Sunday, August 30

You're Unique, just like everyone else

From Killed in a smiling accident:
Though all MMOGs suffer this to some extent (the 2006 Azerothian census broke down employment in the region as:
  • 0.4% - Farming (livestock & dairy)
  • 0.5% - Farming (arable)
  • 0.8% - Innkeepers
  • 1.4% - Retail
  • 97.9% - The Chosen One Who Will Rid This World Of Evil
While you could take this as an argument for more diverse gameplay, the Chosen one being a rather combat oriented profession most of the time, which would be a good argument and hopefully something we'll see returning to MMO's soon that's not my point.

Too many MMO's put you in the protagonist's position as if you were some kind of messianic figure. Remember the profecies and the Destiny Quests of Age of Conan? If 80% of the players didn't jump ship before they got to that point there'd be a sleauth of divinely resurrected avengers running around the place. Star Wars with its messianic demi-gods the Jedi is another good example. Then there's the Superhero MMO's which suffer the same problem, though at least CoX has the redeeming quality of having one of the best NPC populations ever to compensate.
One thing I kinda like about more PvP oriented MMO's like Warhammer and Aion is that you're more 'one amongst many' rather than the heroic figure posing on a mound or throne of skulls. Vanguard also didn't have that "You da MAN! (just like everyone else)" approach either.

Of course the fact that most PvP tactics devolve into zerg-fests might have something to do with the 'one amongst many' feeling :-)


  1. Yeah, you are right. I don't want to be THE MAN! It makes for a very ego-centric (= solo-centric) attitude. How can anybody be THE MAN! when they have to do it with ten others? AOC had that pretty strong. But I never really had that feel in COH. You are right that a PvP scenario doesn't have it. But my problem is that I never see the reason to attack other players, thus forcing myself into a role I don't knwo how to play. And that is a pretty basic problem when trying to play an RPG.

  2. Yup, Age of Conan's Destiny Quests were definitely a prime culprit for You Are All The Chosen One syndrome, and WoW isn't actually too bad in that respect. Should've put "Hyborian census", but I figured more people would recognise Azeroth!

    I do worry a bit about SWTOR, what with Bioware's focus on story and fondness of having a half-god/most powerful Jedi ever/immortal as protagonist, but I'm sure they'll figure something out to translate that into an MMOG.

  3. Hey Zoso, welcome to our nick of the woods.

    Bioware does tend to have a pretty strong World/Universe saving protagonist in all their games. Then again, name one Single Player RPG that doesn't. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Allthough Bioware's cinematic approach is cause fro concern, since most action hero movies suffer the same "flaw".

    Maybe like with Guild Wars the grouped element manages to somewhat disguise the existance of 4 Million Chosen Ones. Or maybe that was just the average player's lack of interest in watching through cutscenes :-)