Take me to the river

Here’s another slippery concept: immersion.

It’s frequently flung around as both an excuse (“this will add immersion!”) and an insult (“it’s ruining my immersion!”) but as far as I can tell this is, for the most part, another subjective issue. One man’s immersion is another man’s bucket of cold water — take, for instance, the travel we were discussing the other day. I remember this was a raging debate on the Vanguard beta forums, where one side claimed slow travel was essential to immersion and the other side claimed that slow travel destroyed their immersion, because getting bored means you get disengaged from the game. You can’t get less immersed than not logged in.

You, dear reader, aren’t the usual forum fodder so I probably don’t need to specify this, but I will anyway: immersion does not equal suspension of disbelief (or sub-creation, depending which theory you want to use*). It’s pretty much understood by most games, online or otherwise, that you need an internally coherent environment just as you do in fiction; if you build a medieval-themed world and stick giant advertising billboards along the dirt roads, that’s not merely immersion-breaking, it’s not internally coherent. I’m also not going to deal with the common forum-troll argument that you can’t have coherence or immersion in a game because you’re doing stuff that isn’t possible in real life. That’s fallacious.

There’s still plenty to debate, regardless. To me, names floating above PC and NPC heads in game are immersion-breaking, in the sense that they make me more aware that I’m just playing a game, not travelling around in a world. At a basic level I find them visually distracting, possibly because I started playing MMOs in a game that didn’t have them (Asheron’s Call), whereas most of the people I know who started playing in EQ, for instance, aren’t bothered by that at all; in fact, some of them are far more bothered by not seeing names where they expect them. Some people are irked every time a rabbit drops a 6-foot sword as loot, but at worst it just amuses me a little, because to me it’s just one of those things you have to accept if you’re playing a loot-driven game; something, after all, has to drop that phat stuff you’re expecting to get. (Tabletop games weren’t all that different, it’s just far more obvious in online games. Anyway, this isn’t a loot post.)

Is the concept of immersion itself perhaps increasingly obsolete? Or is it just our communal definition of it, which has to be so loose now to fit all our different views that it may not really fit anything at all anymore? When we say “immersion” now, are we simply talking about “pleasure”? A beautiful landscape is immersive, certainly, but to me it’s primarily aesthetic — I found the LOTRO and EVE land/space-scapes stunning but the games themselves didn’t hold me for various other reasons.

I think this is what bothers me about “immersion” being used as an argument. It gets flung around to justify one point of view (or its opposite), but when it comes to the crunch, how essential is it to MMOs? Very? A little? Not at all? And if our definitions are so varied as to occasionally be diametrically opposed, how can “immersion” be used as any kind of argument? If it’s elastic enough to fit both sides of a debate, what’s it adding to that debate?

Yes, I’m being — or trying to be — thought-provoking: these aren’t necessarily all my own views. I believe immersion is essential, even if it’s subjective and fluid, because it affects our enjoyment of a game and thus ultimately probably affects a game’s bottom line. But if it’s so hard to pin down, how can game designers possibly take it into account other than to do what they find immersive and hope others will experience the same?

Immersion enhances a game but can’t make a game, especially not an online game. In tabletop games the environment is far more closely-controlled and the human actors are far less numerous, so consensus-immersion is much easier to achieve and maintain. In an online game, especially in these days where players aren’t just ex-tabletop geeks anymore but also grannies, kids, and everyone in between, you can’t control your experience as finely. Which almost inevitably implies that something or someone, somewhere, is going to break your immersion.

I have a suspicion that if a given person’s immersion is broken too often, that person will stop playing whatever game it is. But what constitutes a break and how many times it has to happen before someone is driven away is so individual, it has to be almost impossible to design for. It’s also not something you hear very often when people stop playing a game — “I stopped because I didn’t feel immersed anymore” — but that doesn’t mean it might not, in aggregate, be quite an important reason.

Hrmph. I was trying to get to a point, but I’m not sure I have one. Immersion is a subject that fascinates me because it deals with how people approach games, and I’m interested in that kind of thing; but the more I write, the more I meander and the less I’m sure there is a definitive point to me made. We can, maybe, define immersion by what it isn’t, in the sense that it might well be easier to reach a consensus on that than on what constitutes positive immersion. Beyond that though, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me that if you ask 5 gamers about immersion you’ll get 6 different answers. So what’s your take?

Lastly — I stayed away from the wiki page on immersion but here it is, for completeness. Interestingly enough, it’s not particularly definite on the subject either.

