Saturday, March 11, 2006

People watching in MMORPGs

As I mentioned here a few days ago, I started playing EVE. My initial reactions still apply: The A/V sensory experience is amazing, the gameplay is unique.

Something's been missing though and I couldn't figure out what. That is, until earlier tonight, when I was out at the movies and people watching.

(By the way, do not go watch UltraViolet, you will want to UltraKill yourself from boredom. Hehe, I'm clever.)

EVE, which is all about spaceships flying around doing their things, is so large in scale that players rarely get a chance to clump. I wasn't feeling lonely in the game, in fact, the chat was very lively and everyone was extremely friendly. The problem is, no one was visually around.

Now I had to think back and compare this to WoW, EQ or FFXI. And I realized that the visual cues of other people playing are a very powerful force. When I see a line of people at the bank or a hunting group on an opposite hill or a druid on a mailbox, there must be some lizard brain part of me that nods approvingly. This, the lizard brain concludes, is community. Even if you don't speak to anyone or never dally long enough to listen in, the presence of others going about their business makes your business more tangible, more rewarding.

Someone smarter than I should look into this and explain it to my little lizard brain. ::licks own eyeball::

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