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Do MMOs really need to be a living breathing world?

whilanwhilan Member UncommonPosts: 3,472

Probably going to get some heat for this one but it's always good to take a different perspective once and a while.

In nearly every MMO we look at how the game needs to be a living breathing world as if thats some kind of requirement for the game to have in order for it to be an MMO. The big question is, why is this a requirement? I think it predates back to the early MMOs where they always said play in a living breathing world.

Perhaps this early thinking of the genre made people fixate on the part of living worlds. Therefore if an MMO doesn't have one it therefore fails at being a proper MMO.

I disagree (naturally) and feel that the world needs to be entertaining but doesn't need to be living and breathing for it to be fun, nor for it to be an MMO.

MMO I belive is just as it sounds, a lot of people playing the same game online with others.  In which case thats all the game really needs to do.  In essences thats really all they are, a very very long game. In that sense it needs a lot to do.  But the idea of it needing to be living and breathing is more of a concept of a type of game rather then the core aspect of MMOs, I think this idea was implanted at the beginning with UO and to some extent EQ.  Naturally it's always nice if the place is living and breathing but when talking about wether a game will be fun and met the requirements i don't feel it needs to be a living and breathing world. 

What do you all think, did UO and EQ (and the like) make the MMO genre stick to one idea or is this really what people would have wanted if UO and EQ hadn't done this?

 

Note: Just so you know i'm not against living breathing worlds, they are nice, just trying to look at it from a different perspective.

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Comments

  • SabbathSMCSabbathSMC Member Posts: 226

    Well i think your right UO and EQ did start this and M59 before them. They are all living breathing worlds. I can't think of any MMO thats not a living breathing world.

    So there is noway to know if its what the people want or not.

    But i would lean to they would just for the simple fact people generaly tent to like the games fairly realistic within limits... Like magic of coarse is not realistic but from many books and stories and movies they are still very familiar with it. Even with the many  different characters and races that are out there people still play a human. I'm not even sure a phyc major could figure it out.

    But for me personaly i prefer as realistic as i can get.

    played M59,UO,lineage,EQ,Daoc,Entropia,SWG,Horizons,Lineage2.EQ2,Vangaurd,Irth online, DarkFall,Star Trek
    and many others that did not make the cut or i just plain forgetting about.

  • IfeedtrollsIfeedtrolls Member Posts: 122

    I don't think, they need to be in a breathing world. I just think its expected by the creators. Most of the space, fantasy MMO's are low player base. I think the creators of a MMO just generally make it a normal world , breathing, because its a easier concept. Right? 

     

     Fantasy or Space or fictional monsters on mysterious planets would be a harder game to create skills and stuff. 

     

      But basically, I think they just create the game in a breathing world, because thats how the majority of them are created.

  • F2PMMOF2PMMO Member UncommonPosts: 122

    I think in order to take the RPG part seriously you need to have a living breathing world. Never played UO or EQ, but thought the latter was a lot of grind, which is contrary to a living breathing world.

    Well, to answer your question:  I think it needs the living breathing world to be worth called an MMO since that what it is all about, makes the genre stand apart from other kinds of games. The tendency for exemple to make them ever more soloplayer friendly will at some point make the genre break down, because you play the game alongside other players, but never join them in their adventure. The world is what makes the presence of other players matter.

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  • XzenXzen Member UncommonPosts: 2,607

    To be a good MMOs yes.

  • FennrisFennris Member UncommonPosts: 275

    What do you mean by a "living and breathing world"?

    I would argue that we haven't really had a living a breathing world yet in that all of the NPCs and most of the content is static in most games and that player actions have little if any impact on the environments at all (except in pvp in which case the impact is minimal). 

    D&D Online may be what you're talking about where most of the actual adventuring is done via instances and the gameworld is (or was) very small.

  • jpnzjpnz Member Posts: 3,529

    I'd say no and technology wise it probably isn't feasible anyway.

    The biggest issue with 'living breathing world' is that an MMO will have tens of thousands of people and those players need to do 'stuff'. 

    If we really break it down, there is absolutely no way a game world can sustain the amount of 'respawns' it needs to entertain those people without breaking the whole 'breathing world' anyway.

    To grow a 'wolf/bear/lion/scary monster XYZ' takes time and somehow I doubt a game can say 'living breathing world' when we are dealing with 'respawns'.

    Something killed should stay killed and that goes against MMO mechanics. How crappy will it be if only one team kills a raid boss and that's it? Even if you were on that team, knowing you will never see that boss again?

