I still think a lot about Tim's post, and what I said a few months back about it. What brings this to the surface, today, is the discussion around the World Of Tanks pricing model (commented on here). I'm not going to expand on that discussion (yet) but I've been asking myself over the last few days: what is fun?
What is it that is fun about gaming, and specifically World Of Tanks? Obviously I like tanks. That should be pretty obvious, so a game about tanks will be fun. I also like PVP, so again, WoT hits the mark. It's also pretty casual and anti-social friendly so, again, ding-ding-ding. Beyond this, however, I'm wondering about the mechanics of the game.
If I like tanks, and casual, lobby-based PVP why do I worry about credits, gold, or tech trees? I have numerous lower-tiered tanks I absolutely love (Su-26, Ram II, M4, KV-13) and win with on a consistent basis. Over that last few days I've been complaining that WoT makes it hard to run higher tier tanks so the question I ask, is why do I bother? If the game-play is fun, why do I stress about the upper tier tanks and their lack of income? I could easily play (for free) with my elite, lower tier tanks and that, in itself, should be enough.... shouldn't it?
Is it then, not the game-play itself, that is fun, but the progression/collection element of the game? I like to think the 'grind' is a pain-in-the-butt but I not only participate in this, I focus on it. Regardless of the many fun , self-sustaining (credit wise) tanks I have elited (and therefor no reason to 'grind' experience) I keep working on new, higher tier tanks which I know will 'cost' me more money, credits, and time. I have unlocked the top Russian TD tier, and am pursuing both the IS-4 (tier 9) heavy tank, and the E50 (tier 9) medium tank.
These tanks may be 'more powerful', but so too will the competitors I face, so in reality, the lower tier tanks should fulfill my PVP-cravings....but still I look ahead. I'm not involved in Clan Wars, so the end-game for me is simply more of the same (random battles). It must be, then, that the game-play itself is not the only draw. The thrill of earning a new achievement, or driving a new tank, must also be a strong element of what keeps me interested. This really bothers me as I am among the first to argue that people should have fun with a game, and not worry about 'grinding' as fast as possible to the end. What's going to happen when I have all the tanks I want, then? Will I still want to play?
Games are like gambling. They play on the brain's desire to be rewarded, and our drives to collect and achieve. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (unless you're a horrible gambling addict and then it will cause some problems) but it bothers me that my stated reasons for playing, and my actual playing behavior are so very different. Perhaps a little too introspective, but hey, I'm a blogger and without that, what the heck would I talk about? I'm also coming down with the flu as I write this, so perhaps it's all just a fevered rant......
Do you have any collections which are (mostly) irrelevant to game-play in your current games? What is it you find 'fun' about games?