Searching: an MMO with non-combat utility.

AlopexAlopex Registered User
edited August 2012 in MMO Extravaganza
I've searched for a very long time, now, for an MMO which captures that special feeling of cooperative exploration, that feeling of progression that only comes from using the variation within classes to overcome an obstacle in the environment.

Like the single-player games that let you control multiple "classes", one at a time, making you switch between them to proceed. Like X-Men Legends, Trine, Golden Sun, Secret of Mana, Mystical Ninja Goemon, Donkey Kong 64, and the awesome-but-too-short original Last Airbender game on the GBA, among many others I've forgotten.

Instead of one player switching around, I want to be in a party of multiple players, all using their class' particular gifts on their own whenever they are needed - solving a puzzle or just clearing an obstacle.

I haven't really found one, yet, though. No luck whatsoever. WoW had it at first (granting underwater breathing, water-walking, slow-falling, lock-picking), but never bothered to make much use of those skills - and all it focuses on now is holy trinity combat raids. City of Heroes teased (granting group invisibility, group teleporting, group flight) but also never made much use of those skills. GW, LOTRO, EQ, Champions Online, DCU... I tried them all and none have really even bothered to approach the topic.
I read once that SW:TOR was doing something similar (if someone in the party had enough points in hacking or something they could hack into a terminal and open up a new path for the party to take, offering more loot than otherwise attainable), but apparently this concept was never made into anything significant either.

I want to offer more than just battle-based things like damage, healing, or CC. I want to build an ice bridge so our party can cross this obstacle and keep fighting. Haven't been able to do that in an MMO yet.

So now here I am. I figured that if any community would have the collective knowledge large enough to know what I'm searching for, it would be PA.

I'd love any suggestions!

Alopex on

Posts

  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    A game like this does not exist because it is poor game design. As you mentioned, WoW tried it during its rough early years (Dire Maul tribute runs being the one instance where they went whole-hog trying it out), and ditched it for a reason. Being told "Sorry, you cannot complete this instance unless you have a rogue in your party" is a gigantic pain in the ass.

    Garthor on
  • SquiddyBiscuitSquiddyBiscuit Registered User regular
    I guess DDO kinda does that, as you in the early-middle of the game need rougies to disable traps and unlock doors.
    In addition to that there are various attribute and skill checks that open up secret rooms and allows for some alternative ways of completing quests.

    It's still mostly about just killing mobs, but as it is free it's worth checking it out - there's even a PA guild for the game.

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  • AlopexAlopex Registered User
    edited August 2012
    Garthor wrote: »
    A game like this does not exist because it is poor game design. As you mentioned, WoW tried it during its rough early years (Dire Maul tribute runs being the one instance where they went whole-hog trying it out), and ditched it for a reason. Being told "Sorry, you cannot complete this instance unless you have a rogue in your party" is a gigantic pain in the ass.

    In the example you outlined, yes it would be pretty bad game design. That's not exactly how it would work, though.

    It could be like the SW:TOR example I mentioned, for one. The instance can be completed as per normal, but might be completed faster or grant access to more loot/quests if someone in the party has a particular non-combat skill. Wouldn't be essential to the completion of the instance, but would make the overall experience more substantial.

    Or it could be like X-Men Legends, where more than one "class" can achieve the same "goal". You could have Iceman make a bridge, or you could fly Storm over and press a switch to create a bridge. Or teleport with Nightcrawler and do the same.
    In WoW, for example, you could have a Mage or a Shaman make an ice bridge, or you could have a Druid make a vine bridge, or have a Hunter shoot a rope over. Having any one of those classes in the group would be sufficient to overcome the obstacle. And it would at least encourage semi-varied party make-up.

    There are things a smart developer could do to make the concept work, easily. But I digress, this is not a post to suggest that, but a post asking if something like that already exists. If it doesn't, then I am a sad goose. Hopefully someone has a hidden gem, though.

    But I will have a look at DDO, Squiddy. It's F2P, so I've got nothing to lose. Thanks!

    Alopex on
  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    The way you outline is still bad game design. It is, literally, "punish players for not bringing rogues". Saying "it's actually a reward for bringing rogues!" is precisely not how players will feel about it. The actual, realistic alternative would be if there are mutually-exclusive options available in every instance for every class with rewards that are reasonably-well balanced (reasonably-well meaning the exact same material rewards but content that is mostly equivalent, so that one path would inevitably be regarded as "easier" but not to such a degree that players would feel compelled to pursue that path as often as possible), in which case you would again simply have homogenization which I get the impression you would not like.

    Encouraging "varied party makeup" actually does no such thing. What it encourages is "you must have one of these party makeups". Want to screw around with a five-druid group? NOPE SORRY YOU NEED A HUNTER LOL STOP TRYING TO HAVE FUN IDIOTS. Blizzard learned (and others copied) rather quickly that having any sort of barrier to actually playing the damn game is something people don't like, and having to delay an instance because you need to find the "right" classes is one of those barriers.

