I saw this post over on Massively, about jump puzzles in MMOs. As I struggled to remember my login info, I thought to myself, hey I have a blog, why not post there? 😉
Anyway, a jump puzzle has to be done “well”, otherwise it isn’t any fun. I remember a jump-puzzle dungeon in Asheron’s Call, either the Jahannan (fire) or Amperehelion (lightning) Vault(s), and the jump puzzle was initially executed terribly. Also, the game had a Jump skill for your character, that you could spend points on and increase. This meant that some chars would over-jump and not be able to do anything about it – literally their minimum jump was too much for some of the jump elements.
The entire experience was very frustrating. Imagine spending at least 15 minutes, sometimes 30 or 45 (due to battles along the way) minutes or more fighting your way into a dungeon, climbing ramps, making a few successful jumps, being elevated high above the floor, partway through the jump section… and then mis-aligning a jump or over-jumping, and falling to your death in the lava (? I remember boiling away so perhaps the dungeon was the Jahannan Vault). Or being a victim of lag when you were maneuvering slightly… As an early MMO, Asheron’s Call also featured item loss on death, so after failing you then had to decide if spending the time to get back to your body to loot your stuff was worth it. After running back from the nearest lifestone you rezzed at, or perhaps summoning yourself if you tied to the portal.
Frustration: off the charts.
The devs caved and changed the geometry of the various tunnels and planks, added stoppers and other elements that would catch you from over-jumping (as I recall you still had to align yourself fairly accurately). This was widely received with joy.
Anyway, in a modern MMO, that doesn’t punish you on char death with item loss… well no this mechanic would still be very frustrating. It all depends on how difficult the jump puzzle is. I suppose I wouldn’t mind if it was on the easy side, and screwing up didn’t cost you too much time to redo. I have yet to encounter a jump puzzle in the current crop of MMOs; perhaps they aren’t as bad as the one I remember from a decade ago!