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[Column] General: Up to 90% of MMO Real Estate is Wasted

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  • jakinjakin somewhere, ONPosts: 243Member Common
    Originally posted by grummz

    Its really going to hamstring the discussion if I can't mention Firefall. I try to leave it at the very end only and talk about the philosophy that we observe in current MMOs. 

    As for facts and figures, there are no public sources. I am drawing upon my experience leading the WoW team, working on Diablo II, and talking to many of my friends who are leaders in the industry. I'm not the only one who feels this way.

     

     

    I don't think the issue is the simple mention of Firefall, is the structure of the article.  Both of the past pieces have essentially boiled down to: 

    - this is what's wrong with every other MMO.

    - this is how Firefall will do it right.

     

    It would appear more balanced if you covered several MMOs specifically rather than hand-waving more generally. 

    As mentioned in the comments - there is no area in EVE that is "wasted" as your article addresses the point.  That could be a discussion of the validity of using hard and fast character levels vs. skill-based systems, but still the point should be addressed.

    You mention down-leveling as being negative, but don't mention what model you're dismissing.  GW2's level-matching doesn't take anything away from the player that I've ever observed, and I have found myself in lower-level areas far more often than the highest level ones.

     

    I don't think anyone begrudges you the right and ability to talk about the game you are creating in the context of the article, but the framing of the pieces so far is really is coming off as more Firefall advertisement than MMO commentary.

     

    My two cents.

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,437Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jakin
    Originally posted by grummz

    Its really going to hamstring the discussion if I can't mention Firefall. I try to leave it at the very end only and talk about the philosophy that we observe in current MMOs. 

    As for facts and figures, there are no public sources. I am drawing upon my experience leading the WoW team, working on Diablo II, and talking to many of my friends who are leaders in the industry. I'm not the only one who feels this way.

     

     

    I don't think the issue is the simple mention of Firefall, is the structure of the article.  Both of the past pieces have essentially boiled down to: 

    - this is what's wrong with every other MMO.

    - this is how Firefall will do it right.

     

    It would appear more balanced if you covered several MMOs specifically rather than hand-waving more generally. 

    As mentioned in the comments - there is no area in EVE that is "wasted" as your article addresses the point.  That could be a discussion of the validity of using hard and fast character levels vs. skill-based systems, but still the point should be addressed.

    You mention down-leveling as being negative, but don't mention what model you're dismissing.  GW2's level-matching doesn't take anything away from the player that I've ever observed, and I have found myself in lower-level areas far more often than the highest level ones.

     

    I don't think anyone begrudges you the right and ability to talk about the game you are creating in the context of the article, but the framing of the pieces so far is really is coming off as more Firefall advertisement than MMO commentary.

     

    My two cents.

    I have to agree, GW2's system of down leveling never feels bad. Most of the time I don't even notice I got down leveled. And I do still feel more powerful in lower level zones but just not a ridiculous amount where I one shot everything like in other MMOs. It's nice because I can go play wherever I feel like and my guildies and friends whatever level they are can play with me. 

    image
  • BjelarBjelar RullumpPosts: 384Member

    "Dynamic content and more horizontal, rather than vertical, progression is one way to do this."

     

    Why can't we just have a world with bunnies and elder dragons and players from lvl 1 to 80 in the same zone? We don't need dynamic content or more horizontal progression for that. We just need lvl 1s to be careful, sneak around for an apropriate prey or look for powerful friends/ clans to help them.

     

    AoC did that in the gathering zones of all places. It works well there, but in the other zones mobbs are from lvl 39-42 or something silly like that.

     

    I enjoy picking my fights and get easily bored by bulldozing through zones, knowing that all mobs magically are adjusted to my level.

     
     
     
  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,453Member Uncommon

    I agree.

    It's almost a sin that perfectly good areas are left to stagnate.

    I always thought that there should be "starter areas" but that these starter areas should be areas where new players started because it was convenient and helpful for them to do so. Yet, there should be players of all sorts of levels and experience there doing their own thing.

    So, starter areas aren't solely starter areas. They are just places for people to start and learn the game. As opposed to plunking them down in the middle of nowhere.

    which, by the way, is also a viable method of introducing a player to the game world. Just not for everyone.

     

     

  • RenoakuRenoaku Posts: 1,005Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BelegStrongbow

    @wormed, ; stop trolling.  Mark is passionate about what he is doing and believes in it, and so do I.  How can you not agree that noob level zones are just purely wasted development cost.  Yet Devs put forth so much effort to get you hooked on the game.  

     

    One thing I wish Firefall did better was use more Sandbox systems,  Sandbox crafting and resource gathering keeps zones from being useless,  when every tree or rock is worth harvesting.  Yes Thumpers are great,  but so many zones have weak thumping spots and are always rushed over and never used. 

