by

My Life With The Jedi Kill Kult

It was on an unnamed battle station, set up by Republic spies, where I fell from grace.

You see, up until that point, I had seen myself as an honorable man. Of course there was chaos and atrocity all around, but this was war, and war can be harsh. But I had a code of honor, and the knowledge that although many judge our Empire harshly, I fought for stability and order.

But the dark side… it was so seductive. It beckoned with the siren lure of shortcuts and the red haze of murder and power. I was strong, though, and could resist, and was even developing a reputation as an honorable Sith, odd though such a combination could be.

It changed when I finally met the nemesis of my master. Although through a hololink, it carried enough weight of what I, my people were fighting against – the sneering superiority of a caste that assumed it knew all the answers, the mocking calm of someone who assumed that only he had the path of honor and justice.

He was on a path I could no longer follow. That I had to prove wrong. That I had to destroy utterly. That I *could*.

I cut down his defenseless minions without a second thought, and my saber turned red, and I leapt into the abyss willingly.

Why yes, I am talking about an MMO. And what’s more, describing the point in an MMO where I made a decision to change my character’s progression, counter-intutively from a character building perspective, solely because of events in the game’s story.

During Bioware’s development of SWTOR, they often talked up storytelling as the missing link of MMO gaming, the “fourth pillar” of what makes a compelling game. Now we have an emphatic example of this development philosophy. It may well not be for everyone – even in a game such as World of Warcraft, people rapidly “click through the quest text” to continue with the game. That’s not an option here – you are part of an interactive movie, where the setup for even the most bog-standard kill 10 womprats quest (which are present in full force) is fully voiced and animated. You could conceivably spacebar your way through every conversation cutting short every cut scene, but at this point you are missing, well, the game.

So, yes. SWTOR tells a good story. This is a Bioware game, so this is pretty much a given. How much of a GAME is it?

Well, if you go into SWTOR expecting Star Wars Galaxies II, you are going to be very disappointed. SWTOR comes down very heavily (in fact with a Sith downward saber stab) on the side of game vs. world. There are some nods towards a deeper MMO community (such as social unlocks based on how often you group with others, and a fairly brilliantly handled pre-game guild launch that automatically load balanced guilds amongst servers) but SWTOR is a game. And many similarities to World of Warcraft are wholly intentional – to the point where popular WoW addons-to-game-systems such as gearscore are already baked in. Remember Wowhead? Welcome to Torhead.

If you’re really, really tired of World of Warcraft (and after seven years, a few million people are) then that alone may cause you to recoil. But if you see the World of Warcraft-centric game systems as a grammar used to build SWTOR’s language, it becomes clearer why those choices were made. In fact, in my week or so of play, some of my more “doh” induced boners were in areas where SWTOR veered away from World of Warcraft’s interface. Did you know that when you buy skills from trainers in SWTOR, the skills for your advanced class (another, rare divergence from World of Warcraft) are in a separate tab from the skills for your base class? For seven levels I didn’t!

If I have one criticism of SWTOR at this early point, it’s that for the initial 25 levels it seems to be, for the most part, a single player game played in parallel with many other people. This was fairly obnoxious when, for example, others would ninja-grab world quest objectives. There are instances (called “Flashpoints”), daily quests intended for groups, the aforementioned social rewards for doing them, and of course PvP (including battlegrounds). But up to this point they haven’t really been part of my focus.

You see, I’ve turned to the dark side. And I have a lot of red murder to catch up on.

  • gx1080

    I got tired of WoW on 7 months.

  • As an avid gamer who also happens to be a Literature student, I find the way that MMOs focus on, or ignore, the stories in the game extremely curious.

    There are clear advantages to providing stories, while also allowing people to skip them. The player will remain “in control” of their gaming experience, and the game can cater to both the casual player and the power-leveler.

    The “parallel single-player game” you describe is just bizarre, though, from both a storytelling and a game design perspective. It makes the game-world feel extremely fake: “Hey, that dood over there asked you to get that credit out of the belly of this moster here? He asked me too! Wait, he told you that you were the only one who could do it? And he’s giving you how much?!” “Nah man, don’t worry, another one will spawn in about five minutes.”

    Funny, this statement from the link you post is: “When you play Star Wars: The old Republic, you will experience a new level of immersion.” 

  • Caya

    Well, you *do* experience a new level of immersion … since most of the story-important encounters take place in instances which are fairly seamlessly integrated into the gaming world, you experience those alone or attended by your friends, if you so choose. Haven’t been able to play much due to time constraints, unfortunately, but I’m extremely impressed so far. You really weigh your choices, some of them do have consequences further down the line, and slowly, your character takes on a life of its own.

