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MMORPGs are bad game design

1246

Posts

  • TaxexemptionTaxexemption Registered User
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    Taxexemption on
  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The science on gaming addiction is very young, and I'd love to see more study on it. Most of what is known about gaming addiction is specifically on gambling. Conclusions about video games are largely drawn by extrapolation from gambling addiction studies and general knowledge about behavioral conditioning.

    For instance, we know that inconsistently providing rewards actually reinforces behavior a lot more strongly than consistently providing rewards. This is part of the addictive power of gambling. It's not a very big leap in reasoning to conclude that a system where a boss drops one "Emblem of Reward" where 30 such emblems buys you a Sword of Imba would be less addictive than a system where a boss drops a Sword of Imba once out of every 30 deaths.

    Whether it would be less fun... well, I dunno. That's pretty subjective. I suspect that there's a sweet spot of randomness where you maximize fun and minimize addictiveness, but that's just conjecture on my part.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Anyway, getting away from the addiction discussion for a minute (partly at Darkwolfe's request), I provided a bunch of examples not just to talk about how games might be made less addictive, but also ways in which MMO gameplay has evolved. WoW is a very different experience from EQ partly because of the features I listed above.

    I think back to vanilla EQ, with no instancing, with open-world spawn camping, zone chat being spammed by trade requests and lfg requests, loot entirely from random drops... and I compare that to WoW with zone instancing, LFG features, auction houses, fast travel, and incremental rewards. It's hard for me to look at that and swallow the pill that MMOs have been stagnant. Maybe they've been stagnant since the Bush presidency, but not any longer than that.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    Actually, many of those things are what turned me off of Eve. Why would I want the equivalent of a save game wipe when I die if it takes hundreds to thousands of real time hours (and money spent on those hours) to build yourself up to a respectable level?

    Guess I'm just not that hardcore. Having a job will do that.

    Xenogear_0001 on
    steam_sig.png
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    Anyway, getting away from the addiction discussion for a minute (partly at Darkwolfe's request), I provided a bunch of examples not just to talk about how games might be made less addictive, but also ways in which MMO gameplay has evolved. WoW is a very different experience from EQ partly because of the features I listed above.

    I think back to vanilla EQ, with no instancing, with open-world spawn camping, zone chat being spammed by trade requests and lfg requests, loot entirely from random drops... and I compare that to WoW with zone instancing, LFG features, auction houses, fast travel, and incremental rewards. It's hard for me to look at that and swallow the pill that MMOs have been stagnant. Maybe they've been stagnant since the Bush presidency, but not any longer than that.

    I think you could easily make the arguement they've been stagnant since 2010

    But considering the development cycles for MMOs and the upcoming releases of SW:TOR and Guild Wars 2 I'm not really sure that would mean anything

    HappylilElf on
  • BeltaineBeltaine BOO BOO DOO DE DOORegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The OP should have been around for Ultima Online's heyday.

    That game did so many things right for a few years, then it went all to hell when they tried to update it.

    Beltaine on
    XdDBi4F.jpg
    PSN: Beltaine-77 | Steam: beltane77 | Battle.net BadHaggis#1433
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    And would only be called that by the tiny population that actually wanted to play that game :P

    HappylilElf on
  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    And would only be called that by the tiny population that actually wanted to play that game :P

    A game like that would probably be more marketable by being based around an FPS framework. It would be more like "Planetside... with building!" than "WoW... with world PvP!"

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    And would only be called that by the tiny population that actually wanted to play that game :P

    Which is the thing. WoW's monstrous and continued success and direction of development pretty much tells you what most MMO players want:

    good gameplay, playing through a story, a wide range of social interaction levels (from soloing, to grouping with strangers and never talking once, to raiding with your buddies) and fast immediate play

    The community that wants complete open freedom (to be dickish to others in part) is vocal but not that large I think.

    shryke on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    And would only be called that by the tiny population that actually wanted to play that game :P

    Yeah, the few recent attempts at anything close to such an uber-gank PvP MMO have remained the nichest of niche games even when they've been in the same fantasy genre as WoW.

    Lawndart on
  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited April 2011
    I thought the real argument/discussion was on whether it is a good design or not, and like most things in computing, it depends on who you ask. I'm sure that the game makers with success and the players that enjoy MMORPGs think it's a great design. However, MMOs are generally weak on story and character dev, and I'm not sure there is a practical solution to that problem. I've never been particularly fond of them, but I know many who are.

    hanskey on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    I appreciate your attempt, but I still come back to the fact that almost all the features you mention have originated outside of an MMO context. Therefore, MMOs are still not particularly innovative, nor should they be necessarily. Their business constraints make innovation rare, and stagnation the norm. Also, all those features are small incremental changes which are not necessarily mutually exclusive with stagnation.

    So every single innovation in any MMO since the days of MUDs doesn't count as avoiding "stagnation"?

    What video game genres are not "stagnant", then?

    Lawndart on
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Lawndart wrote: »
    hanskey wrote: »
    I appreciate your attempt, but I still come back to the fact that almost all the features you mention have originated outside of an MMO context. Therefore, MMOs are still not particularly innovative, nor should they be necessarily. Their business constraints make innovation rare, and stagnation the norm. Also, all those features are small incremental changes which are not necessarily mutually exclusive with stagnation.

