Planning Some Downtime (Game Design Thoughts)

Nowadays, games are all about being able to sit down, get alot pack into an hour or two and then be done.  Slowly going the way of the daily 15-20 minute routine (looking at you, facebook games) have become getting the most out of the time that is available to us.

While this works for SOME genre’s of games, the opposite is the only thing I can think of a good MMO.

A good MMO, will make us waste time.  Things should take alot of time to get done (but never artificially held back in time.  I’d rather grind out for hours and hours to get an item completed than get a few items and wait for days for the craft to build) and I’m okay with at.

However, in a world where there’s so much do, so much to see…  It’s hard to take it all in and it can be quite overwhelming.

I was thinking about World of Warcraft.  When we all first stepped into the world, we were all awestruck by the sheer size of it and how grand and massive it was.  It was awesome because there was always something to find or explore because it was new and fresh.  However, there’s something that even WoW had that even now, alot of newer MMO’s don’t. I think it’s an issue with trying to streamline everything to be faster so you’re doing more content.  But there isn’t enough downtime.

Yes, I know it’s kind of weird to say that I want to play a game where i’m not actually playing it.  Is that so wrong though?  I want to be able to sit in the middle of the city or some random spot and talk to people.  I want to go fish every now and then.  I want to craft and see what crazy new thing I Can build and do is.

But the real reason I Want these is so I can digest what had just happened.  The best example of this is Flight Paths.

Yes, everyone hated how tediously long they were but everytime I took the flight from Tanaris to Darnassus (when I played alliance) I enjoyed that 10-12 minute break.  I could get some food and some water, check to see the next thing on the list I’d need to get/acquire or look up theorycrafting or even better, talk to my guildies.  Those flight paths provided a great source of downtime and even though in-game, I wasn’t actually playing.  This also let me see the sights of Azeroth and look around, occasionally finding a spot going ‘I want to go there’.  I would sometimes spend the next few hours getting to spots just because I wanted to see if there was anything special in these area’s.

I want downtime in my MMO.  In real life, we’re not always working, we’re not always talking or awake even.  We need those breaks, even in-game.  So far, the housing is looking to be quite the amazing ‘downtime’ that I want… but i’m hoping the flight paths in game do acquire some sort of time to them the further out they go.

I think that was a mistake the GW2 did.  Waypoints we’re awesome.. but it shrunk the world and there was no excuse to just sit back and look at the pretties as you flew by.

Plan some downtime.  Everyone needs it anyway.

Roland Daemon

You can follow WildStar Nexus on twitter at:  @Wildstar_Nexus

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~ by Roland Daemon on June 14, 2013.

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