As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Let's talk MMOGs

ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
edited January 2007 in Games and Technology
NOTE: THIS IS NOT A DISCUSSION ABOUT MMOGS THAT ALREADY EXIST. THIS IS A DISCUSSION ABOUT MMOG DESIGN.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

What is an 'MMOG'?

Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Most MMOGs are roleplaying games, though a few exist that are based on different genres (FPSes, for example). Games such as Planetside and Auto Assault attempt to break the basic MMOG mold, although not very successfully.

Surely you've heard of WoW (World of Warcraft), one of the most popular games out right now. This is a prime example of an MMORPG.

So what are we discussing?

If the note above was not descriptive enough for you, this is a thread based around MMOG concepts and designs. Obviously, you should play/have played an MMOG of some sort to take part in this discussion. This is not, however, a discussion about current MMOGs or MMOGs in development. You may talk about existing/future MMOGs if you are discussing their concepts and designs. Ideas about innovating the genre or even ideas for your own MMOG are gladly welcomed.

Some topics to jump-start the discussion:
  • Death penalties and their effect on the game and the players
  • Player versus Player combat, and how it should be handled
  • Character development
  • Rewarding players for time rather than skill, or vise versa (players being stronger because they spend more time playing the game, as opposed to a skilled player being rewarded for good performance)
  • The cliche's of MMOG design, and how they can be resolved

Hopefully that should be enough to get a discussion going. If you have any ideas for stuff to add to the OP, let me know via PM.

JKKaAGp.png
Zombiemambo on
«13456789

Posts

  • Options
    ToadTheMushroomToadTheMushroom Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I think WoW has ruined the MMOG genre, with everything trying to emulate its gameplay and style. Its a good game, but at its core it is a collectors game, where the rare drop is the main draw. Gabe and Tycho actually summed it up perfectly in one of their (long missed) podcasts.

    That being the MMOG genre draws you in because unlike single player games the amount of time you spend playing actually accrues stuff, like gold, or armor weapons, ships, skills etc etc, meaning you feel less as though you have wasted your time playing a game than if you had played, say, through Resident Evil 4. It is a sickening thought, the entire genre is based upon addiction.

    I mean for fucks sake, Blizzard get about 1 billion dollars per year from subscriptions.

    ToadTheMushroom on
  • Options
    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The cliche's of MMOG design, and how they can be resolved

    Bigger=stronger

    In general, the bigger a mob is, the stronger it is. This is annoying, and cheap, MMO-makers think that the only way to make a mob look stronger is by doing a {size}*1.25 for every level. Wolves the size of men is lame, just make a new model.

    Also: beasts that block and parry attacks, while they have no shields or weapons. What's up with that?

    Aldo on
  • Options
    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    See, I disagree. I think WoW was exactly what the MMOG genre needed. While I don't like the clones that have/will follow it, WoW, to me, is a huge step in the right direction. For years we have struggled with poor design, the excuse being "It's online!" but even on its own WoW is a solid game.

    The MMOG genre is young (around 10 years old), but it has already fallen into many pits and few games have tried to reconcile that fact. They continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, but I think Blizzard has taken the hint and fixed these mistakes. While WoW is by no means an innovative game, it is extremely polished and Blizzard has poured its heart and soul into it. The amount of bugs fixed every patch amazes me, not because there are so many but because Blizzard has actually fixed them. Very few companies do that.

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
  • Options
    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    If you're going to go with some type of absolute player ranking, then IMO EVE currently has the best system. While the turn off is that it takes time in absolute terms to gain skillpoints, I really can't fault it now that I'm actually doing something important 9-5. I get value from paying monthly for the game, even w/o playing.

    Of course, I think you could probably make an interesting MMO if you completely annihilated training times/effort, and tied it all into control of ingame resources. Something like Intellectual Property in the game, so you can conquer things and gain control over the dissemination of a particular skillset.

    EDIT: In this hypothetical game, the death penalty would be all skills exploding with you, but it wouldn't be bad since it would take almost no time to acquire them if you had the right contacts.

    electricitylikesme on
  • Options
    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    See, I disagree. I think WoW was exactly what the MMOG genre needed. While I don't like the clones that have/will follow it, WoW, to me, is a huge step in the right direction. For years we have struggled with poor design, the excuse being "It's online!" but even on its own WoW is a solid game.

    The MMOG genre is young (around 10 years old), but it has already fallen into many pits and few games have tried to reconcile that fact. They continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, but I think Blizzard has taken the hint and fixed these mistakes. While WoW is by no means an innovative game, it is extremely polished and Blizzard has poured its heart and soul into it. The amount of bugs fixed every patch amazes me, not because there are so many but because Blizzard has actually fixed them. Very few companies do that.
    And with every patch, a new batch of bugs is released upon Azeroth. :P

    I keed, I keed

    Blizzard is really good with all the patches they've made.

    I heard they'll fix Arcane Missiles next patch!

    Aldo on
  • Options
    VoroVoro Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ooh, Death Penalties, I've thought quite a bit about that one. Specifically, how to make perma-death work. It's a bit late to type the whole thing out in detail, but here's my train of thought:
    • Skill based rather than level based
    • Constant HP max, no boost via items or experience
    • Using a will to transfer a portion of your character's wealth to an heir
    • Outlaws that are caught would be publically executed with no chance to pass on their wealth (a portion of it goes to any victims)
    • Tiered housing that ranges from the cheat, but unprotected frontier to private estates with personal guards
    • Player based economy

    I guess it would be a weird UO/EVE mix ideally. The trick is making death not too much of a set back unless you're a douche. There would also need to be measures against suicide accounts, like in EVE.

