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MMORPGs are bad game design

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Posts

  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The thing about that Welcome to the Machine quest is it's not just a throwaway joke, it sets up characters you meet again in the zone and both funny and dramatic shit happens to them. It's a pretty interesting storyline all told. A lot of that type of story-driven stuff was added with Cataclysm's complete and total revamp of most content below level 60.

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    It's also the origin of the new ubiquitous use of the term "bear ass" for any random item you need to collect for whatever reason:
    That's all? One quest? Surely you jest. Are there not bear asses to collect? Perhaps a rare flower that I could pick from which you will make some mildly hallucinogenic tonic which you will then drink, resulting in visions of a great apocalypse? Perhaps the local populace of mildly annoying, ill-tempered gophers are acting up and need to be brought to justice? No? Nothing?

    I'm pretty sure that's just a reference to an already existing term. Twenty Bear Asses has been on tvtropes for a while.

    The article uses that quote...

    JKKaAGp.png
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    He's saying that it's not the Trope Namer, although I don't see any indication anywhere of the "real" trope namer. Knowing WoW, they probably borrowed the name from a meme somewhere. Of course, disputes about the origin of a Trope are a trope unto itself.

    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    WAR implemented that iirc

    Wait... it might have been an addon. I forget :P

    But anyways yeah there was a way to track who you had killed, who had killed you and how many times it'd happened. I never really paid attention to it but some of the dudes in my guild were almost obsessive about it. It did create some hilarious times where someone would see a nemesis of theirs and the entire warband would shift focus to hunting that one poor soul down for awhile. You'd have this one poor guy running across entire zones with 24 rabid people chasing after him.

    Of course, given sufficient oppurtunities for PVP, you can do that. My BC guild was infamous across the entire server for being PVP badasses. We had a man on the inside in IRC too.

    Best thing was when our GM gets a message, "Yeah, they are forming up a raid to chase you out of Nagrand." Being as how there were only six of us, we made ourselves scarce.

    Which actually brings me to a major game design problem of MMORPGs. I love chaotic, everchanging PVP against varied enemies in the open world, but hate and also have complete contempt for ganking people much lower level, particularly when corpse camping them. I'd like to see measures implemented to allow an even level 2v6 skirmish to break out while questing, but also to keep Mr. I Would Be a Rapist if I wasn't too busy playing video games from getting his anti-social thrills off pointless and sad battles against people who are outright disallowed from winning by the game mechanics.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Lineage 2 took some strides towards that with their karma system. If you attacked someone your name went from white to purple and if you killed them went to red. Red players, if killed, lost a bunch of items to whoever killed you and could be killed with no affect on their karma.

    The item part I don't like but if they were to set up a similar system based on bounties taken partially or entirely from that player's own cash that'd probably work well.

    PSN: allenquid
  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    On the subject of collecting bear asses: I've never played WOW or WAR but I can't help but side with the WAR team on the issue.

    @ about 2:40

    JLPENwc.gif
  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    This is what I'd like to see in Future MMO: a world large enough, perhaps procedurally generated, where individual players can make lasting change to the world; essesntially Minecraft the MMO but with a little more character options and better graphics. Sure, the designers might include a few dedicated hubs where NPC's control the story, but in "The Wilds" one can truly be master of their own domain.

    EVE: Online - the most fun you will ever have not playing a game.
    "Go up, thou bald head." -2 Kings 2:23
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    So as someone who enjoys playing as many different MMOs as I can cram in my schedule I must say this thread hits on something that's annoying me.

    A MMO does not need to have a NPC-fuelled story to entice the player.

    There can be other incentives for players to keep on spending their money on a game. It seems a lot of free MMOs have come to realise this and have instead shifted focus to PvP. Yet there is still a story in these games and it is generally as generic as possible without literally copy/pasting Eragon.* I would like MMO developers to stop telling stories unless the story is going to be the main point of interest for the player. Other focus points can be character development, commerce, world building, politics, multiplayer dungeon crawling, driving really fast, etc.

    If a developer does want to tell a story, they should make it fucking count**. Every kid has read/watched more fantasy stories by the time they're old enough to play MMOs seriously*** than any other generation before them. To interest players the story has to be well executed or more original than "farm boy finds out he is the heir everyone is looking for" or "two groups really hate each other, but there is a third group now that is more dangerous...GO!".

    I read an interview about Star Wars: The Old Republic over a year ago and one of the developers said they had one rule regarding quests: "Our player is kinda busy saving the galaxy...can this wait?" Quest boiling down to delivering a love letter? How long is the player going to spend on this? Hunting 10 Wolf pups? Really, this is something you want to occupy our main guy with? I think this should be the important question behind quest design from now on. There should be a main story that dictates what other tasks the player has to bother with. Sure, there's room for sidequests, just like there's room in any James Bond movie for him to bang as many chicks as possible even though it's not directly related to stopping the villains. Once there's room in the story for frolicking about, that's when you give players options to do other stuff.****

    I think a lot of MMO developers never had a serious talk about what the focus of their game was going to be. Marketing talk is always unclear about this. It's all "be the hero", "explore" or "fight alone...or with your friends" or the good old "now, you get to decide the fate of ...". We all know that the main feature of MMOs is you playing a character who has a bar filled with buttons which you can launch at enemies. But it's not a given that this is going to be fun. There's always something more or something slightly***** different to make the game fun.

