One of the most endearing components of a great tabletop experience is the ability for players to lose themselves in the world they are playing. Similarly, any great roleplaying game (Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Baldur’s Gate, any of the Elder Scrolls games) can draw you in with its immersion. But when it comes to MMORPGs, there are only a handful of games that can lay claim to the ability to draw you in with a fully developed virtual world. The vast majority of MMOs in the modern era are instead nothing more than cosmetic cash shops with a shabby backdrop.
There’s more to it than just the cash shop, however, A large part of the issue revolves around the nature of fetch quests, the milk runs of the modern industry. “Go get those five wolf tails for me, lad.”. WTF? You’re just standing around all day, NPC. Go get them yourself!
Another part of the issue, and the one that we feel is the largest contributor to why most MMORPGs are more “game” than “virtual world”, is the obsession with end-game content and putting all of the “cool” content at the cap, rather than creating a world that players want to invest themselves in from start to finish. When you make an on-the-rails experience for players, it’s only natural that they plow through the six-weeks-to-max-level theme park.
With us, we’re focused on the “there is no end game” concept. It’s a bit of a challenge to build a world instead of a game, and you have to put a lot more time, thought, and energy into building the foundation layers, but when you are building an environment where you want players investing months and years into the gameplay rather than mere weeks, there has to be some thought behind things rather than “let’s make flashy MMORPG Version 9.2.5 but have WOLVES be mounts this time, and free to play with a cash shop!”
From epic storylines, to immersion into the world itself, the difference between a world versus a game is the ability for players to lose themselves within, and actually immerse themselves into the character they are playing, to the point where it doesn’t feel like a game anymore, but an actual experience.