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I'm not flaming any games nor asking for people to flame them on this thread. I've just got a question that I've been rolling over in my head for a long time now and I was hoping to get some different points of view on the matter.
The question is this...
With MMOs out there setting the standard in gameplay, graphics, pvp, crafting, etc - why do we find today's MMO's not quite up to par with what we experienced in earlier games?
As I bring up games, I just want you to know I am not saying anything bad about any of them, I've loved mostly every game I've ever played. With a few exceptions (but that isn't what this thread is about).
Example 1) Take Star Wars Galaxies and the upcoming The Old Republic. Jump to Lightspeed was incredibly addicting and enjoyable. You had player ships and open space - ships that could be manned by not just -one- person. So it wasn't just playing "Starfox" inside of an MMO (which, imho, is horridly boring).
You'd think with this standard in place, this bar set /years/ ago, Bioware would atleast /meet/ the standard, if not surpass it. Why not? You won't lose anything by it. Rather than another /world/, another aspect of gameplay to try out, they seemed to go an easier route (I am no gaming developer, but it seems that way from my ignorant point of view). Which is, essentially, less in-depth, less immersive. Look at Planetside (another great example of gameplay developed /years/ before upcoming releases) and the way you could walk around and explore a vehicle while someone else was actually piloting it in an open world.
To me, the openess of this would have been /far/ better than the way they do it now and I think a LOT of people would be able to appreciate that. So why not? What do you think? Funding? Laziness? Carelessness? Help a guy who is baffled by this understand!
Example 2) Crafting. Once upon a time, Ultima Online was developed and to say the least, it was ground breaking (a term I don't use very often, if at all. I hate to overuse a word that is, 90% of the time, being misused.) It was -fun-. It was -hard-. But it was also very, very rewarding. (This is subjective, naturally, as some people might have found it incredibly easy.)
I also have to bring up Star Wars Galaxies under this example. Another standard set that has yet to be matched in games released /years/ later. How can these out-dated games have come up with a way to make crafting not too easy, fun, fulfilling and rewarding and yet every new game out there gives us some white-washed grind fest where they don't even have the common decency to atleast offer us a reach around? (I'd bring up specific games, but you'll find the majority of them have settled into the same method/build that falls dramatically behind simply going questing/raiding for gear/items/etc.)
Example 3) Exploration. This is, by far, my most passionate subject to bring up. I love looking at things in a game. I take as much value and appreciation from an MMO that looks good in the same manner a PvPer or a Raider searches for their big wants in a game.
Take (you'll see me bring up games like Star Wars Galaxies up a lot because, despite the drama that ruined the game post NGE, they still had some major standard-setting qualities) Star Wars Galaxies for example. You can travel -anywhere- on any world. There were no "invisible walls" or 10x10x10 boxes of explorable content in what is "supposed" to be an entire world.
When Star Trek came out (a title that involves almost explicitly exploration), all they offered players of a game that is FOUNDED on the principle of exploration was various re-hashed, arted worlds with invisible walls and a 10x10 box to look around in followed by whatever objective that brought you to that world in the first place.
Take Eve Online and their open space exploration. We haven't seen anything else that meets that standard yet and we have had plenty of "space" games come out since. Not even The Old Republic (or Star Trek, anyone?) comes close to this. My question is...why not? When you make a game, shouldn't you look at what other people did before and /atleast/ meet that standard? Am I, someone completely ueducated on the subject of game development the only one who can see this?
Example 4) Housing/Sandbox. Now, I'm not one of those guys who is completely obsessed with sandbox games and if something offers me themepark, single-tracked stuff, etc, I don't rage over it. However. With that said look at what Star Wars Galaxies did with player housing. You could go to -any- planet and find someplace and build an entire city there. Shops. Economy. The whole nine - all player driven. Why haven't we seen this standard met again in our future releases?
I guess, at the end of the day, I can't help but wonder why, with present day technology and with the much larger market/demand, game developers can't atleast meet these standards - if not exceed them.
I know this is long and I apologize to those who took the time to read it. If you could throw in your two cents and perhaps bring to light information I haven't thought of, I'd greatly appreciate it. If you plan on just turning this into some sort of flame fest, spare me. I'm here to answer a legitimate question, not play to your warped sensibilities. Thanks again!