Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pack Yak

Your party's inventory space is limited. The barbarian is already knee deep in priceless artifacts and the rogue has run out of room in their bags of holdings. You found plenty of bags, but the only animals around are bulls and yaks, and those can't be used as pack animals. Why? Because the programmers didn't think it would be useful.

In real life, anything from a dog to an elephant, and then some, has been used to carry stuff around, and that works great. Cheap to feed, quadrupedal animals have always made an easy living by carrying humans' stuff on their strong backs. Not so much in video games, which have yet to acknowledge the carrying capacity of anything beyond mules and llamas.

And that is common practice in video games, to give each object a single purpose, ignoring all others. Hammers are for hitting things, not building them (Or the other way around; but never both). A vegetable is to be used in recipes, never to be eaten. And don't you dare suggest that axes can cut trees. Trees are for decorating, and sometimes burning down for your enjoyment. You can get wood at the general store over there.

Objects are for much more than just their primary scripted purpose, but it seems people think it too hard to do more than one thing at once. I certainly hope that trend disappears sometime soon, otherwise those points spent in animal taming and leather working would have been for nothing. No pack yak for me!


Tholal said...

Ultima Online had some of this. You could use that two-handed axe to chop down trees and to chop orcs as well. Fight your enemies with a skinning knife or blacksmiths hammer if thats what floats your boat!

They also had a number of pack animals, from horses, to llamas to beetles, though not every animal functioned as a backpack.

But I definitely agree that some common sense versatility in the online worlds would be nice to see.

Hexedian said...

UO had pack animals, yes, but a pack horse was not a riding horse; and cutting a tree with a sword is a bad idea, if you like your sword in shape.

But yeah, I do admire UO to this day. Truly an example, and what MMOs today might look like if EQ hadn't been around.