    Trying to merge Elder scrolls type mechanics with MMOs is not possible.

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • goblagobla Member UncommonPosts: 1,412

    Doesn't have to be. A MMO can be fun without it.

    I mean I'd have no trouble filling several pages of complaints about a MMO that doesn't have a living and breathing world but if it's a good MMO I'd still enjoy playing it.

    So it wouldn't be the MMO I've been hoping for every since I discovered the genre, but then again that one probably isn't ever going to come out, but if all the other parts are well designed then it'll still be great fun.

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  • WarmakerWarmaker Member UncommonPosts: 2,243

    Don't worry, OP.  MMORPGs haven't been about a "Living Breathing World" or a Virtual World for years. 

    A. They're more about taking you on a specific ride on rails with little deviation.

    B. A major one for me.  By looking at what they're doing anything outside combat in the last 5-7 years, I believe the genre is getting worse.  Devs can't seem to wrap their minds around anything outside combat.  You can do less with the world these days.

    C. A much, much stronger emphasis on Single Player / Solo-Friendliness.  You don't need anyone else.  Not much of a Virtual World when nobody needs anyone.

    "I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, US Marine Corps, Soissons, 19 July 1918)

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,905

    Sort of a personal preference rather than a requirement.  In my case I call more realisitic virtual worlds MMORPG's and other games just MMO's, but that's just my definitiion.

    I guess being a virtual world is more of a feature, like housing, no MMO really needs either one, but its nice to have IMO.

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    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing POE at the moment.

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  • DeathofsageDeathofsage Member UncommonPosts: 1,102

    Are they? No.

    Can they be? Probably not, not yet anyway.

    Should efforts be made in that direction? Yes.

    Spec'ing properly is a gateway drug.
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  • arcanistarcanist Member Posts: 163

    They don't have to be. Its just personal preference.

  • alderdalealderdale Member Posts: 301

    Nah they can just be lobby trash console games and some people will still fork out their money for them.

  • RequiamerRequiamer Member Posts: 2,034

    One of the main aspect of a mmo is its persistant world, should i say more?

    Some do put it more or less in front of their mmo, but those that negligate it too much broke their teath. mmo without a rich world are commercial flop.

     

    I don't think people will accept easely to pay a subscription for anything else than an mmo with a very strong persistant world, its not that some didn't try it, its that the players won't give their money without a fight, if the complexity and the content of said game isn't at some level. Content is always a very delicate discussion for each new mmo that come out, and the persistant world is the holder of said content. I could take few "must have" content like crafting to backup that idea. Crafting is definitly one of those idea that create a living breathing world with its own economy right, it is a must have because mmo need those worlds. Poeple like their avatar to have its own life, this mean have its own worlds it is just a natural concequences, i don't even understand why it have to be explained really. Now i understand the OP was talking about the old idea of Ultima game about NPC sleeping during night and those kind of stuff. But in fact that idea is a lot more than just those "silly" aspects, crafting and economy are definitlly the pilar of that idea with character development.

    Honestly i thing a large majority of mmo don't even come close to the standard set by R.G with Uo when he first put in a monthly subscription. So it is not strange to me people are winning for every new mmo about the subsription price, since both are hand tight, to me it is definitly at least. Uo still hold the richest content and the strongest persistant world even today, which is a shame for the entire mmo Developer community, this just point very clearly the probelom of mmos, and the very obvious and general discontent behind it.

     

    So for me it is a chain of event: amount of content, persitant world, nature of that world. If the first is really such a serious mater, then the last will be a living breathing world. Honestly i think the dev just try to find nice excuses to spend the least money and get the most money on their projects, and thats all. You can clearly see the drop of content from Uo up to Lineage 2 in mmo history, then that level of content come back up until now, just because player whine so much they (the developers) have no choice but puting back content in their projects.

     

    the step further Uo content level is clearly to make what RG failed to do: put in a living breathing world. It was his dream behind Uo; someone will make it for sure in the few next mmo gen, i'm sure of it.

  • KenFisherKenFisher Member UncommonPosts: 5,035

    To put it in simplest terms...  A dead world is dead.

     

    Using WoW as an example.  There are wandering mobs and scattered critters.  When a mob encounters a critter sometimes it will break from its script, run to the critter and kill it, then run back to its scripted walk path and continue.

     

    Another WoW example is going into a mine and the miners are picking away at the rocks.

