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Originally posted by lilune666 A $7 dollar a month paid beta seems like a pretty damned good idea!
I agree. I'd pay for it, and I think that developers would be surprised how many others would.
Regarding your comment about indie companies:
They are often prone to more bugs, less content, lower quality graphics and a host of other issues that make them seem inferior
I dont know what you mean with seem inferior. All of those things you counted, except maybe more bugs, make an MMORPG more inferior since they are an integral part of any computer game, not just MMORPGs.
So most indie MMORPGs are inferior and that is simply because they have fewer, and probably less paid, people working on them so naturally the quality will be worse. However I totally agree that innovativity comes from the independant indie companies, however for the titles they release to be successful they will eventually need the resources to fully realise their innovation and that is where, hopefully, big companies come in which are willing to invest in innovative ideas.
Problem is finding such company, specially considering that the most profitable MMORPG ever is not the least innovative but rather take the staple ingredients of many different MMORPGs and present it in an easily accessible package for casual players.
Also just because a game is developed by an indie company does not automatically make the game "good" . Darkfall is an excellent example of a really low quality MMORPG with severly outaded gfx engine and horrible UI, obviously designed by someone with little or no professional experience in creating UIs.
Originally posted by Saerain Originally posted by lilune666 A $7 dollar a month paid beta seems like a pretty damned good idea!
I have paid for it at the launch of most MMOs. Even the great "World of Warcraft" had bugs and was shaky its first six months out of the gate.
additionally, Most games DO have a test server for new patches, so if you subscribe and play on the new content/test server that is exactly what you would be doing. So your wish is granted. Go Go Go!
These wishes to in the article to me seem to basically boil down to "I want to play in a generic mmo world with no expectations and hype" .
I feel quite the opposite. Playing IN a game set in star trek with Klingons is so much easier for me to immerse myself in than the "Kuyahsi" who happen to look similar to Klingons.
As to setting a target/hype and failing to live up to it. If the alternative is to say you are going to produce mediochre games and then do so, I'll take the hype. At least then you got a shot of it being something other than "And in this game, you grind endlessly and ride around on mounts like every other damned game".
At least with hype, you have a chance they will come through on some of it.
So often I see games where they promise "More of the same" or add one little feature, but otherwise its the same old "Pick a Warrior, Mage, Rogue or Healer, go forth and grind, return to vendor, repeat."
So my wishes are as follows.
1- Merge more strategy with my MMO, but not to the point I have to be on all the time!
Most games that involve strategy, have you building this carefully crafted little empire, nurture it, do all this stuff, then when you get out of 'protection' you are swallowed up by the players who have been online 20 hours a day and play constantly.
I'd like to have an arena for those people, and a way for casual players to be grouped together. (Average the amount of hours you spend online, as you spend more time, you get bumped further and further into the deeper/murkier tiers, so the same amount of play time (give or take) was invested).
2- Take a lesson from Sims 3
One cool thing Sims 3 does is feature its users, and feature the things they do/created.
So in your game, if I kill the dragon, it will re-emerge in 15 minutes when it respawns, okay fair enough. You don't want to remove content from your game, I will grant you that.
However, 'feature' me and the things I do on a webpage if I do something really exceptional and heroic (or villainous)
3- More bad guys!
I want to be an evil overlord, assasin, demon-master, ninja pirate (not neccesarily in that order).
I am so sick of "Okay, you can play a Warrior, Priest, Rogue or Mage". LET ME RP AN EVIL OVERLORD.
It sucks a game like Overlord 2, is so arcadey/bubble gum. Give me an MMO where I get a little tower at the start of the game and some minions. I then go explore a little elwynn forest type region and go back to my pocket-dimension where my tower is (no other players unless I permit them). In that tower zone, my people build statues to me and slave to fufill my desires. If I conquer something and bring it back, it goes in my trophy case. Let me have a little base at the START, and let me play something 'cool'.
4-Let me create more content!
Too busy to make new stuff for us world of warcraft developers? (counting your money I guess). Let me make my own. Build your game so I can add adventures and create RP Scenarios.
