Quantcast

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

General: Casual Play: What GTA Can Teach

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

Steve Wilson returns this week with his Casual Play column. Today, he tackles the successes of Grand Theft Auto, and looks at what the MMO industry could have learned from that hit game.

In the years that I've been playing MMOs, I've gone through many phases of love and hate. It seems that most of the early games really catered only to hardcore players. The demands on time and skill were so incredibly high that only players willing to devote a second life had any possibility of advancing enough to see any more than a fraction of the world. And one play style, killing things, was the only way to explore those worlds. MMOs catered to and consisted of hardcore players who were good at one play style. In that same time however, there were single player games that were able to create a perfect mix of hardcore and casual elements expanding the single player market immensely by drawing players into genres they weren't particularly attached to. Grand Theft Auto 3 was one of those single player games that drew in an audience beyond what was considered normal for the driving genre. If an MMO had copied some of those design elements the once mythical million subscriber barrier would have been broken much sooner.

Read the whole column here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

«1

Comments

  • BadSpockBadSpock Member UncommonPosts: 7,979

    Actually, a very good article. Not going to rip into this one like I usually rip into staff peices lol.

    I remember going over to my buddies house and sitting in his basement playing GTA until you died, then passing the controller to the next person. It never really got old. I don't think I ever did any of the actual missions. But, I never owned a PS2 so..

    MMO's do need to offer more. Beyond just questing and grinding, beyond just PVP and running the same instances/raids time and time again. I mean, often we make our own fun, like going to Stormwind/Ironforge and trying to kill the flight masters....

    But more little minigames and fun "side" content to do as the OP said.

    But what kind of conent? I mean, Star Wars Galaxies had alllll kinds of "side" content you could do, heck even dancing in a cantina lol, but they didn't have like ANY storyline content.. just the few mostly broken theme parks.

  • ShoalShoal Member Posts: 1,156

    Like most Troll posts, the OP of the article fails to detail what MMORPGs he has played.  He also fails to detail what efforts HE has made towards doing the things he thinks should be done.  Note that he lauds the GTA for letting him depart from the fixed Main-Line Quest, then seems to imply that cannot be done in MMORPGs.  That there is no way to set your own personal goals.  Nonsense.

    What is more likely is that the OP has played (innefectively) a MMORPG or two, and since one line of play was obvious, he never sought any other lines.  But who is to know.  Since the OP gave no real information as to what his main premise is based upon, there is no way to know.

    This article gets a 0 out of 10 from me on fundamental principles.  It is really a Troll post.

  • z80paranoiaz80paranoia Member Posts: 410
    good article

    i agree 100%

    Guild Wars 2 is my religion

  • JipsterJipster Member Posts: 23
    Very nice article, and I have to agree with it, but judging from the success of some of the grind-fest MMO's out there, I think I'm in the minority.



    Still, a sandbox with the freedom it creates is what I'm waiting for. Until they create a GTA or Morrowind online (or Darkfall ever makes it to retail), then EVE is the next best thing for me. 
  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Member Posts: 5,615
    Originally posted by Shoal


    Like most Troll posts, the OP of the article fails to detail what MMORPGs he has played.  He also fails to detail what efforts HE has made towards doing the things he thinks should be done.  Note that he lauds the GTA for letting him depart from the fixed Main-Line Quest, then seems to imply that cannot be done in MMORPGs.  That there is no way to set your own personal goals.  Nonsense.
    What is more likely is that the OP has played (innefectively) a MMORPG or two, and since one line of play was obvious, he never sought any other lines.  But who is to know.  Since the OP gave no real information as to what his main premise is based upon, there is no way to know.
    This article gets a 0 out of 10 from me on fundamental principles.  It is really a Troll post.

    Well, then i think you need to post your "Credentials" before any of us take your commentary with any form of worth.

    Otherwise, your just a troll.

    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • ReklawReklaw Member UncommonPosts: 6,495

    A comparisan with a single player game and a mmo from my point of view are none excisting, sure both genre's can borow from eachother, but the game mechanics just are not fit for a mmo at this time of day.