– – –

* Very tangential, even for me, hence the *. In the light of the recent Wikipedia/Threshold/MUD conflagration, I find myself twitching a little every time I give a wikipedia reference link. Seems like every page I hit has a shrill little box somewhere in the article demanding more citations, more references, more something-or-other, and I find myself wondering — are they trying to be a real reference source, or is this just more jockeying in the background from petty people who are using what should be a great starting research resource as their own personal power-trip? It disturbs me that what should be a collaborative project with genuine usefulness should be thus tainted. But then, I’ve always been idealistic and somewhat naive. Bah humbug.

50 responses to “Take me to the river

  1. Too much instancing is often used as the straw-man immersion breaker but what breaks immersion for me more is when I get told to walk forever or do some really ornery thing that nobody in their right mind would ask someone else to do 😛


  2. We used to call games like WoW, LOTRO, EQ2 & WAR “MMORPGs” and now we call them “MOGs”. Is that just a convenience, or is it significant? To me, these games are still ROLE playing games, but a greater and greater number of players seem to think role-playing is pretty lame.

    If you aren’t role-playing, then immersion probably isn’t all that important. If you talk about “my toons” then again, probably not that big a deal. Or am I grabbing too hard at semantics?

    To me, the immersion problem is 100% player driven. I can toggle off floating names if I don’t like them. But in order to avoid immersion-breaking (to me) arguments about politics, or Chuck Norris jokes, I need to segregate myself from the rest of the player-base (which I often do).

    I could trot out my distaste for Ventrillo too, but that’s probably more a failing of my ever playing tabletop games than a problem with the technology itself. In fact, all of my immersion issues might be based on that. If I’d cut my teeth role-player around a table with people with their own voices and a tv on in the background and plenty of “Pass the Cheetos!” even while we were in the depths of a dungeon hunting orcs, maybe my personal immersion wouldn’t be so fragile.

    I can’t think of a lot of examples where game design busted immersion for me, aside from disjointed zones a la Age of Conan or to a lesser extent, War. But even there, it isn’t a deal breaker for me.


  3. @ Pete — fixed. Which actually felt really really weird — I don’t like going into other people’s posts (or comments, same diff) and changing what THEY wrote. I also completely missed that typo, but I generally tend to only see my own.

    I think I’ll tackle role-playing in online games soon, because it’s another thing we all approach quite differently even when we start from the same basic premise. I am a rabid role-player… but NOT in online games, because I always feel far too distanced to ever really get into the role. It’s much more “immersion-breaking” for me than hearing my male friends’ voices speaking for their female chars in tabletop ever was.

    But yeah, that’s one of the reasons I call them “online games” now and not MMORPGs. It’s not just down to the players I feel, nor is it necessarily a bad thing that online games *aren’t* just onlined-versions of tabletop games.

    We’ll get back to this. I suspect it’ll lead to some pretty cool opinions & discussion.


  4. To my mind, the term immersion means the ability to focus on what is going on in a game as if it’s really happening. I know it’s not really happening, but I can pretend it is. It’s sort of like immersion in a movie. If Obiwan stops talking to Luke to say “you know what every Jedi needs is a Coke and a smile” that would be immersion breaking. Coke isn’t part of that world.

    Then again, as you say, there are degrees. I’m not particularly immersed in crafting in any game I’ve played. Odds are quite good that as my toon is there churning out metal bars or pies or whatever, I’m actually drying the dishes or flipping TV channels. There are some things I just accept in games. Travel can make or break immersion: am I heading into a dark and horrible place to engage the forces of evil (where travel adds to the experience) or merely killing time before I get to the real battle (like travelling across lake Evendim for the thousanth time)?

    Another thought provoking post. 🙂


  5. Immersion can exist in virtual worlds, but that immersion diminishes when that virtual world becomes a game. A game has rules. Rules start to pick at immersion. Click a button combination to open up your inventory of bags…how does that not ruin immersion in some form? The very UI games implement taint immersion. Being able to chat freely with anyone in the game through the chat client. How does that not diminish the world somehow? Being able to see your avatar in the game instead of in FP can take away from being immersed in a setting.

    I argue with a couple friends about immersion all the time. They want all the tools at their fingertips to play a game, but they also want immersion. And they can’t figure out why they aren’t getting it.

    We equate immersion to reality because it’s really the only measuring stick we have. But gamers are able to acquire certain reality within a game environment. When that game play reality is broken, that’s when immersion fades.

