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General: New Column: Why Not Historical MMOs?

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  • cukimungacukimunga Member UncommonPosts: 2,258

    Well in most cases historical mmo's won't work if its faction PvP based  and historicly accurate.   Lets see lets do a Civil War era MMO, it would' nt work  because  we all know that the confederates lost.   SO if the game was PvP and you wanted to be historically accurate then the confeds would be gimped in the game and then nobody would want to play them.

     

     

    But if you don't care about historical accuracy you can have any MMO set up in any time with faction based PvP.     I think it would be cool if there were some other time periods.   Ive been playing a bit of PotBS and its a nice change of pace.  Ive always liked pirates and it has some good features, its just to bad it failed  and everyone hates SOE.

  • chaod1984chaod1984 Member Posts: 271

    Couldnt agree with Smokeysong more.

    The biggest problem many of the failing/struggling MMO's have encountered is the fact that they try to hard to stick to the facts of the lore rather than allow constant creation of lore. 

    My other disagreement is, if you knock out the caster classes from MMO's(for historical relevance), you immediately lose half the customers.  Creating MMO's isnt cheap, and most of the time, the more money you invest, the better product.  How do you accumulate that money?  Customers.  You lose money when you lose customers.  You lose customers when you cut certain aspects of gameplay out, especially choice of class.

    All in all, this is another "great idea in a perfect world" that just never translates well in the real world...

    Great article/explanation of things, I loved the article, just disagreed with it.  Keep up the good work :)

    Chris Clemency

  • KhalathwyrKhalathwyr Member Posts: 3,138
    Originally posted by Dana

    Originally posted by Blacksun


    Timeline: All mmos flow on some sort of timeline. If there is a timeline then there is an end. This, Im sure is the fundamental reason most developers wont even touch historical IP for games that they intend to have no end(LotRO being the only IP with enough clout & guaranteed playerbase to expend the resources to come up with a not-so-perfect-but-workable timeline solution). Its a big hurdle to overcome & has to be given so much more thought and resources to develop a game that deals appropriately with what happens when 1776 comes around in your American Revolution MMO, or when 1240 comes around and gunpowder is showing up in medieval battles?

    The developers choice is to expend lots of resources to develop a good, working, original timeline concept, or drop the timeline concept altogether and leave you in a sandbox with a vacuous feel of floating in perpetual limbo. This might appeal to some, but falls short of what most MMOers are looking for in their gaming choices.


     

    Only a very small handful of MMOs have any internal concept of time. LotRO being the notable exception to the rule.

    Most MMOs are basically a "snapshot" in a moment where people play within the box. There is no reason any of these settings would need to advance in time and have external events "imposed upon them" unless they wanted to.

    For example, expansion packs that introduced new content and "advanced the timeline" would be logical.



     

    True, but it wouldn't be very appealing to me to fight the Battle of Waterloo or the engagement at Trafalgar over and over and over. And I'm a veteran and a European History major.

    Course, on the other side, it'd help some of the kids playing MMOs in history class. Well, maybe, maybe not.

    "Many nights, my friend... Many nights I've put a blade to your throat while you were sleeping. Glad I never killed you, Steve. You're alright..."

    Kickstarter 2 / Naysayers 0

  • DanaDana Member Posts: 2,415
    Originally posted by Khalathwyr

    Originally posted by Dana

    Originally posted by Blacksun


    Timeline: All mmos flow on some sort of timeline. If there is a timeline then there is an end. This, Im sure is the fundamental reason most developers wont even touch historical IP for games that they intend to have no end(LotRO being the only IP with enough clout & guaranteed playerbase to expend the resources to come up with a not-so-perfect-but-workable timeline solution). Its a big hurdle to overcome & has to be given so much more thought and resources to develop a game that deals appropriately with what happens when 1776 comes around in your American Revolution MMO, or when 1240 comes around and gunpowder is showing up in medieval battles?

    The developers choice is to expend lots of resources to develop a good, working, original timeline concept, or drop the timeline concept altogether and leave you in a sandbox with a vacuous feel of floating in perpetual limbo. This might appeal to some, but falls short of what most MMOers are looking for in their gaming choices.


     

    Only a very small handful of MMOs have any internal concept of time. LotRO being the notable exception to the rule.

    Most MMOs are basically a "snapshot" in a moment where people play within the box. There is no reason any of these settings would need to advance in time and have external events "imposed upon them" unless they wanted to.

    For example, expansion packs that introduced new content and "advanced the timeline" would be logical.



