Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Design Standards 2: A Tale of Missing Pants

Relating to my previous post about developing design standards, is the following amusing story. I spent a lot of time playing WoW in the past and, more recently, LoTRO. So when I fired up my Oblivion game for giggles, I had to get used to the interface again. Hitting the spacebar next to a horse, will not make me jump over the horse (like WoW or LoTRO), I would steal the horse. Jump is the “r” key; the spacebar is the “use item” key. Also Oblivion’s inventory is one giant list. You are not restricted by “bag space” per se but the weight of the items you are carrying. Equipped items are in the same space as non-equipped items but they are highlighted in gray and all items appear as available items to sell when you’re talking to a merchant.

Well, my bags were loaded up after one adventure to some eleven ruins, so I headed to town and sold stuff. When I ventured out again, I noticed I was taking a lot more damage than usual. As it turns out, I had accidentally sold the pants I was wearing. There I was, a dark elf assassin in a neat-looking helm, gnarly chest protector, fancy gloves and boots carrying a large shield and sword … with my gangly green legs sticking out of the bottom of my chest piece. And the funny thing is, as realistic-acting as the NPCs are, none of them so much as batted and eye at me as I walked on my way out of town without my pants. Then again, they may have recognized me as the hero who closed an Oblivion gate and decided I could be allowed some eccentricities.

So developing design standards for MMOs are probably a good thing if for no other reason than that you won’t accidentally sell your pants. Which reminds me: I still have to return that horse I stole.

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