Monday, May 15, 2006

Season finale umm season

So we're in the middle of season finale season and my favorite shows on TV have gone on to summer bbqs and beach parties. I've always hated seeing these shows gone for months, it ruins my weekly routine and the "hanging", oh the "hanging". It's like being totally parched and then forced to watch your ice cold glass of Coke sweat and melt... totally out of reach.

I used to resent this but then as I "matured", I found that anticipation is as sweet as gratification. We like looking forward to things and consuming things and repeating the process. In life, we need things to begin, to progress and to end. It gives us a sense of being alive and allows us to grasp the immensity of life. Sure, I'm just talking about TV shows but it's appropriate as an analogy.

So this got me thinking: What effect does endless continuity and persistence in virtual worlds have on player psychology and enjoyment?

Let's take for example, World of Warcraft. For a loyal player of that game, there is a beginning, a progression but unforunately, there is no end. The game continues, until the player quits. I, as a player, have to consciously decide to end the relationship. Inevitably, I always feel like I have abandoned something before it has been completed. For me, this leaves me with a feeling of emptiness, an open-endedness that yearns for closure. Am I alone in this?

As virtual worlds (not calling them games on purpose) mature, I would like to see some episodic content. Something that I can join, consume and then watch it conclude. The world itself doesn't have to end but like shows on TV, there should be seasons that end. My belief is that this would improve upon the experience, mostly in terms of storytelling but also for player psychology. Am I insane?

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