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What does depth in an mmo mean to you?

MeriliremMerilirem Port AugustaPosts: 77Member

I read many people arguing against or for kinds of games and types of play they themselves enjoy. I read the responses, the many different and the same. An interesting factor in games is depth, in an mmo it seems to have been forgotten, not that it stopped existing, just what it means. The meaning may have changed or merged, it may have always been the same. So I ask the question.

What does depth in an mmo mean to you?

If a butterfly learnt to speak, to live in human society, paid its bills, had a job, lived in a fancy house and married a human, is it human?

Now what if that same butterfly knew how to write code better than any human and had years of experience in the game industry, would that make it a game designer?

If u wouldn't let a construction worker design your house, then why let a programmer design your world?

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Comments

  • HomituHomitu Hometown, HIPosts: 2,030Member

    Depth is just an attribute that can be applied to any feature of a game.  Story can have depth or not.  Combat can have depth or not.  The character class and progression system can have depth or not.  Leveling can have depth or not.  

    It's usually a broad statement and requires further explanation on part of the poster, just like it's counterpart, "shallow."  

  • Lovely_LalyLovely_Laly genevaPosts: 734Member

    I think it means WoW to me.

    this game offer all we may need, beside, may be, housing. You can play as casual or going to go hard stuff like raid or challenge mod, game is very large and take ages to explore, game have lot of customization.

    please don't bit me hard, I really think WoW offers more features compare to any other game.

    my only "dark point" is sub, but it only for me.

    try before buy, even if it's a game to avoid bad surprises.
    Worst surprises for me: Aion, GW2

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,406Member Uncommon

    Depth, to me, is a deep and elaborate social system, e.g., world housing with player cities, guild halls, taxes, gambling, cantina fun, incentives to use INNs and social hangouts, social professions, extremely deep crafting and harvesting, player-driven economy, etc.

    I personally find no depth when venturing around with a 100% pure sandbox, e.g., looking on the vendor and browsing through 10,000 Mere's Dagger of Storm.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member

    It's when there's more than what's on the surface (pretty graphics or game mechanics or whatnot).  That doesn't mean the game has to be overly complex (it can be both, but doesn't need to be).  A game like EvE has lots of depth and lots of complexity, and very little presentation.  A game like GW2 has lots of presentation, very little complexity, and almost no depth.  WoW used to have lots of presentation, lots of depth, but no complexity (now, due to age and changes, it has almost none of any of those).

    For comparison, a classic game like chess would be low in complexity, and high in depth.  It's the pinnacle of "easy to learn, difficult to master" since there are only a few rules, yet there are lots of combinations within those rules.

    TSW is an example of a game with high complexity, but low depth.  It's easy to look at the mechanics and ability wheels, and think that there is deep, meaningful character options and gameplay at work, but the truth is that most of those options and mechanics don't add anything to the game outside of being extra options.  The ability wheel is littered with abilities that just aren't that great, as opposed to Chess, where all of the "abilities" are great under the right circumstances.

    When I talk about a game lacking depth, I literally mean there is very little below the surface.  Just like a "shallow" personality is one that lacks anything meaningful or interesting beyond whatever is presented up front.

    You make me like charity

  • BitterClingerBitterClinger Newark, DEPosts: 225Member Uncommon

    In depth, to me, is that I can feel immersed in the world. If I were an author, I would be able to write a novel about MY story in the game.

    UO and EQ were immersive world to me.  I lived there. I could write a novel about the adventures of Grey Muil and Baphomet Beephcake.

    DAoC was a decent game, but not very immersive. WoW was a VERY "in depth" game, but in a min/max stats/gear/spec kind of way (think elitistjerks).  It was A LOT of fun for many years, but it was not "in depth" for me.

    Ironically, "My Story" in GW2 interferes with what would otherwise be an immersive experience. They're guiding me through what THEY think MY story should be, but it's not actually MY story.

