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General: ... But Then They Changed What "It" Was



  • geldonyetichgeldonyetich Vancouver, WAPosts: 1,340Member

    Jon Wood's giving them too much credit.  What's "it" these days is basically just a cop out to appeal to a broader casual audience.  It's an ill-conceived cop out because even casuals aren't going to be in a hurry to pay $15/mo for what's being delivered.  Most MMORPGs released these days are made by people who have no idea what's so great about one.

  • ArcAngel3ArcAngel3 GTA, ONPosts: 2,931Member
    Originally posted by Scot

    “I don't think gamer preference or developers are steering the ship anymore; its marketing psychologists and suits trying to hook people on bad online crack. I think they hook fewer of us than a quality game like WoW or EvE, but they suck a lot more cash out of each player by stimulating, perpetuating and escalating demand for virtual goods.”
    I don’t want to sound like a mutual appreciation society, but you have summed up where the industry is headed now.
    I mentioned the change from designer/programmers as the heads of gaming companies to corporates being the CEO’s. To give you some examples the founder of EA Trip Hawkins did his degree in Strategy and Game Theory. The current CEO is John Riccitiello who has a Business degree.
    Lets take a look at Mythic Entertainment’s two founders; Mark Jacobs was a desginer and programmer, Rob Denton was a communications engineer who beame a lead programmer. Mythic was taken over by EA and lost Jacobs. So the CEO is now Riccitiello, a buisnessman.
    This is a trend in it’s self, smaller companies taken over by larger ones who do not have a designer or programmer leading the company. But even some businessmen are more in touch with gaming than others. The medical students who began the small gaming company that was Bioware wanted to form a gaming company which shows where their interets lay. Bioware, now owned by EA ends up being run by a buisnessman who has a background in Pepsi Cola and Haggan-Dazzs, but enough about EA.
    Cryptic Studios were conceived by Michael Lewis and Rick Dakan who describe themselves as roleplayers who wanted to continue what they had done in their youth online. I could not find anyone to be named as the first CEO, but essentialy it was founded by roleplayers. In the summer of 2008 John Needham became the CEO, an excutive from SOE. The company was now being run by a corporate, in the winter of the same year Cryptic was sold to Atari. I do not know if Needham was brought in to pave the way for that move, or as a corporate the new CEO could only see a benifit in joining a larger company; but I really doubt that is a conicidence. David Gardner is the CEO of Atari, he started in sales and marketing and moved on to management. Cryptic now go on to produce the disaster of Champions Online. Need I say more?
    I have backed up my statements about the gaming industry by doing a little digging on the internet. It would be nice if the staff writers occasionly did a bit of journalism as well instead of just telling us we complain because we are old crusties, without anything to back up their point of view.
    I am not saying you must have a creative person as the CEO to get a good game, but it sure helps and now we are entering an era where the only only people at the helm of MMO’s will be suits.


    The thing is, you have done your research.  You have clearly shown that a massive shift has taken place in the MMO industry.  Gamers turned developers used to be the driving force behind the games.  Now the bean counters and marketters are calling the shots.

    It's no wonder that many of the recent games have been disasters with more and more opportunities to spend money on virtual junk.

    Is the next generation of MMO gamer really asking for this?  If they were, 2009 wouldn't have been such a dismal year for MMOs.

  • green13green13 SydneyPosts: 1,340Member

    I think this article makes a fair point about developers doing what they think will make them money...

    But if there's all this "clamouring" for sandbox games of yore then there's clearly still money to be made from them.

    CCP seems to be doing quite well with Eve,

    And while recent mmo crops have been disappointing EQ-clones, there are quite a few sandbox-type mmos nearing release. Earthrise will be out this year and they've predicted a modest 70-80k subscribers. So they've made a sandbox game that can cater to a relatively small number of subscribers and still make a profit.

    There's clearly still money to be made from sandbox mmos, so my response to Jon Wood is....

