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Minecraft, UO, Spore and the appeal of players to leave an impact on worlds

ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 8,063Member

For me, Ultima Online always remains the model as I feel a MMO should be. Even though I did not like some of it's "hardships", the idea to have a world where players are not narrowed down merely on a quest-tunnel, but have a real world and an impact on it, is something I find the way more appealing vision than the current trend of endgame fixated "EQ/WOW"-clones.

The basic question of every MMO developer is: how can I assure people do not quit, once they levelled to max? And the common answer in our days in themepark MMOs is endgame. It is essentially, that they recycle dungeons, warzones and the like - instanced zones - in a sort of hardmode and let people grind for coins, faction points asf. Now while some people like that, I think there are a lot of people who actually don't find that appealing.

Now the thing I don't buy is the entire "sandbox VS themepark" myth, which supposes that a MMo can only be EITHER a sandbox or a themepark with quests and stories. That is IMVPO THE main paradigm we must overcome.

 

One sort of games has always had an appeal, in various different manifestations. Take the most recent one: Minecraft. Minecraft is a great testament to the human creativity, the desire of gamers to "create" something, to leave a visible impact on a world and not just be a guest in a preset story. There have been many games with different foci of this topic. Games like "Creatures" or "Spore" which had their reflection in SWG's Creature Handler and Bioengineers. The various and popular "Dancing" games, which had their reflection in SWG's Entertainer system which was very popular. Music systems like LOTRO has. And of course farming. There are millions who played games like Farmville and Frontierville, and the question is: why? Now I know the common brush off answer of some MMO-gamers is: "come on, Farmville, for real?". Yes. For real.

I know a LOT of people who had did farming in LOTRO. Just to relax between fights. You had an impact on the world, you had your own small world for yourselves, no matter how small. I know one of the features a single player RPG like Ultima VII was prominent for: you could sow crops, let it grow, harvest it, grind it in a mill, add water and make a dough, bake it and then let your party eat it against it's hunger. THAT is immersity, where a MMO could be more than a musem, more than a theatre stage! And no matter how many combat enthusiasts will laugh at it, I know there are a lot of MMO gamers who love just such things like fishing and farming. Having you hut in the MMO world, having maybe a field and some farm animals, a small part of the world where you have an impact and you can be creative. In your small garden. That is what would make people stay. Not only farming, other things like that too. Things where gamers have an impact, where they can just be creative.

The existence of many such games proves that people like that, and in games like UO and SWG such creative elements where part of the MMO world. They do not contradict quest driven stories. But they could add more longterm appeal than the dull endgame grind. And THAT is what I see as the real challange for REAL next gen MMOs, that they overcome the EQ/WOW paradigm of pure themeparks, not by doing away with story driven quests, but adding a world which allows our creativity to live in, to have some part where you can be creative in such ways. With music and entertaining, fishing and farming, building houses and villages, full crafting and many other things.

THAT is what I expect of future MMOs which really deserve to be called "next gen".

People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert

Comments

  • Inf666Inf666 DarmstadtPosts: 508Member

    I agree with you in most of your points, especially the 'Sandbox vs Themepark' issue.

    The big problem is that the budget the developers are given only allows for a certain amount of features.

    Because of the Wow (EQ) archetype a huge questsystem, a character progression system and an endgame gear grind are a must have. I believe the current developer mindset is that the financial success of the game is dependent on a good implementation of these features. I'd wager that 80% of the development budget is used for them even though they are quite simple in design.

    So what to do with the last 20%? Thats where you start to see those little variations. This game has a better crafting system, that game more clothing options and the last game some dynamic event system. You could argue that they should use less money and time on the questing system or endgame grind but then people will just bash it for being subpar even though the game has other new features to compensate. Just take a look at Tera which gets flamed for its bland questing system although its combat mechanics are a step in the right direction. Just take a look at how everyone thinks that GW2 is the next big thing mainly due to its dynamic event system.

    I am guessing that 90% Players WANT an indepth huge content package in their MMO no matter what they say and only buy games that have this. The price for the MMO world is less innovation or sandbox features and as long as people think this way I honestly do not see the priorities for developers changing.

    ---
    Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  • MetentsoMetentso BarcelonaPosts: 1,436Member Common

    Yes they can devote a group of developers to design a system for players to impact the world, test it, tune it, etc for months or years.