     

    Top Games Played in 2015: World of Tanks, Tera, World of Warships

  • KaosProphetKaosProphet Edmonton, ABPosts: 379Member
    Originally posted by Lovely_Laly

    I think it means WoW to me.

    this game offer all we may need, beside, may be, housing. You can play as casual or going to go hard stuff like raid or challenge mod, game is very large and take ages to explore, game have lot of customization.

    please don't bit me hard, I really think WoW offers more features compare to any other game.

    my only "dark point" is sub, but it only for me.

    I dunno, I never really felt like WoW was all that deep.  Very broad, sure; it had a little bit of (almost) everything, but so much of it just felt superificial and empty once I started actually toying with it.

    But it's hard to put a finger on exactly what I mean by 'deep' or 'superficial' here.  I use the term, and I know what I mean by it, but I'm not really sure how to describe what I mean to others who might very well be using it differently.

    I just know that, despite 40+ different skills 11 different classes and unknown amounts of gear available... Mount and Blade felt like it was deeper gameplay than WoW. 

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    Depth to me is "the little things." These "little things" may have no bearing on the game.

    One of my favorite examples happens in WoW. In Stormwind, there was a little girl who chased a little boy throughout the city yelling for him to give her her dolly back. After Cataclysm, the boy then chased the girl around and yelled for her to give him his gorilla doll(?) back. That is depth to me.

    Various aspects of the game can have depth, also. Crafting, combat, character advancement can all have depth to them. Many times, though, complexity gets confused with depth. As another poster mentioned, "easy to learn, difficult to master." Having to go outside of the game for information is complexity to me. Figuring out how best to use what you have is depth for me.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • MeriliremMerilirem Port AugustaPosts: 77Member
    Originally posted by Homitu

    Depth is just an attribute that can be applied to any feature of a game.  Story can have depth or not.  Combat can have depth or not.  The character class and progression system can have depth or not.  Leveling can have depth or not.  

    It's usually a broad statement and requires further explanation on part of the poster, just like it's counterpart, "shallow."  

    This is exactly why I asked the question. Though your answer leaves alot of gray. If its an attribute then how do you add it to a game?

    If a butterfly learnt to speak, to live in human society, paid its bills, had a job, lived in a fancy house and married a human, is it human?

    Now what if that same butterfly knew how to write code better than any human and had years of experience in the game industry, would that make it a game designer?

    If u wouldn't let a construction worker design your house, then why let a programmer design your world?

  • JemcrystalJemcrystal Champaign, ILPosts: 1,552Member Uncommon
    I think a game with "depth" means you get drawn into playing despite yourself.  You didn't think you would take the game seriously or it wasn't going to last or you were just checking it out for kicks.  Next thing you know you have friends, family, guild mates, associates, and you are looking up on line how to accomplish your next goal.  You don't even know how it happened.  That is depth in gamers' terms to me.

  • BahamutKaiserBahamutKaiser Hyattsville, MDPosts: 306Member
    Originally posted by Homitu

    Depth is just an attribute that can be applied to any feature of a game.  Story can have depth or not.  Combat can have depth or not.  The character class and progression system can have depth or not.  Leveling can have depth or not.  

    It's usually a broad statement and requires further explanation on part of the poster, just like it's counterpart, "shallow."  

    Quite true, in fact, the real question should be, not what is depth, but what kind of depth do you value?

    Personally, I find that a significant amount of strategy, tactics, and activeness is necessary to entertain me for a relevant amount of time. This is why I tend to stray toward MOBA games, even though I'd rather play a game with a rich character development and world of wonder to participate in. This gameplay depth that I require to remain interested, or even bother to consider spending oodles of time in an MMO for, is what I value. I don't want the game to be overly reliant on pre battle strategy or character preperations, but I want it to have an impact, I don't want the gameplay to be overly reliant on operational superiority of intense action gameplay, but I want some action, the only feature which I don't feel could be over done is tactical variety, because tactical depth is where battles become unique every time you play, and tactical depth is how playing the same battle over and over again, or the same kind of battles over and over again, is still interesting for an indefinate amount of time.