    We can say "we like X in mmos and not Y" and that's a matter of personal taste, not our age or inability to keep up with the times. It's just fine for eg. a company to make a KOTOR mmo that's more single-player and less mmo. While I really enjoyed the KOTOR games, this online version isn't mmo enough to satisfy me so I won't play it and it's ok for me to say that. There are plenty of other games on the market.

    And FYI, I never played Ultima Online or any of those other games back in the "good old days". I started out in City of Heroes and have played WoW and a bunch of others. I know from playing those that the linear, story elements aren't what I enjoy most - it's other players, and the more sandboxy the game environment the more scope for fun there is.

  • Matticus75Matticus75 Posts: 396Member Uncommon

    Well back when MMOs were picking up, and before WoW, I recall new games comming out were few in number and seemed more "Original" Think about when AO came out, it was really cool, but broken and buggy, SWG was really cool as well, but still buggy and in the end could have had more thought behind it, Then Planet Side came out, that was a really neat game for its catagory.

    So From UO, a sanbox open PvP(Top down view), SWG a sanbox Sci Fi 3D First person/3rd person, AO had many cool things when it came out, And somthing a little off the wall, Planetside

    Seems that most companies not just the ones I metion above were looking to make something that would catch on

    Then WoW came out and it was "WoW"

    After that, every game mostly was a clone of WoW

    I think most of the games comming out now and over the last few years are low budget or tight wad when making anything new, WoW is a Fourmla that is repeated and modfied over and over. Its a safer and predictable business model

    Look at Warhammer, the graphic engine is subpar for the year it was released. (face it, its a cheap game)

    Aion has nicer graphics but its a WoW clone (If its not, then tell me what is)

    Global Agenda is using the Unreal Engine seems like the original one....guess they didnt want to make their own modern engine (anyone Ever Play Tribes Vengeance? Or BattleField 2142) And the world is not even open like Planet side was, and when did Planetside come out?

    Im Still Playing STO, but common guys, is it really that hard to make outer space seemless in 2010?, %99.99 of space is nothing! Granted I can undestand If I go from Space mode to Ground mode, but thats it


    All I see now really is rather simple, MMOs have a "WoW Formula" that they go by, thus allowing more MMO companies to start on a low budget with low man power, Doing anyhitng in depth or original is a waste of their money, And I think its going to get worse


    Micro transactions on cheap games, Games made with half of normal content and the other half sold as DLC (not Full games with %50 more as DLC) and alot of Reused Programming Engines that are sold to low budget companies to make fast garbage with alot of hype, and  MMORPGs that are released 2 years to early....(aka Age of Conan) Originality and innovation will be on hold for a long time I fear

  • SaerainSaerain Barrington, RIPosts: 977Member Uncommon

    I find the generational analogy hard to swallow, as this doesn't seem to be a matter of resistance to progress, but rather conflicting ideas of the direction in which progress ought to be made. A political analogy would be more apt than a generational one, yes?

    Favorites: EVETORVanguard | Playing: None, overtaken by VR | Anticipating: CUPantheon
  • GikkuGikku Oak Ridge, TNPosts: 208Member

    Jon, that is what happens as we get older. We see what was and how what is is so much different. As with life the gaming world is no different.

    Hopefully we will find something out there we can play and enjoy . 30? wait till you get past 50 and pushing 60 like me. ;)


  • FrobnerFrobner REykjavPosts: 649Member

    The thing is... It hasn't changed that much.  Most MMOs are STILL facing the same technical issues they had 5-8 years ago.  Most MMOs are released half done and many dont really have the funds or the tech to acomplish what was promised.  Lets take Mythic for example since John mentioned them.  They are trying to acomplish unrestricted RVR in WAR but JUST like in DAOC - they will always have problems on both server and client side while doing that.  Then we have other companies trying to create "massive" siege battles as instanced version.  Pretty much same thing happens.  Even with long loading screens they still struggle like AOC is probably the best proof of.

