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Has the mmorpg industry moved too far from its roots?

bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,281Member Uncommon

I'm talking about the Pen & Pencil roots.

Stat generation

Open class systems ie. level 18/7/2 Ranger/Thief/Acrobat 

Open skills and abilities (there used to be a difference).

Creativity. Thinking was how you succeeded.

 

Please feel free to and more fundementals. I think that it has. I think that mmorpgs only loosely resemble pen & paper rpgs now, and this is why those who remember are disappointed over and over, and those who did not experience the early days are playing mmos like 30$, 30 day console games.

 

What do you think?

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Comments

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I don't know if it's possible for the industry to exist without moving away from its roots. For that matter, I'm not sure any industry exists without moving away from its roots. When the environment for an industry changes, and they don't change with it, they don't do so well. Mostly this is because an industry is really a reaction to people, not a direct action in itself.

    I don't know about the rest of what you listed, but the 'creativity' bit seems like the first thing to go when translation something from being human run to computer run. If you have a human game master, then the game itself can be created as you go, bringing in elements and rearranging elements as needed. Having a computer as a game master removes a lot of possible outcomes and the game become more rigidly defined.

    It doesn't cost anymore for a human gm to create lots of different outcomes and lots of different possible events, responding to player actions on the fly, as it does for the human gm to create a rigidly defined environment and to force players down a path to an intended goal. The human gm can actually switch back and forth between these two things and do it on the fly and it all costs the same (some wings and a coke, with maybe a beer). If you want to do this with a computer gm, as the options and possible outcomes increase, so does the cost. Not only that, the total number of possible events and responses is going to be limited compared to a human, unless the computer gm is a research project funded by IBM.

    You can create an environment where the players can be really creative, but the less rigidly defined the environment becomes, the less it resembles a game and the more it resembles a structureless sandbox. PnP games combine both of these things in a way that a computer system can't. PnP games have a rigidly defined set of rules, but it's run by a gm capable of creating whatever is needed and capable of responding to whatever the players create, along with limiting what the players create in a creative manner. Even in games where players can get creative, they're really only being creative in a way that the programmers mostly expected. If they really think outside the box they either can't do what they've thought up, or the game glitches.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that computer rpg moved away from the roots of PnP games as soon as they became computer games. Not only that, moving away from the roots of the genre is inevitable, even necessary for the genre to continue.

    ** edit **
    This isn't a value judgement. Moving away from the roots of the genre isn't good or bad. Or if it is good or bad, I don't know which it is.

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

  • AxehandleAxehandle Florida, FLPosts: 147Member

    If by roots you mean actual mmo's where you became part of the community and actively seek out other players to share experiences with and not just the current crop of single player games with co operative features? 

    Then yes.

  • DalanonDalanon Warren, OHPosts: 124Member

    "Has the mmorpg industry moved too far from its roots?"

    That is the most relevant question in mmo gaming today, and the answer is YES.

    Too many mmo's today want to give you a couple months of content a year, and they hope you forget to cancel your re-occuring sub on your credit card.  The F2P one's just bleed the money out of you a dollar at a time which means that they are not really F2P, but they still end up annoying and boring.

    Give me a good game, with hard yet fun challenges that i can share in with my friends and i'll gladly pay 20 dollars a month.  But fun to me means that the gameplay in mmo's need to go back to its roots of leveling and exploration, not incremental gear upgrades and repeated questing that after a couple weeks just drives you to boredom.  I want quests that take time and challenges to complete, not two minutes killing 5 of A while collecting 3 of B.  I want raids that are about making it through the dungeon, not just walking down a hall fighting the same boss 30 times to figure out a strat, and then farming it once a week and calling that "gameplay," more like a chore.  We need more Everquest, and Ultima in our mmo's and less Warcraft and Swtor.

    Not all who wander are lost...

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member

    We have moved away from its roots cause it was more profitable to do so.

    Supply / demand and all that, free market is working as intended.

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member

    Yes, but so what?

    Don't you think the transportation industry moved too far from its roots in the 1800s where horses and steam engine trains are the norm?

     

  • bunnyhopperbunnyhopper LondonPosts: 2,751Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldon

    Yes, but so what?

