Friday, August 22, 2008

Gaijin Smash

One of the non-WoW related blogs I read is called Gaijin Smash, the story of a big black American man living abroad in Japan. I got a big chuckle out of something he wrote yesterday:

“[There] should be a store dedicated to saving male shoppers. It would be an ordinary trendy department store or whatever - but right in the middle of it there'd be a sports bar. There'd be HDTV's that played sports and had Playstations hooked up to them, along with pool tables, darts, etc. Guys could get those little black disks that they hand out at restaurants; when his girlfriend/wife/whatever female who dragged him finally made it to checkout, the black disk could light up and vibrate letting the guy know it was time to go. The guy could get one free beer for every hour his partner was in the store but hadn't yet bought anything. Give me a department store like that...and I would happily go shopping. Every fuckin' week.”

Mostly I wanted to share that because, well – that’s a damn cool idea and in the extreme off-chance that some marketing guy from Nordstrom is reading my blog – well, there you go. Do that. Please.

In a way, it reminds me a bit of the Bartle Test that defines four categories of players (click for test). Not the categories themselves, but Bartle’s idea that successful MMOs will design themselves for all four types – just like Gaijin Smash is suggesting that department stores be designed for both men and women.

However in MMOs, the designed for everyone approach has an obvious flaw: What if you have a severe aversion to a gameplay element that appeals to another player?

We certainly see this reaction in open world PvP. While this is a highly appealing element to Killers, it is extremely frustrating to non-Killers. Likewise, an Achiever might relish long grinds because it heightens their own sense of accomplishment. Other players may not really care about the achievement itself, they just want the gratification of what it provides them (and thus, RMT is born).

The equivalent in the Gaijin Smash’s department store example would be to force the wife/girlfriend/whatever to spend an hour in the sports bar in order to be allowed to go shopping. Or alternately, the husband/boyfriend needs to put in an hour of shopping before being allowed to go into the sports bar. Collectively the husband or wife might agree to the condition simply for the reward, but it’s not really an ideal solution to make people do things they don’t want to do when you are trying to provide a fun experience.

That’s part of what I find interesting about Warhammer’s approach to leveling. By providing several options to level (you can RvR or quest), they are catering to different player types without forcing them to do things. That’s smart.

FYI - According to Bartle I'm a Killer, with mild Achiever tendencies...

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