    So in conclusion: I'd like better defined games that deliver a tighter experience to the player. I can try and give more examples or clarify parts of this post later, but I'm off to bed now. I already spent an hour writing/rewriting this post.


    *Actually, PvP in these games is often broken beyond repair, because the developers forgot to try and reach a level playing field and still implemented a huge grind before you can even compete against other players. The problem with free MMOs is that their goal is to get people to buy stuff, either by pushing them to play for an extended period of time (makes it more likely they'll make some purchases such as vanity items to look cool while grinding) or by making the grind a lot easier for people who have made purchases (removing time restrictions, tripling EXP gain, opening new features with massive rewards).

    **Looking at you, Lord of the Rings Online: Tolkien would yell at you if he'd be reading your quest texts.

    ***Considering you're interacting with random people on the internet a certain level of maturity is required. Or at least a large awareness that this planet is filled to the brim with gigantic dickheads.

    **** To take LOTRO as an example. I think it's OK to have a quest to pick flowers when you're in Lothlorien. The characters are taking a break there anyway. I don't think it's OK to have a similar quest in Enedwaith, there your goal ought to be to find a safe route for the Grey Company to take. Everything that is not directly related to that goal should be canned. (to be more specific: there's a daily repeatable quest to pick up two pieces of White Hand Armor from Half-Orc bosses. The NPCs says she is going to use these as trophies. Although the huge pile of rusty helmets she's now sitting on is quite impressive and she's totally going to like me and my Grey Company friends a lot more now, I can't shake the feeling this is not really something you want to occupy a hero with.)

    *****or very differently, as beat-em-ups, racing games, shooters, RTS and TBS MMOs have proven.

    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Is the problem then that there isn't enough "important" content? Should the design goal be that the player can level to the cap just doing things that actually seem useful to the plot, leaving the sidequests, that honestly most people would prefer that they exist, as optional?

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    Is the problem then that there isn't enough "important" content? Should the design goal be that the player can level to the cap just doing things that actually seem useful to the plot, leaving the sidequests, that honestly most people would prefer that they exist, as optional?

    I think the key is to get away from the idea of "levels" altogether. In no incarnation have they seemed like a particularly conducive story/playability element of MMOs, even if they totally work to satiate the "I must progress and show off my progression" urge of people.

  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    From a zone to zone progression perspective, leveling does something to me, it makes seeing the next zone that much better.

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It's one of the most effective ways to enforce a semi-linear progression through content. The alternative would be to gate everything off until conditions are met (which is what pretty much every single-player game does, come to think of it), which I assume that most people would hate.

  • -SPI--SPI- Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    On the subject of collecting bear asses: I've never played WOW or WAR but I can't help but side with the WAR team on the issue.

    Shame that (much like everything else promised about WAR) in the final game it didn't quite work out that way. Just had the same mmo quests as everyone else but with a single guy in some camps who goes "Oh you killed X number of wolves, have this [Piece of Useless Junk]." And then you never talked to that guy again.

    8t2qhu8l050f.jpg
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    Is the problem then that there isn't enough "important" content? Should the design goal be that the player can level to the cap just doing things that actually seem useful to the plot, leaving the sidequests, that honestly most people would prefer that they exist, as optional?
    Character development can be an important aspect of a MMO, there's plenty of people who love the whole stat-humping, for sure. I could argue most Asian grind MMOs* are built for these people.

    In other games, however, getting to max level is a prerequisite to play other content. Like PvP in free MMOs or raiding in WoW**. So what's the main goal of the game in these cases? What is the point of having your character running around the world? It's never presented as the Great Big Quest For You, Yes You, The Hero to gain experience in fighting and problem solving to be able to fight against the biggest meanest dragon**. Is leveling from 1 to max just a very long tutorial to teach you the skills you need to raid? Or are all the enemies you defeat on your road towards the biggest meanest dragon in your way and is defeating them the only way to beat that dragon?

    Sidequests serve goals: they can help you develop your character and the NPCs you interact with*** and you can get rewarded for solving a quest that will make the main quest easier/doable. However, if someone asks you to find his doll while you're about to defeat a dragon I want to have the option "can this wait? We're kind of in the middle of something." Sometimes it feels like NPCs have a whole different set of priorities than the players.

