After reading one of Waiting for Rez’s latest posts about zone fatigue I got to thinking about what tends to make me a little more fatigued when playing games and MMO’s. Personally I don’t share the dislike of the Secret Worlds prolonged areas except for maybe the scorching desert but I have felt what they are describing from time to time. That feeling where you have to constantly push yourself onwards, slogging through zones that blend into one giant resounding meh.
I think I enjoyed TSW far more just because of the way it did have more interconnected areas that shared the same general theme. to me, having that ongoing theme in areas helps me to feel more immersed in that particular area. You begin to get more acquainted with it and really start settling in. At first there is that sense of wanderlust but after a while of spending more time in these places you start to become far more comfortable in them.
After spending more time in a particular space you begin to learn more about it as well. The overarching story of the areas, the characters and the small little details in the world that make that specific place unique. I often felt this in TSW: the slow, subtle shift in certain places. A change of colour or tone. Certain features that created a different space, or lore elements you would find due to exploring and I really enjoyed seeing those little elements. In GW2 it was sort of the same thin gs as well, but more in terms of the events as the longer you explored and engaged with a specific space there more you saw the characters, the stories around them and how the events connected together. It was, and still is rather interesting.
I think For TSW as well it was just the abundance of fascinating characters, quests and stories in these areas that kept you interested in those specific spaces. The quests are always interesting and the characters themselves incredibly unique in terms of personality and motivation, as well as how they fit into those particular spaces. the more you know, the more question that often come out as well and the more you explore and hunt for more information.
On the other side, games that constantly funnel you through a specific set of zones every few minutes are something I really can’t stand. At times it feels a little schizophrenic, like the game can’t make up it’s mind what theme, and atmosphere it wants to create so keeps throwing different personalities at you hoping one sticks and makes you slightly engaged.
To me this makes me feel like I can’t really settle down. Don’t stop, never stop, keep assaulting the senses with new information in the hope the player doesn’t stop for a moment to think and realises just how droll and uninspired it all is. After questing in this model for a given time I just feel drained. Like all my energy is gone from being bombarded by new information, new senses. It’s just too much.
I would always something more muted, calmer, with a design that flows form one place to the next than a game, and world that is merely going through the school of wow development and throwing in the usual tropes. It’s more natural, and more enjoyable.