    I think immersion is more about being engaged within the environment you are playing. A game that is compelling enough to keep you trapped within its context is one that succeeds in immersion.


  6. @ Makkaio, I’d say those things ruin *your* definition of immersion, which appears to be based mostly on a definition that relates to reading a book or watching a movie.

    Games are neither — so to me, the inventory bag button or having to type to talk to people aren’t immersion-breaking at all, they’re an integral part of the experience. For me, it’s when they are *poorly implemented* that my immersion begins to break down — if I have to mouse to a weird area of the screen and click something to open my bags, or if I have to use some arcane key-combo I can’t change or remember, and so on.

    I would also contend that immersion should absolutely NOT be equated with reality. That’s when things get even more murky than they already are. We’re all smart enough to know the difference between reality and imagination — in that sense, I think what you’re talking about when you say we equate one with the other is internal consistency (or suspension or sub-creation etc etc). You can have a really well-constructed world that’s not immersive at all (or not for some). I’m going to have to find an example now, aren’t I? 😀


  7. Screw Wikipedia, I’ll just use the only dictionary definition that would apply (as opposed to being immersed in water, or being baptized) to the word as it’s used within this context.

    Immersion: The state of being overhelmed or deeply absorbed; deep engagedness.

    I can become deeply absorbed or engaged in a good novel or a good movie. Most recently, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button turned out to be nearly three hours in length! I didn’t know that when I arrived at the cinema but the story, the characters, everything about the movie kept me so engaged — so immersed — that it didn’t seem like 3 hours had passed.

    I’ve become so engrossed in a book that when I suddenly became aware of reality again I’d been sitting in one position (or simply holding the book in one position) for so long that muscles were aching; in fact the physical discomfort is probably a contributing factor to breaking the immersion in the story.

    Yet at no point ever in my gaming history (since Pong, mind you…) have I “forgot” I was playing a videogame and sitting at a desk with the PC or at a TV with a console. Never. I might be entertained enough to put hours in, especially in an MMOG, but I’m always quite aware of what I’m doing and the passage of time.

    Why is that? Novels inspire your imagination — a “mental cinema” — that can draw you in and absorb you. Movies are more a visual medium just like video games but they’re also literally larger than life. At least in my case I can become far more engaged at a theater than watching the same movie at home.

    Is it because novels, movies, even music are all passive whereas playing games is active, thereby keeping me “in the real” and not allowing full immersion? I tend to think so. Regardless how passionate I can be about my gaming hobby I just don’t think “immersion” truly exists yet. Probably not until we’re literally dealing with holodeck or Matrix style virtual reality where we actually are mentally or psychologically immersed in the game and its virtual world.

    On a side note, most of the “immersion people” are usually just the “my way of thinking is the only correct one and I want to force everyone to play my way” type. Vanguard for example had the aforementioned “meaningful travel” folk who were so upset at the introduction of the riftway system for faster travel. Is anyone forcing them to use it? If they want their “meaningful travel” then do it. But if they’re in my group and they force us all to wait an unnecessary amount of time so they can have their precious “meaningful travel” they can also expect me to boot them from the group.

    Same with the “zomg loading screens break my immersion!!1!” trolls. While instances can be over-used and sometimes unnecessarily so, I still have yet to see non-instanced content that was the least bit compelling in a story-telling sense. (This is probably leading into your upcoming role-play vs. roll-play article.) But to me RPGs have always been about telling stories. I put a heavy emphasis on that in the games I enjoy, which probably explains why LOTRO is my current favorite MMORPG and Guild Wars is still my favorite multi-player RPG. Everything else makes poor attempts at story-telling from poorly-written, dry and boring quest text that most people (including myself) tend to skip if it’s not engaging. Maybe scripted story-telling could work in Vanguard because it has such a low population of players there’s little danger of interference from others. But somehow I doubt any developers would intentionally aim for a small player base for the sake of cinematic story-telling in a non-instanced world…

    Oh and I just love the guys who demand XYZ for their precious “immersion” and then play AC/DC and Metallica for background music. Because, you know, modern heavy metal rock music is sooooooooo immersive in a high fantasy RPG… /wrist


  8. Hoom hrum. I used the word ‘immersion’ recently when describing an idea for tattoos as armour slot items on WAR’s dwarf Slayers. I had to go back a read it again, but I think the way I used it is consistent with my view of what it means, which is generally along the lines of rabbits dropping six foot swords, mobs aggroing when you run close to them but not aggroing when they find the corpse of one of their friends whom you just killed, and tattoos as armour slot items having huge amounts of armour value: “Yes, I ink all my tattoos using a mithril-adamantium alloy”.

