Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Fuzzy Avatars Solved! Please re-upload your avatar if it was fuzzy!

General: Hiding the Game - Immersion

2

Comments

  • CembryeCembrye Washington, DCPosts: 54Member

    Good article.  

    I just can't bear any more theme park MMORPGS.  

    It doesn't matter if you are Jedi or Orc, carry a lightsaber or a battleaxe.  You level up, do quests, make coin.  The world remains the same no matter what you do.  The monster you kill returns a minute later, good as new.  NPCs stand or wander in small circles, serving a sole function of moving you along the linear track to the next set of predetermined tasks.  You try and wander off that track only to find that impassable rock ledges, bodies of water and sometimes just invisible walls of air block you - nudging you back onto the Yellow Brick Road.  The only spontaneity comes from (usually) poorly enabled PVP that also has no real impact.  And at the end, like mooing cattle, you are shuttled into the "end game" which features endless repetition of the same instances over and over and over so you can get "end game gear."  You are a chicken pecking a piano key to get grain.

  • WrockWrock El Cajon, CAPosts: 11Member Common

    I don't mind most of the UI stuff in most MMOs, but all the flashy glitz attached to power effects, stances, buff/debuffs, and so on gets old. I wish more games would just let me shut that off. I remember hearing some line about how it was all important for the sake of PvP so that other players could tell what effects you had up. That soothed my woes less than none. I don't care what other players want to see when their gaming. They should be allowed to interact with the game how they want, and leave me to interact how I want.

     

    There should just be a comprehensive list of what triggers these effects, and the option to disable them all, either en masse or a la carte. Combine that with a smooth, completely customizable control sceme (I can't WASD my way out of a paper bag, but I'm pretty handy on my XBOX S-Pad). I really enjoyed the functionality of controls, customization, and macro/binds in SWG and (still to this day) in CoH. Everything else just falls short. All to often, I feel like the devs are trying to make me play the game the way they think it's best to play, when that just doesn't always work for me (ok, make your "scrub" jokes, get over it, and move along). I've tried a lot of MMOs, but really stuck with very few of them, because most don't have the level of customizability I crave to make the game fit me, which is the point where I feel "immersed."

    If I want to spend hours or days or months banging my head against a brick wall trying to fit in and do everything the way everyone else does, hell, I have Real Life Offline for that :/

    If brute force isn't working, you're not using enough.

  • yyiriyyiri New York, NYPosts: 34Member

    Not sure if you've tried Darkfall Online. Their UI is pretty minimalistic and the immersion in the game is pretty good.

  • jayartejayarte LancasterPosts: 450Member

    Originally posted by aSynchro

    I want a mmorpg without numbers.

    Nothing breaks the immersion more for me than having to choose between a sword with +150 stam/+37 strenght/+17 dodge and an axe with +140 stam/+45 strenght/+15 parry because you need 102.4 % of block stuff for tonight raid. I'm a fiercy warrior damnit, not an economist from Harvard !

    "Rusty sword", "Sword that feel heavy but powerfull in your hand", "Shiny axe that glow yellow when undeads are near", "shield that according to the vendor is excellent against dragon" etc. is all i should know and need.

    Well said, I absolutely agree with this.

     

  • jayartejayarte LancasterPosts: 450Member

    Couple of things.  Firstly, if that is a screenshot of your UI in WoW, Bill, then you could use some add-ons (shame Blizz doesn't offer a more customisable UI themselves) to remove a lot of that clutter.  My UI is much tidier, pretty minimal, most stuff along the bottom (including mini map). 

     

    Secondly, if I'm engrossed in what I'm doing at the time, I don't notice when I level up, despite the noise and flashing lights.

     

    Thirdly, to summarise, I also love to be immersed in a game, and it's a multitude of things which prevent that, including other players.

  • MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community Manager Queens, NYPosts: 5,724Administrator Uncommon

    Originally posted by badgerer

    Can anyone remember the word I'm looking for? Paul Barnett said something along the lines of "Immersion is having the wife and kids leave you while your house is burning down. No, what we want to give you is -"   And no it wasn't "joy" which is a word he used a lot.

    and if you reply to this, please spare thread derailments about the failure of delivery on his various promises in WO.




