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



  • PanzerbasePanzerbase Chicago, ILPosts: 423Member
    The same can be said of 90% of this forum space.
  • GreyTimelineGreyTimeline Wasilla, AKPosts: 2Member

    I'd guess this is what Gw2 did right. in the sens there are world bosses in the low level areas that offer max level rewards/skin drop that are worth a bit and such.

    now most zones don't have this which really they should add more of these and you'll see more people around when the event happens.

    and ya this seems about right most content leveling zone wise is almost useless after the player finish it.

    hell rift made first two low level zones viable again for high levels for a chance of cash shop mount from doing the events in the zones which allow many higher levels who wanted a chance at the mount to do so if they were lucky.

    these events/rng rewards for something rare and cool it be a skin/mount/item in low levels that are gain by max levels I welcome it. I'd go around killing few mobs help low levels while in gw2 waiting for Shadow boss to spawn I get thank yous from time to time boss comes it dies check box if nothing come back next day.

    Fear me

  • DrakephireDrakephire Fontana, CAPosts: 451Member Uncommon

    Star Wars Galaxies was well-designed in this regard.  Each planet had a reason to poke around  no matter what skill  levels you had attained.


    Also, this article called to mind a cartoon I saw some time ago. It had an MMO toon sitting stationary in one place whilst MOBS would run up to him only to to die. As the character leveled, he never moved, but the mob levels increased as did the loot drops.  The caption of the cartoon was something like: MMO Slot Machine.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 6,338Member Rare

    This is a bane of MMO's we have talked about before, even if you are not a content locust you will get quickly through the early zones and never see them again.

    I am not sure players would mind being leveled down when in starter zones, as long as they had a reason to be there.

    As to the idea of an organic MMO, not sure Firefall will deliver on this, MMOs simply are not that advanced yet. You would need an AI to do that right!

    One way this could be done would be to not have player levels. Your crafting skills and so on go up in ranks, but combat just relies on your own skill. Somewhat more twitch based but without long ranged sniping. Designed to make sure players want to be in a group.

    Territory based gains with faction warfare would give players a reason to play without  leveling. Sort of DAOC meets PS2 via Terra.

     25 Agrees

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  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member
    Originally posted by Letsinod
    This is where EQ1 got it so right.  There were many level ranges of mobs in each zone.  Spectres to docks anyone?  Giants also.  You would often have high level toons leveling next to newbs in some areas.

    Dead on. There should be variation in zones, they shouldn't be homogenous.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • dtdavidsondtdavidson BonegillaPosts: 6Member

    I remember my first MMO starter Zone. First MMO I played was EQ2, loved it, still sub'd now. wish the zone was still around tbh, the music just entering the zone gives me nostalgia! The biggest thing I remember from the zone was if I killed 10,000 goblins i'd get the title "destroyer of goblins". can't remember how long it took but I earned that title, at lvl 10!! 10,000 goblins dead at my hands, I felt awesome.

    2 other memories stick out in my mind. the first time I seen a dragon (raid lvl mob)! My heart was racing and it was the most epic battle I have ever had!, loved every minute! The second was when my guild (Sabaki on Najena sever) killed a raid mob and I won the epic drop from it, was so awesome I actually wrote some fan fiction for it!

    Those days are gone now and I will never get them back, not from any future MMO or MMO since. It was my introduction to MMO's and I feel that nothing will ever compare to those memories, no matter how hard a raid boss is or how epic a piece of gear is. those first moments will never be relived. Tho I will keep looking for them, continue to strive for them, never to relive them. That's what modern MMO's are trying to achieve, and will never reach!!

  • falconhandfalconhand ZuidbroekPosts: 50Member Uncommon

    Have to agree with the post. Looking at my fave mmo age of conan. You start at an area with 3 instance quest zones and stay there till around level 23 (if not sooner leaving). Then you can choose from 4! areas all with same level cap. Gateway, Wild Lands, Connarch and khopschef. Funcom tries with quests to send you to all 4 area but not needed. Strange enough after reaching level 40 it is allmost 1 area at a time untill reaching level 80 when the raiding starts or doing some grindquests solo at khitai.

    Like Mark Kern mentions, do they not think before making leveling zones?

    Now most players do level themself untill level 40 because of the options and after that they powerlevel till level 80 because of bored of the 40 - 80 standard road.