     

    True, but it wouldn't be very appealing to me to fight the Battle of Waterloo or the engagement at Trafalgar over and over and over. And I'm a veteran and a European History major.

    Course, on the other side, it'd help some of the kids playing MMOs in history class. Well, maybe, maybe not.

     

    Well again, I was thinking historical more in terms of settings then events. The players make the events and conduct the adventures. It's not like the Battle of Waterloo would be happening every night at nine ;)

    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Originally posted by Khalathwyr
    True, but it wouldn't be very appealing to me to fight the Battle of Waterloo or the engagement at Trafalgar over and over and over. And I'm a veteran and a European History major.
    Course, on the other side, it'd help some of the kids playing MMOs in history class. Well, maybe, maybe not.

     

    In a true MMO those battle should be planned by players. What if Napoleon never went to egypt for one thing? Or if the French fleet capture a part of the British before Trafalgar?

    Personally I think US during the revolution would work better, were a lot more smaller skirmishes there. The same reason Vietnam would work better than WW1 (except airbattles, they are actually possible to make a MMO about. You could outfit and paint your plane, put an extra Lewis gun on it and so on) or WW2. WW2 is also politicaly incorrect, its easy to get some real neo Nazis...

    PvP battles with tens of thousands players just isn't possible yet, imagine the lagg. And Waterloo with 100 players would just suck. A platoon battle between some US marines and Vietnamese NVA (peoples army of Vietnam) in the djungle however could get intresting. There you could have citys and camps with infiltration missions. And it can be hard a first to see who is a peasant NPC and a viet cong...

    You need one thing to make a MMO fun: Gear. In 'Nam soldiers had different kinds of uniform (even in the same platoon), different weapons, things like Starlight scopes, grenade launchers and so on. And you could make the citys intresting enough.

  • KeoghKeogh Member Posts: 1,099

    Western, please.

    Rules systems for western "miniature" (like Warhammer) games already exist and could be adapted to the MMO.

    Please look at the links:

     

    www.wargamesfoundry.com/books/RWNN.asp 

    www.mts.net/~gisby/RWNN.htm

    "Don't corpse-camp that idea. Its never gonna rez"
    Bladezz (The Guild)

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    I havnt played that particular but another western minature game. Its rather fun actually.

    Western works well as an MMO also, as long as you dont have levels. Duels where 2 lvl 80 shots eachother for hours would suck so bad :D

    So realistic system for firearms and I would consider the game.

  • Bruticus_XIBruticus_XI Member Posts: 827
    Originally posted by Loke666


    I havnt played that particular but another western minature game. Its rather fun actually.
    Western works well as an MMO also, as long as you dont have levels. Duels where 2 lvl 80 shots eachother for hours would suck so bad :D
    So realistic system for firearms and I would consider the game.

    Gah, Westerns...movies are bad enough, now we must have MMOs? Hehe. Just kidding, I'm all for variety. Though that particular duel sounds like one of those Prot/Holy Pally vs. Prot/Holy Pally duels. Nice.

  • trancejeremytrancejeremy Member UncommonPosts: 1,222

    The MMORPG industry has pretty much followed the pen & paper RPG industry, not Hollywood. If you look at that, the king of RPGs is still D&D, followed by Vampire and I have no idea what else anymore.

    Historical roleplaying games, ones with no fantasy elements, do exist, but aren't particularly popular.

    R.I.P. City of Heroes and my 17 characters there

  • SoaraSoara Member UncommonPosts: 78

    It's always been my dream to make an MMO in the timeset of the American Revolution (the freedom would be amazing), or the Wild West (equally amazing freedom). Just so much you could do I LOVE YOU :D

  • CarolynKohCarolynKoh Staff WriterMember Posts: 202
    Originally posted by Khalathwyr True, but it wouldn't be very appealing to me to fight the Battle of Waterloo or the engagement at Trafalgar over and over and over. And I'm a veteran and a European History major.

    Course, on the other side, it'd help some of the kids playing MMOs in history class. Well, maybe, maybe not.

    Oh, but the Napoleonic wars culminating in the Battle of Waterloo (end game) would rock!  Except... that we'd throw historical accuracy out the door and let the players battle it out for each battle ground... but we can't let the French have rifles and all Brit players would want to be a Green Jacket rather than Red Coat.  :P

     

     

    Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  • CarolynKohCarolynKoh Staff WriterMember Posts: 202
    Originally posted by Dana





     

    True, but it wouldn't be very appealing to me to fight the Battle of Waterloo or the engagement at Trafalgar over and over and over. And I'm a veteran and a European History major.