  • brindle

    The darkside is not about murder…. this is a classic!  http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/248ipzbt.asp

  • dartwick

    In other news – HAHA zynga

  • Plutosdad

    I always hated that it was called “the dark side”, I can see the Jedi’s calling it that, but Vader and Palpatine and everyone who followed it would not, they’d just call it “the Force”. They use the full force, and the Jedi decide they are bad for using certain powers.

  • John Ennis

    Yes in fact it was level 16 before I noticed the separate tab for my Advanced class skills.  Felt very stupid after that.  I don’t know if it was the tabs being located at the bottom or what, but it was definitely not intuitive to me.

  • Sinij

    I have to say that TOR succeeded in storytelling, their starting experience and initial quests are captivating. Age of Conan hit a wall at level 20 trying to do the same, we will see where TOR’s wall is. It might be max level, it might be first or second expansion… but I don’t think they could keep it up indefinitely.

    I also wonder why Cataclysm phased questing around zone “storyline” felt railroaded and hollow, while the same concept done in TOR feels just right and exciting.

  • Sinij

    Re: “a
    fairly brilliantly handled pre-game guild launch that automatically load
    balanced guilds amongst servers”

    As a member of large PvP guild, every guild I know ditched assigned servers and concentrated on 1-2 servers. All of these servers now have 1h+ queues.

    • And meanwhile my PvP server had a 10m queue this evening at prime time. There *may* be a lesson here…

  • VPellen

    Think it’ll manage to hold a subscriber base?

  • Bj

    kind of still meh.  So the MORGs are kind of catching up to with what Dungeons and Dragons was doing in the 1970s? Even with the choices it’s still just the same old plot train because you character can’t hall off and become a fruit vendor so something because he decides both the Sith and Jedi suck.

    • JuJutsu

      So, in your D&D campaign people gave up adventuring and became fruit vendors? Must’ve been a real hoot.

  • Blorn

    Not to wax nostalgic, but that was one of the beautiful parts of UO — you really could establish yourself as a (fruit) vendor, harvesting fruits/ore/wood etc, going to town to advertise, yadda yadda…..

  • Delurm

    Not to wax bored, but being a fruit vendor is about the most boring thing you can do in a game.  That’s like making you bake bread by getting every ingredient in the real world… oh wait… Ultima… got it.

    There is a game for people who want to be fruit vendors… it’s *super* popular as well…. it’s called ‘The Sims’ – give it a try – perhaps games about heroic action and saving the universe aren’t for you.

  • dartwick

    Why are games still using assigned servers?  It makes no sense at all. Its definitely not required for any data purposes.

    There should be server types such as PVP and PVE and characters should simply be restricted by server type. That way players could migrate themselvesand balance populations automatically anytime servers reached a cap.  And sevrvers could be added or removed with no fan fare.

    • John Smith

      we could call them channels and you could switch between them by clicking a button in the bottom of your screen, it would be great.

  • Carson Wilson

    This is definitely the first MMO where the story engaged me. WoW captivated me because of the people (i.e. my guild that I have painfully grown into something worth while), and the game world/mechanics. 

    Playing it is interesting to me.

    SWTOR… I am loving the story and “watching” it. What concerns me are the mechanics.

    I’ll play through a few times on different classes but what happens when those quests are “done” – ie I’m max level and have been for MONTHS.

    Will there be compelling game play? I’ve not seen it yet and this is what will make or break their longevity as a game for me.

    In WoW, there are many interesting fight mechanics (I’m referring to the complexities of raiding).

    So far, all complexities are – don’t stand in something. Sure, WoW has that as well but there are MANY other mechanics to manage as well. 

    Have someone actually talk their way through the Ragnaros fight (as one example) and you’ll see there are many more mechanics than stand there…

    Now granted that’s a raid, but consider even the instances – many interesting -game- mechanics for the bosses and your characters.

    With my Jedi, it feels like three different ways to swing my sabre (Jedi Knight here) and that’s… well everything. Not too compelling.

    I never got a sense I could “finish” WoW but I do have a sense I can “finish” SWTOR – we’ll see how it plays out. Regardless, I’ll enjoy the journey on the way there for the story alone.

  • Jwkelley77

    There also is something to the concept to playing a single player game with tons of people around.