    So for me it’s about all the “Oh come on! Even in a fantasy setting, in a game, I can’t believe this”. It’s about those things that are so ludicrous that you have to feel that either someone didn’t think about it a great deal, or they’re actually doing it on purpose to mess with your head.

    Oh, and wildlife parrying my attacks. Deer. Parrying. My great axe. That one got to me so much I wrote a post about it just to vent the pressure.


  9. @ Melmoth — heeheee. But see, I think that reinforces my point (one of them, such as it was), that we all seem to know what BREAKS our immersion, but it’s not always obvious what makes it.

    @ Scott — in a purely definitional “forget the outside world” sense, you’re absolutely right, and I don’t think I’ve experienced it much in online games either, certainly not in the pure sense of the word. But lost a chunk of time because I was having so much fun? Sure, lots of times. In that sense maybe it’s closer to being at the pub (assuming no drunken blackouts) — I can lose track of time and have a GREAT time but I’m not likely to forget where I am or what I’m doing.

    Does that make playing an activity whereas reading or watching something are… whatever you’d call something more passive?

    Bring on VR, I agree, it may well help redefine immersion. I expect I’ll be dead before we truly see it though. /sniffle


  10. @ Melmoth: Hehe, a hunter friend of mine in LotRO had one of his shots blocked by a squirrel. He was not amused.

    I did a bit of rummaging myself about immersion (or a better word for what we’re all trying to describe). Immersion strikes me as being completely subjective. Even rabbits dropping halberds don’t really break my immersion in games. Perhaps it’s just because I’m numb to it. Meanwhile, someone else could take a look at the mini-map in the corner and decide that it ruined the game for them.

    And also, where’s the line between acceptable immersion breaking an non-acceptable? I can ride my horse off a hill taller than my character and not break the horse’s legs. It’s completely unrealistic, but if players had to get a new horse every time they rode off a hill that was too high, players would probably leave that game in droves. I guess if you’re not willing to complain about mounts that appearently have built-in shock absorbers, you can’t gripe too much about arrow-blocking squirrels.


  11. I can give an example because I’m playing such a game right now…Grand Theft Auto IV. But, again, everything would be subjective. The game world is very well constructed. Some of the best virtual world construction arguably. But the constant CGI interruptions, mission system and, in some cases, the UI take you out of the game, so to speak.

    I agree that immersion should not be equated with reality, but what I’m saying is that people do. Reality for humans is a point of reference. Reality infects everything we do. So people will judge at least some of their immersion based on reality.

    I think we’re on the same page, though. More of my point, or where I stand personally on immersion lies in the last paragraph of my last comment. A game that keeps you engaged within its context succeeds at immersion. And by game, I mean any game. Whether it be the first known game of Ur or the modern game of WAR.


  12. @ Khan — the thing is, not only *can* we gripe at the weirdest things, we do. If it is 100% (or at least 99.9%) subjective then there doesn’t always have to be a reasonable reason for it. Shock-absorbing horses, check — halberd-blocking squirrels, WTF?!?

    It’s definitely very subjective, though I’m sure we tend to fall into broad groups as humans always do (to marketing suits’ eternal evil delight).


  13. @Ysh – “@ Melmoth — heeheee. But see, I think that reinforces my point (one of them, such as it was), that we all seem to know what BREAKS our immersion, but it’s not always obvious what makes it.”

    Very good point.


  14. @Khan – Fair point on the mounts, but then, summoning them from out of a trouser pocket (is that a mount in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?) kills any immersion I might have relating to them immediately, after that they’re sadly just a transportation game mechanic. So much more could be made of mounts in game terms: feeding; grooming; training. Alas, they’re just the MMO equivalent of scooters, that’s why you see all those adventurers riding around pointing and winking at NPCs and saying ‘ciao’.

    Personally I’d be quite happy if jumping from heights were punished, it would make people more cautious, and running along a rope bridge over a ravine would actually be a precarious and thrilling prospect, rather than a brief time penalty for alt-tabbers or drunks, as they try to find a way to climb out of said ravine.

    @ Ysh – I think for me immersion is, selfishly, about being able to expect a virtual world to operate within some set of bounds for what we know to be natural, with the understanding that it is just a game, that fantasy worlds often bend and break the laws of our world, and that sometimes the game has to take precedence. What I need is consistency, rabbits that variably drop martial weapons, armour and coinage but never seem to have any eyeballs for the quest I’m doing are ludicrous, even for a fantasy game world. In that example it’s the game mechanic of “Grind! Grind you fool! Grind for the sake of the grind!” stepping out of the game and slapping me in the face.

