Fluff content: where game and world meet?
Player housing, holiday events, and just-for-show clothing...all MMORPGs have non-adventuring content, or "fluff." Besides its perpetual, real-time nature, fluff is the one feature that makes these games bonafide, interactive worlds. But are the core gameplay virtues increasingly lost in a sea of kitsch content?
Neither industry-leader World of Warcraft nor the popular PvP-fest Guild Wars offer any sort of housing, and only moderate fluff content, in general. I can only speculate on why these games forego what had been a MMO mainstay, and it only deals indirectly with that familiar game vs. world paradigm. In short, these games so many fun mechanics that the need for fluff is relagated to simply providing a little seasonal variety.
But let's talk about this 'game vs. world paradigm' a bit. I don't view the word 'game' as a term of derision. I've been watching a decent amount of the 2006 Winter Olympics (strange for an American, I know), and throughout the studio-, slope-, or rink-side interviews, I never heard an athlete say, 'it's just a game.' Now whether they're winners or losers, every one of those athletes knows that, all things being equal, that so-called game is a measure of their personal drive and determination. And, I might add, a measure how much fun they're having. I don't care who you are, if you're not having fun on some level, you're not going to stick with it, no matter the activity.
Check out this fluff content editorial by yours truly right here at TenTonHammer Main.