    As for DDO... I'd totally forgotten about that. I've actually tried the game, and did not find it particularly enjoyable. There are an absurd number of mechanics present in the game which are accepted solely for the fact that they are present in D&D, and they work there because there is a DM present to tweak the experience to accommodate the party, rather than the party being forced to jump through hoops to accommodate what the game wants. I do recall there was some amount of "BET YOU WISH YOU BROUGHT A ROGUE (or a bard, but bards have always sucked so nobody actually wishes they'd have brought one) NOW, HUH?!" to that game, though, so go wild.

    Garthor on
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  • SeidkonaSeidkona Had an upgrade Registered User regular
    Lotro Has a 3-man dungeon that's based on this concept. Not many people run it because they don't want to go through it without the perfect group.

    the idea is that there are three items in the dungeon that are clickable by only a certain group of classes. If you have one from each of the three groups you get a bonus.

    Mostly just huntin' monsters.
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  • CorehealerCorehealer The Apothecary The softer edge of the universe.Registered User regular
    It's better to play an MMO that has fluid class roles that can change as situations necessitate. MMOs are more about social networking and overcoming challenges with others because of their massively multiplayer nature. Having a class system that allows for specialization as well as a variety of different builds and jack of all trade style gameplay is preferable to trying to force specific class roles and group compositions on players.

    People should be able to play however they want with their friends and comrades and feel like they are contributing, while still having fun fulfilling their character's archetype/role and kicking ass. They roleplay better and become invested in their characters and the game itself more when they find a balance between teamwork, personal skill elevation, choice and personal enjoyment. Skill and not gear or class should determine whether an encounter fails or succeeds.

    Also what Garthor said. Game design, barriers to entry, etc. Games can't afford to be too inclusive to the point of dumbing down all the challenge and adversity that provides a fair bit of the enjoyment for many people, but at the same time, shoehorning class requirements into content and game design in any game genre beyond a very fundamental level is silly and will only result in pissing people off, challenge or no.

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  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    look into Wildstar., it isn't out yet but it has this in spades.

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  • AlopexAlopex Registered User
    I don't think the mechanics would be anywhere near as divisive and off-putting as you're both making it seem. I mean, the X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance games were popular and well-received, and people enjoyed them because they could "main" someone specific in a multiplayer scenario and could solve puzzles and pwn mobs together.

    MMORPG's have all thus far completely lacked that puzzle element present in single-player RPGs or co-op action-RPGs. The focus on battle, battle, battle, Holy Trinity, Holy Trinity, is I think precisely what is causing the genre to stagnate and lose steam.

    Especially in a game like WoW, where you have access to all your skills all the time, it would be painfully easy to make challenges that are mutually overcome by several classes, like I described above. I think the amount of people getting enjoyment out of the "puzzle-esque" aspect would be vastly louder than the ones QQ'ing about "WTF Blizz no Druid-only run?! Cancelled!!"
    In a game like Secret World, one player could choose to devote a large chunk of their skill choices to these "interactive skills", so others in their "guild" could focus on the "Holy Trinity min-maxing skills".

    I mean, you guys have outlined the potential problems, yes, but environment interaction would at least do something to shake things up. There are surely just as many pros (or more) as there are cons, which I think at least makes the idea worth exploring. Exploring is the number 1 thing I want from a massive open-world MMO - and I want exploring to be more than just holding W.
    look into Wildstar., it isn't out yet but it has this in spades.

    Thanks for the tip! How did you find out it has that in spades, though? I can't seem to find much info on their website.

  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    Dev diaries and such. Each class choice has a thing it does. Like literally the classes break down into killing shit, collecting shit and exploring shit.

    So each has very distinct things only they can do.

    So they've talked about ways that'll work out in multi. Like the explorer being able to climb up to a cliff to grab our trigger something the others can't, or bosses that have special weaknesses and such only the science/collector person can expose.

    So the intent is there. We'll see how it works out.

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  • Foolish ChaosFoolish Chaos Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Second ddo. Its less about needing x class to progress, and more about having abilities that make you feel uniquely helpful to your group.

    For example, there is one early dungeon which has various runes and levers which require certain stats to activate. So you might have a rogue find the hidden door, a wizard cast a strength buff on the fighter, and the fighter pulls the lever behind the door.

    Its not like you needed specifically these classes to solve this, either.

    While I appreciate alot of new mmos adapting a style of "you can have a composition of literally anything and progress!", I still enjoy playing games like ddo with a group of friends, where we can plan out our party and decide who should have what skills and whatnot

    Foolish Chaos on
  • Hunter_KillersHunter_Killers Registered User regular
    Garthor wrote: »
    A game like this does not exist because it is poor game design. As you mentioned, WoW tried it during its rough early years (Dire Maul tribute runs being the one instance where they went whole-hog trying it out), and ditched it for a reason. Being told "Sorry, you cannot complete this instance unless you have a rogue in your party" is a gigantic pain in the ass.