  • Sinij

    Well my ToR honeymoon is over, the fact that they don’t have any support is appalling.

  • Blorn

    @delurm, what did the fruit vendor do to you to hate them so much?  Sell your daughter the fruitfucker 2000?  You’re entirely right though; because I enjoy vending fruit, I must hate all other aspects of the game.  There’s no room in these gaming worlds for people who want to adventure while baking bread!

    • Delurm

      There is plenty of room for people who like being a fruit vendor – expecting every game to allow you to vend fruit seems a bit selfish to me though.

      I don’t expect every game to have an FPS experience like MW3 – or a complex depth like Eve – or require lightning fast twich finger skills like Starcraft.

      I don’t expect the SIMS to give me a horror experience like I get from Resident Evil – and I don’t expect WoW to allow me to fight like Street Fighter IV.

      I do expect my games to try to find a focus and give me the best game that they are – while being what they are.  I don’t fault every game that comes out because it fails at ‘some other feature I liked in previous game’.

      It does strike a cord with this game because SoE was (for a while) working on some of the very best tradeskill systems in the genre – EQ2’s was brilliant – perhaps too grindy and prone to botting – but SoE was really giving crafters a fully functioning system that relied on other crafters and created a heck of a market.

      No other MMO has even tried to do that.  I certainly don’t blame TOR for not going down that road – I’m not sure tradeskills are a big enough market for it to matter to them.

      The end result however is that fruit vending – will not happen here (although I support your right to petition and protest for a full fledged fruit vending system).  Do you disagree that the game does what it set out to do (make story matter) in a very compelling and fun way?

      I do – I’m more involved in the story in TOR at lvl 14 than I was throughout the entire WoTLK and Cataclysm – even with all the cut scenes WoW never pulled me in like TOR has.

      Which is funny because I did find lvl 1-60 content very compelling and full of story – but you had to work to find the story – at least what was there was rich and full of life.  The story now seems kind of bland – almost like the writer got wanderlust and can’t seem to understand that if every moster is the same (ultimate evil) it gets boring.

      WoW anymore feels like dragonball Z in MMO form.

  • gx1080

    I have to wonder how TOR will be doing on 6 months when people finish the “story”.

    • Delurm

      Well I managed to enjoy WoW for about 7 years with almost no story – but I do agree – I’m unsure if it will be as interesting when you finish the content.

    • JuJutsu

      Interesting “comment”.

  • Jwkelley77

    Its going to fall in 6 months but that is not anything new.  WoW always goes up and down depending on expansions.

  • Foamy

    I LOVE my Sith Juggernaut’s story – trying to do the right thing pulling the Empire together despite the internecine politics of the Dark Council, with her ex-slave and her loyal lieutenant guarding her back.

    I HATE my Sith Juggernaut’s mechanics – I just feel that she hasn’t got the right tools to do her job.  It’s not that she doesn’t have ENOUGH tools – I have 3 skillbars full of the various skills and abilities she can use (and a 4th skillbar – the maximum allowable for display at one time – for her active companion).  I just don’t feel that the skills lend themselves to the situations she faces – both in PvE and PvP.

    For example, in PvE there’s a group instance around lvl25 which has a boss fight consisting of 4 opponents at once – two of whom are ranged, two of whom are melee, with one of the melee opponents having a short cooldown (~10s) knockback and a snare.  Since they’re all bosses, none of them can be crowd-controlled.  My juggernaut has *1* AoE skill, and it’s on a 15s cooldown.  I have to hit that AoE every cooldown or I risk losing aggro to the healer.  I can’t throw out special attacks to keep aggro on all 4 because without autoattack doing so would drop my threat on the main target by ~50% and I risk losing aggro to the dps.  If I get knocked back around when my AoE attack comes off cooldown (or, as happens with depressing regularity, at the same time I cast so it comes off while I’m flying through the air) then I lose 10-15s getting back to where I can cast again.  And the only room features I can use to line of sight the ranged opponents are curved, which means if I try to group the bosses with my back against a wall I’ll still slide off and fly across the room, making repositioning the group pointless.

    If I had another AoE skill, or a lower cooldown, or a short-cooldown high-threat attack, the fight would be a lot more manageable, but as it is it feels like my skill list is inadequate to dealing with the job.  I feel there’s no strategy I can employ to manage the fight, I just have to get tossed around like a pinball and hope I can taunt the bosses before my fellow party members die.