    So every single innovation in any MMO since the days of MUDs doesn't count as avoiding "stagnation"?

    What video game genres are not "stagnant", then?

    It's like my mother always tells me.

    "All those games are the same, why do you need to keep buying them?"

    Elldren on
    fuck gendered marketing
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Elldren wrote: »
    Speaking personally, I find FPSs aren't much fun independent of their multiplayer components. So maybe that's just him.
    Actually, he might be saying that compared to a single player RPG the storyline and character development of an MMORPG are weak, because they rely on social interaction too make the game fun, not story or character development.

    Except not, since the primary thrust forward in many MMOs these days is .... story and character development.

    WoW sold itself (at least partially) on this very idea, got hugely successful because of it and then pushed it even further with every patch/expansion. And TOR is going gang-busters pushing it further.

    Shit, your whole point here is kinda silly since a large part of WoW's success has been pushing a lack of necessity for social interaction to make the game or the narrative work. A huge part of their push has been to lower the social interaction barriers to doing stuff and it's payed off huge for them.

    To answer your question, shryke, yes. In fact, genre's of anything (books, tv shos, movies, games, etc.) are necessarily stagnant, because content is restricted by the defining characteristics of the genre itself. Stagnation the most probable outcome of breaking things into rigid categories and then acting as though those artificial boundaries actually mean something. Also, the business model of game making, like movie making, must be naturally conservative and change resistant (ie.: stagnant) to continue to capitalize on assets/good features that have been discovered or created through past experience in a very risky business. Also, this should come as no real surprise considering the number of game makers that have gone under when just one of their games failed. Yes, making money off of video games can be a very cynical exercise. It's a for-profit business model, so why would it not be cynical?

    And yet MMOs are pushing themselves. In fact, MMOs almost necessitate it because success in the genre requires eating your competitions customers. As many figured out around the time of WoW's release and after, you have to make yourself something other then just "sorta like WoW, but not as good" to make it.

    That MMOs are expensive to develop means there's certain limitations, but we are still seeing lots of different companies trying different approaches.
    I agree with Darkewolfe: in absence of the social aspects, most MMOs are not really all that fun, because they're not really all that well made in terms of storyline, etc. Collaboration and communication are what make MMOs fun, in my experience. I mean, every time I've played an MMO without making sure to specifically meet up with people I already know and like, or being lucky enough to meet cool people through the game, they simply don't hold my interest. Games designed for single player only or primarily, tend to have much better single player entertainment levels, and better stories and character development, since this is the design focus. Probably the reason for this is time constraints: you have to sacrifice single player experience, because you only have time to perfect the multiplayer experience. A good example of this is Dawn Of War II, pretty good multiplayer action, but the single player campaign is super lame and restricted (because they ran out of time). As someone who has actually made a game (not a production level game, but a real RTS nonetheless) I can tell you that time constraints also massively limit the amount of cool and new things you can put in a game, and it means you have to reuse a whole lot. You build on the past, sometimes very explicitly. There must be a trade-off, or games would never be finished.

    This may be your opinion, but it's silly of you to pretend it's universal. As much you may say it's all about the social aspect and the gameplay and story suck or don't matter, it's not held out because the most successful MMO by miles is built on the opposite. Good gameplay, story and narrative heavy and as little social interaction as you can get while still being an MMO.

    Now they aren't as good as single player games, sure. This is mostly due to the constraints of playing in a massive multiplayer online format. (although there's been lots of experimentation and innovation on this front and still more being attempted) But they are still there, still a big draw and still improving. People it seems crave both since they want both the MMO aspect and the story/narrative aspect together, and are willing to suffer compromises on both fronts to see them put together.




    Oh wait:
    hanskey wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Anyway, getting away from the addiction discussion for a minute (partly at Darkwolfe's request), I provided a bunch of examples not just to talk about how games might be made less addictive, but also ways in which MMO gameplay has evolved. WoW is a very different experience from EQ partly because of the features I listed above.

    I think back to vanilla EQ, with no instancing, with open-world spawn camping, zone chat being spammed by trade requests and lfg requests, loot entirely from random drops... and I compare that to WoW with zone instancing, LFG features, auction houses, fast travel, and incremental rewards. It's hard for me to look at that and swallow the pill that MMOs have been stagnant. Maybe they've been stagnant since the Bush presidency, but not any longer than that.
    I appreciate your attempt, but I still come back to the fact that almost all the features you mention have originated outside of an MMO context. Therefore, MMOs are still not particularly innovative, nor should they be necessarily. Their business constraints make innovation rare, and stagnation the norm. Also, all those features are small incremental changes which are not necessarily mutually exclusive with stagnation.

    I guess this would explain it then. You think they are "stagnant" because you've restricted your idea of what counts as "innovative" to be ridiculously narrow.

    But then again, you are still wrong here because most of the ideas Feral mentioned don't appear outside the genre because outside of MMOs they don't make a lick of fucking sense.

    Instancing and phasing for instance are big steps forward that don't even make sense outside the genre.

    shryke on
  • BlendtecBlendtec PittsburghRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    Hi, long time reader, first time poster. I'd just like to point out Darkfall. It has a lot of what you're talking about, but it's still a huge grind and if you're not one of the old crowd or friends with them, tough luck. There's a reason not a lot of games do this, it's hard to get it right. It's tough when the only thing you can grind for and get rewarded with is items and land (or in Darkfall's case a really poorly done skill system) and people can simply take those things away from you. That's why having levels and such does work so well, not everyone is hardcore enough to start from square one every time they die.

