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General: The Sci-Fi MMO: The Past



  • ScotScot UKPosts: 6,332Member Rare

    How far we have come, Phantasy Star Online released in 2000 “Relying heavily on instancing and randomly-generated dungeons”. It seems that the new crop of SF MMO’s; STO, GA and STOR will be doing exactly the same half baked effort to be a true online world.

    Earth and Beyond, was another EA game that did not live up to the expected profit margin, so straight to the bin.

    CoX could be called a SF game, but it is a supers, so that’s streaching it, loved the game though.

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  • GrauhaarGrauhaar SinsheimPosts: 10Member

    How can a contribution like this one miss Neocron?


  • Nutss79Nutss79 sdPosts: 1Member
    Originally posted by wootin

    Originally posted by NexusTrimean

     I am Saddened that Planetside Gets only a passing mention.  It has been alive for nearly as long as eve, albeit not with the same number of players, It also has done a better job at remaing in peoples minds, when you meet another gamer,  you dont ask them about there eve character, the world is too big for that, players to seperated for it, but they will sympathize for that knife you put in a sniper's back. and the hour long Gen Holds at the bottom of tech plants.  Every fps i play gets measured against planetside, and so far, i havent found any that equal the amount of fun it delivered.


    Yup, Planetside keeps coming back to mind for me. Such a simple gameplay environment, such an awesome gameplay experience. It proves that what developers need to do is stop trying to make the game for the players, and just give the players the ways to make the game.


    I loved Planetside, it was the one game where you could really play massive online battles with or without vehicles, and where teamplay really mattered. It was fun to just log in for an hour or so, you didn't need to spent ages leveling just to be able to do something. Would love to play a new game like that......


    Hellgate London had it's charms. Found it too repetitive though.

  • JowenJowen Posts: 326Member
    Originally posted by Cryomatrix

    Why hasn't anyone tapped the mechwarrior concept.
    i swear to god you could port all things in EVE to mechwarriors, have the same mechs do the same thing as the ships in EVE but now you have to code an actual background. I think it could be done.
    I'm surprised no one has done it.


    Eh, Perpetuum Online which has already been noted, is such alike EVE (example 1, 2 and 3) that you could claim they are trespassing on CCPs intellectual property.

  • BaffaBaffa BorasPosts: 37Member

    I just wish they would develop Planetside 2. Planetside is still The best mmofps (or action game) ever made even if it still lacks all the basics we are used to in other games, like meaningful guild stuff, crafting etc.

    And of course, why the hell did they shut down Earth and Beyond?

  • BigdavoBigdavo BrisbanePosts: 1,862Member Uncommon

    Interesting article for someone who doesn't know the history of Sci-Fi MMOs, good read.

    We need more of them... Mechwarrior MMO (one can dream)

    O_o o_O

  • mCalvertmCalvert Tallahassee, FLPosts: 1,283Member

    What about Earthrise? It will be out far sooner than SWTOR, and is more similar to EVE.

  • OaksteadOakstead Champaign, ILPosts: 455Member
    Originally posted by Darkholme

    I miss Earth & Beyond a lot. I played the crap out of that game from phase 4 beta through to the day they shut it down. If it was reopened in an official capacity today, with no upgrades, right where they left off, I would pick it up and start playing it again in a heartbeat... So much potential, squandered by EA.


    I am glad this article mentions Earth & Beyond which launched on September 24, 2002 only a year behind Jumpgate and before Eve-Online. It was the first sci-fi game with a deep compelling storyline that had to be discovered.

    In another first, Earth and Beyond was the first popular online game that was deliberately allowed to die by its owner who never added any additional content. Who was that owner you ask? None other than EA who bought out this game's developer, Westwood Studios, a few months before launch.

    I miss Earth & Beyond as well.


  • UnSubUnSub PerthPosts: 252Member
    Originally posted by Grauhaar

    How can a contribution like this one miss Neocron?


    Or Shattered Galaxy? 

    Regarding a Mechwarrior MMO, there was always Battletech 3025, which EA canned: 

  • DrmarvinDrmarvin Eagan, MNPosts: 34Member

     After playing most of the big name MMO's since UO was released I'd have to say AO was and currently is the deepest and most varied of the group. 

    Those of you asking for cyberpunk, AO has elements of that.  Implants, decks and nano's as well as all sorts of guns and melee weapons.  It was the first to do mission instancing and did it right in my opinion.

    It's personal preference of course but after playing many MMO's I'm drawn to the ones with the steeper learning curve and with lots of options aka AO, Eve, WW2 Online etc..

