Last weekend I picked up my first premium house in Lord of the Rings Online after much hemming and hawing. I didn’t expect much from it; Surely it would just be like my boring old hobbit hole I’ve had for years, right? Incorrect. I didn’t even buy a big house, but I still managed to get lost in it, and after hours of work, I’m still not even close to finishing the decorating – and that’s a pretty simple hook-and-loop living system. nothing like mine SWG Houses with more than 1500 items per house and no hooks at all!
“I feel overwhelmed,” I whined to my husband, and I was only half-joking because damn, the size of the buildings and courtyards is truly overwhelming. I’m literally in there putting up walls to block off most of the house so I don’t have to think about it. It is too much! And I’m an apartment person!
“Massively Overwhelming” is what I want to talk about tonight on Massively Overthinking – and I don’t necessarily mean that as a bad thing. Tell me about content or a gameplay system in one of your major MMOs that simply blows your mind. Is it too much to do? Too much to understand? Too much time commitment? Too many people? Too many great options? Too much freedom? What gives you this feeling in MMOs and how do you overcome it – if you overcome it?
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I could talk about it Pokemon Go PvP, since it’s very counterintuitive (“What do you mean I want low attack IVs, or that an unevolved Pokemon is better than the evolved one?”), but instead I’ll mention crafting Final Fantasy XIV. Everyone I’ve played an MMO with tells me I enjoy crafting, but every time I try to just read about it I feel like I’m in math class. I’m sure it’s fun, but at this point in my life it just seems like way too much. Crowfall (RIP) There was also a lot going on at the higher craft levels, but at least I was able to get into it.
Andy McAdams: I think the only thing that applies to me is FFXIV. Every time I go back to this game it feels like there are more systems, more things you can do, all of which are fun, but it’s super overwhelming to get to grips with. There’s a whole damn casino in the game with various fully featured games and their own strategies in the game itself. Chocobo racing? Yes, I have nothing. Blue magician? Yes – opaque to me, except that I know it is a “limited class”. Then there’s Housing, the emergent gameplay within Housing. There is so much that I always feel like I’m just scratching the surface. EverQuest II has a similar effect, but with the added layer of having to know the systems exist to find them, making it easy to just not do it knowledge What you can do in the game, and the game seems perfectly fine if it gives you a hard time.
I would balance it out with something like this Black desert, which contains a whole tsunami of sinister systems delivered with all the grace and organization of someone from Hoarders. It’s overwhelming, seemingly intentionally opaque. I get frustrated and angry.
Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): It’s not really a game system or mechanic, but I usually feel overwhelmed when I get into a situation where I have some sort of social obligation. I continued playing EVE Online for almost six weeks, after I got tired of it, simply because it was such a hassle to get into my business, that I felt obligated to continue meeting the minimum membership requirements. Of course, this always annoys me in the long run because I end up trying to play both the game and the game want I feel obligated to play, which leads to stress and overall less fun with my limited play time.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, Blog): You get a colon from me because it was my experience in the intro! I fully admit that if the systems become too overwhelming, the decision whether to continue or not will depend on how much I want whatever the end goal is. I don’t think there’s anything in MMOs that would actually be too difficult to understand given enough time, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth the time investment. I definitely feel that way about a lot of class setups. It’s rarely worth spending my time and effort for days crunching numbers to understand why a character build works or doesn’t work, even if I could. Forget it; I’ll just paste in someone else’s build and tweak it over time with my own experience. It’s good enough and there are always more fun ways to spend my time. It’s supposed to be fun, remember?
There are also some crafting systems that are overly complicated, and while I could get away with it, it’s often just smarter to buy the thing from someone else than to try to learn an entirely new craft. (Works in real life too!) And on the other hand, I know that with the systems I master, someone else can rely on me too. You don’t have to study SWG Cook from scratch when you can just buy food from someone who mastered it 20 years ago.
By the way, I will finish the house. And then I’ll probably need a break LOTRO A little bit.
Chris Neal (@Wolf eyes, Blog): I fell in love with spaceship sandboxes for this very reason; Learning, learning and eventually mastering a lot of things is one of the greatest attractions of this type of game. It’s the reason why I agreed to a lot of things Elite: Dangerous and encouraged me to take another look No man’s sky again and again.
I, too, fell into a similar, overwhelming cat state when I first set foot on my property in 1999 Wild Star. The possibilities felt almost limitless, and when I started implementing my vision (a combination science lab and hospice), it was even more overwhelming in the best way possible.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, Blog): I think the point where I get overwhelmed is when I get into the late-to-endgame area of an MMO and am bombarded with all sorts of systems. Going through all of this can be frustrating, especially when I’m trying to answer the questions: “What is most beneficial?” “What needs to be done and what shouldn’t be done?” “How do I make the best use of my limited time?” “How does it all work ?” MMO developers rarely make the late game easy to understand, clogging up the hallways with dull systems and outdated features that no longer serve any real purpose. So would it be any surprise that I prefer leveling to staying at the cap?
Mia DeSanzo (@neschria): Some games have crafting systems that overwhelm me. There are so many recipes, and the more advanced you become, the more you have to craft the ingredients, and that means growing all the basic ingredients in large quantities to make the intermediate product in sufficient quantities.
And yet I keep returning to the same systems. And I don’t even choose the most useful craft to latch on to. Believe me, even I don’t understand my passion for canning Black Desert Online And No man’s sky.
Sam Kash (@thesamkash): This is kind of perfect timing since I just wrote about how open the case is HP magic awakens. The main problem, of course, is that most great furniture comes at a cost.
Still, most things in the game can be overwhelming in one way or another. The number of events themselves is overwhelming. I’ve written a few times about how many options there are. Events are just a different matter. I think it might be common for these types of Eastern Gacha MMOs to constantly add events to distract from the fact that a lot of the main content is repetitive and often tedious.
Regardless, I’m often just getting my feet wet and understanding how to run the current event when a new one is already coming up. Usually they have a limited amount of content so you can get through, but then I didn’t play the regular content so I feel a little behind. It can just be a lot! I wished they would slow down for a month or so, but maybe I’d get bored by then. Who knows!
Tyler Edwards (Blog): One reason I don’t often delve deeply into MMO endgames is the sheer overwhelming amount of knowledge. You’ll need to remember stat caps and BiS item traits, as well as optimal rotations and the safety dances for potentially dozens of bosses. Feels too much like work.