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[Column] General: Single Player MMO

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Many MMOs today seem to be placing a great emphasis on story or, as some would say, the single playerification of MMOs. In Pokket's latest column, she discusses this trend and her thoughts about it. Read on and then join the discussion in the comments.

In my opinion, not only did they waste a lot of resources on the voice acting for the main quests, let alone the side quests, but let's not forget that everything has a cinematic, you have companion quests as well, you have the different avenues each decision can take you, and you have the Legacy system which basically encourages leveling up and going through more story.

Read more of Hillary Nicole's Pokket Says: Single Player MMO.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    *throws blue shell*

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • VincerKadenVincerKaden Edison, NJPosts: 457Member

    Game companies need to let us make our own stories in MMOs. Give us the world, give us the freedom, give us the tools. We'll do the rest.

    That said, it would be fine to have some evolving storylines along with the sandbox. Something to rally behind as a community and get involved in before returning to our normal routines within the virtual world.

    No matter how hard they try, MMOs aren't going to be able to come close to the stories found in single player games. MMOs should focus on what they're meant to do: provide an online roleplaying experience for a massive amount of players at once.

    image

  • ColdrenColdren Nowhereville, TNPosts: 456Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by vayman

    Game companies need to let us make our own stories in MMOs. Give us the world, give us the freedom, give us the tools. We'll do the rest.

    That said, it would be fine to have some evolving storylines along with the sandbox. Something to rally behind as a community and get involved in before returning to our normal routines within the virtual world.

    No matter how hard they try, MMOs aren't going to be able to come close to the stories found in single player games. MMOs should focus on what they're meant to do: provide an online roleplaying experience for a massive amount of players at once.

     

    They had that 15 years ago.. It's called Ultima Online.

    The only problem is.. It's 15 years old.. No one has tried to do what they did (And still do) since.

    Level-less, deep, complex, free and open sandbox... Apparently to hard to do these days, or at least get finance for.

  • ThorbrandThorbrand West Palm Beach, FLPosts: 1,198Member
    No such thing as a single player MMO. Definition of a MMO makes it impossible to be a single player game. This is what companies need to be held to what defines a MMO before they can claim their games are a MMO. No such thiing as a single player massivley multiplayer game. I think that pretty much explains it.
  • nuttobnuttob Plantation, FLPosts: 291Member
    It is kind of interesting how the story aspect of SWTOR backfired on them.  If they would have took some of that energy and money and thrown it into a decent space combat system, dynamic events, and more open world it might have been much more successful than it is today.  I am playing it again now that it's FTP, but mainly as a single player game.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    With SWToR, I think Bioware should have focused on the single player story line to the exclusion of the side quests. Keep the companion quests as part of the primary story line and let the player go through the character story line Half Life style. Even better would be choices that create different paths to follow and different content to see based on those choices, similar to how the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books worked.

    It should have been 80% character story line, 20% other stuff. Instead, it was 20% character story line and 80% other stuff. At least let me skip through all the side quest hubs quickly so I can get back to the interesting bits.

    Agree with the Lich King statements as well. If the story is presented in the environment, by the way things happen, then it's more dynamic and much more visceral than having the story presented in cut scenes.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    With SWToR, I think Bioware should have focused on the single player story line to the exclusion of the side quests.

    Er, no, they should have focused on making a good MMO.

    An MMO will never be a good singleplayer game. Why? If Bioware had done a dedicated singleplayer game instead of SWTOR, the combat would have been better, because it wouldn't be limited by the MMO aspect, the quests wouldn't have padding, to keep people paying, and you would actually see the result of your quests. In MMOs, as soon as you leave your little instance, all your work goes away. None of it actually happened in the game world.

    No, EA should have gotten an actually MMO company to make SWTOR, not a linear singleplayer game company. The way you tell a story in an MMO is by using all the players, not shuffling them into instances and pretending to be a singleplayer game for a bit. It's wasted resources.