  • WisebutCruelWisebutCruel Paris, ALPosts: 1,089Member

    Anarchy Online can lay claim to a lot of firsts in the MMORPG genre, launching in the summer of 2001. Not only was Funcom's game the first to feature a Sci-Fi setting, but it was also the first to offer free-trials and eventually in-game advertising."


    Yeah, free trials and advertising are the best you could mention as far as "firsts" for AO.

    You forgot to mention Funcom created instancing tech for Anarchy Online, which every modern mmo afterwards has used. Anyone who bitches about instances in their games can send a note of thanks to Funcom for developing it. Anarchy Online was the first to have randomly created missions  which paved the way for the random mission systems used in Star Wars Galaxies and other games afterwards. Anarchy Online was also the first mmo to have what we now call Collector Editions with it's "Special Edition" in 2002 which came with art and a soundtrack cd. 

  • DrowNobleDrowNoble Trenton, MIPosts: 1,296Member

    Original post by Jon Wood...

    Earth & Beyond was launched in September of 2002, and closed in September of 2004. With of the briefest live periods of any online offering, E&B was an ambitious title that never quite gathered enough of a following to please its publisher, EA Games. What's sad, as any former player will tell you, is that the game was actually pretty impressive. The first to offer both space flight as well as traditional avatar exploration (though admittedly the latter of which was limited most to space stations), E&B was rather ahead of its time and received many positive reviews from critics. For whatever reason though the game was never really a barnstormer, and unlike EVE it was never given enough time to gain steam.

    I was in the beta and later a subscriber.  What I can tell you is that EA had just bought Westwood Studios at this time.  Westwood, famous for its C&C games, was now doing an MMO.  At one point in the beta, they brought down the servers for a patch.... to ensure the EA logo remained onscreen for 10 seconds.  Seriously.

    EA didn't support Earth & Beyond.  The content patches were fewer than they are in WoW.  There was little advertising for the game.  No posters, cardboard standees, magazine ads, etc.  When I went to buy my retail copy the store clerk at Software Etc hadn't even heard of the game.  Almost like EA just wanted to milk this for some money and had every intention of killing it eventually.  After all, this was Westwood's baby not EA's.

    Not only was the game nice to look at, you could land on some planets, but it had a great way to advance.  Many companies spin "innovation" but E&B really came up with something.  The cap was lvl 150, broken up into 50 combat, trade and exploration levels.  You kill stuff you gain Combat xp.  Just expore the universe or break down loot to learn the recipe you get Explore xp.  Sell or create items and you get Trade xp.  Get to an overall level and you do a mission to upgrade your ship and get promoted.  So your Terran Enforcer goes from Commander to Captain, you get a new rank plus a bigger flashier ship.

    Of all the MMO's I've played E&B is the one I miss the most.

  • indiramournindiramourn Moorpark, CAPosts: 884Member Uncommon

    I also enjoyed E&B at launch.   And I appreciate and empathsize with all the nastalgia about Earth & Beyond in this thread.  But it wasn't just a perfect game that was killed by EA.  It had serious design issues.  The killer for me was no autopilot to fly between star systems (like EvE has).  Seriously, you had to steer your ship every step of the way.  This got to be boring very quickly and drove many potential players away early on--including me and my friends.  But I know that EA neglected the game, and issues like that could have been resolved quickly if the developers were better supported by EA. 

  • IsaakIsaak Herriman, UTPosts: 48Member

    How about a Sci-fi MMO - ABOUT the past?   Setting? Planet earth in the far future. Sometime in the late 2100's, world war broke out nearly wiped out humanity. All records of history pre 2100 are lost.  Life, as it always does...survived.


    Humanity has rebuilt itself...and, as always...war is about to grip the earth in combat again...but this time? its time itself that is in danger.  With the controversial advent of physical time travel there began to be discussions.  With the population once decimated, people are now infertile and cloning is our only option.


    At first it was talks about exploring...just to write the history books that had been lost after humanities self destructive world war 3.  The Observers, as they are called, refuse to interfere with anything or anyone. They only wish to learn from history...and try to use what they've learned to prevent war in their own time.


    But then there were those who wished to go back and heal humanity and prevent the wars. Their goal is to preserve the human genetic diversity that was lost...bring forward enough good DNA to prevent the forced inbreeding and eventual loss of fertility we suffered. With this in mind they also don't hestitate to fix anything they can. Preserve extinct species, germs, etc while trying to alter the timeline such that the Earth's natural resources are more intact.

    A second faction is bent on power and greed. They have back through history and changed events from the beggining of the human record in order to bring about their own ends. They don't hestitate to destroy anything in order to plunder the riches and knowledge of the past. They don't care if they alter the past such that the future from whence they spring no longer exists. The only force keeping them in check is the 3rd faction.

