This week’s Extra Credits really got my “little grey cells” firing. I would like to share one of the thoughts going through my head here. But first, go ahead and give this a looksy!
That “JC Penny Effect” is fascinating. Though I could sort of see the unfortunate outcome. Despite the fact the CEO wanted to be honest with customers, you know the first question John Doe will ask is, “Where are all the sales?”
Even though the price won’t be any different, even though there was never a sale to begin with, people were going to ask, “What happened to the sales”? This is what happens when dishonesty is your policy for YEARS: it comes back to bite you hard, and everyone around you is hurt as well.
Good thought, right? Well, that wasn’t the one I meant to share. I wanted to talk about components versus gear as loot in our massively multiplayer games. And I wanted to talk about Warframe!
I took EC up on their survey for components vs. gear, and reasons for choosing one over the other. This is what I wrote:
Greetings, dear Extra Credits team! This is my first email to you.
I partook in the Firefall beta a few times but I never gave any thought to the components over gear system until your recent episode (for which I thank you). The beta never really grabbed my attention, unfortunately; probably because it felt like a super-traditional, super-grindy MMO at the end of day. I tossed around the idea of gear vs. components for a few minutes because I wasn’t sure how to answer, but I was able to choose “components” when I remembered two things: my days of old playing The Lord of the Rings Online and the fairly recent open beta of Warframe.
While I can imagine how exhilarating it would be to pick up a rare (or great new) item, I’ve personally found I’ve almost never experienced that (save perhaps in a few instances–like Torchlight II maybe?). In LotRO, practically EVERYTHING I found in drops or from rewards never interested me because I knew I could craft something infinitely better.
The second thing (which actually relates back to the first) is that despite my aversion to grinding, there is something in crafting I find rewarding: to put in time and investment into something you know is going to be fantastic. Warframe is the first game in a long time to simultaneously reawaken and scratch that itch. Pretty much everything you collect is for crafting a new weapon or combat suit (the warframes, go figure). So in my case, it *is* exciting to land that rare mineral or technology I’ve been searching for in the construction of my next chassis or weapon. And I think your idea of a progress bar for components needed to build X is great (please do that, game devs)! Although, I think would like it better if bosses (which is only where rare components drop 99% of the time) would do more dropping of of those rare resources and less dropping of common stuff in fewer quantities than the container I opened in the previous room (rage!). That wastes EVERYBODY’s time.
PS: I wonder if component rewards only make a better use of everyone’s time grinding as opposed to getting that epic sword you can’t use and completely wasting that time?
Now that was essentially the thought I wanted to share. Yeah, I probably should’ve stuck to bullet points since my decision and its bare bones reasons are possibly, possibly (maybe) what they’re interested in, but… I couldn’t help myself.
One thing I do realize now (and am kicking myself for) is that I did not specify in the email that Warframe is a game where the loot drops are all crafting materials or blueprints as opposed to actual gear. It’s an aspect of the game I’ve actually come to enjoy, despite some of its flaws (like the afore-mentioned bosses dropping common junk as opposed to rare junk, and forcing you to run the level AGAIN). There’s nothing special to it, you collect the stuff, get the blueprint, hit “build”, and wait. But as I said, I’ve found I enjoy building stuff in games, despite its tedious nature at times. There’s an odd fix that’s satisfied when you acquire the part you need to make that +3 Epic Level Boomstick of Awesome. Oh well. Considering what these guys do, they probably know about the game anyway.
I’m also very interested to hear other gamers’ opinions on the components versus gear thing, should the odd person comment of course.
So, Warframe. What is it? I’ve been railing on about its components for loot without really saying what the game is.
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