Paradoxes of MMORPGs
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'll find this article interesting to read. I first got into the online universe in January 2007. After I hooked up a high-speed Internet and saw a box of Russian Everquest 2 for only a hundred and fifty hryvnias in a store, I thought, "Well, why not? For a long time I wanted to try what an online MMORPG is and finally decided to understand in practice what I wrote about once in "Attack Manager". As a result, a character named Dekwen appeared on the Barren Sky server. Like many first pancakes this one was a mess and in March there appeared the main character which I had been playing for half a year with a break.
In this snippet I wanted to talk about some of the features of MMORPG, some of which I find 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. At a closer look, the "continents" turn out to be islands, and not so big ones at that. It takes fifteen to 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 small enough and cozy place.
"Parallel Worlds. Servers, where gamers play divided by geography and type of game. There are American, Asian, European and "Russian" (supported by "Akella-online") servakki. The second feature is the type of game. 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 from Keinos and Freeport fight against the environment - all kinds of monsters controlled by the computer. Player battles are not forbidden, but mostly there are 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. Like a "fat" named mob (monster) of which when you kill it drops a fat loot (for example, some special sword-cladenets). "Everybody wants to be a Hero". As a result, everyone who wanted to slaughter that boss would gather in that location, which led to a capacity overload and a conflict over loot. To solve this problem, an instanced system was proposed. 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 parallel worlds of Everquest 2, an enumerable number 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 around the world like zombies, coming to life when you're in range or when you attack them. No one knows how they come into the world, no one has ever seen a mob dad or mom. They are reborn at the respawn points already grown up and ready to chew your throat. Well, hell with them, you can come up with a logical explanation for the emergence of a population of nameless monsters. They breed in dens of some sort. But what about the "named" monsters? Those who have their own unique name and who are tied to a specific quest? Hundreds of players perform 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 Ram'anai the lion comes back to life (forty minutes after being killed) along with a 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 as you dive into this online world, you realize that there is essentially no time here. Events repeat over and over again. Players take the same tasks that give them NPCs, they go to the same locations, where they kill the resurrecting over and over again questing mobs, 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 is resurrected 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 the quest, the player actually changes nothing in the overall state of affairs, no matter how serious his achievement is.
Yes, all of the above paradoxes have their place in most modern MMORPGs and for me it's mostly 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 hard to lift from a purely technical standpoint. Of course, there is EVE Online, where everyone plays on the same server and instances are absent as a class, but it's more like an exception to the rule. There are over ten million people playing that World of Warcraft now. Imagine dragging them all to one server.
On the other hand, the rationale for the same multi-dimensionality of the game space and the emergence of instances could make for an interesting dramaturgical backdrop to the game. The story of 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, despite all these absurdities millions of people play MMORPG and their number is growing every day.