    Similarly for PvP, for all my 3 skillbars of abilities I don’t have a single in-combat heal and only 1 ranged attack on a 10s cooldown.  Considering all the rewards handed out for healing X health, or taking X damage without dying, without a dedicated healer I have very little chance of entering combat, doing damage, and then escaping for long enough to be able to use an out-of-combat heal.  Despite scoring 3 touchdowns in Huttball by virtue of taking a long time to kill once I get the ball, I consistently earn fewer rewards than ranged healer/dps hybrid classes that sit in the middle of the field mindlessly dueling.

    I know when I reach the endgame I am without question the best tank for a single boss raid encounter – with my damage reduction and armor debuff – but I feel that outside of that very narrow specialization I don’t have the skills required to do anything else with even moderate effectiveness.  It makes me not want to keep playing my juggy, which is a shame because I really like her as a character.

    • NOBODY777

      maybe it’s time to think “outside the WoW” and let someone off-tank a mob or two? i agree that it seems tanks are missing some tools, especially at lower levels, but maybe that’s intentional?

  • John Smith

    ” I’m not sure tradeskills are a big enough market for it to matter to
    them.”

    Of course there is. There’s a whole multibillion dollar genre of casual games out there where people do nothing but bake bread or some other repetitive task with very small payouts in accomplishment.

    Quite a few people played to bake bread in uo and if given the option, I’m sure we could find a whole new generation of players to do so. The problem isn’t the player base or the community or anything they particularly do or do not desire, it is the developers and their unmoving concept of game design.

    Quite simply, you don’t need to spend time and money developing and maintaining systems that encourages players to bake bread or create armor if your entire game is based around linear quest progression that hands out gear and supplies every 15 minutes. You can’t have the “standard” end game of forcing large groups of people to repeat an encounter 100 times to grind out the super special gears if another player can just craft it for them. Why allow players to craft food and drink when the npc sells them for you and acts as a lazy, poorly thoughtout gold sink that becomes terribly ineffective within a few months? It’s just another developmental shortcut that has unfortunately evolved into a core design philosophy.

  • Caya

    Dear me, sometimes you sandbox enthusiasts can be almost as obnoxious as the ganking crowd. Yes, there are millions of people out there playing Farmville. And while I can’t figure out why for the life of me, I wish them many happy hours with their game. Same with, say, Eve – not my cuppa but many people disagree, and more power to them. So TOR is a heavily-instanced theme park which plays almost like a single player game for large stretches of time. So what? I still have a blast playing it, and judging by the way the server list keeps growing, many, many people do. Will I still love it in six months’ time? Doubt it, but meanwhile I’m going to enjoy the ride. Not every single bloody game out there needs to exclusively cater to your particular tastes. Is it really so hard to understand that when thinking of Star Wars, more people associate “saving/dominating the world, lightsaber in hand” with it than “selling fruit”?

    • John Smith

      Oh? So Darth Vader didnt start out as a slave working in a shop? That wasn’t a major plot point? The shop owner and his business dealings didn’t play any role in the story? The whole droid wars things didn’t start out as  economic sanctions against an essentially agrarian planet? There werent differnt kinds of currency between the republic and outlaying planets and this didnt play a role in the story?  Certainly there were plenty of action scenes revolving around action, and light sabers sure were pretty, but most of the story revolved around living worlds complete with economy and politics.

      This is suppose to be a mmo, but what we have is a single player game with a multiplayer option. This is about as mmo as diablo 2. While the stuff inbetween light saber bashes may not be your cup of tea it eventually will be, as there is a very clear trend with developers to cut out as much as possible. Take away tor’s voice acting and what do you really have? Kill ten rats, fetch quests and some 4 man instances all situatied in a series of essentially straight corridor. All they have done is removed the option of skipping or skimming quest dialog or reading it in a few minutes and replaced it with mandatory cut scenes. This isn’t innovative, this is expensive and time consuming. It certainly will keep Ms Hale employed for the next 5 years but will it keep you entertained for even half as long?

      Certainly the story in tor is great. How could it not be? We all love star wars or we wouldn’t be here. The problem is, we know how it is going to end. Sith lose, gg no rematch. So what’s the point? Where is the motivation coming from to pay a monthly fee for this thing? It’s not like this is the only game that lets you swing around light sabers, or the only game where you can listen to Jennifer Hale all day. Mmos need that useless middle stuff. They need fruit vendors.

      • dartwick

        Im pretty sure you said ” MMOs need” when you meant to say “I want.”

        “MMO” is a rather broad classification – its obvious to everyone but you that not all MMOs are meant for you.

