Cliche mobs

Syp at Biobreak makes a very good point. Why does every MMO have giant spiders? I was about to disagree, but…all of the games I play have had them.

FFXI has giant spiders, one type of model.

Mabinogi not only has them, they have multiple types color coded, and two different models of them. White spider, Red Spider, Black Spider, Red Giant Spider, Burgundy Sickle Laghodessa. Of course, silk in mabinogi is a pretty vital mat for crafting, making up to 4 kinds of cloth, but even then that’s a lot of spiders.

I don’t think I have seen any in Earth Eternal yet, but I play that infrequently.

When I commented, I remarked that processing power and dev time are a big factor.  A spider is two circles, eight legs, a texture map, and whatever you want to do for the eyes and pincers. Compare that with trying to design a halfway decent looking scorpion or other insect.

But his points are  really good, and made me think. Why are we so tolerant of cliche mobs? Maybe it’s like crates and barrels in FPS, we are so used to them we don’t really register much outrage that they are there, even if they never come with pallets. Or maybe it’s just easier to suspend disbelief with familiar enemies than unfamiliar. It takes less mental energy to justify a giant spider trying to eat you instead of a 3 armed, one-eyed ball with no mouth. Some things instantly signify danger, and maybe devs take advantage of that evolutionary shorthand.

Still, interesting stuff.

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One Response to Cliche mobs

  1. Tesh says:

    Speaking of the evolutionary stuff, I remember reading an article that noted that many game monsters have big teeth and spines, but several kill you at range with magic or weapons. Why the sharp stuff? Because we’re wired to fear the sharp stuff. Especially if it has more legs than we do. (It was just a thought, especially since many devs don’t appear to think about this sort of thing. It’s hardwired into what concept artists think is “cool”, perhaps.)

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