    Also, I would really like to see the sort of action RPG combat that was somewhat present in DDO rather than the usual click and wait. Of course, since companies try to cut corners wherever they can, it's doubtful that anything like this will see the light of day. Far too intensive for servers, especially when they don't make chat servers like they used to.

    Voro on
    XBL GamerTag: Comrade Nexus
  • Options
    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I would like to see some truly creative classes in an MMOG. Even WoW conforms to the basic archetypes. I want to see a class that is like no other, with unique abilities and alterations to core gameplay. Guild Wars has accomplished this to some degree, but they don't feel completely unlike anything else.

    WAR (Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning) has some unique class ideas, but they all boil down to 'The longer you fight, the stronger you become'. I'm still holding out for it because I like many of the ideas, even if they might not be well-executed.

    An idea for a class that is slightly different from the norm:

    Blood Knight/Warrior: a class that is very weak on its own, but uses its own life force to increase damage output. The more they hurt themselves the stronger they become, teetering on the edge of death at all times. Many abilities are centered around keeping the Blood Knight alive but just barely.

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
  • Options
    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I would like to see some truly creative classes in an MMOG. Even WoW conforms to the basic archetypes. I want to see a class that is like no other, with unique abilities and alterations to core gameplay. Guild Wars has accomplished this to some degree, but they don't feel completely unlike anything else.

    WAR (Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning) has some unique class ideas, but they all boil down to 'The longer you fight, the stronger you become'. I'm still holding out for it because I like many of the ideas, even if they might not be well-executed.

    An idea for a class that is slightly different from the norm:

    Blood Knight/Warrior: a class that is very weak on its own, but uses its own life force to increase damage output. The more they hurt themselves the stronger they become, teetering on the edge of death at all times. Many abilities are centered around keeping the Blood Knight alive but just barely.
    With the skill called "wrists".

    A martyr class would be interesting though, someone who dies, but buffs his party with incredibly powerful buffs because of that.

    Aldo on
  • Options
    ScopsScops Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I would like to see some truly creative classes in an MMOG. Even WoW conforms to the basic archetypes. I want to see a class that is like no other, with unique abilities and alterations to core gameplay. Guild Wars has accomplished this to some degree, but they don't feel completely unlike anything else.

    WAR (Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning) has some unique class ideas, but they all boil down to 'The longer you fight, the stronger you become'. I'm still holding out for it because I like many of the ideas, even if they might not be well-executed.

    An idea for a class that is slightly different from the norm:

    Blood Knight/Warrior: a class that is very weak on its own, but uses its own life force to increase damage output. The more they hurt themselves the stronger they become, teetering on the edge of death at all times. Many abilities are centered around keeping the Blood Knight alive but just barely.

    I'm going to go off on a tangent here, but is it actually required that MMOs haves classes at all? Isn't it possible to have a system which allows players to, in a sense, develop their own classes through their game choices? I'm not exactly sure how this system would work, but it seems to me that the key to breaking the clichés of the class system is to remove it altogether.

    Perhaps it'd be something like the elder scrolls leveling system, somewhat altered of course.

    Scops on
  • Options
    ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Progression is the most basic concept behind an MMO: the whole fun of it is the sense of accomplishment from improving your characters. But IMHO more MMOs need to turn away from "required" progression and go more towards optional progression, particularly when it comes to PvP. Required progression is anything like a traditional levelling system, where your level is the primary factor in determining your value relative to other players. Being level 60 in WoW is a requirement before you can compete with the big boys in PvP. If you're not there yet, keep grinding. Same goes for gear at 60, to a lesser extent. Optional progression is things like status symbols or smaller perk that give you the accomplishment without the advantage. A good example of a game that focuses more on this is Guild Wars.

    There will always be people willing to spend an inordinate amount of time in the game, and if you allow them to continue to improve their character's power they'll always leave casual players in the dirt. Unlike some people I don't think this makes any sense. These people can get their kicks in other ways without earning the uber weapon with twice as much DPS as mine and invalidating my efforts. In WoW's case, you could implement grinds for things like titles, armor skins, fancy glow effects, cooler mounts, whatever, but have the actual gear effectiveness cap out relatively early.

    Zek on
  • Options
    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    Scops wrote:
    I'm going to go off on a tangent here, but is it actually required that MMOs haves classes at all? Isn't it possible to have a system which allows players to, in a sense, develop their own classes through their game choices? I'm not exactly sure how this system would work, but it seems to me that the key to breaking the clichés of the class system is to remove it altogether.

    Perhaps it'd be something like the elder scrolls leveling system, somewhat altered of course.

    It would probably work sort of like EVE. There are no classes in EVE. You just pick and choose whatever skills you think will be useful in achieving whatever it is you want to do in the game. For that matter there aren't conventional levels either. Each skill can be trained up to level 5, with each level typically giving a percentage boost to whatever the skill does (eg. 5% increase in ship velocity per level), but your character itself doesn't 'level up' at any point.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • Options
    skaceskace Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    UO has been the only MMOG to successfully implement unique house building and trade skills that actually felt like more than just stacking items in a window and hitting combine. Such as fishing and treasure hunting. I think it has been difficult to add these functions into a 3d world but they will eventually be the functions that win a lot of gamers over. Even if you don't want to fish or treasure hunt or build your own house, having those functions in the game creates a more complete world.

    Fishing felt much better in UO than it does in WoW. Most of the fishermen you will come up on in WoW are just bored level 60s in full battle gear fishing by some random lake. In UO the fishermen you'd most likely come upon would be in actual boats, in the ocean, usually in regular casual clothes. And they might actually need help if they fish up a sea monster.