    I really love the gta series but please keep them at there single player lvl . With MMO's you need to account for much and much more then just a solid story or some decent game mechanics. A mmo like GTA might become reality in a few years from now, but its far to complex to be made as a mmo experiance, this talk has been going on since gta 2 when people on the original forums discussed this option with lots of feedback from the developers at the time. There has been e few attempts for co-op or online features with mods for GTA made by the community but all with minimal effect. Because deveopers don't have to worry about more people then the player himself its so very abvious that games like GTA have so much more to over.  Also GTA is more of a movie like experiance, while a mmo is more a sort of  alternate life experiance atleast from my point of view.

  • ShoalShoal Member Posts: 1,156
    Originally posted by Mrbloodworth

    Originally posted by Shoal


    Like most Troll posts, the OP of the article fails to detail what MMORPGs he has played.  He also fails to detail what efforts HE has made towards doing the things he thinks should be done.  Note that he lauds the GTA for letting him depart from the fixed Main-Line Quest, then seems to imply that cannot be done in MMORPGs.  That there is no way to set your own personal goals.  Nonsense.
    What is more likely is that the OP has played (innefectively) a MMORPG or two, and since one line of play was obvious, he never sought any other lines.  But who is to know.  Since the OP gave no real information as to what his main premise is based upon, there is no way to know.
    This article gets a 0 out of 10 from me on fundamental principles.  It is really a Troll post.

    Well, then i think you need to post your "Credentials" before any of us take your commentary with any form of worth.

    Otherwise, your just a troll.

    Ok.  No problem.

    *  EQ1 starting near Launch in 1999.  Played for years.  Found lots of things to do that were not Main-Line questing and Raiding.

    *  DAoC starting near Launch.  Played (in conjunction with EQ1 for 2 some years).

    *  AO, CoH / CoV, AC2, EQ2 , EVE and others.  Played off and on.  Several months on each.

    *  WoW since Launch.  Few breaks to check back on the others noted just above.  Still with WoW.

    *  Looking forward to LoTRO.

    *  Beta Games :  E&B, AC2, V:SoH, LotRO, PlanetSide, some others.

    Virtually all of these games let you make your own personal goals.  From PvP kills, to Housing trophies, Exploration,  Discovery, and more.  Just because the OP of the article cannot seem to find a way to 'Sandbox' a MMORPG does not mean that the capability is not there.

    And, when was the last time anyone updated GTA with new content?  And I don't mean having to buy a whole new game for it, such as GTA:SA.

    It stands.   Sandbox is there in MMORPGs today.  But, you have to actually DO it for it to be active.

  • RyowulfRyowulf Member UncommonPosts: 664
    Another ad for LotRo and WoW bashing on top of it? As soon as you said GTA took gaming elements that already existed and pulled them together to make one hell of a game, I knew you were going to mention LotRo wouldn't be far behind.



    Quote: "There's tons of quests and a strong central back story that get the players into the game. There's also some interesting diversions like monster play that don't benefit the players characters but create an interesting alternative to the grind. Turbine also has a track record of constantly adding in new content including frivolous diversions. This could very well be the game that bridges the divide between casual and hardcore player drawing both groups in for completely divergent reasons."



    Tons of quest that are the same Kill X and Take this here crap that's in every MMO including WoW.  Lotro does have a linear main storyline. However after doing it with one character there is little need to take any more through it.  There is going to be a mainstory in Conan and it will have many quests. Spellborn also and Star Trek, and just about any of the bigger named mmos coming. How on earth is having crappy little quests anything like GTA or any different than the other mmos coming?



    Can you level and do quests on social skills alone? Doesn't the game, like all other mmos come down to killing? How is that diversification? Oh right I can make songs.



    Yup mpvp is a diversion, because the game is to small to add factions at start up, Conan will have Bar fights and factions. Most of the new mmos will have diversions. If you would have said LotRo is one of the first mmos coming out this year that offer... I would have been okay with it, but to make it sound like everything else new this year will be EQ is crap.



    Turbine does add content, but mostly because it lanuches bare bone games. Turbine is good for adding free content. They do get high marks for that.



    Finally there is not much that is hardcore in LotRo. LotRo is more the opposide to Vanguard. Being a heavy casual game isn't a bad thing, but saying crap like making bridges is without merit. WoW has been better at making (and in some cases tearing them down) bridges between casual and hardcore. So good of you to not notice.
  • XApotheosisXXApotheosisX Member Posts: 277
    Originally posted by Shoal




    *  WoW since Launch.  Few breaks to check back on the others noted just above.  Still with WoW.


