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[Column] General: Do MMOs Need More Danger?

2

Comments

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon

    Honestly, danger should likely come in the form of PvE. As entertaining as "PvP" danger is, the fact is most people will instead use it to grief others who stand no chance, not creating a sense of risk but more just 'unfairness' as the one player attempts to grief the other.

    As Yahtzee (Zero Punctuation) put out about pvp (in reference to rust, not quoted), "Hello are you friendly? Depends, is that a gun? Yes, is that a gun? Yes, Then lets be friends!"

     

    No one wants to pvp unless they often have the upper hand (and a huge upper hand as in using a gun in a knife fight advantage). Using PvP for risk is fine but its just so rarely ever done in an interesting way. You either never get attacked, or you get hit by someone who has a clear advantage over you (aka a rogue gank in most games where a good majority of the time they can easily kill you, or run away like pansies after they fail). To me PvP just isn't a good way to build Risk anymore as players have become more and more 'grief happy' and even more pansy then they use to be.

     

    Good PvE danger is the best way to create atmosphere, with a noteable penalty if you die such as losing experience or other factors making death a risk. Even just having say an experience penalty does wonders to creating a sense of danger to a game without even having to adjust difficulty. Without it, I don't think a good majority of players even realize just how much they really die on 'easy' content.

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

     

    You're right, it is a fine line that you have to walk here. However, I still don't see how exploration can be any fun without the presence of danger. Also, a lot of MMO players that haven't experienced this type of game see "full loot" and immediately equate it to losing their Tier 4 Raid Gear from WoW or something. Typically speaking, full loot games put less emphasis on epic gear and such, and a full set of armor is much easier to come by. Most people would have multiple sets in their bank or house so they can quickly gear back up after dying, assuming all their gear was actually looted.

    To me, games with no risk just feel more like a co-op game than a true MMO. What is the good in seeing all these people running around if your only interaction with them is when you occasionally land in the same group and enter a dungeon or something? You may as well just play an entirely instanced game. What does it matter if the zones are instanced if you aren't interacting with people anyway?

  • AmsaiAmsai Montgomery, ALPosts: 88Member Uncommon
    Hell Yes!! It doesnt have to be super punishing with death penalty but make it punishing to move outside of cities at least. See a wall of mobs 100 yards outside the city and you run through them like a dumbass then expect to die and have to fight your way back all over again..... hard fights not trash mobs that you wipe out in dozens in 15 secs.......
  • NoshizNoshiz VolosPosts: 12Member
    Yes! MMO's must be more dangerous. When you die you have to lose something, make that xp (like it was in Lineage 2) make it a good amount of durability that costs enough to be fixed (like in WoW) make it whatever you believe it's considered punishing and do it. Thought i am against being as punishing as lets say in Dark Souls (i know that it is not an MMO, i am just saying). Find something in the middle and do it!
  • kilunkilun Apopka, FLPosts: 709Member Common

    These games will always have a niche player base.  I say that with utmost respect as I have a few friends and clan mates that love DayZ.  I personally do not enjoy this type of game for more than a few moments.  Why?  Because I view it as a pointless.  As pointless is a FPS or Mechwarrior online that I currently play.  There is zero point to the game other than that thrill when your playing.  DayZ to me is like D2/D3 hardcore, PoE leagues, etc.

    I wonder why Bill did not point out that challenges and thrills already exist and its up to the players to decide which adrenaline rush they prefer.  I prefer some NPC threat over a player threat.  One of the posters above put it perfectly, it disregards the human element.

    For a survival type game, I find the human element in The Walking Dead pretty accurate.  Much better than "The Road" though, but games like DayZ seem to mimic it perfectly.  Brutal, harsh, uninviting.  Horrible.   

    www.ozumgames.com

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

    I would agree with your statement about FPS players playing MMOs and that these overlapping demographics certainly muddy the waters. On the other hand, I have to disagree about danger-minded designs not working due to gear loss. That only applies in your scenario of "working years to get it" but that mindset is purely from themepark raiding models.

     

    A game like Darkfall, popularity aside, has a very functional full loot model precisely because gear means far less than a game like World of Warcraft. You can get it, lose it, and get it again with only a fraction of the time commitment, so long as you're willing to work with others if it is high-end gear. Full loot games cannot have steep acquisition requirements outside of certain circumstances like we see in EVE but even there systems such as insurance soften the blow.

