We've all felt it: that chill, gross hand of despair on the back of our necks. The weight of weight of the cloud of smothering despair that afflicts us when we find out that what we expected from a game isn't what we are getting. Perhaps most importantly to us here on the WoDNews site, recently we have felt the anxious halt of our breath and the rapid rise of our heartbeat when we read the next news release about the WODMMO: is it still in production? Are they making any progress? Are we going to hear about a new setback? When will Chris McDonough break this oppressive silence next?
Today I am here to tell you that I share your disappointments as a gamer and as a roleplayer. In too many cases - more recently down the years, it seems - companies have been putting out games that sound great in the commercials, and we are all so excited to buy them or even pre-order them, and yet... when the box arrives and we install the game and we play it, explore its aspects, rack up the achievements... It kind of sucks. What was delivered was not what we were promised. The game is buggy - the game is unbalanced - the game doesn't have a worthwhile plot. One of my major complaints lately is that the singleplayer parts of games are too short (I even had this complaint about VTM - Bloodlines. But since that was my only complaint about VTM - Bloodlines, that actually means it was a great game.) Unlike Bloodlines, though, in many many cases a game that is too short does NOT leave me wanting more.
I am going to avoid naming names, because once I got started I wouldn't stop for a long, long time. Instead I'm going to name a few of my strategies for dealing with being disappointed as a player. My first strategy is, thankfully, one that I have been able to use for many, many years, and all the games - tabletop and computer - published by White Wolf help with this: take a break from all the newer games that disappoint you and go back to your roots. In my case, this means I reinstall games like VTM - Redemption, VTM - Bloodlines, Dungeon Keeper 2, Homeworld 2, and - yes - Creatures 2: The Albian Years. (For those of you who haven't heard of Creatures, it's basically The Sims wih furry little Creatures called "Norns". Pretty dang advanced for its time.) Lately I just reinstalled the free version of Dungeons and Dragons Online, and am trying to grind my rogue up to something like an acceptable level. I've also had a lot of fun taking my mind off my disappointments by finally formally starting my Sabbat Chronicle for tabletop V20 here on the WoDNews forums. (Interestingly, V20 is one of the "new" games that hasn't disappointed.) How does this strategy work, you ask? A couple reasons: Firstly, the reason why I reinstall these games is because I love them - there's a sort of guaranteed good-happy-feeling I get while playing them. I am already motivated to play them thanks to years' worth of playing them. The second motivation is nostalgia, and reminding myself of what happened to games when gaming companies were still small, and had to make games FUN in order to sell them. Christof Romuald still cracks me up, and I just shake my head and say "Oh, Christof, you amuse me so". The third source of motivation I use is to take a look at these games and try to reinvent them into something I'd play now, so I could make or buy a new game that wasn't quite as disappointing as some out there.
This kind of dreamy speculation does a lot for me to calm my angry thoughts, but there's really one fundamental aspect of the whole process that really keeps me going, and it's a phrase I've been hearing a lot lately with regards to the production of the WODMMO: "Hope springs eternal". There is a reason why I keep going out and buying games, even if I'm not totally assured that I'll be 100% happy with them, and that is because I have hope. Kind of an unusual thing to hear from a guy who supports death, gloom, and despair in the Worlds of Darkness, I know, but it's true. There are still a few gems out there, but we'd never realize it if we didn't keep buying the games and playing them. I'm really starting to wonder if the money I spend on all these games is worth finding those few gems - I pay just as much for "rough" as I do for a "diamond". I really wish there was a way to pay for games retroactively - you get to play them first, then give the developers as much money as you think it's worth. Perhaps that would bring us back to the days when developers were still concerned about making fun, popular games...
Anywho, I think that staying motivated as a player of all sorts of games is probably a bit more important than keeping your characters in an RPG motivated. You can still play a game with an unmotivated character, but if you're an unmotivated player, you probably wouldn't even pick up the game in the first place. This is a trouble I - and I know a lot of other people - have been having to stay motivated where the WODMMO is concerned. Chris McDonough has done his best to keep us informed, and I really appreciate the attitude that "We don't want to show you anything until we have something worth showing". That said, this game has been in production - or pre-production, or design, or concept design, or SOMETHING - for a long-ass time. Most games take a year-and-a-half, two years in development. I remember waiting for what seemed like forever for World of WarCraft to come out, because I read about it years in advance in a Blizzard product pamphlet. I also remember feeling incredibly disappointed when I learned that VTM - Bloodlines had been pushed back an entire year - but at least I got a free T-shirt out of that one. I'm comparatively new to the waitlist for the WODMMO - I've only been keeping up with it for the past couple years, instead of the past eight or nine years - but I'm starting to get that same simmering, itching kind of disappointment I had with WoW and VTMB. There is rampant speculation about pretty much every aspect of the game on every forum I've visited that discusses its production, and of course any tiny tidbit of news we get is immediately consumed by the community. Our feeding times are few and far between, however, and in the meantime we are starved of hope and information. It is small wonder that several people I know have lost their motivation to see the WODMMO produced - now it's a casual "Oh, I'll play it if it comes out", instead of the ferocious "WHEN WILL IT BE READY?!?" They, like me, have found other things to do in the meantime when they are disappointed with a game.
Unlike them, however, I still have my motivation: I can hold myself afloat with other games in the meantime, but when there is new concept art leaked, or another tweet from Chris McDonough, or the bouncing-in-my-chair excitement of the in-game footage video, I remember what it feels like to be motivated about a game - and gaming companies - again. The Worlds of Darkness have been one of my oldest and best-loved interests, and that sort of attention has its own intertia now. I hope that, one day sooner rather than later, that inertia can come to a stop, and I can start worrying about the lesser of the two evils: worrying about how to motivate the character I am playing in the brand-spanking new World of Darkness Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.
321 days ago
Waiting for Star Wars the Old Republic was exactly what you describe. That game had a 5-year development. What made it bearable for me was the community. Unlike CCP, Bioware thankfully believed in 100% transparency with its fanbase. They had the game's website and forums up and running within the 1st year of development. To be honest, it was very much like this site. Which is why I'm constantly amazed at the job Harlequin has done with WoDNews. A liberal dose of other games, just as you say, helps quite a bit as well
323 days ago
Personally, I just finished grad school, and am undergoing a major career-shift. I've joked with friends that the *longer* it takes for them to release this game, the more established my life will be at the time and the less likely it is that this game will swallow my soul. : )
324 days ago
Currently I am what you might say "Oh, I'll play it if it comes out. I can wait. I can wait. No rush." I don't get disappointed because of the long development time. When they give us these tid-bits of pics and tweets about what's going on I go "Yum-yum." and move on. I'm pretty good at forgetting about something unless I'm really focused on it. Of course once WODMMO is open I'll go "OMGITSOPENYAY."
324 days ago
I swear you have been listening when i bitch to my wife bout the current gaming industry...