    You play WoW, that invalidates your opinion right away and automatically makes you a troll.
  • CastorHoSCastorHoS Member Posts: 54
    Shoal I do not agree.



    Want my creds to look at?



    Kesmai GameGenie - 87 - 92



    MUD and MUSH text based game developer and player from 92-94



    MPBT: EGA 92-96



    MPBT: Solaris - Admin and player from 96-99 (Kesmai/GameStorm)



    UO - 97-99



    MPBT: 3025 - Staff and player (This was done by EA)



    Then we go through a nice long list of game after game.................in no particular order.





    EQ, EQ2, E&B, DAoC, Planet Side, DE, WoW, Lineage, Lineage2, CoH, DDO, Guild Wars, SWG, Neocron, etc. There pretty much has not been a game put out at least to a test stage Ive not been in, even if some were only briefly.



    To answer your next question, yes I am still in the industry and work in it.



    The article makes some valid points. Many MMO's today and in the past make you follow a certain line from start to finish in order to accomplish what the game is all about. Sure you can skip them and go do whatever you want but in most cases you still have to go back and do parts of them to get to point B.



    UO which had no set system or quest lines was about the last of its breed.



    The games today are about pushing people to become hooked on story lines, quest lines and a grind. They all come put together and even if you skip the story line or quest lines you still have the grind to deal with. You can not skip it in any form. Why? Because in order to move forward you have to reach a point you are able to survive.



    MPBT may have never been able to call itself a proper MMO by today's standards but when it was out it was the best of what is needed today.



    Go in, drop with people and have fun. No grind unless you were grinding arena duels and there were the simulated planet capture on the weekends.



    Those small elements where you have the ability to decide your own future are ignored by developers today because many feel if you cant hook people into wasting countless hours they will not remain around to pay to play for months on end.






  • LougarouLougarou Member Posts: 278
    Good article except for the LOTRO part, as others already mentionned. LOTRO is just another WoW clone with a different skin.
  • mindspatmindspat Member Posts: 1,367

    EVE Online is as close as you can get to total gaming freedom.

    The original "Star Wars Galaxies" pre-cu version was pretty damned close in diversity of play style.  The current state of SWG is a sick joke.

  • F'larF'lar Member Posts: 60

    very interesting artical this time around.

     

       I have to say that a open-ended MMO like GTA is unlikely (EVE Online being one of a VERY few exceptions) because most people don't want to think when they play a game. Look at SWG both before the NGe and after it, before the forums were clogged with posts on how new players were lost and had no ideal of what to do. Even thou the developers had put into place a system that rewarded the veteren players to help new players ( the apprenticeship point system, which was the ONLY way to get master level in that game and it was something I loved about the game) overall the players didn't like it. Too many people like to have their gaming hand held when they play, Hence why there is STILL not alot of open-ended single player games out there. But that playstyle is on the rise. It is also why SWG's "legacy quest" is so popular now. Or at least with those that still play the game .

     

       

     

  • ShoalShoal Member Posts: 1,156
    Originally posted by CastorHoS

    Shoal I do not agree.



    Want my creds to look at?



    Kesmai GameGenie - 87 - 92



    MUD and MUSH text based game developer and player from 92-94



    MPBT: EGA 92-96



    MPBT: Solaris - Admin and player from 96-99 (Kesmai/GameStorm)



    UO - 97-99



    MPBT: 3025 - Staff and player (This was done by EA)



    Then we go through a nice long list of game after game.................in no particular order.





    EQ, EQ2, E&B, DAoC, Planet Side, DE, WoW, Lineage, Lineage2, CoH, DDO, Guild Wars, SWG, Neocron, etc. There pretty much has not been a game put out at least to a test stage Ive not been in, even if some were only briefly.



    To answer your next question, yes I am still in the industry and work in it.



    The article makes some valid points. Many MMO's today and in the past make you follow a certain line from start to finish in order to accomplish what the game is all about. Sure you can skip them and go do whatever you want but in most cases you still have to go back and do parts of them to get to point B.



    UO which had no set system or quest lines was about the last of its breed.



    The games today are about pushing people to become hooked on story lines, quest lines and a grind. They all come put together and even if you skip the story line or quest lines you still have the grind to deal with. You can not skip it in any form. Why? Because in order to move forward you have to reach a point you are able to survive.



    MPBT may have never been able to call itself a proper MMO by today's standards but when it was out it was the best of what is needed today.



