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What is a Living Breathing World MMO? Any examples of one of these MMOs talked about here?

MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,257Member Uncommon

Living Breathing World MMO. I know this is figuratively talked about around here.

But what does that even mean in terms of MMOs?

Are there any examples of such a MMO being this "Living Breathing World" that people here been scratching and begging for?

I been thinking about this request, when it hit me. What the heck is a Living Breathing World MMO feature?

Seems like a heavy requested feature, but doesnt really seem to have ever been done before. So I been confused about where this request even started from.

 

School me on this you all.

image

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Comments

  • flizzerflizzer Manchester, NHPosts: 1,550Member Uncommon
    When people use this term they are really talking about nostalgia and the game they played when they were younger and had so much more free time.   Nostalgia is a wonderful drug that distorts reality.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by flizzer
    When people use this term they are really talking about nostalgia and the game they played when they were younger and had so much more free time.   Nostalgia is a wonderful drug that distorts reality.

    What game are you talking about?

    EQ certainly wasn't "living and breathing" with slow static spawn, and camping.

  • observerobserver Houston, TXPosts: 3,009Member Uncommon

    I've only heard of Anet using that slogan for GW2.  I've never really heard it before that.  I've heard of people talk about persistence vs. permanence though.

    Permanence would be a static world of course, where npcs, quests, and environment never change, etc.

    Persistence would be an ever-changing environment though which includes mobs, npcs, etc.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I cringe to say it but swg was the last one I can think of that was " living and breathing"  It's the last time I was in an mmo where people did things because they wanted to. They had house parties or went to explore a cave, or just hung out and talked in a mall.

    I don't really consider a quest hub mmo living and breathing. It's just a game you play. SWG you could actually live in there to some extent. It's really hard to explain if you've never experienced it or are not looking for it. Eve is probably like that for the people playing it. There's no real content for them to follow. They sort of live in there and things happen because people do things.

    Being a sandbox or having a lot of sandbox features probably has a lot to do with why they're so rare now and why so many of the older games had it and new ones don't.

  • SiphaedSiphaed Everywhere!Posts: 877Member Uncommon

    "Living, Breathing World"

     

    • Giant illusion wall built in one week.
    • Wall breaks in another week  revealing giant poison plant.
    • Poisonous, mutant snake people invade.
    • Players destroy giant plant.
    • Plant leaves parts and scars on land to date.
    .....or.....
    • Creatures invade city.
    • Players fight creatures and chase to island source.
    • Giant creature fought by players and thrown into lava.
    • Island turned into resort location, creature encased lava statue at bottom of pit.
    ...or...
    • Giant drill and air ships invade city.
    • Players partake in evacuations and fighting off invaders.
    • Breaking into drill, players kill menacing villian.
    • Drill destroyed, city destroyed and many months later the rebuild still happens.
     
     
    Every one of those events are ones in Guild Wars 2 that has a lasting effect on the game's world and presence.     They all involved the players participating in things that eventually changed the game's overall design from what was originally there and known.   Even the Election of Sgt Keil  to the Lion's Arch Council was a major living world event more than those mentioned above because it was based on a player  based voting system.
     
     
     
    So a Living Breathing World is a constantly changing of the game in such a way that the game's world feels ALIVE and progressive [instead of static and plastic].  Introduction to new characters, personalities played out, even death of some other characters too.  
     
     
    I'm really looking forward to Ever Quest Next as what they have envisioned for their game is similar to Guild Wars 2's Living Story, but instead on a more direct per-area, per-quest impact.    Here's hoping......


  • BetaguyBetaguy Halifax, NSPosts: 2,590Member

    WoW comes to mind when I think living breathing world. I remember my first steps into Meridian 59, UO then DAoC vs EQ. Those games mentioned filled a partial void most gamers look for, for some time. Then came WoW which took all the best concepts of those games besides the player looting and housing and made something that felt great.  I remember camping in a hollow log by the Ashenvale crossroads, first time I PvP'd in WoW which was awesome on Shadowmoon server. The world feels alive and with the new garrisons it feels even more alive, all the followers walking around with stories and what not. I know WoW is not what it use to be and never will be as we have played for over 10 years.  When I play with new people to the game they  comment on how the world feels so alive. I don't notice it as the novelty has woren (not sure on spelling and google was not sure). At the end of the day it still has the best game world it feels so living and breathing compared to most mmo's since.