    And most new mmo have the same problem. Neverwinter, marvel heroes (if you can call that a mmo). Standard road. Thats why I look at teso, split starting zones make it maybe fun to level some more chars. Some like the leveling and some focus on the endgame.



  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,852Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by pantheron
    I like GW2's system, since it scales you down to a zone, you can go anywhere, but in the lower level zones, youstill feel powerful, which is extremely important, but you don't just run over all the content.  I don't really see this as a bad solution like this guy seems to. i mean, you STILL have  all your gear which is higher leveled, and all your skills, and all your traits. i find it pretty satisfying.

         I agree.. I think GW2 does the best job in transforming vertical growth games into horizontal growth.. There have been many times my lvl 80 toon can get owned in a lvl 30 zone if I'm careless..  That was one thing I loved about EQ1 tho in their first 3 expansions, was the ability to give content at every level from 1-60.. There was a lot more 1-60 content in those expansion, then just top tier stuff..  For me, a hybrid of EQ1 expansions using GW2's de-leveling would be a great start..

  • GrailerGrailer Posts: 892Member Uncommon

    You don't actually need levels in a game but for an RPG we seek to improve our character . We do this buy obtaining better gear usually .

    But with better gear we then need harder challenges or else it becomes too easy and then boring.


    So if the game can throw harder and harder content at us dynamically , it could be something simple like you get a mission based on gear score and we go into an area which spawns the mission . Like how RIFTS appear in that game I guess .

  • GardavsshadeGardavsshade Cedar Springs, MIPosts: 907Member Uncommon

    "Up to 90% of MMO Real Estate is Wasted"...

    No, "up to 90% of current Players don't adequately appreciate what the Devs created in their MMOs".

    Yep, now that correct.

  • StrommStromm BrisbanePosts: 243Member
    Originally posted by Letsinod
    This is where EQ1 got it so right.  There were many level ranges of mobs in each zone.  Spectres to docks anyone?  Giants also.  You would often have high level toons leveling next to newbs in some areas.

    Agreed. This design also added an element of fear and respect for a zone when you might get stomped by a sand giant or a Griffin 20 levels higher than your group.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 14,247Member Rare

    Skill-based and social MMOs (ATITD, Puzzle Pirates, EVE, UO) don't have this problem. The author attributes the problem to level-based zones rather than to the shoehorning of a flawed 12-14 level, smallgroup system into a 60+ level massively multiplayer multi-group environment.

    "Dynamic content and more horizontal, rather than vertical, progression is one way to do this. Imagine a world that knows what players are in a zone, and creates encounters for those players specifically, at their level of challenge."

    This removes choice. More importantly, it either breaks scaling or requires convoluted rulesets to allow for it. Something learned from Dungeon Runners and games of its kind is that scaling tends to result in lack of feeling of progression. If the goal is to go the other direction and simply up the mob and loot tables in a zone, then we're just one step away from ProgressQuest, with characters that can stand in a single spot and just cycle their cool downs over and over - the ultimate faceroll gameplay.


    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

  • anemoanemo Posts: 1,109Member Uncommon



    Ryozom(lesser extent, high level mobs are in low level areas however there are a few areas W/O low level mobs)

    Aion(Much lesser extent, as higher level areas are in the sky of low level areas)


    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • GN-003GN-003 NA, HIPosts: 78Member
    Originally posted by Gardavsshade
    "Up to 90% of MMO Real Estate is Wasted"... No, "up to 90% of current Players don't adequately appreciate what the Devs created in their MMOs". Yep, now that correct.

    I'm going to have to call shenanigans on that one. What's your idea of adequate appreciation? Take a game like TERA for instance. You'll go to a new zone, be in awe of its beauty and then never return to that area again. Great. That's the inherent design flaw with practically every themepark MMORPG I've ever played. It's not the consumer's fault that there's such an emphasis on linearity and a disposable game world. 

  • kilunkilun Apopka, FLPosts: 716Member Uncommon

    I am laughing to badly at his estimated most MMO's cost 100 million to make.  I'm sorry but SWTOR and WAR were both over that amount, to my knowledge not other game has been close to that amount to make  (and I maybe off on WAR, but was pretty sure it was over 100 to make). (Defiance for example is 50-60 million, so I would love to see his sources for all these mid-range MMO's costing 100 million.

