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[Column] General: Do MMOs Need More Danger?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,619MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Welcome back to Player Versus Player, the column where MMORPG writers collide to debate the issues you care about. Day Z: one million copies sold in four weeks. Rust: 150,000 copies sold in two weeks. Players seem to be clamoring for their chance to take part in their harsh, kill-or-be-killed worlds. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the MMO community has taken these ultra-difficult sandboxes as their own. Join us as we ask: do MMOs need more danger?

Read more of Christopher Coke's Player vs Player: Do MMOs Need More Danger?

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

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Comments

  • HultayHultay GdanskPosts: 64Member
    Yes.
  • orbitxoorbitxo fort lauderdale, FLPosts: 1,408Member Uncommon

    its sad- to this day there isnt any game out there with a balanced pvp system.

    perhaps that of eveonline comes closest. although that is due to  sector controls by corps.

  • HellidolHellidol TACOMA, WAPosts: 405Member Uncommon
    keeping it safe is just dumb, what is the point of  respawning a million times with not consequences. Make MMOs so that there are few safe zones where you cant be hurt wtihout guards jacking you up, but at the same time while you are out and about make it so if you die you lose something with losing. 

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  • Role_playerRole_player genovaPosts: 33Member
    YES
  • centkincentkin Asbury, NJPosts: 944Member Uncommon

    PvP danger leads to stupid things like having to form a group to do solo quests.  Aion was this bad at some points where you could expect to die 20 or 30 times if you wanted to adventure in level appropriate areas, not from the monsters but from the PvP. 

     

    As for more danger in general, yes.  I liked the idea of sand giants and griffons etc in Everquest.  Thing is a monster like that does not discriminate like a griefer can. 

  • mCalvertmCalvert Tallahassee, FLPosts: 1,283Member

    Yes, this is why hardcore MMOs rule. There is nothing like skulking through pirate space in EVE, or getting ambushed while mining, and then escaping. A REAL sense of accomplishment when you win. You don't just respawn with a minor hit to your armor when you lose, run back and try again.

    Same goes for Darkfall. I once traveled across the entire map, hiding from players who would have killed me.

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,599Member Uncommon

    The basic problem is a lack of understanding... which is also show in this article.

     

    Games do no need more danger, they need greater challenge. There is a difference. One extreme is to simply turn a game into a virtual russian roulette, which is extremely dangerous, and may even be extremenly thrilling, but is not very challenging. The other is to turn a game into a virtual chess match, which can be extremely challenging, but is not very thrilling. What people are really looking for is gameplay that is both thriling (sense of risk) as well as challenging (the feeling that you can improve the odds with skill).

     

     

  • dontadowdontadow Detroit, MIPosts: 1,044Member Common

    My major problems with these games is that they get it WRONG. They become these fake scenerio survival tests that doesn't factor in the human component. I would love to see a company do such a game and add in a SIMS like meter for basic human companionship, else it's just a bunch of people in agame behaving like pyschotic monsters. In other words, because humans who play games will always play the game optimaly, and these games don't encourage benefits for group play and loyalty, it has to be hard coded in the game. 

    FOr instance, in Rust and Day Z and games like Eve, you can stab your friend of 5 months ni the back without any reprucussions for how it truly would effect a person to do such a thing. In games that "claim" realism, it becomes the most unrealistic thing. I would like to see mechanics that mimic friendship, companionship and psycotic breakdowns. Sure, you can be some murderer who goes around just killing and killing, but eventually you become as much of a monster as the monsters hunting you, so much so that you begin to lack the ability to communicate.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    If "danger" was something that MMORPGs needed, wouldn't games that offered more "danger" have done better, at least initially?

     

    I think when gamers play MMORPGs they have a different set of expectations than when they are playing games that do not have the same level of permanence that MMORPGs have.  There certainly are people who want "danger", but it seems what most people want is "adventure" and "challenge".  At least when playing MMORPGs.  I think it has something to do with the persistent state of MMORPGs as opposed to the temporary nature of game play in games like DayZ, Rust and even Minecraft.  If there is no expectation of permanence, then when things aren't permanent it's not a big deal.  If there is an expectation of permanence, when things aren't permanent it's a big deal.

     

    Though it might be that what most people want is a lot more "adventure" and a little more "challenge".

     

    I think from the MMORPG developer side, it's a little simpler.  There are more people who want more "adventure" than there are people who want more "danger".  Ideally, developers would choose to gather all of those people into a basket and empty their pockets of money.  That's not really feasible, so they have to make decisions, and one of the decisions they probably make is to gather the larger crowd versus the smaller crowd, even if the smaller crowd is more desperate for a new game.