    Go in, drop with people and have fun. No grind unless you were grinding arena duels and there were the simulated planet capture on the weekends.



    Those small elements where you have the ability to decide your own future are ignored by developers today because many feel if you cant hook people into wasting countless hours they will not remain around to pay to play for months on end.







    *Laughs*   I did not contest your creds, unless you are the original author of the article.  Then, I still maintain that it has not been shown that any attempt was made to do Sandbox style content in current MMORPGs.   But, for your points in this response,  I pretty much agree with all that you have made.

    But, then, who would really be interested in a 100% Sandbox game.  We have Real Life for that, don't we. 

  • TyrranosaurTyrranosaur Member UncommonPosts: 284

    I've played and enjoyed a couple of the GTA games. I enjoy them more on the PSP, honestly, then I did on console. However, I've always ultimately been turned off by the thematic content....I just can't get into a game about a criminal in an urban nightmare.

    My MMO experience is limited to a handful of recent games: EVE, WoW, EQ2, GW, Archlords, CoH, SWG, MO, and A tiny bit of EQ1. The sandbox method of game design really does fit the MMO format, I feel, and these games are all sandboxes in their own right, but the article makes a compelling point when it talks about the fact that BTA was both a sandbox and a linear story wrapped up in one package. The idea occured to me that most MMOs already have a means of making a more personal experience for players: instance based events can be customized for a single-player experience, easily. Imagine if each key class or type of character in a given game had a special storyline that evolved as the character developed in the game. At different stages, as these special story quests are resolved, new ones open up, and these are usually instance quests which mean that that specific player controls the input of other players; he can solo it, maybe, or invite some buddies to help him achieve the character-specific quest goal. Once he's finished that goal, then he can not repeat that quest, and instead strives to be ready for the next story-based event  tailored to his specific character type. Meanwhile, it would be possible for him to group with another character who has to achieve that instance for their own character, but his benefit from that instance would be as a supporting ally, not the primary character for the quest.

    Events like this can easily be structured in current MMOs with what we have. WoW already has a few quests that are like this (shamans, for example, have quests to get totems) but imagine if, say, whend esigning your character you can specify some background details during creation: say you can choose your character's family background and whether he's an orphan or not. I you decide your an orphan looking for lost relatives, then your character becomes eligible for the Orphan storyline quests. Or maybe you're former royalty....you become eligible for royalty quests. You could have a number of tailored storylines that are prebuilt, but designed for any players who choose the right options for their characters. You could even let players choose to randomize their background, so they can be surprised about their own personal storyline as it evolves.

    Anyway, I think this kind of "tailored quest" design could easily be supported by current MMOs, although it would require extra effort to create the additional content. Nonetheless, I think it would be a great idea if executed correctly.

    Current MMOs: Rift, GW2, Defiance
    Blog: http://realmsofchirak.blogspot.com (old school tabletop gaming and more)

  • YeeboYeebo Member Posts: 1,359
    I think you missed the point Shoal.  Have you ever even played GTA?  How about Morrowind?  In both of those games you have a happy marriage of "crutches for the weak" (nice intro tutorials that ease you into the game, engrossing linear quest chains) and "sandbox" style play.  In my mind no MMORPG has come as close to hitting that sweet spot between the two as GTA III did.  I think the OP hit the nail on the head.  But please, feel free to go on being Mr. Crankypants :-P

    I don't want to write this, and you don't want to read it. But now it's too late for both of us.

  • LordAvarilLordAvaril Member Posts: 5

    I was never a big fan of the GTA series!! I Mean runnin around Shootin or punchin ppl all the time or stealing cars ya Fun for the first couple Hours then it becomes annoying but thats just me!! dont get me wrong i know most mmos are based on one type of thing.

    Iam goin to have to Agree with the Op on this one If they could take the good from one game and add it to another to make it better is great.

    Ex: Look at WoW where did it begin? Ever Quest. Now its Been Twisted recreated and stamped with a new lable and Characters.

