Weird Question of the Day

Is it an uphill — or even impossible — battle for players to form emotional attachments with virtual vehicles (spaceships, tanks, cars, robots, etc.) in MMOs as they do with humanoid avatars?

12 thoughts on “Weird Question of the Day

  1. Wilhelm2451 November 30, 2010 / 10:44 am

    yes.

    see, easy.

  2. Bronte November 30, 2010 / 10:46 am

    Not at all. Consider EvE Online for instance. Your ship was the very essence of what you were trying to accomplish at the time. In most MMOs you respec or recalibrate your abilities to fit a certain task at hand. In EvE, you actually changed your entire look (ship) to switch from mining to hauling, or from PvE to PvP.

    When I lost my 4-year old Badger MK II in a pirate raid, I was, and I am not ashamed to admit, upset for several days. We got the bastards pretty good after though, but no other hauler, not even the eventual Iteron Mk. V, could ever replace the Wolfie the Badger Mk II.

  3. Tipa November 30, 2010 / 10:49 am

    Play EVE sometime 🙂 That’ll answer your question. And in STO, my attachment to my spacecraft of choice is purely emotional! AND I love my avatars (especially my old-school Klingon, Krontar, son of Kor).

  4. pasmith November 30, 2010 / 11:03 am

    I think it’s a different kind of emotional connection.

    I mean, I’ve had cars that I loved and that ended up wrecked (through no fault of MINE of course) and felt really upset about it (beyond issues of cost incurred, I mean). And I guess I could get attached to a ship or mech in a game that same way.

    But I think it isn’t the same as the attachment we (or at least some of us) make with our avatars. You start and end a journey with the same avatar, after all. We don’t swap out as we advance.

  5. Wilhelm2451 November 30, 2010 / 11:11 am

    I guess I have to elaborate. I feel no attachment to a given ship in EVE Online. Every ship of a class is exactly the same as every other. The emotion I feel when I lose a ship is annoyance at having to find all the damn parts to put a new one back together. But once it is back together, it is essentially the same ship. Maybe I’ve lost enough Drakes for this to build up.

    In STO there is some more attachment. I loved my original series Constellation class cruiser. But you can’t actually lose your ship in STO. A ship there is like an armor set in EQ2. I have armor sets I really like, that I store away in the bank or wear in appearance slots. But I am emotionally attached to the character, not the armor.

  6. Goldenstar November 30, 2010 / 11:19 am

    I dunno about robots but I have several ponies that I certainly love in LOTRO. Perhaps not quite the same since not a hunk of metal like a car or a spaceship?

  7. Muir November 30, 2010 / 11:49 am

    Not having played a persistent game where my avatar was mechanical, I could just be blowing hot air, but I could see getting attached to a ship in STO more easily than EVE. STO, you can choose the ‘model’ of ship you want and customize the appearance to some extent beyond that. Plus, if it’s destroyed, it pops right back the same. EVE, my understanding is that there aren’t a whole lot of visual customization options and I would think the ‘don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose’ mindset would discourage attachment. Even capital ships, I expect it’s more like Wilhelm said, annoyance at losing the investment and the replacement process

  8. Canazza November 30, 2010 / 12:22 pm

    It might not be an MMO, but I loved my ships in X3. Oh, and despite not playing it any more, I got very attached to every incarnation of the Science Vessel USS Fibbonaci (NCC 112358 A-F) in Star Trek Online.

  9. Void November 30, 2010 / 12:53 pm

    I think it’s much more difficult. One of the hardest parts about trying to play EVE Online for me was the lack of a humanoid avatar. Having a constantly changing ship just isn’t the same as having a person that represents you.

  10. tungstenHead November 30, 2010 / 4:55 pm

    Some people don’t even get attached to their avatars, so it’s to be expected that people won’t get attached to their vehicles. Some people never get attached to any of their cars in real life, while others feel a strong bond with each and every vehicle they own. It’s certain personalities that will get attached to certain vehicles or equipment and under certain conditions, but I don’t think it’s to be considered a battle in any sense for players to become attached to objects.

    I remember from my Planetside days being pretty fond of a couple of specific Harassers. One that took down a MagRider and another that survived nearly two hours of intense battle. I was very fond of the Vanguard tanks in general although there weren’t any specific ones that stand out in my memory that I was particularly sad to see get blown up.

    In Battlefield: Bad Company 2 earlier this year I had my first (and only) hot streak with a sniper rifle. Tank fire had destroyed the MCOM and we were forced to fall back just as I ran out of ammo. I went to great pains to try to get more ammo for that gun. I didn’t manage to kill anyone after my trouble, but I didn’t want to part with it. It was the only specific gun that I didn’t want to lose in my time playing BF:BC2 of the thousands that I’ve had. It depends on what happens while you are using a specific piece of equipment that will make you feel an attachment to it.

  11. Starayo November 30, 2010 / 6:13 pm

    Sure.

    Hell, given the type of game, I’d say I care about my ships/robots/etc MORE than humanoid avatars. Humanoid avatars respawn. In EVE or Perpetuum, robots/ships explode and never come back.

  12. Llokki November 30, 2010 / 7:37 pm

    It’s believed that that was one of the main reasons for Auto Assault’s failure. Personally, while I think it is more difficult to form an emotional attachment to a vehicle avatar than a biological one, it’s nowhere near impossible.

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