Immersion is one of those common words you hear bandied about in MMO culture, and while immersion is an important part of the game for a lot of people, so too is a sense of fun. It's easy to stray too far in one direction, of course. MJ focused on immersion -- or the lack thereof -- in Aion for this week's Wings Over Atreia, and our readers had some interesting things to say about the overall concept. Misterlee drew a nice analogy to other settings to show that breaking immersion so forcefully can be a bad thing in any setting:
Although I don't play Aion anymore, I used to, and this kind of follows on from the character customization discussion from a few days ago. The team really broke the immersion in Aion left right and center with random stuff like that cake and t-shirts etc., but Aion is not alone.
The last World of Warcraft expansion pretty much turned every single quest and bit of text in the game into a pop culture pun reference. It used to be just one here and there, but it's turned into a huge groan-fest. And don't get me started on motorbikes, cars, plastic inflatable pool toys, etc.
People don't seem to understand the importance of immersion in games. To put it another way: The next time you're watching Star Wars and Luke Skywalker is running around the Death Star looking for Darth Vader, imagine he runs past a guy in board shorts and Hawaiian shirt buying a Coke from a vending machine, or someone is watching an episode of House on a TV in the Mos Eisley cantina. People would go nuts if something like that crept in, but in games it seems like some developers will just shove any old thing in for a laugh.
Building a game from a familiar IP is a bit of a landmine, as any developer can tell you. Jef's story about Star Trek Online's quick turnaround time
prompted a bit of discussion in the comments about this very thing. Ardra Diva
had some thoughts on various developers who have done so:
Kind of sad how Turbine seems to be the only company who can take a hallowed IP, really do it well (Lord of the Rings Online), and satisfy the vast majority of fans.
STO is a really small-scope console-like version of what could have been a really truly massively multiplayer universe of a game. I couldn't see continuing to pay for that one monthly. Maybe in three years if the devs keep adding stuff, it will be deeper and more enjoyable.
We'll see what Star Wars: The Old Republic has for hardcore Star Wars fans. Space combat on rails is already kind of a fun-killer for me. Can't understand that one. I mean, we had good and serviceable free-range space combat a decade ago with Wing Commander. We're not talking reinventing some never-before-seen feature.
There you have it -- just a few reader comments that strayed outside of the specific game at hand in the best way possible. Now it's your turn. Jump in and let us know what you think!
Global Chat is the weekly feature that's all about you, our readers. Every Sunday we collect the best, funniest, and most thought-provoking comments from the Massively readers and round them up into Global Chat for discussion. Read over them for yourself, hit the comment button, and add your own thoughts!