Have you ever been on a long train ride? If so, what about it do you recall? What were you doing? Perhaps you were talking to a friend, reading a book, or eating a sandwich. Maybe, after those options were exhausted, you briefly looked out the window because there was nothing left to do. Were you concerned at all with the intricacies of the train? Did your glances outside provide you with meaningful information about your location? Did you speak to any other passengers? For me, train rides are passive experiences. I just find it hard to care. You get on, try desperately to amuse yourself, make a transfer or two, then you’re done. All the while, you follow the instructions of some disembodied conductor who you probably never see.
So, why all the train talk? Well, to understand where I’m going, let’s talk about MMORPG’s. I’m not being specific, so just think of the most generic one you know. In my experience, these games are boring. No matter what role you choose, group play boils down to a chore. If you heal, you spend your days staring at bars and trying to keep them full. As a DPS-er, you spam hotkeys for damaging skills. For such a seemingly team-oriented activity, it ends up lacking interpersonal interaction and more importantly, fun. These types of games are trains. You hop on, do your menial task, and somehow end up at the end. Continue reading