    Immersion is not ever having to go WTF?! with regards to your environment. Different people have different levels of tolerance to WTFness, though, it’s very subjective and I don’t believe it’s something that could necessarily be categorised, stuck in a jar and put on a shelf for MMO students to study.


  15. @ Melmoth — “it’s very subjective and I don’t believe it’s something that could necessarily be categorised, stuck in a jar and put on a shelf for MMO students to study.”

    Oh not, indeed, but it’s certainly fun to try. I like to stick things in jars and study them. Especially if they wiggle. 😀


  16. Excellent thoughts and post, Ysh! I’d like to post my own thoughts on this but the time it would take to clarify it mentally and then even further to make it coherent for *others* to read…would take awhile to say the least. I’ll post about it eventually, just not today >.>; Great post though!


  17. @Ysh – “I like to stick things in jars and study them. Especially if they wiggle.”

    I look forward to seeing your toe collection some time!


  18. @ Enric – Hehe, that’s what I’m going though as well … though it’s never stopped me from posting before! Ha!

    *Imagines people recoiling from their monitors as I post again.*

    I suspect that game “immersivicity*” is at its best when the internal logic of the game is consistent. Why are some aspects of a game “realistic” and yet others (like the horse in my pocket) are so silly? Like a comment my friend made after doing the Zhevra quest in WoW: ‘Why do we keep getting hoofless Zhevras? They all had hooves when they were kicking me!’ If I can keep a horse in my pocket, what’s the reason for it? Or like the engineers in WAR that can suddenly build a full-fledge siege cannon from a kit they appearently hide in the same place they keep their little helicopters: where’d it come from?

    I think a lot of this stuff represents a bunch of missed opportinities for mini-games by game companies. Want a happy, healthy horse? You’ll need to feed it good food. And if you have a horse, you have to park it somewhere before going into the dungeon and get back to it afterwards (this is a common occurence in Oblivion – me wandering around with full bags because I can’t remember where I left my friggin’ horse).

    Perhaps it’s the odd confluence of “game” and “world” that causes so much of the rub. You’re a knight and can ride into battle on your mighty steed (world) but you have to dismount to use combat skills and when you do your horse dissappears into your bags (game).

    * Given the subjective nature of the topic, I figured I’d create a word too.


  19. Oddly enough, there’s an alpha that I’m not in and therefore won’t name where you do have to look after your mount… and it’s a HUGE pain in the ass. I’d have to say that how something is implemented is at least as important as what that idea actually is, because on the whole (as a pony person) I’d be all for looking after my mounts.

    But as with so many other things in games, if it’s something you want to do, it’s fun. If it’s something you *have* to do or something that stops you from doing other stuff you want to do (must find food for horse then get to stables and feed horse or I can’t ride to meet my group for the big booze-up– err, dungeon crawl we had planned), suddenly it morphs from entertainment to paper-cuts.


  20. @Scott…..as I wizz through WoW listening to Sisters Of Mercy (I know……. I’m old) the music actually helps with the ‘immersion’…. seems a lot better than the ‘in-house’ music.

    Not having done the role playing /dice.. real people (eek) thing, there has never been any immersion probs for me… it’s a pc game that I am sitting in front of on a LDC screen.

    As with all games I play what matters to me is whether it draws me in.. gives me that break from reality that I fired the game up for in the first place.

    Truely this topic is a subjective one as all people want all things and they are all different.

    Excellent post though…. even made me think 🙂

    P.S. Dropped WAR now……. just not enough *stuff in it to justify any time on it

    *stuff = any sense of actually progressing other than grinding (dont shoot me I know WoW can be accused of the same… they just do it better than WAR for me)


  21. @Ysh – “Oddly enough, there’s an alpha that I’m not in and therefore won’t name where you do have to look after your mount… and it’s a HUGE pain in the ass.”

    Or you could go back and play UO.

    I’m constantly interested in how much stuff that people want in new games was in UO, but so many people jumped into the MMO pool with EQ or WoW that they totally missed it.

    To elaborate, in UO, horses were wild. A character had to become an animal tamer in order to capture and ‘break’ a horse to domesticate it. They could then sell the horse to someone else. That someone else would have to keep the horse fed and happy (or it would a) die, or b) run away). Petting (a kind of generic ‘take care of action’) was almost as important as feeding. (The same mechanics applied to dogs or any of a number of other animals.)