    While this is true unless major changes come to FireFall on Release, I agree that the game is going to be one of the worst MMO's this year. Sure it offers some  new content okay so I can drop a harvester which just riggers a script on the server telling bugs to spawn at X Location play Animation dirt coming up from ground and so on and then attack with objective to kill X Target and attack X players X Distance nothing new to me.

    After awhile of doing this 4 hours a day you would get tired of FireFall already.

    But lets assume you actually play the story is good enough to keep you longer along with PVP, Character Models are absolutely a joke they suck, the memory usage the game uses on high graphics is way too high compared to other games like Rift, or TERA for that matter it needs to be optimized better and offer better customization options with better 3D models like seriously TERA, Guild Wars 2, APB all have better.

    And this is likely why I will not be buying founder pack or even playing the game on release.

  • Vion1xVion1x nakskovPosts: 188Member
    This is spot on, nice reading, thanks! - also one of the reasons that i'm putting my money and time into firefall!
  • orbitxoorbitxo fort lauderdale, FLPosts: 1,405Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vion1x
    This is spot on, nice reading, thanks! - also one of the reasons that i'm putting my money and time into firefall!

    +1

    id like to see Mike   Morhaime  write a current article about the state on gaming...

    oh Activision  riiiight, i forgot...

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Bjelar

    I enjoy picking my fights and get easily bored by bulldozing through zones, knowing that all mobs magically are adjusted to my level.

    Of course, the alternative is "go to the one remaining spot on this map where the mobs aren't grey to me, and grind away for weeks".

    That's kinda boring too, right?

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,592Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sanguinelust
    I can't remember if Anarchy Online had one when it came out

    Thats easy... Little if ANYTHING worked when AO launched... ^^ That continued for several weeks.  I still (painfully) remember that launch.  It was one of the WORST in MMO history, and I'm still amazed to this day that Funcom was able to come back from that.  AO eventually, turned out to be a fun game (for its time).

     

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,592Member Uncommon
    Excellent and timely ideas.  The Devil as they say is in the details.  Attempting to put all of the variables together takes experience, and when you are creating something new, that can be painful.  But I'm still hopeful. Once the base system is in place, connecting various operational systems (success/failure in a mission event, sparks a chain of events) would be a great follow up.
  • evolpcevolpc Wauseon, OHPosts: 72Member Uncommon

    I think it is odd that this guy is writing columns here at MMORPG, especially in the same week as an "updated first look at Firefall" is posted on the front page of the website. I spent quite a bit of money on Firefall already and have found it to be a massive mess. They seem to have no cohesive strategy and this is confirmed by reading reviews of Red 5 written by former and current employees. These employees describe a company in which Mr. Kern is an absentee manager, rarely shows up, and when he does, makes uninformed, shoot-from-the-hip decisions to make massive changes to the game. The whole environment sounds chaotic and unproductive. I just wonder whether his time would be better served at the studio getting us all our moneys worth out of the game rather than writing fluff articles here to attempt to garner attention.

    Thus far he is all ideas and no implementation judging by the state of Firefall. Proof is in the pudding, and like I said, I spent money on the pudding, and it tastes bad...

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,205Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Fendel84M
    Originally posted by jakin
    Originally posted by grummz

    Its really going to hamstring the discussion if I can't mention Firefall. I try to leave it at the very end only and talk about the philosophy that we observe in current MMOs. 

    As for facts and figures, there are no public sources. I am drawing upon my experience leading the WoW team, working on Diablo II, and talking to many of my friends who are leaders in the industry. I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    I don't think the issue is the simple mention of Firefall, is the structure of the article.  Both of the past pieces have essentially boiled down to: 

    - this is what's wrong with every other MMO.

    - this is how Firefall will do it right.

    It would appear more balanced if you covered several MMOs specifically rather than hand-waving more generally. 

    As mentioned in the comments - there is no area in EVE that is "wasted" as your article addresses the point.  That could be a discussion of the validity of using hard and fast character levels vs. skill-based systems, but still the point should be addressed.

    You mention down-leveling as being negative, but don't mention what model you're dismissing.  GW2's level-matching doesn't take anything away from the player that I've ever observed, and I have found myself in lower-level areas far more often than the highest level ones.

    I don't think anyone begrudges you the right and ability to talk about the game you are creating in the context of the article, but the framing of the pieces so far is really is coming off as more Firefall advertisement than MMO commentary.

    My two cents.

    I have to agree, GW2's system of down leveling never feels bad. Most of the time I don't even notice I got down leveled. And I do still feel more powerful in lower level zones but just not a ridiculous amount where I one shot everything like in other MMOs. It's nice because I can go play wherever I feel like and my guildies and friends whatever level they are can play with me. 

