Persistence. I’m going to call it a feature. Three really excellent titles feature persistence this year:
- The World Ends With You, by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS
- City of Heroes, by NCSoft, for the PC (and MAC!)
- Fable 2, by Lionhead studios for the xbox 360
The World Ends With You had a great system of character growth. Your skills are attached to wearable pins. The more you use them, the more they level up. What was also interesting was the fact that they would earn experience when you weren’t playing, but only to a certain level cap.
In addition to being a great game, it was always a major draw to come back to it after a couple of days to check on the pins and swap them out so that other attacks could become more powerful. Even when I wasn’t playing, my characters were getting stronger. It felt like the game was going on, even when it was switched off.
In MMOs the world goes on without you regardless of whether or not you’re in it. But nothing directly happens to your character. There’s no growth–at least in most cases. (World of WarCraft toys with this idea, but it’s merely a case of accruing a period of time where you earn double “rested” XP. This is done, presumably so you can log back in and level up twice as quickly to make up for the time you’ve spent falling behind your friends who raid full time, in addition to their 40 hour a week day job.) Continue reading