     

    When  I was writing the tweet for this feature I thought about Paul's quote there, too. I couldn't fit it into 140 characters though. :( Glad to see it's made an impression on more than just myself. That Barnett bloke, funny dude! :)

    Michael "MikeB" Bitton
    Community Manager
    Twitter: @eMikeB

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member

    I can completely relate to this article. I do like having an easy-to-use UI, whether it is complex in what it offers or is hidden/minimalist. I hate, utterly hate, fighting with a UI. Even though so many people have said such good things about FFXI, and it sounded like a game I would have really liked, I just could not get past the awful UI. I tried to get used to it, I really did, but after about 3 weeks of struggling with it on my PC, I gave up. I haven't tried FFXIV because I heard that its UI is not "natural" for keyboard/mouse-using PC players.

    I guess it depends too on what you like in UIs and games. I rather like WoW's current inhouse UI. I never used addons to actually add onto my UI, except for one bag organizer back in the day. I never really thought it was a really bad immersion-breaker when I was off exploring or soloing. My experience of playing in groups is far more negative, especially ones that demand perfect rotations and watching global cooldowns and for effects to fire in order to maximize and optimize things. "Slam-dunking" dungeons is a much more immersion-breaking experience than the UI on its own.

    The other big immersion-breaker, and one I think needs to be removed from games all together ASAP, are the new crops of cash shop related icons in the hybrid F2As. I tried LotRO when it first switched to its hybrid model and I was dismayed to see icons floating above NPC questgiver's heads pertaining to needing to purchase their quest in the online store if I wanted to do it. The red "buy now", "online store", etc. buttons are very annoying (such as in DDO). EQ2's popup window showing the news, but also new additions to their store, as soon as I log into the game is annoying.

    I can understand glittery UIs can be disruptive, but I think my last paragraph points to something that is much worse and seems to be a growing (and to me, unwelcome)  trend in the MMO industry.

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

    image
  • HomituHomitu Hometown, HIPosts: 2,030Member

    Originally posted by badgerer

    Can anyone remember the word I'm looking for? Paul Barnett said something along the lines of "Immersion is having the wife and kids leave you while your house is burning down. No, what we want to give you is -"   And no it wasn't "joy" which is a word he used a lot.

    and if you reply to this, please spare thread derailments about the failure of delivery on his various promises in WO.

    Imagination.  Oh google, how useful you are!

    http://mmogames.se/war/index.html

  • divmaxdivmax JhbPosts: 106Member

    Great article - my sentiments exactly.

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    A agree that most modern MMOs lack the immersion, but I don't think that the roots of the problem are in UI. Ultima Online interface is more complex and demanding vs. WoW for example.

    I can think of one modern game which  offered great immersion-  DCUO. It had:

    1) Few abilities. While some people criticised the game for it - I loved it. It takes nothing from the game really ... why to make 5 different heals like in WoW? They all do the same thing - heal. 1 instant and  1 HOT heal is enough.  Also most of the combat moves in DCUO were pulled out as you would pull out combos in say... Star Wars - Force Uleashed or other fightings... it really helped the immersion since you don't have to constantly think about which button you have to press to make this move... and you don't have to worry about cooldowns at all - the rotations are natural! - You just play the game naturally and it creates the sense of real fighting, rather than closely watching your cooldowns and mana...

    2) Fast and easy travel. You liked that building far in the distance - just take a 5 minute flight to it and have fun circling around and enjoying the view. It really helps to explore the world, In other game you would say: "Nah - I am not wasting 30 minutes of my precious time just to get there - I have 10 quests left in my current area. Fuhk the scenery!".

    3) Quests are given on the fly. As soon as you have completed the quest - mentor will give you the next one on the comm... yeah - you don't have to turn them back most fo the time. No pointless running just to get your reward and then run back to were you have been...

    4) Few selections during character creation, but lots of the combinations: you have to pick up one of 3 power types, 1 of 3 movement modes and 1 of several weapons. But there is no restrictions on the combinations of those.

    So - I think that simplicity is the key. Complex UIs are needed only when you have tons of abilities, complex maps are required only when it is hard to navigate the world and travel takes long times, it is hard to find a group only when you have lots of classes (some of which are not as good and useful as others) ect. And I am absolutely sure - all this complexity is artificial and there is no demand for it among players. Most abilities in MMOs are similar - like class having several DoTs. For which purpose? DCUO proved that we can heal, tank and DPS with 2-3 abilities and play not constantly thinking about the game systems, rather than actually playing.