    Blendtec on
    I also go by Twinkie in some games. Add me on Steam!
    steam_sig.png
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I kinda enjoy Guild Wars de-emphasis on levels and taking it even further would be pretty neat.

    Basically instead of levels, you get more skills that let you build different and more complex skill sets, rather then just hitting harder.

    shryke on
  • YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    Actually, many of those things are what turned me off of Eve. Why would I want the equivalent of a save game wipe when I die if it takes hundreds to thousands of real time hours (and money spent on those hours) to build yourself up to a respectable level?

    Guess I'm just not that hardcore. Having a job will do that.

    Many of those qualities are what attract people to roguelikes...

    In any case it's not an either-or case, you could have consequences to death without having it wipe everything out. In fact, that's the case in EVE, where with just a little bit of planning death is mostly consequence-free.

    Yougottawanna on
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Okay, correct me if I'm wrong here, but I thought the original purpose of charging a monthly fee was to support such large servers (and make a little extra while they were at it). This could still be true in some cases, but a few examples stand out for me:

    - World of Warcraft. Last I checked you can download the entire game for free.
    - Games like LoTRO and Champions Online that went to a F2P model with an optional cash shop.

    Neither of these use subscription fees primarily to support the servers. This draws a parallel to arcade games - they are designed around getting the maximum amount of money from the player (if you pay attention there are many, many little tricks they use to do this). The same can be said for MMOs - if your profit comes from monthly fees, you stretch out your game for as many months as you can. Looking at some of the design decisions made as a result, time investment is more important than entertainment value. For example, do you ever see new content made for beginning areas? No, it's always designed for the endgame. I can't state there is a defacto reason for this, but I'd theorize it's because there are more veteran players than new ones and companies can't recoup the losses from bored vets by drawing in new people.

    I feel like the whole genre suffers when the primary intent of the developer is to keep their hands in your pockets for as long as they can.

    Zombiemambo on
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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Your subscription fee supports infrastructure and continued development.

    Also, WoW is not free. You can download the game, but the game is useless without buying the license for the original game/expansions.

    shryke on
  • skyknytskyknyt likes to be thrown Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears".

    This is pretty much the kind of armchair "game design" that is hilariously naive about how people actually play games, especially MMOs. MMO game design seems bad from the perspective of a single player gamer, or a "realism" focused gamer. There are no concrete goals that you have to do to "win" in WoW, which makes it hard for someone comparing it to a single player game to apply the same criteria for it. "Where's my character development? Where's the story?" etc, "Why can I just teleport around? How come a level 1 dagger is literally 1/1000 as strong as a level 80 one?" etc.

    Ultimately though, the best MMOs allow players to interact with each other in meaningful, interesting ways. And this requires the game design to TAKE INTO ACCOUNT how people behave on the internet. (note that WoW has had fewer and fewer PVP servers as time goes by - that kind of play is much less popular, and harder to get new players on, so they convert them to PVE)

    It's really easy to point at EVE and say "That's how it should be done!" But EVE has a tiny niche audience and is absolutely, profoundly boring unless you're involved at the highest levels of play. This is often ignored by the folks that reference it as an example of how MMOs should be. I've played thousands and thousands of hours of all kinds of MUDs, and BBS door games, and asynchronous RP areas, and the kind of design that lets old players totally fuck up new players with no consequences is the kind of design that prevents its game from actually getting the new players that will inhabit that world, to replace the old players that die/quit, realism be damned.

    Unless a developer looks at and more importantly, understands, the trends that MMOs and online multiplayer games in general have explored, any game they make is doomed to failure, or at the very least, a niche audience that will suffer from attrition until it becomes unprofitable to even run the servers.

    An MMO needs to promote interesting interactions between its players while doing its best to cushion them from internet fuckwad behavior, and give them the tools to insulate themselves from players that fuck with them. This is what makes MMO design so difficult, and why there's a graveyard of dead MMOs from the past 3 years.

    skyknyt on
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  • RaernRaern Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    In almost every type of game I've played, including ones farther out from MMOs like Chess, Magic or Warhammer 40k, the real money is made from the vast numbers of casual players and not the few hardcore players who seem to be on top of the game.

    That's an issue when you're talking about game design because missing the casual market means missing out on the money, which is what the businesses are all about.

    There's room for both types of players in the same game obviously, but it's likely limiting game design just as much as uncreative money-grab games.

    The game I've seen the most theory written about is Magic, and some interesting points were made there. They had examples of cards they could print that a competitive player would recognise as being incredibly powerful, and a casual player would hate and consider to be unfun. (Specific example if you know Magic was a land card that read: T: Add one mana of any colour, remove the top card of your deck from the game.)

    It can be similar in a MMO. Casual players hate dying for example, so full-on PVP tends to drive them away. Meanwhile a lot of serious players want good PVP, and a lot of them aren't ashamed to say they want to be able to hunt players anytime, anywhere.