    The design concept being that you have to implement something more than a combine button to your game. The more unique something is, the more fun it becomes. But you also have to avoid tedius, as in EQ's tradeskills of farming lions by the fucking bazillion. You have to keep tradeskilled goods at a 1:1 ratio at the very least. Kill a deer? Here is a deer skin. Chop a tree down? Here is some wood. The second you go, that deer doesn't have a skin but this deer does, you start to ruin immersion by a huge degree.

    As far as combat goes, I really don't think you can improve combat until MMOG's can handle real time action combat, where dodging actually requires dodging and swinging actually requires some sort of precision. That level isn't here yet, but I hope it is someday. Wouldn't it be funny to see an entire raid of 30 people actually all jump at the same time to dodge some tail swipe.

    Edit: Oh and the problem that EQ, WoW, and every clone of this stye will have is that if you build your entire game around combat, you have to constantly add more combat to the game, because the second you don't, there is nothing to do, the game gets stale, and people quit. It leads to a necessity for mud flation. UO hedged this, EVE to some degree has hedged this (but not a lot), others haven't at all.

    skace on
    http://picasaweb.google.com/skacer | Shiren:5413-0147-4655
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    ScopsScops Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Scops wrote:
    I'm going to go off on a tangent here, but is it actually required that MMOs haves classes at all? Isn't it possible to have a system which allows players to, in a sense, develop their own classes through their game choices? I'm not exactly sure how this system would work, but it seems to me that the key to breaking the clichés of the class system is to remove it altogether.

    Perhaps it'd be something like the elder scrolls leveling system, somewhat altered of course.

    It would probably work sort of like EVE. There are no classes in EVE. You just pick and choose whatever skills you think will be useful in achieving whatever it is you want to do in the game. For that matter there aren't conventional levels either. Each skill can be trained up to level 5, with each level typically giving a percentage boost to whatever the skill does (eg. 5% increase in ship velocity per level), but your character itself doesn't 'level up' at any point.

    Ah. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Scops on
  • Options
    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Zek wrote:
    Progression is the most basic concept behind an MMO: the whole fun of it is the sense of accomplishment from improving your characters. But IMHO more MMOs need to turn away from "required" progression and go more towards optional progression, particularly when it comes to PvP. Required progression is anything like a traditional levelling system, where your level is the primary factor in determining your value relative to other players. Being level 60 in WoW is a requirement before you can compete with the big boys in PvP. If you're not there yet, keep grinding. Same goes for gear at 60, to a lesser extent. Optional progression is things like status symbols or smaller perk that give you the accomplishment without the advantage. A good example of a game that focuses more on this is Guild Wars.

    There will always be people willing to spend an inordinate amount of time in the game, and if you allow them to continue to improve their character's power they'll always leave casual players in the dirt. Unlike some people I don't think this makes any sense. These people can get their kicks in other ways without earning the uber weapon with twice as much DPS as mine and invalidating my efforts. In WoW's case, you could implement grinds for things like titles, armor skins, fancy glow effects, cooler mounts, whatever, but have the actual gear effectiveness cap out relatively early.

    I think the reason the Guild Wars model isn't more prevelent in MMOs is because of the subscription fee. If you've got a situation where you can do everything that needs doing in 40 hours and everything else is just icing then it's really hard for people to justify the #10 a month to keep in the game. I would really love to see more MMOs move to skill based and pay2perk rather than grind based with monthly fee.

    Rook on
  • Options
    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    skace wrote:
    As far as combat goes, I really don't think you can improve combat until MMOG's can handle real time action combat, where dodging actually requires dodging and swinging actually requires some sort of precision. That level isn't here yet, but I hope it is someday. Wouldn't it be funny to see an entire raid of 30 people actually all jump at the same time to dodge some tail swipe.
    Darkfall and Chronicles of Spellbound will provide this precision. Although it is not clear if it will work out. :'(

    Aldo on
  • Options
    Ant000Ant000 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I want a game like EVE, but in a traditional 3rd-person fantasy or sci-fi character based game. By that I mean: Influential factional warfare and PVP centric gameplay that doesn't hold your hand, a huge and open free world that can be settled/warred over/conquered and altered, and industry aspects to give it all meaning.


    I guess sort of like a Shadowbane, but done properly....

    I know it probably wouldn't be a million subscriber game, but I'm sure if done well it could really latch on to the hardercore PVP MMO niche and get a few hundred thousand.


    Player-Skill based combat like in Asheron's Call would be nice too.


    WoW really is the lowest common-denominator, Fisher Price MMO if there ever was one. It certainly did some things right, but they'll never take risks now with that many subscribers, and it will forever be "carrot on a stick gameplay" that drives it.


    Hell even pre-trammel UO in 3D would be a start, that was really ahead of its time in terms of sandbox society gameplay. Its a shame that it got so dumbed down and eventually destroyed.

    Ant000 on
  • Options
    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    Scops wrote:
    Scops wrote:
    I'm going to go off on a tangent here, but is it actually required that MMOs haves classes at all? Isn't it possible to have a system which allows players to, in a sense, develop their own classes through their game choices? I'm not exactly sure how this system would work, but it seems to me that the key to breaking the clichés of the class system is to remove it altogether.

    Perhaps it'd be something like the elder scrolls leveling system, somewhat altered of course.

    It would probably work sort of like EVE. There are no classes in EVE. You just pick and choose whatever skills you think will be useful in achieving whatever it is you want to do in the game. For that matter there aren't conventional levels either. Each skill can be trained up to level 5, with each level typically giving a percentage boost to whatever the skill does (eg. 5% increase in ship velocity per level), but your character itself doesn't 'level up' at any point.

    Ah. Thanks for pointing that out.