    Course, on the other side, it'd help some of the kids playing MMOs in history class. Well, maybe, maybe not.

     

    Well again, I was thinking historical more in terms of settings then events. The players make the events and conduct the adventures. It's not like the Battle of Waterloo would be happening every night at nine ;)

    Now, if the Battle of Waterloo were end game and it got scheduled like the way PotBS schedules their port battles... that's a possibility...  Not every night at nine, but every week at nine?  ;)

    Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  • Xondar123Xondar123 Member CommonPosts: 2,543

    I agree with the author on all counts.

    I think it would be fascinating to play an ancient Rome MMO, I would love to see a faithful recreation of Rome, Jerusalem, or Londinium 1st to 3rd century AD. It would be amazing to throw my lot in with one of the many feudal powers in Medieval Europe.

    Rome itself has patricians, senators, Praetorians, gladiators, navies, legions, siege machines, far flung provinces, plebeians, mighty historical figures, cults, religions, and so many other things to keep an MMO player busy for years and years.

    Medieval Europe has monks, kings, wars, intricate alliances, castles, peasants, empires, trade routes, alchemists, and so forth. This would be such a rich tapestry that no one would ever run out of things to do.

    I should also point out that there is one historical MMO I can think of: Pirates of the Burning Sea. It may be a more stylized version of history, but last I knew the developers were going for some form of historical accuracy.

  • WisebutCruelWisebutCruel Member Posts: 1,089

    I believe making a truly historical mmo has its biggest obstacle presented by the surviving population of the particular groups represented in the game.

    By this I mean that the more historically accurate you make an mmo ( or any game ) the harder it is to get by the "revisionist" who go to great lengths to deny certain things happened, as well as those who believe they are being either misrepresented or even attacked culturally. You cannot have a truly "historical" game in an age of political correctness.

    An example:

    An "Old West" mmo would undoubtedly have to have cowboys and indians ( native americans ). Do you really want to be the PR guy having to dance around "historical" forms of warfare and culture such as skinning and scalping performed by tribes in warfare with each other as well as against the "white men"? Do you want to be the one being accused of discrimination by native americans because you neglect to show the mistreatment of the indian "savages" by the white men as they were historically committed? Better still, you'd need to decide which faction were the good guys and who were the bad? Truthfully, we can't even determine that after over 100 years as it is now. But players always want to know if they're playing "alliance" or "horde".

    No, you'd make the game as sanitary and neutral as possible to avoid offending any particular group. Therefore, your game is no longer "historical" but just another fantasy. Because in the real world which has an over-abundance of trigger happy lawyers and easily offendable cultural organizations, saying "But it's accurate!" won't stop the precious development time and oney wasted in court every time someone takes exception.

    The same goes for any game, mmo or not, which tries to call itself "historical". If you are not able to, or not willing to, make everything about that world authentic to the actual world at the time it is supposed to represent, regardless of how it is going to portray a particular faction or culture as long as the portrayal is accurate, then you are not making a historical game.

  • roalandroaland Member UncommonPosts: 185

    This is a great story. For any devolopers interested, i have a great outline for a Western MMO complete with outlaws gunslingers marshals preachers indians and more that you can have....seriously guys....i love fantasy as much as any other fan of Tolken or Forgoten Realms does. But for cry-in-out-loud people Dana has a great point. Thank you for a great story.

  • synergisynergi Member UncommonPosts: 133

     I think a western MMO would be awesome. It would have to be skilled base and not levels. It would need to have ALOT of sandbox. I see it being a crafters dream. buffalo hunting,mining, skinning, beaver trapping, farming, black smith just to name a few. It would be a pvp crowds dream, and I think a lot of potiential for role players. It is the perfect genre and set up to have something for everyone.

    Frontier 1859 has a lot of great ideas. It's to bad there are no companies willing to do something completely different from your orc's and elves.

    "It is better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees,"

  • Originally posted by Dana
    Only a very small handful of MMOs have any internal concept of time. LotRO being the notable exception to the rule.

    Regardless of perception, Im pretty sure all MMOs do, however, use a timeline. Weither or not the timeline gets developed, plays any significance, or time sensetive content implimented, is irrelevant,...unless you're in a historical genre.