     

    image

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member

    To me it's really simple. In  a living world I can affect the course of  the game's story in a way not planned for or anticipated by the devs (synonym although not completely identical to sandbox). So the politics in EVE pretty much qualifies in my mind as living universe. Can't think of many other current MMOs that are like that though. Wurm maybe?  Definitely not GW2 (by my definition anyway) ArcheAge seems like it qualifies as well though.

     

    A lot of MMOs in development are *promising* a living world, we'll see how many deliver.

     

     

     

  • Ariel_ArilonAriel_Arilon Hiding in a Forest, MTPosts: 47Member

    Siphaed's post hits the mark in so many respects. He describes unique (one-off) events that occured in the world that had profound and lasting effects.


    I would add that a "living breathing world" has something very few mmorpgs have, a dedicated team of intelligent and creative game masters. Game masters can spawn random events and encounters (a good example is Planeshift).


    This makes the world "feel" that it does respond to the acts and impact of its players. If your mmorpg has game masters, you are very fortunate indeed.

    My computer beats me in Strip Poker, but doesn't stand a chance against my Kick Boxing! >: D 3

  • iixviiiixiixviiiix GSPosts: 835Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    I been thinking about this request, when it hit me. What the heck is a Living Breathing World MMO feature?

    It mean the game broad (world) have it own cycle (of life) and not roll around player's action .

    For example.

    The cycle are 7 days "in game time" or farmer's farm

    Day 1 he plan the seeds ,

    at day 4 the seeds grow and rats start appears

    at day 7 , if he manage to kill the rats , it time for him to harvest .

    Base on the cycle there are many possible "future" depend on player's "chose"

     

    Basically it kind of design where the game world roll around independent  with players.

    It difference with current the world roll around players (main character of the story line)

     

    "living world" are kind of design where the game world still run even if player join it or not . While "hero design" game world "stop" when player don't play it anymore.

  • randomtrandomt no thanks, BCPosts: 1,180Member Uncommon

    Ryzom was pretty living, where the animals would roam around, some alone some in herds, while predators would go around hunting the pray animals, and then wandering off.. made the world really seem alive, as opposed to the traditional static spawn mobs..

    Some animals would come up to you, check you out, then wander away.. that was some amusing AI

    So to me a living world is one where the design of the game makes it seem like things are happening regardless of the players, as opposed to a world where things are always pinned to one spot or following a set rail path over and over (the usual mmo spawns)

    ----
    What?

  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,048Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by randomt

    Ryzom was pretty living, where the animals would roam around, some alone some in herds, while predators would go around hunting the pray animals, and then wandering off.. made the world really seem alive, as opposed to the traditional static spawn mobs..

    Some animals would come up to you, check you out, then wander away.. that was some amusing AI

    Ryzom and Wurm also have seasonal changes - Ryzom changes the trees and moves the mine-able deposits around, Wurm changes the trees, ground, and the weeds from which seeds can be gathered.  I think season also affects the way gardens behave.  Tale In The Desert doesn't have seasons, it has waves of invisible weather that affect where mushrooms would spawn and vegetable growing, especially the all-important ability to get an extra seed.  I think time of day affected papyrus growing.  Tale In The Desert also had pollution at some point, which was caused by players and faded over time if the cause was removed; pollution mainly interfered with flax growing, which is the main activity of low level players.  Pollution wasn't well liked though, so it was either moderated or removed.  Beyond that, Tale In The Desert is a resetting MMO where every time the server resets all players start from scratch, and work together to evolve the technology of "Egypt", including server-wide opportunities and goals that are triggered by the players' accomplishments.  One of the most notable is the way at a certain point in the progression pyramid blocks will start appearing on the sand for players to excavate and transport to build the first pyramid.  IIRC this was dependent on having unlocked the tech to make glass rods, used to sound the sand to find the buried blocks.