    It's a great system because it shifts the focus of the game away from grinding. Yeah, you need to find a profitable route in EVE in order to buy more skill books (and better equipment and ships) but because you can earn a profit in any number of ways you can focus on playing the game the way you'd like to rather than having to continually do quests that the game sets you in order to progress.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • Options
    KayuniKayuni Registered User new member
    edited January 2007
    I find that the current rinse-and-repeat mold that many current MMO's use is far past its prime.

    In my opinion, a perfect MMO would forego classes, instead allowing you to pursue any interests you would have, so that you could realistically be adept at smithing, combat, and any other skills you wanted to be involved in. It'd be really nice to see a very in-depth, involved game, based on civilization-versus-civilization warfare, where each player helped their nation to some extent - Whether through combat in a warzone, or through a form of taxes from selling goods.

    In this way a person could do whatever they liked and move onto another job or skill once they were bored. Of course, realistically this game will not exist for a very long time - It would take a huge investment in terms of money and time to develop such a game, and of course some jobs would be attractive, while others would be neglected, and thus you'd end up with a surplus of standard combat classes and a deficit in dedicated trades such as mining and assembly-work.

    A mix of standard skill points and player skill would be nice - That is, a skilled player could craft good items with a weak character, based on his maneuvers with his tools. The skill points could be attained through a mixture of EVE-style training and run-of-the-mill grinding; So that a casual player could queue up a skill to train, but if he were to practice that skill while it was training, the advancement would be hurried along.

    It'd be nice to see a game such as this without levels, simply skills in individual areas; Allowing a brand new character to smith with the best tools in the game if he were able to afford or otherwise acquire them [cough twink]. Likewise, a player adept in combat could wield any weapon, in perhaps first-person combat. Of course, better [and larger] weapons would require the player himself to be skilled, and the skill points would help with this - For example, a new player could be given a rare, powerful axe, which would cause his player to be rather inaccurate with said weapon, but a skilled player could deal with the offset and be just as effective as his peers - Likewise, skill points would lessen the offset so that eventually a class of weapons were mastered and had no offset - Resulting in perfect accuracy.

    What I've outlined coupled with efficient politics and guild systems could make for an extremely enjoyable game - Especially if contract work and such were to be introduced, along with certain in-game pseudo-laws to prevent monopolozation of an industry and maintain fair market prices depending on economic inflation.

    I guess I'm outlining a 'world simulator,' in a way - But I feel that this would make for a truly good game which casts away many of the molds used in past MMORPGs.

    Anyhow, I've been rambling for a good paragraph or two, so I'll leave it at that.

    EDIT: Volunteer-run organizations to prevent fraud within the economy could also help to combat distrust of new players. [Which was a major turn-off in EVE, for me, as I picked up the game very quickly, made a few good friends in the help channel who took me around to do tougher quests, and thus when I applied to a corporation they collectively blocked me so I was unable to contact them in any way - They figured that because I was so well off for a one-week-old player that I must be a scammer.]

    Kayuni on
  • Options
    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    Kayuni, it sounds like you're basically describing an MMO like EVE combined with the combat/skill system of Deus Ex. I like how Deus Ex handled FPS combat. If you were unskilled with a weapon such as a sniper rifle, you could wield it but it would roll all over the place while you tried to aim it, training up rifle skills would lessen this effect until you were basically dead calm when aiming it. A skilled FPSer can still make a head shot with the sniper rifle, training the skill up just makes it easier.

    Extend and apply that system to all skills.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • Options
    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I don't think you can really combine grinding for skills and EVE-style skill training, since the moment you have any sort of grind possible the hardcores will decimate the casuals.

    Money etc. I'm ok with this on, but skills? No - they're too centric to player power.

    I can't help but think that what would be nice is an MMO with many more strategy components to it. Let people run around and fight and do things individually, but ultimately start them building up armies and empires etc. that they individually control.

    So you know, you might start as an independent prospector in a mining ship, but eventually you can afford to hire NPC miners, some security details, a small escort force etc. and the game slowly takes you from the individual to the grandiose, while still leaving room for small unit actions (since the player acting personally should be more effective then the NPCs because it's pretty much impossible for this not to be the case given equivalent skill/equipment levels in game).

    electricitylikesme on
  • Options
    KayuniKayuni Registered User new member
    edited January 2007
    Szechuanosaurus: I never got around to playing Deus Ex. Nice to see I'm not the first to think of the idea, though. I'll pick up a copy, if I can find one.

    electricitylikesme: I figure that hardcores and casuals could exist side by side, if a casual player happened to know his laws of supply and demand, he could perhaps serve as an advisor to the CEO of a major company within the game, thus superceding many hardcore players with his knowledge, and depending on his earnings granted to him by the CEO, perhaps in power and riches, too.

    Plus, as I mentioned a skilled player with an inferior character would likely be able to defeat an unskilled player with a powerful character. Granted, many hardcore players would have plenty of experience in their chosen field, some people start with a bonus - For example, someone who plays an hour or two a day may have a background in FPSes and thus have greater ability than a hardcore MMO player who plays ten hours a day, and thus the casual player may beat the hardcore player, in this case.

    Kayuni on
  • Options
    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Kayuni wrote:
    electricitylikesme: I figure that hardcores and casuals could exist side by side, if a casual player happened to know his laws of supply and demand, he could perhaps serve as an advisor to the CEO of a major company within the game, thus superceding many hardcore players with his knowledge, and depending on his earnings granted to him by the CEO, perhaps in power and riches, too.

