After playing Everquest Online for the past two weeks, I have found that the most entertaining aspects of this particular MMORPG were the fighting and exploratory elements of the gameplay. The diverse range of techniques and powers that your character can utilize during combat makes it fun to experiment with a variety of attack combinations and to test the differences in tactical efficiency that each one produces on your enemies. This mechanic is also amplified by the vast array of armaments and gear that you can equip your character with as each item can vastly alter your own fighting style, giving you an even greater number of options to consider when engaging an enemy. Exploring the expansive surroundings of Everquest is also a very rewarding experience since each area holds a relatively diverse number of environments and terrains to investigate as you traverse the realm in search of quests. It’s always interesting to see how your character will fare when exposed to an unknown landscape and the varieties of imaginative monsters that inhabit them, giving your character a whole new world of challenges to overcome as well as the experience necessary to survive. I also found that both combat and exploration can be improved occasionally by playing in groups, allowing for a greater amount of complexity during battle and lower level players to explore higher level areas.
One of the biggest connections that I made between my own experiences in Everquest Online and the Harvard Business Review article was the fluidity of group dynamics within online gaming. Before joining our class guild I was under the impression that Dr. Delwiche would be our leader and that he would make the major decisions for where we would go as a class and what missions we would try to do together. Yet when we finally managed to convene together as a group it seemed as if group leadership fluctuated almost constantly, switching from student to student in a moment’s notice. It was apparent that the mission objective had become the overriding imperative which kept our guild working as a whole rather than any stringent organizational hierarchy. Once that objective was completed though, our group dispersed immediately and each character went a separate way to complete their own tasks. However, we all remained part of the guild together in order to help each other out as needed across the map. It is this ephemeral nature of the group within online gaming that ties so strongly to the emergent property of temporary leadership within business as addressed within the article. In online gaming conditions such as a battle the pace at which new information and opportunities develop within a group is incredibly accelerated so that it becomes increasingly detrimental for a traditional managerial approach to be taken by its members. Instead, everyone must be given control over their own participation within the group in order to take advantage of these rapid developments and complete the overall goal. However, with this increased freedom members are also less likely to remain bound to the group and go off on their own once the greater objective has been completed. As technology and globalization increases, the accelerated flow of information may eventually force businesses to adopt managerial policies similar to those currently seen throughout the online gaming world in which workers are given greater control over their own impute and less emphasis is put on maintaining stringent chain of command.
When I was part of our guild I made some use out of the game channel by asking for information and commenting on certain decisions that we were making. Outside of our guild, however, I joined up with one or two people ever so often to complete some quests. Our interactions were pretty informal; we would confirm what to do, where to go and thank each other for the help. One notable interaction however was when I met this one French man. He was around my level so I said hello to him and he responded in French. I don’t think he spoke any English but I decided to follow him around for a while and ended up helping him out with a quest he was on. He thanked me by blessing me with a magical spell at the end of it.
My experiences in Everquest have only increased my expectations for Final Fantasy XIV. While I enjoyed the combat mechanics in general, they are also a bit repetitive given my class as a fighter, i.e. hit thing with sword/spear/axe. If I understand correctly Final Fantasy XIV allows you to have some leeway in your fighting styles so this could be a cure for the repetitive gameplay that I’ve encountered so far. Also, the graphics and environment within Everquest could stand to be improved. It doesn’t feel like I’m in an actual living world, but an enormous play-pin filled with things to keep me distracted. From what I’ve seen of Final Fantasy XIV the graphics look stunning and the world appears to be much more real.