Earlier this week, iTZKooPA mentioned the ‘carrot-on-a-stick’ approach regularly emphasized in Forsaken World. Today, I’d like to delve deeper into this aspect of Perfect World Entertainment’s upcoming title and show you that these systems go deeper than you could have imagined.
Right from the get-go, the game offers a mixture of comfort and gentle encouragement in order to ease players into the initial experience. Upon your log-in, you receive a few shinies to keep you excited and give you that warm fuzzy feeling of being welcome in this new world. They include things like health and mana potions that have infinite use but expire after a week, bag extensions, identification scrolls, and various buffs. The mysterious box that sits in your inventory is not simply a gift dispenser, but also a tool for players to get acquainted with various game mechanics. Along with identification scrolls and food that temporarily increases your stats, it frequently gives out introductions to game features relevant to your current level.
The constant stream of presents is timed at certain intervals to avoid an overdose, but also to keep you wanting more. The reward mechanic is nothing new, but Forsaken World does it better than competitors by making these presents actually useful to your gaming experience. Moreover, they also serve the purpose of introducing and getting you accustomed to the idea of having a vast amount of convenience items at your disposal from the beginning. That way, once you go past the new player experience and get into the meat of the game, the idea of having (buying) various shinies will not seem like an unusual one. This doesn’t mean that higher level players don’t get rewards though, quite the opposite.
Every player has the option to pray when the in-game constellation changes (part of the Zodiac System mentioned earlier). The first four prayers have a chance to give you additional experience and items. There is also a journal that neatly organizes your progression in each game zone and frequently awards achievement points that you can get through exploration and questing. In addition, being a member of a guild will net you a daily reward in the form of experience scrolls and several types of in-game currency.
This sort of encouragement goes beyond mere rewards and can be seen in the fabric of Forsaken World itself. Each significant layer of activity and content in the game has some sort of a meaningful system attached to it in order to encourage and lead players on. Examples of these systems are everywhere. Certain interval levels are accompanied by a pop-up box that aims to introduce players to additional content that has become available. It’s not just a simple Help menu though, as it teaches you about the quests available for your level range, what monsters to kill, what jobs you can learn, as well as where to farm money and equipment. It also allows you to set reminders and see what events are currently on. In addition to all of this, you get a hefty Encyclopedia that is reachable from the main menu once you acquire it. It acts as an in-game wiki of sorts and allows you to search through its contents using keywords.
Everything in the game is designed to make the process of chasing that carrot as unobtrusive as possible. Systems like a quest tracker that allows your character to travel to key locations on auto-pilot, as well as a detailed map of the surroundings, allow you to easily navigate around the world with a couple of clicks and make sure that the time spent in Forsaken World flows quickly and without you even noticing.
When it comes down to it, there are basically two types of MMO-players. Those who view their time spent in-game simply as a source of entertainment and a fun experience, and those who are drawn to the promise of a living world that they can influence and be a part of. Forsaken World is a prime example of the former, and a well-crafted one at that. By not being afraid to admit its themepark roots, the game manages to improve the old formula and have multiple hook points that will leave players coming back for more.
World of Warcraft is often compared to crack, a substance that gets you addicted almost immediately upon consumption and has severe withdrawal issues. Forsaken World, on the other hand, is more akin to refined heroin, something that gets you attached to it over a period of time, without you even noticing. Wait, this isn’t a blog about drugs? Son of a…