    Nothing has changed in this regard.  Massive means Lag.  And ppl will not pay for that.  Its that simple.  Even WOW is now turning into smaller and smaller units to prevent technical issues dominating the gameplay.   Partly because the hardware has not been updated to follow the added fluff that has been put into the game.

    For me "it" will never chance.  Its just the gamers that change.  A MMO gamer that ends up realising that the MMO they are playing is dominated by buff/nerf method (like WOW for example) will never look at any other MMO the same way again.  And he will never find a new released MMO that hasn't got even bigger balance problems and there for - will NEVER find another MMO that isn't ruined by the feel of "devs" balance.

    The word "niche" comes out quite often in MMOs now adays.  That ususallyh happens when the devs that were trying to create the next WOW realised they dont have the funds - the technical ability or the basic ruleset to acomplish it.  It was not they were not trying to create it.  They just failed in it. 

    Here is the thing about MMOs.  A true MMO is the product of the GAMER.  Not the developer.   The best example of this is addons in WOW.  There are litterally thousands of ppl that create addons to change alot of things in the game.  You can totally recreate the interface and give it more personal style.   And alot of ppl do this.  Even the casuals play around with it since quite frankly - the basic interface in WOW is pretty bad.  Now.... thats quite intresting when you see all the other MMOS copying WOW interface....  Instead of creating easy to use tools to allow the gamer to make the interface their own....   

    Like I said... IT is still the same - look at the LOTRO interface tools to realise how naive the devs can still be when it comes to MMO gaming.


  • FrobnerFrobner REykjavPosts: 649Member
    Originally posted by Matticus75
    All I see now really is rather simple, MMOs have a "WoW Formula" that they go by, thus allowing more MMO companies to start on a low budget with low man power, Doing anyhitng in depth or original is a waste of their money, And I think its going to get worse


    The thing is - Very few of the games released today are really copying the CORE of WOW.  THey are not copying the gameplay - the Co-op part - the animations over detail "screenshots" - the free mods and addons to create their own interface.

    No... most of these games are still stuck in the same issues MMOs had before WOW.  Bugs and technical problems.  And the devs are stuck in fixing piles of these instead of thinking further. 

    SImple is ususally better.  Then its eaiser to change it when you find out doesn't really work.   Most MMOs today are stuck in creating something complex that turns into pile of bugs and Lag and heavy instancing and long loading screens.  Thats simply not what gaming is about.

    Even turn based MMOs would probably have better gameplay than many of the so called higly "graphical" MMos that have been released in the last 2-3 years.   And ppl are not stupid.  They will rather have fun PLAYING a game than watching pretty screenshots inbetween the loading screens. 

  • nexennexen WelwynPosts: 55Member

     To be honest this has been the way it is for almost a decade now.  Not a lot has changed since the rise of WoW and the fall of games like UO and EQ1.  If anything in the last year there's been more hope, with a lot of interest being generated for more classical MMOs like Darkfall and Mortal Online.  These games may be flawed but the fact they've had large followings (much larger than Shadowbane had when it tried to bring back some classical MMO philosophies 6-7 years ago) shows a trend for a sub-genre of MMOs on the horizon that return to old values.


  • inleinle clermont, FLPosts: 62Member Uncommon


    i hear ya john i turned 32 just a few weeks ago


    i started with FFXI and bounced around from mmo to mmo till a guild member from ffxi told me about swg at first i followed the G4 reviews of it and ignored the game then finally i broke down and tried it

    i joind SWG some point after what is known as the CU happen and about 6-8 months before the NGE hit

    its upon my joining of SWG i realized i shouldn't rely solely on G4 lol :P (no offense to them but they dropped the ball when they based there review solely on SWG's state in its release and decided never to update it)

    so to keep it short let me say SWG pre-NGE was the ideal game for me when it existed then they took it away

    and ever since i have bean pining for a smiler in depth gaming experience be it scifi or fantasy I dont care

    my question is this are you saying that its because im old that i am not happy with a generic experience like most new mmo's offer and that i will never see  another in depth gaming experience again ?

