What MMO designers can learn from Goat MMO Simulator
Not a Goat Simulator MMO
Goat MMO Simulator is a free Goat Simulator expansion (opens in new tab) which simulates a Goat Simulator MMO. It isn't a real MMO. I figured that out after I started playing it—I didn't read anything about it, OK? It was just wishful thinking, and that's the joke of it.
"We've had countless requests to just 'patch in multiplayer, come on man, it can't be that hard, don’t be lazy!' by players that don't understand that it would take years and we would have to rebuild the entire game from scratch," designer Armin Ibrisagic told The Verge (opens in new tab). "With the trailer, we wanted to make fun of the simplified view that people have of game development."
It's true. From what I've heard from game devs and learned while being involved (from the sidelines) in web development, any sentence that begins with "can't you just" is silly. You can't just do anything. Development is hard, and a Goat Simulator MMO is an unreasonable expectation. But at least we have Goat MMO Simulator.
Despite the free expansions—which I think are really cool of Coffee Stain Studios—I still can't get more than 10 minutes of fun out of Goat Simulator. That said, I didn't get all that much out of The Elder Scrolls Online, either. Goat MMO Simulator simulates the things I hate about many MMOs: static worlds where the same mobs spawn again and again in the same place; the way players latch onto systems instead of roleplaying; NPCs rattling off quests they're destined to repeat until the last server shutters. I'm tired of having little to no effect on my surroundings. I'm tired of MMOs working so hard to be fair. There's nothing interesting about fairness.
But Goat MMO Simulator isn't just a parody of stuff I don't like. It presents some ideas that I think real MMO designers could learn from. So, in the spirit of Ibrisagic's statement, I've come up with a few little tips for MMO designers based on my brief adventure. My ideas are great, so expect every MMO to include them from now on, unless the developers are just lazy.
Hit the next slide at the top to continue...
I am a microwave
One of the classes in Goat MMO Simulator is a walking microwave, and that is the one I chose, because I'm not stupid. Microwaves are better than goats. MMO designers, please, please keep this in mind. No one wants to be a goat when there's a microwave, just like no one wants to be a dumb tree elf when there's anything else. Elves suck, especially when they live in trees, and that's just common knowledge.
I found a broom
When I touched this broom, a witch laughed and I shot into the air. It surprised me! MMO designers, surprise me more. For instance, after two years, swap everyone in my friends list with NPCs and convince me that there never were any other players. I only thought I loved Jessica.
Hanging out on the beach
After the broom launched me into the ocean, I swam back to shore and lay on the beach vomiting pizzas. All MMOs should have a pizza vomit button.
I ruined everybody's day
Me: I'm a microwave.
Shopkeep: Would you like to see my wares?
Me: I'm going to knock over all your stuff now.
Shopkeep: That's just good MMO design!
I was run over by a horse
This is something most MMOs get wrong. In lots of MMOs, horses are "mounts" that players can ride around. I don't know where the idea that you can ride horses came from, but it has to stop. Horses will murder you.
I killed a giant pet ant
I killed this giant pet ant by running into it several times while flipping my microwave door open. I don't think there's a lesson for MMO designers to learn from this. Giant ants are never OK.
I found where the stupid tree elves live
Elves are so dumb. Look at this one, moving like an inchworm. MMOs, no more elves please.
I killed all the elves
If you must put elves in your MMO, you must also let me knock them out of their stupid tree houses. This is vital, and I will create a petition if it's skipped over.
Time to go
I got bored and found a boat. It reminded me of playing EverQuest, which made me feel nostalgic, and also made me realize that every MMO should remind me of EverQuest so I can feel nostalgic. Therefore, every MMO should have boats (even the ones in space, Eve Online), but hopefully better boats than this boat. Goodbye, Goat MMO Simulator.