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Do MMOs really need to be a living breathing world?

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

    Originally posted by Requiamer

     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.

    Well, that may be your opinion and I care too little to start a whole pingpong debate over it, so I'll be just going with what wikipedia and most of the mainstream media are going for that describe Second Life as a virtual world. Feel free to stick to your own opinion regarding Second Life, I'll stick with my opinion and sources.

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

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  • WarmakerWarmaker Member UncommonPosts: 2,243

    Originally posted by MMO.Maverick

    *snip*

    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.

    A part where I heavily agree with you.

    It is why I highly prefer a virtual world in an MMORPG.  So that your character can do a wide variety of things and still have a worthwhile time with it.  Devs now are of course heavily inclined to fleshing out Combat.  But what about things other than Combat?

    As a player, I'm naturally inclined towards combat, just like alot of others.  But for me, I do tire of combat and seek to do other things.

    My thing is this:  What else can you do in a particular MMORPG outside of combat and still has equal depth and fun?

    That is something I have not found in my quest from one MMORPG title to the next in the last several years.  The last one that I did enjoy that offered a wide variety of thingshas been gone for more than 5 years now.  And I have yet to see that anywhere else in the newer gen of MMORPGs.

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  • jpnzjpnz Member Posts: 3,529

    Originally posted by Warmaker

    Originally posted by MMO.Maverick

    *snip*

    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.

    A part where I heavily agree with you.

    It is why I highly prefer a virtual world in an MMORPG.  So that your character can do a wide variety of things and still have a worthwhile time with it.  Devs now are of course heavily inclined to fleshing out Combat.  But what about things other than Combat?

    As a player, I'm naturally inclined towards combat, just like alot of others.  But for me, I do tire of combat and seek to do other things.

    My thing is this:  What else can you do in a particular MMORPG outside of combat and still has equal depth and fun?

    That is something I have not found in my quest from one MMORPG title to the next in the last several years.  The last one that I did enjoy that offered a wide variety of thingshas been gone for more than 5 years now.  And I have yet to see that anywhere else in the newer gen of MMORPGs.

    An MMO that has lots of other interesting things to do would be 'Free Realms'. Whether the game appeals to you is another matter but there are non-combat MMOs out there. 

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  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,937

    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.

     

    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.

    It's funny that you should mention Diablo, in fact when it was release most RPG purists did not consider it a proper RPG, however its action style combat revitalized what was a somewhat stale model at the time and of course, created a host of imitators and changed the direction of the genre forever.  Strange how history repeated itself in the next decade.

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    But I'll have to disagree perhaps with your viewpoint about MMO's needing to appeal to a wider range of playstyles, some design choices such as a living world perhaps seems to require creating a number of more mundane tasks that a large majority of consumers either don't want or have the time for, they'd rather get right into "the game" (usually combat, gearing up etc) much as Blizzard did with WOW in streamlining the genre.

    I like living worlds personally, but not if they take it too far.  I remember old single player RPG's like Ultima VI where it grew very tiresome to always have to forage for, carry and actually feed your party of adventurers.  (individually as I recall).  Was most annoying feature of the game (surprised we didn't have to use the loo) and throw in forced sleeping and that game started to get a bit too realistic for me.

    But where to judge how much realism to add?  What is satsifactory to me might be a total turn off to you, and in the end Dev's want to appeal to greatest numbers of players hence we have the standard theme park model of today, lead by Blizzard, imitated by many, and likely despised by a much larger percentage of people than most realize.

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

    Originally posted by Kyleran

    But I'll have to disagree perhaps with your viewpoint about MMO's needing to appeal to a wider range of playstyles, some design choices such as a living world perhaps seems to require creating a number of more mundane tasks that a large majority of consumers either don't want or have the time for, they'd rather get right into "the game" (usually combat, gearing up etc) much as Blizzard did with WOW in streamlining the genre.

