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General: Forum Spotlight: Something for Everyone?

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member Common

Community Manager Laura Genender looks at the idea of trying to please everyone in MMO design as she examines a forum thread on the subject.

MMORPGs are unique from other videogames; not only can you interact with thousands of other concurrent users, but the MMO is a persistent world that keeps going even when you’re gone. There’s no pause button, no save or load, and when you take a week off everything might have changed without you knowing it.

With so many players and persistent environments, you’d think MMORPGs would be the perfect immersive virtual words – yet user Ramzeppelin accuses the modern MMO of being quite the opposite. “The key is immersion,” he claims, and he wonders why there isn’t more of it in worlds with so much potential. “MMOs used to be about living inside another world, now they are huge battlegrounds. They bore us because we are taking months and months of repetition to simply fight.”
As a solution, Ramzeppelin talks about the possibility of adding more professions to games. “Where is farming? Crops growing and bug killing? Seasons etc?” He asks. “There should be nearly endless non-essential jobs to make the world we live in feel real. Instead we have endless battlegrounds that take way too long to get across because there is so little to do but fight. By giving players the power to effect the world with a ton of jobs players interact more, and working hard in your field brings money in.”

Read it all here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


  • AlienovrlordAlienovrlord San Antonio, TXPosts: 1,525Member

    The problem with MMORPGs spreading out their focus is the additional cost in time and resources.   I believe the ballpark figure for just getting into the door is $30 million and they take around 3 years at least.  That cost and time will only increase the more you try to do. 

    Plus if developers don't focus themselves, if they're busy with so many different systems and game mechanics, then they're in danger of spreading themselves too thin.   Instead of make a bunch of great game systems, they end up making a bunch of mediocre game systems that nobody finds entertaining.

    Perhaps Vanguard might have done a little better if they had focused themselves rather than trying to make a game that let players do everything from adventuring, harvesting, crafting, diplomacy, housing and the rest.   'Sandbox' games are the popular catch-phrase that holds such allure for some MMORPG players but personally I'm suspicious of any game claiming that as an adjective.  Quite a number of them have crashed and burned specatularly in development.

    And there has yet to be a 'sandbox' MMORPG that proves itself as a success outside of niche markets and can attract mainstream gamers.     Perhaps one will someday, but unless Bill Gates decides to pour 1/4 of all his money into it, I won't expect it. 

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 8,167Member Rare

    Well I find that most of the current and upcoming MMO's focus far too much on hack and slash with very little immersion factor.   Even the mainstream ones like Wow and EQ2 emphacize far too much hack and slash.  Rigid class systems are another ridiculous invention, 

    The Asian MMO's are even worse, they revel in slaughtering the multitudes.  So if that floats your boat,there are plenty of games to try.

    I vote for more immersion myself.  I don't mind taking a bit extra time to craft or explore if needed.  Having NPC's that do more than just stand in one place for the entire game and actually interact with you would be an excellent start.  Also making crafting a necessary part of the game.   When you kill a bear and it drops a +1 longsword you kind of lose any immersion in the game.   A blacksmith should have made the sword and a mage enchanted it with intermediates steps performed by a miner and herbalist, etc.

    UO in the beginning had some elements of iimmersion in it in the first few years,  Crafting was necessary and crafted goods were generally better than what was found via fighing.  

    Unfortunately, developers have found it far easier to pump out the hack and slash type games with rigid class systems.  Easier to code and not as hard to balance.  Basically they took the easy way out.

    I think a lot of players are frustrated with the MMO's out there, I think a game like this, if done right would attract a lot of players.

  • JumonjiJumonji Columbia, MDPosts: 26Member
    So why does every game have to be everything to everyone? Why not target the 20% or whatever it is of hardcore role-players, and nail that market to the wall? What game company wouldn't be happy with 20% of all gamers logged in to their game every day?

    Frankly, I'm sick of competing with 9-year-old 733tlsts for uber-loot. I've spent the last several months playing Oblivion and modding companions for myself, because they don't break my immersion. If MMORPGs want my kind of gamer back, they should give us a game that isn't focused on the masses, but on the gamers who care.

    Gamers like me won't desert a game for the next cute graphics enhancement, but we will leave in a second if you don't take our fantasy world seriously.

    Someone will get it right.. sooner or later. Then I'll be back to MMORPGs. In the meantime, my Rhianna creation needs some TLC in her AI, so I'm back to the construction set for some more scripting.

  • Mariner-80Mariner-80 Winchester, VAPosts: 347Member

    I actually think a number of games get a lot of things right; few games get them all right, but then it's all going to come down to taste and your individual playstyle.

    With respect to immersion, I'd say Guild Wars is about as good as I've seen, in large respects because MMOs, by their very definition, are not going to be immersive, and Guild Wars is not technically an MMO. In most MMOs, every time you encounter some pissant goober who steals your kill, dances in her/her skivvies in the market square, or spams the chat channel(s) with inane chatter, any chance for "immersion" goes right out the window.

    Guild Wars circumvents this problem somewhat by instancing most of its content. Thus, I find the missions, exploring, and quests in Guild Wars to be highly immersive since there are no numb-nuts running around to "break the spell." Guild Wars also goes farther than most in developing its NPCs, particularly the Heroes and the other major characters involved in the primary campaign storylines. ArenaNet could do more with this, I think, but they are better at it than most games I've tried.

    I am *not* interested in farming, crafting, or reputation grinding. I care squat whether or not I have my own house. Heck, I just want to kill things, challenging things, and stomp bosses and explore dungeons and find treasure.

    The only way for an MMO to be really and truly immersive, in my opinion, would be to have rigidly enforced *real* RP servers (not the lamely enforced RP servers such as WoW now offers), districts, or regions, and this no MMO seems to want to do.

    If ArenaNet, in Guild Wars 2, were to allow players a "server option" to play on a either "classic server" (with instancing as they have it now) or an "MMO server" (with persistent areas like most MMOs), with the corresponding content scaled appropriately, they would hit paydirt, I am certain.

  • joeybootsjoeyboots Virginia Beach, VAPosts: 628Member Uncommon

    I am a firm believer in the seperation of church and state. Let me explain. "Churh", being the hardcore mmo players, the ones who enjoy roleplaying, raiding, open pvp, complex crafting, etc. And "State", being the casual to intermediate masses, the ones who enjoy instant gratification in their mmos, like to see a difference in their chracter an hour or so in, and don't want to be trifled with a complex crafting/economic system. 

    I believe a company that sets out to create a game in this genre, must first decide which of these two groups they want to appeal to with their ip. It is quite a juggling act to appeal to both equally, not many have been successful in this regard, not to mention said company runs the risk (as has been mentioned earlier) of spreading the ip too thin. Many of the most successful mmos we've seen in the history of the genre, have known their place in the business, and stuck to it. Many of the ones that have failed, set out with a certain goal and changed while live, only to piss off its current subscriber base, who in turn leave.

    Wow knows its a mainstream ip, and it has stuck to its guns, and continues to be successful for it. On the other side of the coin, ccp's eve online is successful in its own right, and caters mostly to the hardcore.

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