While it is the big things about an MMO that gets me to play it and keeps me playing it… things like the setting, game stability, engaging story and game play are the key draws. That is what seals the deal initially.
But I find that, over time, it can be the little things that really endear me to a game… or that really begin to bug me. Something small but good can stoke my enthusiasm for a given MMO, while something bad can become like a stone in my shoe, something that I cannot ignore and which negatively colors the rest of the game.
Every game has a little of both, some good and some bad. But something really good can out weigh a lot of bad.
Here are a couple of examples of small things that are real pluses for me from a few MMOs I have played lately.
When Potshot and I were playing EverQuest on Fippy Darpaw, we were both playing two characters at once. As such, when one of us logged on to play, if the other person was on with both characters, they were likely already in a group. So a lot of the time we would find each other and already be in two separate groups.
We found, however, that if you invite the leader of another group to join your own group, the game will just merge the two groups. None of that “Player X is already in a group” that is common in every MMO I can recall.
And as small as that was, I was in awe of how right it was. It was a “why doesn’t everybody do it this way?” sort of thing.
In EverQuest II I am always impressed that fighter-type NPCs actually use taunt. And it works. You may be beating down on that annoying healer in an encounter only to find that the fighter in the group has taunted you off of the healer and you are now attacking the fighter.
As Potshot put it in one of our groups, aggro as a mechanic is crap, but if you’re going to have it you might as well have it go both ways.
Lord of the Rings Online
Probably the most trivial of my three examples, but also the one I like the most. Whoever decided to dedicate a key to toggle the names floating floating over everybody’s head on and off deserves a medal. I hate having the names on, and generally turn them off in any game I play. But sometimes you want or need the names on. With LOTRO, it is just a keystroke to toggle them.
Meanwhile, one of the many reasons I suck at battlegrounds in WoW is that I play with the names off and rarely bother to turn them on just because Wintergrasp is ready to go. (If nothing else, this made me begin to hate ground mounts that are common to both factions.)
I said “MMOs I have played lately” because often I only think of these little things when I am playing a given game. For example, I was sure I could come up with an example for World of Warcraft. But I have not played the game actively for six months or so and could not come up with a single thing.
Likewise, I know there must be something like that in EVE Online. I can feel it in my gut. But I cannot recall one such little feature.
And, of course, these are the little things that matter to me.
Are there similar small features that endear your current MMO to you?