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    Originally posted by aSynchro

    Nothing breaks the immersion more for me than having to choose between a sword with +150 stam/+37 strenght/+17 dodge and an axe with +140 stam/+45 strenght/+15 parry because you need 102.4 % of block stuff for tonight raid. I'm a fiercy warrior damnit, not an economist from Harvard !

    Lol - you have made my day -)) I agree completely. Furthermore gear shouldn't be that different. I mean sword is just a sword ... is it really different if you hack the brains out of a mob's head with the rusty one or with the shiny one? Not really. The damage difference shouldn't be item based and item should never be the main source of stats. The best gear in the game shouldn't give more than 10-15% advantage over the rusty one. Also items shouldn't be level restricted - they should just break of use, so players will have to look for the replacement and cary some secondary weapons with them (it will actually make combat unpredictable and  the crafts useful). Or you can just pick up the club droped by this zombie you just slayed and bash the rest of them with it, how is it any less effective if you are the huge strong barbarian?

  • MoiraeMoirae New Orleans, LAPosts: 2,746Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by DaddyDark



    Originally posted by aSynchro



    Nothing breaks the immersion more for me than having to choose between a sword with +150 stam/+37 strenght/+17 dodge and an axe with +140 stam/+45 strenght/+15 parry because you need 102.4 % of block stuff for tonight raid. I'm a fiercy warrior damnit, not an economist from Harvard !

    Lol - you have made my day -)) I agree completely. Furthermore gear shouldn't be that different. I mean sword is just a sword ... is it really different if you hack the brains out of a mob's head with the rusty one or with the shiny one? Not really. The damage difference shouldn't be item based and item should never be the main source of stats. The best gear in the game shouldn't give more than 10-15% advantage over the rusty one. Also items shouldn't be level restricted - they should just break of use, so players will have to look for the replacement and cary some secondary weapons with them (it will actually make combat unpredictable and  the crafts useful). Or you can just pick up the club droped by this zombie you just slayed and bash the rest of them with it, how is it any less effective if you are the huge strong barbarian?

    Now that I don't agree with. You really don't think there's a difference between the damage of a katana and a rusty single handed english sword? Really? Or for that matter a new bastard sword and an old gladius? You must not know anything about swords. 

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    Originally posted by Moirae

    Now that I don't agree with. You really don't think there's a difference between the damage of a katana and a rusty single handed english sword? Really? Or for that matter a new bastard sword and an old gladius? You must not know anything about swords. 


     

    Surprisingly I do know lots about swords and mele weapons as a whole - as it is my hobby. :-) There sure is difference between damage of katana and european sword, but this difference is not about how deadly they are. One is cutting weapon, the other is more of a chopping weapon. I would prefer the english sword vs. katana when fighting oponent wearing metal armor and vice versa when facing unarmored/leather armored oponent.  The truth is  - damage is more about how powerful and precise you can hit with your weapon, rather than the weapon itself - that was my point. Strong man can easily kill an armored opponent with a boulder in his hand, given the range and opportunity to strike.

    On the other hand all this historical way of thinking about weapons is totally off-topic ;-)  The main idea was that MMO gameplay should be more of a game, rather than math exam; fighting should be fighting, rather than memorising your 15 abilities rotation; items should not be the main source of power but rather the expendable tools they are in real life.  I mean the choice of your class, fighting style and weapon type is part of your strategy and can significantly affect your damage (e.g. 2-handers vs. 1h+shield), but rusty mace vs. shiny mace... come on! Why is it supposed to be 10 times more powerful? Why the hell should we care about 20 item slots and 100 abilities, which are completely meaningles, since the objective is to maximise one stat - DPS (or heal or damage reduction)??? Why is that the game becomes reduced to fighting only, and fighting becomes reduced to maximising damage??? Fighting should be all about strategy and adopting to the circumstances, to your opponent, not putting the best gear on and sticking to your rotations.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon

    Immersion is a non-factor.  I always know I am sitting at a computer and not "IN A REAL WORLD".

  • VargurVargur OsloPosts: 143Member

    IMO, in most games more is less. That is why I am looking forward to TSW and its three quest (I think it is) cap. Going from LotRO where I spend most of my time running around delivering messages and killing critters should be a welcome change. That said, LotRO's epic quest line is great, but it is the traits grinds that are killing me.

    Likewise, it is wonderful to drop into Mount and Blade from time to time, just to press left mousebutton to swing weapon and right mousebutton to block. No recycle time on Power Cleave attacks, etc. Simple, yet quite satisfying.

