Monday, 24 January 2011

Racial discrimination in MMO's

So I've been browsing the Rift forums recently with an eye on what's happening and there's talk about changing the racial abilities of some of the errr.. well races (as a side note, the people already crying that they have been nerfed on a beta is highly amusing). So it got me thinking, why do we have multiple races with abilities in an MMO?

Now keep in mind my first MMO experience was Ultima Online where (at that time) you could be a human and that was it but as MMO's have progressed there almost seems to  be an arms race where you can have the most number of classes and/or races available.. Hell how difficult is it to try and balance them not only against each other race but then the potential broken class/race combos?  For that matter, why do they even have racial abilities or is it just now so ingrained into the MMO culture that a race must have a special ability and that it's odd not to have one? Do the developers not sit there thinking "Hmmmm, it'd make our lives easier if we didn't have racials."It's probably a marketing thing...

I know if I'd develop an MMO it'd be without racial abilities and potentially even multiple races.. The assets required for changing armour for multiple races must be high, even if it's just sizes you still need people to sit there and change it when the same time could be spent having more uniquely coloured or designed armour to differentiate sides? One pair of boots needs to have its size changed 11 times or add skulls on the toe caps and darken them to indicate an evil version?

OK, so in all fairness variety is the spice of life (or is that just the Indian down the road from me) so different races can be fine, it can add to the lore of the game and give it a more unique feel to other MMO's but the more I think about racial abilities the more I just see them as potential pit falls for MMO's, especially since balance changes later in the game always runs the risk of a broken combo.

So racial abilities and multiple races in MMO's.. Are they a recipe for a developers headache?

(Side note.. Highly amusing to my childish and immature mind, the spell checker recommended I change racials to 'facials'.. it made the following part so much more amusing... "Do the developers not sit there thinking "Hmmmm, it'd make our lives easier if we didn't have facials."It's probably a marketing thing..."")

1 comment:

  1. Games, Indian take-away, and facials. What's not to like about this post?