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Originally posted by Dreneth Well, I suppose this brings us to an interesting point of discussion...How the hell do we fix this??
It is pathos we lack, and this lack of pathos makes the worlds we explore quite stale.
Ok lets look at Wow, since it is the most successful of the MMO's. What does it have that is so attractive?
- I think the number one reason is ease of play, at least at the 1-59 and of course 1-69 with the expansion.
- very good questing system that supplements or replaces part of the grind.
- well put together storyline, that is fairly well thought out.
- A very mild death penalty and very little downtime when playing.
- The mail system made it very easy to exchange items with other players and other characters.
- A pvp system that is rather easy to compete in with balanced classes.
- a very simple trades system that provides minor enhancements to equipment.
The end game is a different matter, it really only caters to the raider, but the vast majority that don't raid still enjoy socializing in the different areas.
What Wow does not have:
- Open, skill based characters verses the rigid class structure.
- Ability to dye clothing, everyone wearing a certain piece of clothing looks the same. Gets monotonous as more and more of the populace gets raid equipment.
- decent pvp system with collision avoidance and skill being far more important than equipment. Also reasons for worldly pvp.(Wow has added some, but it is very poorly thought out)
- end game that is not the ultimate puzzle palace.
- end game storyline that constantly evolves.
- Timely expansions and updates.
- housing(although I could pass on this, many others desire it)
So in my book, looking at the above list, there are many avenues a developer can address to innovate over Wow, it is far from the perfect game.
Wow is basically an EQ clone with many of the weaknesses of EQ removed. Less downtime, not a harsh death penalty, better questing system. They tried to make things simple and remove anything that interfered with the fun factor. They did admirably well doing that too.
Personally I don't think huge changes are needed to be successful, but I do not think Wow is going to dominate the industry forever, the developers have a distinct weakness for raiders, while it is a plain fact that the vast majority of the playerbase does not favor that part of the game.
As to what is in the pipeline for this year, I don't see anyone challenging Wow, but I could be wrong. LOTRO is doing very well in it's subscriptions so far, I am surprised at the numbers. Warhammer will probably do well initially, but I think it will not be the game people expect as Mythic cannot balance classes for pvp. Conan I am taking a wait and see attitude, can Funcom wait till it is polished before giving the public access.
There are a bunch of others that are niche products, I don't see any of them being more than that and that includes the open pvp ones.
There are others out there, that have possibilities, but remain vaporware, meaning I have doubts about their ability to ever make it to the market, such as Darkfall.
_________________________________________________________________________________________MMOs played-> UO: AoS, L2, GW, GW: F, HO, SoF, ToP
The MMO market is growing every year. More and more money is spend by consumers and the devs pay attention. Unless something/someone exceptional comes along, the marketplace will continue it's current trend until the money starts to decline. At that point, they will either innovate or spend less on content which might force them to different business models like free with ads.
If something new comes along which is innovatative and a success in the marketplace, then a new template for other games will come along and we will be back in the same boat.
The MMO community is it's own worst enemy. And by community, I mean not just us, the players, but the press, both print and online, as well. We wail and moan about wanting innovative, new games, but when one comes along, it get's slagged in the press, and generally stomped by the players, because the graphics suck, and it's not polished enough.And then derivative games like WoW pull in 9 million users, and are generally lauded far and wide. Guess who's gonna get the money next go around?
It's like watching a third party candidate run for office. Everyone bitches that it doesn't matter if you vote Republican, or Democrat, they're all crooks, but no one bothers to pay attention to the 3rd party candidate on the sideline, jumping up and down, shouting "Hey, you dumbasses, you claim to want something different, well here it is!".
This doesn't even take into account that what players say they want, and what they really want are usually two totally different things. Take Vanguard for example. Ignoring it's technical shortcomings for a second, it is a very sandbox-y game. It dumps you in a huge world, and leaves you to make your own story. I recall a lot of people crowing about how they wanted just that. To not be spoon fed, hand held, et all. Then when they were given that, they bitched that there was no lore, no direction, and so on.
There's plenty of innovation out there, but it's not going to have the polish of a game like WoW with a $70 million budget. If you really want innovation, vote with your wallet.
We had a little contest on our own forum a while ago to develop an idea from existing media and the things you'd like to include in the game.