    Or.

    You can design a silly hat and make people pay €€€ for it.

     

    I know i'm exaggerating but to get the idea.

  • morbuskabismorbuskabis RodonPosts: 290Member

    It seams that the asian mmo market is much more open for new ideas. Seems that the moste inovative gamplay come from indy- or asian dev. The problem with this is, that the indy devs don't have the cash to launch a good quality game, and the western gamers have often a problem with the art style of the asian games and the "grindiness".

    I hope that a sandbox game with theampark elements will have once a big finacial success, so that the western dev teams get finally brave enough to think out of the box and stop feeding us the "Mc Donald's" MMOs which look the same, taste the same, feels the same all the time.

    image -Massive-Industries- Heavy Duty

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon

    Yeah, I have been pitching the player owned farm myself a while, it is the next logical step for crafters.

    Adding some more sandboxy parts to the themeparks is indeed a good idea. AoCs guildcity was a great idea that never really got done the right way. If they just let the guildofficers decide where to put what and the style of the buildings, and let the guild rent or sell houses to members it would in itself be a kind of endgame that many players would enjoy.

  • DibdabsDibdabs FelvershamPosts: 2,604Member Uncommon

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by morbuskabis

    It seams that the asian mmo market is much more open for new ideas. Seems that the moste inovative gamplay come from indy- or asian dev. The problem with this is, that the indy devs don't have the cash to launch a good quality game, and the western gamers have often a problem with the art style of the asian games and the "grindiness".

    I hope that a sandbox game with theampark elements will have once a big finacial success, so that the western dev teams get finally brave enough to think out of the box and stop feeding us the "Mc Donald's" MMOs which look the same, taste the same, feels the same all the time.

    It is because they aren't so influenced by EA and Activision. Those 2 companies spend all their time copying eachother instead of making fun games. Even though NC soft have great influence in South Korea and Square-Enix in Japan the asian market is less dominated by one or a few games than the western.

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.
  • ApraxisApraxis RegensburgPosts: 1,515Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.

    Hmm.. if we let ArcheAge out of that bill, what innovatition come from the asian market? Just curios, didnt follow that much the asian market, and cant remember an unqiue game feature from any asian mmo. But i am not that informed on the asian market. So, no attack or anything, just a informal question.

    Edit:

    @OP: I am on your side, i would really like that the UO paradigm of game design would evolve, and we would see another more of a virtual world mmo. And there are at least some tendencies, which may help this progress. (with games like Minecraft, developing of ArcheAge, and so on... ). And about music creativity.. this remembers me a lot about Loom.. what a game, what an idea.. would fit perfect in a mmo.

  • zymurgeistzymurgeist Pittsville, VAPosts: 5,211Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.

     The five billion low quality P2W cash shop games makes it difficult to find anything that doesn't suck.

    The problem with allowing players to have an impact on worlds is they often use it to build quickly abandoned slums. The idea is sound but difficult to implement in a meaningful way. It has not often been integrated well with the rest of the game or it's all there is to the game. Developers haven't been very good at integrating their mechanics. You end up with communities divided into incompatable interest groups within games. Builders vs destroyers, PvP vs PvE, crafters vs achievers, raiders vs questers.

    "Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Apraxis

    Hmm.. if we let ArcheAge out of that bill, what innovatition come from the asian market? Just curios, didnt follow that much the asian market, and cant remember an unqiue game feature from any asian mmo. But i am not that informed on the asian market. So, no attack or anything, just a informal question.

    I played the beta of Lineage (I think it was in 2001) and it was very different from the western MMOs I was used to. It had some really innovative stuff at the time.

    Let's take the death penalty as an example. When you die you lost xp (I think it was 5% of a level) but there also was a random chanse that you would drop an item from your inventory. If you did and a monster passed by they would pick it up and add it to their loot list (I got a lvl 45 sword from a rabbit once).

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by zymurgeist


    Originally posted by RefMinor


    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.

     The five billion low quality P2W cash shop games makes it difficult to find anything that doesn't suck.

    The problem with allowing players to have an impact on worlds is they often use it to build quickly abandoned slums. The idea is sound but difficult to implement in a meaningful way. It has not often been integrated well with the rest of the game or it's all there is to the game. Developers haven't been very good at integrating their mechanics. You end up with communities divided into incompatable interest groups within games. Builders vs destroyers, PvP vs PvE, crafters vs achievers, raiders vs questers.