City of Heroes got this half right. They wanted people to not make farms though, yet the only thing you can do is spawn enemies. There are no "If this happens, then do this.." choices to make in their adventure creator, so what did they expect other than "Kill more enemies" missions?
5- Chuck Norris
Thats right, my final wish is for a Chuck Norris IP MMO.
In this game, you play as a young Chuck Norris, Mister T, Vin Deisel, or one of a dozen internet meme like characters. Your first scenario; You must make your time, Gentlemen, all your bases are belong to (us) and you have to go get them back.
A Humorous MMO that would not take itself seriously, but would be more than a diablo clone with a little irreverant humor.
Great write up. Some excellent wishes. I'd like to know how much influence articles (and the wishes within) like this have on the industry. I'd like to get some responses from game companies to these wishes.
Point 5: Customisation is definately something that's missing in alot of areas. I'm not after being the next Han Solo, could never be that ugly if I tried. If you wanna get the looks, go for Jabba, and least he has a harem.
Point 4: Depends on the IP. Warhammer had it chance yet failed for our group, we started in the beginning and went through to launch. Then it all fell apart with their ignorances on ignoring all the people in the Beta Forums saying it was unbalanced. BYE
IP's such as Star Trek really have a good chance to flourish, but am I playing B5, DS9, oST, Voyager, etc. I bet they never thought of having different servers and timelines to cater for each. Then they'd be successful even if 50k on each.
Another would be D&D. If Hasbro would fuck off, and allow D&D to get back to what it was, "Worlds that you create" then this could've been the biggest boom of MMO's since man first discovered fire! Why is it so hard for the IP owner to stay out of the kitchen and kill their own product?
I was reading an article on Interstellar Marines and how they're heading down the community owned road for launch. Why not us the players get a chance to invest in the game itself, hell for $50 month, it would be a nice superanuation fund. Besides with something like D&D the community would be given a chance to invest in more servers if the game was made properly.
How many Modder's out there have been slapped in the face by their childhood loves' lawyers, too many sadly. I'm sure if an idea like Wikipedia can get donated millions, so too can a smart MMO Dev.
Point 3: Oh the bain to the growth of the industry, to be sure. I bet the matrix producer had as hard a time selling the idea to their investers as do any indie!
How do you sell a cake that you haven't made it yet. Simple, make a sample and give them a taste test, that's what indie's do since day dot.
For me the problem lyes with the investor or the dick with the wad in the first place. They want more wads and I'd prefer to hand over $5 for a good indie game (usually buy a few per year) than hand over $100 plus monthly fees for something not worth pissing on.
Players need to get over the gloss of that awesome graphic hype. Stop listening to the rants of online based crytics such as IGN, Gamespy, etc. They are only after money themselves. When was it that the mags or those sites gave money back to the industry, ever?
Point 2: Lemmons. Nothing worse than buying a lemmons. Yet people get burn't each day by those salespeople who sell those dodgy cars worldwide, why?
Edumacation, people take the hype as fact, instead of saying to those MMO Devs, okay so if your game is so good, let me download it try it out for 15 days for $5 and then you'll give me a $5 discount off the retail price when I stay around.
Being honest, why would that Dev be honest about a product that'll sell a million copies at launch no matter how good it really is. After launch of warhammer, against our petitions, we had a 300+ group say good bye when things actually got worse.
So how can this be, the product isn't working, the people aren't happy, yet their online. The problem stems from the customer. Our only option is to walk away and loose our doe. The whole business model of MMO's is wrong, sure it makes money, but so does the local milkbar. Yet those milkbars are still selling milk long after the Matrix went offline.
The only way this is gonna change is if the players call the Devs on their systems and say this isn't good enough. They'll change eventually or go out of business like Black Isle did.
Point 1: I think this is an area that has made people going back to wow even more obvious. The players out there get sucked up by the hype, and say oh well, mum & dad will give me the money to play the next new thing.