    Plus, as I mentioned a skilled player with an inferior character would likely be able to defeat an unskilled player with a powerful character. Granted, many hardcore players would have plenty of experience in their chosen field, some people start with a bonus - For example, someone who plays an hour or two a day may have a background in FPSes and thus have greater ability than a hardcore MMO player who plays ten hours a day, and thus the casual player may beat the hardcore player, in this case.
    In a practical sense though, that doesn't work due to lag and server centrality. You just can't get enough players onto the 1 server to make anything approaching real time "twitch" gaming to have a significant effect, which is thus the reason for my focus on player strategy and tactics over skills and direct combat in game.

    electricitylikesme on
  • Options
    KayuniKayuni Registered User new member
    edited January 2007
    In a practical sense though, that doesn't work due to lag and server centrality. You just can't get enough players onto the 1 server to make anything approaching real time "twitch" gaming to have a significant effect, which is thus the reason for my focus on player strategy and tactics over skills and direct combat in game.

    True, but as I said - A game similar to what I laid out would not occur, or necessarily be possible for many years to come. I've described my own ideals - And I see your point with regards to lag with massively-multiplayer twitch combat, but a system similar to Planetside could likely handle the load, to some extent, though not necessarily allowing detailed urban combat so much as open combat with a focus on larger units.

    Kayuni on
  • Options
    HullabalooHullabaloo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I'm going to throw out a few of random thoughts here.

    Speaking of death and their penaltys, i've always felt the way to go was to either make it involve another short fun game that prevents you from moving on for a small amount of time, but provides the player with a break from the main game. It's enough that you don't want to die, but it if done right it shouldn't as goddamn annoying/boring as running back to your body - or worse still exp loss.

    I'm thinking something along the lines of a short rez game (the soul heading back to the body/wherever). Something like that. Another idea is taking away the loss from a singular character and making character deaths hurt the community at large. This wouldn't work for EVERY game, but let's say a lot of character fails to get food for their town, or die trying to claim important objects, ext leads up to the downfall of a town. Mmn, not as sure on that one.

    Anyways these games need to encourage risks, and have a lot more "holy shit" moments. If you could give the player a "holy shit" moment every week, that would be awsome. In most mmo's i've played there's one at most two for every year. I'll let you decide what a "holy shit" moment is.

    Also I feel that what we really need to see is an mmo platformer. Not Maplestory, maple story is NOT an mmo platformer it's a 2d mmorpg. We need a honest to god mmo platformer. You know, throw in some ico, add some sort of combat system that takes the platformer edge into account, add some community/town building a dash of evolving story and mix it all in with a cup of minigames.

    Of course I have my reservations about it - (I.E. Travel, because as a platformer it's going to need you to jump your way around which can be fun for the first few times, but will it be enough for a 5 or so years? Should the game use a large checkpoint system or simply be built with shorter paths that people with better skills able to reach (or a team of people working together)) but i'd really love to see someone take a good go at a pure mmo platformer.

    Hullabaloo on
    Xbox ID: Oggie Rock
  • Options
    skaceskace Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Hullabaloo wrote:
    I'm thinking something along the lines of a short rez game (the soul heading back to the body/wherever). Something like that. Another idea is taking away the loss from a singular character and making character deaths hurt the community at large. This wouldn't work for EVERY game, but let's say a lot of character fails to get food for their town, or die trying to claim important objects, ext leads up to the downfall of a town. Mmn, not as sure on that one.

    How about when you die you go to hell and have to fight your way back out to your body. And depending on your sins determines what circle of hell you start out on. IE if you've been stealing and murdering all the way to the grave, you end up way at the bottom of hell. But a relatively nice person ends up at the first circle.

    skace on
    http://picasaweb.google.com/skacer | Shiren:5413-0147-4655
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    HullabalooHullabaloo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    skace wrote:
    Hullabaloo wrote:
    I'm thinking something along the lines of a short rez game (the soul heading back to the body/wherever). Something like that. Another idea is taking away the loss from a singular character and making character deaths hurt the community at large. This wouldn't work for EVERY game, but let's say a lot of character fails to get food for their town, or die trying to claim important objects, ext leads up to the downfall of a town. Mmn, not as sure on that one.

    How about when you die you go to hell and have to fight your way back out to your body. And depending on your sins determines what circle of hell you start out on. IE if you've been stealing and murdering all the way to the grave, you end up way at the bottom of hell. But a relatively nice person ends up at the first circle.

    It's a thought, hell it's a really good thought.

    To me whatever is fine as long as it's a break from the original game formula.

    Hullabaloo on
    Xbox ID: Oggie Rock
  • Options
    ClawshrimpyClawshrimpy Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Universal Century Gundam Online has been a step in the right derection, none of your skill ups are affected when you get shot down, you just lose the MS/Vehicle and everything on it and what it was carrying. and it's jsut a matter of making more money/getting a loan from a teammate to fix it.

    Clawshrimpy on
  • Options
    ToastToast Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I would like to see some truly creative classes in an MMOG. Even WoW conforms to the basic archetypes. I want to see a class that is like no other, with unique abilities and alterations to core gameplay. Guild Wars has accomplished this to some degree, but they don't feel completely unlike anything else.

    This is everything that's wrong with current MMOG design.

    Everyone has this retarded idea in their head that "MMOG" means "traditional RPG with co-op multiplayer elements on a shared server". This is bullshit.

    MMO design is shackled by the utterly retarded idea that if it's not based loosely on the D&D mechanics it doesn't somehow count, and the end result is thinking that "more creative classes" counts as innovation. What MMO design really needs is some proper, successful, break-out ideas - like Planetside or WWIIO, only with it actually working.


    In other news, I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I think the MMOG industry needs to bifurcate. One half, the PvE/co-op side, needs to go down the GW model of instanced-everything for no monthly fee - Diablo on steroids. This is all this playerbase really needs to keep it happy, and it keeps them out of the equation for the other half.