    or are you saying its just a mater of time before they try to toss us older players a bone ?



    more and more these days im also noticing mmo company's are more interested in the bigger better graphics then they are in game play or there game world in general and this too just gets to me in a bad way


    “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”
    just because the cake is a lie dosnt mean there cant be 3.1415926535etc etc (Pi) :P

  • wildchyldwildchyld San Francisco Bay Area, CAPosts: 35Member

      A large part of the problem with some of the current games is that its extremely expensive to build a game in the US (and takes forever) and games developed overseas are created for an entirely different audience. If you look at blizzards current move to add micro transaction pets to their arsenal its clear that even the North American companies are trying to be open to new ways of monetizing their games. As long as accounts and gold have been available to be bought and sold there have been those who are willing to sell their in game goods for real world money. These days the audience is just larger and the size of the internet has made it even easier to find buyers.

  • TroneasTroneas Posts: 845Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Neanderthal

    Originally posted by Troneas

    Originally posted by Neanderthal 
    I find it difficult to believe that the human race has changed so much in ten short years.  Demographics be damned, people are people.  Fun is fun.


    i find your statement surprising;. when some would claim that human behaviour has had the most profound change in history over the past 20 short years, technology being the prime contributor to the change.


    "fun is fun"... hmm what is fun? i enjoy fishing - do you?


    Technology has changed but people haven't changed.  When I grew up there were no cell phones.  Kids today never knew a world without cell phones.  Does that mean the kids today have a different brain structure?  A <cell phone lobe> in their brains which I lack?  I hardly think so.

    No, I don't particularly enjoy fishing.  But just because my mother did (and she did) it doesn't automatically mean that I would be unable to enjoy it.  If your parents enjoyed fishing would that mean that your generation would be unable to enjoy it?  That's the point I was trying to make.

    Some people are making the assumption that just because the first wave of mmorpg players enjoyed certain styles of games it means that the younger players today would automatically find those styles of games unenjoyable just because they are younger.  The sorts of things which were popular then could be popular again if given a facelift and started over fresh.  And yes, maybe correct some of the mistakes.


    you are completely missing the point.


    even though i can understand your theory which tries to put all "enjoyable" excercises into one universal box; tastes, habbits and expectations change over time.

    sure some people from the "second generation" of mmorpgs might find some of the older mmorpg models appealing. sure there are some people in their 20s which might prefer going to a nightclub and listen to pop music from the 80s than to current R&B or electronic music.

    The fact remains that MOST of the people in the 20s, whilst they might still have "fun" going to a 70s pop nightclub, they'd rather go someplace else.

    for older mmorpg gamers, freedom, realism, immersion and simulation was their idea of fun. yet, whilst surely a younger gamer will still prefer playing a game with such features than doing his homework, he'd probably rather be playing a game with balance, limitations, powerups, and action. that's the point the OP is trying to make.


  • loreofchaosloreofchaos Clarinda, IAPosts: 316Member

    Sorry to say, hardly the gamers fault that the developers have become sloppy and lazy, and yes I remember the days when thing's weren't claimed as wow clones, but eq clones, ironically wow was a clone of eq basically. It's to be said developers are doing things based on not giving two anus wanks about the customer who pays for his food his old college bills and his condoms when he finally gets laid after long periods of being a douche. But at the same time I see the point, a lot of new age gamers aren't really informed and extremely ignorant of the history of mmorpg's I was there when it was birthed, though at the time I was only 13, and now I am 21, and when an idiot hands money over for something useless they feed that useless developer.  But on the top side there has been a price to pay, so much it ends the game, it appears while mid-way people were stupid, now it seems they're finally getting smarter, maybe there is hope for the world.

    Take a deep drink of your demon Lad, tonight we tangle with the fire in the gut.

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