on Sep 21, 2012
Boom! Outta nowhere. Suddenly I write an Experienced Points column. This week I’m talking about How Massive Multiplayer Should Work.
Of course I’m talking about Guild Wars 2. I’ve covered these ideas a bit here on the blog, but I wanted to gather them up and present them in some kind of order.
In the column I mention that I’ve spent a lot of time in a group. The sad thing is, not all of it is as productive as it could be. Some people are so enamored of the idea that helping is kill-stealing that they deliberately avoid helping. Just an hour ago I was pounding the snot out of an ogre, like you do in these games. Someone else came up, and began hitting another ogre, nearby. If she’d helped me, we’d both get credit for the first ogre, kill it twice as fast, then both get credit for the second. We also get a loot roll for each ogre. We’re effectively doubling the experience and loot for the same effort by working together.
Still, it’s hard to explain these mechanics to people in the middle of an ogre-brawl, and it’s probably just easier to push on and let other people do their own thing. Still, her behavior is incredibly common, and I’m sure it’s just a habit picked up by long-time players of old-style* online games.
* By “old” I mean, “older than last month, which is when Guild Wars 2 launched.
It’s not a horrible problem and it doesn’t really harm anything, it’s just an interesting behavior to observe. Me? I’m a habitual murder-buddy. If I cross paths with someone I often drop what I’m doing to follow them and help them kill stuff for a while, but because it’s interesting to see the various classes and players do their thing, and because combat is more fun with low-commitment teamwork.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.