I’ve picked up a weird yet interesting article today from MassivelyOP. Apparently there’s an hardcore old-school indie MMO out there called “Saga of Lucimia”, that focuses on group content and deep immersion. While that alone isn’t a shocker, one of their devs recently even spoke out against minimaps in a forum post.
[su_quote]So from day one we knew we weren’t going to include a minimap in our MMORPG. No glowing trails leading you from point A to point B. No flashing icons over NPC heads telling you who you need to talk to. You’ll have to immerse yourself in the world if you want to get around. You’ll have to actually pay attention to conversations and dialogue because there will be valuable clues and directions, landmarks and waypoint that you need to look for.[/su_quote]
No minimaps? Switch on your brain!
I personally think it’s interesting and valid. At several points during my time in Neverwinter, I was majorly annoyed that I wasn’t able to maneuver through maps without bringing up the minimap even though the area was live for months. You always think that at some point, you will have memorized a map. But in fact you don’t, at least not remotely as fast as you would expect. Until today, I still struggle to find my way back to the village in the huge Storm Kings Thunder maps. Am I dumb, or am I just used to getting everything handed out on a silver platter?
It’s certainly undeniable that bringing up your minimap is one of those cookie cutter ways of moving around. Not sure where you are? Press M! If you start thinking about it, it’s actually amazing how unnecessary this is. We are humans, our brains offer all the tools we need to get along. But a theme-park MMO, you don’t need any of it. Are we really that lazy nowadays?
Challenge, Skill and Immersion
Which brings us to a more global perspective. What do you want out of a game? If just logging in, casually playing a game and not having to think about it is your thing, then you probably won’t complain. But for those that want to get challenged, and expect skill to matter, it’s not a great setup. Also without challenges, things can get boring pretty fast. Immersion is important, it keeps players with the game. If you connect with a title and put in effort to figure out stuff, you tend to stay longer. Obviously just taking away the minimap won’t make or break immersion, but if can help, why not just do it?
Deactivating the minimap in a game like Neverwinter seems weird and an unnecessary decrease of convenience. On the other hand, you challenge your players on a very basic level each and every day, promote social interaction and urge them to come up with their own resources. What’s not to like?
What’s your opinion on immersion and everyday challenge using the example of minimaps? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 40,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.