  • OzrynOzryn Jackson, MSPosts: 8Member

    So glad to see there are people who feel like me and look for a more immersive experience.  I spoke about what an "immersion player" looks for recently at http://guildm8s.com/index.aspx?g=posts&m=1884&#post1884#post1884.

    Glowing trails, things floating over npc's heads, contant insta-travel, excessive instancing.  MMO's have less "worldliness" than ever.

    AAA titles are stuck in a WoW rut.  WoW made the MMO's before it more accessible to the masses - yet with increasing design toward accessibilty the feeling of a world "lived in" diminishes.

  • SmokeysongSmokeysong Lewisville, TXPosts: 236Member

    William I could hardly agree more; well said!

    At least in WoW, and some other MMOGs, you can turn most of the UI stuff off. I use addons to help with that. I make my buttons as small as possible and put them off to the side. I turn off the quest tracker so it doesn't display on my screen. I make the character plates as small as possible. I make the chat pane small, too. I play on a bigger screen so I can view more world than UI (which only helps to a certain degree in WoW becaouse it doesn't scale up or down with resolution changes).

    When (and if) I start playing again, I'm going to hide as much as I can. With one of the addons I use, I can bind keys to buttons and then hide them entirely, and make them click-thorugh, so there are no, or very few, buttons on my screen.

    The problem remains, though. You can't turn of quest mob nameplates in WoW. Anything you might want or need to pick up off the ground is surrounded by sparkles so you can't miss it. Not only are there exclamation points and question marks over the heads of quest NPCs, they are HUGE.

    The sad thing about the WoW developers though, is that they just don't get it. They have no clue what immersion is, and why some of us complain about these things. I've said before, and I'll say it again - WoW is a great MMOG but it isn't a(n) MMORPG, it just ruins any RP experience you might want.

    This is all part of the "WoW is too easy" feel of the game. WoW's raids are challenging enough, but the devs think of them and only them when it comes to challenging content, and don't get that even most raid-heavy players spend most of their time outside of raids. It's that kind of play, what people do most of the time, that is in large part responsible for how people feel about the game.

    WoW became the most popular MMOG in the western world for many reasons, and one of them was the fact that people didn't have to fool with things like how much weight they carried and going to town to change their coppers into gold. While that makes for a larger player base, it also makes for a less immersive game, and the WoW devs keep taking that concept one step further. It goes too far.

    In a game that's been around a relatively long time, the player base turns largely into veteran players. It's hard enough to maintain a feeling of connection to a game when you are a seasoned pro, but it gets even harder when things are less immersive. WoW devs don't understand that at all, and if I go back to the game it's going to have to be something I learn to accept.

    ;)

    Have played: Everquest, Asheron's Call, Horizons, Everquest2, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Darkfall

  • SmokeysongSmokeysong Lewisville, TXPosts: 236Member

    Originally posted by waynejr2

    Immersion is a non-factor.  I always know I am sitting at a computer and not "IN A REAL WORLD".


     

    And you, sir, are one of the reasons MMORPG player populations are so poor.

    Let me say this, now that I've said that - my argument here is that MMORPGs are called "RPG"; that means, you pretend, to a certain extent, that you are a person in a universe that is different than the real world. There are a lot of people like you, and they enjoy playing MMOGs, but frankly I think should stay out of MMO"RP"Gs because they have no clue what they are about, and go around with "toon" names like "roflcopter" (how original - NOT).

    It used to be game companies at least policed names and disallowed those that didn't fit the universe of the game, but now, they care about player base (cash flow) more than game quality to the point that they don't care about player names, or any other way one player might effect the immersion another might want.

    I think games like WoW should stop pretending they are "MMORPGs", and call themselves "MMOGs". No one should expect to see any "RP" in WoW, they should expect that players think of their toons as like little chess pieces they move around in a game, or like FPS multiplayer toons. There are many players who don't care abut RP and don't care about immersion or even know what it is, and it's fine that they play in MMOGs, but there is no respect for my kind of game play and people like you even sneer at us for wanting something different - for wanting what used to be in MMORPGs. Because you sneer, I want you out of my game.

    Have played: Everquest, Asheron's Call, Horizons, Everquest2, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Darkfall

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Smokeysong



    Originally posted by waynejr2

    Immersion is a non-factor.  I always know I am sitting at a computer and not "IN A REAL WORLD".






     

    And you, sir, are one of the reasons MMORPG player populations are so poor.

