The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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10:28am on Sunday, 18th August, 2013:
There's a trend in MMOs to have objects dotted around that you can click on to get some of the game world's backstory. The Secret Worldcalls these lore objects; in Star Wars: the Old Republic they're datacrons. The purpose of these objects is to encourage and reward exploration. You usually get a few points or a stat increase for finding them, so that achievers can see a purpose for them, but they're mainly aimed at explorers.
In general, they work, too: explorers like thinking "I wonder if that ship container floating out there in the ether might have some lore in it?" and then going to find out. They might even like thinking "I can see the lore in that ship container floating out there in the ether and I'm going to figure out how to get to it".
What explorers don't like, however, is "I can see the lore in that ship container floating out there in the ether and I know how to get to it, but I can't make the stupid platformer-style sequence of jumps I'm required to make in order to get to it". Why on earth would they like that? I remember a particularly awkward datacron in SWTOR that it took a team of people to get.
I'm actually pretty good at MMO character control so managed to get to the ship container floating out there in the ether in TSW on my first attempt last night. Then again, it took me about 20 attempts before I managed to jump from a car onto a narrow wall in Seoul, so I'm not that great.
If you're designing a feature for a particular type of player, design the mechanics that support that feature for that particular type of player, too. Otherwise, you lose what you were hoping to gain.
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