Oblivion, a fitting title
I've had this entry rattling around in my head for a bit and after seeing Phil blog about it, its time to get it out.
For my birthday my wife, with a bit of reluctance perhaps, gave me the gift of Oblivion. Now I was really looking forward to the game, I've always been a fan of fantasy games and it was right around the time when Duncan began playing the game and was raving about how great it is. After popping it in the Xbox and playing for a bit, I could see why it had won such great acclamations. Beautiful scenery, very smooth combat and character control and an interesting skills and questing engine.
After the first hour or so of play, I noticed something though, I was quickly losing interest and not concerned for the progression of my character. All of the pieces were there, but something was missing. There was noone else there. It was just me and my character. Who cared if the face generation tool in attempt to be realistic, seemed to make only really odd looking faces, no human would ever see it besides me. Who cared if I got a new piece of armor that looked cool, no human would ever see it, unless they sat in my living room and watched me play (because we all know how fun that is).
I've always been more of a PC gamer than a console gamer and although the reason my have originally been for the keyboard/mouse combo, mods, and ability to customize your rig, it is now very obvious that the missing ingredient is the online play. The ability to socialize and experience the adventures provided with others real-time. Games like Second Life and World of Warcraft do not match Oblivion in graphics or combat modes, but they do hold my attention much, much longer.
I was amazed at how important this one aspect was to me, but not too surprised. I don't think I've ever enjoyed any RPG video game as much as carefree pencil, paper and dice role-playing from the high school years. If something like playing a video game is going to take up my leisure time I could at least be playing with others virtually.
For an interesting take on the maturing of a tech society that touches about on my rant check out the article from Seed Magazine (great new science mag by the way) entitled: Why we haven't met any Aliens