Yes! It’s yet another solo players and MMOs post! I’m gonna talk about something a little different this morning though.
So I’m playing Red Dead Redemption lately. Liking it a lot, but there are a few systems that are a bit wonky. Horses, for instance. Horses have various speeds as well as a loyalty stat. As you bond with a horse it becomes more loyal and gains stamina. That’s all well and good but… it’s really hard to tell horses apart. There’s no way to examine a horse to see if he’s yours, or how fast (or loyal) he is, and if your horse gets killed the next time you load (or save) a game you’ll magically have a horse again. The same horse? No, I don’t think so. But what horse is this? There’s no way to tell.
I’d love to see Rockstar re-write the ‘horse system’ to make it a bit more robust. Letting us name our horse would be a start, and letting us examine one to estimate how fast it is would be great too. Heck they could even make that some kind of skill you can learn. How many times has someone in a Western said of another character “That man knows his horses”?
If Red Dead Redemption were an MMO, I’d suggest these changes in the game’s forums or even via in-game tools, and I think a lot of other players would too. We’d have a reasonable chance of having the horse system get a revamp at some point over the years that the game’s “Live Team” worked on it.
It’s remotely possible that Rockstar will re-do the horse system in DLC for RDR, but such a sweeping change isn’t really likely. With the game having a shelf-life of a year or so, it just wouldn’t be worth them devoting the resources to a new horse system (and while I’m using horses as an example, there’re other systems that could really shine with an overhaul).
And that’s another reason I play MMOs even though I’m very much a soloer. MMOs evolve over time, generally improving (though for every change, there’s someone that sees it as a bad thing) or expanding. There’s always new content coming. And at least hope for improvements that you’d like to see.
As someone who has been playing MMOs for years and years, playing RDR is riddled with little pockets of disappointment as I go through a cycle of thinking to myself: “Oh, this feature is a little weak…maybe they’ll improve it in a patch.” followed by, for the umpteenth time, the recollection that I’m not playing an MMO and there’s not a great likelihood of big changes coming to the game. What I’m playing is what I’ll always be playing, and that makes me a little sad.
[Please don't infer from this post that RDR is a bad game...I like it a LOT. If you're considering it, I encourage you to give it a try. No game is perfect and I, as a player and armchair developer, am always thinking of ways every game I play can be improved.]