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Do MMORPGS need more forms of asynchronous interaction?

KwanseiKwansei HyogoPosts: 334Member

Looking at current MMORPGS (and with reference to current theoretical models of interaction founded in CMC based rerseach) I think we need more forms of interaction in MMORPGs. Sure we get a lot of hullabaloo about class roles, the trinity, twitch gaming, death penalties etc. But how much attention is paid to the manner in which we interact in MMORPGs? A majority of MMORPG interaction occurs in a synchronous setting with avatars interacting in virtual physical space in real time. To complete a dungeon or fight a PVP battle you need to get a bunch of folks together in real time. This may be due much in part to non-persistent worlds. But even then in games like Ryzom (sorry my sandbox knowledge is very outdated ><) and Ultima we had most of interactions occur in real time.

 

Is there a place for more asynchronous interaction in MMORPGs? One thing you see players complaining about here a lot (besides WoW) is not having the time to play or having an odd schedule. We can’t always play with our pals when we want. So why aren’t there more types of asynchronous ways in which we can interact. Sure I can craft something and give it to you to help you later, but can I go in and clear out part of a dungeon? Can I do some damage to a rival even when s/hes not there?  See here on forums land our interaction is completely asynchronous and based on the continued participation here ideally fun and defiantly very social. Now as any research will tell you it’s easy to point out a problem and I am not sure I have a solution here, but I think one big problem with MMORPGs today and looking at the (subjective ) success of GW2 and the features which were hyped in its conception players aren’t always need to interact in a synchronous medium and even when they cats and toddlers and spouses can make interaction sporadic.

 

So great minds of the MMOPRG.com forums what do you think? Am I completely off here? Is there any way we can make a game fun and exciting yet not be limited by who else happens to be on at the same time? How can players interact with the game enviornment synchrnously and asynchronously change the world for others?

Comments

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,667Member Uncommon
    Make the game about more than just combat.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • craftseekercraftseeker kynetonPosts: 845Member Uncommon

    There is at least on example of this, Everquest introduced a feature a long time ago that allowed you to set up a character in a zone called "The Bazaar" that stood there like an NPC and sold stuff, even while you were logged off.

    I suppose the WoW auction house added the same functionality, but I like the role play aspect of the Everquest idea much more. 

    This could be expanded on to allow you to set up your crafter as a commision taking NPC while you are logged off.  Other players could interact with the character and have things made for them for a price.

    Everquest II also has an acquired item a "pack pony" that can go out and harvest for 2 hours for you and bring back the result, you do not need to be logged on for this two hours.  They have other asynchronous features too: Tradeskill Apprentices that research 'new' recipes, Guild Hall gatherers to name two more.

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,946Member Uncommon
    Playing asynchronously and immersion is a potential conflict as immersion comes from engaging with an avatar and allowing yourself to imagine subconsciously that the avatar is an extension of you, and switching between multiple states implies some kind of programming - you switch to a state and give it enough instructions to switch to another state and do forth. But there is room for asynchronous behaviour tha is complimentary to you avator maybe, e.g trading and manufacturing models where you can queue for example. Other possibilities are virtual businesses that you can micro manage etc, while maintaining a strong bond with you avatar. Interesting question you pose :)

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    Chews down on Starburst - infuses tongue with watermelon flavor - I'm listening.

    This idea of content that is shared completion intrigues me.

    That is how I would do a dungeon again.

    Something to the effect of shared completion but not attendance on the same schedule. I'm thinking rooms with doors each harboring their own moment in time. Let them leave behind things for me and me for them. They beat a room with a key at the end of an altar, I retrieve the key and continue the mission. Shared progress without being in the same place at the same time. There's a reason to friend someone - finally. 

  • craftseekercraftseeker kynetonPosts: 845Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by greenreen

    Chews down on Starburst - infuses tongue with watermelon flavor - I'm listening.

    This idea of content that is shared completion intrigues me.

    That is how I would do a dungeon again.

    Something to the effect of shared completion but not attendance on the same schedule. I'm thinking rooms with doors each harboring their own moment in time. Let them leave behind things for me and me for them. They beat a room with a key at the end of an altar, I retrieve the key and continue the mission. Shared progress without being in the same place at the same time. There's a reason to friend someone - finally. 