    Is he saying Firefall has cost of 100million to make?  If he is, then would of been better dividing it up, splitting it into stocks etc and never working a day in their life because frankly the game is never going to recoup that much.

    Now I do agree with that assessment, but it is easily fixed by mixing in parts of zones that have different level ranges.  Areas that have an off path that is higher in level.  Rare spawns in small areas that are actually harder enemies (Maybe some ruins you wander through that are level 10-15ish.  But the further you get it levels up dramatically ending with a group or multi-group boss that needs to be taken down.

    The other way is to make levels different and not the end all.   Although you will be more powerful, small enemies in large hordes could still overwhelm you.  Linear leveling is an approach for example that could utilize sure your level 60, but beware of 5 level 30's.

  • DominisiDominisi Age of Conan Correspondent Show Low, AZPosts: 95Member
    Nobody has, or will do level design as good as Star Wars Galaxies. There were no levels, most of the worlds had real estate that players could actively use for not just player housing but resource gathering as well. This model was used almost a decade ago and no game since then has tried it, much less improved upon it (it could be improved to become a pvp paradise game with dynamic events threatening player cities etc) But for some reason, although I have a lot of respect for Red5, companies choose to ignore the gems of game play that were in SWG that could easily be adapted to today's mmos.


  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 In cyberspaaaaaacePosts: 2,764Member Uncommon

    If other MMOs are supposedly wasting millions on their world content (all of which are much larger than Firefall's) then Firefall must be wasting millions in the constant redesigning of the whole game. Right?

    Where's the article about that?

  • lifesbrinklifesbrink Sayre, PAPosts: 553Member Uncommon
    This article describes an obvious point like, 10 years too late.

    My blog is a continuing story of what MMO's should be like.

  • SoMuchMassSoMuchMass New York, NYPosts: 548Member

    This sounds a lot like FireFall will have a boring world with limited zones.  This article sounds like an excuse as to why there won't be many zones in the game.  Developers do this often and try to point out why a weakness in their game is actually a strength.  Just like when GW2 stated "that the whole game is endgame", we all know how that turned out.

    A big diverse world makes a game significantly better even if players don't visit it often, especially in "MMO'ish" games.  In the real world I love my town, I don't go to every part of it, but doesn't mean I don't want it there.

    Limited zones makes a game feel like a lobby.  Size is not the issue, it is the diversity and uniqueness of each zone.  If this isn't there in an MMO, people will get bored quickly.



  • TheodwulfTheodwulf Brockton, MAPosts: 303Member Uncommon
     It's a great point, so much space gets wasted. I always thought that  having separate servers for where you (the player) is at the story arc. a newbie server, then a leveling server then an end game server. All the servers would be separated by "Time" thus all areas of the map would be usable and some of the annoying aspects of games like twinking and ganking wouldn't exist.
  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 11,976Member Epic

    Mark is dead accurate on his whole assessment but since i have seen nobody able to fix it,i would have to state incompetence   no other reason.

    He is right devs separate players further and further away creating only more and more high level zones.

    There are several ways to fix it and it really is very easy,hence i say incompetence.

    To start with you create a sub class system,like FFXI's not like other TREE based games.This keeps players coming back to level new jobs.Then of course you need many classes to keep that turning for years.You need to make sure each level lasts,if they are too quick then none of the game matters,not the cool gear you  because your going to out level it too quickly.It also makes low level crafts a waste of time.

    Ok so sub class is the start of the design.Next you create a REASON for players to come back.Just the simple is to create crafts that utilize all the zone and not just crafts that relate the tier to that certain zone.Drops,you can create an imbue system or a way to upgrade weapons and gear that involves going back and searching through out all zones.If you make the reason viable and enticing enough players will enjoy doing it.

    you can expand your thinking outside the box.Example give player an overpowering weapon skill or spell but they have to farm the items to trigger it in again all zones not just the related tier as that again separates zones and players.

    How about an elaborate housing system.You might need wood from tier 1 ,glass fibre from tier 2,porcelain from tier 3,you get the drift.

    Another super easy way to keep old zones looking new is to constantly add to them or change how they look.Then of course you don't NEED to make a tier 1 zone only have tier 1 mobs ,it could have tier 5/6/10 and tier 1 mobs .