     

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

  • sanshi44sanshi44 BrisbanePosts: 1,088Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hellidol
    keeping it safe is just dumb, what is the point of  respawning a million times with not consequences. Make MMOs so that there are few safe zones where you cant be hurt wtihout guards jacking you up, but at the same time while you are out and about make it so if you die you lose something with losing. 

    Agree, Consequences are one of those thing that help define a character.

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member

    Not necessarily. 

     

    Darkfall has become a flop and Eve Online is a niche game, so increased risk is not the be-all-and-end-all.

     

    The most important aspect for any game is to provide new content all the time. The only thing that can provide this is a complex 'random world generator'.

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member
    Originally posted by mCalvert

    Yes, this is why hardcore MMOs rule. There is nothing like skulking through pirate space in EVE, or getting ambushed while mining, and then escaping. A REAL sense of accomplishment when you win. You don't just respawn with a minor hit to your armor when you lose, run back and try again.

    Same goes for Darkfall. I once traveled across the entire map, hiding from players who would have killed me.

     

     

    The risk can be fun, but games like WoW are still more popular. So risk is not the 'magic bullet' that this article implies it might be.

     
  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    Danger alone won't cut it and losing everything isn't for everyone, I think for as many people who like Dayz (me me me) there are 5 that hate it to 1 that like it.

    I think in addition to the special sauce of danger and full loot that dayz is cooking with, there is also a hint of rarity mixed in there. So you have danger because you might lose everything including your life and the moments in time are in moderation and come when you least expect quite often, so you have that mixture of element of surprise, danger, it's highly emotional, and high risk high reward.


    Danger alone? Go to timeless Isle on a lopsided server, play as the underdog. Now your in danger but your missing all the other elements of the dayz special sauce, what do you end up with? In my opinion you end up with pure stupidity which is exactly what timeless Isle is right now. Wow has polish and Dayz is as far from polished as it gets, yet Dayz is more fun. Go figure. If you're grieving in Dayz like the kind that's going on in wow now, eventually it's going to backfire.
  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONPosts: 2,499Member Uncommon

    I'm glad that there was at least some differentiation between difficulty and danger. 

     

    I don't agree that danger is a good thing, unless it's a core mechanic of the game. For something that's a survival game, at the core, of course this makes sense. In the same way, though, the focus of those same games isn't going to be on progression or obtaining gear, right? 

     

    In a progression-focused game, or themepark, it's much more important for levels of difficulty to be increased, not necessarily danger. I would much rather see good difficulty scaling over implementation of unnecessary danger mechanics. In a themepark I want to be entertained and I want challenging progression. Why can I literally pull 10 mobs of my own level at once? Why not implement a system which integrates a level of surprise. Maybe you don't know their level. Oooooooo, imagine being surprised when you pull an elite mob without knowing it? One that is actually difficult to fight. 

     

    In a PvP focused game (Rust, DayZ) the focus of the game is entirely different. You're literally struggling to survive, so your mindset is totally different. Go and forage for 5 minutes and then run back to your house to hide it. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Also, the simple things like, "Yay! I made a desk chair!" Are much more important than a PvE game where you somehow shoot 40 Copper Swords out of your ass in 2 minutes. That's the point though, it's a different style of game. 

     

    Each style of game provides a level of anxiety, fear, and accomplishment, but in different ways. I would argue that PvE games focus more on difficulty and level progression, whereas PvP games focus more on danger and survival. Also, I don't think that Rust and DayZ are necessarily amazing, it's just that they are one of only a few games that are actually catering to PvP players right now. 

    Crazkanuk

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  • xeniarxeniar Posts: 805Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    If "danger" was something that MMORPGs needed, wouldn't games that offered more "danger" have done better, at least initially?

     

    I think when gamers play MMORPGs they have a different set of expectations than when they are playing games that do not have the same level of permanence that MMORPGs have.  There certainly are people who want "danger", but it seems what most people want is "adventure" and "challenge".  At least when playing MMORPGs.  I think it has something to do with the persistent state of MMORPGs as opposed to the temporary nature of game play in games like DayZ, Rust and even Minecraft.  If there is no expectation of permanence, then when things aren't permanent it's not a big deal.  If there is an expectation of permanence, when things aren't permanent it's a big deal.

     

    Though it might be that what most people want is a lot more "adventure" and a little more "challenge".

     

    I think from the MMORPG developer side, it's a little simpler.  There are more people who want more "adventure" than there are people who want more "danger".  Ideally, developers would choose to gather all of those people into a basket and empty their pockets of money.  That's not really feasible, so they have to make decisions, and one of the decisions they probably make is to gather the larger crowd versus the smaller crowd, even if the smaller crowd is more desperate for a new game.

