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My theory on jumping puzzles in MMOs


My current operating theory on why jumping puzzles have proliferated modern MMOs is thus:

In every studio there’s one developer who is both the sole bully and the sole proponent of jumping puzzles. Call him the Biff. And everyone is terrified of standing up to the Biff, even though everyone else thinks that jumping puzzles have no place in these types of games and are often annoying and alienating to non-twitchy players.

So the Biff gets away with shoehorning them into the game while the studio is forced to pretend as if jumping puzzles are good ideas, because not even the execs want to stand up to the Biff. The Biff gave the CFO a wedgie in the bathroom that one time and called the lead producer a “butthead.”

Therefore, taking a stand against jumping puzzles is really standing against the tyranny of a bully who thinks it’s funny to make you fall down and go splat in a video game. Arise my fellow gamers and tell the Biffs of the world “no more!”

15 thoughts on “My theory on jumping puzzles in MMOs

  1. Don’t bother because Biff doesn’t listen to the players. He’s a know-it-all. Gameplay is more important than story, and what is immerzion? So a new character needs a promotion – Wicked Wanda the Writer. Wedgie-proof, and knows where to stick a shoehorn.

  2. I think it’s simpler than that: some developer grew up playing Super Mario Bros. He wants to put things he likes into the game. He doesn’t get that he’s not building Super Mario Bros. and that the game he is building doesn’t support that gameplay very well.

    Nobody else wants to stop him because content is content.

  3. The problem with jump puzzles in MMO is that I find them awesome and exciting to do right until I fall down and remember that quicksave was never an option.

  4. Biff probably doesn’t even like MMORPGs, and is salty because every games studio he works at is building one. This time, the publishers are SURE that it will make as much money as WoW!

  5. I don’t like jumping puzzles either…most of the time because MMO cameras are just probably the single worst things in gaming since the escort mission.

    That said…I have to admit that when I do complete a rather challenging jumping puzzle, I feel like a damn champion. Combined with my old-school gamer sensibilities of demanding to prove to myself that the old dog’s still got it, and I fall for it (nearly) every time.

  6. I don’t mind jumping puzzles in their place, which is clearly off to one side and marked as such. I’ll even do them occasionally – as a fun activity with guildies, or of I feel like stretching myself for an extra tasty reward (just did a couple this week to get Princess in GW2).
    What I hate is when Biff decides to make an expansion zone one giant jumping puzzle. This is why I’ve been in the Dry Top zone exactly once, and the main reason I’m ambivalent about the Heart of Thorns expansion. I want to roam an open world, not spend all my time figuring out how to get from A to B… oh look, I slipped, now I need to respawn and run back to A before I can even look at B again.
    Oh, and extra hate for those times Biff adds monsters with knockback to the jumping puzzle. Because making the guys who pay your salary rage-quit is SUCH a smart long-term strategy.

  7. Wow! I read this while my kids are watching Back to the Future – for the first time completely through! Love the Biff reference. The worst jumping puzzles are in SWTOR to get Datacrons – many a wasted evening with my son coming in every half hour, saying “You are STILL working on that one? Why don’t you just do some quests?” Once I started playing GW2 and saw the jps in there, he just ran away screaming “We’ve lost Dad for another couple of hours AGAIN!”

  8. I enjoyed that.
    I feel as though jumping games have grown because explorers would try wall climbing to get outside the normal zone boundary. Someone decided to cater to these people by deliberately putting rewards in hard to reach places. If there is an invisible (or hard to spot) path to an unknown location it becomes a guide-dang-it. Limiting them to locations a long way off the beaten track limits how many people discover them and annoys people if they swim/run miles outside the normal playing area to find nothing. That leaves jumping puzzles as about the only means to put hidden zones into normal content.
    I do like the WoW approach where most of their jumping puzzles are actually just short distance tight-rope walks with little or no jumping. Sadly, that defeats the whole explorer concept.

  9. So what, exactly, are you saying about those of us who enjoy jumping puzzles? I feel like I have been insulted. Is this to be the new hardcore vs. casual? Raids vs. dungeons?

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