     

    Sure it's just eye candy but it gives the world a "live" feel rather than just walking through a lifeless modeled environment.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
  • MadimorgaMadimorga Member UncommonPosts: 1,920

    Player housing is one thing that makes me feel like the game world lives and breathes.  I want housing, or at least an apartment, and interesting things to put in it, in every MMO I play.  I'm fondly remember my early days in AO, where every painting and stick of furniture, fridge, lamps, lumpy clay ashcan pottery, that giant boombox, plus of course the Buffy statue had to go in my Rubika apartment.  Not saying I spent hours on decorating, because there really wasn't even much to it, but it was there.  And that made me happy, even when I spent months playing without even bothering to go into my apartment, or into anyone else's.

     

    My greatest disappointment with both Earthrise and Fallen Earth is the complete lack of housing in both games.  And FE still hasn't gotten around to putting it in, even though the game seems to be chugging along well enough.  Earthrise has so many other issues I doubt they'll last long enough to do housing even if they wanted to, which makes me sad, because I really loved the game world.  My greatest disappointment with Darkfall is that housing was dependent on being in a clan and I didn't stick with Darkfall very long partly because of that.

     

    Xsyon lets me build and terraform, but they aren't quite there yet.  At least they have the right idea.

     

    Tempted to go try some of the older fantasy games that have housing on the side at this point.  If Eve ever gets walking in stations, I hope they get around to living in stations, too.  My freshly-decanted spaceship character might want a place to sleep, and I'd likely resub if that happened.

     

     

     

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  • Garvon3Garvon3 Member CommonPosts: 2,898

    Because that's part of what defines the MMORPG genre. MMORPGs have living breathing virtual worlds. That's why games like WoW are hardly considered MMOs by genre veterans. It makes for a better experience for almost everyone. If you want to make a game thats just a series of dungeons you can coop with real life friends... its called Diablo, and it already has a genre.

  • DeathofsageDeathofsage Member UncommonPosts: 1,102

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG

    To put it in simplest terms...  A dead world is dead.

     

    Using WoW as an example.  There are wandering mobs and scattered critters.  When a mob encounters a critter sometimes it will break from its script, run to the critter and kill it, then run back to its scripted walk path and continue.

     

    Another WoW example is going into a mine and the miners are picking away at the rocks.

     

    Sure it's just eye candy but it gives the world a "live" feel rather than just walking through a lifeless modeled environment.

    In FFXI, there were these pantherish cats and giant sheep named, fittingly enough, giant sheep. They would do as you describe (and I've seen WoW do). Sometimes while killing the tigers, farming for Black Tiger Fangs, you would get Giant Sheep Meat as a drop.

    The Secret World promises things like this on a larger scale. There's an event planned where these eggs hatch on the shore...


    • You can let the eggs hatch and kill what comes out.

    • You can destroy the eggs so that nothing comes out.

    • You can destroy the monsters that lay the eggs.

    • You can destroy the queens that create the monsters that lay the eggs.

    Of course, the queens will surely respawn after a time, but worlds like this (assuming this is used more than just one or two random scenarios) is a step in the right direction for me.

    Spec'ing properly is a gateway drug.
    12 Million People have been meter spammed in heroics.

  • RequiamerRequiamer Member Posts: 2,034

    Originally posted by Deathofsage

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG

    To put it in simplest terms...  A dead world is dead.

     

    Using WoW as an example.  There are wandering mobs and scattered critters.  When a mob encounters a critter sometimes it will break from its script, run to the critter and kill it, then run back to its scripted walk path and continue.

     

    Another WoW example is going into a mine and the miners are picking away at the rocks.

     

    Sure it's just eye candy but it gives the world a "live" feel rather than just walking through a lifeless modeled environment.

    In FFXI, there were these pantherish cats and giant sheep named, fittingly enough, giant sheep. They would do as you describe (and I've seen WoW do). Sometimes while killing the tigers, farming for Black Tiger Fangs, you would get Giant Sheep Meat as a drop.

    The Secret World promises things like this on a larger scale. There's an event planned where these eggs hatch on the shore...


    • You can let the eggs hatch and kill what comes out.

    • You can destroy the eggs so that nothing comes out.

    • You can destroy the monsters that lay the eggs.

    • You can destroy the queens that create the monsters that lay the eggs.

    Of course, the queens will surely respawn after a time, but worlds like this (assuming this is used more than just one or two random scenarios) is a step in the right direction for me.

