Think outside the box...please
Dec 31, 2007 15:13:16

the box
"Look, here's what it boils down to: an MMORPG isn't about killing monsters. It isn't about the moment of combat (or any other individual game system - the moment of swordfighting in Puzzle Pirates, the moment of assembling a structure in A Tale In The Desert). You can get that stuff anywhere else. An MMORPG is precisely about the fact that people interact and do things outside of the "game" that is the moment to moment challenge. In fact, a large-scale economic game is exactly the sort of thing no other game can provide." - Raph Kostner in "Does Trading Suck"

The lengthy debate back and forth between Raph Koster ( and Tobold ( produced the above comment. While the debate is, for the most part, about removing Real Money Trading (RMT) for virtual goods from mmos (not going to happen by the way) part of what Raph Koster had to say sparked a thought for me. This was the phrase:
"An MMORPG is precisely about the fact that people interact and to things outside of the 'game' that is the moment to moment Challenge."

First off, the simple reality of the situation is that if it makes a buck, and it's not illegal (all attempts to subpoena IGE by the Florida States Attorney Office aside) people are going to do it. If precedent is set in tort law, that may change - that is it could change the legality of it in the U.S. It will NOT change the practice of RMT one little bit in other countries. If the same class action lawsuit brought by a law firm in a Korean Court the lawsuit would likely be dismissed - that is, after the judge stopped laughing. Even if you try and slap a firm like IGE up along side the head with tort law, the practice of RMT will still be alive and well. While I was wading through the heated debate I came upon a remark that indicated Raph Koster proposed that the same companies that develop the MMOs get involved in RMT - in fact there is a name for that - Microtransactions.

All the debate back and forth aside, and whether or not it would ruin a game it brings me back to a comment made by Joel Bylos, a developer for Age of Conan (as reported at Mr. Bylos indicated that the "feeling on the internet" is that WoW is "losing its luster".

While this may be true in some circles the simple fact is that at the given moment the number of subscribers in WoW is larger than the population of Switzerland with about 2 million players left over. Rob Pardo is surely not losing any sleep over Mr. Bylos' comments.

But if there is any dulling of the Blizzard luster it doesn't have a thing to do with RMT. What dulls the luster is the age old game mechanic that never changes - oh no, it never changes.

The same hue and cry fills the looking for group channels, "looking for healer, looking for tank." What needs to change is not the way players pay for their virtual goodies, what needs to change is the way the game IS PLAYED IN THE FIRST PLACE. The virtual roles in most MMOs today are more rigidly designed then a feudal society.
"An MMORPG is precisely about the fact that people interact and do things outside of the 'game' that is the moment to moment challenge" - Raph Koster.

Now, let's please somebody, anybody DO something about it. Will some developer somewhere PLEASE start thinking just a wee bit "outside the box"? I would just love to see an MMO developed where there wasn't a place for every role, and every role in its place.

See you online

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Dec 31, 2007 15:13:16 CST (comments: 0)


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