The World Doesn’t
Stop and Start with You
One amazing feature of Skyrim
is that the world feels alive and that
the denizens of the realm go about their daily lives whether you are
there or not. Most shops close at night, vendors and NPCs go to their
homes to eat and sleep, and people walk around the towns and cities
plying their trade or interacting with one another. In short, the
people that inhabit the world of Skyrim
have lives (albeit artificial)
that do not revolve around the player.
A world where life goes on
even if you're not playing? Madness!
MMOs do not fully immerse you into such a vibrant world. No matter what
time you visit a major city, the shops are all open and the NPCs are
always found in the same spot. At most, they may have a predetermined
path that they take, but it’s usually minor. Porting the
realistic nature of the world from Skyrim
to MMOs would add a great
deal of immersion to the gameplay experience. The game companies would
have to set their in-game world clocks to the various time zones and
the peak hours of gameplay. Wouldn’t it be vastly more
interesting to get to a city late at night where most of the shops have
closed? While you would always need a place for players to sell their
items, perhaps there might only be a few places open late at night. Of
course, these open-all-night vendors would be located in a more
dangerous part of town, where footpads or bounty hunters have a greater
chance of appearing.
NPCs walking around, talking with each other (and sometimes fighting)
could lead to new quests opening up. Perhaps a vendor gets into an
argument with an unruly customer and then appeals to the player for
aid. Another facet that could emerge is the use of rumors to give
players incentives to seek out specific NPCs or locations.
Flexibility is Awesome
A tremendous aspect of The
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
playing your character. As that there are no classes in Skyrim
skills), how you develop your character is up to you. Want to
concentrate on sword-and-board fighting? You can. Prefer instead to be
a deadly archer or perhaps a stealthy assassin? What about a
combination of several models or more? In Skyrim
you can do all this.
In MMOs, you cannot.
Do I play as a mage or a
While there are MMOs that have decent
flexibility in character
progression as you level up (DDO
with their soul gems), most
MMOs lock you into a class progression that you choose at the
beginning. Not only does this deny you the freedom of playing exactly
what you want, it also adds frustration if you choose a class that you
find out doesn’t suit your gameplay style. Your only recourse
is to start all over again with a different class and play through the
same quests you’ve just finished playing.
However, if MMOs follow Skyrim’s
example, you can start out
playing as a mage, but eventually switch towards another style if you
don’t like slinging spells. While your perks may suffer (and
this can be remedied by either paying or doing a quest to reset them),
your base skills do not depend upon your character’s level.
Increasing a skill in Skyrim
is easy; just use it more often and it
will level up. Your old skills don’t wither and die. Just
imagine the surprise you can create if people know you only as a
tank-style character, but you suddenly whip out some devastating
Destruction magic in PvP! Greater flexibility allows gamers to play the
characters they want to play and, I think, is much more fun that
creating a dozen alts to cover all the various aspects of the game.
MMOs and The Elder Scrolls:
both strive to provide
world rich with adventure and fantasy. However, Skyrim
built into their design and gameplay that can positively impact MMOs.
Features such as adding crime (and its consequences), flexible
characters, massive content, and a dynamic world should be embraced by
the next generation of MMOs. Additions such as these will vastly
increase the enjoyment and experience of playing MMOs.