    Will I organize into a fortified position and cooperate with allies in order to break waves of rushing foes?, or will I sneak around stealthily to eliminate essential members among my foes? Will I attempt to devestate my foes with a well placed AoE assault to maximize damage output?, or will I coordinate a focused attack on a powerful foe in order to bring them down reguardless of their resistance? These tactics are what make MOBA games so interesting even though you play a very limited number of maps and a very repetitive scenario over and over. The diversity of character options also add to the diversity, but the diversity offered there can be replecated by offering several options to each character in a MMORPG and allowing them to operate them alternately rather than operate a single set role in a battle.

    I appreciate exploration, story content, player socialization and many other significant and valuable features in MMORPG offerings, but none of those is worth a lick if the depth isn't in the most important place, for me at least, in the Strategy, Activity, and Tactics.

    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  • DancingQueenDancingQueen LA, CAPosts: 201Member
    Originally posted by Merilirem

    I read many people arguing against or for kinds of games and types of play they themselves enjoy. I read the responses, the many different and the same. An interesting factor in games is depth, in an mmo it seems to have been forgotten, not that it stopped existing, just what it means. The meaning may have changed or merged, it may have always been the same. So I ask the question.

    What does depth in an mmo mean to you?

    It's just a word used by marketing, a bit the same a the word solid used by game reviewers that just doesn't mean anything.

    Use the word compelling instead and you would make much more sense but we don't want that do we?

  • BahamutKaiserBahamutKaiser Hyattsville, MDPosts: 306Member
    Originally posted by DancingQueen
    Originally posted by Merilirem

    I read many people arguing against or for kinds of games and types of play they themselves enjoy. I read the responses, the many different and the same. An interesting factor in games is depth, in an mmo it seems to have been forgotten, not that it stopped existing, just what it means. The meaning may have changed or merged, it may have always been the same. So I ask the question.

    What does depth in an mmo mean to you?

    It's just a word used by marketing, a bit the same a the word solid used by game reviewers that just doesn't mean anything.

    Use the word compelling instead and you would make much more sense but we don't want that do we?

    That's just articulating the same thing. Except that depth isn't always compelling, someone can offer depth that isn't compelling because you arn't interested in it.

    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  • DancingQueenDancingQueen LA, CAPosts: 201Member
    Originally posted by BahamutKaiser
    Originally posted by DancingQueen
    Originally posted by Merilirem

    I read many people arguing against or for kinds of games and types of play they themselves enjoy. I read the responses, the many different and the same. An interesting factor in games is depth, in an mmo it seems to have been forgotten, not that it stopped existing, just what it means. The meaning may have changed or merged, it may have always been the same. So I ask the question.

    What does depth in an mmo mean to you?

    It's just a word used by marketing, a bit the same a the word solid used by game reviewers that just doesn't mean anything.

    Use the word compelling instead and you would make much more sense but we don't want that do we?

    That's just articulating the same thing. Except that depth isn't always compelling, someone can offer depth that isn't compelling because you arn't interested in it.

    Depth is just a word without much meaning to me and it could just mean anything and if it isn't compelling then why play?

    Not sure that I get my point across here... maybe I'm using the wrong words. image

  • BahamutKaiserBahamutKaiser Hyattsville, MDPosts: 306Member
    Very simple explanation, because a certain kind of depth can be compelling to some and not others. Compelling is situational to the players preferance, Depth is an amount of value which may or may not be interesting to various individuals... Articulation.

    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
    To me..... Nothing

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • DancingQueenDancingQueen LA, CAPosts: 201Member

    Depth just doesn't mean anything to me... it's just a marketing buzz word.

    I prefer the words fun and compelling when describing an MMO.

