Metagame Monday: Which Lets Players Express Themselves More?

For this edition of Metagame Monday, the question is: Which lets players express themselves more, Heavy Rain or World of Warcraft?


World of WarCraft

This game has so much to see and do, including a bevy of mostly cosmetic and aesthetic driven actions such as in-game fishing! I have not played the game in a lot of years, but I also remember being able to activate a series of pre-rendered actions such as friendly waves, salutes and bows to other avatars (or no one in particular) as well as a fairly active in-game chat based on your party, clan and/or local region.

The phrasing “Which lets players express themselves more” is tricky, as it can be interpreted as distinguishing between intended game design and player controlled possibilities (which are often not the same). I choose to interpret the question as leaning towards the latter: in that case, the possibilities for social and interpersonal expression through player initiated gatherings and translation of non-gameplay related relationships through World of WarCraft make it the clear answer to this week’s question.


Heavy Rain

Based on my brief time with the game, this psychological thriller from David Cage and the team at Quantic Dream is more of an interactive simulator than a video game. I make that statement as an observation rather than a criticism, as it is a carefully controlled narrative experience that allows a degree of freedom in the specific order of interactions with each environment, but still seems to funnel each player between fixed narrative sequences. I believe there are various branching paths that can eventually lead to very different endings, and the multiple outcomes provide some flexibility towards a player’s ability to express themselves: as a tightly designed story experience, Heavy Rain can provide a high fidelity narrative experience that relies on what the player wants to express at various critical decision points.

I have to give this one to World of WarCraft: even if it weren’t for how the player base has evolved and built upon the game’s interactive world to create their own unintended relationships and methods of expression between each other, the sheer volume and possible permutations of actions, animations (especially the 3D avatar versions of emojis) and breadth of the world of Azeroth supersede the relatively fixed and straightforward world of Heavy Rain.
That’s it for this week, which game do you believe lets players express themselves more?

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