    I like living worlds personally, but not if they take it too far.  I remember old single player RPG's like Ultima VI where it grew very tiresome to always have to forage for, carry and actually feed your party of adventurers.  (individually as I recall).  Was most annoying feature of the game (surprised we didn't have to use the loo) and throw in forced sleeping and that game started to get a bit too realistic for me.

    In another thread I mentioned that a lot of the current MMORPG's appeal mostly to the achiever - epic gear, titles - and the killer type - PvP and PvE combat - of MMO gamer and less to the explorer and socializer type of MMO gamer (see Bartle's model).

    Of course, very few people are a pure archetype, most people are a mix of those archetypes so there's enough in MMO's to keep us entertained for a while, at least the killer/achiever part of us.

     

    But especially in MMO's, that are intended to be played for many hundreds to thousands of hours, it's good if there's more choice and variety in the things to do. Everything can get stale and repetitive if it's one of only a few things you can do in a game.  Besides appealing more to the explorer and socializer side of people, having more elements that create the illusion of a virtual world will also add more the immersion factor at least for a lot of people and more immersion = more fun.

    How to offer more variety in playstyles in an MMORPG besides adding the what you called tedious RL aspects ? Well, I'm no designer, but in the ArcheAge section someone mentioned that it's possible to populate wastelands with trees. I can imagine that it can be an interesting challenge for some to try and grow a luscious forest of desert areas, or to 'terraform' and cultivate the area around a player town. Another option could be for example if you could build all kinds of fortifications to your guild keep or faction's keep or implement all kinds of traps a la Dungeon Keeper for when your keep gets attacked.

    Another non-virtual world oriented option is the addition of minigames or different playstyle to an MMORPG, like for example if WoW's joust minigame would be built further upon, or like adding space combat/exploration/questing into an MMORPG like happened with SWG.

    There's a lot of options, but in the end it's about having more stuff to do that is fun; repetitiveness and doing the same stuff again and again can get boring, more variety often means more entertainment value, and when implementing a virtual word design philosophy it often adds more variety, and also more immersion which is also more fun.

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

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
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  • FaelanFaelan Member UncommonPosts: 819

    No, they don't.

    In fact, I can't think of any MMO which I've tried that has a truly living and breathing world. Maybe null-sec in EVE, but that has more to do with the people living there and how they interact, than the world itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if given enough sandbox tools, it's possible to achieve it by letting the players have control. But in a themepark ride like WoW, you can only attempt to give the illusion of a living and breathing world via. scripts, phasing and game updates.

    Still, despite all that, I often feel that Azeroth (WoW) is far more alive than New Eden (EVE). In fact, as I'm sitting here watching my ship hovering in the station hangar in EVE, I find myself missing and drawn back to Azeroth because of it, even though I said to myself that I'm done with WoW when I unsubscribed in... january... I think it was. So... yeah... it's an illusion, but it's a powerful one.

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  • jpnzjpnz Member Posts: 3,529

    Originally posted by Faelan

    No, they don't.

    In fact, I can't think of any MMO which I've tried that has a truly living and breathing world. Maybe null-sec in EVE, but that has more to do with the people living there and how they interact, than the world itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if given enough sandbox tools, it's possible to achieve it by letting the players have control. But in a themepark ride like WoW, you can only attempt to give the illusion of a living and breathing world via. scripts, phasing and game updates.

    Still, despite all that, I often feel that Azeroth (WoW) is far more alive than New Eden (EVE). In fact, as I'm sitting here watching my ship hovering in the station hangar in EVE, I find myself missing and drawn back to Azeroth because of it, even though I said to myself that I'm done with WoW when I unsubscribed in... january... I think it was. So... yeah... it's an illusion, but it's a powerful one.

    WoW asthetics are really good actually. Despite the fact the engine is over 10 years old the style they went for is very consistant throughout the game, making it more 'believable' since nothing seems out of place. This attention to detail and the overall bright color design really gives you that immersion.

    EVE on the other hand goes for the more dark color ones with little to no interaction with something you can relate to. Incarna will drive new players into EVE as many people can identify themselves more if the char they are controlling isn't a 20 ton piece of metal that shoots lasers/missles and has that humonoid shape.

