Monday, November 26, 2012

Give the people what they want - TSW edition with a LOTRO mention

"Sign up for the secret war via the PvP menu (P). Battlefields and warzones are tons of fun, and PvP is a great way to advance your character."
- TSW loading screen hint

I'll have to make a much longer post at a future date about the many good and bad (more good than bad) aspects of The Secret World. This is specifically about one poor decision. I warned them! I want credit for this.
Years before the game came out, during early development, i posted the following comment on their forums.

"Either build the game with PvP in mind or do not implement PvP. [...] Some game concepts work better as purely cooperative playstyles. TSW, with its supposed slant towards puzzles, secrets, and meta-plot, definitely strikes me as one of them."

PvP is not normally something you have to push on players in any online game. It's usually more of a chore to get the vicious little monkeys to stop trying to kill each other. If you have to push it on them, force them to PvP in order to advance their characters, then you obviously missed some detail about your target audience. Say, maybe you geared your entire game from the ground up as a casual puzzle-solving adventure game with PvE RPG mechanics and dedicated all your initial ad campaign towards drawing in players who like unraveling mysteries and conspiracy theories.

As soon as the game started it was obvious that the battlefields were simply extraneous to the rest of TSW. The few players who spent time in them were the ones who had no interest in the game as a whole. The rest of us knew better than to PvP in a puzzle-solving game. TSW's basic concept was simply not geared toward dick-measurers.

This reminds me of LoTRO's 'hobby' system. At some point, some idiot at Turbine decided the game absolutely needed to start copying World of Warcraft's secondary crafting skill system and gave players the opportunity to fish. Since it had nothing whatsoever to do with middle-earth (the only fishing in LoTR is Gollum trying to grab some with his bare hands out of the water) it was a decisive flop. It's not why players paid for LoTRO and it had nothing to do with the rest of the game. Water is only a surface in LoTRO anyway, and there are no other water-related activities whatsoever. They don't even force you to swim. It's just scenery. Fishing was a blatant timesink.
The most recent expansion however includes several quests that force the player to pick up a fishing pole in order to complete the questing deed in a certain region.
This year's bad decision is obviously justifiable for being an effort to justify last year's bad decision.

I wonder how long it'll be before TSW forces players into battlefields in order to complete the quests for some new region.

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