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[Column] General: The Future of Online Games

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,356MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

During PAX Prime, we held our annual Future of Online Games panel. The panelists were from all over the industry, and our own Managing Editor took a few key points home from the discussion. Read on to see what those were.

There’s a tendency in recent years for designers and fans alike to feel a little downtrodden about the state of innovation and diversity in the industry, but I think this panel was representative of a very welcome trend towards just that. Whether or not we see the results anytime soon, the MMO is changing: both in terms of size and scope, and in terms of gameplay and ideals. 

Read the rest of Bill Murphy's: The Future of Online Games.




 


A better quality upload of the whole panel is on the way!

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Comments

  • KhayotixKhayotix Somewhere, FLPosts: 220Member Uncommon

    Bill did anyone record this panel for later viewing? I would like to see it if possible :)

     

    *edit* whoops I see that a whole panel upload is on the way. Didnt see the forum at first only read the article.

    image
  • WereLlamaWereLlama Lubbock, TXPosts: 243Member

    Yes, I agree with the panel, players want Sandbox, but what they really need is a less guided experience.  

    Also, I really enjoyed the P+P gameplay direction Chris Bell and Josef Fares were taking in Journey and Brothers respectfully.  

    Their fresh ideas might be applied to MMORPGs too.  I believe 'players' are the central force for emergent gameplay (I call P+P). How we get them to interact may make/break the future MMOs.

    -WF

  • worldalphaworldalpha Milton, ONPosts: 403Member
    Well, we are definitely trying to be a niche MMO.  It isn't for everyone, but we hope that enough players stick around to make the game an interesting experience for all.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,413Member Uncommon

    I am amused by the irony of 'Too many copycat games!  Everyone must now do Sandboxies!'.   The Great Sandbox Hope!

     

    As always, there are lots of problems inherent in sandbox elements, (as evidenced by UO's and SWG's  moves away from many of them) that have to be considered carefully.  As always also, you have to have a realistic understanding of what your user base will be when you budget your game, and spend accordingly, or you will be crying later.

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    So in the meantime enjoy playing World of Warcraft until some of all this stuff we are talking about takes effect? They have finally thrown the towel in and are ready to innovate instead of imitate.
  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,564Member Uncommon

    So most of last year's panel is now bankrupt,fired,retired. How do you think this year's panel will fare?

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Eh, I've played every one of the so-called "holy grails" of sandbox gaming - some quite extensively.

    I look at them now and just see "lack of content" or put more pointedly - replace content with grinding.

    I'm not looking back with anything but rose colored glasses at these "good old days" - UO and SWG were some great memories, but you can't relive the past.

    Those game, that type of game, loved in 10 and 13+ years ago.

    Probably couldn't stand to play more than a few hours today.

    Things change.

    I want bigger, I want better. I want more content, more features, not less.

    Build me a better themepark and you'll get my money.

    Every single one of the so-called "failed" MMOs since 2004 had it's own unique strengths and weaknesses that led to their status.

    Most if not all of them were unfinished, unpolished, or were simply poor substitutes.

    A few of them have done really well but didn't destroy WoW or whatever other unrealistic expectations. 

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,434Member Uncommon

    So much echo was  kind of tough to understand the panel.

    The one guy got it right,there is most definitely a LOT of contradiction in the industry ,that is why so many devs fail in seeing that you can't simply copy another idea and think it is an auto success.

    The panel got a little off topic and leaned more towards changes in the systems and design we already have instead of realizing we need more systems to give games a broader scope of things to do.

    Right now the design is incredibly simple,make some assets,tie in some quests with NPC's and create a combat system and character structure.

    Even with such few ideas behind building a game we still see VERY little depth within those systems.I seriously believe MOST gamer's do not even pay attention to a game's design,they have got used to following yellow markers around and doing raid dungeons,they miss everything else around them.

    I will use FFXI as an example.You don't just walk around collecting quests and following markers.You start by talking to a gate NPC,he gives you Signet,that is a whole other system.With Signet you are gaining points that can be spent on gear items and you are fighting to have your nation gain control of a territory.Then there is even yet more systems,you can attain outpost warps if your nation controls that outpost hence it ties into the Signet system.Then there is a RANK system both your rank within your nation and your overall rank across all nations.

    I guess it is sort of similar to factions in others games.My point is without getting into more totally new systems ,there is a lot more we can do with what we already have ,developers are simply looking to take the shortest ,cheapest route to developing a game.This all ties back into what dude said about so much contradiction in the industry,it is like every game is crap shoot,so devs are very reluctant to risk going big and costly only to see even a superior game design fail.


    Samoan Diamond

  • UtinniUtinni Richmond, VAPosts: 380Member Uncommon
    Sandboxes sadly only attract a big enough playerbase if they are sci-fi/space oriented. The space maverick/smuggler/galactic trader fantasy is much more common than the sword shield alone in the woods fighting gnolls fantasy. Space sandboxes are more about how the universe goes about itself every day, which is interesting in itself. Fantasy content tends to need direction as you're typically on some sort of quest.
  • ray12kray12k riverside, CAPosts: 447Member
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Eh, I've played every one of the so-called "holy grails" of sandbox gaming - some quite extensively.

