I’ve always found there to be something wrong with a lack of consequences for any given action. In the real world there are plenty of repercussions for bad decisions and failure. If you gamble and lose, you lose money and possibly go into debt or face other personal problems. You wouldn’t likely run in the middle of a gang shootout or busy intersection without good cause. In traditional video games, dying usually means reverting to the last saved location, but in multiplayer online games, there are varying and often insignificant consequences. Game developers have a tough job of balancing the feeling of risk with keeping the game fun.
There was a poker application on myspace that I played for a little while. There was “chips” that you could bet and collect but had no real dollar value attached. Most players played in a similar fashion to how a realistic game would go. You don’t bet big unless you have a good hand or really think you can bluff your way through. Ocassionally though, a player would join a table that would simply max bet every hand. Complete disregard for the normal consequences of betting all your money. Unless they were challenged and lost quickly, it would pretty much ruin any table. Other players would fold, leave, or sometimes call the bet and be taken out completely in one fell swoop. Of course, there is a chance someone feels ballsy and goes all-in, but not every hand or that commonly. The realism and fun of the game was hurt because losing the chips meant nothing, a player could log back in or re-install the app and be good to go yet again. In other types of multiplayer games, specifically WoW, the lack of penalties for dying or losing sometimes can hinder the behavior and strategy of some of the players. (more…)