I’ve got a rant sitting in my drafts.
Like most of my rants, it’s long, convoluted, and bitchy. More so than normal.
So that will come out another day to play.
Instead of ranting, today will be musing.
This post is NOT about what makes games hard. But the related posts were very good reads, especially the comments. Click them. I dare you.
What this post IS about, was a thought that wove in and out of the posts and their comments – “hard” and community.
Games like EQ (which I have never played, but read Tobold’s post so I am now an expert) and Rappelz (which I did play and was even in what could be considered a medium/high-end guild, not Paragon-esque but a good guild) have a certain amount of tedium to them.
Stuff takes time. A large portion of the game(s) involved running from A to B, killing mobs in the vain hopes of getting drops (in Rappelz you would actually have to de-level for certain drops. Imagine having to de-level to 20 or so if you needed to farm wool), crafting skills that had less to do with skill and relied more on wishes and prayers, time spent sitting around waiting for groups to fill, camping mobs, etc.
In WoW, stuff takes time, but not nearly as much time. Tir recently took a druid virtually from 1 to raiding in about a month and maintained his other raiding characters. In Rappelz, and I’m guessing EQ, this would have been a feat of madness and required a miracle. I’ve powerlevel professions in a day. In relation, the amount of time to get something done in WoW is minuscule to the other games.
But what does this have to do with community?
If you read the forums, blogs, and trade chat, there are a lot of complaints about the WoW community in general. We are all baddies, we’re all dicks, we’re all ninjas, we’re all retards and asshats.
I’ve never heard anyone speak ill of the EQ community and I can’t recall any truly bad apples in the Rappelz community. Granted, the Rappelz community was a bit smaller, but we had our forums and “trade chat” was server-wide. Everyone knew everyone else.
I don’t think tedious games make for better, nicer people.
But I do think that personalities given to asshattery are less likely to tolerate a game that requires tedium for success.
Take ninjas for instance.
In Rappelz, you couldn’t ninja at all. The loot system was bugged and stuck on “round robin” ALL THE TIME. There were like, 5 other loot distribution selections that didn’t work. So each item was distributed in order in a continuous loop through the party list. Because drops were so rare (you could grind a dungeon for 3-4 hours and only see 2 pieces of gear drop, with 8 people in a party), there was no expectation that if you got a healer piece that you would give it to the healer and they would trade you a DPS piece (with the exception of guild runs, of course). Oh no, you were well within your rights to take that drop to the capital, set up shop and try to get as much for it as possible so you could afford purchasing your own gear.
There were sneaky things you could do with shops to trick people into selling you their items when they thought they were getting a great deal and pet cards could be stolen by tamers. But due to the absolute time sink it was to get a pet card in the first place (not to mention all the deleveling to farm it) and the risk of it failing, people researched the fuck out of their tamer. If you didn’t have a guild tamer, you would spend hours looking for the person on the server with the best skill and the best reputation. If a tamer developed a bad rep, EVERY ONE on the server would know. They would be completely blackballed. No name changes, no server transfers, no hiding. You would have to start over from scratch – very time consuming, even if you were willing to pour real cash into it.
In WoW, ninjaing is as easy as putting together a pug run, putting it on master looter and awarding it all to yourself or your friends. Yes, people will bitch on trade chat and maybe even the forums, but due to the population size, it’s just one more name in a sea of thousands, assuming that any interested individuals were logged on and reading trade chat at the time. A name change and a server transfer if things get bad enough and you’ve got a clean slate. If it’s even worse, just level a new toon and you’re off the hook completely.
In conjunction with how easy it is to ninja, with the exception of incredibly rare drops (Ashes of A’lar, etc.), it’s a simple matter of running the dungeon or raid again, either the next day or the next week. Odds are good that you could get the drop again in a relatively short period of time. Calendar-wise, it may take a few days, but the actual real time invested in the run will amount to just a few hours, as opposed to countless hours farming for pet cards or for profession mats.
It’s my guess that ninjas and other idiots are individuals looking for quick rewards with no real expenditure of effort on their part. (Note that I’m not saying that all asshats are into instant gratification, nor am I saying that a person that prefers rapid rewards will necessarily be a dick. But I bet you’re more likely to find the pair of traits together in the people that piss us off.)
A game like EQ or Rappelz would quickly bore them since they would have to work to achieve anything. (And by work, I mean spend time. In Rappelz, it wasn’t like you had a complicated rotation or stat weighting to consider, there was no theory craft, not even a combat log. Gems were introduced as I was leaving and that was the first gear enhancement option available).
In WoW, because rewards are so plentiful compared to the amount of “weeding” required (go read Dee’s post), the asshole portion of the population has less to lose as compared to being in a grind fest game.
I am not asking for more grind in WoW (although I am a big fan of attunements), I enjoy the game much of the way it is. But I am interested in hearing from people that played vanilla or even BC, when the game had more grind-type mechanics. As the game has become less time-consuming, have you seen a change in the personality of the population that could be related?