    The 3rd faction is the only thing standing between the other two faction's tampering. Using clandestine detective work and maybe a few high powered pistols, they try to preserve the timeline from the other faction's tampering.


    The setting of the game then is Here on earth. The storyline is our history. The world is already created and so is 95% of the storyline. Costumes, art, music, architecture, foods, etc are already created. Not only could you explore this planet during any one of the major historical timelines, but you will learn and participate in actual history (crap, can education be fun!?) and deal with consequences of actions (a moral to the story? WTH).

    -Participate in Napoleans battles...stop the enemy factions from interfering with the discoveries of Lewis and Clark. Etc etc.

    -In order to save your experience, you must return to a module that will store your memories for your replacement clone. If you die without that storage, your between your last save and now is lost. Your items are lost (but recoverable)

    -Don't go down a timeline and make choices that alters time such that you cannot return to the future!

    -Get all the future gadgetry/weaponry of a futuristic setting but take it anywhere in the past - but be discreet about it.  While visiting your own timeline, participate in full scale conflicts using the latest and greatest technologies.


    Anyway. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Currently not playing any MMOrpg --
    Lvl 80 paladin WoW

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,409Member Uncommon

    I liked AO, it was a good game :)  I hope in the future we'll have a "Worlds of Starcraft" MMO.  I would love to see that, it has a good set up for a RvRvR war like Dark Age of Camelot, just taking over entire worlds instead of Keeps :)

  • DeeweDeewe Long Beach, CAPosts: 1,967Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Myrdinn

    Me, I find space combat done best with a joystick in one hand, a thruster in another, and a keyboard in the last hand. Erm, yeah. ;-)
    Where is the line between a Sci-Fi, Sci-Fantasy, Sci-shooter, and Sci-RPG MMO? Personally, I want a space game like Elite/Privateer/Wing Commander/etc., a ground arena like SWG in the Pre-CU (or, at worst, CU stage), a house or ship to show off trophies... and, honestly, a lightsaber in one hand, blaster in the other with a cool looking armor or robe. A hovering BFG remote over the shoulder is optional.
    But, aye. I want to play Sci-Fi MMOs. Whole reason I tried the MMO scence occured when I was playing KOTOR I: standing on Dantoonie, I thought "hey, there are MMOs now. Wouldn't it be awesome to play something like this... only wider... and goes on for more than just a few hours? More epic? More meaningful?"
    Oh, and fark the holy trinity of fantasy warfare. I like the skill systems.


    Actually space sim players have a 4th arm to manage food/drinks while playing because we don't get off that much from the pilot seat :)


    When I first heard about SWG I had hopes it would be a mix of Dark force and X-Wing vs Tie-fighter.

    You can guess I was very disappointed both with the hotkey ground combat and the bad flight sim. But crafting was really great, socialization top noch and it was the only MMO who was able to bring non fighters to the genre, from crafter to entertainer.


    I wish someday a studio would create a FPS ground based combat system, with a decent space sim and an economy as in Privateer 2 the darkening or Elite. A topping of pre-CU SWG crafting and entertainer system would be most welcome.


  • revslaverevslave ..., NYPosts: 154Member Uncommon

    Hey Hey

    To bad most people think that starwars is sci-fi ><. 

    Sci-Fi will be a harder sell, at its heart it is meant to challenge the reader , to deal with new and alien idea's , that clash with their world views.  District 9 was one of the best true science fiction moves in a while , not becouse of the special effects , but it allowed us a Diffrent  view of humanity, they would have not reached the same audience if it was about human refuges and how we treat fellow humans. 

    All of that being said, i would really enjoy a rifts mmo, and am  thinking of getting a console for dust 514. At the end of the day however think we will see more fantasy mmo's with a sci-fi skin, becouse people are very comfortable with what they all ready have.  



    Welcome Home



  • ericbelserericbelser buffalo, NYPosts: 783Member

    Did I blink and miss a point in there someplace?

    I did particularly enjoy the whitewash of Anarchy Online though...describing a game that lost 90% of it's customers in 3 months and never recovered most of them as "a very active subscriber base" lol.  AO's launch was the defining example of "launch failure" and remains so. Most of their "innovation" didn't work for years.

    Don't forget the futuristic "Imperator" that Mythic postponed indefinately....

    Sci-FI could be done well in a number of ways...SWG was crippled by some very bad early decisions and abysmal management...

    Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault were both stable, enjoyable and playable games that could have been saved and kept around by better/more long-term oriented operating companies.


  • JdokiJdoki .Posts: 68Member

    Planetside was an awesome game, and Phantasy Star Online was great too, but I have very fond memories of Earth and Beyond.  That game was never given a fair run.

