I’m back from my mini-vacation / leave of absence from the computer, and I wanted to just kick things back off with a good ole fashioned rambling. Before I begin I want to first say that I missed blogging. Occasionally I’ll take a day or two off from posting, but I haven’t gone this long away from the blog both mentally and physically in some time. There are times when I question whether or not blogs are a medium worth continuing in this niche, but in the end I know that I enjoy spilling the digital ink of my thoughts here for you all to see way too much to ever stop.
I’ve been to Disneyland more in the last few weeks than I have in the last 20+ years. The experience as an adult has been quite different than those I remember from being a child. Everything is smaller, simpler, and slightly less magical. As a child the walls of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle towered above me. Now, I can see the facade. I can see the green mesh on the walls hiding the chain-link fences. A boy on his father’s shoulders screamed at the site of one of his favorite characters during the parade pleading for that character to give notice. I looked and saw a guy in his 20s wearing a costume performing a choreographed and generic wave. Although one illusion is destroyed, others do remain.
The park as an adult still has an atmosphere. I appreciate the smells, the visual beauty, and the quality Disney has put in to making the park look and behave a certain way. Attention to detail is key. From almost any direction you look while standing in the park, Disney has thought of creating an experience. That’s why I can go to Disneyland and still enjoy myself. Sure, the rides are fun and I love the Disney properties, but those aren’t as fun as sitting down at a restaurant in New Orleans Square and taking it all in. Now whether that’s worth paying $96 a trip (or buying a pass) is sometimes hard to swallow…
See the comparison I’m trying to draw?
I found myself comparing the experiences I’ve had at Disneyland as a kid vs. an adult to those experiences found in MMOs. There will always be that ‘first’ MMO. There will always be the magic of MMOs from days past, and as much as I reminisce about those days they are most likely going to remain fond memories. However, unlike Disneyland, MMOs are failing to keep that feeling consistent throughout time. Disneyland for that little boy I mentioned earlier is just as magical or more so for him today as it was for me 25 years ago. MMOs aren’t better today, nor do they maintain that level of experience or magical wonder and immersion for first-time players.
There isn’t enough attention being given to the entire experience in modern MMOs. Developers are pushing hard to make the best rides possible or manipulate the ticket price. They care more about pushing people through the ‘park’ to get them on the rides now than they do letting the players roam freely and consume the ‘park’ as they choose. Someone like me can go to Disneyland one day and want to ride Indiana Jones, but tomorrow I might go back and wish to simply partake of good food and see shows. My experience doing so at Disney is always going to be exceptional. Those choices don’t exist in most MMOs, and when they do they rarely offer the same level of satisfaction.
I’ve had some good thoughts and experiences lately that I’m eager to put to the test in MMOs that I play. I hope to drum up some great conversations soon — after I get back to playing some games.