  • BranocBranoc SkarblackaPosts: 9Member

    In my opinion is SWG one of the greatest MMO, where i was free to creat my own storry as a armor crafter and a Jedi!

     

    The game like EQ2,Rift, Conan, WOW and SWTOR,etc where not close to make your personal Storry you could in SWG.

    The game storry was ok but we could do player events and party's and your own home and facotry's and machines that harvest resourses you need that was epiq that you never can do in running MMO!

    It was awsome when a dev could come as darth vader and give his blessing in a player wedding etc!

     

    I want more of that!

    PFF=Play For Fun

  • LordDmasterLordDmaster Livingston, TXPosts: 130Member

    MMO=Massivley Multiplayer Online

    MSPO=Massivley Single Player Online

    So are we talking about MMO's or MSPO's?

    Or you trying to make a Single Player Online game with alot of people "Not" working to gether?

    Or

    Are you trying to make a Single Player Online game with alot of people "Working" together?

    As "Thorbrand" said; "No such thing" in my world. But this is your world and I'm just a squirrel trying to get a n...  Game.

    …..it’s a guideline, not a rule, as players we must remember: “It’s a Game”.

  • AkulasAkulas GoldcoastPosts: 1,616Member Uncommon
    I don't know maybe give mega xp based on completion of story quests and only a little bit of xp for sidequests etc. Cinematics are more for SP games but some games don't over do it.

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,740Member Uncommon
         Most MMOs in the past few years make me feel that the story is already determined and I am just going through the motions.......
  • DarthRaidenDarthRaiden gdfgfPosts: 4,333Member

    How can someone put Singleplayer with MassiveMultiplayer together and don't see a contradiction and feel stupid ?

    Single Player is entirely different and does not have anything to do with Massive Multiplayer online games other then the game someone plays for himself get some patches from internet at best.

    Its another approach and shouldn't be mixed with the superior concept of meeting other over the net and play TOGETHER !

    The spproach from developers to derail Massive Multiplayer games is disgusting and unfortunately they attempts fall on players who dont know much about the principles of MMORPG's and why they exist in the first place..

    -----MY-TERMS-OF-USE--------------------------------------------------
    $OE - eternal enemy of online gaming
    -We finally WON !!!! 2011 $OE accepted that they have been fired 2005 by the playerbase and closed down ridiculous NGE !!

    "There was suppression of speech and all kinds of things between disturbing and fascistic." Raph Koster (parted $OE)

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    It's not just swtor.

    Most of these so called mmos are glorified lobby games once you level with everyone sat in cities queueing to go instanced dungeons it instanced pvp mini games.

    Thank god for games like eve and planetside 2 that get that the mm stands for MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER
  • TsumoroTsumoro EozeaPosts: 408Member Uncommon

    MMO's is meant to be about playing with others, forming bonds and community, making your own adventure. There should always be a story, a villain or to, but the story should direct your game-play. If your game-play is being story driven then effectively you are playing a single player game with multi-player support.

    I see this kind of behaviour all too common in MMO's as of late, the single player experience all the way up until the end game. Or even before then, when people struggle to get groups for early dungeons or content. It is like we have lost the means to communicate and play games well with each other, retreating like hermit crabs into our shell and becoming online gaming recluses.

    When I play an MMO and I see people questing near me I try and speak to people, ninja invite them now and then in the hopes I might actually get some of the 'MMO' experience. But my words are often on deaf ears and my invites are ignored.

    The games need to get back to making environments that encourage community, to where sitting in a virtual tavern talking about the enjoyment of the days adventure you have just had with friends you have just met, making appointments to keep, not caring about the progression of the game, the story or anything else, but being truely immersed in a world for you to explore. I want this back! No longer should MMO's have a fixture in place where people just stick their head phones on listening to whatever crap their listening to as they tunnel vision kill every living creature in the wilderness as a nurse spoon feeds them baby food.

    My point (if I have one, as I seem to be rambling) is that there should be a 'story' but for the purposes of setting the 'tone' of a game. You should interact, be a part of it but never the focus of it.

