Saturday, 4 April 2015

MMO Design: Idle Hands

[Part of my MMO Design folder.]

I read this article on MMOFallOut where Bungie is going to start punishing people habitually "idle" in group content in Destiny. I've never played that game but I do wish more companies were looking into the same thing because idlers are damn annoying. Neverwinter Online's Tiamat battle (happens once per hour) is an instance that comes to mind. In it, 25 people have to beat all of Tiamat's heads (simultaneously or they regenerate) before time runs out. Each person that idles there lowers the DPS of the whole group, and can easily lead to the entire instance failing.

Ironically the worse a session is perceived to be going, the more idlers there are as they basically "give up" and don't wish to use any more resources to help the team, but stick around just in case the team still wins so that they get a better reward. I would LOVE to see a system that picks up if a player is idling and to punish said player for doing so. Sure, just with warnings and wrist slaps at the start but ultimately with account deletion at the end.

Why would people idle in instances that require immediate group participation?

I can only think of three general reasons.

A) They are leeches.
B) They fail to properly plan their gaming time.
C) Real life emergency.

If "C" happens more than once / twice in a day then it really classifies as "B" (see above). Seriously, why would you still be playing / still be at your computer if you know something is up?

Punish idlers? I say Yes! What do you think?

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