     

    That said, are games like this super popular? Exceptions aside, generally not. I don't think it's fair to blame that squarely at the feet of looting decisions, however. We also have to look at the communities they've built up, the progression design generally being quite different from the "norm" themepark model, marketing, support, communication.

     

    I don't mean to suggest a game like Darkfall is going to be the next big hit, but I do believe a game that can marry danger, challenge, rewarding progression, and just plain fun gameplay could make an incredible MMORPG.

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

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

    Honestly, danger should likely come in the form of PvE. As entertaining as "PvP" danger is, the fact is most people will instead use it to grief others who stand no chance, not creating a sense of risk but more just 'unfairness' as the one player attempts to grief the other.

    As Yahtzee (Zero Punctuation) put out about pvp (in reference to rust, not quoted), "Hello are you friendly? Depends, is that a gun? Yes, is that a gun? Yes, Then lets be friends!"

     

    No one wants to pvp unless they often have the upper hand (and a huge upper hand as in using a gun in a knife fight advantage). Using PvP for risk is fine but its just so rarely ever done in an interesting way. You either never get attacked, or you get hit by someone who has a clear advantage over you (aka a rogue gank in most games where a good majority of the time they can easily kill you, or run away like pansies after they fail). To me PvP just isn't a good way to build Risk anymore as players have become more and more 'grief happy' and even more pansy then they use to be.

     

    Good PvE danger is the best way to create atmosphere, with a noteable penalty if you die such as losing experience or other factors making death a risk. Even just having say an experience penalty does wonders to creating a sense of danger to a game without even having to adjust difficulty. Without it, I don't think a good majority of players even realize just how much they really die on 'easy' content.

     

     

    I can get behind this, too. PVP danger is only one kind. My main feeling is that game worlds need to feature areas that are truly dangerous and not simply kill-mills. Increase the risk, increase the reward, embed it in the world, and increase immersion. Despite references to Day Z, I would honestly prefer an MMO where most of the danger came from the environment rather than other players. Plain and simple, death and loss need to mean something if players are expected to care. The rest is on the designer to deliver on that without also creating a bully-simulator.

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

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,414Member Uncommon

    If you look at the 'Old School' argument for PvPish design, you run into a few rocks.   Even the UO and SWG devs moved away from their earlier design.  When Trammel came out, people migrated en masse to those servers.  Why?  Because they prefered that sort of game play.  SWG introduced choice via tagging.  Why?  Because players prefered choice to the alternative.

     

    Designing decent Risk vs Reward mechanics is great.  Set up challenges for all levels of players.  And that can be done different ways.

     

    PvP-centric MMORPG games have certain issues that are going to limit them.   An FPS or survival game doesn't usually, since that is what the game is about.   As long as the developer matches their expenses to their player base they'll do fine though.   

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • CypruskaCypruska San IsidroPosts: 45Member
    Yes, it needs more danger.
  • ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 8,063Member

    In theory yes, but in realy, alas, danger in MMOs often is just more grind. Kill, lose armor stability and XP, and you have to re-grind the money and the XP. So danger in a MMO is always a timesink.

    I would say, MMos need more unexpected, more surprises, less generic stuff.

    People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert

  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon
    Yes, but within reason.  FFXI was a BLAST to play because each zone was dangerous.  However, it also sucked the life out of it because then you always had to group to do everything which took hours at times just to form a group and then hope it didn't fall apart once it was formed.  So there is a fine line between hard and fun to toe.
    image
  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,699Member Uncommon

    As someone else put it, it needs more challenge not more danger.

    Darkfall and MO has lots of danger but they are not necessarily challenging.

    In fact they are unplayable by the masses because the risks vs reward is shifted too much on the risk factor.

  • geelgeel GroningenPosts: 90Member
    Chris you are my hero.
  • VolgoreVolgore Posts: 2,207Member Uncommon

    Games need more danger, but if the danger comes from other players, there's always huge douchebaggery that usually comes along with it. Getting PK'ed over and over while losing everything is not danger, it's bad design.