Anyway copy and paste....see what you think
Well my idea for a new MMOG comes from a game I have played many a time and think that it would make a superb game and am quite surprised no one has picked up the license of tried to at least develop something along the same lines. That game is Fallout, for the uninitiated (i.e. you young uns) the game came out in the mid 90’s. It is a single player RPG that paved the way for a lot of the RPG’s you play today, as at the time they weren’t very popular. The original game was set in the 23rd century after the third world war and was billed as a post apocalyptic role playing game. The basic premise was that you played a character that had survived the war by sheltering in a big bunker and when it was safe stumbled back out into what was left of the world. Your main quest was to find a piece of equipment to mend the water purifying machine in the vault before the water ran out. The game zones consisted of areas of wasteland and ruined cities on the Western Seaboard of America, with a few scattered settlements of survivors, tribals, raiders, mutants, ghouls etc. The game proved quite popular and was quickly followed up with Fallout 2 which was set 80 years later and you played the previous games grandchild. One of the major attraction of the game and also what would make it so easy to turn into a MMOG is the character selection process. Yours character has a set of Seven stats called the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Each stat was given a set value of 5 and you had a further 5 points to allocate across the seven stats as you see fit up to a maximum of 10. You could also take points off the stat, i.e. reduce it below 5 so you could make you toon a beefcake monster or a super sleek brainiac depending how you want to play. Further customisation is achieved through the next stage of selecting 2 ‘traits’. This added extra flavour to your character, a trait might make you a brute and add to strength to you total but for the loss of some speed, or you could be resistant to drugs or poisons etc. The final stage of the process was to ‘tag’ 3 skills that would level up quicker then you others. The skills to pick from included things like Large Weapons, Small Weapons, Hand to Hand, Speachcraft, Repair and Bartering. To raise your skills every time you levelled up you would get a base amount of skill points plus a bonus depending on your intelligence. Different skills have different governing characteristics, i.e. Small Weapons skill rating would be the base rate + a bonus from your perception characteristic + any skill points put into the skill. These then would translate into a percentage chance to fulfil the task you were attempting, be it sniping a guy in the eye, disabling a mine or repairing a machine. My idea would be to carry the game on from where it concluded at the end of Fallout 2. The players could play a number of races like a Vault Human, a Survivor Human, a Super Mutant (these were normal humans that were transformed in the original game to form an army of heavy weapon wielding super soldiers, slow and stupid but built brick outhouses), a ghoul (heavily irradiated humans that have incredible resistance to things, but a bit prone to dropping to pieces) or a Deathclaw (A monster race that resulted from the radiation, think small Godzilla’s, rip your arms off in a fight, then stick them down your throat). Each race would have it own advantages and disadvantages as usual, bit like the SWG toons. Also they would have there own starting town/area i.e. a vault, a ruined settlement, an abandoned military base, a nuclear power station and a cave/den. From there the players could go anywhere and do what they like, level the skills they want to focus in and interact or war with all the other races as they see fit. So far that is pretty much how the single player game works with the exception of not having an overriding mission for the players to complete. For it to work as a MMOG it needs to have its unique selling points and give the people something to do. Firstly each town would have a mayor/leader to get everyone started with some simple quests like were being threatened by X or we need you to find Y like any other game. But I would like this sort of thing to be kept to the starter areas only and for the players to make there way on from these places and explore the bigger area and do their own thing. Nobody will have any knowledge of what exists outside there starter areas, all they will have is a topographical map that shows hills, canyons, rivers etc, it won’t how new town, raider camps, resources, these will need to be found and bookmarked by the player. My idea would be for there to finite amounts of items in the game world for people to find and exploit. These then can be traded, sold or taken by other players as they want, after all it’s an anarchic society where survival is your only concern. So yes people can take your weapons and armour from your barely lifeless corpse. Eventually the basic plan would be for groups of players to set up there own camps, towns etc, using old ruins, caves or captured facilities and any resources they can find. To give an example, the Solar Wraiths group of friends have left there starting area and set off into the wastes. After a while and after fighting through a few mutant scorpions they find the remains of a town, none of the buildings a usable as shelter, but there are still some half decent wooden beams and a nice corrugated metal fence. Noting the location they move on and eventually find a raider camp set into hillside. After defeating the raiders they decide to take the camp as their own base. Needing to strengthen the defences they head back to the ruined town, they take the timber a sheet metal back to the cave and make a wall for better protection. They can then fight off any npc or player mobs