      • JuJutsu

        They need fruit vendors like fish need bicycles. Kvetch away, I’m having fun. I’m sorry you don’t like it. I do like it.

  • Blorn

    I’m not sure where you get the impression that a desire to sell fruit in Star Wars means Star Wars must “exclusively cater to [my] particular tastes”.  Criticizing a persistent world because it doesn’t give much opportunity for downtime activities isn’t exactly asking the game to cater exclusively to those downtime activities.  I fully expect and desire Star Wars the MMO to be first and foremost shooting JarJars in the face from close range, but crafting isn’t exactly a new concept in the genre either.  I guess I’m one of the people who think that persistent worlds are more persistent when you have opportunity to do more than one thing, something to do between adventures.  Anyhoo, the escalation of angst against the crafters is new and unexplored territory; carry on, I’m out. 

  • dartwick

    I love sandboxes – Im still playing EVE.

    But this insistence that every game be a sand box is silly.
    EVERY sandbox element you add to a game has cost in playability for some other type of gamer.

    This a scripted theme park with some isolated PVP diversions – it makes some people happy.
    This isnt a sand box – deal with it.

  • Gemrawr

    Nice write up of early game. Your points about it feeling like a single player game in the early levels are true but I believe this to be a good thing. 

    I feel more closely connected to the story of my character instead of being part of the SW:TOR community, eventually it’s great to group up/PVP and PVE but during the opening story it’s nice to feel kinda isolated.

  • Brask

    MMOs need is quite a defensible position.  It means one is engaged in the process of defining what “MMO” means. 

    Massive multiplayer, to me, implies interactions between a massive number of people.  It does not mean you just have thousands of people connecting to the same game server – they need to play *together*.

    Thus the fruit-vendor complaints.  The concern is there is a concerted effort to provide less and less reasons to ever interact with your fellow players, outside of perhaps 4-at-a-time pickup groups.  Sandboxes, like UO or Eve, make the world integrated.  Diku Muds like EQ strip away a lot of that interaction – in some ways the fruit vendor complaint is many MMOs too late.  TOR seems the natural progression of this descent away from MMOs into a mere multiplayer game with a massive 3d lobby.

    It was a big shock moving from UO to EQ where suddenly no one would ever talk to you.   In UO, if you met someone in the woods, you’d talk to each other.  Perhaps out of self-preservation.  But in EQ the chat was lost in the combat spam and everyone wired themselves into their guild/private chat, so outsiders only existed as NPCs that got in the way of their quest fullfillment.  As those obvious design problems have been fixed, we find the insular guilds have less and less to ever interact over in-game.

    If, “this a scripted theme park with some isolated PVP diversions”, then it isn’t an MMO.

  • Delurm

    See the funny thing is – I didn’t go on about how Darkfall needed instances – or how Eve needed more complex solo story lines.

    But everyone wants to bag on the latest big budget MMO for not being more like ‘sandbox game A’ than they are.

    This is why I can’t understand what the complaint is about – if TOR had come out and said they’d have the best fruit selling interface this side of facebook – sure I’d see where you have a gripe – they never once indicated they were interested in even slightly giving you a playstyle you wanted.

    I can understand your disappointment – however they did a very good job with the game they were *trying* to make.  That deserves reviews and opinions that judge the game for what it’s trying to be – not what it never wanted to be.

    “This is suppose to be a mmo, but what we have is a single player game with a multiplayer option”

    It is an MMO.  No doubt about it.  *I* have yet to feel like it’s a single player game – I’m having better luck grouping than I had in EQ or WoW and both of those are firmly considered ‘MMO’s’

    It’s not like previous games in that you have to have a perfect group – that’s for sure.

    “If, “this a scripted theme park with some isolated PVP diversions”, then it isn’t an MMO.”

    If it’s an open world that lets you do anything you want at any time (aka second life) – it’s not a game…. it’s just minecraft with people.  In other words… Boring 🙂

    “There’s a whole multibillion dollar genre of casual games out there
    where people do nothing but bake bread or some other repetitive task
    with very small payouts in accomplishment.”

    See – that market demographic is already being catered to 🙂  I do agree – why didn’t EA try to copy farmville with the latest MMO… they could have made millions!

  • SokMunki

    The problem is that no one is making deep MMO spaces that cater to integrated worlds anymore, at least ones that register on radars. You have relics like Ryzom or footnotes like Fallen Earth (I presume Fallen Earth is like that; never played it), but nothing coming over the horizon. The “MMO” space appears to be diverging between either these action-based games — DC Online and apparently TOR — or casual point-and-click, web-based affairs.