Reading a few articles of late and a few key industry people have already started talking about how things are being changed. Well time will tell, I'll believe it when I see it but one thing is for sure, 90% of the people I know play WoW cause there's nothing better yet. Each of them jump onto the next new thing, get dissappointed and go back.
So the player is the one creating this problem I reckon, rather than the Devs. All the Devs can do is try something new yet they follow the same rules as the devs they're competing against.
The reason Blizzard, EA, Atari, etc. are in their current position is the way they started out. If you're a dev, do what they did and look at making something creative, different, hopefully you'll be honest with your clients and you'll end up with more than just figures to gloat around of how big your support base is. Forget your bank account as the reason you need to be like the big boys. It ain't gonna get you there. A good game on the other hand may.
Originally posted by Teiman I am a veteran modder myself. My experience is that is irritating hard and ridiculous to stop newbies from stealing from hollywood. It seems whatever Hollywood make is really interesting for some people, and exciting, so have to repeat whatever is in the movie, in a game. Rarely this end well for modders. Somethimes with lawyers letters... And is a waste of creative efforts. If you are a creative game dev... CREATE!.. don't reuse other people assets. At the end of the day, if you build your stuff on other guy stuff, *all the stuff* (the one you created, and his stuff) is *his stuff*. You could have created something totally new, *your stuff forever*. I can understand why studios choose to buy a IP. Is a very efficient trick, buying a "Name" mean you buy instant recognition, and you buy a existing "fan" base. Probably half of the popularity of LOTR is because of teh movies. So It make sense, at short term and medium term, to steal from hollywood. Still is a lame thing to do in the long term. But he!.. on the long term we all wil be dead or deaf or stuff :-)
I agree, half the fun of creating something is the cycle of finding that new idea. Without the journey there can be no enjoyment!
Because of the size of most MMO's like WoW, if you have crafting, they say your creation is like wow. Bah, grow up and play something for what it is, not because your friends said it was cool, or there's every wanker on the planet playing it!
As for Modding, what ever happened to all those games with moddable communities. I think alot of the industry's woes are because they forgot to be flexable and allow the players to enjoy as well add to their product.
Was a big fan of NWN (Neverwinter Nights) until they made #2 and fobbed the mods off. Idiots...
Great article Jon. Pretty much covered all the top issues in one article.
People crack me up defending IP MMO's. There are so few good ones that it has to be evident to anyone that they all have huge issues.
That is why I have very skeptical of what Bioware is doing with the new Star Wars. Lucas Arts destroyed SOE's star war's because of a complete misunderstanding of the genre, what is to prevent the same from happening with this title?
Warhammer was doomed from the start, Games Workshop is as bad as Lucas Arts. Anyone buying an IP from them needs to have their head examined.
The only IP that I can see that has been half successful is Lord of the Rings and that game suffers because of the lack of real pvp. Which was defined by the IP.
As to Indy games, all we have to do is look at Darkfall to see a game with a lot of possibilities get lots of negative press because of: A. over zealous fans making ridiculous claims and B. Aventurine choosing a very inept spokeperson.
If I had one wish to add, it would be for some of these developers to not think class/level is a prerequisite to a good MMO. I would like to see more innovation in this area.
With six pages of discussion, I simply don't have the time and pacience to read it all, so I'll make my comments only about the five wishes of Jon:
Wish #5: That's my wish #1. I generally play conventional RPG for this same reason, and I really regret I can't make myself in a MMORPG. But
Wish #4: I can't totally agree with you, because I believe that some IP are just the perfect fit for MMOs. Lord of the Rings is one example. The fact is that the amount of work needed to make an IP MMO that meet the expectations is huge, and rarely a studio have the time and money to do that.
Wish #3: I don't agree with you in that point. Independent projects have their charm in the movies industry, but indy MMOs don't. Specially because they're trying to be studio MMOs. An independent movie have a diferent focus from a studio movie, and that doesn't happen in the MMO industry. The indy MMOs should work to bring the atention of the studios, not the gamers.
Wish #2: That I totally agree with you. Every game lauched try to be the best in every aspects of MMO genre, instead of being original and focus in one aspect.
