Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Walk, run or fly?

How fast do u like to go through your MMO content? The way I see it there are three types of gamers:

1. Walkers: Take in the aesthetic value of the game and immerse themselves into the fantasy universe as much as possible. They read quest descriptions, explore mysterious areas and are happy when they complete the optional bonus missions. Walkers will rarely use a walkthrough (ironically) and are more likely to report an exploit in the game than take advantage of it. They usually prefer PvE to PvP and are not afraid to socialize and help others with quests. People new to the gaming world are more likely to fall under this category.

2. Runners: Long term game players tend to fall into this category. They stopped reading the quest descriptions long ago and most of their actions are automatic. They are skilled game players that skip easily over the starter areas of the game and have little to no trouble soloing. Runners enjoy both the PvE and PvP aspects of the game. Runners move through the game with ease and only resort to using a walkthrough if they get stuck. Their focus is always forward progression and they rarely go back to complete lower level content.

3. Fliers: The main focus of a flier is to get to the end of the game in the shortest time possible and then flaunt it. Power-leveling and farming are right up their alley. They want to have the best available character and will use what ever means possible to get there. This includes the use of walkthroughs, wikis and exploits. They do the math, and make the best possible use of their gaming time. Fliers care less about enjoying the aesthetic qualities and more about being able to 'own' or show off to other players. Their focus tends to be more around PvP than PvE.

Personally I think I'm a bit of a mix of a runner and a flier. The first time through the game I like to enjoy as much of it as possible, but don't like getting left behind. Once I get my first character through the game, then I tend to fall into the flier category. I read wikis and forums in order to fast track the leveling of my second character. It's rare that I'd ever start a game off as a flier, although I'm not sure that Melf could say the same thing. In a way I envy the walkers because I don't think I could ever achieve the same immersion into the game's fantasy world that they do. Being a programmer made me see games for what they really are, and although I enjoy the challenges they provide, I don't think I could ever return to being the innocent child stepping into a fantasy world :(

What category do you fall under?


Van Hemlock said...

I tend to run to just before the finishing post, and then walk back to the start :)

Openedge1 said...

Walk before you run is my motto

I enjoy the view, then I do it as fast as possible the second time around...

Reason I was so disappointed in AoC, as I really wanted to read was a good move to do cutscene quest givers, but then the game became so shallow..

So sad.

Thallian said...

I tend to walk very slowly the first time through and then run with a few alts to try out the experience with different skills

Crimson Starfire said...

Is that your personal preference, or do you use that strategy because it is optimum for blogging?

@Openedge1 and Thallian
Definitely the best strategy to gain the most enjoyment out of a game. Unfortunately I don't think I could ever go back to walking. I'm too hardcore into my PvP to really enjoy PvE ;)

Melf_Himself said...

The atheistic nature of the game is the game not containing God or Gods... the aesthetic nature, on the other hand, is the look of the thing :p

Anyway, yeah, I pretty much fly through most hack n slash games. That's because I tend to find the quest descriptions and dialogue boring... I think they have to dumb them down to appeal to a broader audience.

But, put me in a game like Baldur's Gate, and I still stop to smell the roses... I guess it just all depends on how nice the roses smell in the game you're playing ;)

Crimson Starfire said...

EDIT: Changed the spelling of atheistic to aesthetic. Stupid spellchecker ;)

It's true about the roses. Why couldn't they just make a BG3? Oh well, will have to settle for KOTOR Online...

mbp said...

I have to admit I almost never read quest dialog and yet I like to think I take my time exploring rather than grinding out levels.

I guess I am a runner who has a closet walker inside.

Tesh said...

I'm an aesthetic walker, jogging a bit when I wind up playing in an area for too long. I'm an artist in the game industry, with a photographic bent, so I spend as much time looking around taking screenshots as I do actually "playing" the game.

I do have limited time to play, so I do run here and there. Sometimes I'll get tired of an area when I'm not yet prepared (in level or gear) to move on, or some quest will be sufficiently vague that I'll look for a better description online. I actually view both of those as design failures, though. One is a failure in pacing, the other is a failure in quest design.

I think that designers, especially of subscription games, often design progression around a snail's pace, milking as much sub time as possible out of an area. I do love walking and looking around, but even I've had too much of the Barrens sometimes.

Bottom line, I don't think that there's much call for making players slow down. There will always be runners or fliers who min-max the aesthetics out of a game. There's no way around that, and making them grind isn't going to generate goodwill. If you make an interesting game world, however, and pace it right, the walkers will find plenty of things to do, even after the main progression track has been consumed by the runners and fliers.