By Krummey 14 Comments
I don't play MMOs. I don't play PC games, in large part due to the fact that my PC is absolute garbage. But with the excitement surrounding the launch of SWTOR, my interest has been piqued. Having no real sense of what is available, or playable, on my PC, and possessing a strong desire to avoid paying a subscription fee for something that may not be my bag, I decided to install DC Universe on my PS3. While the gigantic gamefile downloaded, I took my son out to shop for Christmas gifts for my wife. During that time we talked about what character we could make, what adventures we might go on, what powers we would utilize. We were both genuinely excited to get started. We had a great deal of fun deciding on a costume, a weapon, and our superhero name. We started off on our quest, got through the tutorial mission, and jumped into the world proper. That's when the wheels started coming off, and the "Oh yeah this is an MMO" feeling began.
I guess that's not exactly true, as we had fun exploring and beating up things on our way to quest objectives. We made progress, fought a boss, had a duel with another player, got new weapons and gear. We stalled a bit by getting distracted by various side nonsense before calling it a night. Then this morning, I let my son make his own character. After getting over the shock that "Sharp Shooter" was taken by another player, he settled on a name and started down his own path. I let him take the reigns, and went off to do various things around the house. I came back and asked what mission he was doing, and he said, "I'm blowing up these transporters." I responded, "Oh yeah, why?" He said, "I don't know, because that's what it says on the screen."
That pretty much reinforced what my uninformed preconceived notion of an MMO was: doing this "because". Can there really be a story, as one would traditionally think of it, within this structure? Is everything just in service of raising numbers on a stat screen? I'm certainly not ready to totally write off MMOs altogether, in fact I was honestly enjoying my time with my character last night. And my son is definitely ready for more. I started writing this while he was taking a shower, and as soon as he came back downstairs he asked if he could start playing again. I suppose the next step is to try to make some connections with other players, or to try to convince a friend or two to play with me. In any case, I'm looking forward to what he does with the game, and what he's able to get out of it.