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General: MMOWTF: Adult MMORPGs

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

Are mainstream adult oriented MMOGs like Age of Conan and 2Moons a true step forward for the genre or a simple gimmick? Dan Fortier explores the question in MMOWTF.




The previous incarnation of the 2Moons publisher, Acclaim, was famous for their mature content titles. Having released games like BMX XXX and video game conversions of franchises such as South Park and WWF, they are not newcomers to producing these kinds of titles. Even if this is a new company under an old name, it comes as no shock then that they are very supportive of this venture. The game itself is a conversion of a Korean game called Dekaron which is billed as an extreme action game. It seems like the tempo of the game will be carried over and I can imagine that doing the English voice-overs for the profanity would be one of the many tasks in localizing this to a Western audience.

I'm not sure what the effects of keeping kiddies out of the game will do for this title, but I salute them for their guts either way. I can only wish the 2Moons team luck in their venture to gain a following here, since Korean games aren't really my cup of tea. Perhaps a slash 'em up MMO will be more successful than the more grind oriented conversions of the past, because we definitely don't need another RF Online.

The full article is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

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Comments

  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Newport News, VAPosts: 5,615Member

    Best article he has done to date.




    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • Jade6Jade6 HelsinkiPosts: 429Member

    It never ceases to amaze me how "adult" and "mature" mean sex + violence, as opposed to, for example, complexity and depth. Oh well, I'm a European, so I'm pretty sure that I will never really understand you yanks anyway. image

    I will say one thing though: crying blue murder every time a computer game shows some skin (or blood), while at the same time most of your average rap music videos have more p0rn in them than all computer games to date combined, plus lyrics that glorify violence, seems a bit strange to me; yet kids can watch those as much as they like. Or they can watch your army kill people for real in Iraq. Not pointing fingers here, just saying the stuff is already out there.

  • TheutusTheutus Destin, FLPosts: 624Member Uncommon
    Responsible perants censor what they don't want their children to see on TV using channel locks and such. Just because its there doesn't mean you have to let them do what they want.
  • Distortion0Distortion0 Sheppton, PAPosts: 668Member
    Your title disapoints me. What is the difference between a Gimick and Innovation? I mean, often innovation is a gimick! Look at hybrid cars: higher miles to the gallon and being environmentaly friendly is both an innovation adn a gimick.
  • Jade6Jade6 HelsinkiPosts: 429Member



    Originally posted by Theutus
    Responsible perants censor what they don't want their children to see on TV using channel locks and such.


    Doesn't that pretty much eliminate everything that's on TV?
  • Distortion0Distortion0 Sheppton, PAPosts: 668Member



    Originally posted by Jade6



    Originally posted by Theutus
    Responsible perants censor what they don't want their children to see on TV using channel locks and such.

    Doesn't that pretty much eliminate everything that's on TV?


    It depends on how twisted your values are. Some weirdos actually think that the Wiggles is good for their child image
  • CowinspaceCowinspace Uddingston, ScotlandPosts: 671Member

    As someone already said adult/mature does not equal gore, graphic nudity and foul language. It is in fact the exact opposite as most of these 'mature' games only really appeal to kids.

    To me a mature is dealing with issues and complexities that most children would not have the abilities or experiences to comprehend.


    image

  • VociferorVociferor DunfermlinePosts: 98Member

     

    I think Dan is quite right to suggest that the mature content in AoC will be to add a 'grittier' feel to the game.  Robert E. Howard's world was brutal to say the least, very much reminiscent of darwinian theories (survival of the fittest) and of the Neitzsche style of brutally realistic cynicism.  Making a cosy, cuddly version to tone it down and make it acceptable to parents would not do this world justice and would alienate another group of customers anyway.  Not sure if CPI (Conan Properties International) has had any influence on the mature rating or not but the Conan fans would be 'none-too-chuffed' I imagine.



    Originally posted by Cowinspace
    As someone already said adult/mature does not equal gore, graphic nudity and foul language. It is in fact the exact opposite as most of these 'mature' games only really appeal to kids.




    As Cowinspace posts, I agree, I think the mature content label would have the effect of appealing more to young teenage boys than any other demographic group that play MMO's and the issue, as Dan quite rightly raises, is:

    How can you be sure that someone on the other side of an internet connection is in fact an adult if they are determined to play?