that happen by there camp. That’s the sort of thing I’d love to see in a game. Eventually they could start a small town, have some traders, make the walls bigger, invite in some other groups/guilds, or try and keep it secret/low key and raid nearby towns for their items. Like I said these places would by finite so there would only be so many to reduce overcrowding, with finite resources and finite weapons/armour to find in the remains of old bases or being carried by npc’s or other players. It is all geared towards more cooperation and teamwork and stop soloing/farming for things to sell for real life profit and spoil the game. I would have a crafting system in the game but it would work differently to other game where as it would be more geared towards customisation and conversation rather then creating. For instance it would be hard to find the means to craft a new mini gun, but a person with high enough skills in the required skill areas could make the ammo capacity bigger, or fit a laser sight to increase accuracy. These items would be found and could be traded or sold like anything else. Also you could experiment on things like cutting down a long range rifle to make an extremely powerful pistol, of course it’s all on a percentage chance and it could go wrong ruining the weapon and thus there would be one less of that weapon in the game. I personally think it would make a mutts nuts of a game, the setting is completely different to anything else on the market. It would allow for ranged and close combat and also offer players the chance to run and build their own towns, bases and camps and then defend them from all the other jealous players who just want to take it away from them. Fallout also offers huge potential for other silly little things to do while in game, in the two single player games you could gamble at casinos, make drugs and sell them, pimp your wife, find a vehicle and repair it to use to move around in quicker and other fun past times. So even of you’ve cleared out every mutant camp in 5 miles, got a pile of guns bigger then an Al’Qaeda ammo dump and a fortress a Space Marine would be proud of, you can always have a game of poker with your mates in game and wait for the next bunch of raiders to assault you gun line.
"I'm working on the David Perry Secret Project "
P.T. Barnum once said "There is a fool born every minute"
First off that secret project is strictly a publicity stunt. Secondly even if it weren't why give away ideas for free?
The investment community is very wise to David Perry scams, I much doubt he will get enough funding for this.
Originally posted by heimdallr The idea you showed to us is already picked up by Interplay. In a securities filing with the U.S. government made on November 30, 2006, an attached presentation proposed a massively multiplayer online game based on the Fallout - mentioned computer franchise, which the company previously published. The presentation projected that the company would need investment of seventy-five million U.S. dollars to complete the project, with production intended to begin January 2007 and a launch date of 2010. The filing did not address the proposal in the context of the company's financial debt (announced 2004).So I guess we all shall wish luck to the devs at Interplay Entertainment and look forward to more info.
Are they really? I'm not sure whether or not thats good news or bad news. I know Interplay had gone out of business a while back and that another compnay was messing around in early developement of Fallout 3 and that never got off the ground. My main problem with Interplay rearing their heads again is that most of the staff that made the original have moved on (Most founded Obsidian Entertainment which produced KOTOR2).
Anyway I merely posted that up as an illustration of a game mechanic that is both taking current ideas, upgrading on some and bringing in new innovation to further the genre. Starting areas which are quest powered to get you started are nothing new, WoW does that very well. One of the major problems with a game like EVE is that you get dropped into this massive immersive universe and have no clue where to go or what to do, while the tutorial gives you a basic run thourgh of early commands, it's by no means a complete overview of everything you can do. This I think is why you get alot of people who play the trial for 14 days then say "boring crap" as you can't even begin to experience that game in 14 days.
Upgrade comes in the form of the systems of bringing people together to survive, a better trading and selling system, houses and cities that need proper planning and defending. None of my ideas are that "flight of fancy" that they couldn't be done. Same with a real death penalty, it's been done before and I believe there is definately a market out there for a game where if you get careless you can lose all your gear.
Finally innovation is in the form of interactive terrain and finite resourcing. Fences you can take down for materials, vehicles to scavange, bases to take over. I believe it all could be programmed and would give the player chance to change their environment. If there is only a finite amount of everything it again brings communities together to protect what they have, enhancing trade with other groups and also allowing those with evil intent to attack and take materials and items.
I believe like the OP's state in their article, you need a mixture of everything to get the customer's in, then you can develop your product in new ways, after you've got the playerbase in and playing with atleast some mechanics their used to.
So far we've seen a great deal of games simply upgrading a tried and tru formula, with merely cosmetic changes and balance issues, or removing some of the aspects which players found frustrating. That's all very well and good, but there's only so much of it you can take.