    Sort of been done before Chelsith in Everquest II, There are a series of gates each requiring a different colored crystal that drops off a "gatekeeper" nearish the gate.  Be present for killing the "gatekeeper" get to loot a crystal.  There after you can unlock the gate provided you have the appropriate crystal in your inventory.  Not strictly a dungeon as it was a contested zone but stil an interesting place.  Other places that you needed a specific key on your "keyring" to get into.  Only one person in the group needed to have the key.

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,255Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Make the game about more than just combat.

    pretty much this.

     

    crafting need to take longer time to do and require skill to do it.

     

    building the world should be important.

    for PvP players sould be rewarded for defending their faction, while also rewarded for stealing from enemy.

    Guilds and Alliances should have ingame management tools.

    image

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,667Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MMOExposed
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Make the game about more than just combat.

    pretty much this.

     

    crafting need to take longer time to do and require skill to do it.

     

    building the world should be important.

    for PvP players sould be rewarded for defending their faction, while also rewarded for stealing from enemy.

    Guilds and Alliances should have ingame management tools.

    On that last one, EQ2 started down that road but it doesn't look like many, if any, have followed.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • KwanseiKwansei HyogoPosts: 334Member
    I think folks here are misunderstanding me or I didn't make my point clear enough. Look at our other online and social media interactions, many of them are asynchronous like here on the forums and on sites such as Facebook and twitter.  Why are MMORPGs limited to a primarily synchronous interaction format when most other forms of online interaction involve both? Does the medium inherently limit our online interaction to a synchronous format? Or is it just that no one has yet found a way for meaningful asynchronous interaction?

    Remember back to old P&P RPGs in the 80's and 90s DM/GMs would often split the partyt up at times and meet on separate days, yet their actions would influence each others' adventures in a meaningful manner. Why can't MMORPGs do this?
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,667Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kwansei
    I think folks here are misunderstanding me or I didn't make my point clear enough. Look at our other online and social media interactions, many of them are asynchronous like here on the forums and on sites such as Facebook and twitter.  Why are MMORPGs limited to a primarily synchronous interaction format when most other forms of online interaction involve both? Does the medium inherently limit our online interaction to a synchronous format? Or is it just that no one has yet found a way for meaningful asynchronous interaction?

    Remember back to old P&P RPGs in the 80's and 90s DM/GMs would often split the partyt up at times and meet on separate days, yet their actions would influence each others' adventures in a meaningful manner. Why can't MMORPGs do this?

    We understand fine. Meaningful or relevant interaction occurring outside of scheduled and immediate scenarios is rare in most MMOs because most MMOs are a very distilled, combat-only experience. Exacerbating that, each experience and almost every mechanic is constructed so as to reduce to the best possible degree the impact or relevance of other players' actions and choices.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • phumbabaphumbaba kuopioPosts: 138Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    We understand fine. Meaningful or relevant interaction occurring outside of scheduled and immediate scenarios is rare in most MMOs because most MMOs are a very distilled, combat-only experience. Exacerbating that, each experience and almost every mechanic is constructed so as to reduce to the best possible degree the impact or relevance of other players' actions and choices.

     

    True that...

    For a while now I've been toying with ideas to increase the level of interaction and what is really enabled instead of just combat. Things like allowing guilds to take over instances in their territories and defending them while playing/controlling the mobs and others that directly influence how others play have been neglected/removed instead of exploring their possibilities and attempting to regulate them and provide incentives for them. Players should be given more choices about instances instead of just reset or not. Complete or give up.

    A similar aspect can be found in world pvp in the multitude of pvp servers in a myriad of games. The only option given is attack on sight or don't attack. Flee or defend. More options could include:

    - summon guild member or friend

    - if the attacker has bounty, summon npc guards to help defend

    - if the territory is your guild's, summon traps etc etc..

    All in all this has been said in some forums for a long time, but considering the level of interaction, mmos have been mainly stagnant or possibly even decaying since.. their birth perhaps?

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kwansei

    Remember back to old P&P RPGs in the 80's and 90s DM/GMs would often split the partyt up at times and meet on separate days, yet their actions would influence each others' adventures in a meaningful manner. Why can't MMORPGs do this?

