One of the many things that makes life so interesting is risk. Whether it is an investment, a proposal, or just jumping off a bridge with a giant rubber band attached to your leg, it is risk that makes the blood start pumping. For me, risk can be associated with some of the best and worst feelings of my life. The bad rarely outweigh the good.
Gaming is an interesting hobby as the risks associated with such are usually pretty low. When you wander through an enemy territory, you may get ganked. The result? A few added minutes while you collect your now beaten shell of a body. Then you are back to normal. Some games try to provide more risk such as letting enemy players take loot from you or requiring you to get back to the place you died to retrieve your gear. There are even options out there where death means character deletion. Now that is something to think about before pulling more than you can chew.
A few days ago Massively wrote up a piece about a player in EVE online that lost around $1200 due to being scanned, and destroyed by enemy players while transporting a ridiculous amount of PLEX. For those who are not familiar with PLEX, it is essentially the equivalent of in game play time currency. EVE set up a system that allows players to buy game time with real money and sell it for in game money via PLEX. It is an interesting system that seems to be working well. A few weeks ago, EVE online started allowing players to transport PLEX via their ships cargo holds. This led to the huge loss by the player massively mentioned.
Reading about the issue got me thinking about how awesome risk can make a game. When the risks are high, the rewards are all the sweeter. Risk has the ability to transform mindless mmo tasks into a decision of profit and loss, life and death. You suddenly are much more aware of your surroundings, the way you pull mobs, the prep work to ensure your greatest chance at victory. It can make the simple small everyday decisions feel much more important.
This obviously isn’t the type of environment we all like as gamers. Not everyone likes taking risks that could mean the last few days of quests amount to nothing cause all your rewards were stolen. Not everyone likes tip toeing around corners afraid that a surprise could mean character deletion. For me, it makes me appreciate the small things more. And for those who caught my write up on mmo atmosphere on Nomadic Gamer, you know that it is the small things that can really pull me into a game.
Im curious why more MMO’s don’t have the option of taking huge risks. I for one would be all over having a Hardcore mode in World of Warcraft. I would love to experience the game as an actual soldier of the war between alliance, horde and whatever third party is showing up in the latest expansion. Something about knowing that a slip up could mean death is just… awesome! I would never pull a murloc every again, but the exploration and gathering of crafting materials would be so much more exciting.
I don’t necessarily want a game fully dedicated to these risk style mechanics. I do think it would be nice to have the option once in awhile. Their are titles out there that provide it for their game, but I guess I am looking for it in my game. At the end of the day when World of Warcraft has become just another meta grind, it would be nice to take the challenge to the next level and roll on a hardcore server. Some place where courage, preparation, and intelligence dictate who will reign with a smile and die with tears.
What do you all think?
Thanks for reading