10 turned into 7. More boys than girls and I’d have preferred the inverses. The headset screeched and screamed. They all headed off in separate directions. The moment you took to help one was the moment you lost the 6 others.
What World of Warcraft got right Free Realms has gotten wrong. Communication in game is specific and strenuous. Local, Group and Whisper are segregated in a way that makes it difficult not only to send, but to read.
Why would any community game not invest the most effort in communication? I asked my young friend from last post why she went back to Club Penguin. Her response was that she could talk to people there. Talking is important to her. I think talking is important to all of us. The designers don’t seem to get that.
I ended my session with the squealers and happily so for all of us. They seemed happy to be let loose. I was happy to not be the guy herding cats (as happy as I’ll be to cash the check). There is something wrong about trying to guide someone’s game experience. It is better to just share tales over a beer . . . so . . . maybe in ten years they can tell me what it meant to them.
. . .
There are mini-games in Free Realms. Last night, all my dreams were based on one of them. I played the mini-game of Penguin Defense for hours. I placed all my defenses and fought off the invaders. Once I won I sought to prefect my defense. At first I could save one fish, but later I was able to save all 15 fish.
Trust me on this . . . the mini-games is the future of MMOGs. First is communication. Second is an efficient time killer. Mini-games kill time with the precisions of a Navy sniper shooting a Somali pirate. Communication is about community, but following that is the need to kill boredom. At least Free Realms does that . . . as the cats scurry about.
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