Wish #1: In the old days, games aren't released until finished. My Sonic 2 wasn't. Why it should be different today?
Originally posted by Teala Wishes in order.1) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight- skill based - no levels. 2) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels. 3) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels. 4) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels. 5) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels.
So, its obvious you have no interest in Jumpgate Evolution.
My wish would be for developers to create an MMORPG that did not heavily favor those who have far more free time than I do to play these games. Selfish I know, but I'd still like to find one.
Fortunately, EVE's pretty close in this regard, so I'm not suffering too badly.
"Winning" at EVE Online since May, 2007!
In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™ "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon
With respect to games based on existing IP's, I both agree and disagree. The development side of my brain thinks "that makes sense, managing large IP's is often times a disaster waiting to happen", but the fan side of me says, "hell yeah, I want to see more good MMOs based on things like Star Wars or Star Trek".
I totally agree with proper management of expectations. Currently, it's heavy-handed and one-sided. The trouble with that is that being honest about game features sounds good, but if it's not supported with a proper release date based on those discussions, it becomes a disaster. Unless investors are willing to have these frank discussions with a growing fan base and support it with a release date that makes sense to correct the issues, it creates more problems.
I guess its about overall mindset and company philosophy when it comes to this sort of thing. This is exactly why Blizzard Entertainment is on top of the food chain in terms of quality of product, and most every other MMO developer/publisher is scratching their heads. It should not be rocket science to release a product that is actually complete and mostly problem free.
Originally posted by ArcAngel3 Originally posted by purewitz I agree with most of your points, but IP MMOs. IP MMOs have been some of the best games in the MMO market. Such as Star Wars Galaxies, Lord of the Rings Online, and The Matrix Online. I'm still hoping for a Transformer G1 or G.I. Joe G1 MMOs. Most IPs from movies, books, and TV shows with two factions or more, make perfect sense to turn into a MMO. Who would not like to live in their favorite movie, book, or TV show? I know, I've always have liked the idea.
Just as an fyi, two of the IP MMOs you've mentioned were absolute disasters, and one's closure was recently announced as a result. The other is having the IP given to a competitor, who will hopefully do a much better job.
IP's tie into that expectation factor I think. They also seem to be viewed as cash cows by corporate investors, who then seem to push for an early (and broken) release to begin turning a profit as soon as they can. Greed, impatience and hype make for poor MMO releases imo.
If someone could manage to take the time needed for a good IP release, maybe we'd see this trend shift in a more favourable direction.
Why is LOTRO: SoA a disaster? The recent expansion (Mines of Moria) has been a truly backward step in all sorts of ways, but SoA was a very nice example of using a rich IP to create a very satisfying MMO... and it was reasonably faithful to the IP, with the emphasis on was.
#1 can be done in perfect world.
Originally posted by Kyleran Originally posted by Teala Wishes in order.1) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight- skill based - no levels. 2) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels. 3) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels. 4) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels. 5) Sci-fi based MMORPG/FPS sandbox/ with space flight - skill based - no levels.
I think what she may want is what I'd like and thats a game with space and land fighting. You can land on a planet and do missions as well as space flight ones. I don't know why its only one or the other, when both is better.
This is what I mean about us expecting so little. In the US we're behind in a lot of tech because we expect so little. Asia is coming out with some good MMO's (Mabinogi Heroes, and C9 to name two) and they send us their crap, why? Because we expect so little of our gaming and tech. We don't say "we want better" so we keep getting the same cookie cutter MMO's, over and over and over. They put flight in it...like Aion...and we're WOW, cool! Like when Apple finally put cut and Paste and video in the iphone, everyone is "cool this is so much better". Put a few new things in a game and people go nuts...why? I have no idea why. I look at it and see it for what it is, laziness, laziness because we don't expect better.
Originally posted by Scot 1. Beta’s and Launch - I liked the idea of a reduced starter subscription, but can see problems when the company announces the subscription is going up. No matter how much more ‘polishing’ has been done.
Again i point to LoTRO. Founders paied 10 bucks and that stays until you break subscription. They never said it was "a break because the game just launched and isnt perfect" but it does fill the role, doesnt it?