    It will be interesting to see the effects of the mature rated games.

  • DajminDajmin LondonPosts: 54Member

    I sort of agree with Vociferor in that I think teenagers would be more drawn to something that is a little risquee than they would to something with a 3+ tag. But at the same time I've always been very anti-corporate censorship and don't think something should be removed just to appease the wig-wearing old-school 90-year-old bureaucrats - after all, they're not the majority market here.

    The fantasy genre has always been about buxom wenches wearing very little and musclebound guys running about in a loincloth waving a sword around. You can't have weapons without violence, and a fantasy game without weapons isn't living up to what people want from the genre.

    So release whatever product you want, stick an advisory label on it (T or 16+ or whatever the ESRB uses these days) and see what happens. I think more people will be turned away by inaccurate or unbelievable content than they would by a bit of wanton violence. On the other hand, if it's just gore for the sake of gore then it's a bit pointless.

    As for trying to figure out the real age of the person at the other end of the connection? That's not the company's problem. If the store sells a game without asking for proof of age, then the parents allow their child to use their credit card without asking what it's for, then they have absolutely no comeback if that child then has nightmares or needs therapy. I'm of the school who believes parents should be responsible for their own children - is that silly?

    And don't even get me started on the whole issue of "Oh, little Johnny was such a good little boy until he played <violent game>, then he broke into our shed and shot up the town," Grrr...

  • chriswsmchriswsm Weston-super-MarePosts: 389Member

    When questions like this are raised I always give the same answer.  Time will tell.  Lets revive this thread 3 months after AoC is released and see if flesh of a bare or bloodied nature has had an effect on the gameplay and general enjoyment.  Much easier to reflect on the past than guess the future.

    Flesh is fine as long as the gameplay and atmosphere is also of sufficient quality.  Boredom will soon set in otherwise.

    If we are going to have adult MMPORPG's then I would love to see something along the lines of GTA rather than the already crowded market pertaining to Sword and Sorcery titles.

     

     

    I used to visit this site a lot however in recent years it has become the home of negative forum posts, illogical opinions and tantrums so I visit less often.

    Played or Beta'd: UO / DAOC / Horizons / EQ2 / DDO / EVE / Archlord / PirateKingsOnline / Tabula Rasa / LOTRO / AOC / Champions / Darkfall / Mortal Online / DCUO / Rift / STO / SWTOR / TSW

  • VociferorVociferor DunfermlinePosts: 98Member



    Originally posted by Dajmin

    I sort of agree with Vociferor in that I think teenagers would be more drawn to something that is a little risquee than they would to something with a 3+ tag. But at the same time I've always been very anti-corporate censorship and don't think something should be removed just to appease the wig-wearing old-school 90-year-old bureaucrats - after all, they're not the majority market here.
    The fantasy genre has always been about buxom wenches wearing very little and musclebound guys running about in a loincloth waving a sword around. You can't have weapons without violence, and a fantasy game without weapons isn't living up to what people want from the genre.
    So release whatever product you want, stick an advisory label on it (T or 16+ or whatever the ESRB uses these days) and see what happens. I think more people will be turned away by inaccurate or unbelievable content than they would by a bit of wanton violence. On the other hand, if it's just gore for the sake of gore then it's a bit pointless.
    As for trying to figure out the real age of the person at the other end of the connection? That's not the company's problem. If the store sells a game without asking for proof of age, then the parents allow their child to use their credit card without asking what it's for, then they have absolutely no comeback if that child then has nightmares or needs therapy. I'm of the school who believes parents should be responsible for their own children - is that silly?
    And don't even get me started on the whole issue of "Oh, little Johnny was such a good little boy until he played , then he broke into our shed and shot up the town," Grrr...



    Hehe, don't get me wrong Dajmin, I didnt mean that I thought the game was going to warp kid's minds or that it would be FC's fault if kids play the game.  You're quite right to say that it is the responsibility of a child's guardians as to what they are exposed to or playing. image

    What I meant is that it is all really academic when it comes to the age rating of the game.   