    More danger from NPCs would be ok. I wouldn't mind having some NPC bounty hunters or way better AI in general. But then the kids scream at their parents because they can't play with one hand and stuff themselves with Twinkies and Ho Hos with the other.

    image
  • deathangelldeathangell oviedo, FLPosts: 85Member
    The real issue with pvp is that people scream for balance when pvp should always and forever be rock paper scissors. a good player will beat a class that is better then his. DAOC was R P S  and had a very advent following so was shadowbane and ultima. p v p is not ever balanced and should not be. when games try to force a balanced then the game dies out fast.
  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    danger = risk assessment = an interesting choice to make especially when someone else chose unwisely!
     
  • JupstoJupsto englandPosts: 2,087Member
    I'm with crhis. player looting makes games like dayz and darkfall way more compelling.
     
    It anoys me that people think of dayz as perma death, its not like you have exp/stats you are losing. its only your items, the same as full loot.

    My blog: image

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon

    I think things like player looting and permadeath are great for some MMOs.  But it is most certainly a niche.  I mean that in a good way.  Niche gameplay has the benefit of being focused on a very specific playstyle, and it can allow the game to really polish that experience.  

     

    So some MMOs need more danger, but not all.  I think a variety of more succesful niche games in the MMO space would do a lot to keep the market healthy.  They won't replace games like WoW, but WoW has pushed the MMO market too far in one direction and while there is room for all kinds of games I would be happy to see a bigger variety. 

     

    Even though I think that kind of game is good for the market, I would never play a game seriously that has permadeath.  Mostly because I enjoy the process of building and developing characters and that attachment to the character tends to be the strongest factor that pulls me back into the game.  When there is no attachment, I tend to jump to the next new thing fairly quickly.

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member

    I'd like some more risk and danger but only if I opt-in to it. There should be some safer areas of the world. Also danger should be reasonable. A noob getting ganked by a bunch of high levels in the noob zone isn't "danger" it's just stupid. Danger implies a risk which can conceivably  be avoided or at least minimized through smart play.

     

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,772Member Uncommon

    as long as there is not full loot pvp, yes.... mmos need a truckload of danger.

     

    MMO devs really need to take some lessons and ideas from Dark Souls and Demon Souls when it comes to danger and even combat mechanics.

    image
  • ElandrialElandrial atlanta, GAPosts: 162Member

    the trouble with pvp IS internet speed ,so oyu have 100mbps and you play with people who have dsl.woo that is fun. i remember ffxi ,you could not get rare mobs,why cause they pop and die before they even appeared on screen. than yo have ptw games , you have farmers who  look for easy wins.yeah uo was great you log in could not leave town as high levels camped out side to kill newbies.pvp attack you while fightening mobs,basically pvp are for most part cowards.

    i played this one game,the introduced kingdoms and lands, and you fought for the land,it came down to 2 kingdoms,1 was full of pvp'ers an otehr was non pvpers.after 2 weeks the pvp'ers were kicked out of every piece of land,why cause they really did not know how to fight.they were so used to attacking people in combat or low levels they did not know how to fight anyone head on and same level.

  • ElandrialElandrial atlanta, GAPosts: 162Member
    Originally posted by iridescence

    I'd like some more risk and danger but only if I opt-in to it. There should be some safer areas of the world. Also danger should be reasonable. A noob getting ganked by a bunch of high levels in the noob zone isn't "danger" it's just stupid. Danger implies a risk which can conceivably  be avoided or at least minimized through smart play.

     that want happen cause pvp want to gank,they want to be able to kill noobs.

    they do not want risks,they want to win,and gank is bet way to ensure they win

     

  • bleyzwunbleyzwun West Orange, NJPosts: 1,100Member Common

    I really miss having a MMO where PvE and PvP zones were not separated.  I didn't mind too much at first, but there is no sense of danger.  I'm not sure about losing everything I worked for, though.  I'd try a game like that, but so far none of them have appealed to me (as far as gameplay and graphics go). 

  • wreatchwreatch lakewood, OHPosts: 42Member
    Yes ffa full loot sandboxes ftw.
  • blubstererblubsterer Hamburg, ALPosts: 88Member
    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).

     

     

    Every now and then I read a post which makes me rethink my position very thoroughly. Your post is such a rare gem. And I holeheartly agree with your view.  In games there should be more than just meaningless danger or challenge for challenge's sake. People generally are more complex beings than most developers might think. And games should reflect a bit of that complexity. Too much from one thing and too little of others is most probably the best way to fail to deliver compelling gameplay for longer periods. It's about balance, meaning and reason.

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