    Personally I'm a lot more interested in worlds which respond to the individual player's accomplishments.  Wizard 101 for example has blank walls where usable doors appear permanently when a player completes the quest to gain access to them.  Other games have a type of monster which has a "plagued" appearance that changes permanently after a player completes the quest to apply medicine to the monsters.  And some games have low-level NPCs that move or vanish when the player completes the quests given by that NPC in that location.

    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade KingsmouthPosts: 2,642Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Siphaed

    "Living, Breathing World"

     

    • Giant illusion wall built in one week.
    • Wall breaks in another week  revealing giant poison plant.
    • Poisonous, mutant snake people invade.
    • Players destroy giant plant.
    • Plant leaves parts and scars on land to date.
    .....or.....
    • Creatures invade city.
    • Players fight creatures and chase to island source.
    • Giant creature fought by players and thrown into lava.
    • Island turned into resort location, creature encased lava statue at bottom of pit.
    ...or...
    • Giant drill and air ships invade city.
    • Players partake in evacuations and fighting off invaders.
    • Breaking into drill, players kill menacing villian.
    • Drill destroyed, city destroyed and many months later the rebuild still happens.
     
     
    Every one of those events are ones in Guild Wars 2 that has a lasting effect on the game's world and presence.     They all involved the players participating in things that eventually changed the game's overall design from what was originally there and known.   Even the Election of Sgt Keil  to the Lion's Arch Council was a major living world event more than those mentioned above because it was based on a player  based voting system.
     
     
     
    So a Living Breathing World is a constantly changing of the game in such a way that the game's world feels ALIVE and progressive [instead of static and plastic].  Introduction to new characters, personalities played out, even death of some other characters too.  
     
     
    I'm really looking forward to Ever Quest Next as what they have envisioned for their game is similar to Guild Wars 2's Living Story, but instead on a more direct per-area, per-quest impact.    Here's hoping......

    Agreed, Guild Wars 2 is the best example of it. Although WoW didn't do a bad job at it either with Cataclysm and the constantly changing political situation thanks to major NPCs dying or taking off, the phasing also helped there - as it at least made it feel like the world changed around you.

    I haven't played it very far, but ESO's also done a good thing with the phasing as far as I've seen it.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

  • fivorothfivoroth LondonPosts: 3,665Member Uncommon
    People are probably referring to their first mmo. The nostalgia makes that mmo seem amazing. When in reality it was what they would call an on rails theme park experience. People refer to every mmo as a theme park and use the term sandbox as the holy grail. So far I haven't come across which feels these so called criteria. I guess the most amusing is when you read people hate what they call theme parks and say that EQ was so much better even though EQ fits their criteria for an on rails theme park experience lol.

    Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  • CaldrinCaldrin CwmbranPosts: 4,533Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    Living Breathing World MMO. I know this is figuratively talked about around here.

    But what does that even mean in terms of MMOs?

    Are there any examples of such a MMO being this "Living Breathing World" that people here been scratching and begging for?

    I been thinking about this request, when it hit me. What the heck is a Living Breathing World MMO feature?

    Seems like a heavy requested feature, but doesnt really seem to have ever been done before. So I been confused about where this request even started from.

     

    School me on this you all.

    I dont think people really talk about it much on here it was  something used as marketing by some of the more recent MMORPGs.. of course none of those ended up being a living breathing world hehe..

    Can they exist.. yaeh sure why not but it depends what you mean by living and breathing i guess.. games like second life could be considered a living breathing world as everything is made by the players and changes all the time, new things added old things remvoed and so on..

  • PioneerStewPioneerStew londonPosts: 874Member

    In response to the OP I think that the phrase 'living, breathing world' is a bit of a misnomer.  For me the fundamental quality of a living, breathing world is that it is populated and promotes the lost social aspects mmo's are capable of.  Obviously some sandbox elements such as an ability to build, or some mechanics that facilitate group play would assist.    