    As you quite rightly suggest, it is completely ridiculous to suggest that it could be enforced with any accountability put upon the company.  Also, Impossible to regulate with any reasonable degree of assurance unless the child has strict, technology savvy and attentitive guardians. 

    On the other hand though, after giving it some more thought, why are FC making a big deal out of this fact now? 

    Being obligated under law (not even sure what obligations there are with this regard) to have the game rated is one thing but the game is not a finished project yet and I assume that closer to the release date it will be given to the relevant body(ies) to place the final age limit(s)/warning(s) on the game.  I'm pretty sure the game hasnt gone into open beta yet so the age verification part isnt going to be a big deal or a legal obligation just now.  

    So what is the number 1 most likely reason as to why, for a considerable length of time now, FC have been claiming it will be a mature rating?  I suspect it is probably to hype it up and keep teenage boys interested while they anticipate the release.

    But to give some impartiality to my view: 

    Another possibility could be that they released the information so that they do not disappoint anyone who will be under the age threshold of the game by waiting till nearer the release date to announce the mature rating.  Personally, I don't buy that side of the coin though.

    I'm a 24 year old red blooded young male and the mature rating will not be one of the reasons that makes me try AoC if I do, as Dan said, you can only decapitate someone so many times before it loses the appeal.  I can't speak for everyone my sex/age but that is my view.

    I was a little unclear as to why the age verification was an issue to me.  This should have explained it a bit better for me.  I just don't see what the point in it is as it is largely un-enforcable.  Placing age restrictions on online games will have even less of an impact than age restrictions on movies.  Just a token gesture, I guess, that FC seem to be exploiting for additional advertising in my opinion.

  • severiusseverius sacramento, CAPosts: 1,514Member Common

    Whether or not it makes for a stronger community, a more mature community, and a more entertaining game is something that we will all have to judge after these games get released and running on all cylinders.  I think that it's a nice idea to hope for a mature rated game having a more mature crowd but I am not entirely sold that that will be the case.  Now, just speaking from my own experience, some of the worst people I have come across in games like wow etc weren't the prebuscents... it was the 18-25 crowd that runs around acting like 10 year olds without their ridalin.  It has been quite a long time since I was 25 and under, but I dont remember acting nearly as bad as they do now.

    On another note, lets realize (at least in the case of Age of Conan) that Robert Howard's books had a good amount of sex, drugs, and the ultra-violence.  With the pressure being put on the ESRB there is no way that funcom could stick to the background without having those 3 things running around in the game without getting a mature rating. 


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  • DocSpectrumDocSpectrum Plainfield, INPosts: 26Member

    I would pay GOOD money for a server that had an age restriction on it...25+ sounds like a good number to start with :)

    Seriously though, In the long run the advisory stickers really don't do much to keep kids from buying a game.  Most parents are not even aware of such things until they hear about them on CNN or the nightly news...ie Grand Theft Auto.  The shock value of the content will initially wear off then you are left with one thing...do you have a good game or not.  Regardless of the age of the player that is what will keep them paying every month. 

    I applaud the makers of AOC for taking this step, now how it is implemented and what steps they take to insure that the population is who they want it to be will be interesting to see.

     

  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXPosts: 453Member Uncommon
    Best so far. Just glad that the difference in culture is brought up. I don't understand most of how USA works even though I am born and raised here. I look at other countries and think how great some of the views are there compared to here. What makes something mature and adult is the main views I look at as well.
  • delateurdelateur Spokane, WAPosts: 156Member

    I find it interesting that most games rated as "mature" are not all that appealing to those who possess true maturity. Maturity, to me, is a measure of a person's ability to relate to the world while still remaining independent and choosing their own path. Immaturity, conversely, is what I see as a general lack of faith in oneself and a tendency to follow the whims of whatever social crowd that person is drawn to. Mature subject matter may very well involve acts of sex, violence and profanity, but does so in the context of a larger message, one that is ultimately redeeming to the human beings receiving it. I would love to see more TRULY mature games on the market, games that you might want to restrict younger children from playing, simply because they have not evolved past the parroting stage of their development and are not yet able to make conscious choices or be moved by the more subtle messages that mature content might offer when viewed in the context of the medium. This is more the failure of the culture involved that tries to shield children from "taboo" subjects and convince them that any contact with such things is unequivocably bad. Education needs to take place, and at some point, it needs to be done with more mature content, as eventually children will become young adults and begin asking difficult questions where the answers are not always clear-cut or pretty. MMOGs have the ability to provide some of that education, and I, for one, would like to see a company take a mature rating seriously and start providing more than visceral content to warrant an "M."

