Emotes in MMORPGs have always been a great means to facilitate social interaction. You can hail your friends when you meet them, laugh at their jokes or show displeasure at those indulging in tomfoolery and shenanigans. They can also be used in events, such as dance competitions or as specific actions to be undertaken in quests. Then of course there is the inherent need of some gamers to collect all possible emotes available in a game and the business opportunities that this offers to developers. Thus, emotes are an integral part of MMOs and source of amusement and pleasure for many players.
Over the years I have always played many MMOs and one of the first things I’ve always done when in-game is check out what emotes are available. I am especially fond of those found in LOTRO, which are very rich and varied. For starters there are race specific dances which do reflect the appropriate idiom of Elves, Dwarves and Men. However, it is the Hobbit specific emotes that seem to have had the greatest amount of love lavished upon them by the developers. Then there are a wealth of social interactions and humourous embellishments, such as Wippitydo, Surrender and Toast. The Toast emote is gained from an anniversary quest, so is somewhat rare with only a limited yearly window to obtain it.
However, Star Trek Online have a diverse collection of emotes which can give other MMOs a run for their money. Naturally there are many that replicate signature salutes and greetings that can be found directly in the various TV shows. Obviously, anything Klingon is very bombastic. However, it is with the dance emotes that the game really excels, and they feature heavily in the summer festival dance competition on Risa. But for me the jewel in the crown is an emote that Cryptic have just recently given away during the Hearts and Minds mission for Halloween. Namely the iconic Michael Jackson Zombie Dance, from the Thriller music video. There was a dozen or so player performing this emote on Drozana station tonight. I have no idea how they managed to synchronise everyone, but it really looked good. I laughed like a drain.
Naturally there are some players who don’t care that much for in-game emotes and think that they’re simply a cosmetic bauble. Each to their own I guess. Plus, there is scope for some players to be a nuisance with communal emotes, although games like LOTRO do have a facility to turn them off. Ultimately, I find that it is the little things within the MMO genre such as emotes, that are increasingly providing my main source of interest in such games. Furthermore, if games must have a cash store then selling emotes is less bothersome than peddling more tangible items that boost performance. In the meantime, I’m off to laugh myself stupid watch Junkrat do his Vaudeville emote in Overwatch.