    I look at them now and just see "lack of content" or put more pointedly - replace content with grinding.

    I'm not looking back with anything but rose colored glasses at these "good old days" - UO and SWG were some great memories, but you can't relive the past.

    Those game, that type of game, loved in 10 and 13+ years ago.

    Probably couldn't stand to play more than a few hours today.

    Things change.

    I want bigger, I want better. I want more content, more features, not less.

    Build me a better themepark and you'll get my money.

    Every single one of the so-called "failed" MMOs since 2004 had it's own unique strengths and weaknesses that led to their status.

    Most if not all of them were unfinished, unpolished, or were simply poor substitutes.

    A few of them have done really well but didn't destroy WoW or whatever other unrealistic expectations. 

    lol the panel stated wow clones have failed. I think theme park games will become ftp games so they can guide you to the cash shop.

     
  • FearumFearum Cinnaminson, NJPosts: 1,166Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ray12k
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Eh, I've played every one of the so-called "holy grails" of sandbox gaming - some quite extensively.

    I look at them now and just see "lack of content" or put more pointedly - replace content with grinding.

    I'm not looking back with anything but rose colored glasses at these "good old days" - UO and SWG were some great memories, but you can't relive the past.

    Those game, that type of game, loved in 10 and 13+ years ago.

    Probably couldn't stand to play more than a few hours today.

    Things change.

    I want bigger, I want better. I want more content, more features, not less.

    Build me a better themepark and you'll get my money.

    Every single one of the so-called "failed" MMOs since 2004 had it's own unique strengths and weaknesses that led to their status.

    Most if not all of them were unfinished, unpolished, or were simply poor substitutes.

    A few of them have done really well but didn't destroy WoW or whatever other unrealistic expectations. 

    lol the panel stated wow clones have failed. I think theme park games will become ftp games so they can guide you to the cash shop.

     

     That is already happening ray12k, its basically what themeparks are designed for really when you think about it.

    Sandbox is more about the total experience.

    Themepark is more about what is the least you can do to get what you want and then hurry up and wait for the next thing you have to get.

  • majinantmajinant ChristchurchPosts: 407Member Uncommon

    David Bowie is the man!

    image

  • FoeHammerJTFoeHammerJT Broken Arrow, OKPosts: 148Member

    Since FF 14 ARR's launch my group of friends and I have come to the same conclusion:

    We want a challenging world back!!!! Such a world could be either theme park or sandbox. We don't care. We want a challenge! And not just a gear based challenge after playing for 1000s hours in 24 man groups.

    Where's the world that REQUIRES REAL HEROES  to overcome!?!?!?

    It feel like many of these new PVE enemies could get rolled by my grandfather's bridge club, even if they left their canes and walkers at home.

    I understand the desire to make a game....ahem..."accessible"; but some of us more mature gamers really just want a challenging world that feels dangerous!

  • AmarantharAmaranthar OhioPosts: 2,425Member Uncommon

    What the industry needs to do is change the game experience away from the Themepark experience. That doesn't mean you can't have some quest lines in your game, but that you can't have your game play by quest lines. Something else needs to take it's place, something exciting. And since Themepark, when you boil it down to it's basic thing, is all about the player, that change needs to be all about the world. The player plays in that world that the game is all about.

    I'm not sure these games on the horizon really make this change.

    Once upon a time....

  • KuinnKuinn MestaPosts: 2,093Member
    If the devs and studios really mean it, this new and diverse future of mmorpgs, I welcome this revolution with open arms. Lets just wait and see with a hint of optimism.
  • SilaxSilax Daytona Beach, FLPosts: 250Member

    When SWG was first released, it was in beta.  It had close to no content aside from crafting (which was fun), a completely broken player market because of exploits, no real pvp capabilities or rewards and severely broken skill sets (pistol whip stun lock could keep the toughest foes on the ground).  Sure, people ended up talking to one another and exploring (for no apparent reason other than to see what was on the other side of a mountain) because there was nothing else to do - other than drop a moisture farm or shoot up a random spawn.  What's worse, the only thing star wars-y about it was the names, the music and the sad little Easter eggs like Jabba's Palace or Luke's (landed) x-wing.

     

    I love it when people lament about how wonderful SWG was.  It was crap and if it was released today like it was back then all of these boards would wail in horror. 

     

    Stop wishing for sandboxes.  Stop wishing for theme parks.  Wish for games that are well made, that are engaging and are fun. 