  • VideoXPGVideoXPG Tempe, AZPosts: 268Member
    I for one find throwing nudity and tons of blood and gore a step more into the realm of immaturity. Look at the people who play games such as Grand Theft Auto, teens and "adults" that look like they forgot to grow up. Sure, there needs to be some line drawn to regulate who sees Violence and Nudity and those who may be "too young" to see such things, but that certainly is not an issue of maturity. Let alone it is just that sort of content is what carries the game.

    Let's take a game such as Grand Theft Auto and say, A game with a dark theme to it such as SMT: Nocturn. Both games certainly have content and themes that there is an age limit for, but would anyone recomend a game like SMT with its story and theme to someone who just wants to roam around killing people like in GTA. One could put GTA as a "mindlessly killing" game. An example of it's "mature: content being just a smokescreen.

    That's just my 2 cents on that issue, the article at hand was an interesting read, but truth be told on the matter, putting mature/dark themes is really part of the game world, the game itself should be fun but in say a game like Conan, it works well with the world Funcom is trying to create. After all, sure the game may be fun, but especially with MMOs, the world needs to appeal to the player in order to keep them immersed in the game world.



  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member

    If one mentions things is a rant about overt bloodyness and nudity and whatever trying to appeal to the M rated crowd and also mentions a specific game like Age of Conan, one should also include a little context.

    Though nothing overt was said negatively, from some of the posts here I think some people are lumping AoC into the egregious/gratuitous M content crowd, and that really doesn't apply.

    In fact the only way to stay true to the Hyboria of Robert E. Howard is by having it be a gritty, lusty, brutal, savage, amoral world.

    And the fact they Funcom has done that, so far as we can tell up till now (we'll see what happens in game), without either going over the top and getting all "Second Life" cyber nor dumbing it down ala the Conan movies, gives it a special place in the M rated catagory, as it is truly M=FOR ADULTS, not M=for grown up teenagers.

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • MischiffMischiff lansing, MIPosts: 169Member
    First, I'd be happy if they just had adult servers for games like WOW, EQ2 etc, doesnt mean they have to have adult content, just would be nice to be playing with adults who for the most part might be a lot more matchure. Maybe even Barrens chat wouldnt sound like it does .  Ive quit good games because the community was bad. This doesnt mean it would clean it up, but i would bet on it making a difference. Having the choice would be nice IMHO.

    Secound, how to make sure that those on an adult server were actually adults, good luck with that .. i dont see how its possible to totaly make that happen.

    Third, maybe they could just move annoying people to the same server... hmmmm  image



  • JizhakJizhak VantaaPosts: 47Member

    Sex and violence != mature.

    I find that mature people usually oppose those things. A mature game from my viewpoint would emphasize such things as complex economy and complex relationships.  Things that you do ingame should affect your gameplay later
    (popped my mind : virtue stuff in Ultima IV).

    edit:typo


  • MarchusMarchus Tempe, AZPosts: 88Member

    Complex economy and Complex relationships is any MMO on the market really, and we already know how much teenagers love them. I know me and all my friends thought Ultima Online was the greatest thing since pie when we were 13. Although in real life these things are something you come to face with maturity, having them in a game doesn't really make the game mature. However, as the Sims showed us, they do make them pretty appealing for people who haven't yet realized that budgets, jobs, and jealous girlfriends aren't really that fun. Or 3rd degree burns from kitchen fires, those are the least fun of all.

    Blood, gore, and sex = mature because they're things kids shouldn't be exposed to. Because they can't yet comprehend and will go to their elementary schools and try to practice on their friends. I know everybody at my school was as soon as Power Rangers and Mortal Kombat got popular. Even TMNT got quite a few people kicked in the face during recess.