    Raern on
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    MMORPGs are brilliant game design, if you consider the aim of the game design to be "retain subscriptions, and thus revenue stream, as long as possible". It's no question that various mechanics inherent in all video games can be fun. The challenge is stretching them out so that an investment of time spent within a subscription rewards the player enough that they will keep the subscription.

    Folks often point to "the grind" (which is the primary factor in most MMOs that keep them ticking), but sometimes people stay in MMOs long after they have completed "the grind". Perhaps this is due to the social aspects of the game, or that the game offers content that is separate from "the grind" (in that it gives no inherent bonus to the character) but sought after nonetheless (clothes, custom looks, etc.). The availability of social tools can be considered part of the "game design"... after all, a crappy chat client or a poor matchmaking/partying system will make a person less likely to continue playing (and thus, continue paying money for the content).

    It's not inherently "bad" game design. It's just game design that has a different goal than "contained experience that tells a good story" or "procedurally generated content for infinite replayability until the user gets bored".

    The micropayment model is pretty interesting, because often the elements of the game are designed to add conveniences to the player that they pay for (often with a "company store" and "corporate scrip" motif) which gives desirable items without "the grind". Or exclusives that you can only pay money for. This isn't "bad" game design, but it's a design whose ultimate goal is to sell content from the micropayment shop.

    Having a "fun" game isn't counter to these goals, either, because people would not play the game if it wasn't fun. Unless you are a Gold Farmer or something.

    Hahnsoo1 on
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    PSN: Hahnsoo | MHGen: Hahnsoo, FC: 4141-2384-3379
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    I appreciate your attempt, but I still come back to the fact that almost all the features you mention have originated outside of an MMO context.

    Innovation means improvement, not just making something no one's ever seen before.

    Otherwise pretty much every video game ever is stagnant. Monday Night Combat? Nothing new. Everything they've come up with exist in other third person shooters and tower defense games. Heavy Rain? Both video games and movies have existed before. Nothing innovative there. Mass Effect? First person shooter, RPG, dialog, been done.

    Quid on
  • EchoEcho Where da waaagh at? Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    - World of Warcraft. Last I checked you can download the entire game for free.

    No you can't. You download the game client for free. Bandwidth costs are a drop in the ocean, and Blizzard uses torrent protocols for client/patch downloads anyway.

    WoW, the game, takes place on the servers you use the client to connect to. This is what they charge you for.

    So, Magic was mentioned earlier. I've been a bit curious about Magic. I like card games and board games, I tried a few rounds of Magic once with pre-made decks and liked it. But the whole collection aspect of CCGs turned me off completely.

    But it's what WotC makes money from - selling boosters with a bunch of random cards in them, and you hoping you score big and get rare cards. There's an entire after-market for selling/buying cards.

    For (nearly all) tournaments they ban cards from older sets. Can't have you playing with those old cards, go buy some new ones!

    That's why I'm more interested in Warhammer: Invasion. It's an LCG (Living Card Game) where you buy complete expansion packs instead. And each pack contains four non-random copies of all new cards (in both Magic and W:I you can't have more than four copies of a given card in your deck), so with one purchase you're all set.

    ...I don't really know where I'm going with this.

    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Echo wrote: »
    - World of Warcraft. Last I checked you can download the entire game for free.

    No you can't. You download the game client for free. Bandwidth costs are a drop in the ocean, and Blizzard uses torrent protocols for client/patch downloads anyway.

    WoW, the game, takes place on the servers you use the client to connect to. This is what they charge you for.

    So, Magic was mentioned earlier. I've been a bit curious about Magic. I like card games and board games, I tried a few rounds of Magic once with pre-made decks and liked it. But the whole collection aspect of CCGs turned me off completely.

    But it's what WotC makes money from - selling boosters with a bunch of random cards in them, and you hoping you score big and get rare cards. There's an entire after-market for selling/buying cards.

    For (nearly all) tournaments they ban cards from older sets. Can't have you playing with those old cards, go buy some new ones!

    That's why I'm more interested in Warhammer: Invasion. It's an LCG (Living Card Game) where you buy complete expansion packs instead. And each pack contains four non-random copies of all new cards (in both Magic and W:I you can't have more than four copies of a given card in your deck), so with one purchase you're all set.

    ...I don't really know where I'm going with this.

    The LCG's actually end up costing MORE than CCG's cost people who just buy the cards they want for constructed decks. The reason for this is those expansion packs contain four non-random copies of common cards, and only 1 or 2 copies of the rare cards. Thus, you have to buy four of each of the chapter booster packs if you want a full playset.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • EchoEcho Where da waaagh at? Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    The LCG's actually end up costing MORE than CCG's cost people who just buy the cards they want for constructed decks. The reason for this is those expansion packs contain four non-random copies of common cards, and only 1 or 2 copies of the rare cards. Thus, you have to buy four of each of the chapter booster packs if you want a full playset.

    No, that's what they moved away from. The Corruption Cycle packs have 40 cards - three copies of 10 common cards, one copy each of 10 uncommon cards.

    After that first cycle, they switched to packs with three copies of 20 different cards. And checking the rules again, you can only have three copies of a card in a deck. So after that first cycle, one pack gets you all the copies you need of the 20 cards in that pack.

    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I would like some new MMO's to make drastic changes. I enjoy the social aspect of a game, but also the PVP aspect. Nothing is better than ambushing some mook and taking all of his gear (something that many games eliminate because of how much it upsets some people to lose their gear).