  • VernamVernam Federal Way, WAPosts: 50Member
    My 2nd MMO, FFXI back in 2003, forced me to group after about level 10 because the content just became way too difficult to solo. I may have thought it sucked having to look for a party, but now all I see is masses of solo players running around in these new MMOs — and I miss the old days.
  • VyethVyeth Fayetteville, NCPosts: 1,459Member

    Don't blame developers.. Blame the people who glorify games like Vindictus and C9, that are basically lobby based single player games.. Every single time someone claims to 'want something different' they beg for an approach to mmo's as single player console games..

    We want cutscenes.. We want voice acting.. We want gamepad support.. We want the most cutting edge graphics.. We want instant gratification.. We want to be led from start to finish.. Most of all, people want ENDINGS!!!

    Those are hallmarks of single player games now being included as first features for mmorpg's..

    When I started playing Everquest back in 99, I had no idea that my whole goal for playing the game was to reach the "end game" and beat the final boss or final raid boss to 'beat' the game..

     

    The world has left mmorpg's because we are now in the era of cinematography.. Movies and games blend so well that, just like in a movie, you go from the beginning to the end.. no variations..

    Instead of being dropped into a world, you are now taken to the movies..

    Everything is already right there in front of you, you are just there to walk the line to the end..

    image

  • JerYnkFanJerYnkFan Kenilworth, NJPosts: 339Member Uncommon

    I think if TOR would have just stuck to VO for the main story line and not every side quest, it would have been a much better idea.  Like Pokket stated, it was cool the first time around., the 2nd or 3rd not so much.  I thought LOTRO did a really good job with having just enough cut scenes that left you wanting more and those parts of the story felt important.

    IMO, single player MMO is an oxymoron.

  • ShurayShuray Sao PauloPosts: 3Member
    Originally posted by vayman

    Game companies need to let us make our own stories in MMOs. Give us the world, give us the freedom, give us the tools. We'll do the rest.

    That said, it would be fine to have some evolving storylines along with the sandbox. Something to rally behind as a community and get involved in before returning to our normal routines within the virtual world.

    No matter how hard they try, MMOs aren't going to be able to come close to the stories found in single player games. MMOs should focus on what they're meant to do: provide an online roleplaying experience for a massive amount of players at once.

    I'm looking forward for an MMORPG that can bring that to life, D&D: Neverwinter by Perfect World. They had a system called The Foundry (http://nw.perfectworld.com/about/foundry) where you can create and share your own content in the game (quests, zones and stories).

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    There are efferent and aesthetic readers. The difference is that one reads for an understanding and the other lives the action while reading. It's no Suprise to find that most of your gamers men or women live the action they read. So cinematics that were short and to the point with little text stands out as more understandable to a group of gamers is no suprise. I often envy those that can purely read for an understanding rather than imagining what they are reading, but if they could imagine like we all can I bet they would envy us as well :-)
  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    I don't mind a good story in my mmo.  Heck eq2 has a lot of quest that tell small stories. Like in sundered frontier there is a story called can't has cheeseburger where you deliver a cheeseburger to the npc, and another one where you do a dirty job for kik roe, lol.   Then there is a crafting quest a gnome-land hq where you help Jammie and adam both gnome npc but dressed up like the mythbusters and your doing a craft quest and testing things out for them.   But they were small, short and to the point.

    SWTOR took story to the breaking point, that is all their was.  Yes legacy was created to make you level up another alt to 50. After 5 level 50's it gold old quick, and that is all there really was sorry for each class,  the side quests were not fun but yet they had long stories put into them.  Example the one guy tells the story of 3 sith brothers for like 8 space bars on a daily repeatable.

    Yes bioware blew it, and some of the other games are as well.

    I will stick with eq2 for now as there is nothing out there remotely interesting.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Originally posted by lizardbones With SWToR, I think Bioware should have focused on the single player story line to the exclusion of the side quests.
    Er, no, they should have focused on making a good MMO.