    Don't you think the transportation industry moved too far from its roots in the 1800s where horses and steam engine trains are the norm?

     

    Nvm

    "Come and have a look at what you could have won."

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    I don't think it's a matter of improvement but of simplification and corner cutting that moved most mainstream MMOs in a different direction. This isn't a bad thing necessarily since it opened the industry to people that wouldn't have played otherwise but luckily some of the original tenents seem to be coming back.
  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,813Member
    Originally posted by bcbully

    I'm talking about the Pen & Pencil roots.

    Stat generation

    Open class systems ie. level 18/7/2 Ranger/Thief/Acrobat 

    Open skills and abilities (there used to be a difference).

    Creativity. Thinking was how you succeeded.

     

    Please feel free to and more fundementals. I think that it has. I think that mmorpgs only loosely resemble pen & paper rpgs now, and this is why those who remember are disappointed over and over, and those who did not experience the early days are playing mmos like 30$, 30 day console games.

     

    What do you think?

    They are two different things really. The creativity possible in an MMO is completely different from the creativity possible in a pen and paper game. Much of what was done in a pen and paper rpg was done because it was the only way to do it, not because it's the best way or even the most liked way. It was done because it was the only way. 

    Thinking as well is going to be vastly different in an MMO vs. a pen and paper rpg. Open class systems can be done differently in MMO's vs. pen and paper rpgs and done in a way that better suits the MMO. 

     

    I still play pen and paper RPG's. I like good old D&D, Pathfinder and most things from White Wolf. I however do not want my MMO's to play the same way because MMO's aren't bound by the same restrictions. 

    Lets say you're playing D&D and you want to dodge an attack, the only way to decide if you fail or not is by a dice roll. This is not the case in an MMO, mechanics can be added to allow you to attempt to actually dodge the attack and you will succeed or fail based on your own actions and not based on the semi random decision of the dice. 

     

    Why force MMO's to share the same limitations as a pen and paper RPG when you don't have to? They are two seperate types of games and need to be treated as such. MMO's as we know them have been handicapped due to adhering to limitations of pen and paper RPG's. Technology has come so far, why not utilize it to its fullest?

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    You bring up a good point GreyGhost. There has been a tradeoff of restrictions in my opinion though between PnP and MMOs and that's having a ruleset as your guide rather than the whole experience front to back. While the gameplay mechanics of MMOs have moved ahead of PnP the world emmersion aspect has moved backwards. I do feel as though innovations in that department are coming as well though so soon it should be good all 'round.
  • Allacore69Allacore69 Casselberry, FLPosts: 839Member

    We need more action based mmo's and not all this point and click stuff.

    image

  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,813Member
    Originally posted by Aelious
    You bring up a good point GreyGhost. There has been a tradeoff of restrictions in my opinion though between PnP and MMOs and that's having a ruleset as your guide rather than the whole experience front to back. While the gameplay mechanics of MMOs have moved ahead of PnP the world emmersion aspect has moved backwards. I do feel as though innovations in that department are coming as well though so soon it should be good all 'round.

    You know I have no idea whats going on with the world emmersion aspect. We went from Ultima to... to I don't know what to call this. Everything in the world is more like a prop than something in the world. You can't sit on the furniture, use the water fountains, open the doors, break the windows, it's all just props. UO gave us a virtual world and with todays technology it would be nice to see that expanded upon. Other genres have shown us a great deal of what can be done to really pull away from this and emmerse players. 

     

    But for what ever reason the world has taken a back seat and has been treated as nothing more than window dressing. I don't know whom or what to blame for this. I really wish I did so I could give them or it a swift kick in the rear assuming if it's an it, it actually has a rear lol. 

     

    Edited to Add:  I feel dirty ; ; Smedley apparently said the current worlds are props as well. I never agree with Smedley ; ;

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by bcbully

    Open class systems ie. level 18/7/2 Ranger/Thief/Acrobat 

     

    What do you think?

    *gets out a cane to lean on*

    I remember when multiclassing was considered a horrible addition to the rules, taking RPGs too far away from their roots.  And don't go waving those first edition bards under my nose - no true game ever used those abominations.