    This is a wish list of things I'd like to see in a new MMO. Some of these things already exist in a game, but I think the combination of these things is what would make a game good.


    Fast or no leveling system, a level one character should potentially be able to kill a max level character if he catches him sleeping. I want to see some level of combat realism.


    Community building, any town past a few starter NPC villages should be completely player made. If players decide not to build communities? Everyone lives outside and is at risk of being killed and looted by other PC's and NPC's.

    No flagging for PVP, everyone is PVP all the time, no town guards either, or official records of peoples wrong doing. If someone runs around a popular city killing people when no one else is looking your going to need to remember his gamer tag and hope that you have enough reputation in the community that when you start your next character somebody does something about it.


    When you die you lose all items that were on your person.


    Every building in the game can be raided and destroyed, including your bank. If people from another town want to get together and rob your bank, well your bank might get robbed and you might be penniless.


    I want to be a part of a community where people actually have a reason to talk to, and to get to know each other. I want every event to be significant, and have purpose. I want an economy that does not include unlimited supplies of materials or gold coins.


    A lot of this is in EVE I know, but Eve is sci-fi. It's hard to connect to a guy you don't even see on a ship. Besides, space combat is a rather small niche. You make a western or midevil civilization with rules like this and WOW will officially be "for lamers and carebears"
    .
    The view of MMO design you're proposing is one that is not supported by market research on what the majority of MMO players are looking for. Most players are much more interested in the rewards in an MMO than the risks, and choose games accordingly. Meaning, they want a game with few, if any, death penalties and a system with no unconsensual PVP.

    There is a niche market for more open gameplay where anyone can murder you and take your stuff, but it's a fairly small niche. If what you suggested was atractive to a significant number of players, the good people who run WOW would have tried to tap that market. As has been mentioned, even the majority of EVE players don't venture out of high-sec space very often, if at all.

    And, frankly, game designers need to ignore anyone who calls other players "lamers and carebears." The "hardcorz" gamer demographic is impossible to please. They blow through content with 16 hour days of playing and demand incredibly unrealistic things from the game. For every "elite" gamer you make happy with a certain ridiculous change, you probably alienate 10 casual players.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Echo wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    The LCG's actually end up costing MORE than CCG's cost people who just buy the cards they want for constructed decks. The reason for this is those expansion packs contain four non-random copies of common cards, and only 1 or 2 copies of the rare cards. Thus, you have to buy four of each of the chapter booster packs if you want a full playset.

    No, that's what they moved away from. The Corruption Cycle packs have 40 cards - three copies of 10 common cards, one copy each of 10 uncommon cards.

    After that first cycle, they switched to packs with three copies of 20 different cards. And checking the rules again, you can only have three copies of a card in a deck. So after that first cycle, one pack gets you all the copies you need of the 20 cards in that pack.

    Oh, nice. Props to that.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Echo wrote: »
    So, Magic was mentioned earlier. I've been a bit curious about Magic. I like card games and board games, I tried a few rounds of Magic once with pre-made decks and liked it. But the whole collection aspect of CCGs turned me off completely.

    But it's what WotC makes money from - selling boosters with a bunch of random cards in them, and you hoping you score big and get rare cards. There's an entire after-market for selling/buying cards.

    For (nearly all) tournaments they ban cards from older sets. Can't have you playing with those old cards, go buy some new ones!

    The tournament formats you're referring to in the last sentence are Standard and Extended. They limit you to cards printed within the last 2 years and 4 years respectively. Most tournaments, but by no means all tournaments, are in those formats.

    There are also the 'eternal' formats, the most common of which is legacy, with no such restriction. That said, the economic hurdle to getting into competitive legacy is still a little high, as a lot of the viable decks rely on cards that go for $30-50. But there are a lot of legacy tournaments.

    My preferred format is Commander, which is a casual-friendly eternal format. We're kind of in an interesting time right now because Wizards just announced a couple of months ago that they're going to start officially supporting Commander. They're coming out with preconstructed Commander decks and Commander-friendly products this year.

    So will Commander stay casual-friendly, or will some of the popular cards in Commander start to go up in price as demand goes up? I dunno.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    An MMORPG and a single player RPG are two very different kinds of games. I'm not surprised you like one more than the other.

    Quid on
  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I usually have very little interest in the story a game has to tell, unless it's a particularly excellent one like Mass Effect. I'm going to reject any tenet of game design that holds storytelling as a necessary goal.

    There are games that integrated story into design in remarkable ways, like Shadow of the Colossus, which another poster in G&T (sorry, can't remember his name, and I don't really want to go looking for it with the server shitting its pants) astutely observed that a primary game mechanic is holding on, which is a direct metaphor for the main character holding on to his lost love.

    Yes, I would say that that was good game design. But a game can have no story to tell at all and still be well-designed.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    I usually have very little interest in the story a game has to tell, unless it's a particularly excellent one like Mass Effect. I'm going to reject any tenet of game design that holds storytelling as a necessary goal.

    There are games that integrated story into design in remarkable ways, like Shadow of the Colossus, which another poster in G&T (sorry, can't remember his name, and I don't really want to go looking for it with the server shitting its pants) astutely observed that a primary game mechanic is holding on, which is a direct metaphor for the main character holding on to his lost love.