    On a side note, they're trying to sell games like AoC, 2Moons, and Gears of War to College Students, Young Adults, and even older audiences who want a stress reliever, but don't have a lot of time. It's who they're always selling to. But little kids are always going to find appeal in what they're parents and older peers are doing. I personally owned 0 M rated games before I turned 18, and any "Explicit Lyrics" CD's I had were bought or acquired through shady means. Sure I still played those games over at friends' houses, but trust me i'd always regret it when I got caught. Not that i'm complaning, that's what parents are supposed to do.


  • cthornettcthornett BathPosts: 32Member
    Reading through, it looks to me that folks are confusing the definition of 'maturity' with 'mature content'.

    I recently got to see 'This film is not yet rated' at a UK film festival, which gave me an insight into the bizarre and wacky world of American film ratings. What it taught me was that, for the US audience at least, mature content is 'all' about violence and sex portrayed on the screen. Actually, it seems to be mostly about sex, even if it's between two consenting and committed adults.

    Age of Conan looks promising to me, as long as the ability to use mature content is used to create better characterisations and stronger plots. I want to use 'Saving Private Ryan' as an example, but I'm not sure what rating it got in the end, but without the horrific beach landing scene it wouldn't have had such an impact.

    Loping heads off though, isn't mature content. I remember games on my Amstrad CPC464 where you could do that. The thing that worries me though is that I don't recall the Conan books having much depth. It was pretty generic stuff, warriors fighting giant snakes and female warriors in nought, but scraps of chainmail (ouch, gotta chaffe), I guess mature in this case will be that you'll finally get to shag the maiden when you rescue her.



  • addiobaddiob 1Posts: 31Member



    Originally posted by Jade6

    It never ceases to amaze me how "adult" and "mature" mean sex + violence, as opposed to, for example, complexity and depth. Oh well, I'm a European, so I'm pretty sure that I will never really understand you yanks anyway. image
    I will say one thing though: crying blue murder every time a computer game shows some skin (or blood), while at the same time most of your average rap music videos have more p0rn in them than all computer games to date combined, plus lyrics that glorify violence, seems a bit strange to me; yet kids can watch those as much as they like. Or they can watch your army kill people for real in Iraq. Not pointing fingers here, just saying the stuff is already out there.



    i like this mans style.... he has a point ... a big point us brits also do not understand you lol
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  • DajminDajmin LondonPosts: 54Member

    I can only really see one major advantage of giving a game a more mature rating, and that's to keep out (assuming the parents adhere to the rules as specified before!) the script kiddies. Or at least attempt to.

    The problem is I was a mature teen, so I'd never have gone up to a total stranger and said "ZOMG!!! U R T3H !1337!!11 gimme ur gear FTW!!11!" in any game at any age. But likewise I've seen some pretty shockingly immature behaviour from people who are older than my 26 years.

    Slapping a generic "adult" tag on anything won't stop kids who can sweet-talk their parents. Nor will it stop the hordes of actual adult louts with more money than brain cells.

    Oh, maybe we need a new tag - MN for Moron. If you are an idiot, you can't play. How's that? :) Could be enforced by some mandatory common sense questions during account creation. I'm liking the sound of this more and more ;)

  • LagavulinLagavulin CopenhagenPosts: 16Member

    Its nothing new. The European mmog Entropia Universe have MOBs resembling human males but with enormous dicks swinging between their legs. It looks hillarious when they perform martial arts kung-fu attacks! :-)

    (but then again, they have a 18+ years of age, as they also have a real cash economy in place within the game)

  • ladyloreladylore Bolingbrook, ILPosts: 126Member
    What makes sex and violence mature content is not the amount of it nor the presence of it, but rather how it is recieved by the audience. 

    Immature folks will react to sex and violence immaturly, more mature folks will not.  I personally think that it is about time that more mature content in ALL forms, including sex, violence, depth and complexity be added into our games. 

    So long as the sex and violence add to the feel of the world, the lore and the characters and not just thrown in for the sake of shock value alone.  THAT is what separates the mature content from the nasty smut.

    It is only a gimmick if it is implemented as one.  However, if used cleverly and appropriately adult/mature content could enhance games and be the growing trend as we gamers continue to grow up and tire of cute, cuddly and celibate gaming.



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