    Because themepark MMORPGs aren't RPGs in the same sense P&P is. They don't have branching quests. You have no influence on the PvE world in themeparks.

    Theoretically, something like what you're describing does happen in GW2's Orr, but it's more annoying than fun, because it forces you to pay for others' mistakes.

  • BenediktBenedikt PraguePosts: 1,406Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by phumbaba
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    We understand fine. Meaningful or relevant interaction occurring outside of scheduled and immediate scenarios is rare in most MMOs because most MMOs are a very distilled, combat-only experience. Exacerbating that, each experience and almost every mechanic is constructed so as to reduce to the best possible degree the impact or relevance of other players' actions and choices.

     

    True that...

    For a while now I've been toying with ideas to increase the level of interaction and what is really enabled instead of just combat. Things like allowing guilds to take over instances in their territories and defending them while playing/controlling the mobs and others that directly influence how others play have been neglected/removed instead of exploring their possibilities and attempting to regulate them and provide incentives for them. Players should be given more choices about instances instead of just reset or not. Complete or give up.

    A similar aspect can be found in world pvp in the multitude of pvp servers in a myriad of games. The only option given is attack on sight or don't attack. Flee or defend. More options could include:

    - summon guild member or friend

    - if the attacker has bounty, summon npc guards to help defend

    - if the territory is your guild's, summon traps etc etc..

    All in all this has been said in some forums for a long time, but considering the level of interaction, mmos have been mainly stagnant or possibly even decaying since.. their birth perhaps?

    ehm, you have really strange definition for "interaction instead of just combat". everything you named more or less is just combat.

  • anemoanemo Posts: 762Member Uncommon

    My primary form of Interaction in Haven and Hearth and WurmOnline.

    You know setting up the towns, crafting cycles, and just keeping everyone alive.   I never thought "Darn my friends aren't on, I can't do anything to advance", it was more along the lines of "Darn friends aren't on, I join IRC/forums and talk to the whole game(While I still play and advance just fine)".

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon

    A Tale in the Desert has quite a bit of asynchronous interaction.  Some key things that facilitate it are that you can be in as many guilds simultaneously as you want, you can have as many 1-on-1 chats open as you want, and both types of chats are logged and timestamped so that if someone tells you something, you can see it the next time you log on--potentially days later.  It also helps greatly that the structure of the game is such that you can have a bunch of projects that you're kind of working on and bounce around between them, without so many "you must do this before you can do that" requirements as you'd see in a level-based game.

    It works fine for activities that are mainly about communicating with other people and can take place over the course of several days.  But that basically means that it doesn't work for combat.

  • jazz.bejazz.be Sint-NiklaasPosts: 820Member Uncommon

    It's an interesting thought and I think it may be exploited already.

    WoW has guild achievments which doesn't require members to work on it together I believe. That's a good example of your dream interaction.

    I'm sure more and better ideas can come alive when great gaming minds sit together for some brainstorm sessions.

    In fact I think the MMORPG world needs to invest much more in player interaction, not only the type you describe OP but just player interaction in general. 

  • phumbabaphumbaba kuopioPosts: 138Member
    Originally posted by Benedikt

    ehm, you have really strange definition for "interaction instead of just combat". everything you named more or less is just combat.

    Sad, but true that's the limit of my imagination:( Mere dreams of violence...

    At least often. Other possibilities are limitless, but I'll put some here as I still found myself thinking about it.

    Politics:

    Some games offer some forms of politics for guild members/leaders. I'd like to see this expanded more with player generated events and content as its core (and definitely not just for guild leaders, maybe even all who so desire).

    Crafting:

    Crafting for the sake of crafting as a means of progression and not just for getting minor xp and relatively good gear in a treadmill that is often referred to as time and money sink.

    Minigames:

    Allow user's to design them themselves and make events for them.

    Art:

    Allow users to create skins and sceneries in game with the option to "like" for others (should be applied to other aspects too and influence politics). Music too. Movie clips? Maybe...

    TLDR: Social media has been developing, but mmo designers haven't noticed? (sorry for minor necro/late reply..)

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