Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Quo vadis, finem ludum?

This post in the ED forum is one of many. I am sure this topic can be discussed to death. What are the "Longer Term Goals", i.e. the terrible vocabulary "endgame"? Feel free to participate there.

It is an important topic for sure. Ever since I started World of Warcraft, or any endless game principle before (e.g. Civilisation-type of games) for this purpose. If we look at the possibilities which the OP I linked above lists:
"What career paths do we have?
* Miner
* Trader
* Transporter
* Pirate
* Bounty Hunter
* Courier
* Military / Privateer
* Explorer


However, all these options boil down to two things. Build and/or destroy. Or even more overarching terms: Achievement. And why achievement? To shape a reality you enjoy and have a meaning in it.

It is this basic craving which Elite: Dangerous will have to measure up to in the end. It does not end by giving the kids a sandbox to play in, you have to give them somthing to play with in it. Sand, to start with, then maybe a shovel, a bucket, some stones, water for a moat, matchbox cars for roads, etc etc. Conflict will arise when one kid likes to destroy the sand castle of others; which boundaries must be set, which tools must Elite provide for us to emerge not only as a short term game, to be set aside after 1-6 monthes of playtime, but to become a long-term virtual world, as e.g. World of Warcraft and EVE online have become?

If you follow down the path of these questions, in a simple game emerging to a virtual reality, you will find that the game becomes more and more like life. I have seen not a few players actually quitting a game because of too many life like annoying issues (boredom and lack of challenge, lack of success, but also and increasingly social aspects like fights, failed love, being mobbed, etc). This is why I am convinced that computer games and virtual reality will play a huge role in humanity´s future. They will be part of our reality and they will shape our behaviour, culture and our reality.

Quite a take on the discussion, eh?

Many words to hide the fact that I have no idea how long Elite: Dangerous can keep me playing. I could imagine an X-like path with lots of stuff to build and control, like a personal little garden (model railway, motor bike, tuned car, pimped-up PC, etc.) to shape and maintain. I could imagine to find a kind of club (zee guild) with friends and take control or make home in some systems. Or it could be a kind of holiday island which I will only visit from time to time, to have a tranquil and never-changing trusted environment, to enjoy an idealized nature (a paradise of some kind), to revel in memories, like I do with EVE, Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, and a little collection of single player games, right next to my collection of old and favourite books.

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