    Too many games are designed around a strictly zoned levelling system which leaves entire portions of the map as ghost towns one month after release.  This is exacerbated by all-pervasive fast-travel, group finders and dungeon finders which turn most mmo's into hub games with oddly vacant tranches of land surrounding said hub.  

    I find it odd that a developer would go to so much effort to build a world, and then go to so much effort to remove players from it.   

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,478Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by fivoroth
    People are probably referring to their first mmo. The nostalgia makes that mmo seem amazing. When in reality it was what they would call an on rails theme park experience. People refer to every mmo as a theme park and use the term sandbox as the holy grail. So far I haven't come across which feels these so called criteria. I guess the most amusing is when you read people hate what they call theme parks and say that EQ was so much better even though EQ fits their criteria for an on rails theme park experience lol.

    Well actually Meridian59 and UO where my first but trust me I was completely unaware of it's terms MMORPG.

    But..

    Star Wars Galaxies was a MMORPG that I felt was the closest living breathing world experiance I have ever experiance in a MMORPG. Anything was possible it was going far beyond just being a game, whole community's where made and no not meant as today's community of raid/pvp guilds, but a true society was formed with so many different classes you could truly be unique. Shame many dislike being unique as that has made a hugh impact in the amount of choices we the players are given with today's very limited MMORPGames. 

  • Stuka1000Stuka1000 Posts: 872Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by flizzer
    When people use this term they are really talking about nostalgia and the game they played when they were younger and had so much more free time.   Nostalgia is a wonderful drug that distorts reality

    Wrong.  What people are talking about is a persistent world that changes in line with player actions.  Such sandbox elements as player built cities, fully player controlled economy, crafting systems that actually matter and are not just a second rate add-on etc.  In short, all of the things that theme park MMO's do not have. 

    An example, at least part way, would be the original SWG which had all of the above and more besides.

  • kitaradkitarad RomePosts: 1,745Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by flizzer
    When people use this term they are really talking about nostalgia and the game they played when they were younger and had so much more free time.   Nostalgia is a wonderful drug that distorts reality.

    What you are talking about is different from the world where changes have an effect. What you are talking about is a persistent world that gave you the feeling you were part of that world like Everquest and FFXI. What the OP is discussing is a changing world that changes with events. GW 2 comes closest I guess.

    image

  • Stuka1000Stuka1000 Posts: 872Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Siphaed

    "Living, Breathing World"

     

    • Giant illusion wall built in one week.
    • Wall breaks in another week  revealing giant poison plant.
    • Poisonous, mutant snake people invade.
    • Players destroy giant plant.
    • Plant leaves parts and scars on land to date.
    .....or.....
    • Creatures invade city.
    • Players fight creatures and chase to island source.
    • Giant creature fought by players and thrown into lava.
    • Island turned into resort location, creature encased lava statue at bottom of pit.
    ...or...
    • Giant drill and air ships invade city.
    • Players partake in evacuations and fighting off invaders.
    • Breaking into drill, players kill menacing villian.
    • Drill destroyed, city destroyed and many months later the rebuild still happens.
     
     
    Every one of those events are ones in Guild Wars 2 that has a lasting effect on the game's world and presence.     They all involved the players participating in things that eventually changed the game's overall design from what was originally there and known.   Even the Election of Sgt Keil  to the Lion's Arch Council was a major living world event more than those mentioned above because it was based on a player  based voting system.
     
     
     
    So a Living Breathing World is a constantly changing of the game in such a way that the game's world feels ALIVE and progressive [instead of static and plastic].  Introduction to new characters, personalities played out, even death of some other characters too.  
     
     
    I'm really looking forward to Ever Quest Next as what they have envisioned for their game is similar to Guild Wars 2's Living Story, but instead on a more direct per-area, per-quest impact.    Here's hoping......

    Sorry mate but what you are describing there is a series of carefully crafted and scripted events created by the devs, the end result of each known before the first blow is struck.  These are not examples of a living world, just examples of dev created events.

    A living world changes as the players do things within it as part of the everyday cycle of the game, not just when the devs decide that it will change.

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,544Member Uncommon

    Planet Earth is the only living breathing world we know about at present.

