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Reader Comments (5)

Posted: May 8th 2008 2:25PM Keisuke Kobayashi said

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I recalled the first time my guild on EQ1 entered Vex Thal. It's the endgame contested zone on Luclin. Freeeaky stuff.

What's even creepier? We were raiding back when EQ switched its rendering engine to DX9, with millions of wall bug. Mobs falling through floor was somewhat inevitable. Trash mobs in VT takes approximately 5 minutes to kill, per each room/hallway...and if a mob falls through the wall, it would usually bring friends...20 of them at least.

That happened one night. It went like this..

"Hey, where did it go!?"
"MONK FD! CLERICS CAMP! NECRO FD! EVERYONE ELSE STAY!"
*two minutes later, creepy cloaks came back with 20 friends, and two nameds*
*Raid decimated in seconds*

Posted: May 8th 2008 3:24PM GRT said

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The first time I had to pull Drak I was scared to death. Do it wrong and end up getting the group wiped? Everyone would be pissed if I screwed it up!

Posted: May 8th 2008 9:04PM Jeromai said

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Take a page from the ancient MUDs. Or the old MMOs like UO or EQ.

Threaten loss that will hit players where it hurts. Gear/equipment breakage. XP loss. And so on.

Not sure how many people will end up playing it though. The majority of players don't want something that hardcore. They don't want the emotional rollercoaster ride. They just want to feel good ticking off the next checkmark on the quest list.

Atmosphere-wise, MMOs will have their work cut out for them. How many singleplayer games have really scared you, let alone MMOs?

FEAR scared me, but it relied on a lot of staple cinematic tricks, tweaked for an FPS. Sudden distracting flashes of disturbing images. Quiet pauses between desperate fights, with the implied threat that something could jump out at any time. The incongruity of certain NPCs being where and what they were. Playing with camera angles and your expectations of 'calm moments. Eg. ladder climbing = locked into position/no weapon out/vulnerable. Something sudden and incongruous happening to you then makes you want to scream, recoil backward and fall off the ladder. It plays on fooling the reptile brain part of us.

How many of these scary singleplayer games are non-FPS types? I suspect the UI and strategic remove gets in the way. Can you really be terrified with 5 bars of colorful powers blocking your view? You can be distantly afraid of losing a valuable investment of time (perma-death in roguelikes like nethack) but not spooked by atmosphere.

I've had the occasional scary moment in a multiplayer game. FPS, though. Natural selection - marines vs aliens. By design, aliens hit-and-run to do damage. By design, the maps are a little claustrophobic and dark. Now and then, by random chance, a suddenly-appearing alien can inspire that sudden omg scare. But you learn to react by gunning down any movement soon enough. :)

Posted: May 8th 2008 9:06PM Jeromai said

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Oh, I suppose you can be afraid of letting down your team, by playing badly or screwing up. Especially if you're the only one left, or in a critical role.

But that already exists all over MMOs, in PvP, raids, instances and anything that has interaction with other players in it.

And only affects people who care about what other people think about them.

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