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Time, time, time is on the designer's side

Chris Chester

Taking a break from his recent infatuation with updating the back-end of his website and rattling his plastic saber at Moorgard, Ryan Shwayder has posted a new rant that gives his perspective on the pervasive, though oft-bemoaned, time-sink quest. You know the one -- that fed ex quest where you're sent to an NPC fifteen or twenty minutes away, click through a few windows of text, then run back for your piddling little reward. Ryan argues that while those quests certainly have their place, especially when it comes to introducing and endearing players to new zones, in excess they make for very dry and mundane gameplay.

I take Ryan's point, but I still think there's more to the issue. He says that while filling up a game with fun content is difficult, it can be done without artificially extending the durability of the content. Perhaps my perception is limited by experience, but it's hard for me to imagine an MMO that doesn't rely substantially on wasting time to spread out the rewards and keep gamers coming back time and again. Part of what makes accomplishments in MMOs so much more profound is the sheer volume of time it often takes to complete them. Without that commitment, would these accomplishments mean as much? Would getting Anathema/Benediction on my Priest way back when have meant as much if I could have farmed for it for a couple days? I doubt it.

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