    Other than 'second life' what MMO has a 'living world'? Can something be called a 'living world' when there are respawns?

    If you break it down to the fundamental level I don't think anyone can deliver a 'living world' right now.

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  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771

    Two obvious point.

    1) Obviously not to be successful in the market. Just look at WOW. It is going more and more in the Diablo direction (for example, with the dungeon finder tool is wildly popular).

    2) It is a personal preference. MOST people do not care, but you may.

    In fact, I think Diablo 3 is probably going to be a better game (for me, and the market) than many real MMOs. I probably will spend more time in that than MMOs.

  • IfeedtrollsIfeedtrolls Member Posts: 122

    Originally posted by nariusseldon

    Two obvious point.

    1) Obviously not to be successful in the market. Just look at WOW. It is going more and more in the Diablo direction (for example, with the dungeon finder tool is wildly popular).

    2) It is a personal preference. MOST people do not care, but you may.

    In fact, I think Diablo 3 is probably going to be a better game (for me, and the market) than many real MMOs. I probably will spend more time in that than MMOs.

      Thats another topic of interest as well, what about games with sequels. They have no choice but to make similiar worlds because if they do not, they may lose some of their player base. Fan made MMO's are always going to be less popular than mainstream ones, due to mainstream always having more resources to work with. 

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Member RarePosts: 14,247

    I think they only need to be a living breathing world is that's what they are shooting for. The hipocracy of many MMO vets shines through with this one, as they want innovation and change and something new, but are often appalled at the thought of a lobbied game, solo gameplay or anythingg that deviates from decades old DikuMUD design.

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  • UnlightUnlight Member Posts: 2,540

    MMOs only need to be living and breathing if they want to keep me playing for more than a couple of months. 

  • BeezerbeezBeezerbeez Member UncommonPosts: 299

    What do you mean by "living, breathing worlds"?  I guess your question confuses me because it assumes there is some mandate for MMORPGs to be "living and breathing".  The life comes from the other real players interacting with you, doesn't it?  Some developers have tried to make NPCs more interactive but I don't think they qualify for a PC substitute.  Many MMOs are lobby games and they do well.  Are you suggesting lobby games are contrary to the living and breathing thing?  Despite having no idea what you're asking, I do agree with your assertions in the 4th paragraph (the big one).

  • kjempffkjempff Member RarePosts: 1,629

    A roleplaying game is hard to make without a beleivable world, otherwise you can't really get in character. You are preapred for some heat hehe, good. Since you can ask this question at all, you are probably not a role player but just a player, and you dismiss the roleplaying part of any game you play?

    Beleivable world does not equal living breathing world, and those that come close are still not that, but it gives enough to make you feel like your are in another world as another person for awhile - And that is roleplaying.

    So I would say no "MMO"s which I will take the liberty to call action games in a shared world, really dont need to be living breathing worlds, but MMORPGs should be beleivable in some manner and close to living breathing is a good way to get there.

  • PalebanePalebane Member RarePosts: 3,636


    Do MMOs really need to be a living breathing world?

     

    For me to play them, yes. I gather the good majority of modern online gamers don't really care about it.

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  • VorkeVorke Member Posts: 4

    What 'living world' means in context of MMORPG's, is the possibilities and encouragement for socializing, cooperating, fighting, roleplaying with other players. Scripted events, NPC miner mining rocks or 'lifeful' art style are nice details, but not really living, rather an illusion of such. As such not much scipted stuff is needed, but rather give the players the tools to create the world and interact with eachother. That's how I see it. EVE does it well, as well as UO did, to mention couple. It's also extremely important element in MMORPG's, as it defines the genre.

  • FikusOfAhaziFikusOfAhazi Member Posts: 1,835

    Originally posted by whilan

    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.

     Your question should be, do some games really need to be MMo's?. If the coop rpg market only consisted of MMO's, so anyone wanting to play an rpg with friends is forced to play an MMO, would these games calling themeselves mmo's still be as popular?