    However, it's not so much the Sc i-Fi setting itself that drew me in to those games, it was the fact they felt different from the cookie cutter template we've see so often in MMO's.

    As a current subscriber to Champions Online it's disappointing to see that developers are not trying to push the boundaries and do something different.  And having been in the beta for Star Trek Online, it is just another clone of the standard MMO template.  The industry seems in desperate need of a shakeup in some areas because reskinning the same old game play is going to eventually hurt the genre.

  • UnsungTooUnsungToo Lake Worthless, FLPosts: 276Member

    There's more to it than them failing because people didn't like them.

    MMo's suffer from alot of things, for one they aren't given enough time for the fan base to truly develop. And part of the reason they don't develop is because of the business model they use. Subscriptions suck and limit how many players you get. Another part is that they push the boundaries of system specifications most of the time. And again many would be players are left out of the loop.

    I think they just need to hang around for awhile longer and change their business model a bit. This would give people time to catch up. That or develop it from the beginning with all that in mind.

    I bet a dollar to a dime that if Anarchy Online could update their graphics a little they would have a ton more players that would pay for the box. And I'd be willing to bet that if SWG dropped their subscription model and only charged for the box that they would be filled to near capacity.

    Godspeed my fellow gamer

  • mrw0lfmrw0lf LondonPosts: 2,269Member

    I still play PS, was surprised it and Neocron didn't get much of a mention.

    Only up and coming SF game I'm looking at is Infinity, looks absolutely awsome. If it has what is planned all the big devs houses will be throwing money at him to get their hands on it and the engine.

    “The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.”

  • SWGmodAlphaSWGmodAlpha Landover, MDPosts: 126Member

    While I don't disagree with your article, I don't totally agree either.

    SWG is not a total failure.  As a long time palyer, 5 years no break even throug the CU and the NGE, SWG is thriving more than it has since the PreCU.

    That does not mean I agree with the production decisions that have been made with regard to SWG by LA / SOE.

    SWG still has more content and playability than any of the new MMOs coming out.  That includes crafting and PVP.  In addition to free roaming game space on planets SWG also have space flight and PVP space combat.

    I'm afraid that the new KOTOR and STO are way under developed in reality when compared to publish dates and marketing statements.

  • lordessedesslordessedess Rowland, NCPosts: 56Member

    Tabula damn game i ever played....NC soft should be knee capped for canceling that one. They should have made it free to play with a cash shop to support it it eventually could have overpowered WoW with little difficulty for me. Given the choice between playing EVE and Tabula Rasa id choose....EVE .....but still it'd be close. :)

    "I spit on you NC Soft"

  • SyrithSyrith Dallas, TXPosts: 18Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by NexusTrimean

     I am Saddened that Planetside Gets only a passing mention.  It has been alive for nearly as long as eve, albeit not with the same number of players, It also has done a better job at remaing in peoples minds, when you meet another gamer,  you dont ask them about there eve character, the world is too big for that, players to seperated for it, but they will sympathize for that knife you put in a sniper's back. and the hour long Gen Holds at the bottom of tech plants.  Every fps i play gets measured against planetside, and so far, i havent found any that equal the amount of fun it delivered.


    Amen to that.  I have eagerly hoped for a true successor to Planetside and nothing out there has come close (hint to developers 32 v 32  or 64 v 64 is not massive).  The adrenaline rush of skmming the trees with my Galaxy for a low level bd drop, gen holds, full on base assaults and defences was a blast.


    I've always said that if someone would merge Eve with Planetside (and hopefully some small fighter combat in space against the huge ships) I'd never leave home again.  I don't think CCP is going to that with Dust given that its console versus PC, but I suppose one can dream.

  • SyrithSyrith Dallas, TXPosts: 18Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Baffa

    I just wish they would develop Planetside 2. Planetside is still The best mmofps (or action game) ever made even if it still lacks all the basics we are used to in other games, like meaningful guild stuff, crafting etc.
    And of course, why the hell did they shut down Earth and Beyond?


    If they added that other stuff to a Planetside 2 it would kill it.  The whole beauty of PS was being able to log in for the very first time and be competitive.  Sure you couldn't do everything and you didn't have access to command stuff, but you could take a specialization and still kick some butt.  


    One of the biggest problems I find in the traditional mmo structure is the pointless grind because you need that next tier of gear to do the next raid to get that next tier of gear etc.   Would you rather do yet another Balrog run/Plane of Fear or whatever your standard end game dungeon is in your traditional MMO for the eightieth time because you haven't had that drop yet, or your guild hasn't gotten all of their epic armour, or would you rather hop in find yourself instantly deep in the you know what and be in for a fight not caring about needing that next tier of whatever and just having fun?

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