     

    I disagree with you on evry level on this one

    Your first sentence states that oldschool MMO's (wich in general where all quite difficult (danger difficult chalange all the same thing)) did poorly wich is not the case. WoW just opened up the genre to a whole lot of other people wich initially would not be playing MMO's. These people have not experienced the precursors so have not had a tatse of the more dangerous/diffucult style of play. In no way can be said that they would not like it.

    This is a big mistake evryone is making, You cannot comment on something you have not experienced therefor you cannot determine if those people would or would not like it.

    Some might have had a look into older MMO's but the grapichs are a detterent asswell as being alone in a starter area. Again that does not mean that people don't like these types of games but things like that act as a detterent against giving that gameplay a fair chance.

  • collektcollekt Meridian, MSPosts: 273Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Mors.Magne
    Originally posted by mCalvert

    Yes, this is why hardcore MMOs rule. There is nothing like skulking through pirate space in EVE, or getting ambushed while mining, and then escaping. A REAL sense of accomplishment when you win. You don't just respawn with a minor hit to your armor when you lose, run back and try again.

    Same goes for Darkfall. I once traveled across the entire map, hiding from players who would have killed me.

     

     

    The risk can be fun, but games like WoW are still more popular. So risk is not the 'magic bullet' that this article implies it might be.

     

    WoW also isn't the way to disprove things. WoW is an anomaly, not a standard. If there was a game that was as polished and well put together as WoW is, but with the risk factor as well.. do you not think it would be popular? It's not that there aren't a lot of people who would enjoy a heavy PvP game, it's just that the ones that come out are garbage. I know some people like Darkfall, but honestly speaking it just isn't that good of a game. The only reason people play it is because nothing else has the feature set that they want: meaningful PvP with full loot.

  • LungingWolfLungingWolf Valdosta, GAPosts: 73Member

    What we need are more meaningful PvE and PvP objectives. The issue of adding more danger and thrills to PvE and PvP comes second to this.

     
     

    Waiting for: Citadel of Sorcery. Along the way, The Elder Scrolls Online (when it is F2P).

    Keeping an eye on: www.play2crush.com (whatever is going on here).

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

     

    Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

     

    It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Superman0X

    The basic problem is a lack of understanding... which is also show in this article.

     

    Games do no need more danger, they need greater challenge. There is a difference. One extreme is to simply turn a game into a virtual russian roulette, which is extremely dangerous, and may even be extremenly thrilling, but is not very challenging. The other is to turn a game into a virtual chess match, which can be extremely challenging, but is not very thrilling. What people are really looking for is gameplay that is both thriling (sense of risk) as well as challenging (the feeling that you can improve the odds with skill).

     

     

     

    You should read our previous PVP on challenge.

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

    Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

     

    Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

     

    It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

     

     

    No one is advocating permadeath. That said, yes, we should be looking at the successes of Day Z because MMO players have rallied behind that game like few others in recent years.

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • collektcollekt Meridian, MSPosts: 273Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

    Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

     

    Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

     

    It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

     

    Agreed. I love PvP and I'm definitely all for full loot PvP, but perma death in an MMO has to be the worst idea imaginable. 

  • HomituHomitu Hometown, HIPosts: 2,030Member
    From main article:
     
    Chris: One of the most common criticisms of the modern MMO is that there is no reason to explore. I would reframe that, because lots of games have given us reasons -- but maybe the answer is that exploration itself is no fun. Death is meaningless. There are no wilds to be dared. There is no risk to stepping outside of your comfort zone, and when there is no risk, exploring becomes a tour of the scenery. That’s not what explorers want and tying in achievements only makes it a checklist. Without the danger of meaningful death, how much can a war-torn game world even mean? Look to games like EVE or Darkfall Online and you will find exploration with the same exhilarating thrill of yesteryear.

     

    My first thought when I read the title of this article was a counter to this very argument. Excessive danger often discourages exploration.  Players may want to explore terribly, but will opt not to if they risk losing everything by doing so. The threshold of how much risk is too much (long res sickness, EXP loss, full loot loss) varies by player, but most players do have a threshold and will alter their play accordingly.

    I agree that exploration is crucial, and games should provide incentive to explore.  Games should make players curious about the world by making the world interesting and rewarding them with some of the game's best adventures when they stray off the obvious path.  But it's not always a healthy thing for every game to make players too afraid to leave an area of safety by ramping up the the danger and consequences of dying significantly.  

    I completely agree that there's a place for such games in today's niche market - and that's great, that everyone can find something they enjoy.  I definitely don't think, however, that it's a good idea to indiscriminately include such potentially alienating features in every MMO out there.  