    Reading the above again it seems like I want to play single player games. There is more to MMOs than just the one main goal and a large part of the draw for me comes from having to play together with other people. It's the unique combination between a persistent world and the fact that you are playing in it together with hundreds of other people with whom you can interact that makes this genre unique.


    *Ragnarok Online, for example.

    **Just giving an example here, I was going to add LOTRO , but then I realised LOTRO actually has a main goal: "Help the Fellowship with their quest". This gets subdivided in a number of other goals: "create diversions for the Enemy", "defeat the Enemy to protect the homelands of the Free Peoples" and "clear the way for the Fellowship". Arguably: everything you do makes you stronger, which makes it easier for you to reach these goals. It's kind of a stretch. What is the main goal in WoW? Defeat Deathwing?

    ***Like loyalty missions in Mass Effect

    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    It's one of the most effective ways to enforce a semi-linear progression through content. The alternative would be to gate everything off until conditions are met (which is what pretty much every single-player game does, come to think of it), which I assume that most people would hate.

    The EVE online skills approach is still the best one I've seen, if only because it encourages figuring out creative ways to beat out certain challenges.

  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    It's one of the most effective ways to enforce a semi-linear progression through content. The alternative would be to gate everything off until conditions are met (which is what pretty much every single-player game does, come to think of it), which I assume that most people would hate.

    The EVE online skills approach is still the best one I've seen, if only because it encourages figuring out creative ways to beat out certain challenges.

    I feel it is more apt at encouraging players to log on once a month for five minutes to change their skill in training. Maybe that's how they got the horrendous server lag down to more manageable levels.

    Skilling up without actually doing anything is a really lame concept. It really is no different than if WoW, say, rather than giving you rest experience, simply automatically leveled you up once a week as long as you logged in, AND THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO EARN XP.

    Edit: hence, the double entendre in my signature.

    EVE: Online - the most fun you will ever have not playing a game.
    "Go up, thou bald head." -2 Kings 2:23
  • seabassseabass Doctor MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    delroland wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    It's one of the most effective ways to enforce a semi-linear progression through content. The alternative would be to gate everything off until conditions are met (which is what pretty much every single-player game does, come to think of it), which I assume that most people would hate.

    The EVE online skills approach is still the best one I've seen, if only because it encourages figuring out creative ways to beat out certain challenges.

    I feel it is more apt at encouraging players to log on once a month for five minutes to change their skill in training. Maybe that's how they got the horrendous server lag down to more manageable levels.

    Skilling up without actually doing anything is a really lame concept. It really is no different than if WoW, say, rather than giving you rest experience, simply automatically leveled you up once a week as long as you logged in, AND THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO EARN XP.

    Edit: hence, the double entendre in my signature.

    I've always liked the idea of incorporating some down time into the game so that the people who don't have 8 hours daily can hope to be not too terribly far behind folks with no commitments other than the game. Now, whether that takes a rested xp systems like WoW's, real-world time based gains like EVE, daily caps on skill gain like UO siege perilous, or slowed offline progression like Mortal, I don't think it really matters.

    Run you pigeons, it's Robert Frost!
  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Yeah, don't much care for that sort of progression either. Same reason I don't much care for "you have X resources a day, please spend 5 minutes a day fiddling with stuff, then wait for them to refresh" browser games either.
    Granted, there's more to EvE than progression management, but then we get into why I don't find the gameplay fun either and that's not really relevant.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    There needs to be some discussion of what something "useful" really entails. Narrative structure in MMOs is necessarily different from single player games.

    Like, you take WoW: the story as presented by NPCs never really makes you the One, Big Shiny Hero (with a couple exceptions), but you're still doing "useful" things in the context of the game world. NPCs treat you like you're a Big Deal compared to random NPC soldiers, but not as big a deal as say, Thrall.

    Which really is the only way the game makes any sense. There's lots of players out there, and it would be pretty counter-immersive if the game claimed that every player was on their own, highly individualized quest to save the world from whatever. In single player games, the player character's decisions are the story. In an MMO there's a larger story going on that you play a comparatively small part in.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    if the rapture don't come cousin, then pass the guns
    I'll burn'em for the return of my investment funds
  • seabassseabass Doctor MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    There's lots of players out there, and it would be pretty counter-immersive if the game claimed that every player was on their own, highly individualized quest to save the world from whatever. In single player games, the player character's decisions are the story. In an MMO there's a larger story going on that you play a comparatively small part in.

    This is how Final Fantasy XI and XIV handle the story line though. Specifically, they totally ignore the fact that there are 5,000 chosen one's per server. There are cut-scenes where it's you and the NPC's, and you (and sometimes your party) are the main driving force behind the story line. It's absurd if you think about it at all, but it still somehow works.

    Run you pigeons, it's Robert Frost!
  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Honestly, the "you are The One" cliche is something I don't much care for in SP games as is, so calling the lack of it in MMOs a flaw seems silly. I'm quite happy with being one of the many heroes in a greater conflict.

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