    This is proper MMOs designed around large-world competitive gameplay. The one lesson to learn here from Eve is that people like to tell their own stories and fight for their own causes. The reason Planetside and WWIIO failed (IMO) is in no small part down to the fact that everyone is fighting for a predetermined side. This may be a good way to get people started, but to make it work you really need areas that player organisations can claim and contest in a meaningful way.


    And, getting back to my earlier point, "contest" doesn't have to mean high fantasy, or spaceships, or any shit like that. It doesn't have to have character progression, or stats, or avatars, or realism, or even recognisable combat. Anything that involves two or more players competing can be a contest, as demonstrated neatly by Puzzle Pirates. That's the shit I'm talking about. There is so much that can be done with the MMO space, and currently all the majority of people see is different ways of killing Orcs.

    Toast on
  • Options
    skaceskace Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Hullabaloo wrote:
    It's a thought, hell it's a really good thought.

    To me whatever is fine as long as it's a break from the original game formula.

    To build on this idea. A lot of muds I used to play had actual functioning religions. In realms of despair, you had to sacrafice corpses, deface them or bury them to gain favor with your god. Other things would gain favor as well, but what you did with corpses was a big one. Add this to the game and you could have scenarios where, if your favor is really high with your god, you can cash in your favor for a 'get out of hell free' card. Basically, favor with your god would work like a reputation bar in WoW, except it would be going up and down a lot more than just up. IE: You could go from exalted to hated for doing something. If you were at exalted when you died you could cash in and skip hell but you'd be back to hated.

    skace on
    http://picasaweb.google.com/skacer | Shiren:5413-0147-4655
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    ToastToast Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    skace wrote:
    Hullabaloo wrote:
    I'm thinking something along the lines of a short rez game (the soul heading back to the body/wherever). Something like that. Another idea is taking away the loss from a singular character and making character deaths hurt the community at large. This wouldn't work for EVERY game, but let's say a lot of character fails to get food for their town, or die trying to claim important objects, ext leads up to the downfall of a town. Mmn, not as sure on that one.

    How about when you die you go to hell and have to fight your way back out to your body. And depending on your sins determines what circle of hell you start out on. IE if you've been stealing and murdering all the way to the grave, you end up way at the bottom of hell. But a relatively nice person ends up at the first circle.

    Here's something I made earlier (emailed to the devs of some roman MMOG in development, can't remember the name)
    The point of this communique was to say "having an actual afterlife as part of the death system - bloody genius, and I so wish I had thought of that". Had a long think about it last night and came up with a few random ideas, which may or may not be already in use/under consideration/whatever, granted, but anyway. Working from the concept described in the FAQ, the main thrust of it was to make sure the afterlife wasn't just a diversion, but actually added a whole level of playability in its own right. For example, instead of having randomised stat loss on death, populate the afterlife with "monsters" (which is in itself an opportunity for some really creative art and design work), some (many?) of which have the ability to drain stats, or place counters on the player which drain stats after a certain number are accumulated. That way, rather than just having stat loss done randomly, you actually have a chance to fight it off.
    Having reached that point, you also obviously need ways to fight. But presumably your common or garden axe isn't going to make much difference in the afterlife, because it's from the wrong world. Therefore, you can throw in the ability to carry various mystical talismans, charms etc which can either ward off certain enemies in the afterlife, exhibit bizarre effects which can be used as weapons of a sort, or even change into say a useable axe when you die. You could also give mystic NPCs (or even PCs, with the right skills) the ability to bless, curse or whatever objects in the real world, such as weapons, armours etc so that they will have some use in the afterlife, although again this doesn't have to be a straight mapping between use in the real world and use in the afterlife. Alternatively, drawing on the fairly common idea that what you're buried with follows you through to the other side, you could have the option to destroy items in specific ways (such as burning on a pyre with the appropriate oils) such that they disappear from the real world and become available to you in the afterlife.
    Another interesting factor that can be played with is where in the afterlife you end up. It'd be very interesting, IMO, to tie this to location and possibly cause of death. This doesn't have to be a straight mapping again - it could be that dyinging in the streets of Rome would bring you to a fairly safe spot quite near what I'd assume would be a beacon of some kind that'd allow you to reincarnate at a temple of some kind, but if you died say in a forbidden temple just off the street, you could end up a long way from safety with some very powerful spirits around you, who might protect you if you were defending the temple, or be quite pissed off if you had snuck in to steal some stuff.
    Finally, if you do all of the above and really flesh out the afterlife into a domain in its own right, it might have some appeal to some people, and there would probably be room for services to be rendered there. You could then, if you wanted to, allow people to get into the afterlife in a less risky manner (it'd still presumably require death, but a predictable death with little initial risk) and take certain things with them, so they could voluntarily spend time there, maybe set up some kind of healing station or guide post to help the dead back into the world - or, if they were feeling really nasty, to waylay the dead and beat them up some more. Granted you couldn't actually die in the afterlife, but things could be arranged so that after taking certain amounts of "damage" you're shifted elsewhere in the afterlife, probably somewhere you didn't want to be (this would probably also be necessary to make afterlife monsters more of a challenge), and with the possibility of really losing some stats. Of course, being so nasty would probably be quite hard, and would have the potential to piss off a lot of the inhabitants of the afterlife, who would probably make a point of hunting such people down.

    ---
    Zek wrote:
    Progression is the most basic concept behind an MMO

    Bollocks. The most basic concept behind an MMO is having lots and lots of people online on the same server. Progression is just something that early MMOG devs used to avoid having to make decent, compelling game mechanics.