Back in the day, there were only 2 or 3 MMORPGs available to the discerning player, therefor you put up with the problems and shortcomings it had because there was nothing else.These days you can't open a website or magazine without seeing a "new and revolutionary" MMO coming out. But quite how "new" or "revolutionary" they are is a little suspect. New character models don't make a new game.
So the developers need to stop churning out mindless copies and start thinking "why should plays choose this game over GameX or GameY?" A successful IP will sell games initially (WoW, Warhammer, etc) but you need something with substance to keep them forking out their subscription. There's enough choice now that if players aren't entertained, they'll go somewhere else.
Originally posted by Phoenixs The end effect should always be a great and fun game. If innovation is a part of achieving that it should be done, if it isn't it shouldn't be done. You should not innovate just for the sake of innovating. That serves no purpose.
Many SWG players would agree with you. No matter how you spell it, Dev are having to equate FUN = MONEY. For them they are not exclusive issues.
Innovation has to do only one thing. Make more money. It can be a crap grind that all will do and hate. As long as it makes money they wont mess with it. Let some other poor suc... Gaming Company develope a idea that works. If its good (and easy to implement) then others might copy its formula. Heck, all the devs of the popular MMO's live in Austin. They probably swap ideas and solutions all the time. FRS --->Honor Rank--->GCW Rank anyone?
In truth, making money is great but does it make a better company with better games? You need people with ideas, talent and vision to change the status quo. Are there still people out there that can do that? Lets hope so.
Originally posted by Dreneth It's time that players demanded MORE from the games they play, and it's time that the game publishers recognized that they have been dropping the ball for years.
could we please get correspondent writers and moderators, on the eve forum at mmorpg.com, who are well-versed on eve-online and aren't just passersby pushing buttons? pretty please?
Actually there are ppl who Do get BORED of thier houses thats why there called "investers"
Time to Play
That would be great if I had the money to develop my own game, but since I don't this seems the best thing to work on. Plus I still have my original game ideas. Ideas don't make you money unless you have money or a way in. I have neither, wish I did because I think my ideas are good. I can't just got to EA games or Activision and say "I have an idea" and their going to want to listen. Its like all the people with screenplays out there that try and hand them to directors, 99% of them get thrown away without being read. This gives me a little hope even though nothing may come of it.
Originally posted by Ciredric "I'm working on the David Perry Secret Project "P.T. Barnum once said "There is a fool born every minute"First off that secret project is strictly a publicity stunt. Secondly even if it weren't why give away ideas for free?The investment community is very wise to David Perry scams, I much doubt he will get enough funding for this.
What MMO developers fail to consider I think is that the players are taking a risk too, not just the developers. We players are awful hesitant to part with our hard-earned $15 per month; we need to feel there's real value in what we're being offered. I play WoW, for instance, for two reasons: 1, because all my friends play it, and 2, because there's nothing else out there I am willing to risk getting hooked on, because ultimately its going to be the same old experience, only I'm going to have a few less friends to play with.
Any developer that wants to eventually oust WoW as the obscenely-wealthy-market-leader, needs to give us a reason to switch. At the same time, they need to make us feel like we're still getting the same experience, plus added value. In other words the devs have to sell The Players just like the have to sell the studio execs or publishers or whoever. They do that by offering a comfortable, familiar and natural experience, but adding a level of depth we haven't seen before, that becomes more apparent as we get more into the game.
WoW is advertised by word of mouth. That's how it got to be the dominant product -- people said to each other, "Hey, its just like what you're playing now, only it sucks less, and I'm playing too."
Other devs need to take that just one step further. As soon as I can say to all my WoW-playing friends, "Hey, its just like what you're playing now, only it sucks less AND its got a lot more depth, and I'm playing too" then I'm pretty sure they'll all come running, and so will everyone else.
Really when you get down to it, you really don't have to innovate as there are lots of good ideas used by some of the early MMO's that were ditched by Wow and all it's clones.
I still have many fond memories of times spent in Pre-trammel UO of course when they introduced Age of Shadows in the attempt to make it more EQ like, they really destroyed the essense of the game. But the wonderfully implemented skill system is to this day better than almost anything out there. If you did not like the skils on your character you could change it, you did not have to make another character.
