Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don't Overthink This, Okay?

When you play an MMO, you have to just accept certain things.

Like when you kill an enemy and gear drops, it'll actually fit your toon.

Or that a kite will carry you great distances.*

Or that you can have almost nothing on and still be able to climb that frozen mountain peak.**

Yeah, I know, if you're playing a Fantasy MMO (or SF MMO, in the case of The Old Republic) it can be kind of silly drawing the line at whether armor fits your character when there are dragons in the sky. But still, I think it's a matter of risk/reward more than immersion.  If you were playing a Dwarf, for example, and you had to wait for Dwarf sized armor to drop, that could really suck if the drop rates were based upon the percentage of people playing a Dwarf.  It was bad enough waiting for gear you could use to drop, but having to add the extra problem of having it fit you?

Back in the day, the old Moldvay D&D Basic Set had a rule of thumb that any armor found was human-sized unless it said otherwise.  The reason was because there were level limitations on races other than Humans because those races had additional abilities that Humans didn't have.  (This was back when you could select "Elf" or "Dwarf" as your class, before AD&D introduced multiclassing.) 

Maybe I'm showing my age, but this was my first RPG.
Courtesy of a Christmas present.

If your DM were running a homebrewed campaign --which, back then, formulated the majority of such campaigns-- they would often generate treasure and whatnot randomly, but still they'd be careful to make sure you'd find gear your player character could actually use.  Even so, the published campaigns had gear and weapons that the enemies themselves would be wielding.  Unlike, say, Bronjahm when he drops Robes of the Cheating Heart in The Forge of Souls; you won't see him wearing those robes.***

But a DM can be picky, while an MMO has to handle a wide range of races and classes.  

Remember the "good old days" of Vanilla WoW, where you'd go on a 40-man raid of Molten Core as the Horde and you'd get Pally gear as the drop? MMOs have gotten better at the sort of gear that drops, tailoring it toward keeping the player going forward rather than wasting weeks at a time.

So, some of the immersion in the game suffers, but it is balanced out by enabling players to improve themselves in a matter of weeks rather than months.  And in an age when I can no longer devote a lot of time to playing video games, I'm grateful for that.

And could you imagine a female Night Elf trying to fit into armor made for a Gnome?

On second thought, forget I said that.

*Just the other day, I was taking a flight point to the Alliance's PvP vendors when my son stopped by to watch what I was up to.  "A kite?" he asked.  "How are you able to fly on a kite?"
"Just accept it," I said.  "Makes no sense, but just accept it.  If it is big enough, it could turn into a glider, but that kite is far too small to be a glider."

**Courtesy of Age of Conan's social clothing.

***Unless Bronjahm does a turn as the Preacher in Blues Brothers Goes WoW.  Yes, the Sex Machine himself was the inspiration for Bronjahm.


  1. I am so good at suspension of disbelief that sometimes I have trouble with the real world, lol.

    I really, really need to order The Blues Brothers on DVD. In fact it's like I'm on a mission from God.

    1. We found it in a bargain bin at either Target or Kroger (of all places) for $5. Considering I'd gotten the VHS copy a long time ago for the same price, I figured it was karma.