Friday, January 28, 2005

World of Warcraft and "Pattern-Breaking"

Damion Schubert nails the reason I'm enjoying World of Warcraft more than other MMO games.
What the WoW quest engine does right is that it convinces you that quests are the best way to advance in the game, and then lets you have 20 of them at a time.

Efficiency is a funny thing in games. Most people don't care about the most "efficient" way to progress through a single-player game, and those who prefer to take their time are in no way impacted by the fact that some people see it as a race. Online, however, the drive for efficiency can be contagious. When you can't make progress solo, you're often stuck in the few areas that have a critical mass of people. There was a lot of fun to be had in Everquest, but you wouldn't know it from the way most people played, killing legions of identical monsters in whichever zone was the hotspot for their level. It was just too hard to find people with whom to explore the rest of the game world. What WoW gets right is that you're never really tempted to take the "less fun" path because it's more efficient.