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Charles Cox's blog

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Charles Cox avatar 7:22 PM on 04.03.2012  (server time)
Dreaming: Persistence

As I stumble down a barren trail I see the sight I have longed for since my narrow escape. Before me, set between two mountains standing as a gateway to a secluded valley, lies evidence of civilization. It is the guild hall, the hall that I built with the help of my friends. The hall we built with our blood, sweat, tears, and gold. That we erected to stand as a symbol of our power, and of the struggle we bore to gain it.

Passing through the twin peaks a sense of security and relief washes over me. The many turrets, healing stations, and familiar shops and homesteads assure me that I have arrived to a safe place. As I turn the corner around the respawn-circle, I notice the street sign ahead which reads “PvPer Way.” My house in on that street. And for that, I am glad.

For my PvP injuries are many, and without some healing I will surely die... and lose XP.

When I first heard of MMO games as a young lad I imagined that this is what they would be. After all, a “persistent world,” was a term touted quite loudly in those days, and the things such a term implied were incredible to me.

I imagined Everquest in the most fantastic of ways, filled with adventure, mystery, magic, and evidence of the deeds of those who had played before me. I couldn’t wait to make my own mark on that world, and I eagerly begged day and night for my parents to get me an account. But alas, when the begging was done, and my account had been won, I was disappointed.

But is it too much for me to ask for a truly persistent world influenced as much by the inhabitants of it as by the developers? After all, many MMO’s have experimented with that sort of thing before. EVE Online’s main attraction, for instance, is its player-run corporations who battle it out for control of territory and resources. And again, Star Wars Galaxies allowed guilds to construct their own cities, fight for territory, issue bounties, and more.

But EVE Online is an unusual game meant for an unusual niche (people who enjoy flying space-spreadsheets). And SWG was horrible in just about every way possible. The gaming industry has yet to produce as truly persistent world that truly belongs to its players, while also delivering solid gameplay with broad appeal.

Perhaps one day my dream will be realised. But until then I will have to be satisfied with seeing the mobs I just killed, fighting in arenas or PvP zones with little consequences, and have my guilds be communities defined by a chat room instead of geography.

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