    Yes, I would say that that was good game design. But a game can have no story to tell at all and still be well-designed
    .
    Do you mean in the context of an RPG or MMO? I have a tough time imagining a game in one of these genres that would be engaging without at least some sort of backstory going on. At the very least, there needs to be some sort of McGuffin explaining why the characters in-game are doing what they're doing.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I usually have very little interest in the story a game has to tell, unless it's a particularly excellent one like Mass Effect. I'm going to reject any tenet of game design that holds storytelling as a necessary goal.

    There are games that integrated story into design in remarkable ways, like Shadow of the Colossus, which another poster in G&T (sorry, can't remember his name, and I don't really want to go looking for it with the server shitting its pants) astutely observed that a primary game mechanic is holding on, which is a direct metaphor for the main character holding on to his lost love.

    Yes, I would say that that was good game design. But a game can have no story to tell at all and still be well-designed
    .
    Do you mean in the context of an RPG or MMO? I have a tough time imagining a game in one of these genres that would be engaging without at least some sort of backstory going on. At the very least, there needs to be some sort of McGuffin explaining why the characters in-game are doing what they're doing.

    I mean in game design in general, not in the context of any particular genre. One of the theses in this thread from multiple posters (Darkwolfe and hanskey particularly) is that MMOs are poorly-designed in comparison to other games (presumably, single-player RPGs, but perhaps other genres too) because they don't tell a story very well. My response is that a game does not need to tell a story well to be well-designed. Since we're comparing games across genres, I can't limit my argument to any specific genre.

    And you're right, it is hard to imagine an MMO without a story. That said, I've noticed a bit of a trend in smaller indie games (not necessarily MMOs) to have a gratuitously thin story that is obviously just a Macguffin for the game play. I could see an MMO doing that.

    However, there are obviously a lot of players who really care about the story (Vorthos in Magic: the Gathering parlance) so would such a game be sacrificing potential commercial success with such a strategy? Probably. At the same time, we can easily imagine a game that was well-designed, but not commercially successful for whatever reason.

    That's why I take the position that storytelling adds value to a game but is not a necessary condition of good game design.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I personally think it would be fucking hilarious for an MMO tutorial to literally say, "Okay, I need you to go get the Fire Plot Ticket, the Water Plot Ticket, the Air Plot Ticket, and the Earth Plot Ticket. Why? Because you're the hero and I'm the NPC. Get those, and I'll give you the Sword of Unobtanium so you can smite the Big Bad. I'll be waiting right here for you!"

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I don't think that storyline is a necessary component of MMO design, unless the premise of the interaction between players is predicated on that story. Example: WoW is driven by the story. We are all interacting because we need to bring down the big baddies to save the world.

    I can totally envision a Minecraft MMO where there is no story given to us from the outset that drives the greater game. Although it would still be cool for the game designers to have their own story, which helped drive their design (ancient ruins placed have their own internal backstory. This isn't shared with the players through the game, but thematically it carries through to make everything seem tied together.)

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • BeckBeck Registered User
    edited April 2011
    A forum I like called Selectbutton runs a podcast, and a while back they did an episode on MMORPGs. Much of their discussion focuses on Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft, but they are ballsy enough to call out Bioware's StarWars MMO for what it is (a load of shit) so, when they skirt from those topics it's certainly worthwhile.

    You can find it here, if interested.

    I'm far more interested in MMOs as game systems. Honestly, I find them wholly uninteresting spaces for traditional narratives. But player created narratives? Hell yes. And Star Wars Galaxies did a great job of doing that, through player made cities, player run economies, and huge hilarious PVP encounters. And it's such a shame that Sony killed that game, because it's still the most innovative MMO I have played. Yeah, it was terribly broken, but it was certainly interesting.

    World of Warcraft is a cool game, and there's an idea I really like in that podcast: Packaging the PVP game as a stand-alone product. I've quit WoW as raiding really doesn't appeal to me, but I do enjoy the PVP in that game, and I would continue to play it if there were an easier way to do that: Simply selecting the character I want to play, and having immediate access to full PVP sets would be fantastic.

    Beck on
    Lucas's Franklin Badge reflected the lightning back!
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    However, RPGs are entirely based around the concept of role-playing a character in a participatory story telling environment, where the GM/DM and players live out the story as they play within the framework established by the DM/GM and the rule system. So yeah, to me story is critical to a good RPG, whether it is an MMORPG, single player real-time RPG, turn-based single player RPG, or fucking table-top RPGs.

    Except that you can have a video game RPG with a solid, well-written, and engaging story that allows the player far less participatory input than most MMOs.

    Also, the free-form sandbox style of MMO such as EVE and to an even further extreme Second Life provide far more tools for a player to create their own "story telling environment" than simply following the linear plot of a single player game.

    Of course, if you enjoy a structured narrative then obviously a single-player game with an emphasis on structured narrative is going to be more to your liking, but that doesn't make the differences between those games and MMOs into "bad design" by any reasonable definition.

