August 29, 2008

Click It or Ticket

Wilhelm doesn't believe he should have to read the fucking manual.
To that I can only ask, how well does RTFM work as an answer in your world? Because it doesn’t fare so well in mine, so RTFVM isn’t going to fly. (V is for virtual for those who are still in shock after following that link and finding out what the F stood for.)
Now, he does have a somewhat valid point. Games, especially MMORPGs, can't abandon new players to simply learn from a manual. There needs to be something there the moment a player logs into the game to direct them in the right direction.

I think Wilhelm has some valid criticisms of WAR. The game does drop in new players disoriented from their starting quests (a bug maybe?). Yellow dots on the map are confusing.

However, the question I have is whether or not a player that refuses to read the manual when presented with a problem has any right to complain? I can't walk into court and say "But your honor, I didn't bother to find out whether or not I needed to wear a seat belt in South Carolina!" and expect to walk away without a ticket. I can argue that the state didn't put up enough signs. I can complain that the signs are hard to read.

There are valid arguments on both sides here. At some point the state can't be blamed, after all there are signs at the state border, on the highway at various intervals, and continuing television commercials telling drivers to Click It or Ticket. However, if these items are not in place, I have a valid argument (but I am still not absolved of being guilty).

For Wilhelm, he feels that Mythic has not reasonably planted enough signs or aired enough commercials. I'm not quite sure what he expected though. There is no evidence he has these complaints about other games he has played, and he seems to have adjusted over the years he has played them. Actually, he mentions that WAR simplifies a lot of things into a single tome of knowledge (an example directly compared to EVE's hundreds of screens).

There are other leanings in his post that show he didn't even really try. For example: he heard somewhere that Public Quests > sliced bread. In his experience, he didn't really get them. To quote:
This is supposed to encourage community and cooperation. It does so about as well as WoW battlegrounds do, from my own limited observations. Everybody ran about in a mad rush at each stage with no plan or order. However, the “everybody” was enough people that we defeated each stage and nobody died.
There in lies the problem, he didn't adjust. He felt it was a WoW battleground and evidenced by his own post, played like it was one. It didn't seem he tried to learn about open groups, even with the giant pop up when entering the area, which are all over the place in Public Quests. He didn't bother to click his Tome of Knowledge unlock to figure out what the quest was about. He failed to notice the constant stream of +influence messages and quest pop ups detailing his progress in that area which would net him rewards. Worst of all, he just assumed everyone else was in it for themselves.

Wilhelm didn't seem to really try. He missed the forest for the trees. He ran around in WAR as though it was WoW. Bartle was right, he has played WAR before, it was WoW.