Very good article indeed.
I would like to add one wish - not just to MMOs but to gaming in general. Stop the PRE-orders. Stop them now ! ATM the gaming industry is allowed to throw out all kinda crap that ppl have bought 4 months in advanced because a PR campaign.
Lets remind ppl about AOC and Funcom's number one slogan for one of their financial report. "The message is PREORDER NOW!" Nothing else mattered. This was everytthing their entire campaign turned into. Sell as many copies before ppl actually realise how bad it is. And who cares if we screw over like 1 million ppl ? "it's only a game"
Recently China banned selling of artificial items. Why not ban preorders ? Most of them are giving out extra this and extra that because someone payed in advance.
How about we actually start to see one single gaming company that stands by its product AFTER it is released instead of then coming out and saying... we will fix it in next year or so...
My big wish for MMOs. Do less but do it well.. then add to it. There is no need to run a gazillion quests and billion diffrent zones at launch. If ppl like the concept - AND the game has a good and solid code - the rest can be added to and expanded. ATM thats not how it is.. atm its more like - "HELL lets throw this all out and we fix some of it when we get money from the nutters that actually bought the PR stuff"!
NO thx - I hope MMO gamers are becoming abit smarter. If not then I - and hopefully 1000s more old MMO custimors will be around to remind everyone what "gaming" has turned into.
Awesome list! I appreciate your evaluations and really agree with your thoughts! Hopefully some of the developers out there will stand up and take notice...
#2 is a big one imo,Games like War and Aoc mite have been swallowed better if they had not hyped it so bad. Good games IMO but they did not live up to the H Y P E they created. They would be better of in the long run doing "this is what we got so far, this is what we would like to do/planning, and heres where we are at..not this Game is AWSOME Play IT! and honestly I think Bioware/SW:tor is getting the idea, all the interviews I have seen they wont hype a thing about the game but instead comment on this is what we have and this is what we are doing,and this is what we are planning atm,if its not in game we are not going to hype it, the have even been modest about their combat system saying its not ground breaking. anywho sorry fer ramble, not the place here. yall get my jist .
For the few of you posting about the older days of MMO's and roleplaying, and wanting a world, maybe take a peek at Metaplace
it's a complicated thing to describe for me, but i think that game has all aspects for MMO's that a roleplayer might like.
::edit, no, it didn't change::
I just want the game to be fun and enjoyable. For me, this means improving combat.
MMOFPS is the way I want to be playing games in the future, and I'm looking into Global Agenda for that reason...
Space flight combat - much like Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (or any of the many other games... I can't remember the name of the older ones) - would be pretty great, although I'd prefer it with both flight and ground combat.
In fact, you know what? I'd like a game that doesn't restrict cooler, perhaps BETTER combat.
Way back when I played World of Warcraft, there was no mounted combat. Why not? Why couldn't we run up to someone and attack them, or at least auto-attack them? Why can't I shoot with a bow while moving? Why why why? Mostly just pvp issues, I suppose, but so many things just don't make sense!
If I were a mage, I'd probably work a little harder on concentrating and meditation to cast spells, rather than having to stand still while conjuring up a fire ball or some other pitiful excuse for a spell.
Finally, I want a visually enhanced feeling of power when I do things with higher damage. That was one of my larger faults with, guess, World of Warcraft. I had a level 1 mage and a level 80 mage both do a fireball at something. Same. Animation. And Models. Yawn.
So yeah, I ranted. Take that, world. *shakes fist*
I am playing EVE and it's alright... level V skills are a bit much.
You all need to learn to spell.
One thing I wish you had mentioned was the level grind... the senseless, mind-numbing, continous killing for XP's that gets us skills that have no relationship to how we gained them. I would prefer learning skills by using them... and having an experience level in each of the skills. Thus, whether it be crafting or combat, or whatever... you use it, you learn and develop in it. Also, the use of real time to thottle people from gaining abilities too fast (as in EVE Online, but not quite). But in the same light, be able to do certain things (like crafting) while offline. I personally believe that time-sink oriented game designs are a thing of the past, since the number of active subscribers seems to count more now a days anyway.