     

    Inb4 "hardcore", full loot, perma-death, PvP only MMO gamer blows away my "casual" self with his air of superiority spell.  

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member
    Originally posted by xeniar
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    If "danger" was something that MMORPGs needed, wouldn't games that offered more "danger" have done better, at least initially?

     

    I think when gamers play MMORPGs they have a different set of expectations than when they are playing games that do not have the same level of permanence that MMORPGs have.  There certainly are people who want "danger", but it seems what most people want is "adventure" and "challenge".  At least when playing MMORPGs.  I think it has something to do with the persistent state of MMORPGs as opposed to the temporary nature of game play in games like DayZ, Rust and even Minecraft.  If there is no expectation of permanence, then when things aren't permanent it's not a big deal.  If there is an expectation of permanence, when things aren't permanent it's a big deal.

     

    Though it might be that what most people want is a lot more "adventure" and a little more "challenge".

     

    I think from the MMORPG developer side, it's a little simpler.  There are more people who want more "adventure" than there are people who want more "danger".  Ideally, developers would choose to gather all of those people into a basket and empty their pockets of money.  That's not really feasible, so they have to make decisions, and one of the decisions they probably make is to gather the larger crowd versus the smaller crowd, even if the smaller crowd is more desperate for a new game.

     

    I disagree with you on evry level on this one

    Your first sentence states that oldschool MMO's (wich in general where all quite difficult (danger difficult chalange all the same thing)) did poorly wich is not the case. WoW just opened up the genre to a whole lot of other people wich initially would not be playing MMO's. These people have not experienced the precursors so have not had a tatse of the more dangerous/diffucult style of play. In no way can be said that they would not like it.

    This is a big mistake evryone is making, You cannot comment on something you have not experienced therefor you cannot determine if those people would or would not like it.

    Some might have had a look into older MMO's but the grapichs are a detterent asswell as being alone in a starter area. Again that does not mean that people don't like these types of games but things like that act as a detterent against giving that gameplay a fair chance.

     

    I was referring more to Mortal Online and Darkfall than I was any "Old School" MMORPG.  There aren't many games that have a comparable level of "danger" to either DayZ or Rust but MO and DF are pretty close.  Maybe Xyson, I'm not sure.

     

    The thing is, the genre has been around for awhile now.  Games with more "danger" generally don't even get an initial huge influx of players.  Not like DayZ or even Rust has had.  Now, it's true we would really need to see "DayZ" the MMORPG that wasn't developed by whoever made The WarZ to know for sure, but there are other indicators that in the MMORPG space, more people are interested in fun than actual risk or danger.  The open world PvP aspect of any MMORPG that offers PvP and PvE games attracts fewer people.

     

    It just seems odd that anywhere except the MMORPG space games that are brutal and which have some aspect of perma-death type mechanics attract so many more players than they seem to gather inside the MMORPG space.  I'm certainly guessing as to why with the persistence thing, but there certainly seems to be something there to me.

     

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

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GameByNight
    Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

    Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

     

    Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

     

    It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

     

     

    No one is advocating permadeath. That said, yes, we should be looking at the successes of Day Z because MMO players have rallied behind that game like few others in recent years.

     

    I'm sorry I can't agree. I'm an MMO player, but also an FPS player. I accept what happens in Day Z purely based on the fact that it's an FPS game. Because of that, having 1 life and the threat of losing all my stuff is acceptable. That's the way a lot of FPS games have gone over the years and since there's no real sense of permanence it doesn't bother me.

     

    As an MMO player I would be horrified if an MMO expected the same thing of me. The fact that your MMO char can exist for years almost dictates how much risk most people are going to be willing to take. This is already evident in sandbox FFA Full Loot games where we see low populations, compared to PvE themeparks with, literally, millions of players. The reason why? People don't like losing their shit when they've worked hard for years to get it.

     

    You can't seriously expect those same players to start playing an MMO with even greater risk. I would posit that all those "MMO" players who are supporting Day Z are actually FPS players who also happen to play an MMO.

  • RaventreeRaventree Yourtown, MNPosts: 456Member

    For the most part, I am with Bill on this one.  I think more challenge and better design is what is needed more than full loot and constant threat of being killed.  I want some danger in my MMOs, but I don't want them to be like EVE, where you can lose so much that you are afraid to go out into the world in the first place.  It can be frustrating enough to deal with the gankers and griefers without giving them all my stuff every single time I die.  Full looting really just encourages antisocial and predatory behavior, in my opinion, and makes it impractical to solo.

    Currently playing:
    Rift
    Played:
    SWToR, Aion,EQ, Dark Age of Camelot
    World of Warcraft, AoC

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