If Real Life Was An MMO...

Ever heard of "Outside," a free-to-play MMORPG developed by Deity Games? No? Huh, that's weird. It's the most popular game out there, with over 7 billion active players! Hey, wait a minute...

If that sounded familiar, it's because I'm actually describing real life, not a game. All of this comes from a Subreddit called "Outside," a place where people try their best to be witty by using MMO ideas and terms to describe everyday things. Sometimes, the approach can be revealing—either about MMOs, or about real life itself.

The rules are as follows (these are taken from the subreddit):

  • Remember, it's not a bug, it's a feature. It's a lot more fun to explain something if it isn't written off as a bug.
  • There are no NPCs. Aside from animals, everybody is a "player".
  • The devs are lazy and rarely do much. The game is mostly balanced as it is according to them, therefore they don't do much aside from "natural" world events.
  • The game is mostly run by the players. All in-game items and rules are determined by players, not mods or devs.
  • The players are responsible for in-game events. The devs are responsible for "natural" events. So stop begging the devs to add in a new type of car. It's player-made.
  • There are no "in-game moderators"; there are players with more power than the average player. Police officers, lawyers, politicians and the like are other players. They aren't technically moderators.

With that as a framework, we get threads like "'Is this game really "free-to-play"'?

It seems like for your character to survive more than a week, you need to pay buy health items, or your character will die. So if we have to keep paying to survive, is it really free-to-play?

And the top response on that:

APPLEBLOOMthrowaway : Wtf are you talking about? Those items are bought with ingame currency. (Which, for your first 18 or so levels is provided by your two referrer players.)

steve_the_jerk: This is true. While most players without the [trust fund] perk have to grind constantly, it's still only in game currency.

piyochama: Even those with [trust fund] buffs only start out with more in-game gold.

Another one: "Why does it seem i only level up on the anniversary of when i started playing?" (A self-post, which has the following top response):

DMTrace: In this game leveling is more of a way to track the passage of play time. Since the game is so immersive you sometimes forget how long you've been playing for. Leveling up skills is often much less pronounced than in other games. It happens but most of the time it's not celebrated which I think adds into the openness of the game. Everyone won't necessarily know you've leveled skills but it's important to do it for yourself.

EDIT: adding this from Gunneh's comment - From "Has anyone here ever seriously considered deleting their character?"

I sometimes have. It comes down to the small things that bother me in this game, the community, the pay-to-win features, the frustratingly hard learning curve once you hit level 18, and so on. But the thing that bothers me the most is that, just like most massive multiplayers out there, there doesn't seem to be a point other than leveling up to the highest you can. I find it hard to keep upping character skills and acquiring GP only to have that nagging reminder in the back of my head of how the levels and GP don't actually do anything other than letting you acquire more levels and GP.

I still havent deleted my profile, of course, since otherwise I would be unable to use the in-game chat like I am now, but sometimes I wonder if that is not due to just being addicted to the game, instead of enjoying it like I did back when I was a newbie and every feature seemed new and original.

There are a lot of posts that riff on the idea, but here's a favorite from earlier last month, "Broken gender change feature and horrible community reaction":

So I rolled a Male character on the European server. It was fine for the first two dozen levels or so, but then I realized I made a mistake and wanted to change to Female. Much to my dismay, the option to change it was nowhere in sight on my character menu, and there's no gender change item in the cash shop item either. I tried just wearing Female clothing but there are clipping issues with Male bodies.

When I asked in general chat, I found out that gender change was never fully implemented and the only way to access it was by glitching my character with the help of a [Doctor] player. I teamed up with one who knew about this glitch, and he gave me these weird crafted consumables that were supposed to slowly change my player model and texture. I started taking them while continuing to grind levels and now my character is Female but you can kinda tell that it's glitched, overall I like the results anyway.

Now here's the part that makes you realize just how shitty this game's community can be. As soon as players around me noticed I changed my gender, I got kicked out of my guild, almost no one teams with me anymore, no one roleplays with me etc, basically a ton of players are calling me a sploiter and giving me grief over it. I'm getting a lot of PvP duel requests too. This is absolutely ridiculous.

I've read the TOS and there seem to be no specific rules against what I did and it's mostly a cosmetic feature anyway. I know of players who, for instance, can sploit gold like crazy, and no one seems to care as much about that, what's the big deal here? All I can say is, this can be pretty frustrating at times, and I just really hope the devs eventually either fix character creation or implement a proper gender change feature. As for the sad state of the community regarding this, there's not much to say, a lot of them just put you on their ignore list if you try talking to them :/

It's all rather clever, making it a Subreddit worth visiting.