Sweet Crap I hate Maxis

by Alphaville Herald on 19/11/03 at 11:18 pm

While Camus may have been able to imagine Sisyphus happy, I just can’t bring myself to that level of desperation.

Players often gripe that MMO’s require too much work inorder to see any gain. While the sentiment is true there is a fundamental flaw to the assertion. Firstly, what we’re engaging in when we skill grind or level our avatars in VR is not work. I say this because, to me at least, work implies that or we are being compensated for our time and effort. Actually, let me restate that.

For an activity to be termed work one must be employing physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something. Certainly, I can say that my clickty-clicking constitutes a mental effort (however minimal). Additionally it should be noted that it requires a financial and temporal effort on my part as well as well as a minimal physical effort.

The rub is that the majority of us we are not getting anything back. Rather we are paying (in my case) Maxis for the right to sit and, as Nick McCrea put is, be actively bored. We will log hours of aimless clicker and devotion to micro-managing our avatars in order to skill but in the end there is little if any given as compensation for our devotion.

This is not work be cause we are not working towards the production or accomplishment of anything.

This is toil. Toil is Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain for all eternity.

Some of you may retort that the grinding, or what have you, does result in meaningful gain. I will then ask you to reconsider what you mean when you say meaningful. If you believe that the few bars of Logic skill I “earn” from spending 16 hours and $10 is in some way just compensation (or even worthwhile gameplaying) then you have seriously muddled the binary of aesthetic v. functional.

See when it boils down to it there are only a handful of things worth having in the Sims.
1. “rare objects” (i.e. simmys, rotten pumpkins, gnomes, rare breeds of animals)
It should be noted that these objects become less valuable with age because of two factors A. more and more “finite” object are introduced,it is threateneing to become an infinite series of finite object releases) B. in the case of animal breeds as more and more animals are purchased they will eventually be sifted through and discareded leaving an ever increasing number of “rare” animals.
2. High Cooking and Charisma Skills.
Combined with High Mechanical skills these three represent the only skills that impart functional advantages to the avatar (Cook+Char grants revival powers, and Mech allows one to fix object with greater speed and avoid the leading cause of death, lighting”
3. Social Status
This is kind of self-stating, unfortunately despite the best wishes of the designers, working through the game does not impart this.

Some will note that by advancing my Logic skills I gain a series of new “emotes” that my avatar can engage in. That’s all well and cool but what is it really worth, I have gained no new functionality I have merely been granted a aesthetic upgrade. For all intents and purposes they may as well give you clothes for gaining skill levels.

Additionally some would argue that the higher you skill level the more money one will make at the various job objects in the game. Pull the other one. Job objects are a suckers game, anyone who is trying to make simoleans in the game will quickly hit upon two terrible realizations.

1. No one has the time or patience to use job objects to such an extent as to make meaningful amount of money.. The only way to aquire capital of note is to either run Maze bots 24/7 or purchase liquid cash from those who do. Alternatively one can also scam cash from other players.
2. Because of the money launderers detailed above inflation is rapidly sky-rocketing. This causes one of two reactions from maxis. 1) raise prices (which only serves to further widen the margin between those who are tapped into the cash creation scams and those who are naive) 2) introduce money-sinks in the form of “rare objects” that take large wads of cash out of circulation. Again this serves to divide rich and poor as well as working to devalue all finite objects in the game. Alternatively, and I suspect soon-coming, Maxis could institute some kind ofproperty tax or bill system, which would work about as well as it did in 2nd Life (re: not very well) again, it won’t make a whit of a difference to the fat cats and will further alienate new players from the possibilities of the game.

Because of these two factors money is less and less a functional reward every day. It is merely a go between for aesthetic goods.

Due to poor design and a general lack of foresight and possibly an inherent sadism on the part of the designers we have a MMO that, like most, nay all other MMO is broken. We pay them to toil and are rewarded with nothing more than inticements to continue paying them to get more inticements to continue. If we are paying them they should be giving us something meaningful in return.

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