    GW2 downleveling is definitely different from the mentoring systems in other games.  When my son and I play together I never think about what zone I'm in with regards to where I'm at in progression.  In EQ2 and Rift, when I mentor down I'm still significantly over-powered compared to GW2.  Since the downleveling in GW2 is automatic it also feels a lot more organic.  I still like Rift's system better than EQ2 because the power different (if you mentor even con) is a lot narrower and often the rewards are more appropriate.

    None of the systems make the entire zone work though because available harvestable resources are still level range oriented.  Like another poster pointed out, zone reuse has to take into account more than just adventure levels.  It must include every aspect of progression and how they relate.

  • RobokappRobokapp Dublin, OHPosts: 5,205Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by orbitxo
    Originally posted by Battlerock
    So how big is the firefall world lets compare it to azeroth?

    gwad this comparison in incomprehendable to me....lol lets not.

    Blizzard has thawed out my friend. games styles n  structures have evolved...WoW hasnt in so many ways...

     
     

    so Azeroth is much bigger. got it. that's all you had to say.

    image

  • Attend4455Attend4455 BirminghamPosts: 161Member

    That's alot of words to say very little about how Firefall is going to address the perceived problem.

    I'd agree with the other posters that it comes across more as a fluff piece for Firefall than an article about a problem and a solution.

    I sometimes make spelling and grammar errors but I don't pretend it's because I'm using a phone

  • SiphaedSiphaed Everywhere!Posts: 877Member Uncommon

    Guild Wars 2 spits on this article with an 50mph loogie.    Sorry, but somewhat true.

     

    Thanks to things like world bosses,  down-scaling, and Living Story, the other zones throughout the game are being visited more and more frequently by long-time players just as much as the new players.  Arena Net have really found a great way to make constant use of the content they've already created, beyond having new content to supplement the older as well.

     

    Oh, and I forgot to mention the Guild Missions.  Bounties and Treks are a given to having players go into different zones, and also Rushes and Challenges too (that's if you don't get the Crab Toss challenge 3 weeks running, GAH!).       And the last bit to mention is World Exploration through achievements and  the Legendary requirements.

     

    I honestly think that more games to incorporate down-scaling levels combined with up-scaling loot that would encourage players to go back to old content.   They also need to have periodic scavenger hunts in the older zones that will also bait older players back into those zones.

     

    Not to tip my hat to WoW (used to be good, not any more), but when they added the Sunday fishing tournament, that was a big hit for people to go into those zones they usually never trek to.


  • bingbongbrosbingbongbros Vista, CAPosts: 650Member Uncommon
    My first mmo didn't have a tutorial or a starter instance.  It was just welcome to the world try not to die instantly.

    Playing: Smite, Marvel Heroes
    Played: Nexus:Kingdom of the Winds, Everquest, DAoC, Everquest 2, WoW, Matrix Online, Vangaurd, SWG, DDO, EVE, Fallen Earth, LoTRo, CoX, Champions Online, WAR, Darkfall, Mortal Online, Guild Wars, Rift, Tera, Aion, AoC, Gods and Heroes, DCUO, FF14, TSW, SWTOR, GW2, Wildstar, ESO, ArcheAge
    Waiting On: Nothing. Mmorpg's are dead.

  • BlackadderaBlackaddera BruggePosts: 69Member
    I still remember the entire startzone of the Orcs, Undead, Tauren, Trolls (same as Orcs) and Blood elf in WoW. I stopped playing wow aprox 3 years ago. The last time I was in the Orc, Undead and Tauren zone was when the game was offically released. It helps having a near perfect memory.

    the steel shines red with enemy blood. It sings of victory, granted by the gods. And as they return bleeding but proud, the horizon burns and the song is ringing LOUD!

  • AZHokie54AZHokie54 Phoenix, AZPosts: 275Member Uncommon
    GW2 doesn't have this problem. Another reason why it's an outstanding game.
  • FlyByKnightFlyByKnight Algo Star SystemPosts: 651Member Uncommon

    Mark Kern says all the right things, but unfortunately I don't think his vision is being translated from paper to Firefall right now.

     

    I don't think the game is ready for public consumption. It will be brutalized for having small areas and using copious amounts of time gating to try to prevent players from realizing how tiny things are.

     

    The game world looks beautiful and well thought out, but the game play and execution is way to unfinished to present publicly.

     

    It's pretty clear whatever it is they're doing they are WAY behind schedule if they're hell bent on open beta at this point. I think they need Open Beta to make more money so they can afford to expand. That's unfortunate.

     

     

     

     

  • VelocinoxVelocinox Old Folks Home, CAPosts: 811Member Uncommon

    Maybe you should try hiring industry professionals you meet instead of cutting off all communication with them the instant you find out they aren't currently employed in the games industry.

     

    Maybe you would have found that those people already have ideas to take your flip-flopping unfocused game into a direction that isn't following current game trends, but leads them.

