Archive for July 11th, 2011


How Would You Make Real Life More Like An MMO

July 11, 2011

Time for a Monday Musing.

Back at PAX East earlier this year, I think one of coolest events I attended was the panel hosted by, the one featuring some of the industry’s best and brightest answering audience questions about MMOs and the future of online gaming. I recall one fan asking something along the lines of, “How would you make real life more like an MMO if you could?” and Scott Hartsman of Trion answered, “More lives” whereas Curt Schilling of 38 Studios said, “Hot elf chicks”.

Seriously, though, what an interesting question. What feature from an MMO would you bring to real life if you could?

For me, as I finally capped out all my professions in Rift this weekend, it occurred to me what my own answer would be — crafting.

The irony, of course, is that I am not particularly a fan of in-game crafting at all, as evidenced by the months and months it took for me to finally max out my foraging and apothecary skills. It’s not that I hate crafting, it’s more that I’d much rather quest and level. Fighting through an army of undead just to pick a flower on the far side kills my groove and just isn’t my idea of a swell time. As a result, working on crafting is usually the last thing I do, only once I’ve hit the level cap.

But strangely enough, I can see the appeal of it if it were real life. More than anything, I think blacksmithing would be amazing if it worked the MMO way. And I do mean the whole shebang, including going out with my pickaxe, finding some random nodes with a special radar, stuffing lumps of ore into a satchel and bringing it back to a forge to melt it down and craft myself a big ass two-handed great sword.

In fact, weaponsmithing the real way is actually something I’d love to get into, if only I had the means and time, and then I’d learn to use my wares. A seemingly esoteric interest, but maybe it’s the artist in me — there is just something incredibly gratifying to me about the idea of creating something from the ground up, using raw materials. It’s also about making something original and one-of-a-kind. And traditionalist that I am, I am big on doing it with your own two hands.

I muse about MMO blacksmithing because I’ve always felt that it comes closest to that, and unlike consumables and intangible enchantments, you can also display the things you make on a wall and make chitchat about it when company comes over. And sorry, while being able to sew an enchanted robe or concoct a health potion is totally cool and useful and all, it’s just not the same as being able to say you made your own magic sword.