World of Warcraft - Immersive?

During my stay in Azeroth, I constantly felt as if I was playing only to reach "an end". By that, I express that the main reason for playing was a sense of continual accomplishment through small increments in gear and new spells. More than 90% of the content was repetitive - only a handful of quests possessed enough interest to make me forget that I was essentially working my way up a artificial ladder that rewarded time with progress.

Because of this, I can't help but think that the game really lacked the sense of a fantasy world. Granted I didn't play on a role playing realm, but it was as if the scenery and art direction were the only things that actually made the place feel like an escape from reality. Because of this, I have a few questions for readers:

1. Is World of Warcraft a good example of a "fantasy game" ? (make sure to differentiate between a good game in general as opposed to the genre)

2. What elements do you think are required to make a game immersive, particularly in the fantasy/role playing genre?

3. What would you recommend developers put into MMO's to make them more entertaining beyond the "carrot and stick" mentality? On the side, does there have to be an "end" for a game to be truly satisfying?

Thanks for reading!

very hard to make an MMO truely immersive. WoW is trying useing the phasing tools, but everyone hase to be able to do the same content, so in the end no matter how many times you kill something it will always resspawn.

Oh course it is fantasy their are trolls and goblins and magic.

Can't really think of anything different for an MMO, but no a game does not need an end.

Watcheroftrends:

1. Is World of Warcraft a good example of a "fantasy game" ? (make sure to differentiate between a good game in general as opposed to the genre)

I'd say so. Warcraft has a rich, detailed history and setting, and while the game takes some liberties with the canon and doesn't always use it effectively, its still pretty good.

2. What elements do you think are required to make a game immersive, particularly in the fantasy/role playing genre?

Verisimilitude. Your world doesn't have to be realistic, but it does have to be believable. Its really little things that establish it, not the overall plot. Mass Effect is a good example: The Codex, weapon descriptions, everything builds this huge world for us that we occasionally can glimpse through the main story.

3. What would you recommend developers put into MMO's to make them more entertaining beyond the "carrot and stick" mentality? On the side, does there have to be an "end" for a game to be truly satisfying?

Some are trying. Guild Wars and the upcoming Old Republic are very plot driven, which is specific to every individual. EVE Online created in-game politics for people to get involved in, as well as large-scale business. Even WoW has started putting focus on mid-late game instance and raid running as a game in itself, instead of just a means to an end in the "phat lewts" department. However, none of these games really "end", and to a degree they still have the incentive of "play more to get better stuff" hanging around them. Which is really the whole point of an MMO from the developers standpoint, after all. Its all well and good to want to make a cohesive and closed narrative, but at the end of the day you still want people to play your game for as long as possible.

A game doesn't need to end to to be satisfying, not at all. Some of my favorite games are games which you can keep playing over and over or on and on, because either they are not constrained by a story, or remain engaging after its over. However, to create an engaging story, the opposite is true. It has to end sometime, or else people will eventually grow bored and stop caring. Then all you did was for naught.

I can relate. No matter how many quests I complete; how many things I kill or people I save I know that they'll just respawn or become hepless again. There's not really a sense of acheivement and the whole goal of it seems to be to get to level 85 so that you can be griefed during raids.

Immersion is hard to achieve in an MMO, but I think WoW did a good job. Whilst I can understand the lack of achievement I really get immersed in the world of Azeroth. The characters and quest givers, dialogue and monsters. I find the world really easy to slip into though it's evidently quite shallow as I find it just as easy to slip out of.

Well in my days of playing WoW I'd have to mostly agree. Lots of repetition and definitely many times of thinking "just grind out these few quests/kills and level up!". However, I was generally one to read all the quest stories and such, so definitely there was many interesting quests that I just had fun doing without thinking too much about how I was playing the game. So I guess it was pretty hit or miss, which makes sense because it's a HUGE MMO with thousands and thousands of quests, so it would be exceptionally hard to make them all different.

1. no, its got a detailed story but not a horribly good one and its one you have to actually look around for. Not to mention that its a future fantasy setting. Allow me to explain, its set in the past but not the real past, its set in the future past with giant robots and flying shit with dragons and dimensional space ships. but you get my meaning, there is very little consistency to the wow universe and none of it really makes sense together

2.well it has to actually be immersive for one, wow breaks immersion at pretty much every step of the game, the thing that keeps people coming back is more of the community then the immersion into the game (probably, at least thats what did it for me, for awhile)

3.there really isnt much you can put in an mmo beyond carrot with stick to keep people coming back, different mmo type games change it up but because of the stupid popularity of wow no one is really willing to deviate too much from that. Could make the story more interesting, guild wars has done a pretty good job of that with nightfall.

I'd come out of a trace and find I'm starving to death and I've past several Christmas' while in a raid or two. If that isn't immersion, I don't know what is.

Watcheroftrends:

1. Is World of Warcraft a good example of a "fantasy game" ? (make sure to differentiate between a good game in general as opposed to the genre)

Wow's a decent game and has a decent fantasy setting but the two elements really don't come together much over all. The story was never more important then the mechanics of the game. For me there were few, if any, parts of the game I remember the name of without having to think about it a bit. I can, however, remember those places level ranges and if they were good for hunting or farming. To me that doesn't say immersion.

Watcheroftrends:

2. What elements do you think are required to make a game immersive, particularly in the fantasy/role playing genre?

Its the little things that count for the most. I felt much more involved in Everquest (early EQ) then in wow in part because I was separated from other players by race, distance and even language. Everyone spoke common but if you weren't an troll you had to work to learn that language and it wasn't easy. As an ogre you had to know what camps and cities were friendly to you and where you could safely bank, sell or bind. All of that combined to make you feel more a part of the race you played.

Watcheroftrends:

3. What would you recommend developers put into MMO's to make them more entertaining beyond the "carrot and stick" mentality? On the side, does there have to be an "end" for a game to be truly satisfying?

That's a hard question to answer without this post turning into an essay. Keep it challenging. I quit playing WoW back in BC because it was to easy, you didn't have to work at anything, just grind. That became what the game was about and all people wanted to do was grind faster. You needed to wear purples to get into a group for a dungeon that dropped blues because everyone wanted the quick and painless grind. You went into battlegrounds and people were shouting "lets lose this one fast" cause they were just their to grind honor. Even the end game was more about the drops then the fights. Gear score, gear score, gear score.

The truth is WoW plays exactly as it was designed to. It's Diablo the expanded edition, simple as that. Your first play through of Diablo you may have cared about the cut scenes but after that it became all about gear. An immersive rpg mmo is a different design philosophy.

 

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