    I doubt it. If you want to play a newer multiplayer RPG, your forced to play an MMO. Pretty soon if you want to play a multiplayer fps, youll have to play an MMO. If you want to play a multiplayer rts, you'll have to play an MMO. All multiplayer will be MMO soon, and they will charge extra for it, without adding any purpose. Only a matchmaking service that no one likes lol.

    There is no point in them being MMO's. They have the technical requirements, so they charge above and beyond. Then add never ending treadmills after the game is over to meet the technical requirement of not ending.

    they dont have to be living worlds. They dont have to charge us for more than the box either. they dont need to be MMO's either.  They dont need to use marketing to trick people into paying for whats not there. But they do.

    People are getting wise thank god.

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  • ElikalElikal Member UncommonPosts: 7,912

    I can't say if MMOs per se need them, I can only say if they need them for me.

    And for me, the answer is YES, there are a must have for a MMO I am supposed to stay. I love to explore a world and I love story, where I am somewhat involved, or have the illusion to be involved. So for me those dead cities with NPCs just standing like glued to the ground and all the other things which make a MMO more a theatre stage than a world just kill the fun for me. I must believe that the game I play somehow is a world into which I can sink into for a while.

     

    For me, it is a must have.

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  • NeikenNeiken Member Posts: 254

    A persistant online world. A living, breathing world.

    This defines the genre. Its what attracts people to it. Without it, it isnt an MMORPG.

    I dont think the genre needs redefined.

    Also, your right in what you think MMO stands for. And there are a lot of games that can fall into that catagory. But lets forget the MMO part of it.

    What do you expect when you play an RPG? What were RPGs like before the MMO part.

    They were living, breathing games while you played them. And sadly...well, sadly for some RPGs, they ended.  Character progression ended. The bad guy died.

    And people where like...man, i wish i could keep going. Whens the next one come out!? I wonder what Fireball 13 would do if Fireball 12 was so epic!? I wonder how End Big Bad Boss Man got so Big Bad Bossy....

    Then...people would play the same RPG over again cause it was so much fun.

    And trust me, i know. Cause i was one of those people. And yea, im saying im THAT old. =(

    So i guess ill end with, MMORPGs are pretty true to being RPGs. The genre doesnt need to be redefined. Because to do that, you wouldnt be redefining the MMO part, but the RPG element.

    image

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo Member UncommonPosts: 3,219


    OP keeps things v general when talking about "mmos needing ""living & breathing worlds"" "



    As already mentioned, not all MMOs are based around persistence and work v well eg GW as a CORPG and Diablo as a more specific sub co-action dungeon-crawler. Action & greater personal story immerse players along discrete paths. But figurately they are very much living/breathing = atmospheric too.



    But for players to run around in a persistent large road, a ton of content needs to be created to provide immersion: Exploration of diverse lands of mountains, jungles, bustling cities that span continents and seas etc. But if all this is static, if all the activites are the same an if player interactions are all limited tot he same, the places devoid of sound and movement of other "living" critters, mobs, races with their story, characters and destiny's affected by players.... It does not matter how large and peristent the game world is and will look like those towns in Westerns that cardboard buildings with tumbleweed rolling across empty streets: "The train hasn't passed through El Pesata in a loooong time, stranger."



    As above, devs want to create just enough content to keep players playing or at least feeling like paying for 00's-000's of hours = large world that. Takes time to see it all either distance, diversity, obstacles to progression(stick&carrot). Unfortunately it's easier for devs to use the stick than hand out carrots and carrots of "living & breathing" & expensive & complicated content though either way it's still just as easy to Market a "living & breathing" world.



