Today’s post came to me while I was browsing game art for EverQuest Next. I noticed a picture of a dragon–I like dragons so I clicked on it. Upon seeing the various types of dragon-like monsters, I was originally thinking that I might simply write about my favorite type of dragon. Massive dragons are AWESOME to fight in a MMORPG. I started thinking about which of the dragons in this image would best match my favorite type (easy to choose, it’s the big one with wings and spikes) when I realized my answer: All of them.
Mob/Monster diversity is sorely lacking in modern MMOs. Worst of all is the lack of monster types. Now’days we fight humanoids and animals resembling common mammals. We fight the same monsters with different skins over, and over, and over. When they really want to change things up they make the bigger or smaller. I want TONS of different TYPES of monsters, but I also want tons of diversity beyond just skins.
I want entirely different types, animations, abilities, dangers, dynamics, etc. I want some dragons in the sky, others burrowing below my feet, some running fast, etc. I want massive monsters lumbering around castles and I want small or hidden creatures waiting to strike.
Visuals are important to me, but not in a graphics snob kind of way. I can go back to the original EverQuest and the graphics don’t phase me. Something they’ve done visually makes it all work. I like diversity. If everything starts to look the same then I start to get bored quickly.
I was running around WildStar last night and suddenly became overwhelmed with boredom. I realized it was because for the first time I had reached and area of the game that felt mundane and all the same for over an hour of play. The mobs were the same, the terrain was the same, the doodas in the world were the same. WildStar typically feels well put-together but this area was not. It took only two deaths in a row for me to log out. I largely blame the visuals and mob diversity for boring me to the breaking point.
This goes back to the idea of having a world that inspires, immerses, and captures the mind and heart of the player. Monster diversity is a major ingredient.