The Little Things

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.

EverQuest II

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?

10 thoughts on “The Little Things

  1. EasilyEnthused

    I remember really, really liking the ability to open a browser window INSIDE Eve Online.

    Unfortunately I will never be able to forgive Eve Online for not letting me into Eve University for having a deleted character who had (-0.1) security status. Because he was deleted and I couldn’t recover him to get his status back up to positive – I was never allowed to join Eve University – even after waiting 3 weeks in the que to join.

    (I accidentally attacked a government ship when I was learning how to play, so it dropped my security status. I deleted him shortly afterwards because I wanted to play another race.)


  2. bhagpuss

    I’ve been playing EQ2 since beta and I had no idea fighter NPCs could taunt players! I’ve had my character switch targets just as you describe but I always thought it was a bug.

    I have, however, often wondered why fighters can’t taunt in PvP. Clearly there’s no mechanical reason why not. And why shouldn’t Feign Death work against players? If Charm can (as it did once) then anything can.

    And on your LotRO example, the absolute mirror-image of that glowing example is the huge downward-pointing arrow that Rift mandates you MUST see over any and every character you target.


  3. Aufero

    I’m a complete packrat in every MMO, and I really like Eve’s ability to search all my stuff for a particular item type or string. (I just wish I could do it across all my characters at once. That would come in really handy in other MMOs as well – LotRO, for instance, where I had alts for every craft.)


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Like you, I noticed the targeting change first and then had to watch very closely for a while to convince myself that fighter type NPCs were, in fact, taunting to cause the swap.

    @Coppertopper – While I agree with you that the naming is actually very nice, I have a problem viewing anything related to inventory management in LOTRO as one of those endearing features, if only because of how problematic inventory management was early on in the game.

    So, for me, anything related sort of drops into the “stuff they fixed or made suck less” bucket rather than the “cool feature” bucket. They are making up for past mistakes. They have done very well at it too. But I find it hard to say “cool,” and often end up with, “this is so much better than what they had before.”

    Which I am sure says something about me, the perception of features and improvements, the problematic nature of digging out of a negative position, or all of the above.


  5. wizardling

    One of the things I love about Eve is the market or auction house as most other games call it. It’s so much more powerful than any other MMO’s AH I’ve ever used.


  6. Gina Cirelli

    I’ve been playing Star Trek Online recently, and I really like the way that they automatically throw you into a group when you zone into PvE instances, and when you zone out, you are still in the group.

    So you get to meet new people, but you don’t have to do anything special if you decide that you want to keep playing together after you’ve completed that specific mission.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Coppertopper – No, it is more “making it up as I go along.”

    Besides, I only mentioned *my* hangup with inventory management in LOTRO. You are more than welcome to your own opinion on what little things impress you.


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