Quite Sick of Stats as Well
Syp is sick of stats. That is fine, it is his choice and at least Blizzard (and thereby most other MMO companies) agree. In fact, I’m quite sick of stats as well but not for the reasons he is. You see, I enjoy some spreadsheeting in my MMOs. The thing with modern stats is that they are simply unexciting. A Longsword+1 was a good thing to have because it was rather rare and distinguished from a simple Longsword. A Longsword+2 was a dream. A Longsword+213 is simply boring.
This is not a new topic on this blog, but I feel it is worth reiterating. In fact, I think it might be the single most problematic part of modern RPGs – MMO or otherwise. Items with unique abilities are exciting. It is fun to figure out whether you’d rather a knockback or a slow effect on your gloves or to find uses for that crossbow that shoots exploding bolts. It is a lot less fun to figure out whether five points of haste rating or critical strike rating provide better damage per second. It is absolutely boring to upgrade your gloves to identical ones with a few additional points of strength.
Let’s have a look at another favourite comparison of mine: World of Warcraft and Ragnarok Online. Ragnarok Online is, for all intents and purposes, a far smaller game than WoW. There are also far fewer items in the game – we are talking several orders of magnitude here. Most of those items didn’t have exciting abilities on them, yet they were iconic because there were so few of them. Back when I played, everybody knew what a Spiky band was. Essentially, it was just a helmet with a comparatively high amount of armor on it. That’s it. Yet there wasn’t another item like it, it was rare, and useful. People wanted it badly and finding one was exciting.
So scarcity by itself makes items more interesting and it also opens the door for game designers to create unique effects and combinations on items. Why don’t they do that anymore?
I’d like to point you to a few posts of mine related to the topic instead of prolonging this. (Please ignore that all the comments below the posts seem to be coming from me, the old poster names were lost when I moved here from Blogger.)