    Toast on
  • Options
    Cilla BlackCilla Black Priscilla!!! Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    WoW has done some great stuff with the MMORPG genre, but it's far and away from a perfect game. Perhaps the biggest thing that WoW is missing, imo, is something from it's far inferior Japanese MMO cousin FFXI. That is, storyline missions. No other MMO I've ever played has managed to do storyline missions as well as FFXI.

    They're pretty much the only reason the game is remotely worth playing at all. The plot of the game (something most MMOs don't even have) is furthered by going out and fighting some battle with you friends or some such. WoW doesn't have that. It is, like someone here already said, entirely item driven. That's all well and good, but there is a whole hell of a lot to be said for an incredibly epic and crazy challenging battle with 5 of your friends that you know actually means something more than just getting a shiny drop.

    Cilla Black on
  • Options
    SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Although I've not played it properly yet I love Eve's system for gaining skills, as I understand it. I've never been a fan of doing things for the sake of that extra 0.2 in Macing so the idea that my skills are always going up, even when I'm asleep, is very reassuring to me.

    The only MMO I still play is UO, in a roleplaying community, and there are things that this ugly old game still does better than any other. For our roleplaying community to succeed we need our members to have good looking uniforms, need to be able to mark out our own little bit of land with custom buildings and we need a whole lot of relatively mundane items and tasks to give things a more realistic feel. UO does these well and I'm yet to experience another MMO that even tackles one of these well.

    I mean, can you imagine trying to get all equal-ranked members of a WoW guild to wear the same armour? Not to mention the concept of levels puts a huge dent in any sort of guild rank system. I dare say the move to 3D hasn't helped either, in this respect but then as WoW proves the actual Roleplayers are a niche market inside those who play RPGs.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • Options
    SajemSajem Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I played WoW for a bit, loved the world, liked some of the people, and thought a lot of the gameplay mechanics were pretty cool. But I just couldn't stand the grinding. It's been pointed out numerous times that with a subscription based payment model, the companies obviously want you to play for as long as possible. If players could progress without time consuming grinding, they wouldn't play the game as long, and the companies wouldn't make as much money. They would continue to play, however, if there was a constant stream of new content coming out. But it wouldn't be possible for a company to put out that much compelling new material at the pace required to keep people playing. Users, however, might be up to the task.

    I think that game A Tale in the Desert takes this sort of approach, though I've never played it myself. If you give players the means to alter the game world and make their own fun, the developers won't be pressured to put out as much content, and they wouldn't need to make players progress slowly to keep them paying. If you can encourage quality user-created content, people might pay to have continued access to it. There'd have to be restrictions so that players couldn't "break" the world for others, but from what I remember of A Tale in the Desert, players had an awful lot of freedom to shape the world around them.

    This would remove the tedium of grinding, while keeping the smooth gameplay mechanics with a game like WoW (that's the only MMO reference I have, others may be better), and still give the player lots of things to do. There are lots of new challenges this sort of sturcutre would present, but I think it's worth looking at.

    Edit: Just to clarify, I don't think WoW should be held as the gameplay model for all MMO's to come. Far from it. Just saying that focusing on user-created content wouldn't also necessarily call for the need to re-invent the typical MMO game mechanics.

    Sajem on
  • Options
    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Building on the death idea...

    Perhaps when you die you go to the 'Spirit World', in which you can fight monsters and return to your body. However, your spirit can level up and get stronger, as well. If you level up your spirit enough you gain access to items, quests and dungeons that aren't available to living characters. The abilities for each class could even be different in the spirit world, and eventually, at higher levels, a class such as a Priest could teleport you to the spirit world without having to die first. So what is stopping you from just sticking around in the spirit world? For one, there would be no PvP. Secondly, the longer you stick around in the spirit world the larger your penalty when returning to your original body.

    Sure, it's just another grind, but I don't mind it. As long as you keep things fresh.

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
  • Options
    skaceskace Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Building on the death idea...

    Perhaps when you die you go to the 'Spirit World', in which you can fight monsters and return to your body. However, your spirit can level up and get stronger, as well. If you level up your spirit enough you gain access to items, quests and dungeons that aren't available to living characters. The abilities for each class could even be different in the spirit world, and eventually, at higher levels, a class such as a Priest could teleport you to the spirit world without having to die first. So what is stopping you from just sticking around in the spirit world? For one, there would be no PvP. Secondly, the longer you stick around in the spirit world the larger your penalty when returning to your original body.

    Sure, it's just another grind, but I don't mind it. As long as you keep things fresh.

    And of course, if a priest or shaman sends a living host to the spirit world, you'll be hunted like no tomorrow :)

    skace on
    http://picasaweb.google.com/skacer | Shiren:5413-0147-4655
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    BrueBrue Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The problem with the perfect MMO so-to-speak is that none exists; as is evident by these forums themselves, we can't agree on what games we like in any sort of concensus. Nonetheless, it forces game designers to cater to the market they can depend on the most which is the hardcore gamer, the people who will continue to play and play and play in order to further their epeen. There's nothing wrong with this as we all spend our time differently, yet if you are someone dealing in economics it makes decision making a bit easier. Cater to the people who will play your game consistently and continue to pay for subscriptions or cater to the people who come and go? If you think about it too the hardcore gamers are what really pushes the envelope for more game content as they are the people day in day out grinding on the same raid bosses and what not, the point remains you need both communities for a successful game and its hard to keep a good balance between the two types of players. WoW does a relatively good job of dealing with both populations, with the rest system and what not, but there's only so much you can do without alienating your permanent hardcore base of players.

    I like the idea of a MMO that is quick to learn (progress), but takes a long time to master (skill), the problem is finding a game that hits on the addictive strings of a huge base of players because if it doesn't the game will burn out. It actually takes a good deal of money to support servers to host thousands of people, albeit definitely not $15 dollars a month per person or whatever it is up to now.