    Let me say this, now that I've said that - my argument here is that MMORPGs are called "RPG"; that means, you pretend, to a certain extent, that you are a person in a universe that is different than the real world. There are a lot of people like you, and they enjoy playing MMOGs, but frankly I think should stay out of MMO"RP"Gs because they have no clue what they are about, and go around with "toon" names like "roflcopter" (how original - NOT).

    It used to be game companies at least policed names and disallowed those that didn't fit the universe of the game, but now, they care about player base (cash flow) more than game quality to the point that they don't care about player names, or any other way one player might effect the immersion another might want.

    I think games like WoW should stop pretending they are "MMORPGs", and call themselves "MMOGs". No one should expect to see any "RP" in WoW, they should expect that players think of their toons as like little chess pieces they move around in a game, or like FPS multiplayer toons. There are many players who don't care abut RP and don't care about immersion or even know what it is, and it's fine that they play in MMOGs, but there is no respect for my kind of game play and people like you even sneer at us for wanting something different - for wanting what used to be in MMORPGs. Because you sneer, I want you out of my game.

    lol.  Been a RPer since 1974.  lol.

    Look, immersion is an excuse.

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    Originally posted by Ozryn

      I spoke about what an "immersion player" looks for recently at http://guildm8s.com/index.aspx?g=posts&m=1884&#post1884#post1884.


     

    I would say that the post you are refering to is more about old school sandbox MMOs vs. the theme park ones. Though for me it is irrelevant of the immersion issues. Diablo 2 game was more of a theme parked experience, but it had the sense of immersion even replaying the same levels as the playing was SIMPLE and the levels were RANDOMISED, which gave you the sense of exploration even hitting same levels the 3rd time.   Nobody complained about UI. In WoW there are tons of abilities and the controlls/game system is difficult, which constantly breaks immersion by making you calculate the stats, watch your timers rather than playing the game; WoW instances are not randomised, they are small, the item drop tables are permanently bound to mobs and bosses - it is boring and have no sense of exploration. That's the issue... imagine the game as simple and highly randomised as Diablo but even better (completely random dungeons, ect.)... Also WoW bounds you to the level zones, I strongly believe that the whole world (or most of it) should be explorable right from the start and level 1 character should be weaker than max. leveled one no more than by 50%. 50% is a huge difference already, but in WoW and most WoW influenced  modern MMOs lvl 1 char is like 1000 times weaker than the max-leveled one. I love the GURPS rules, where all you get while adventuring are some traits and boosts to skills, maybe better armor,  but actually the totally green character can actually kill the one with the experience and gear as gear and aquired stats are responcible for like 50% of the total power maximum.  

  • OzrynOzryn Jackson, MSPosts: 8Member

    Originally posted by DaddyDark



    Originally posted by Ozryn



      I spoke about what an "immersion player" looks for recently at http://guildm8s.com/index.aspx?g=posts&m=1884&#post1884#post1884.






     

    I would say that the post you are refering to is more about old school sandbox MMOs vs. the theme park ones. Though for me it is irrelevant of the immersion issues.

    I think it is actually some of both.  Fear of death is an immersion aid.  

    Open world travel without your direction blatantly spelled for you may be sandbox yet it is also immersion.  You are required to actually explore and discover.   Today's games are SO linear - they are on rails.  Even the zone layouts are designed in such a way as to direct players down obvious paths geographically, not only through glowing map icons, etc.

    I agree, sandbox does not have to = immersion.  Yet there is quite a bit of overlap.

  • YanocchiYanocchi Babylon 5Posts: 129Member Uncommon

    UI is the least of the problems which hinder immersion in MMORPG games.

    By definition, players shouldn't expect any serious immersion in mainstream MMORPGs. They exist for action, powergaming, achievements and some casual socializing. MMOG would be a better acronym for that type of games just as Smokeysong mentioned. It is more like entertainment for the masses in which individualism tends to drown and so does the immersion with it.  

    So where can you find much deeper immersion in a MMORPG style game if you are a role-player? Unfortunately, the only place is the persistent worlds of NWN 1 and NWN 2. Fortunately, NWN 2 has become at least as good or even better than NWN 1 over time. Experience varies dramatically depending on where you play. I made a list of some things in the best worlds that help to increase immersion there.

     

    1. People role-play and occasionally automatically receive RP exp just for writing elaborate role-playing sentences in chat. The algorithm is very smart and can distinguish role-playing chat from non-RP chat and there is not real way to abuse it.