  • CalerxesCalerxes LondonPosts: 1,630Member Uncommon

    Depth is the ability to solve the problems presented to you in various ways, shallowness is obviously the opposite the more ways to manipulate the game the more depth there is. Chess and Go have hundreds of ways to beat your opponent and the game flow is organic as you try to figure out your opponents stragegies and counter them while executing your strategy. No two games are the same if you play a similarily competent player and why they have been popular for hundreds of years, the absolute definition of depth and the template for all designers to try and achieve, the holy grail of easy to learn hard to master. EvE has many of ways to dominate in the game through ISK, territorial control, political subtefuge, espionage, alliances, amassing firepower, resource control etc.... so lots of depth.


    WoW has one way to dominate through superior stats the min/max way with a bit of strategic thinking in high level raids or high level arenas so very little depth. GW2 has a combat system that requires the player to understand their class as skill will always beat stats in PvE and PvP, the depth is playing to your strengths and building your char to maximise those strengths, the dungeons also take skill to actually be efficient and clear them properly. Theres more than one way to achieve this, everyone in group has to be alert to others in the group as well as their own situation and like Chess and Go the flow is organic and changes from moment to moment. But GW2 lacks depth in manipulation of the game world as in polictical ways like EvE and Lineage 2 or even Perfect World.

     

    Lineage 2 had depth in combat as you have to con all mobs to find out their respective resistences as some classes struggled with certain mobs when the mob had counter resistences to their strengths, I think EQ had this as well but I'm not sure, the class changing systems gave you something to think about and how you want to play in a group and with there being 36+ classes with more than just the Holy Trinity in playstyle you really needed to think about what you were doing, couple this with the regular seiges that took place a well put together army would hold their province more securely and thus benefit everyone in the alliance with buffs and taxes. The political landscape changed regularly like EvE and what made it such a great game.

     

    Its a big subject and all systems can have depth like SWG and Ryzoms crafting systems, so its about looking at individual systems and seeing how much they can be manipulated to the benefit of the player or players.

     

    This doom and gloom thread was brought to you by Chin Up™ the new ultra high caffeine soft drink for gamers who just need that boost of happiness after a long forum session.

  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon

    Depth to me means how deep each system in the MMO is.  Many current games are very slimlined in their systems, taking away any depth.  GW2 for example.  I feel no real Metagame aspect when playing GW2 and it is one of the many reasons I don't enjoy the game as much as I would if it had more depth.

    On the other side of the fence, take a game like FFXI which has depth out the wazoo from the weather system affecting spells, each weapon having it's own skills to be unlocked, skill chains with each and every job type in different party setups, MULTIPLE storylines for each city, each expansion and all quite involved.  To Notorious Monsters and their spawn times and drops to the crafting which people still aren't quite sure if the direction you face makes a difference or not(many swear it does).  Each Job alone is unique and many require very involved quests to unlock them(something I find awesome).  There's more but I just named the top items that come to mind.

    Another good example of depth in World aspect is Vanguard.  A world needs to be vast and filled with so much content that one would need more than one character to truly see it all.  Sadly many games streamline this into one leveling path(RIFT!) and ruin playing alts or being immersed into a game world.  Vanguard also has hidden quests that unlock skills for your class, some classes at least.  Like Necromancer.

    So, that's my idea of what makes depth and what I find missing in a lot of current gen MMOs and what I do judge most MMOs on.

    image
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member

    To me, it is about combat mechanics, and choices/syneries between skills, items, mobs and environment.

    Combat has depth when there is build diversity, and different strategies/playstyle to play. Combat has depth when your combat build/strategy is item dependent. Combat has depth when you have to use different skills in different situations.

  • DestaiDestai Detroit, MIPosts: 574Member

    Depth can be demonstrated in the following areas

    1. Lore

    Authentic and multi-facted lore is essential for depth. Take a look at settings like the Elder Scrolls - its world history is not objective. It's told from the perspective of the victors. Then we have the machinations of the Aedra and the Daedra, the various guilds, the books - it all lends to a rich and diverse setting.

    To have lore-based depth, the setting has to be well thought, filled with symbolism, and controversy.

