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Bringing the "game" back into an MMORPG

One of the big pushes in Mists of Pandaria has been to get the player out interacting with the environment again, doing a lot more than just sitting around a city or a few key spots. Having to interact with your farm, head out to highly popular quests hubs, and going to killing ancient beasts for their bones, it's all part of the same goal: actually do something.

Exactly what this doing is tends to be important though, and hits at a primary aspect of MMORPGs that many people shout whenever titles like World of Warcraft are mentioned: it's a job, not a game. But is that really true, and if it is (hint: it used to be) then how does the game get forced back into it?

So the hint above pretty much gave the premise away: WoW used to not be a game. It was, for a while, a second job (primary for some folks). You'd have to log in, do your material grinding, and then head out to raid. If you had some dailies that you needed to do still you went and did them, but they were mainly for unimportant stuff. Not a lot of raiding gear past a certain point was tied to daily reps.

That was the job. I'm not even going to use the term game there, because a game implies, according to Webster, "activity engaged in for diversion or amusement." Finding mats and doing everything you possibly can just so you can raid isn't exactly diversion or amusement. It's a necessity to get to the amusement; WoW was, I contend, only a half-game for a time; it was the Tyrion Lannister of MMORPGs.

Then came Looking for Raid.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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