     Rift is "all' about that idea too.

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick Member CommonPosts: 7,619

    Actually, it's MMORPG, with the G for Game. There is no requirement for an MMORPG to be a virtual world simulation.

    The best example of a virtual world simulation is maybe Second Life, and Second Life is certainly not an MMORPG.

     

    In fact, for a game to be an MMORPG it only needed to a RPG-style of game that can be played online with hordes of other people, and RPG is a wide genre: you have RPG's like the Ultima series or Baldur's Gate, but also action RPG's or hack&slash RPG's like Diablo. UO was an example of an MMO in the style of the first kind of RPG's and WoW came as MMO closer to the second kind of RPG's.

    Maybe a new acronym should be more appropriate, MMORPW or MMORPWS, where the WS stands for 'world simulation' .

     

    As for MMO's needing to be a living breathing world: the more an MMORPG appeals to a wider range of playstyles and variety of gameplay, the better. More variety is always better than less variety.

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

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  • just1opinionjust1opinion Member UncommonPosts: 4,641

    Originally posted by alderdale

    Nah they can just be lobby trash console games and some people will still fork out their money for them.

    Sadly, this ^^^^.

    President of The Marvelously Meowhead Fan Club

  • inBOILinBOIL Member Posts: 669

    its about imagination and how that product can feed your imagination.

    limited games for limited imagination and Vice Versa.

    Generation P

  • mmocrusadermmocrusader Member Posts: 7

    I don't think the Op does a good enough job at describing what he feels is a "living breathing world" to really answer the question.

    Is World of Warcraft considered a living breathing world? I would contend it is not. It is a series of linked, static linear game fields one progress through. There are almost no "world" elements at all. With the exeption of content re-writes, WoW mobs and NPC's has basically been standing in their assigned spots waiting to die over and over, for the last 7 years. IS this what the OP is defining as living and breathing?

    So to answer his question one must really ask what is considered a "living breathing world" first.

     

    I would question if there are any "living breathing worlds" to begin with.

    Although the OP seems to be questioning whether this is a necessary feature, I would ask if it has ever been done specifically in the post WoW era and if so, what makes these games living and breathing?

  • maplestonemaplestone Member UncommonPosts: 3,099

    It's a question of personal taste.  My personal preference is for worlds that have integrity - worlds that change, evolve and continue to exist even when I'm not logged in.  Not everyone needs this, not everyone enjoys this.  But I do.

  • jusomdudejusomdude Member RarePosts: 2,694

    IMO they do need to be, at least that makes it a much more interesting game that I'd be willing to spend more time with.

    I'm tired of playing the same old game with a different skin since DAoC. I've said in another thread that I believe it's time for someone to reinvent the MMO. But what reason is there for that? The clones make companies some easy bucks.

     

    It will take a devoted indie or group of indie developers to break us out of these shallow games that I don't really have anymore desire to play

     

    Anyways, I'm just tired of grinding mobs, collecting x number of y things, crafting useless gear,killing the same big boss for phat lootz, running around in dead worlds. That's a MMO in a nutshell... pretty sad it takes so little to describe.

     

    I'm waiting for a game closer to a world simulator but also interesting. Who knows if I'll ever see one though.

  • RequiamerRequiamer Member Posts: 2,034

    Originally posted by MMO.Maverick

    Actually, it's MMORPG, with the G for Game. There is no requirement for an MMORPG to be a virtual world simulation.

    The best example of a virtual world simulation is maybe Second Life, and Second Life is certainly not an MMORPG.

     

    .

     Second life is not even close to be a simulator it is just a gigantic chat room with some flexible world building option for the contributors. It doesn't even want to simulate anything, and it is not a game. There is no cohesion or structure behind it, in fact it lack any of those by purpose and design. It is mostly a freeform project.

    To be a simulator you need to try to set the same kind of rules the environement you want to simulate have, then launch to see where it goes and how it goes. Second life clearly doesn't even try to do that.

    Also you can set a virtual world without trying to simulate anything. You will simulate a real life aspect. You can just copy real without even caring about the outcome. Simulation is about the outcome, because you want to see what will happen if a set of rules hold that simulation.

    So i think you can make a living breathing wolrd without wanting to simulate anything. You just want to create a structure and proper environement for your avatar, thats all. Simulator is more something for science than for gaming. You can still mix those right RG definitly like science; nothing strange he did mixed those with UO.

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