    Bottom line is if these producers could think even a slight bit,they could improve their game design a lot.Also i disagree with Mark's assessment of 3 million a zone,i know of single people who make gorgeous zones all by themselves in a month or two.So even if you only had a team of 5 people making zones,you should have plenty of them by time 5 years comes around.There lies another problem,i doubt very much these developers are spending the time on these games,more like a year of hiring and thinking and looking for investors,then they claim they spent 2 years already working on it.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • Attend4455Attend4455 BirminghamPosts: 161Member
    Originally posted by Hardsun79
    "Everything has to be placed by hand: mountains, roads, caves, dungeons, valleys, trees, rocks, points of interest, themed/unique monsters and even grass! I would argue that zone creation is about 70% or so of an MMO’s total cost to develop including features, programming, art and world design. That means, on a 100M budget (typical for a mid to top end MMO these days), and a 20 zone game, you are spending about 3.5 million dollars a zone."   I wonder if he know about voxels and procedural generation ... with some develoopment those techs could DRAMATICALLY decrease amount of work needed to create REALLY HUGE mmo worlds.  

    I did wonder about that. Procedural generation with some hand optimising seems to me the way to go to create huge worlds. Placing individual items seems very labour intensive.

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

  • corpusccorpusc Chattanooga, TNPosts: 1,332Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lifesbrink
    This article describes an obvious point like, 10 years too late.


    its sooooo obvious..... that nobody does it?

    and its too late because everybody is already doing it?  .....except for the little fact that they aren't



    what a poorly thought out statement.

    The End
    i don't expect to like Darkfall, altho i may like it MORE than other MMOs. i know it is gonna have a very frustrating level of grind to it, even if its significantly less than most. waiting for a pure FAST action virtual world. dice rolling & character levels (even "skills") IN COMBAT should have never carried over from pencil & paper to a computer that can reasonably model 3D spaces and objects

  • Monamia222Monamia222 pineville, LAPosts: 53Member
    "Old School EQ (Pre 2002) did accomplish this. You had to go all over the world to complete quests. Your Epic quest for example made you go all over the place to complete the quest. It wasn't just the high end group & raid zones. It would be nice to see a game that returns to that concept and makes the world seem populated & life-like again."

    Not just the quests but the crafting of gear and necessary items (like potions, spell scrolls, etc.) required things from the earlier content in the early game such as Silks, leathers, and ores. Of course later expansions changed this into the standard raid gear progression system we have now.   

    "you level up to engage in the higher level zones as your character progress through the game. If you happen to go back to a low level zone for any reason your level downscales so the mobs in that low level map are still challenging to you (right now its kinda still easy so they could make it a lot more challenging). Once you get back to your high level zone your level goes back up. It makes perfect sense and every mmo should offer that. That means no matter how low level an area is you will always have a challenge if you happen to enter it. If new mmos dont do this in the future, they better remove leveling entirely and have horizontal progression."

    This is so mind numbingly dull to me.  Without a reason to go back and farm anything there why would anyone want to go back and do the same thing over and over forever?  Its just the same old linear game play. It is a beautiful game world tho and I had fun playing through it.

    "This is where EQ1 got it so right.  There were many level ranges of mobs in each zone.  Spectres to docks anyone?  Giants also.  You would often have high level toons leveling next to newbs in some areas."

    The community was different at that time.  People would help each other.  Buffs, heals, ports, rezzes and other boons were needed and giving freely for the most part.  It really is going to be hard to bring that back but I think it could be done.  Just not at the profit range everyone wants to be in now.  Not sure about the cost per sq. meter, zone or whatever, but 100 mil or 50 mil per game is just ridiculous whether the beginner zones are empty or full.  Good grief...I would pay a healthy amount per month to play a game with graphics like the luclin expansion in eq if someone would make it as fun as that game was before dragonspine.

  • nothuman24nothuman24 Phoenix, AZPosts: 36Member

    Cant help but feel upset. Are you serious Mark? 

    You're trying to create an environment that will give players the feeling they're in an open virtual world. Will there be areas and content of the world not seen or used as much as other areas or content? Yes, of course! Its supposed to be another world. Thats like creating a bridge so ppl have a platform to walk across and complain that the legs of the bridge are not stepped on as much as the rest of the bridge. The fact that you don't see it that way really shows me what your vision of a mmo should be. 

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