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GrayGhost79
    Originally posted by Aelious
    You bring up a good point GreyGhost. There has been a tradeoff of restrictions in my opinion though between PnP and MMOs and that's having a ruleset as your guide rather than the whole experience front to back. While the gameplay mechanics of MMOs have moved ahead of PnP the world emmersion aspect has moved backwards. I do feel as though innovations in that department are coming as well though so soon it should be good all 'round.

    You know I have no idea whats going on with the world emmersion aspect. We went from Ultima to... to I don't know what to call this. Everything in the world is more like a prop than something in the world. You can't sit on the furniture, use the water fountains, open the doors, break the windows, it's all just props. UO gave us a virtual world and with todays technology it would be nice to see that expanded upon. Other genres have shown us a great deal of what can be done to really pull away from this and emmerse players. 

     

    But for what ever reason the world has taken a back seat and has been treated as nothing more than window dressing. I don't know whom or what to blame for this. I really wish I did so I could give them or it a swift kick in the rear assuming if it's an it, it actually has a rear lol. 

     

    Edited to Add:  I feel dirty ; ; Smedley apparently said the current worlds are props as well. I never agree with Smedley ; ;

     

    I couldn't agree more on what an MMO world should and shouldn't be.  I still walk up to chairs and shake my head a little as I try in vain to /sit where it looks right while going afk.  Until a better game comes out I'm trying to just enjoy a game for what it is because literally every one I play because of friends, family, etc. seems so canned and the world design is a big part of it.  My hopes lie in EQN but we'll see how that ends up.

     

    On the matter of how it got to this point with world generation I have a theory.  I think it was cheaper and easier to storyboard zones ahead of time rather to design a "world" first and add to it.  Where the players would be at what point on the golden path was all mapped out and handed off to make it happen.  It would explain why areas can feel too uniform in some places and disjointed in others.

     

    On your edit, if it's any consolation I got a chuckle from the Smed comment image.  I know he is a polorizing figure and although I am starting to like what he's saying/doing I know others do not.  He is indeed saying all the right things with EQN and SoE as a whole though.  It could be smoke and mirrors, who can know at this point, but with the model SoE is going with he has more to lose than gain by pulling one over.  Again, we'll have to see.

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    MMOs don't have their roots in P&P games. Don't be ridiculous. They've never resembled P&P games.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • BanaghranBanaghran HuisoPosts: 869Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldon

    Yes, but so what?

    Don't you think the transportation industry moved too far from its roots in the 1800s where horses and steam engine trains are the norm?

     

    Change that to "public transportation" and we have a completely different argument, in the early 1900's subways and "city-trains" we the industrys direction and cornerstone respectively, i am not quite sure where 2 hour commutes in traffic jams on overfilled highways fit into that :)

    Flame on!

    :)

  • SpiiderSpiider BinzPosts: 474Member Uncommon

    Roots = Gamers making games for gamers

    Now = Accountants (hi EA, hi SOE) making games for profit and profit only.

     

    How else does one explaing SWTOR or any of the SOE blunders? Its as with any industry, when accountants take over it is "game over".

    No fate but what we make, so make me a ham sandwich please.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,672Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    MMOs don't have their roots in P&P games. Don't be ridiculous. They've never resembled P&P games.

    That's a very good point. They evolved from MUDs/MOOs and early CRPGs. They're built on a foundation created from the removal of the DM, a change that could be seen as both a necessary divergence due to lack of feasibility and an extension of the online game design made popular by DikuMUD and its variants.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    Quirhid

    MMOs are digital extensions of PnP rulesets and gameplay. They may have come from MUDs directly but where do you think MUDs came from? When in combat what principles control damage exchanges? Itemization, combat and coop all came from PnP principles.
  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    But the DM was not removed, just replaced.
  • NevulusNevulus Miami Beach, FLPosts: 1,288Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully

    I'm talking about the Pen & Pencil roots.

    Stat generation

    Open class systems ie. level 18/7/2 Ranger/Thief/Acrobat 

    Open skills and abilities (there used to be a difference).

    Creativity. Thinking was how you succeeded.

     

    Please feel free to and more fundementals. I think that it has. I think that mmorpgs only loosely resemble pen & paper rpgs now, and this is why those who remember are disappointed over and over, and those who did not experience the early days are playing mmos like 30$, 30 day console games.