    Recently Guild Wars 2 has heavily marketed Dynamic Events as "living & breathing". If you look at the incorporated features they go someway towards that additional to Personal Story which is the 2nd bifurcation of the old quest system as well as art, music and voice-work. But despite the praiseworthy attempt they have their work cut-out to be truly living up to the tag "living & breathing". TOR has created enormous worlds and tons of character consequences again helping emotional living and breathing. AA lots more worl interactions to living and breathing... Positive stuff but in all cases steep expectations from players because our biology compares movies, games even books to the real world.
  • FikusOfAhaziFikusOfAhazi Member Posts: 1,835

    Originally posted by MumboJumbo





    OP keeps things v general when talking about "mmos needing ""living & breathing worlds"" "







    As already mentioned, not all MMOs are based around persistence and work v well eg GW as a CORPG and Diablo as a more specific sub co-action dungeon-crawler. Action & greater personal story immerse players along discrete paths. But figurately they are very much living/breathing = atmospheric too.







    But for players to run around in a persistent large road, a ton of content needs to be created to provide immersion: Exploration of diverse lands of mountains, jungles, bustling cities that span continents and seas etc. But if all this is static, if all the activites are the same an if player interactions are all limited tot he same, the places devoid of sound and movement of other "living" critters, mobs, races with their story, characters and destiny's affected by players.... It does not matter how large and peristent the game world is and will look like those towns in Westerns that cardboard buildings with tumbleweed rolling across empty streets: "The train hasn't passed through El Pesata in a loooong time, stranger."







    As above, devs want to create just enough content to keep players playing or at least feeling like paying for 00's-000's of hours = large world that. Takes time to see it all either distance, diversity, obstacles to progression(stick&carrot). Unfortunately it's easier for devs to use the stick than hand out carrots and carrots of "living & breathing" & expensive & complicated content though either way it's still just as easy to Market a "living & breathing" world.







    Recently Guild Wars 2 has heavily marketed Dynamic Events as "living & breathing". If you look at the incorporated features they go someway towards that additional to Personal Story which is the 2nd bifurcation of the old quest system as well as art, music and voice-work. But despite the praiseworthy attempt they have their work cut-out to be truly living up to the tag "living & breathing". TOR has created enormous worlds and tons of character consequences again helping emotional living and breathing. AA lots more worl interactions to living and breathing... Positive stuff but in all cases steep expectations from players because our biology compares movies, games even books to the real world.

     That is the point. They are marketing mmorpg's and delivering coop pve games.

    Players expectations arent too high. That's just another excuse to continue the marketing scams.

    For a living world, that means the devs wont have complete control of every aspect of the game. That wont happen anymore.

    End.

    See you in the dream..
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  • jpnzjpnz Member Posts: 3,529

    Originally posted by FikusOfAhazi

     

     That is the point. They are marketing mmorpg's and delivering coop pve games.

    Players expectations arent too high. That's just another excuse to continue the marketing scams.

    For a living world, that means the devs wont have complete control of every aspect of the game. That wont happen anymore.

    End.

    It won't happen because a public company can't afford to hand over game design to their playerbase. That is a horrible idea (from the shareholders point of view) that no board is going to sign off on. A private/niche company can and does which is fine but not when you are taking other people's money through shares.

    Primary reason why you don't see forced grouping MMOs from the big publishers any more, not before levelcap anyway.

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

  • andreika111andreika111 Member UncommonPosts: 88

    its allways good to have some random dinamic events happening around.

  • FikusOfAhaziFikusOfAhazi Member Posts: 1,835

    Originally posted by jpnz

    Originally posted by FikusOfAhazi


     

     That is the point. They are marketing mmorpg's and delivering coop pve games.

    Players expectations arent too high. That's just another excuse to continue the marketing scams.

    For a living world, that means the devs wont have complete control of every aspect of the game. That wont happen anymore.

    End.

    It won't happen because a public company can't afford to hand over game design to their playerbase. That is a horrible idea (from the shareholders point of view) that no board is going to sign off on. A private/niche company can and does which is fine but not when you are taking other people's money through shares.

    Primary reason why you don't see forced grouping MMOs from the big publishers any more, not before levelcap anyway.

     I understand why. I believe they're wrong. That's all.

     

    See you in the dream..
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  • ArChWindArChWind Member UncommonPosts: 1,313
  • spacebotspacebot Member UncommonPosts: 148

    Yes.

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