    Lawndart on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    ...the primary thrust forward in many MMOs these days is .... story and character development. WoW sold itself (at least partially) on this very idea...
    Well I guess they sold you anyway, but I'm not impressed. In most modern video games they claim story and character dev are super important, but the reality is in the numbers. The smallest cost component in game developing is still for the writing, which includes character development as a facet. The writers are paid shit, so very few good writers will take the job, and therefore the writing is poor. This is a common issue way beyond MMORPGs and WoW, and a heavily written on topic within the gaming community, so I'm surprised your unaware of how un-important story really is when you consider their actual investment in it. Plus, even the games that have better writing still got it at bottom dollar pricing. Often Japanese games avoid this trap, because they're development process is closer, in some ways, to movie production. However, I still find the writing poor compared to most single player games (RPGs especially) and I think there are story development difficulties inherent in the structure of MMORPGs which have brought this about (as you mention). For me, the best part of RPGs is participating in an interesting story, even in a tabletop game. That makes poor writing and the lack of attention to writing a big problem in my book. Not to say other can't have fun with it, but I'd rather get on a single player RPG or get together with friends for a tabletop game, personally.
    shryke wrote: »
    ...And yet MMOs are pushing themselves. In fact, MMOs almost necessitate it because success in the genre requires eating your competitions customers. As many figured out around the time of WoW's release and after, you have to make yourself something other then just "sorta like WoW, but not as good" to make it....
    I'm afraid this really doesn't do much to support your point. I recognize there is increasing pressure on MMORPG makers to finally catch up to single player games story telling levels, but that just highlights that they have not yet achieved it. Why is there a push to get better - because it's not all that good right now. Also, any mature VG genre has to find competitive advantage, because success requires stealing business away from competitors, as you say. What I'm saying is that story as competitive advantage is not unique to MMORPGs.

    And? What does this have to do with anything being discussed?

    Look, MMO story-telling is obviously behind single-player RPG story-telling. This isn't strictly a matter of being "behind the times" but rather a matter of design restrictions. The MMO part of MMORPG changes the RPG part on a fairly fundamental level. When you have more then 1 player, you need to design the story differently. New technologies and design ideas are still being created and refined right now, as we speak, to bridge that gap while still maintaining the MMO part of the description. We call this "innovation"*.

    And this progression is, in fact, a major selling point. This is the big thing that seems to sell MMOs these days. Writing may not be a priority in the sense of hiring some real writers, but presentation of the story is what ALOT of money is dumped into. To take WoW, the most development in an expansion goes into things like new zones and new quests. That's ALOT of time and money, all sacrificed on the altar of more and better story-telling. It's the big selling point. It's the biggest part of what you shell out $50 for every few years when getting the expansion. It's a major focus of development.

    *Then again, considering your ridiculous interpretation of "innovation", where nothing can be innovative if it's ever been done before anywhere else in any sort of slightly similar form, ... well honestly, your definition is so terribly silly there's no way to end this sentence without just calling your definition goosery and moving on.
    shryke wrote: »
    Now they aren't as good as single player games, sure. This is mostly due to the constraints of playing in a massive multiplayer online format. (although there's been lots of experimentation and innovation on this front and still more being attempted) But they are still there, still a big draw and still improving. People it seems crave both since they want both the MMO aspect and the story/narrative aspect together, and are willing to suffer compromises on both fronts to see them put together.
    This point is interesting, but it doesn't really support your argument, because you are mostly just talking about what gamers want not what MMORPGs actually provide. Again you offer your opinon that MMORPGs are improving, but behind single player RPGs, and while I think that improvement is good, all that does is point out that there is room for improvement which is all I'm saying to begin wtih.

    Um ... what? I'm talking about both. MMOs provide it, gamers want it, so the MMOs that provide it best sell more and thus more MMOs try to provide it better. In this case, it's things like "storytelling". This isn't opinion, this is exactly what you are seeing if you pay any attention to the MMO scene.

    And there is room for improvement in any genre, so I'm not sure why you are even mentioning it. MMOs are stuck behind single player RPGs because of other elements of the design, but that's meaningless. It's like saying FPS are behind RPGs in having levels and upgrades. It's just ... meaningless.
    shryke wrote: »
    Oh wait:
    hanskey wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    ...WoW with zone instancing, LFG features, auction houses, fast travel, and incremental rewards...
    ...I still come back to the fact that almost all the features you mention have originated outside of an MMO context...
    I guess this would explain it then. You think they are "stagnant" because you've restricted your idea of what counts as "innovative" to be ridiculously narrow. But then again, you are still wrong here because most of the ideas Feral mentioned don't appear outside the genre because outside of MMOs they don't make a lick of fucking sense. Instancing and phasing for instance are big steps forward that don't even make sense outside the genre.
    First let me state that the stagnation discussion is really irrelevant to the thread topic, but in the interest of addressing the nastiest statement toward me in your post I will revisit this useless tangent once more. I have repeatedly said that I don't really have a problem with stagnation and I don't think stagnation necessarily produces bad games. Also, stagnation for me does not require complete lack of movement at all. I will admit that when I look at the feature list again, some of those features did originate in the MMORPG sphere, but not a majority. Here's the breakdown:
    1. Instancing simply allows gamers to make a LAN party adventure without having to host on your own machine. You might not be aware of this, Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 pioneered this feature for Blizzard, they just didn't call it instancing. While it was somewhat tricky to use, I think the NWN implementation is still better than WoW, because NWN allowed you to create a full adventure as a DM and live mediate it in a interactive way that more closely mimics tabletop RPGs. So do I think WoW's version is super innovative - no. Is it an innovation within MMORPGs - yes. Is LAN partying old as dirt - hell to the yes!
    2. It is debatable whether or not the auction houses are a good thing from what I've heard from fans I know. Also, since this is a mostly out-of gameplay feature I don't really think it makes the gaming in WoW better than a single player RPG, though it might make WoW better than some other MMORPGs for those who actually like the feature.
    3. Fast Travel is one of the oldest RPG features there is. Even Diablo had a mechanism for this. It's nice that WoW allows it, but it is not an innovation coming from MMORPGs, and MMORPGs adopted this feature many, many years after the first implementation of fast travel in single player RPGs.
    4. LFG - LFG features, while not called as such until WoW, were actually pioneered in multiplayer FPS. Again, it's nice that WoW is a game that does this, but they are definitely "tardy to the pardy" on that feature as well.
    5. Incremental rewards originated in single player RPGs.
    Other innovations that MMORPGs have implemented, but did not originate: 2D graphics, 3Dgraphics, HUD, mini-map, Real-Time Gameplay, stereo sound, surround sound, cut-scenes, RPG rule systems, etc.