#4: I wish they would stop making IP MMOs
I think Red 5 Studios is your answer. Some of the WoW creators left Blizzard to start this company and are currently creating an MMO that no one has a clue about right now, though it sounds like we are close to hearing about their project .
EA is a cannibal, I have no idea where you got the idea that it was vegetarian.May BioWare take care of Mythic better than a Red-Headed-Step-Child.
Good article, although
Originally posted by Stradden The solution is simple: Offer players a severely discounted rate between beta and a launch-ready date six months to a year after beta. While players balk at the idea of paying $15 a month for a pre-launch quality product, they might be more willing to accept a fee of $7 to play it in its current state.
Even if it sounds like a good idea, on paper, there would be too many issues.
1) It could lead studios to publish less polished games. With the motto you get what you pay for.
2) It could allow the devs to do major changes to the game.
3) How about transferring characters from gamma or even delta version to release?
All in all the point is to publish fully polished games.
Thing is until you let thousands of players experience the game for months you have no way to know how the game will evolve and so where you will need to focus on.
The 5 Wishes:
Make Me: CoH/V has a great character creator, ChampO and APB promise even better ones. Next.
Stop Making IP MMOs: You'd have a point if Ultima Online and WoW weren't genre touchstones. There have also been 'original' IP MMOs that have flopped and died. I agree that every new movie doesn't need a MMO attached, but given those MMOs tend to die off on their own it isn't a big impact on the industry. IP draws eyeballs - if BioWare was just making a space opera MMO, would it have attracted as much attention as a Star Wars MMO? Nope.
Big MMOs vs Indy MMOs: Arguably, the author is in the best place to correct this issue. Post more reviews / interviews with indy MMO devs. Get people aware of their titles. Get a trial contest going with some of these indy MMOs that aren't translated F2P titles. MMORPG.com could certainly be doing more to educate MMO players between the differences or even what is out there.
Hype: It is what feeds this site. MMORPG.com wants the exclusives / visitor drivers to attract the eyeballs to drive ad revenue. There is even an official "Hype-Level" score given to titles. Seriously, you can't go, "I wish Marketing would stop hyping their title" or "Fans should settle down a bit" then actively enable them to do it without looking a little hypocritcal.
Post-Launch Pre-Full Cost: All I'd see this reduced price doing is encouraging players to play at launch to get the cheapest deal. Launch being arguably the worst time to play a title, these players will pay the cheaper price and then generally justify why they don't want to pay more than that per month. Plus it reduces revenue at the studio when they need it - to start refilling the coffers after a long development - and generally when the highest number of players are playing.
I honestly hope you don't come across a magic lamp, because that was a waste of 5 wishes.
I wish they would remake Shadowbane and UO's magic.
The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
#5: Yeah, the SvR2009 CAW feature really has me scratching my head when it comes to what the MMORPG developers are offering us. It's not even close.
#4 IPs tend to be pretty boring overall because it all ends up feeling like backtracking, to say nothing of the whole slew of characters that pretty much just end up getting in your way.
#3 The MMORPG genre has become such a cumbersome beast that true innovation doesn't really exist. To be perfectly honest, innovation has never really been a strong suit within the industry.
#2 WAR is the definition of overhyped. Somebody should have stapled that one dude's mouth shut. That being said, the game was released with an engine that felt archaic.
#1$7 or $15 isn't a big deal really, but I have to wonder, what with the ridiculous sense of entitlement people are developing these days, if actually trying to raise the monthly price post release wouldn't be met with cries of mutiny and betrayal. I remember when price tag was raised from $9.95 a month to $12.95 a month and finally $14.95 a month and all the cries of anger that seethed from the gaming community forums.
Playing an MMORPG, even only a few days a week, becomes a routine part of their lives, that when it comes time to find something 'new', they also want something 'familiar'. The players dictate the market, and that's the reason why when KOR (The next Great White Hope) finally releases, it's going to feel oh so... welcoming.