    However, when dealing with a genre or a specific IP, I think it’s important to cater to the people who want to play in that setting. Darth Vader worked in a shop, sure, but when allocating resources and developing systems for a Star Wars game, a player-driven economy should probably take second place to laser sword fights and pew-pew in deep space. Because, c’mon, it’s Star Wars, not Generic Role-Playing Setting with a Space Opera Skin. This is one major reason SWG tripped over the starting line.

    Even if you pull back a bit to more general designations, like “Superhero” or “Pirates” you have to keep in mind the appeal. A superhero game that has an intricate crafting and harvesting system, catering to your nascent Tony Starks, but a lackluster beat-em’-up system is probably a bad superhero game. Pirate games need nice swashbuckling and ship-to-ship fights. Etc. (Once you get to a certain level of abstraction the skin doesn’t really matter, of course — Puzzle Pirates, for example.)

  • dsj

    This is quite possibly the only MMO experiment in history where a game  was designed using the same IP but from widely diverging visions of the word “game”.  Galaxies was a brilliant fruit vendor game with a detailed world that forgot to bring the Jedi.  TOR is a game with the Jedi that forgot to bring the fruit vendors.  I’m betting Bioware at least gets their development money back and I’m also betting Lucas Arts makes out either way.

  • Brask

    “But everyone wants to bag on the latest big budget MMO for not being more like ‘sandbox game A’ than they are.”
    But of course!

    TOR promised an MMO.  To some people, it succeeded.  To others, the MMO genre requires a certain virtual-world aspect.  So, in their eyes, it may be a failed MMO.  And they can validly judge it as such.

    It probably is perceptive to dump the fruit-vendor-whiners in with the carebear-whiners.  The source of the angst is the same – they see the genre they love moving in a direction they don’t love.

    Of course you didn’t complain about Darkfall or Eve – they aren’t dictating the direction this genre moves in!  It is easy to be magnanimous and let a thousand flowers bloom when you are confident that your chosen horse has a massive lead.

  • WUA

    Nobody wants to log into an MMO to get ganked and teabagged all day and nobody wants to sell fruit. It’s been like 14 years since UO came out, deal with reality.

    “Bu- bu- but FARMVILLE somehow validates my shitty taste!”

    Great, you go play that. Let the people blowing nine figures on an MMO budget make something that will earn their money back.

    • Ah, as one of those people who lovingly gather fruit, vegetables, various meats and such to cook food in an MMO, I resemble that remark.

  • Arka

    I just imagine an elderly fruid vendor in South Africa finally getting internet access, typing in the term “Fruit Vendor” to see what the worldly word is on his humble profession, and then coming here to discover a whole slew of people both fighting for and against them.

  • Recursion

    Long time lurker of LTM/Brokentoys…. .Id love to go into my gaming history more.. but I wont bore you :). I’m trying to figure out what SW:TOR brings to the table that I haven’t seen/done in previous games? I’ve been watching some you tube videos to get an idea of the game play, and honestly it looks pretty much like everything else that has come out recently, save that quests are handed out via voice acting, instead of text walls. Lum seems to love the game… and that makes me interested, but what is it about the game that separates it from anything else on the market right now?

  • Dana Anthony

    Voice acting plus animation – it isn’t just voice acting –  instead of text walls makes a huge difference.  Basically the difference between watching a 30 minute machinima video and reading a short story on a tablet.  Same machine, different medium = different experience. 

  • Luca Corradini

    Regarding the “sandbox” argument, back at the end of the nineties MMOs meant “virtual worlds”, where a good portion of the playerbase thought they could actually live a “parallel”, medieval (in case of fantasy) life, undertaking various roles, not just the ones of the all-time adventurer (and no, it wasn’t an “anti-social/anti real-life” way of thinking, it’s just that back in the day they catered to pure roleplayers rather than a more generic playerbase). 

    You actually expected you couldn’t undertake every task by yourself, but you had to rely on others, just like in RL you don’t necessarily have to produce your own goods, you just go out and buy them by interacting with other people.Obviously, in time, the focus has shifted, so now the market is dominated by theme parks.

    • JuJutsu

      I guess you’re right but mostly by definition; you’ve defined the timeline so that MMO=Ultima Online. I guess you could toss in Meridian 59. Things had changed by the time EQ hit it big and that’s quite a while ago. Themepark domination is hardly a recent occurence.