    Nor did you pull your horse out of your pocket. It was with you, unless you put it in a stable (and paid the stable to take care of it). And yes, it absolutely could be killed, permanently.

    Trust me when I tell you that I (at least) formed a deep bond with my horse. When I fell prey to a gang of PKers and they started killing my horse (“immersion” was broken enough that it took more than a single sword blow to kill it) I bartered everything I had just to get them to spare the animal. The fact that I remember that conversation and the passion I put into my negotiation 10 years (?) later says a lot, I think.

    I find it kind of sad that no one in this thread seems to find immersion in their MMOs on the same level as they find in a book or a movie. I certainly do (not always, but sometimes). I get so sucked in that when I finally stop it gives me that “waking from a dream” kind of feeling I get when I finally stop reading a book or at the end of a movie.

    Maybe its because I generally solo, turn off all chat channels and I’m not on vent chatting with other people? When’s the last time you got immersed in a book or a movie while having a side conversation at the same time?


  22. @ Pete — I wouldn’t say I don’t get immersed in games like I do in books, but rather that it’s a different kind of immersion. I can be aware that I’m playing a game and still be immersed or, to use another word, engrossed. The same goes for other activities like tai chi (where I call it getting Zen 😉 ), or ski-ing back when I did that, and certainly — to be on the horsey topic — when I was riding. Hell, I’ve gotten quite immersed in cleaning the bathroom if it comes to that; there’s pleasure and concentration to be had in any task you do carefully and mindfully. Now we really *are* getting Zen.

    However, when you read a book it’s all in the mind and there’s no concurrent physical activity involved. To me, even when I’m just playing a game (as opposed to physical exercise or whatever), I remain a little more aware of the framework (body or screen).

    Different qualities of experience. Same end result, I’d say, at least for me (immersion).


  23. It just occurred to me that moments of intense immersion seem to lead to durable memories, as in that attack Pete describes above. I made my previous comment and suddenly started recalling all manner of good memories related to the examples I gave of intense involvement with ski-ing, riding, certain books, and other stuff.



  24. @Pete – I loved the skill-based system in UO. I felt like it made the world more broad. It’s weird, but I kind of appreciated the way they handed failure in that game. And the mob system was great. If you couldn’t tame a horse yet, oh look, there is a rabbit across the screen. None of this “horse area” and “rabbit area” stuff. Mobs were mixed in with each other.

    You might be right. As 3D environments emerged, some of us in UO were looking for full 3D with similar systems to UO. Maybe that’s why current games don’t measure up to the nostalgia?


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  26. @makkaio — We gotta prompt Ysh to do a post on failure, now that you mention it. As death penalties get lighter and lighter, how does it impact our gaming experience?

    I was reading about DC Universe Online today and apparently the ‘death penalty’ there is 10 seconds of downtime, then you respawn with full health right where you dropped.

    I used to be a huge proponent of lighter death penalties (I hated losing a level in EQ1, where you’d lose experience on dying) but I’m thinking now the needle has swung *too far* in the direction of easiness.


  27. @ Pete oooooooo failure and death penalties, good idea! I also wanted to do one on decay systems and forgot! I need to make a note of these things.

    Haiku Sunday tomorrow, because I’ve decided I deserve post-free weekends (especially when I’m working, as I am this weekend), but we’ll tackle some more stuff on Monday.

    Everyone who has commented here in the last few weeks has certainly given me food for thought, which I totally love. I’m so cerebral 😀


  28. [tangent]
    Ysh, I’ve found that the best game designers are “Renaissance” people (men, women, whatever). A wide range of interests and proficiencies synergize in ways that mere EQ raid rats can’t begin to fathom. I really have to wonder what WoW would be like (especially the end game) if Wil Wright were at the helm instead of EQ vets.

    …Some will castigate ye old “Lord British” for Tabula Rasa’s failure, and more, for his wish to return to making fantasy games, but think about it for a moment. Here’s a guy who has been neck deep in fantasy, and then took a ride on a space shuttle. He’s seen both sides of the science/fantasy coin, and now, he wants to go *back* into fantasy.

    How many times have we heard that seeing Earth form space firsthand is a breathtaking experience? Yet, Garriott wants to go play in a fantasy world again. What is it about fantasy worlds that makes them even more compelling than our own? Is that related to immersion? Say, immersion being a function of how much we have to stretch ourselves to fit into the imaginary world?


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