     

    You're talking about reusing zones when most people that have tried your beta don't want to be in your zones even the first time. You've gone from a quest focused themepark to a PvE sandbox without any reason to play in it, to a PvP focused sandbox, to an eSports focused PvP client.

     

    None of these are attracting attention.

     

    You had Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day pimp your game and even they came away with the impression that the game has too steep of a learning curve and no depth payoff when you finally climb it... and you were right there helping them!

     

    Maybe some industry professionals aren't currently employed because their ideas aren't the same regurgitated pablum the industry keeps trying to serve to its customers... sure wouldn't have hurt to talk to them given your current trials.

     

    meh, opportunities missed.

     

     

     

    'Sandbox MMO' is a PTSD trigger word for anyone who has the experience to know that anonymous players invariably use a 'sandbox' in the same manner a housecat does.


    When your head is stuck in the sand, your ass becomes the only recognizable part of you.


    No game is more fun than the one you can't play, and no game is more boring than one which you've become familiar.


    How to become a millionaire:
    Start with a billion dollars and make an MMO.

  • BukkerzBukkerz ShropshirePosts: 139Member

    What an excellent post. I totally agree with the point that to create a realistic world in terms of a viewing perspective a landscape has to exist that in theory means that parts of it will never be trod upon. I think that land that is largely redundant should well be considered for usage and I can certainly see Blizzard in particular being able to go 'nuts' with housing, farming, guild mansions / forts, race tracks, a Goblin run amusement park, a 'Las Vegas' (The Meadows) gambling emporium .... poker tables etc and a space station that would catapult your character into the new Titan / Warcraft 2 experience ... options are endless.

    The reason I am harping on about WOW's land in particular is that everybody can see it all of the time because there are no loading screens to areas ... which means that the Barrens has to be up for grabs as much as Loch Modan, Silverpine Forest and Westfall because they 'really' exist.

    I think I will have to create a 'Bugsy' style character and have a look at the Vegas thing.... 

  • KarahandrasKarahandras Sible HedinghamPosts: 1,673Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Battlerock
    So how big is the firefall world lets compare it to azeroth?

    Not sure how big azeroth is tbh(not a wow player) but you could easily fit the entire firefall world into tatooine of swg, one mission in sto and so one.  So likely one zone of wow will be bigger than the firefall world.  To compensate what they've done here is fill it with lots of scenery so you can't go in a straight line and recently(this current miracle patch I believe) they seem to have decided to slow down the character movement aswell.

  • dubnazdubnaz Carol Stream, ILPosts: 4Member

    Many games already use a multi-channel or instance base for zones now. Never winter has at any given time 15 different channels in high populated zones. This also help with lag issues when you have 5000 players all standing around the auction house.

    Why can't we continue that into the game play. I level my character through zone A from 1-10, Zone B 10-20 and maybe from 30-40 I go back to zone A but a different channel of that zone where quests and mobs are based on that level range. This way you can build an MMO with 8 zones and get the job done and there is no need for 20 zones.  I dont mind spending a lot of time in one zone as long as the content in the zone evolves. Maybe at level 4 when I was in zone A the trees weren't quite grown yet but when I went back at level 30 time had passes and now things have changes and the landscape has matured.

    SO much can be done to make MMO's better, I just thing it's going to take that one company with enough courage to go out on a limb and do it. If it works others will follow. Game are a huge investment and companies are going to milk what works until it doesn't anymore.

  • sunshadow21sunshadow21 Omaha, NEPosts: 354Member
    Articles like this remind me of FFXI, where most of the zones are used by at least two or three different levels of players. Oddly enough, it didn't even require dynamic setting or anything that fancy; it just took effort in deciding where and how to place mobs, roads, entrances and exits, and the other elements of the zones so that people of different levels could effectively share the same space. Not that there is anything wrong with using the dynamic setup, but often times simpler solutions are available and simply overlooked.
  • MassManMassMan newyorkPosts: 10Member

    Mark Kern wrote: "Each zone is geared towards a level range, and once you are past that level range, you almost never need to adventure in those zones again."

     

    That's a troublesome wording. People should WANT to visit zones, not NEED to or forced by some arbitrary dynamic/random daily quest. What I fear will happen is that a player needs a large amount of X material. FireFall's "dynamic open world encounters" means that today X is most abundant in Zone 3, so I go to Zone 3. Tomorrow X is most easily obtained in Zone 4 so I go to Zone 4. And so on.

     

    Another problem with dynamic open world encounters is that they are abusable. Even a simplistic encounter as a Thumper in FireFall is abusable, because of players abusing the slightest terrain imperfection over and over again, making the encounter trivial and boring.

     

    MMO players will always follow the path of least resistance, and there's a very real risk that you'll end up with 90% wasted real estate, because the players are concentrating in one area that yeilds the best result. Similar to what happened in XP valley.

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