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Reader Comments (84)

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 12:05PM Nepentheia said

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@Rialle

A game like that could not come a moment too soon!! :-)
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 12:29AM Cainicus said

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I don't think games with heavy immersion and 'movies-with-button-presses' are mutually exclusive. I like to place myself as a character in a book, and interpret their decisions in a way I can align myself with. I loved Heavy Rain, and felt like I was part of that story, and felt immersed within it.

I don't think games come much more movie-button-pressy than that.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:05AM Titan1 said

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"Immersion" is a mental state. It is subjective.
All it means is to become engrossed or occupied by something. Deliberately attempting to build something to be "immersive" is like chasing a rainbow.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:09AM Cyclone Jack said

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The biggest thing that is killing immersion in MMOs today, IMO, is that developers are too busy creating the game and not focusing on creating the world. Players are missing the connection with not just the NPCs, but the world around them. Designers need to do more than just create a game space, they need to take the time to put soul into the world.

Someday, someone will be brave enough to create a sandbox with structure. Combine the freedom and creativity of a sandbox like SWG and ATITD alongside the structure of a themepark like WoW and CoH. Not an easy marriage, but I think it can be done.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:14AM Deliverator said

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Poor guy. I agree with those that believe his current projects are slanting his vision. The man loved immersive worlds yet makes tiny little games. Only one reason for that - mo money. I guess when you're pushed back to a paradigm where your designs are constrained by tiny little screens for people with tiny little attention spans it rubs off on your world view.

The Garriots and Kosters aren't looking at game design from the perspective of what gamers will fall in love with anymore. They look at design from a purely marketing perspective. They're not wanting a love affair, just hoping for a drunken trashy one night stand where we forget how much we're spending.

IMHO that's the biggest problem with F2P. The games are focused on getting us in to drop a couple of bucks and they're assuming we won't stay, that we'll move on to something else right away. They're shallow and grindy by design. After we drop the cash, the quicker we clear out, the less 'free' resources we use and the higher their profit margin.

It reminds me of the difference between a stripper and a wife. Strippers are like F2P microtransaction girlfriends. She'll flash some skin for a couple of $1 bills and try to make you feel like a big man all while avoiding engaging with your personality. You might get a $20 sparkle dance, but you never really leave feeling satisfied. You're subbed to your wife on the other hand, and the object is to create the best mutual experience possible. It's never specifically about the exchange of money, but about long term mutual satisfaction.

Of course the divorce rate is over 50% and plenty of married men visit strip clubs too so the mass market favors the stripper for sure. That fact doesn't make them better to spend your time with though, just the mass market favors the quickie.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 11:01AM theBeast said

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@Deliverator You just won the Internet. Relevant analogies. I totally agree.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 7:32PM (Unverified) said

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@Deliverator Or maybe those of us who are in social games are there because we think they offer the broadest canvas ever for game design, and the chance to reach and touch far more people with our games than has ever been possible in history. :)

I've noticed a lot of people reading the post as agiong for immersion to go away. I am not advocating that at all, and I think it is pretty explicit in the text. Why do people jump to that conclusion?
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:29AM (Unverified) said

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It's merely an argument. Dear game developers, prove Raph Koster wrong.

There are always ways of making games more immersive. To give up completely because so many games do not focus on immersion doesn't mean it actually is impractical or unpopular.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:37AM EventVox said

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I agree and disagree, on a certain level immersion will never be obtainable in a virtual world. But people look at immersion in different ways. It's the same argument as when someone says "This game is unrealistic." Those who have accepted that a video game won't and shouldn't be realistic have gotten past it and now look at "immersion" as how compelled the player is to do different things and believes that they have an effect on the world.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:39AM Celtar said

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--- "I mourn the gradual loss of deep immersion and the trappings of geekery that I love," Koster writes. "I see the ways in which the worlds I once dove into headlong have become incredibly expensive endeavors, movies-with-button-presses far more invested in telling me their story, rather than letting me tell my own." ---


Wow, I agree with him totally.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 12:09PM Nepentheia said

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@Celtar

Absolutely. The concept of "living" in the worlds of current MMOs is nearly non-existent.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2012 12:28AM (Unverified) said

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@Celtar By that logic, movies and books can't be immersive, since they're always telling you someone else's story. Story-based RPGs/MMOs and sandbox MMOs are immersive in different ways.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2012 2:06PM Celtar said

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@(Unverified) The point that your missing and apparently all newer players to the multi player online rpg genre is this, that if you are not an interactive part of what is going on, then you aren't playing a mmorpg.

You are correct that passive interaction can be immersive, but that said it doesn't mean it is a good thing for the multiplayer immersive rpg experience.

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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:40AM Ceridith said

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Immersion is a core virtue of creating virtual worlds, which is what the original generation of MMOs aspired to be.

Today's modern MMOs however, are not about creating virtual worlds. Instead, they're about how best to get players hooked and throwing money at the game. Immersion isn't considered an important feature of the virtual skinner boxes that the industry has been churning out lately.

But I don't think it will stay this way forever. More and more gamers are getting bored to tears with the way the current generation has been going about things. The industry can't keep churning out the same old uninspired bland and soulless crap forever, at least not while making a decent profit.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:58AM (Unverified) said

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He can go fuck himself - I quit SWTOR because of the complete lack of world immersion more than anything.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 4:58AM Critical Mass said

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@(Unverified)
I never played SWTOR but I want to salute you

(I never liked SWTOR, not one minute)
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 5:44AM pid said

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@(Unverified) OK. You quit SWTOR. So... why should RK go fuck himself!? He says that SWTOR is not immersive enough because of the cut-scenes which tell you a story, while the storyteller should be you, the player. So... are you drunk or are you just trolling?
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 2:46AM EilertAlemat said

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SWTOR can be very immersive game, you just have to play your cards right. Not that anyone should, but I wanted my KotOR 3 experience and have it. Just stay away from Flashpoints and more importantly local 4-man quests. 4-mans are real immerse-breakers and total grindfest. Flashpoints not so bad but one time I get groupie who asked to skip dialogues 'because they talk too much'. :) Not that I did, but fact is fact - shared experience is not always that good. Bright side for me - I can bring people I want there.

Anyways, I agree with those who say that his current work narrows his vision. There were always obstacles to immersion. Not a problem born yesterday. Even in SW:G. Hell, there were enough immersion-breakers in Daggerfall and I practically lived in that game for a while. Everything depends on player's skill and perception. Imagination is great thing to have also. For some reason a lot of people believe it is developers' job only to provide immersion. Yes, they are responsible for that. But player is responsible as well. 'Dive' into virtual world born middlebridge, not on developers' side.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 3:19AM Unverfied B said

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I disagree with his definition of "immersion".

Games that are "telling me their story" can be and are just as immersive as those "letting me tell my own".

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 6:16AM Critical Mass said

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@Unverfied B
Uh, how do you tell your own story in a game?

If I assume you in part are referring to 'roleplaying', how would roleplaying in a MMO game even be possible on your part alone?
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