Paradoxes of MMORPG
This material was written before I was even acquainted with WoW, based on my impressions of Everquest 2. Basically, almost everything below is consistent with the realities of WoW as well. I think you will find it interesting to read this article. I first got into the online universe in January 2007. After I hooked up a high-speed Internet and saw a box with Russian Everquest 2 for only a hundred and fifty hryvnias in a store, I thought "why not? I've wanted to try online MMORPG for a long time and finally decided to understand in practice what I wrote about in "Attack Manager". As a result, a character named Dekwen appeared on the Barren Sky server. Like many first pancakes this one was not so lucky, and in March there appeared the main character I had been playing for half a year with a break.
In this fragment I wanted to talk about some features of MMORPG, some of which I found interesting and paradoxical.
"The Small World. Norrath, the world in which the game takes place, consists of several continents. Antonica, Everfrost, Lavastorm, the Enchanted Lands, Kunark, and others. On closer examination the "continents" turn out to be islands, and not so big ones at that. It takes fifteen or twenty minutes to cross the continents of the Enchanted Lands at a run. By our standards, it pulls on not too big an island, which may buy himself some oligarch of the new Russians somewhere on the Adriatic. In other words the world of Everquest 2 is a rather small and cozy place.
"Parallel Worlds. Servers, on which gamers play divided on the basis of geography and type of game. There are American, Asian, European and "Russian" (supported by "Akella-online") servers. The second feature is the game type. There are PvP and PvE servers. On PvP (Player vs Player) there is a war between players of opposing factions - the "good" one from Keinos and the "evil" one from Freeport. Wall-to-wall, in other words. In PvE (Player vs Evironment) players in Kanos and Freeport fight against the environment - all kinds of monsters controlled by the computer. Player battles are not forbidden, but mostly here cutting monsters and doing quests. That is, we have a few dozen parallel worlds of Norrath, living their own lives and according to different rules.
"To each his own princess". One of the serious technical problems of early MMORPGs was the overloading of some locations with especially attractive content. Type of "fat" nameable mob (monster) of which when you kill a fat loot (such as some kind of a particularly sophisticated Cloven Sword). "Everybody wants to be a Hero". As a result, everyone who wanted to kill this boss, gathered in this location, which led to an overload of power and conflict over the loot. An instanced system was proposed to solve this problem. An instance is an area that is created by the computer for a limited number of players. For example, for a raid group of 6-24 people. The game server creates a separate copy of this location with only your raid and no one else. No one will steal your victory (in the sense of cool gear and experience points) from you.
Thus, besides the already mentioned above coexistence of several Everquest 2 parallel worlds, an enumeration of copies of separate areas, locations of the space is created.
"Unkillable Mobs. Mobs (Movable Object Block). Source of expa (experience points) and loot (things and money). They roam the world as zombies, coming to life when you're in range or when you attack them. No one knows how they come into existence, no one has ever seen a mob dad or mom. They are revived at the respawn points already adult and ready to gnaw at your throat. Well, hell with them, you can come up with a logical explanation for the appearance of a population of nameless monsters. Spawn in burrows somewhere. But what about the "named" monsters? Those who have their own unique name and are tied to a specific quest? Hundreds of players fulfill this quest and the named mob is killed hundreds of times by swords and fireballs. To revive again with the sole purpose - to ingloriously fall at the hands of adventurers. Particular internal logic on which the named mobs come back from the dead is not. Okay, if it was about some ghost from the dungeon. But, for example, no one explains why the lion Ram'anai comes back to life (forty minutes after being killed) along with the pride of lionesses in the Free Lands.
"A World Without Time. Norrath has a history described in SOE's official guides and fiction books. One reads it - entire centuries. But when immersed in this world-online you realize that there is essentially no time here. Events repeat themselves time after time. Players take the same tasks that the NPCs give them, they walk around the same locations where they kill resurrecting questing mobs time after time, looking for the same things, and so on. There are no events in the game itself after which there is any change in the world around them. Killing a high-level villain is reflected in the characteristics and well-being of the players who performed the "feat". The villain will resurrect to fall prey to another raid team. The balance of power does not change one iota. Yes, come out the game additions, with new locations, quests, things, changes in terms of new skills and spells, but the action continues to revolve around the same events. By completing a quest, the player doesn't actually change anything in the overall state of affairs, no matter how serious the achievement.
Yes, all of the above paradoxes have their place with most modern MMORPGs and as far as I'm concerned - for the most part due to technical reasons. Developing a continent the size of Europe, creating an environment where player action will dramatically change the course of events, getting away from the server system and dragging everything to one - all of these tasks are still difficult from a purely technical standpoint. Of course, there is EVE Online, where ALL play on one server and instances are absent as a class, but it's more like an exception to the rule. That World of Warcraft is now played by over ten million people. Imagine dragging them all to one server.
On the other hand, justifying the same multi-dimensionality of the game space and the emergence of instances could make for an interesting dramaturgical backdrop to the game. A story about why (in terms of the internal logic of the world) every time there is a new copy of the location can be turned into an interesting story. Who knows, maybe that's how it will be in some MMORPG.
Nevertheless, in spite of all these absurdities millions of people play MMORPG and their number is growing every day.