    Wow, this is just so so silly on your part.

    Instancing is not a LAN party you dolt. Because instancing is taking you out of persistant world, putting you in your own personal one for a bit, and then dropping you back at the end. The point here is the "persistant world". You know, the whole MMO thing. I mean really...



    Look, let's sum this up nice and neat:

    You don't seem to understand that an MMORPG and an RPG are not the same beast. Not in design, not in implementation. The MMO part is not just some lazy growth on the RPG core, it's a fundamental shift in design intent that changes the whole thing. These 2 things are not the same. You are comparing apples to oranges when you talk about this shit.

    Also, your definition of "innovation" terrible.

    shryke on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    An MMORPG and a single player RPG are two very different kinds of games. I'm not surprised you like one more than the other.
    Neither am I. However, I know a number of people that would claim to enjoy both about the same, so what you're saying is a bit of an over-generalization and not germane to the discussion at hand. If MMORPGs had better quality single player functionality I would be more interested, but I haven't seen it yet and I've been looking for it.

    So basically, if MMOs weren't MMOs, you'd like them better.

    Um .....

    Feral wrote: »
    That's why I take the position that storytelling adds value to a game but is not a necessary condition of good game design.
    I never claimed that story is a fundamental requirement for all good games, just RPGs. You are incorrectly restating what I said there. Clearly with racing games, puzzle games, strategy games including RTS, and sim-type games, action side-scrollers, etc. story is far less important to the game, and so a game can have very little story and still be really good.

    However, RPGs are entirely based around the concept of role-playing a character in a participatory story telling environment, where the GM/DM and players live out the story as they play within the framework established by the DM/GM and the rule system. So yeah, to me story is critical to a good RPG, whether it is an MMORPG, single player real-time RPG, turn-based single player RPG, or fucking table-top RPGs.

    Except they do provide this, they just do it differently then all the other genres you mentioned because they are fundamentally different, what with the whole MMO part.

    Single Player RPGs range in story-telling quality and freedom all over the map. As do MMOs to a certain extent, it's just a different map because it's a different type of game.

    That you dislike the different range doesn't make them "bad design", it makes them not what you want.

    shryke on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Except that you can have a video game RPG with a solid, well-written, and engaging story that allows the player far less participatory input than most MMOs.
    Yes, and those single player RPGs are not as good as those which achieve a better balance between story and freedom of choice, and have lower replay-ablilty as a result.

    No, it makes them different, not worse. Oblivion vs Dragon Age is a difference in design intent, not quality. (at least in respect to what you are talking about)
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Of course, if you enjoy a structured narrative then obviously a single-player game with an emphasis on structured narrative is going to be more to your liking, but that doesn't make the differences between those games and MMOs into "bad design" by any reasonable definition.
    No offense, but I don't need your reasonable definition, just my own, because I don't consult you on what games to fucking buy, just myself, and sometimes my friends. You have an opposing opinion to mine and that is fine, but your definition of a poor design is also just another opinion, so I'm not changing my mind. The entire topic is an opinion fest, and my opinion is that lack of a good story and ongoing expenses are inherent to the design of MMORPGs, and are issues which prevent me from buying them. Therefore, my opinion is that they are poorly designed, in part because they don't really need to be good designs to be successful in the marketplace.

    I have long since developed my own strategy which is to stick with single player RPGs, and when an MMORPG comes around that seems decent to me I will check it out as I always do.: let my buddies early adopt and try it at their place.

    Firstly, the reason people are arguing with you here is because you are confusing your preference with design quality. I prefer Turn-based strategy games to RTS, but that doesn't make Starcraft 2 "bad design" because it's not turn-based.

    Secondly, your idea that "they don't really need to be good designs to be successful in the marketplace" is just silly. As I've said many times now, good design is what sells your MMO and the MMO scene is, in many ways, more competitive since people can only really play 1, maybe 2 for the hardcore, MMOs at once. Monthly fees mean you can't share a user base with another company. Not easily anyway. Shit the specific design things you are talking about (ie - storytelling) is a major selling point of MMOs. They are constantly working to improve it because you need good design on that front to be successful in (certain very large sectors) of the MMO marketplace.

    shryke on
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