Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ContentVille

Is it just me or do these big time MMO companies need to start hiring people from Zynga? The social gaming juggernaut has over a dozen games, and none that I've ever tried out have ever lacked for content. Addicting is the best word to describe them, with all that word can mean. Now, before you get all nerd-ragey on me for talking about the "lower class" of the great gaming nation, hear me out.

I wouldn't call myself an avid social gamer. Currently, I'm dabbling in CastleVille. I've dipped into a couple other games, but I'm much more at home in an RPG or FPS. Still, I would be hard pressed to describe my experience with Zynga games as anything but "fun." Maybe a bit obsessive at times, but fun.

I play them "free." That is to say, I don't dump a lot of money into the games. I don't go in with high expectations of grand adventure, but look for something to kill a handful of minutes here and there. Typically, the handful stretches into a half hour or more.

What amazes me, though, is how smooth my gaming experience with Zynga has been. Granted, many of the games are run through Facebook, so I guess they deserve some props as well. But, coming from an MMO environment, I can't help but be a little impressed by the lack of bugs, downtime, and interruptions.

Granted, the gaming engines are probably much simpler. Also, since I'm not heavily invested into these games, maybe I'm more willing to overlook design flaws. So maybe I'm just doing the old rose-colored glasses thing here. Any social gamers lurking around here? You tell me, objectively speaking, has your social gaming experience been smooth?

Most importantly (to me), it seems like they always have new content. Doesn't matter which game I'm dabbling in. Like I said, CasteVille is my current guilty pleasure, and I swear they have a new quest every week. I can't complete the content as fast as they produce it, and I've never had that feeling in a game.

Again, these games aren't super complicated. They share a ton of back end, I'm sure. It's nowhere near the technical achievement of, say, WoW. After all, you're not usually syncing up exactly with other users, and that's okay. You can have a minute of lag and it's not a big deal.

But the content, holy cow the content. And thematically the quests are clever and funny in their own right. It's not just slinging crap against the wall and seeing what sticks. In short, it seems like they're designed by people that enjoy what they do. I can't always say the same about the big time MMOs.

I'm sure this is a completely unfair comparison. Apples to Snapples, if you will. Still, it was a thought I had as I was looking at my CastleVille quest log. I'll exhaust the novelty of the gameplay long before I run out of quests. When was the last time that happened to me in an MMO? Ever?

I can't say that I rightly know.

2 comments:

  1. One of my favorite things about WoW starts today. Holiday events and the Midsummer Fire Festival. The short version is that I like the holiday events because they make for a break in the action (which can get very dull in a pre-xpac summertime lull). They also allow for my alts to acquire large amounts of frivolous junk.

    That said, why doesn't WoW do this even more? I hoping that the scenarios will do this to an extent. During certain times of the year a group of scenarios will be available. They could also gin up some random ones. There seems to me to be a potential for a large amount of content here.

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  2. Yeah. How hard would it be to do like a "weekly quest?" Something that is fun, simple, can be completed in a couple hours. Just a tidbit of story, doesn't have to be in depth or involve major characters. Just entertaining. Something to round out the world. It wouldn't have to take a whole lot of resources, and wouldn't have to reward anything game changing. Some of us just like stories, and that's where I really feel like Blizz has started skimping.

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