Friday, September 12, 2008
The Random Encounter
I've been playing a little Final Fantasy 3 on the DS. For those not familiar with the old Final Fantasy games, a lot of the it involves running around in an area and basically waiting for randomly generated mobs to attack you. The mobs that pop up to attack are specific to the area your traveling in, but you the encounter could happen every 2 feet or every 20, it's completely random as to when you'll have to fight again.
This got me thinking. There is no random encounters in MMO's. Most games will have a specific area where the skeletons, bears, wolves or treants spawn, so you know where to go to kill what you need to complete quest X. Some people might argue that there are a few random elite mobs that will spawn, but even they have a specific area where they hang out, so all you have to do is wait for them to spawn. The randomness is even dumbed down more because most MMO's will show you, using highlighted areas on a map or arrows, where you can complete the quest. Basically, developers are leading you around by the nose.
Wouldn't it be nice if the game just rolled a 20 sided dice behind a cardboard DM screen and what ever the game rolled is what would pop up in front of you as you strolled thru the woods or as you creep around a dungeon? Sure, it would be mobs that would inhabit that area, but it would be completely random and players would have to think on their feet. No posting of video strats or long blogs about how to kill your way to the end boss.
But in the mean time, we have world RvR in WAR. It's pretty random. You don't know how big of a contingent you will encounter, what kind of careers or even what levels they will be untill you start to engage them. Skill will also have a lot to do with success since most can get gear that is pretty evenly matched through renown levels.
So until devs find a way to pull out the old DM Screens and 20 sided dice, we'll have to just enjoy the random encounters in WAR.