    There is no game that even comes close - to emulate all the intricacies and complexities of a living breathing world - now that'd be something.

     

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,257Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Stuka1000
    Originally posted by Siphaed

    "Living, Breathing World"

     

    • Giant illusion wall built in one week.
    • Wall breaks in another week  revealing giant poison plant.
    • Poisonous, mutant snake people invade.
    • Players destroy giant plant.
    • Plant leaves parts and scars on land to date.
    .....or.....
    • Creatures invade city.
    • Players fight creatures and chase to island source.
    • Giant creature fought by players and thrown into lava.
    • Island turned into resort location, creature encased lava statue at bottom of pit.
    ...or...
    • Giant drill and air ships invade city.
    • Players partake in evacuations and fighting off invaders.
    • Breaking into drill, players kill menacing villian.
    • Drill destroyed, city destroyed and many months later the rebuild still happens.
     
     
    Every one of those events are ones in Guild Wars 2 that has a lasting effect on the game's world and presence.     They all involved the players participating in things that eventually changed the game's overall design from what was originally there and known.   Even the Election of Sgt Keil  to the Lion's Arch Council was a major living world event more than those mentioned above because it was based on a player  based voting system.
     
     
     
    So a Living Breathing World is a constantly changing of the game in such a way that the game's world feels ALIVE and progressive [instead of static and plastic].  Introduction to new characters, personalities played out, even death of some other characters too.  
     
     
    I'm really looking forward to Ever Quest Next as what they have envisioned for their game is similar to Guild Wars 2's Living Story, but instead on a more direct per-area, per-quest impact.    Here's hoping......

    Sorry mate but what you are describing there is a series of carefully crafted and scripted events created by the devs, the end result of each known before the first blow is struck.  These are not examples of a living world, just examples of dev created events.

    A living world changes as the players do things within it as part of the everyday cycle of the game, not just when the devs decide that it will change.

    So what's examples?

    image

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    The "living, breathing world" never actually existed.  People read about VRML, watched a couple of movies and maybe played Ultima Online and thought that a "living, breathing world" was going to be a natural result of everything that was happening in the 90s.  It just didn't happen.

     

    • It's hard to make a world, much less one that has dozens or hundreds of interactive systems that operate the way our Earth environments operate.  Developers have managed a decent world like environment in single player games, and very simple environments in multiplayer games, but they have yet to scale things up to persistent, massive worlds.
    • Releasing thousands of demi-gods who are the most powerful things in the world breaks the world if it has many delicate systems that it depends on to function.  When UO released there was the idea to have a primitive system in place to manage mob populations with some sort of breeding schedule, migration schedule, etc.  It broke almost immediately because what players did was kill every single thing that moved, including other players.
     
    That's all I can think of right now.  I'm sure there's more.
     

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

  • XzenXzen Los Alamos, NMPosts: 2,607Member Common
    Originally posted by fardreamer
    vanilla ultima online.

    +1 You nailed it.

  • HolophonistHolophonist Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 2,086Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    Living Breathing World MMO. I know this is figuratively talked about around here.

    But what does that even mean in terms of MMOs?

    Are there any examples of such a MMO being this "Living Breathing World" that people here been scratching and begging for?

    I been thinking about this request, when it hit me. What the heck is a Living Breathing World MMO feature?

    Seems like a heavy requested feature, but doesnt really seem to have ever been done before. So I been confused about where this request even started from.

     

    School me on this you all.

    It's all about interconnectedness of the game's systems. To feel like you're just one part of a bigger mechanism. This is in stark contrast with the typical themepark MMO that is more focused on YOUR story, typically one revolving around you being "the hero." It's why quests don't fit too well into sandbox games. It's not about YOU, it's about the world and then it's up to you to figure out how you want to fit into that world. Basically it's trying to emulate real life, except with magic and monsters etc.

     

    If you're asking if any game has ever perfectly emulated a living, breathing world, the answer is no. And nobody has ever expected a game like this to exist, at least not in the foreseeable future. As is the case with all of these discussions, it's a sliding scale between two extremes. A game can either be MORE or LESS like a living, breathing world.

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