    Time to Play

  • duomaxwell13duomaxwell13 Member Posts: 6
    I thought this was a good artical, and pretty well thought out.  I've been playing Video games since my parents came home with their Radio Shack Color Computer 2...which was a few moons ago.  Since then I was a console player until I got my first taste of online gaming with Alien vs. Predator 2's online pvp mode...It was new and fun.  I got into the mmo's about 3 years ago, so I'm still a noob.  By reading these other posts you can really see where the persons devotion lyes.  Whether a the person is a Harcore player, or a casual player.  But I have to agree with the artical that if MMO's are to truely break through that in the next few years they will have to add a lot more "fun and games" into the mold.  So far you can see that most of the ideas of current games are grown from the same seed.
  • AlienovrlordAlienovrlord Member Posts: 1,525
    Nice article which brings up the question that MMORPG developers should have asked years ago.



    Why did all other genres of video games have successes that sold millions of  copies while MMORPGs never came close (outside of those wacky Korean gaming markets)



    The OP 's article hits it exactly - terrible game design.  First generation  MMORPGs were designed to be timesinks.   Fun was secondary to keeping people playing as long as possible.   Unfortunately there were enough people willing to pay for this kind of tedious gameplay to make MMORPGs just profitable enough for it to become a formula that plagued the genre for a decade.



    Now we've finally seen that MMORPGs can meet with the same success as FPS, RTS and all the other video game genres out there.   All they need to do is make a FUN game. 



    Amazing that this idea, which has been central in every other type of video game, is only just now catching on with MMORPG developers.



    It's also amazing how many people bemoan about the 'good old days' and whine that new generation MMORPGs aren't a 'challenge'.    This is one time when I am truly glad a market is driven by profits, not by blind opinions about what is correct.
  • tubelighttubelight Member UncommonPosts: 276
    might i also add the single player RPG game Oblivion to the pretty unique and one of the only singleplayer games to come close content and sizewise to a MMO?



    I seriously enjoyed playing oblivion more than most MMO's i had recently played. True sandbox might not really be the future because like it has been previously mentioned sandbox is not something that everyone connects to. Freedom in MMo's is confusing. Most people today would rather have the game tell them what to do next, how to do and how many times to do it. As sad as it maybe its true.



    Also i seriously believe that making a GTA MMO might not really be a good idea. There is a huge possiblity that it might not be what we are expecting and in turn tarnish the whole GTA name.
  • LordFaridLordFarid Member Posts: 24

     

    I agree with the OP 100%. I would love a GTA MMO, imagine a GTA FFA PVP server where you can create gangs, or even join the police.

  • methulahmethulah Member Posts: 236
    I tend not to agree, I don't think that a linear storyline in addition to the current sandbox element would've made early MMORPGs more successful. However, the article is surprisingly well written, and raises some issues that are valid, and not completely bogus. Colour me impressed, and kudos.
  • kraftwerk53kraftwerk53 Member Posts: 25






    Originally posted by Shoal

    *Laughs*   I did not contest your creds, unless you are the original author of the article.  Then, I still maintain that it has not been shown that any attempt was made to do Sandbox style content in current MMORPGs.   But, for your points in this response,  I pretty much agree with all that you have made.

    But, then, who would really be interested in a 100% Sandbox game.  We have Real Life for that, don't we. 

    Unfortunately, the way most MMOs are designed today they don't allow



    for people to lead "normal" lives. At least not to those who view an MMO



    player from the outside. If you honestly think spending 8 hours on a



    video game is acceptble, there is a fatal flaw in your thinking.



    It's something that as gamers we all have to learn to accept.



    I know I have, and I agree with this article completely.



    Many gamers can easily throw away any notion that their playtime



    is unacceptable because they get the false sense of accomplishments



    from MMOs.  Bottom line is, there needs to be changes.



    I love playing MMOs, but to have a life with any sense of purpose



    you must be able to play these games for fun, not for a second life.



    I believe it is more argued in this article that the need for a mix of



    casual elements and hardcore to make the games have more of a



    wider audience. I couldn't agree more. Give me a game where I



    could play 2 hours a day and feel like I've I was getting somewhere,



    and I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    www.loaland.com

  • fansedefansede Member UncommonPosts: 960

    Yeah, who wouldn't want a highly immersive game like Oblivion into an MMO. However, I can't imagine how a game like that can be translated for thousands of players at a time. Until technology catches up, games like Morrowind will remain single player type games.

  • CastorHoSCastorHoS Member Posts: 54
    I think technology has caught up in some cases.



    If you look at the new virtual worlds or setting that are being created, developed and worked on now you can almost get a sense of what is at hand.
Sign In or Register to comment.