It’s very slow for us game-wise right now since we are moving to a new apartment and enjoying some time in nature, away from laptops and unhealthy gaming habits. So here is a thought I wanted to write about earlier.
I’m still somewhat amazed by the number of people dual-boxing in Shards of Dalaya. But I can see where that comes from:
- All MMORPGs used to be subscription-based, and EQ for example forced people to find groups.
- When people couldn’t play their mains because they couldn’t get a group, they created alts. Can’t let that subscription go unused, can you?
- When the alts couldn’t find groups either, the downward spiral turned, people bit the bullet and subscribed a second time, to dual box with their main or alts.
I think most of this dual boxing is just born out of a combination of “I want to play now, why am I paying a subscription if I can’t play?” and “grah, there’s no one to play with”. So people created their own people to play with.
With Shards of Dalaya, unless you’re a donating member, there’s no subscription fee, so there are even less barriers to doing things. But in the end it revolves around wanting to play the game so bad that you end up boxing seven characters instead of concentrating on a main and a few alts on a single account.
What could be done to the game design to change this? Should it even be changed? EQ apparently now allows hired NPC party members, a feature they’ve lifted from Guild Wars where henchmen and heroes can be added to fill up empty party slots, so that you can run most missions alone. Some content still needs a bunch of intelligent humans to control everyone, but in general, the NPCs do well. Could this help SoD as well, so that you can cheerfully play your alts on a single account until a group comes up for your main?
What if characters from another account you own could be used as pets on your main account? I think pet/NPC AI should be good enough to cover the basic healing/attacking etc., and maybe new henchman /cmds could be added to e.g. use a shaman for buffing.
People you meet in SoD sometimes feel like empty shells, because they are busy dual boxing and don’t have time to talk much. I think some automation could help make it more social. The option with switching your other char into a pet would also leave the decision to you: You could dual box when you’re all alone but switch into pet mode when adventuring with others.
Just some rambling ideas 🙂