     

    Are crafters and achievers different things then?
  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by Loke666


    Originally posted by Apraxis
    Hmm.. if we let ArcheAge out of that bill, what innovatition come from the asian market? Just curios, didnt follow that much the asian market, and cant remember an unqiue game feature from any asian mmo. But i am not that informed on the asian market. So, no attack or anything, just a informal question.

    I played the beta of Lineage (I think it was in 2001) and it was very different from the western MMOs I was used to. It had some really innovative stuff at the time.

    Let's take the death penalty as an example. When you die you lost xp (I think it was 5% of a level) but there also was a random chanse that you would drop an item from your inventory. If you did and a monster passed by they would pick it up and add it to their loot list (I got a lvl 45 sword from a rabbit once).

     

    ArcheAge, I am not sure what other MMO has multi player crewed ships.
  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by Apraxis


    Originally posted by RefMinor


    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.

    Hmm.. if we let ArcheAge out of that bill, what innovatition come from the asian market? Just curios, didnt follow that much the asian market, and cant remember an unqiue game feature from any asian mmo. But i am not that informed on the asian market. So, no attack or anything, just a informal question.

    Edit:

    @OP: I am on your side, i would really like that the UO paradigm of game design would evolve, and we would see another more of a virtual world mmo. And there are at least some tendencies, which may help this progress. (with games like Minecraft, developing of ArcheAge, and so on... ). And about music creativity.. this remembers me a lot about Loom.. what a game, what an idea.. would fit perfect in a mmo.

     

    My apologies if I jumped to assumptions, there are a lot of people who just denounce "Asian games" as a whole regardless, you see it on ArcheAge threads for a recent example.

     

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by Loke666

    Originally posted by Apraxis

    Hmm.. if we let ArcheAge out of that bill, what innovatition come from the asian market? Just curios, didnt follow that much the asian market, and cant remember an unqiue game feature from any asian mmo. But i am not that informed on the asian market. So, no attack or anything, just a informal question.

    I played the beta of Lineage (I think it was in 2001) and it was very different from the western MMOs I was used to. It had some really innovative stuff at the time.

    Let's take the death penalty as an example. When you die you lost xp (I think it was 5% of a level) but there also was a random chanse that you would drop an item from your inventory. If you did and a monster passed by they would pick it up and add it to their loot list (I got a lvl 45 sword from a rabbit once).

    ArcheAge, I am not sure what other MMO has multi player crewed ships.

    i think vanguard have it and i know darkfall have it. The prison system on the other hand is unique to AA.

    Lineage was just an example, I took it because it was the first Asian mmo i played and because it was rather different from M59, uO and EQ.

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by Loke666


    Originally posted by RefMinor


    Originally posted by Loke666


    Originally posted by Apraxis
    Hmm.. if we let ArcheAge out of that bill, what innovatition come from the asian market? Just curios, didnt follow that much the asian market, and cant remember an unqiue game feature from any asian mmo. But i am not that informed on the asian market. So, no attack or anything, just a informal question.

    I played the beta of Lineage (I think it was in 2001) and it was very different from the western MMOs I was used to. It had some really innovative stuff at the time.

    Let's take the death penalty as an example. When you die you lost xp (I think it was 5% of a level) but there also was a random chanse that you would drop an item from your inventory. If you did and a monster passed by they would pick it up and add it to their loot list (I got a lvl 45 sword from a rabbit once).


    ArcheAge, I am not sure what other MMO has multi player crewed ships.

    i think vanguard have it and i know darkfall have it. The prison system on the other hand is unique to AA.

    Lineage was just an example, I took it because it was the first Asian mmo i played and because it was rather different from M59, uO and EQ.

     

    I stand corrected then, crime investigation may be another
  • zymurgeistzymurgeist Pittsville, VAPosts: 5,211Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by zymurgeist

    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.

     The five billion low quality P2W cash shop games makes it difficult to find anything that doesn't suck.

    The problem with allowing players to have an impact on worlds is they often use it to build quickly abandoned slums. The idea is sound but difficult to implement in a meaningful way. It has not often been integrated well with the rest of the game or it's all there is to the game. Developers haven't been very good at integrating their mechanics. You end up with communities divided into incompatable interest groups within games. Builders vs destroyers, PvP vs PvE, crafters vs achievers, raiders vs questers.

