Log in

No account? Create an account
07 January 2012 @ 10:20 pm
Why MMORPG's Make Me Sad...  
Two of my favorite video games of all time are Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) and KOTOR: The Sith Lords. Okay. I’m pretty enraptured by most of Bioware’s offerings. This is important because when I’d first heard there was going to be another Old Republic game, I was doing the gamer-girl dance of glee. More character classes and races? I could be a Miraluka Jedi Consular? Awesome!

However, my dance lasted only as long as it took for me to realize thatThe Old Republic was going to be a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Yes, like World of Warcraft, Everquest, Guild Wars and the like. And while I love RPG’s above all other games, I don’t much enjoy MMORPG’s.

RPG’s are my favorite types of games, and good ones with strong stories have the power to seduce me into their world for hours and hours and hours at a time. I have spent 10+ hours at a pop in The Old Republic or Ferelden, and after spending days (not all in one stretch) in those worlds, I replay the game as another type of character, sometimes make different choices.

However, in MMORPG’s, story takes a backseat. There’s no way to have as strong a narrative arc when you’re playing in a wide-open world with so many other people. MMORPG’s feel more like a series of improv’s than a single scripted performance. Sure, I might have the chance to develop more relationships with other players, a bigger cast than what I could have in a single-player game, but that isn’t enough of a perk for me.

I also find MMORPG’s too distracting to be enjoyable. I want to look around at the world and the characters, and that’s not something I can do when things are happening real-time and I have to carry on my RP in chat. The more dynamic conversations I can have are a perk, but I’m willing to have more restrictive options if it leads to stronger story.

In single-player RPG’s, I also like knowing (with reasonable certainty) who is to be trusted and who is not to be trusted. Yes, there are reversals and betrayals, like Kreia ending up being Darth Treya in The Sith Lords, but when they happen, there has been narrative groundwork laid for them, and it doesn’t feel like some stranger sitting in his living room and deciding to fuck you over for shits and giggles or who justify assholery as “just being in character.”

I’ve been lucky in that my group gaming (face-to-face Dungeons and Dragons and Traveller) were with groups of people who became friends. We didn’t always agree or get along IC, but we never actively fucked each other over. Because of that, I expect a certain level of trust among my gaming partners, a sort of trust I don’t think you can ever have in an MMORPG.

So just like I had to give up on the Final Fantasy games when they moved to MMORPG form, I suppose my days in The Old Republic are at an end as well.

Bioware, if you turn Dragon Age 3 into an MMORPG, I don’t know what I’ll do. Probably weep bitter tears, keep playing the first and second games, and write fic about what should be happening next.