Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Neglect in a Box

....as my wife calls video games.

So, LoTR launch day is today and I'm really excited to get into this game...finally. The beta was really nice, but it had the effect of getting me too familiar with levels 1-15...so you can imagine how painful it was to go through those levels for a fourth time. Kind of makes me think about not getting into betas anymore...but not quite. I can't exactly report and review stuff for you guys if I don't get in there.

Couple of articles that I want to point out in regards to LoTR....both are closely related to each other and tackle the question of innovation and LoTR. The first is a review of LoTR. The first paragraph of the review says it all really regarding LoTR:

"In almost every other important aspect of the MMOG experience, LOTRO manages either to extrude the gameplay into some new form which hasn't previously been explored, or to simply buff up and polish an experience with which we were already familiar."

That there, ladies and gents, is your theme for all of the MMOs that will be released in 2007. Sure, it encapsulates LoTR very nicely, but notice the buzz word in there..."polish". You'll see that word used for PoTBS, Warhammer (really 2008...but I'll put it in there), Gods and Heroes etc. Yes, you do have permission to tar and feather me if it's not used for the other titles...and yes, I am expecting one to prove me wrong. Anyway, great review and well deserved for a solid title.

Second article is regarding innovation... and the author seems to be as tired of the word as I am. He's right, and I've mentioned this before...we are not going to see any innovation in MMOs for quite some time. I really appreciate guys like Gary and Ryan, and maybe they are ahead of the curve in terms of gaming expectations, however; I think its a great sign of maturity when software companies concentrate on quality out of the box. This is nothing but good news for the industry and lays some great groundwork for innovations that people are calling for.

I don't know, maybe the author is right...maybe we've already reached the innovation ceiling in terms of feature sets and that the issue is purely technical. People keep calling for innovation in mechanics and they cry "WoW RIP-OFF!!" when they see titles like LoTR. Well, I'm sorry, but standardization is bound to happen because some things just work really well. Everyone reads books. The mechanics of book reading haven't changed in hundreds of years. You've got your paper, your book spine and your print. Lets say I change the mechanics on you...there you go, all of your favorite books are now in Jello format. There you go...I've innovated...and yes, I'm being a smart-ass. Thats what you get when you try and innovate on things that aren't broken in the first place.

D out.

1 comment:

Ethic said...

If the only end result of WoW being in the industry is that the upcoming games are polished at release, I call that a win.