Top 6 MMO Features That Would Enrich Reality
by Tyler Edwards, Dec 5, 2012
We've spent a lot of time comparing reality and the world of MMOs. Recently, we talked about how living in an MMO world probably wouldn't be as fun as you'd expect. But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of aspects of MMOs that would make real life a whole lot easier and much more fun. Developers have put a lot of work into making MMOs compelling realities, and a few of their features could only make the real world a far more awesome place.
6: Game masters:
Every MMO has customer service, often in the form of in game helpers called game masters or GMs. Not every game's customer service is created equal. Some games boast friendly, helpful, and even funny GMs, but other MMOs' representatives are... less helpful.
But one thing is certain: every MMO has much better customer service than the real world. Try sending a ticket to God about your problems and see how far you get.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply petition some Great GM in the Sky to teleport you home if you're lost? To restore the diamond ring that fell off in the pool while you were on vacation? To instantly fix your car when it stops working?
And then there's the power of the mighty banhammer to consider. Who needs police when robbers and thugs can simply be banned, vanishing into thin air as their ill-gotten gains are returned to their rightful owners?
Even the laziest, most apathetic GMs would make the world a far better place than it is now.
5: Catch up mechanisms:
Most popular MMOs are based on the idea of continually advancing your character. Each new raid brings with it a new tier of gear to further improve your power. This is a design that keeps players continually interested, but it also has the downside of creating a massive and ever growing barrier to entry for new players or alts.
Luckily, developers realize this, and so they tend to add in ways for newcomers to catch up to longtime players. They nerf content to make it more accessible, they make old gear easier to acquire, or they provide content with rewards specifically designed to bring new players up to speed.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if such concessions existed in reality? Say you decided not to go to college, but now your career options are limited because you don't have a degree. Well, just wait another year, and they'll nerf the requirements for that degree. You'll get a PHD in six weeks of night classes!
Maybe that lack of a degree means you don't earn much. All your friends from high school have nice houses in the suburbs, and you still have nothing but a crappy apartment in a neighborhood with a rat to human ratio of twenty to one. But no need to fret; soon, a new job will be available that has low entry requirements and pays well enough for you to buy your own house and say goodbye to the rats forever.
One can dream.
"But wait," I hear you say. "We already have cars, busses, and planes. We've got plenty of ways to get around. We don't need mounts."
That's right. You have a car. A boring, ordinary car just like those driven by everyone else in the Western world. A car with a generic paintjob, a stained floor mat, and fast food wrappers under the seats. Be honest: cars aren't as exciting as they seemed when you were fifteen.
Now think about your mount in an MMO. (Now back to the car; now back to your mount…) If you're like the average MMO player, your character probably rides something along the lines of a lightning breathing zombie dragon with rocket launchers mounted to its shoulders and armor that glistens with the tears of those unworthy to tame such a mighty steed.
Wouldn't you rather ride to work on that?
Of course, it could go too far. The last thing we want is for the world to become suddenly swamped by sparkle ponies, but it's hard to deny the appeal of riding the open road atop a wooly mammoth, giant turtle, wolf, or clockwork horse. Even if you wind up stuck in traffic, it'd certainly be more interesting than staring at a hundred different gray sedans.
MMO players have differing feelings on achievements. Some feel they are a cheap, childish concept better left for Xbox Live. Some people live for achievements, hunting them down like a junkie searches for their next hit. Some people don't care either way.
But no matter how you feel about them, you've got to admit there's a certain thrill to that moment when you complete a particularly challenging task, the little note of music blares, and you're toasted with a cheerful message about how awesome you are for slaying that dragon. Your guildies "grats" you, and for a brief moment before you realize it's just a game, you bask in your feeling of accomplishment.
But what if it wasn't just a game? What if real accomplishments were also greeted with fanfare and stored in a database for future boasting. Your friends wouldn't have to take your word for it about that time you met Jennifer Aniston while on vacation but totally forgot to ask for an autograph.
It would certainly make it easier to get motivated if every one of your friends was immediately toasted with, "Dave has earned the achievement: [First Car]" or "Sarah has earned the achievement: [Management Position]" whenever you accomplish something.
Although there could be downsides. It would be a bit awkward if everyone you know one day received the message, "Bill has earned the achievement: [World First! Best Friend's Sister]."
2: Character customization:
All of us have aspects of our appearances that we're not happy with. Maybe it's the last couple of pounds that just won't go away, or that weird looking birthmark, or a dull hair color.
Perhaps this is why character customization is such a popular feature in MMOs. In the real world, we're more or less stuck with the hand we're dealt. In the virtual world, we can be whoever we want to be: a supermodel, a mighty warrior whose body exudes strength, or anything else that strikes our fancy.
Now imagine how great it would be to be able to customize our real world selves this way. Even if you're someone who's comfortable with your current appearance, you would probably still make a few adjustments if it was as easy as hitting a few buttons.
To a certain extent, our appearances are already customizable thanks to cosmetics and plastic surgery, but those can only do so much, and if you push them too far, you're likely to end up looking like some perverse crossbreeding of a zombie and a fashion mannequin.
One does wonder what sort of world it would be when everyone can look however they want. In a world where no one is ugly, would anyone truly be beautiful?
Of course they would be. Don't be silly.
1: Healing and resurrection:
In most MMOs, death is not the end, and injury is little more than a speed bump. If you get your face bitten off by a dragon, you healer can fix that with just one or two quick spells. If your body is burnt to a withered husk because you totally thought the fire was a damage buff, you just respawn somewhere else - good as new.
The benefits of adding such wondrous methods of recovery to the real world should be obvious. There's no need to explain why being able to cure cancer by literally waving a magic wand would be a good thing.
But let's forget boring things like ending all pain, disease, and physical suffering. Imagine how the world would change without the fear of death. No more need to worry about your parachute not opening when you skydive. No need for the parachute at all. Just splat and respawn.
There would be no need to avoid doing something just because it's risky or suicidal in its stupidity. Russian roulette is suddenly a viable form of gambling. You can finally live your dream of jumping the fence at the zoo and hugging the tigers. Juggling burning chainsaws is a reasonable idea for a hobby.