The general rule of thumb goes that no matter how creative MMO devs may be, players will eventually trump them tenfold. It’s simply a matter of time, manpower and a human desire to strike out in new directions.
MMOs that constrict players to a narrow path and deny them tools to be creative are games that are inherently frustrating. Besides, as Jurassic Park taught us, nature and people-eating dinosaurs will eventually find a way to get off the tour and start a bit of mayhem.
This is why many of us tend to create our own content in games, even when the tools to do so are few. We get bored of the tour, and we want to take control of our own destiny. We sit down and fashion odd goals that are light-years away from what the devs intended, and then go about doing them just because. Maybe they seem pointless, but I’d argue that many human endeavors are undertaken just because they’re challenging, not because there’s any substantive end reward.
Lately I’ve seen a number of bloggers create their own “challenges” in their games, which typically involve altering the way they play or placing self-imposed restrictions on what they can or cannot do. I guess it’s different when you tell you that you can’t do something instead of a dev saying it (maybe it’s easier to submit to your own authority, you schitzo loonie?).
For example, Ysharros spent a week playing LOTRO without doing a single quest as an “Iron Woman” challenge. In this case, she intentionally cut herself off from content in order to level in an older, more traditional way (grinding mobs), and to see if there was any merit or fun to that. In another example, one of the guys at LOTRO Reporter set himself a goal of finishing each and every quest in the Shire, along with every deed, before moving on. That’s something most of us would never do, since we’re typically focused on leveling up and moving on, so by changing the focus of the character, the game experience is altered.
I think sometimes we need to do this, especially in games we’ve been playing for a while. We need to intentionally pry ourselves away from the most optimal, efficient method of advancement and construct for ourselves a different method of play, if only to see the game in a new light and break us of potentially dull habits.
Have you ever created a challenge like this for yourself?