Knowledge is Power

Posted: October 12, 2007 by Xeavn in Everquest 2, Gaming Sites, SOE, World of Warcraft
Tags: , ,

In the world of single player games, the game manual would often be your only source of knowledge about the game you were playing, and often times the only one you needed. When it comes to Massive Multiplier Online Games though, manuals are probably the most worthless thing packaged with the game. These are games that by their very nature change often, and when not changing are typically adding new content. This typically means that if you want to find out about the game you are playing, you will need to look elsewhere. Fan sites, the games website and forums all can hold a wealth of information for the players that know where to look.

My first introduction to this concept was Thottbot, a website that tracked drops from World of Warcraft. I stumbled upon it shortly after I started playing. It opened up a whole new realm of information for me. All of the sudden I could find out what cool armor existed, where it dropped, and what I needed to fight in order to have a chance to get this armor. Other sites soon brought information on where rare creatures spawned, questing, trade skilling and the ability to view my current equipment, bags, quests and faction standings all from outside the game. I was hooked, and I started learning all I could.

When I started playing Everquest 2, it did not take me long to notice EQ2Players. EQ2Players was built to show this information to the player without having to look to third party programs and other sites to get it. The major downside was that Sony was charging for the service. I signed up for a while, but I found it hard to use. It just wasn’t worth the money, and didn’t really give me all the information that I was after. It wasn’t long before I was looking elsewhere, and finding the information that I really wanted.

The real question that I would like to ask is, Do you think companies like Sony and Blizzard should be providing this information to their users, and should they charge for it? It seems clear to me that even if they don’t provide it, the players will find a way to get the information. Is it better to at least have the users turning to your site to get it, or do you hope that the fan sites will get the information correct?

Personally as a player who loves to learn all I can about the games that I play, down to how damage is calculated, and what weapon will be provide more DPS in this situation, I really like Blizzards solution. I think the gaming companies should be giving more information to their players, and I think they should be doing so for free. It seems only logical that if I want to know more about Everquest 2, I should be asking Sony about it. I think this is an area where Sony has dropped the ball. They started out with great intentions. They had EQ2Players at least a year before Blizzard had the Armory. When I looked over my profile though, it was hard to get the information I wanted, it wasn’t useful and I found myself looking elsewhere. The main EQ2 website has some basic information on classes, and races and locations, yet I would guess that all of it is a couple of years old, and well out of date.

On the other hand, a quick trip to World of Warcraft’s site will give you up to date information on classes, races, tradeskills, factions, new player guides, talent calculators, faction rewards, pvp rewards, and a lot of other information. The Armory feature will give you access to your character, your bags, your bank even, and let you look at other people in your guild. What are they wearing, where did they spend their talent points? (Similar to our AA points.) It really seems Blizzard has gone the extra mile.

Is this something that is going to cause the downfall of Everquest 2? I doubt it. It is however an area where I think Sony could be doing a lot more. It is an area that at some point they did realize that their players cared about. It is an area I personally would like to see them do more.

  1. David says:

    I’ve seen a few different people say they tried to get into EQ2 but they just found it too hard to figure out what was going on. I think that’s something those of us who have been playing for several years take for granted. I can easily see how a new player to EQ2 would be lost. The website, like you said, isn’t much help, and the WoW website puts it to shame. Just a quick glance at WoW’s website showed me everything I’d need to get a good start in the game, most important being which class would best suit my playstyle. The EQ2 site just has very generic descriptions of the classes.

  2. Laldail says:

    My ideal game would provide a manual with in-depth Lore background information and extensive help on how to use and set up the UI. Other than that, I completely agree that manuals for MMO games are pretty much useless.

    I would go further though and say that my ideal game would have some method of finding out any Lore, equipment, or monster-related information from within the game. I don’t mean the browser function that SOE introduced (although that is a handy feature and I like it) but real, in-game sources that are accessible by the player. For instance, if you are a warrior, you might be able to go to the local warriors’ guild and, if your faction is suitable, look up how you might acquire suitable armor upgrades in their library or by consulting their guild officers.

    Of course this information would eventually find it’s way to the third-party sites and that is fine as well. But at least it does give the new player or the (majority of?) players who do not go looking for this stuff some way of finding it that has some RP value as well.

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