I didn't get to play or blog much over the weekend due to an offline vacation that included a trip to an actual real life theme park. How does the theme park MMO compare to the actual theme park?
Newbie Zone Needed
Our party had a hard time actually finding the entrance to a ride as we entered the park. Once we actually found the line for the first event, there was a relatively logical geographic progression - back into line to repeat the same ride, or on to the next ride (usually within sight). It took us a while to get to that first ride, though, and we ended up walking in a big circle around several water slides for no good reason. You might think that this was a ploy to make us walk past various microtransaction vendors in an effort to get us to buy stuff, but there wasn't even anything for sale on the dead end path we wandered down.
Nickle and Diming... er, $5 and $10'ing
The ticket to get into the park for the day cost $30. Parking cost $10. Fair enough, I suppose. Then you go to rent a locker and they want $15 for that. Really, that little locker is deserving of a fee half as high as the entire rest of the park? The other impressive fee was literally $100 to rent a "cabana" tent by the wave pool. I guess they're thinking that it never hurts to ask?
Resist Gear Checks
The lockers in question were somewhat necessary because about half of the encounters in the park required water resist gear, along with towels for drying off afterwards. (Our party opted to use consumable sun resist potions rather than tying up gear slots on suntan resistance.) Fortunately, these encounters were mostly clustered in the "wet side" of the park. We simply declared a bio AFK and hearthed out to change into our normal gear before returning to clear the dry side on a follow-up run.
Non-instanced Content Off-Peak
Because we ran the park on a Monday, we basically never waited more than a minute or two on respawns. The entire park was non-instanced/contested, and the park developers clearly put a lot of time and thought into preparing areas for players to wait while camping for their turn at each encounter during peak times. Obviously, this arrangement worked out well for us, but I feel bad for anyone waiting 30+ minutes in 90 degree heat during the coming holiday weekend.
No Progression, No Problem
Technically speaking, all of the content in the park was rated with a "thrill rating" of 1 to 5. In practical terms, this scale was not very informative, as even the Ferris Wheel somehow rated a 2, almost all of the roller coasters and water slides rated the maximum 5. There also was no apparent progression path, other than going after the next nearest encounter after surviving the current one, as none of the encounters were designed to require gear or experience from previous encounters in the park.
All tongue in cheek aside, this is one area where the Theme Park MMO could learn from the actual Theme Park. Want to repeat the same ride? No problem. Want to do each ride once and call it a day? No problem. Want to split your group or add more people? No problem. It would be nice to have that kind of flexibility in an MMORPG.