Unconventional gameplay is on the rise in MMO’s, and so far I’m a fan. What do I mean by unconventional? I’m talking about The Secret World’s mysteries, Guild Wars 2’s jump puzzles, and stuff that isn’t focused on leveling, gear, crafting, or the traditional MMORPG activities.
The Secret World’s first area was extremely unique. Everything felt like I was a detective unraveling some story. The entire gameplay was shrouded in mystery and it took serious thought, utilizing real-world tools, and out-of-the-box thinking to progress. I wrote about having to decipher Morse code and having to study the sound waves because I had no idea what beep dot beepity doobop meant.
I’ve spent more time in Guild Wars 2 trying to find ways to reach vistas, jump puzzles, and looking to find that last point of interest than I have leveling. GW2 offers all sorts of meta-game opportunities to explore and do a lot of weird jumping tricks to get on top of buildings or ledges you might have otherwise deemed as nothing but atmosphere. Seriously, if I would just stop trying to find Waldo I might actually level up.
Perhaps this is how MMORPG’s are going to begin differentiating themselves. Granted, it’s a bit of an odd approach; I mean really — jumping puzzles? It works, though. They detract from the “grind” and change up the gameplay just enough so that you start to miss slaying centaurs… if that’s possible.
So despite being a little goofy, I think this type of gameplay is here to stay (in themparks), and will only continue to grow.