    My point is from a developer standpoint the game must make money, and the easiest way is to make people grind away. If you have a completely skill based game whats to stop someone from coming into a game maxing out in a day or a week then getting WTFpwned by someone who is skilled then quitting? A lot of us our competitive and we would continue to play if we enjoyed the world etc., but a lot people aren't and would give up since they aren't allowed to trudge along at their own pace. Its really a serious dilemma, but I can't figure out anyway to solve it hehe. I think thats why there are so many different MMO's: WoW works for some people, Guild Wars for others, EVE for even others, one game won't work for all of us. We are just too damn picky and have too individual of tastes.

    That's why I think we should talk about individual elements like Zombiemambo suggested hehe.

    Brue on
  • Options
    VicVic Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Toast wrote:
    Zek wrote:
    Progression is the most basic concept behind an MMO

    Bollocks. The most basic concept behind an MMO is having lots and lots of people online on the same server. Progression is just something that early MMOG devs used to avoid having to make decent, compelling game mechanics.



    Not Quite true, I have given this some thought, and the grind and progression are not just an excuse, they are absolutely central to the MMORPG gameplay. This type of game, and this type of gameplay runs back a long time and might be best represented in an offline roleplaying game, Diablo 2. The essence of it is making the rewards from playing seem so "real" that their acquisition brings meaning to playing in its own right. This runs back to the fact that some people say they don't want to play MMORPG's because "They feel like work". Thats the whole POINT!

    Putting it simply, by making rewards for the players to strive for, they are putting up the simplest possible work/reward cycle. Players try to get items, so that they can get better items. What MMORPG's have brought to this kind of games is making the items more palpable. With WoW reaching millions of players, and with the PvP and PvE systems getting as balanced as they are now, it is now silly to say that your legendary "Hand of Ragnaros" weapon does not exist. It might not be quite as obviously real as that car you just saved up to, but there is no denying that it is real.

    The thing that makes people play these games is that they are not only "games" to them anymore. Many parts of the games are genuinely fun, and this is what is keeping me in the game right now, playing with online friends and socializing with them. Still however the main thing keeping me in the game is the feeling of fullfillness I get from aquiring items, and from congratulations of "a job well done" after safely tanking a group through an instance. This is probably the reason I can never keep an alt. Suddenly gameplay is not about reward in the same sense of the word. I suppose I have been damaged after this long, and find it hard to do things in the game with no obvious reward.

    This of course make it obvious why some people do not like this kind of game. For some, it is about challenging yourself and working for a goal, and then enjoying the spoils of that work. For others the work is tedious, and the fact that people who have put played weeks into the game beat them in PvP even though they are equally skilled is annoying. This is entirely understandable, but somewhat like being pissed because someone has a better car than you. Not to say that just because someone has better gear than you they will beat you. With skill and tactic you can bridge the gear difference, and this is just as it should be.



    I might be passing the point of this thread a bit, but I think this is rather central to the MMORPG design, and is needed to properly understand other aspects of them. Death for example can be dealt by in different ways, but I think alot of people prefer the WoW version where death is tedious and annoying, but does not interfere with the "grind" in that you do not lose progress on your character in the form of XP or items, but just some cash.

    Enough to make death unpleasant, but not enough to make you turn off the game in anger.

    I like the idea of a "hell" world, could work well in some games. In most games however I would imagine it to be rather tedious. After all, including such a harsh death penalty makes the game either too easy for "hardcore" gamers or horibly punishing for "casual" nubs. Not harsh in that it really makes you lose anuthing, but it would totally disrupt whatever you were doing. Imagine delving into a dungeon with five friends, and suddenly the healer drops. "It's ok guys, I'll be up again in an hour!"

    Vic on
  • Options
    OccisorsanOccisorsan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I'm sorry, but I think this "fight your way out of hell" thing is a terrible idea. How does that constitute fun? Going through the same area multiple times? Can you imagine if you had to go through a 10-20 minute fight every time you died in WoW? Personally, I would've never touched the game.

    A good death system is just severe enough to seriously discourage players from doing stupid things. WoW was a bit too lax, corpse runs are too strict. I'm not about to come out telling you all what the way games should be is, but I don't think a perfect death penalty has been discovered yet.

    I thought CoX had a good thing going, but when you're in a stupid group and the debt stacks up, it really feels a bit harsh. I know people who, through no fault of their own, were in debt for, essentially, the entirety of the game.

    Occisorsan on
    The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.

    Hile!
  • Options
    ReignerReigner Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    One thing that would make a game, either through current patching, or a new concept in the future is more dynamic character progression.

    I'm not talking more options at the character creation screen, but I'm saying throw the concepts developed by Fable into a game like WoW.

    Everyone starts out how they do now, looking pretty much the same with the same stock character designs. But as they progress through the game and their class, depending on what skills they use and what their class is, they start to develop accordingly.

    A caster class? Start aging, getting thinner, and such. If you want to bulk up a bit, run around and beat the shit out of things with your staff.

    A Warrior? Eventually becomming a hulking mass of muscle, but if youre a sucky warrior, you don't hulk as much.

    And ffs, give us some place where we can cut our hair. Generic Hairstyle #672 is great when you're first starting out, but as you progress in levels and see that eveyone has their hair cut the same way you do... I personally start to get a bit irked at my lack of uniqueness.

    Reigner on
    Exodus Server: Venstra Rei
    FFBE: 838,975,107
    Dokkan: 1668363315
  • Options
    ToadTheMushroomToadTheMushroom Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    How about if someone did Star Wars Galaxies again, only not shit and totally awesome.

    Perhaps Bioware. :o

    ToadTheMushroom on
Sign In or Register to comment.