    Except you never needed a rogue to complete it. I usually ended up doing all the objectives myself as the tank. They did far worse restricting people with heroic raids.

    DDO is the only game I could think of.

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  • IshtaarIshtaar Fun is underrated. Registered User regular
    Alopex wrote:
    Instead of one player switching around, I want to be in a party of multiple players, all using their class' particular gifts on their own whenever they are needed - solving a puzzle or just clearing an obstacle.

    Trine 2 co-op the MMO, I like it.

    But yeah, as people have mentioned, it only hurts if it's too specialized. You'd end up having to exclude people based on nothing but class alone. Something like this would be fun, and it's very Trine-y:
    Alopex wrote: »
    Or it could be like X-Men Legends, where more than one "class" can achieve the same "goal". You could have Iceman make a bridge, or you could fly Storm over and press a switch to create a bridge. Or teleport with Nightcrawler and do the same.

    Although this thread is probably going to be locked soon, a generic MMO thread could be kind of neat... This one spawned some good discussion go far, eh, eh? I always feel bad bringing up swtor in the wow thread or gw2 in the swtor thread.

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  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Garthor wrote: »
    A game like this does not exist because it is poor game design. As you mentioned, WoW tried it during its rough early years (Dire Maul tribute runs being the one instance where they went whole-hog trying it out), and ditched it for a reason. Being told "Sorry, you cannot complete this instance unless you have a rogue in your party" is a gigantic pain in the ass.

    Except you never needed a rogue to complete it. I usually ended up doing all the objectives myself as the tank. They did far worse restricting people with heroic raids.

    DDO is the only game I could think of.

    You're right, I was misremembering. There was a boss you could have a rogue pickpocket the key off of, but you could also get the key from a chest, though I think you would need to clear more enemies to get to it (unless you specifically had a druid, the only other stealth class).

    Garthor on
  • AlopexAlopex Registered User
    Second ddo. Its less about needing x class to progress, and more about having abilities that make you feel uniquely helpful to your group.

    For example, there is one early dungeon which has various runes and levers which require certain stats to activate. So you might have a rogue find the hidden door, a wizard cast a strength buff on the fighter, and the fighter pulls the lever behind the door.

    Its not like you needed specifically these classes to solve this, either.

    While I appreciate alot of new mmos adapting a style of "you can have a composition of literally anything and progress!", I still enjoy playing games like ddo with a group of friends, where we can plan out our party and decide who should have what skills and whatnot

    This sounds awesome. That's pretty much exactly the type of interaction I was hoping to find. So I'll definitely give DDO a shot and hopefully they don't restrict these types of experiences to early content only and then forget about them later on.
    Dev diaries and such. Each class choice has a thing it does. Like literally the classes break down into killing shit, collecting shit and exploring shit.

    So each has very distinct things only they can do.

    So they've talked about ways that'll work out in multi. Like the explorer being able to climb up to a cliff to grab our trigger something the others can't, or bosses that have special weaknesses and such only the science/collector person can expose.

    So the intent is there. We'll see how it works out.

    Definitely sounds like something I want to keep my eye on. May end up being niche, but at least I know I'll fall within that niche! If they pull it off well, it's the kind of gameplay I might actually pay a subscription for (though maybe not $15 bucks a month). Looking forward to that beta!

  • korodullinkorodullin What. SCRegistered User regular
    The Old Republic does have this, kind of, at least in earlier Flashpoints/Instances. There are different nodes you can click on if you have the right tradeskill and it'll either give you a bit of help (like Scavenging an old busted medical droid to give you a short-term healer ally) or to provide a shortcut (Slicing an elevator to skip a nontrivial amount of trash mobs).

    It pretty much disappears completely later on though.

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  • tedrick79tedrick79 Registered User regular
    It sounds like you are need of some MMO sim! Try out Wurm Online, ATITD, or EVE Online. Unlike the rest of the field there is value in what is lost and won reflected in a fair amount of time or a small amount of actual wealth. I am unsure if any of the three are fun though - they are exciting from time to time (less so for ATITD which is mostly like Facebook in ancient Egypt with buildings(no combat)). All 3 have trials so if you have not checked them out do so. Some people love them, others hate them.

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    I will also recommend DDO. The game is structured very differently from other MMOs. The main content revolves around instanced dungeons, which are specifically narrated and planned out so that you can solve puzzles and kill interesting encounters with a mix of party members. You will often need a rogue to unlock doors/chests (disarming traps, too) or a wizard to unlock runes. You will most definitely need a healer. Some of the more difficult puzzle require a class with Evasion (like Monk or Rogue) to dodge past spinning death traps. Other puzzles require a character with a lot of strength to open doors or pull levers.

    The puzzles get more intricate and interesting as you progress, which also means that the early content can be a bit generic without much class distinction (you'll still want to run with a rogue and a healer in your party). So it's probably the opposite of what you are fearing (early class distinction with none at later content). If you are stuck soloing, there are cheap hirelings that are available to assist you to cover a particular class.

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