    2. There are rules that enforce character naming, certain PvP rules and some other features that increase immersion. For example, for the past six months I've been playing in a world where you must follow the dogma of the god you have chosen if your character is a cleric or a priest. This means that if you are a cleric or paladin of Helm, then you must make your character Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil, and you must choose Law, Strength or Protection as your canon deity domains if you are a cleric. You must also role-play a follower of Helm appropriately during your everyday gameplay and interaction with other people. If you don't follow those guidelines, you will loose support of your god and your divine spells will fizzle from that day forward.

    3. Very deep immersion in role-play, perhaps because role-play can actually have a lot of actual impact or consequences on different things! In the Underdark people who play drow have grown accustomed to incorporating real D&D drow language in their role-play. Almost everyone who plays at least for a month or two with a drow, duergar, deep gnome or tanarukk in that particular world will know what words like Vendui, Aluve, Usstan, Dos, Rivvil, Ilythiiri, Jabruk, Jabress, Jaluk, Jalil etc. mean.  Usstan screus ulu telanth ilythiiri reiyal al gaer usstan. :) 

    4. The ability to select and use a voice set with your character adds a lot to the immersion too in my opinion. It's always fun to hear a drow matron character shout 'Dal ultrinnan ulu el'insssrigg' (From battle to an inn.), a Stormlord of Talos say 'And the storm rages with me!' or an evil monk murmur with dead calmness 'The Silent Lord take you!'.

    5. Although NWN PWs are projects made by enthusiasts with no commercial purpose, the quality of content and "customer service" is actually often even better than in mainstream commercial MMORPGs. You can get much more individual care and support from the developer team. In the best case scenario you can get things like your own tomb lair for your small vampire clan, a customised fortress for your guild or a sail ship for your pirate crew.  Another good thing resulting from the absence of commercial purpose is that real life money doesn't get you anything in the game and everybody has equal chances and opportunities.

    6. NWN has very flexible toolset and game engine, allowing developers to add almost any kind of imagineable custom content into the game. During the last nine years I have seen and experienced more various features in NWN worlds than in any fantasy MMORPG or even many MMORPGs combined. One good example is an extremely elaborate horse mount system I saw on one server. You could choose from dozens of horses and horse armor, different types of food you could feed to your horse, a horse aging system, different ways to steal another player's horse or for the horse to disappear, a camping system taking the horse system into account nd so on. Other servers might incorporate some strategy game features or systems for werewolf or vampire gameplay.  The community has also created tons of graphics, objects, monsters and other content for the games.

    6. Finally, one of the most important causes of immersion in NWN games is the Dungeon Master game client. It allows people who are selected by the developers to arrange events and quests for players. A dungeon master can teleport around the world in visible or completely invisible mode, take control of a monster, spawn NPCs or monsters, adjust monster's abilities and items, place objects and special/sound/environmental effects, give or take exp/gold/items, teleport players to different places including special maps and use many other special functions right there in the game. This has never been implemented in any MMORPG to date, which is understandeable because players would have to pay at least $50-100 monthly fees for a company to be able to maintain a dungeon master team catering to role-playing aspects of players and the world. This might be possible only in some kind of very exclusive luxury MMORPG, while NWN 1 and NWN 2 have always offered this aspect for free, based on talent, time and effort of RPG game enthusiasts.

    7. It is important to note that otherwise multiplayer NWN 1 and NWN 2 work very much like mainstream MMORPG in terms of grinding, looting, static quests, item trading, auction systems etc. The character is saved on the server and you can keep playing with the same character for many years. Some servers might have character wipes sometimes, while others might run for many many years without any wipes. Developers spend a lot of time polishing game balance and many other things that commercial MMORPG developers work on, and beyond that. Actually, it is exactly like MMORPGs with the only difference that you have 10-70 players online at the same time instead of thousands. However, it is the first six things I mentioned that add immersion to the whole package.

     

    I have been immersed in NWN 1 and NWN 2 for nine years now (since 2003) and it remains the only MMORPG style game that has kept me interested during all that time, while all other fantasy MMORPGS grow stale and utterly boring after a year or usually after a month or two.  