    The Fantasy genre(apart from LotRO), because of it's lack of historical documented timeline to follow, being the easiest IP to create endless content for(16 EQ expansions anyone?). Historical settings don't afford this luxury to the extent that fantasy genres do. At some point history runs into the wall and the developer has to deal with it(hopefully from conception).

    In the most basic sense, a historical MMO would have to be set in a specific period, which would confine it to a "Snapshot"(what a segue,...).

     

    Originally posted by Dana

    Most MMOs are basically a "snapshot" in a moment where people play within the box. There is no reason any of these settings would need to advance in time and have external events "imposed upon them" unless they wanted to.

    For example, expansion packs that introduced new content and "advanced the timeline" would be logical.

    Perhaps this is where our opinions part ways. One of the essential elements, in my opinion, that defines an MMO, is a persistant world. It's what separates an MMO from all other online games, being able to log into a virtual, continual world of expanding, and hopefully, player-driven content.



    To accommodate multiple battlefields in a historic era, outside of a time-line, would require heavy instancing, and probably eliminate any chance for a persistant world.

    This may make a great Roman online war-sim, but wouldn't be a historical MMO persay.

    One of the few ways around this, and to avoid having external events "imposed upon" players, is to allow for open player-driven history creation on a server-by-server basis, but this would be hindered if future "expansion packs that introduced new content and "advanced the timeline"" didn't concur with what the players already established on the exclusive server (what?! the mongols wiped out christianity 6 months ago on our server, why is the new Medieval expansion the Teutonic Knights and Knights of Antioch?).

     

    Needless to say, as other posters have mentioned, the idea of historical MMOs does have appeal, and does have a market yet to be explored. It's a matter of how well it gets pulled off,...



    I could definately see a 10000BC MMO with complete player-driven economy, crafting system and IP creation (you like the wheel? I created that! Three mamoth tusks for the blueprints please,...) could be a huge success, but largely because it exists outside of documented historical timelines.

    Perhaps the biggest question I would ask of anyone wanting a historical MMO would be, What would you do for end-game content for a Historical MMO?

    Thanks for the great article, and much needed discussion into new ideas for a new MMO market. Build it and they will come,...don't discuss it & it will never get built!

     

     

  • Ngeldu5tNgeldu5t Member UncommonPosts: 608

    Great  thread and I agree with most of what have been said.The Healer problem can be overcome as armies in the 11th century and beyond had Monks and Priests on the battlefield to bless the soldiers and weapons(yeah I know Warhammer has that)some even had faith in artefacts with some powers..rightfully or wrongfully.

    In the land of Predators,the lion does not fear the jackals...

  • tvalentinetvalentine Member Posts: 4,216

    i've been asking this question for years. Albeit the only real criticisim i've seen is that "well one side always loses, and you need to be historically accurate". Well you know what, no you dont. You dont need to be 100% historically accurate, let the players and their actions decide this new history. Seriously people, grow  a creativity bone.

    image

    Playing: EVE Online
    Favorite MMOs: WoW, SWG Pre-cu, Lineage 2, UO, EQ, EVE online
    Looking forward to: Archeage, Kingdom Under Fire 2
    KUF2's Official Website - http://www.kufii.com/ENG/ -

  • tvalentinetvalentine Member Posts: 4,216
    Originally posted by Blacksun

    Originally posted by Dana
    Only a very small handful of MMOs have any internal concept of time. LotRO being the notable exception to the rule.

     What would you do for end-game content for a Historical MMO?

     

    you ever play a skill based game? SWG Pre-cu? Ultima online? Eve online? Play one of those games and you'll have your answer.

    image

    Playing: EVE Online
    Favorite MMOs: WoW, SWG Pre-cu, Lineage 2, UO, EQ, EVE online
    Looking forward to: Archeage, Kingdom Under Fire 2
    KUF2's Official Website - http://www.kufii.com/ENG/ -

  • WisebutCruelWisebutCruel Member Posts: 1,089
    Originally posted by tvalentine


    i've been asking this question for years. Albeit the only real criticisim i've seen is that "well one side always loses, and you need to be historically accurate". Well you know what, no you dont. You dont need to be 100% historically accurate, let the players and their actions decide this new history. Seriously people, grow  a creativity bone.



     

    Then it is not historical. It would then be an alternate history. AKA fantasy.

  • tvalentinetvalentine Member Posts: 4,216
    Originally posted by WisebutCruel

    Originally posted by tvalentine


    i've been asking this question for years. Albeit the only real criticisim i've seen is that "well one side always loses, and you need to be historically accurate". Well you know what, no you dont. You dont need to be 100% historically accurate, let the players and their actions decide this new history. Seriously people, grow  a creativity bone.



