I thought SOEmote was a complete joke at first, but not because the idea is silly. I thought the technology wasn’t there, and that this was just another one of SOE’s odd projects, but it turns out SOEmote is a reality. “SOEmote is really easy to use. Plug in your webcam, open up the SOEmote panel, hit Calibrate, select a voice font, and ta da you’re done,” Dave Georgeson told PCGamer.
Both Graev and I think the idea is actually really neat. Check it out.
You all know me. I love immersion. I think role-playing, despite how corny it can sometimes come across, is one of the MMORPG fundamentals lost in today’s market. Role-playing is tied directly to the social aspect of MMORPG’s, which itself is nearly gone as well. So when an idea like SOEmote comes along, I say why the hell not? Anything that gets people talking, socializing, looking at their characters as a means to express themselves rather than just a vessel for their loot is worth a shot.
Ideas like SOEmote are exactly what we need in MMORPG’s. That might be overstating it a little, but I think the immediate social aspects are only the tip of innovative possibilities for this tech. I remember when I first saw the Kinect. I thought about how cool it would be to have a special tool that sits on your monitor that allows you to talk to NPC’s, interact with the world, and physically take control of your character. SOEmote is a good start. Building the tech into interacting with the game world itself is the next step after they get it working well enough for role-playing.
Is it weird to see a frog actually animating like a person, and will it be odd hearing your friend talking like an ogre? Sure, but that odd, uncomfortable, geeky feeling takes me back to that same awesome feeling I had role-playing in taverns, pretending to be a wandering Druid or a crazed Necromancer, and having a lot of fun ‘living’ the experience of playing a MMORPG. Give it a shot, naysayers. You might actually enjoy playing a MMORPG for once.