  • Sky.FalconSky.Falcon St Louis, MOPosts: 51Member
    Indeed

    image
  • FoeHammerJTFoeHammerJT Broken Arrow, OKPosts: 148Member
    Originally posted by Silax

    When SWG was first released, it was in beta.  It had close to no content aside from crafting (which was fun), a completely broken player market because of exploits, no real pvp capabilities or rewards and severely broken skill sets (pistol whip stun lock could keep the toughest foes on the ground).  Sure, people ended up talking to one another and exploring (for no apparent reason other than to see what was on the other side of a mountain) because there was nothing else to do - other than drop a moisture farm or shoot up a random spawn.  What's worse, the only thing star wars-y about it was the names, the music and the sad little Easter eggs like Jabba's Palace or Luke's (landed) x-wing.

     

    I love it when people lament about how wonderful SWG was.  It was crap and if it was released today like it was back then all of these boards would wail in horror. 

     

    Stop wishing for sandboxes.  Stop wishing for theme parks.  Wish for games that are well made, that are engaging and are fun. 

     I agree with all this.

    Except that I still wish for:

    Hundreds of hours of content my 6 year old nephew couldn't clear with little to no experience training. Yes I'm looking at you FF14 and GW2. Literally face rolled by a kindergartener..

    Exactly how engaging can a game that a 6 year old can complete be?

  • superconductingsuperconducting Rochester, NYPosts: 843Member Uncommon

    Great discussion. Part 1 is missing. I do know a better version is on the way...

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  • DaessarDaessar Chino, CAPosts: 204Member

    Yes of course, the answer is always "we need something interesting".."exciting"..."new and diverse"...I want a "better" MMO, " more content that's exciting and interesting and better"

    wow, look at all these buzz words that I'm throwing around, nobody actually knows what I mean by all these buzz words, but damn I sound cool saying them. Don't worry, I won't ever describe in detail exactly the type of things I want in this new age MMO that I'm talking about, otherwise that would open me up to criticism, I'll stick to being vague and using buzz words so that I'll be hip and more intelligent than the rest of you sheep.

     

     

     
     
     
     
  • shalissarshalissar Pohjois-PohjanmaaPosts: 294Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Daessar

    Yes of course, the answer is always "we need something interesting".."exciting"..."new and diverse"...I want a "better" MMO, " more content that's exciting and interesting and better"

    wow, look at all these buzz words that I'm throwing around, nobody actually knows what I mean by all these buzz words, but damn I sound cool saying them. Don't worry, I won't ever describe in detail exactly the type of things I want in this new age MMO that I'm talking about, otherwise that would open me up to criticism, I'll stick to being vague and using buzz words so that I'll be hip and more intelligent than the rest of you sheep.

     
     

    I think the desire for something better is totally genuine but you're right nobody can ever really explain what it means because 'it' changes constantly. I remember the outcry for no more on-rails themeparks, now FFXIV is out and people can't praise it enough for providing that (lol) oldschool railroa.. I mean mmorpg experience. What's the attitude going to be like six months down the road? If I feel like I want to put these people into a giant blender, I can't imagine how some of these poor creators feel.

     
  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    Usually the panel is a bit too polite to each other even though they take very different paths. The differences would be more interesting to highlight and discuss. I'd like to see some panel PvP!

    I think as per last year, mixed fortunes for each mmorpg except EQN which seems to be a winner already before it even launches with Landmark.

  • BeowulfsamBeowulfsam Velike LašcePosts: 127Member Uncommon

    If devs would spend 50% less time on creating extensive levelling content that most people breeze through and don't even read the quests and more time at creating endgame content (you know devs, the place where majority of people spend 95% of the time) it would be much better.

    As is, we're getting 123454 different levelling zones with XY starter areas and what not + low level instances (in which a lot of work has been put in sometimes). And you get to endgame and you have maybe crappy battlegrounds and few dungeons of which prolly only 1 is worth doing. Wooptydoo. Or you have potentially decent pvp but it's so unbalanced you wonder what devs and testers were smoking. Or the ol' perennial: do this 1 snoozefest dungeon 1000 times for tokens or "Bis stuff has 0,001% drop, gl hf hurr, here, take some 24hr lockdown timers to boot".

    Massive endgame > good levelling, pretty much always.

  • mCalvertmCalvert Tallahassee, FLPosts: 1,283Member

    I would modify that and say stop creating leveling content altogether and make only endgame content. I never played pen and paper rpgs to get XP. It was for the adventure of playing. MMOs are now just about time sinks, the hamster wheel of progress.

  • marcustmarcust AdelaidePosts: 467Member Uncommon

    Things that I have genuinely enjoyed in mmo's

    - champion spawns in UO

    - red vs blue guild pvp nights in UO

    - housing in UO

    - castle sieges in Lineage2

    - difficult raids in WoW

    - completing difficult instances with friends in Lotro

    - sieges and just defending your city from random pvp in DF1

     

    Unfortunately I'm really not enjoying anything about MMO's just now but if someone could create a game with good pvp, sieges, UO's champion spawns and raids that really make you feel like you've achieved something they may be onto a winner.

    Playing: ESO, Submerged
    Favourite games have been: UO, Lineage2, WoW, Darkfall, Lotro, GW2

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