    2. Character

    Presumably, many people play MMOs to develop their characters. Whether it's growing an armor collection, exploring every nook and cranny, or leveling every skill, having something to develop your identity equates to depth. Games such as LoTRO and Vanguard all have incredibly in depth character systems. Being able to play your character in multiple ways, roleplaying, and crafting all contribute to character depth.

    3. Economy

    MMO depth can also be defined by its economic activity. When players are able to craft and trade they not only define themselves, but define the game. Economic activity can drive players to farm mobs, run dungeons, and band together to accomplish profitable goals. It can also ruin a game. Price stability is just as important as allowing players to make money. Developers can facilitate economic depth by providing tools like auction houses, item previews, and a good trade interface.

  • coretex666coretex666 PraguePosts: 1,934Member Uncommon

    Depth can be related to various aspects of the game, such as crafting, character progression, etc.

    I think it is easier to provide some specific examples of particular game systems which can be considered as having depth rather than establishing a definition which would be somehow applicable in general and approved by everyone.

    Waiting for L2 EU Classic

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,460Member Uncommon

    To me it means the presence of a variety of systems and attributes that when learned and mastered reveal additional connectsions/relationships that are not readily apparent but increase the gameplay possibilities.

    I suppose one example could be the Necropoli and Catacombs in Lineage 2. Not only were they popular leveling spots but players could gather seals that could be turned in to either the Dusk or Dawn Priests (or whatever they were). They could also be sold if I remember correctly.

    However, the control of dusk or dawn meant that the winner of the dusk/dawn competition would control those prime leveling spots. It also tied into the Siege/Castle system and I believe could affect the outcome of those events which of course meant that the caslte holder not only gained taxes from the surrounding towns but could also sell "seeds" to players who could then reap crops of mats from monsters when they turned them in.

    This in turn fueled the crafting systems and also made money for the players and especially the castle holder. Additionally the castle holders could also reap money from fortress holders if the fortress holders aligned with them. If the Fortress holders did align with the castle holders then they would have access to their own special dungeons. additionaly the Castle holders had a special leveling dungeon as well.

    Castle holders could also sell the right for non-castle holders to compete on their side in the dusk/dawn competitions thus increasing their chances of winning.

     

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member
    Originally posted by Merilirem

    What does depth in an mmo mean to you?

     Depth?

    Being able to choose no matter the situation.

    That mob, I can use skill 1, 2 or 3 and be effective...instead of always chosing 1. Moreover, why should skills always have to be used in the same order to be effective instead of being different based on a mobs weakness? Because in most games mobs dont have weaknesses!

    This area, maybe I dont want to play in this area...I want another. Give me options.

    This sword...why is it always a god damn sword? Why cant I swap it out for a mace? There is no point in limiting a class to a single weapon type.

    Hey I am a magic caster...why do I only get to chose between fire and ice?!? where is lightning, acid, earth, wind...

    10 emotes? really...10? I want far more.

    Hey, I am taking the time to level up my crafting skill, can I please have a larger variety of crap to make?

    Depth, its rather simple, it means provide MORE not less. Less may be simple, but its also weak gameplay.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • nottunednottuned st.paul, MNPosts: 92Member
    I remeber worlds being huge, now with insta ports and super mounts the worlds seems much smaller. Im always running into walls. I know travel should not be tedious, but something is lost for me and worlds seem to be shrinking. Mabye im just getting fat idk
  • VengerVenger York, PAPosts: 1,318Member

    To me variety and depth are pretty similar.  There are two varities in a mmo game as I see it.  Varity in game play and variety within game features.

    Variety in game play which should be a little easier then features, though most are so focued on combat this is usually non-existent.  UO had depth in game play because I could play a fisherman, smith, warrior, hunter, tailor.........  and be successful in my own way.

    Variety within a feature is much more complex.  How do you give a players variety in experiences which in a single feature.  

    Combat for example, I feel that combat could be much more diverse if developers wouldn't follow the narrow view of the holy trinity.  Roles could still be maintained without following the narrow definition of the trinity.

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