Trans Geek Girl Meets Mundane World

Game Killer: Predictability

I’m tired of predictable games.

I logged into Champions Online the other night with one of my low-level alts, and stood atop a building and considered my mission log. I could go fight one of the Millenium City gangs for bandanas… but I’ve done that with my other characters, the gangsters always spawn in the same spots and once you’ve learned the standard powers of the four or five thug types in each gang, there are few surprises. I could go confront Foxbat over his theft of a shipment of ping-pong balls… but again, I know that when I get to the warehouse where he’s stored his stash, all I’ll find is a few of his robotic henchmen and I won’t confront the zany supervillain himself until the battle at the television station where the same lame Network jokes will play out in sequence. All of my missions were the same old rides.

So I logged off and went and played Second Life instead.

I’m not bashing the Cryptic development team. This is an industry-wide issue. Once you complete a quest, there may be some replayability in doing it with another character with a different set of abilities… but in general, once you’ve got the patterns memorized it’s just a rote grind.

What I would love to see is more randomness. Unpredictable spawn points. Henchmen with a wide range of possible configurations. Quests that offer mutally-exclusive branches. Crafting systems where the same recipe can render hundreds or thousands of permutations of the same item, depending on luck, skill and player choices. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

I don’t want quests to go away. I like the roller-coaster. But a roller-coaster that rebuilds itself continuously so it’s never the same ride twice? Now THAT would be cool.


Comments on: "Game Killer: Predictability" (1)

  1. Sorry, just getting to this, been neglecting my rss feeds.

    Note – City of Heroes and their user generated content for quests? Endless variety (any npc villain, from minion to boss, can be designed from ground up just like you would a PC), no branching stories, but a lot of creative room in what you can do – and guess what? No one plays them. I’m on pickup group after pickup group, and no one wants to play them. . .some aversion is I suspect because people recognize Sturgeon’s law when they see it, but I’m starting to think that even in online worlds the average user wants predictability.


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