     

    Let me show you one of the recent examples from NWN 2. The screenshot is from a quest in which I participated three days ago. It is part of a series of ongoing global events planned by the dungeon master team. It is a scene from a second act of a quest chain for Underdark dwellers which has so far involved at least 20 different players and 3-4dungeon masters on a persistent world that usually has 50-70 players online. The quests have involved some party adventuring but also large-scale battles of 10-15 players with or without 10-15 friendly NPC soldiers and units against hostile NPC forces. An alhoon (undead mind flayer lich) emerged and marched with his army on the drow city of Sshamath. A few days ago the heroes of Sshamath together with some Zhentarim allies from the surface defeated a mighty general of Alhoon's army but the campaign still continues and heroes haven't even seen the main villain yet. Meanwhile, two or three weeks ago in the world above the Underdark the kingdoms of Amn and Baldur's Gate waged a war of their own and as a result, the town of Beregost was razed and at the moment lies in ruins.

    Drow heroes and Zhentarim mercenaries march out

    Epic battle against an enemy general

    Aftermath

    Burning outposts

     

    The world itself is not too static. For example, the kingdom of Baldur's Gate began repairing the main bridge a few months ago and now it is even possible to cross the bridge instead of taking a boat, but it is still a temporary narrow wooden bridge. Hopefully, after a month or two they will finally finish their construction project. Meanwhile, the Order of Radiant Hearts had built a chapter house with an orphanage in the farmlands of Baldur's Gate. I have heard through role-playing conversations that some children of parents who were killed during the war of Amn and Baldur's Gate have been placed in the orphanage. The Order of Radiant Heart is a player-run guild (they even had a guild horse but it escaped a week or two ago and was killed, rotting corpse remained near an inn for a week :D).

    Bridge under construction

     

    All in all, I think most hardcore NWN players would feel like Roy Batty when describing their NWN experiences to gamers who have been playing only mainstream fantasy MMORPGS: "I have seen things you people wouldn't believe..." :)

  • FrostWyrmFrostWyrm Tempe, AZPosts: 1,036Member

    Originally posted by Yanocchi

    UI is the least of the problems which hinder immersion in MMORPG games.

    By definition, players shouldn't expect any serious immersion in mainstream MMORPGs. They exist for action, powergaming, achievements and some casual socializing.

    I stopped reading here. Seriously? "By definition"? Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, by definition exists for powergaming?

    I'm curious, what was the first MMORPG you ever played and how long ago was it?

  • YanocchiYanocchi Babylon 5Posts: 129Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by FrostWyrm

    Originally posted by Yanocchi

    UI is the least of the problems which hinder immersion in MMORPG games.

    By definition, players shouldn't expect any serious immersion in mainstream MMORPGs. They exist for action, powergaming, achievements and some casual socializing.

    I stopped reading here. Seriously? "By definition"? Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, by definition exists for powergaming?

    I'm curious, what was the first MMORPG you ever played and how long ago was it?


     

     

    Sorry, my fault. The phrase "by definition" is supposed to convey some sarcasm about the fact that the gaming industry has defined the games as MMORPGs and many gamers feel that there is a lot of RP in them, while in reality  such games have very little RP content compared to much less known alternatives such as NWN. However, my text grew long and I forgot to make the sarcasm more explicit in the beginning of the post.

    If you don't count text-based MUDs, my first experience of an online multiplayer game containing graphics was the alpha test of Meridian 59. It was developed in 1994-1996. Since then I have tried many different fantasy MMORPG games, wrote a few reviews about them 10-12 years ago for a gaming website, even contributed my own graphics for a project that developed into a well-known commercial fantasy MMORPG. I can say that I have been hopping from one MMORPG to another all that time, while NWN 1 and NWN 2 have remained a constant attraction for me over the past nine years and have offered the ultimate online role-playing gaming experience which easily surpasses anything mainstream fantasy MMORPGs have to offer.

     

     

  • YanocchiYanocchi Babylon 5Posts: 129Member Uncommon

    By the way, the scifi genre is a different story. There are certainly some scifi MMORPGs in which people have had serious and very immersive gameplay and role-play. When I played Face of Mankind in 2004-2006, I started the game as a patrolling police officer on the streets of New York, then got promoted to the rank of detective, later became a GIS agent, moved to the army corps' intelligence unit with the rest of ex-GIS agents when the agency was disbanded by the developers. We instigated some alien and government conspiracies and manipulated some other factions to start a war on Mars based on our rumours about aliens. It was a scifi MMORPG which didn't even have any NPCs or monsters to kill. All interaction took place between players, which made it a very immersive experience at least for a year or two while the game was still fresh and new to everyone.



     

2
Sign In or Register to comment.