     

    Then it is not historical. It would then be an alternate history. AKA historical video GAME

     

    fixed.

     

    its a video game, a mmorpg at that. A game where PLAYERS choose what they do. Would you consider World war 2 online to be fantasy, because nazi's win fictional battles?

    image

    Playing: EVE Online
    Favorite MMOs: WoW, SWG Pre-cu, Lineage 2, UO, EQ, EVE online
    Looking forward to: Archeage, Kingdom Under Fire 2
    KUF2's Official Website - http://www.kufii.com/ENG/ -

  • XruxXrux Member UncommonPosts: 134

    We have two game plans based on games from/with Historical perspective build. The decision NOT to make it the firts game is made form commercial perspective. Not that we dont see a market for it , but the investors need to be convinced. They see big genre as fantasy, they play safe these days etc. And we are working with low budget. Imagine the 40 mil+ productions...

    Yes our first game will be Fantasy genre, but will have NEW elements in it not used in existing games(so far).

    Have no fear, Xru is here.

  • moxfactormoxfactor Member Posts: 70

    um...  if you don't mind some fantasy elements, since this is a game, in this website's list there's already a Three Kingdom's game coming out soon localized for Anglophones, someone early on already mentioned Roma Victor, so there are a few, very few, "historical" MMORPGs.

     

    as for ideas, have anyone read the Time's Odyssey series(Time's Eye and Sunstorm, i have yet to read Firstborn, as Sci-Fi books are hard to come by in Hong Kong) by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.  This would be an excellent series(well, the first book anyways) to be made into a historical-type MMO, with a very alternate form of fantastical element added (not time travel, per se, but blocks of earth from various time frames within the last million years mixed together.)  so the variety of wildlife and various stages of civilization can be incorporated into the same setting.  the selling point can be the fight between Alexander the Great's army with the help of some 19th century Brits and pashtuns from fort Lahore versus the Mongol at the height of their empire in an empty Babylon, with the hanging gardens and the temple of Marduk setting the scene...  add to the mix scattered protohumans, ice age giant mammals, and an unknown "settlement" around where Chicago is....  people can "rebuild" earth as they see fit.  remember the DS9 episode with the alternate timeline planet Gaia with the crashed Defiant's offsprings?  or Final Fantasy series's original idea, much earlier in their history, (post-apocalyptic fresh start).

    the problem with a true historical game would be audience.  there really aren't so many people who'd want a game without any glitz or glamour, no sparkly magic fireballs(even LotR is a low magic world), an a very small variety of things to do, which is why Roma Victor isn't doing enough business to warrant any attention on a global scale.  a "low-fantasy" setting might do the trick, especially if it's more build-up, Sims like, with some pvp thrown in, but you can't get rid of the fantasy without enough people to still be interested in playing to make a profit.

    -- Vet of: UO, Pre-AI AO, EQ, DAoC, Shadowbane, Pre-CU SWG, EQ2, RO, Crossgate, Neocron, StoneAge, JY Online, JY Online 2, Seal Online, Asgard Online, Mabinogi, Dragonraja, Lineage, Guild Wars, WoW US, WoW China, WoW Taiwan, EVE Online, LOTRO, Dark and Light, FFXI, FFXIV, Age of Conan, Atlantica Online, STO, and many more...

    -- Still have an account on: WoW: Cata(US)(2 months+).

    -- waiting for them to make:
    Zork(game), Wizardry Compiled(novel), Dune(novel), G1 Transformers(cartoon).

  • gaiusmariusgaiusmarius Member UncommonPosts: 39

    A Roman history game would be great, one with a big budget and a big team behind it of course. I'd probably play both Roman and the Gauls, for sure.

    As for Medieval, sure, why not? There's a big market, taking magic out of it seems fun and different, maybe a more stricter magic system? One that's not been explored before? Maybe you have to master the art of swords and such before you can explore into magic, rather than from day 1 being able to fling fireballs.



    As for the rest, well, that's to be explored, I think with all the Anime and F2P games there is, there's plenty of 12th century, martial arts and so on games.

    I've yet to try Roma Victor, but I don't think I will, I'm still looking for "the perfect game".

    [Playing] SW:ToR
    [Played] AoC, WoW, Rift, EQ 1, 2, SWG, DAoC, WAR, GW1, EVE, PotBS.
    [Watching] GW2, Archage

This discussion has been closed.