     

    What do you think?

    Yes, it is more about pushing out a copy clone game quickly, make money, then prepare an exit strategy. They no longer care about cultivating a community, enjoying the journey, and providing a unique gaming experience.

     

    I work for a private equity firm who invests in all forms of businesses, we no longer do video game companies, but when we did I found one of the most surpising statements in a business proposal we received for a small company looking to fund their mmo. They had an "exit strategy" in their proposal, and not for an "oh no" emergency, but one that was iminent and purposeful. That's how I knew the mmorpg genre as a whole was doomed to lobby games and clones for years to come. I hate to admit that I was right, I wish I wasn't.

  • mgilbrtsnmgilbrtsn belleville, ILPosts: 1,711Member Uncommon
    No.  It's going along just fine.  I'll agree that some people loose it loosely, but for things which are actually MMOs are doing just fine.

    Concentrate on enjoying yourself, and not on why I shouldn't enjoy myself.

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    I dont' know about all this open skill whatever system. 

    I mean I played those game, MUD etc.  But the thing about it is you can't really have respec in those type of game, else everyone is like everyone else.  I mean other game with class actually have like 5 class or 5 distinct group.  If you allow respec it's like everyone is the same.

    And if you dont' allow respec, people arn't too happy.

    Of course you can move into the Darkfall system like if you use the skill more you learn it, and if you don't use it degrade.  That is fine.  Eve system I dont' really like, since old gamer have the freedom to be whatever spec, and newer gamer really dont' have the freedom.  I don't like that system.

    Quite honestly I think game company now move away from those system, simply because those system arn't very good.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,672Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aelious
    But the DM was not removed, just replaced.

    In what MMO was the DM replaced? A DM is more than someone that reads text to the players. They throttle content, adjust the experience and tailor events to work with the players. The DM also created a more personal experience simply through being a human the players were interacting with.

    In the absence of the above aspects, they players could have just walked through the campaign book themselves. In most MMOs, the DM is removed. That tier of interaction is gone.

    If your take on a DM is that they are simply a human RNG then I'd say your DMs were less than stellar at their task.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,281Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Aelious
    But the DM was not removed, just replaced.

    In what MMO was the DM replaced? A DM is more than someone that reads text to the players. They throttle content, adjust the experience and tailor events to work with the players. The DM also created a more personal experience simply through being a human the players were interacting with.

    In the absence of the above aspects, they players could have just walked through the campaign book themselves. In most MMOs, the DM is removed. That tier of interaction is gone.

    If your take on a DM is that they are simply a human RNG then I'd say your DMs were less than stellar at their task.

     

    Looking at a game like Neverwinter, it can be argued that the DM is there. 

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 18,031Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully

    I'm talking about the Pen & Pencil roots.

    Stat generation

    Open class systems ie. level 18/7/2 Ranger/Thief/Acrobat 

    Open skills and abilities (there used to be a difference).

    Creativity. Thinking was how you succeeded.

    Please feel free to and more fundementals. I think that it has. I think that mmorpgs only loosely resemble pen & paper rpgs now, and this is why those who remember are disappointed over and over, and those who did not experience the early days are playing mmos like 30$, 30 day console games.

    What do you think?

    The first real MMO was Meridian 59 from 1996. It had levels, classes, rat killing quests and most other things we see in modern MMOs. Not raiding and leveling took a lot longer but it was besically the same.

    UO was not the first MMO and more of an abnomality in the genre. It was the only one I can think of that had a bi P&P feeling besides Biowares NWN. Yeah, old MMOs had more focus on character stats than itemstats but frankly that is no big difference.

    MMOs should be closer to pen and paper, and not just D&D/Pathfinder. I would really love a mechanic system based on Shadowrun for example, it doesnt even have any hitpoints... And as you say, MMOs should be a lot better to promote thinking.

    But MMOs never been close to P&P at all. Closest computerexperience I had was when I played NWN on a server with active GMs that dropped monsters on us and possessed the bosses.

    I think the MMO genre need a reboot, someone who starts from P&P and tries to turn that into a computer game from start instead of looking on earlier games.

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