What is fun?

| Monday, July 20, 2009
This is a hard question to answer, possibly impossible to answer accurately. The problem is that it is incomplete. Let's finish it:

What is fun for you?
Mindless grinds may be your thing. Or you hate them. Maybe you dislike them little enough that you will do them, for achievements, those are what are fun for you.
Challenges perhaps? I'd guess most people like challenges, but usually not so much to create them for themselves. That leads to the next fun.
Gear might be your motivator and excitement. That next drop is what keeps you in the raid.
Ganking? Duels? Arenas? BGs? Mass PvP? Vehicle fights? These may all be your fun.
Questing? Perhaps you like the stories. Maybe you like leveling through quests to build up character lore. Role-playing may be your thing.

I am almost certain that winning and success are part of your fun. But those depend on the goal. Someone may 'waste' an hour camping you, but he is having his fun for he is winning not only at killing you, but he also believes he is frustrating you and that is his goal. On the other hand, you might really enjoy playing cat and mouse, not being frustrated, but instead challenged to see how long you can delay his victories and every second is a point for you. With this you can both win, at least in your minds. But what's wrong with only in your minds? Most of the world is in there anyway, it seems like the logical place to put victory.

It is in our minds that these rectangles in front of us glow not just with images, but with worlds. It is in our minds that we decide what is and is not fun. No outside force can dictate that to us, instead it can only offer possibilities and we may refuse or accept any we wish. This is why WoW is so successful, it allows so many types of fun. Do we wish it had more raids or quests or PvP? Probably. In a way WoW is 75% of a dozen games rather than any one complete game. That means you might rarely find yourself at 100% fun, but for any mood you're likely to find at least 75% and that's far better than you'll find trying to RP in Halo.

4 comments:

Fish said...

I've been thinking about this a lot. I've come to the conclusion raiding isn't it. My enjoyment of the game is in questing/leveling and being as self sufficient as possible.

Ideally, I'd be playing Alliance PvE, but I also enjoy interacting with friends, which I can only do on a horde PvP server, so I make do.

jeffo said...

This is exactly why I cringe whenever I see Ghostcrawler (not bashing the man) saying on the forums that something isn't 'fun' -- is that based on his sense of fun, reports that he picks up from the O-boards (if you listen to the O-boards, NOTHING is fun), other developers? I happen to enjoy how my Holy Paladin plays -- it's 'fun' to me, but apparently I am in the minority, since some of the changes coming down the pike are based on what is 'fun'.

Rebel said...

WoW is a world filled with subjective experiences. The "fun" factor being one of the most subjective elements of the game is what, in my opion, makes it so great.

I have fun doing whatever I'm in the mood for on any given day. I like jumping off really high places, for me that's fun. I like challenging myself, like seeing how many bad guys my Enhancement Shaman can take down without dying.

It's my opinion that those who complain that x,y or z isn't fun, have set unreasonable expectations for themselves or for me. Let them complain, I'll have fun doing whatever I'm in the mood for.

Klepsacovic said...

@Fish: You raise something important: The trade-offs of fun. Is the playstyle more fun than the friends? That's not a fun choice to have to make, but I imagine a lot of people end up picking between playing with friends and playing what they want to play. I most often see it in the context of "I like to play with my four friends, why is 5-man content not a major end-game?" and then someone calls them noobs for not raiding.

@jeffo: The inevitable issue of "what that class has is more fun." Do you make it easier to reroll or do you make X class more like Y class? Personally I hate the way holy heals, but I'm not much of a healer type anyway, so does my opinion matter much? I'd say it doesn't, but maybe someone would argue that it does since I'm evidence that holy isn't fun.

@Rebel: Arenas aren't much fun for me so I don't do them. Raids aren't really the most fun for me either, but I did them (I've not played much at all the last few weeks) because of the previous playing with friends factor and because I think most people like some sense of progression and outside of raids there's not a whole lot. Or is there and we just lack the imagination to see it or create it for ourselves?

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