor in it, then it would sell fairly well. In the pass we've seen this happen to many single player games. Some people will buy just because of the challenge of not letting it scare you, or to see if they can be frighten. The problem is can you make an mmo truly scary?I think the best thing to first is to search for the elements that make a single player game scary.
I personally believe the biggest factor in scary single player games is the fact that your truly alone. There are no other people playing the same game with you. No one to save, or to watch your back. Honestly, I think the scariest moments in movies is when the character is alone. Remember the ending in Quarantine? *Note R rated Movie in Link* A week later that's the only part of the movie I could remember. I pretty much slept with lights on in my room that night. I see this as the biggest issue with having a scary mmo. There are other people around! Your always connected to other players through chat in most mmos. This really breaks the immersion to the point where a person wouldn't be afraid. MMOs are also generally made for group play. How can you make a game scary enough in a group?
The second most important element I believe is needed in a scary game is characters being vulnerable. I mean vulnerable as limited tools to escape and lacking overall survivability. In games where its almost a auto death when the monster gets in melee range always keeps me so focused that I jump when something pops up right next to me. I could never be scared in a game where I felt so strong that no content could kill me. Players have to believe that they can die at any moment!
The 3rd element is inconstancy and unpredictable. I would have had a much easier time playing Dead Space if they were consistent on placing monsters in all the rooms. The fact that I never truly knew that there was or not a monster right above me sent chills down my spine.
The last factor that I can think of is not always having control. This is used in two ways. It can mean the situation. I want to run as soon as I start to get overwhelmed by monsters, but if I have control then I'm going to blast some zombie heads. The other way I mean lack of control is over your character. When something takes hold of your character you shouldn't be able to easily run away. Your stuck and nearing death. The emotion of panic sets in, and you do your best to remove its grip.
I would love to try a scary mmo. It would have a different feel, and I think it would end my problem with playing mmos too late at night.
Thanks for reading
Here are some questions. Answer/comment on what you want.
1) What other elements do you think make games scary?
2) What features do you think would have to be added and/or taken away in the common mmo UI and setup?
3) Any idea of movies/games you would like to use to make a horror mmo?
4) Any ideas that would fix the issue of missing out on the feeling you're truly alone
5) Can you think of any end game that can be added that would also be scary?
6) Do you think players in mmos can be part of the game that scares people?