In the comments of my piece on Raph Koster’s book last week, a commenter brought up the idea that mimicking the real world in MMOs was a “sad” sort of “obsession” – why would we want to work in a video game in our spare time, he was essentially asking, when we could do something fresh and creative with our video game spaces instead? I took a stab at answering the question, supposing that just because we can theoretically do a job in real life doesn’t mean we are realistically or physically able to do it, and exploration of the unreachable can be fun. A post on the Psychology of Video Games blog answers it even better: Author Jamie Madigan writes that games like Farming Simulator 17 and Euro Truck Simulator do so well precisely because people like to explore those types of jobs in a low-stress, who-cares-if-I-run-my-semi-off-the-virtual-autobahn environment. “These games remove the worst of the uncertainty, helplessness, ambiguity, and … [Read more...] about The Daily Grind: Do you prefer ‘work’ simulation MMOs to more fantastic game worlds?
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As RPS reported this week, Valve has taken the relatively unusual step of making your Dota 2 and CSGO report cards semi-public – that is, players can see reports made against their accounts, and the rationales given, even if Valve took no action on them. The author was bemused to find that he’d been reported for “intentional feeding” when in fact, he just sucked that match. Hey, it happens. But I wonder whether the reports are useful to actual toxic players who’ve been actioned to teach them where they went wrong; it’s certainly an idea League of Legends clung to for years. MOP reader TomTurtle recently suggested something similar in terms of forum moderation too. “I’d like to see how viable it’d be to have moderators give an infractor a chance to edit their post to be constructive in an attempt to have them learn why their initial language was against the rules” in the service of “informing players why they were … [Read more...] about The Daily Grind: Does teaching toxic MMO gamers what they did wrong actually help?
A quote from legendary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro I saw on Twitter the other day is fast on the way to becoming my mantra. io9 transcribed a Q&A del Toro had with an audience there to hear about his book; someone asked him about the video games he played (apparently he’s making games now too). He listed off a ton of games from multiple genres, but apparently, he doesn’t care to finish everything. “He plays a ton of games, though he doesn’t finish anything he doesn’t like — and this holds true for books, film, whatever. ‘If it doesn’t engage me, I leave it,’ he said. ‘I do not do homework with my life.'” Oh hell yes. This! This! I freaking hate games that feel like homework, and MMOs can be egregious offenders. Consequently, I’ve tried a lot of the stuff I’ve bought on Steam, but I no longer feel an obligation to finish anything. If it wants me badly enough, it’ll keep me, I have no … [Read more...] about The Daily Grind: Do you feel an obligation to ‘finish’ the MMOs you start, even if it feels like ‘homework’?
Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit: “It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.” I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO … [Read more...] about Massively Overthinking: What we really mean when we talk about ‘difficulty’ in MMORPGs
Over the last couple of years, we’ve redoubled our efforts on our science-related articles, as you may have noticed from our roundups in 2016 and 2015. Last year, we even hired on a staff writer specifically to cover gaming science, especially as it relates to MMORPGs, and we’ve been collecting all of his work along with our other science posts in their very own category. Read on for a recap of our best science-related MMO articles from 2017, from EVE Online’s real-life hunt for exoplanets and the economics of MMO monetization to how lockboxes use psychology to manipulate us and the math behind the gamblebox phenom. Dr Richard Bartle even announced a new gamer matrix this year. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end! Academics weigh in on ‘gaming addiction’ claims - We've previously discussed that according to the Manual of Mental Disorders and the industry standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual … [Read more...] about A look back at the MMO and gaming science topics of 2017