Developers / Game Masters Need to Return to MMOs
If you want a GM to take over a monster and fight it then you'll need to move over to the land of emulated servers where populations are lower and the grey area "developers" running "possibly probably illegal software maybe" and enjoy the spectacle of a broken game with a development staff willing to interact with its population. You want to know why a lot of MMOs feel bland to people? There isn't a group of GMs / Developers out there in a major game who take over a monster and walk around with it being like woooooo guys silly wacky fun game night. The barrier between us and the game devs and GMs is just way too damn high.
Sure in the "olden" days there wasn't much of a game and little scripting and fewer players, but considering everything out there is moving to megaservers, it wouldn't be weird for GMs to just have silly events that guilds can compete against. Like, go find this item and bring it to me I'm AFK in town here, first guild that gets one gets 10 XP potions to hand out. Who knows what they can offer, but customized quests is one way we can get some time to hang out with the game developers / GMs and do something cool.
Firefall is trying to do this, funny enough, which is great and it needs to be done more. You can script a game to your hearts content, but until we have that scary AI that has a risk of taking over the world, we should use the power of Humans to sit around and goof off with the playerbase or even do more. Why be limited to controling a story through scripting? Spawn a ton of monsters and give players X amount of time to finish them, if they fail then push the story in one direction, if they succeed do another. This is a big failing with Guild Wars 2- HONESTLY, GW2 would be so much more cool if they ran multi-server events and let people pick sides by farming monsters or finding tokens and donating it to the Aldor or Scryers or whatever (yeah yeah they're in WoW who cares).
I really think we deserve more as players than to just get these very sterile games that are as they are and don't have anything running in them to give them some humanity. GW2's living story isn't alive, it's dead, written and then slain by the game's writers. The world isn't alive, it's full of pre-scripted NPCs, which could be found in any game anywhere with or without multiplayer. However, throw in some Humans, and have them run an event, and the world becomes alive - because online worlds live off of the players that play them and the control they have on the world.
Everquest Next is built like this, but again its scripted, and that scripting can be gamed. In GW2, when I first heard details, I thought there was going to be lasting consquences to a town falling. HAH, the lasting consquence is that on the maps, dead as a doorknob now, you can find these towns all overtaken. You can go and level up by killing monsters in them and may even trigger the next sequence of events, but beyond those first few weeks where players were everywhere, it's more or less static town.
We pretend like we have a choice but we don't. We don't have a choice in how a story plays out in a game, because the options are set for us. We can't choose another option. We can't do something different. There isn't some chance to say you know what, let's have the final showdown with Arthas in Dalaran's capital and let everyone have fun bashing on him for awhile. No, he sits in Icecrown citadel, behind his legions of blocked doors and bosses who stand guard. He's not going to mount a dragon and ride into Dalaran and be like sup guys let's throw down. You can't even go side with him and help fight on his side.
Game programmers script everything and taking things away from a script just makes them... better. Consider, if you will, anytime you talk to customer service. Let's say, if you will, that they work off a script. 30 seconds into the call and you're frusted, unhappy, and as you sit with the cable modem unplugged (which you tried 5 times before you call), you ponder what value your time has, since if you think about it hard enough, it would almost seem as if the time spent unplugging it and plugging it back in to amuse the guy or gal on the phone is time you've now wasted, unpaid, with the other person on the other line being paid to read to you from that script. Yet think of the times you've called and got a Human who talked with you and you talked back and forth about your issues, at which point you were given a solution and skipped all of the nonsense. Think about how happy that was?
For those that don't remember, Matrix Online had a fully player driven storyline. The GMs would bring guilds into meeting rooms and discuss with them the various happenings in the game. It was a big deal for your guild to get invited to these sessions and an even bigger deal was how it affected the direction the game was going to go. Sure back in these times, it was differnt, games were smaller and the Internet wasn't on everyone's phone, a LTE connection away. Yet still, it should happen.
If you're a game developer, I wish you to kindly consider the following idea. Why should games be fully automatic? If, you were to just say, that you knew the size and audience of the game, instead of planning so much for the future WoW like success, you make the game expandable but when you do have so few, you make it fun. I think that's a reasonable request. Anyway, I'll be writing some more this weekend. Have a great one folks.