    An MMO will never be a good singleplayer game. Why? If Bioware had done a dedicated singleplayer game instead of SWTOR, the combat would have been better, because it wouldn't be limited by the MMO aspect, the quests wouldn't have padding, to keep people paying, and you would actually see the result of your quests. In MMOs, as soon as you leave your little instance, all your work goes away. None of it actually happened in the game world.

    No, EA should have gotten an actually MMO company to make SWTOR, not a linear singleplayer game company. The way you tell a story in an MMO is by using all the players, not shuffling them into instances and pretending to be a singleplayer game for a bit. It's wasted resources.



    Oh, that's all. Just write a "good MMO". I had no idea it was that simple. Wait. That's sarcasm. It's not that simple.

    There's no chance that they would have written a group based game. The odds of any theme park written now being anything other than a solo experience with optional grouping is zero.

    They waffled between the story driven character story and quest hub progression in their solo game, doing neither very well. They should have committed to the character story, and instead of quest hubs in the world, given the character story lines some branches. Hell, just put all the leveling content in the character story lines even if they were totally linear. It would have been much better than adding in traditional quest hubs.

    ** edit **
    At the very least, let me zip through all the side quests quickly.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • AkaisAkais Memphis, TNPosts: 274Member Common

    I think some of your argument has merit.

    Scripted Storylines shouldn't be so encompassing that it overshadows the story you are writing for yourself by playing. If anything this is where BW got it wrong with SWTOR as compared to some of their console titles.

    SWTOR was too scripted ( and I am a fan of story first) which made everyone's individual story the same es everyone else's. I am more a fan of lore being made available in the world or the website as a primer for related dungeons and quests.

    Vanilla WoW gave you the whole story on how the world came to be the way it was at the time if you were willing to play each race and read the lore. the lore was of relevance in every dungeon and each dungeon offered lore about itself. WoW:BC and WotLK took advantage of that fact and made a great and a poor expansion but didn't build on the concept of lore.

    Lore is optional, whereas the story setups offered by WotLK (and Cata!) and SWTOR aren't.

    Lore creates the option for adventuring and exploration where personal story merely sends you there and drops you off.

    i  think that your article highlights a failing in this current generation of gamers.

    They don't read...

    Or, rather, they'd prefer not to.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,913Member Uncommon

    Single Player RPG distribution and monetization = Box sales by brick and mortar retailers, publisher receives wholesale price per unit.  Few if any additional revenue streams (hint books, etc).  Prone to software piracy.

     

    Online Single Player RPG distribution and monetization = Box sales by brick and mortar retailers plus direct to consumer sales.  Publisher receives wholesale (physical box) or retail minus delivery and credit card processing (direct).  Multiple layers of additional revenue streams (subscriptions, cash shop, etc).  Completely immune to software piracy because the client is useless without account access to an official server.

     

    Sure, there may be some regard for customer satisfaction.  However, to me it looks like they're cranking out new "SP-MMO hybrids" as a way to increase revenue.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • ValentinaValentina Los Angeles, CAPosts: 1,675Member Uncommon
    story was desperately needed in MMO's. They were shallow and boring before, you didn't feel any direct connection in the world or your character and now you do..I don't miss the days when there wasn't a storyline to follow and decisions to make for my own personal interest and level of immersion into the game. I really think it needs to continue to be a componant to an mmoRPG, otherwise as I said before they will feel stagnant and shallow.
     
    The option to skip through most of it is there for those who have no interest in it, you can space bar, or hit skip and continue with playing the game as an objective based game.
  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member

    Why does stories have to be a single, or limited multiplayer, experience? Why can't they involve the world we inhabit and have whoever wants and are able to, to be involved in it?

    Obviously it would be hard to design such quests but it can be done as shown in the attempts WAR did with Public Quests and what followed in Rift and GW 2. But still, most MMOs seem to focus on single player quests which has no bearing on the world.

    It is about time these devs start thinking outside of their (single player box) and realise that their context is a massively multiplayer one and design the game accordingly.

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