     

    Are crafters and achievers different things then?

     They don't need to be but games tend to divide gamers that way. Crafting is often either a nearly useless appendage or the only viable objective of a game. When it does have some parity with other systems it tends to clash with rather than complement them and divides the community in to advocacy groups with opposite aims. it doesn't need to be that way it's  just bad design. As games have grown more complicated they've become schizophrenic.

    "Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  • MosesZDMosesZD Kirkwood, MOPosts: 1,383Member

    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    Get out more.   Seriously.   Not everything was invented in Western MMOs.

  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    Originally posted by Elikal

    ...

    The existence of many such games proves that people like that, and in games like UO and SWG such creative elements where part of the MMO world. They do not contradict quest driven stories. But they could add more longterm appeal than the dull endgame grind. And THAT is what I see as the real challange for REAL next gen MMOs, that they overcome the EQ/WOW paradigm of pure themeparks, not by doing away with story driven quests, but adding a world which allows our creativity to live in, to have some part where you can be creative in such ways. With music and entertaining, fishing and farming, building houses and villages, full crafting and many other things.

    THAT is what I expect of future MMOs which really deserve to be called "next gen".

    I agree with your post, not only with the quoted part, however in the quoted part is one little thing that bothers me, namely "the story driven quests".

    Sure, i can see how a more sandboxy approach can gel with the story and a quest system. No problem here. However, the more I think about players in themepark games, the more I think they don't really want the story and the quests, instead they want the rewards those quests tend to drop into their bags, i.e, shiny items, "purples".

    And then you have a problem, because in a virtual world where "music and entertaining, fishing and farming, building houses and villages, full crafting" matters you cannot have purples materialising out of thin air and dropping into the players' loot bags. :)

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • Coltaine00Coltaine00 Calgary, ABPosts: 52Member

    Solid post by the OP - one thing that wasn't mentioned about UO was player housing an the ability to customize that.  I knew tons of people who used to spend hours upon hours using the custom house builder tool.  You could make some incredible deisgns (and awful ones too), or pick the basic designs and do whatever you liked.

    The concept of being an interior decorator really flourished with UO and it surprises me to no end how player housing has gone by the wayside in recent MMOs.  It also gave you that little "impact" on the world you mentioned earlier and gave you your own unique little area.

    That in a way was the pure beauty of UO - there was no direction for years (no quests, no specific "goal", no "endgame") you just did whatever you wanted and found a like minded group of players to support that style.

    And I did love the combat in UO - I thought if they made some changes and tweaks everyone (PvP and PvM/PvE) could co-exist.

  • Fikusthe4thFikusthe4th Helsinki, MOPosts: 47Member

    Developers didnt just want a the money 3rd parties where making off players when adding itme shops, they wanted that money and more. They removed all playstyles and systems that provided services or convinience as a commodity so they could have a monopoly and charge what they wanted.

    This is the future of MMORPGS. Progression and selling convinience with no controls whatsoever.

     

    Edit: like my spelling?

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,471Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by zymurgeist

    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by Dibdabs

    I've yet to see anything innovative in an Asian game.

     

    I guess the closed minded attitude hasn't helped with the search.

     The five billion low quality P2W cash shop games makes it difficult to find anything that doesn't suck.

    The problem with allowing players to have an impact on worlds is they often use it to build quickly abandoned slums. The idea is sound but difficult to implement in a meaningful way. It has not often been integrated well with the rest of the game or it's all there is to the game. Developers haven't been very good at integrating their mechanics. You end up with communities divided into incompatable interest groups within games. Builders vs destroyers, PvP vs PvE, crafters vs achievers, raiders vs questers.

    True,  They can also do things in games to drive other players out of the game.  When that happens, the jerks win in the short term.

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    Originally posted by morbuskabis

    It seams that the asian mmo market is much more open for new ideas. -snip-

    Well it would have been useful to have listed them - as it happens more posts than my fingers occured discussing the finer points of y/n innovation in mmorpgs from asia, with v few egs and a lot of fish involved.

    -----------------------

    I agree with OP. People really like this sort of thing. Even minicraft is much more enjoyable than a lot of rpgs, just paving your own way literally!

     

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