EQ is the evil incarnate monster that introduced rigid class lines in this genre. Just lazy developers that use this because they don't want to take time to balance skills, instead of balancing classes.
Asheron's Call introduced a huge world with very little zoning and more dungeons than any game to date. It was a skill based system, while not as good as UO's skill system, it was still good. The prevalence of botters though pretty much ruined the game and Turbine reacted too late to correct the problem.
DAoC was a great innovator, but made some major goofs too. Too many classes at the start of the game and then constant adding of more with every new expansion doomed the game. They just could not balance the classes and all the class lines. They also started with far too powerful crowd control and allowed buff bots to dominate the rvr scene. Then they gave the powerlevelers their wish with powerful weapons and special powers for really hard quests and the game just died.
SWG after a rough launch became a very interesting game with it's skill system and player maintained economy. It was not like some other MMO's because when you killed something it did not drop a sword, gun or armor, it dropped raw materials which other used to make things. Besides the new player equipment almost everything was player made. It was not until NGE destroyed the skill system and introduced reduced rigid class lines that the game died.
Innovation seemed to die with Wow, until Eve came along. Eve extended the player based economy of SWG and added a unique skill system that trained skills over time, whether you were in game or not. While you can still find things from hunting pirates in Eve, the items manufactured by players is as good or better than most of the stuff found on pirates. Eve's is not perfect, the rules are very confusing for the restricted pvp in the Empire space, so called safe area and really need a restructuring. They also have a problem with large fleet battles, mostly because they use a lot of interpretive code verses compiled code.
So if I were to design a better fantasy MMO, it would be:
#1 be skill based. I personally like the time trained skills that Eve uses, who cares if you play 1 hour a day or 10 with such a system. With such a system levels would supperfluous,
#2 have a player crafted economy. Creatures would drop raw materials mostly, but if the creature could carry weapons or armor then it has a possibility of a good drop. Player manufactured items would be the better items except for a few rare exceptions.
#3 have a large world, with few zones. Difficult to eliminate zones, but limiting them would be paramount.
#4 Lots of dungeons, Some instanced ,some not. So both crowds can choose what they like.
#5 Open pvp in some areas, BUT with consequences. Those who player killed often would have restrictions. Sorry pvpers you can't have your cake and eat it too, others just won't play if you dominate. Some areas would be dangerous and open pvp, probably would have the rarer resources too.
#6 Player towns are something I would like, but are a problem when it comes to being attacked, how do you defend an attack at off hours, definitely need a mechanism that only makes it difficult to destroy one quickly.
#7 Questing seems to be still well liked, but would include puzzles as well as quests that are not tied to one specific area. Perhaps many of them would require you to gather resources to get something made and would be repeatable and the item recieved could be random in it's usefulness.
#8 Crafting would be important in this game. Highly skilled crafters would be able to make much better items than the run of the mill crafter.
This is just a skeleton of a what I think a good MMO needs, I am sure many of you differ with what I would like, but I really don't think innovating is as important as just using the good ideas that are already out there.
EQ is the evil incarnate monster that introduced rigid class lines in this genre. Just lazy developers that use this because they don't want to take time to balance skills, instead of balancing classes.
Classes and levels technically come from Dungeons and Dragons. EQ was not the first online game to use this system, but it was the first that seemed to go to great lengths to strip out any semblance of depth from its core design, thus introducing the terrible phenomenon known as "Evercrack".
That said, I agree with Ozmodan; innovation isn't entirely necessary when there are many giants gone before upon whose broad shoulders a developer could stand and still be touted as an "innovator". Just as an example, one thing I and others enjoy about WoW is the "seamless" nature of the game world -- go from one end of a continent to the other without interrupting the game experience to load a new zone. But Ultima Online offered this feature (of course the non-MMO Dungeon Siege was the first, I believe, to offer this in a 3D world).
However I want to re-emphasize that all of these features are just a different shade of the same color. What's important -- and what developers have yet to really figure out, despite over a decade of MMO history, is that players want to make a difference in the world. If you you finish a quest and kill all the bad guys, but the bad guys respawn and the quest doesn't ever change, the whole experience feels cheap.
There are technical issues with addressing this issue, but thats what I'm saying -- the time has come for MMO developers to invest time and resources to deepen the experience we've already got, rather than to "innovate" new features.
Excellent point about deepening the experience. Everyone wants to have some effect on the world, yet rarely does it happen in current MMO's.