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(can we get a history lesson): why was the first Themepark MMO created? what purpose they were tryin

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  • HrimnirHrimnir Member RarePosts: 2,413
    Originally posted by Wolfenpride

    Everquest probably in the most basic sense. The only two major MMO's that I know of before EQ were Ultima and Asherons Call, both of which seem to largely be considered sandboxes.

    The quest hub centric themepark that defines every MMO today started with World of Warcraft though I believe.

    Asheron's call released about 6months after EQ, just for informations sake.

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Member CommonPosts: 2,556

    That reminds me, Asheron's Call 2 might be the first true roots of themepark.

    But it is without a doubt WoW that made it the standard themepark as we know it today. Shallow, boring, gimmicky.

  • HrimnirHrimnir Member RarePosts: 2,413
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

     

    But it is without a doubt WoW that made it the standard themepark as we know it today. Shallow, boring, gimmicky.

    Won't argue with that statement.

    Whats even sadder is if an MMO released with the leveling speed, etc of Vanilla WOW now, people would be hemorrhaging blood through the eyes about how "grindy" the game was.

    I swear to god every time i hear the word grind i want to shoot that person in the face with a beanbag gun at point blank range.

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Member CommonPosts: 2,556
    Originally posted by Hrimnir
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

     

    But it is without a doubt WoW that made it the standard themepark as we know it today. Shallow, boring, gimmicky.

    Won't argue with that statement.

    Whats even sadder is if an MMO released with the leveling speed, etc of Vanilla WOW now, people would be hemorrhaging blood through the eyes about how "grindy" the game was.

    I swear to god every time i hear the word grind i want to shoot that person in the face with a beanbag gun at point blank range.

    Each year the definition of what is "too grindy" changes. Eventually we'll just be playing counterstrike. Even BF3 is "too grindy" for some.

  • TerrawenTerrawen Member UncommonPosts: 21

    I was just coming to post my experiences with MMORPGs, but slowpoke68 nailed it so I'll just add a few thoughts.

     

    First, terminology needs to be clarified so that we're all on the same page. Loosely, a theme park guides you around the game and gives you less control. A sand box gives you that control and freedom, but sacrifices structure. Games can blend these two aspects so sometimes it can be hard to call a game theme park or sand box. A lot of this will come down to your own interpretation and experience.

     

    Now, to the question, why was the first themepark mmo created? I suppose early developers like Origin (UO), Verant (EQ) both probably developing their respective games at roughly the same time and there really wasn't a model any of them could follow. While the content could be compared to MUDs, they were all pioneering and helping mold a new genre of video games. UO hit first and I would call it a sandbox, because you made your own class, you sort of did want you wanted to do and there wasn't much structure or purpose built into the game. EQ came out shortly thereafter and I would call it a theme park because you were locked into a class with preset abilities, you were led via quests to certain level appropriate areas in the game and the game had objectives to work toward via tightly balanced dungeon and raid content - I call this structure, which sand boxes rarely have much of (else they start to start to become a non sand box).

     

    Probably the main question is, why did theme parks become popular while sand boxes sort of faded out? Balance and purpose. It's close to impossible to make a balanced sand box game that's challenging and rewarding. Lets say you're a developer, designing a raid boss. Who do you cater to? If I can pick my own skills, I'm going to min/max my character with skills like parry, evasion, armor, shields, health, resistance and if you cater to the normal player, I'm going to breeze through this raid encounter. If you make it challenging for me, then everyone else will have to pick my skills in order to complete the encounter. In essence, your raid encounters are either trivial, if you make it accessible to the normal player, or you basically make people pick a character class.

     

    This is further complicated when you add in healers and DPS. A lot of people will (naively) say; "they need to make a game that doesn't have tank-healer-dps" and I've also seen game companies promise this (naively) in their feature list. As stated above, a system like this just doesn't easily work because if you have an encounter in a game, whether it's a raid or a dungeon and you don't need a focused tank-healer-dps group to tackle it, my friends and I will bring a tank-healer-dps group and absolutely domolish it with our vastly impproved efficiency while your healer/dps is dpsing instead of healing your tank who's dual wielding swords instead of using a shield, who promptly dies.

     

    The other issue with sand box games is purpose. Just take a look at achievements in any game and you can see that people like something to work toward. By their very nature, sand box games have minimal structure and structure is what gives you your carrots, ala dungeons and raids. Something that a player can work toward.

     

    Lastly, the hidden third reason we don't really get sand box games is because the few that do get released fail because of the above two reasons and the most successful MMORPG on the market is not a sand box. Unless you can get an independent developer to push their game through to release (and even if they make it that far, it does not equal success), you're going to need a publisher to fund your game and based on history, sand box games are too risky. It's a big gamble and most publishers will see it as financial suicide.

     

    Those are my thoughts. Cheers.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Member Posts: 1,788
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    TLD: WoW was casual from day 1 and only became more casual over time so they could continue to hold their seat as "most casual MMO".

    Casual compared to EQ1 or DAoC?  Sure.  They were never trying to be the "most casual MMO" no matter how much you like to take pot shots.  They wanted it to be easy to learn and difficult to master, without keeping around the really punative punishments like XP or item loss, or weird class designs like Shadow Knights reducing group XP.

    They also very much wanted to make leveling a smoother affair, hense the quest hub designs, but that's hardly enough to make the claim that they were trying to market towards casual gamers.  They certainly wanted their subs, but pretty much all of their end-game content was aimed at the top 2% for the first 3 or 4 years.

    You make me like charity

  • KarteliKarteli Member CommonPosts: 2,646

    Themeparks are really dumb.  They were made popular thanks to WoW.  But WoW attricted their RTS fans to the genre, not RPG'ers.  Once their millions got involved, the whole concept of Roleplaying went out the shitter.

     

    Now it's a mess.  A mess of people who love games and their RPG value, and people who hate games and just want everything NAOW (and want to be comparable to those who love games)!!

     

    Companies cater to the $$, which is the people who want everthing NAOW. sad.  Any wonder why very few companies have loyal fans?  Probably because they don't deserve them.

     

    Older companies have great respect.  But they got bought out.  AM I RITE?

     

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
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    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Member CommonPosts: 2,556
    Originally posted by asmkm22
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    TLD: WoW was casual from day 1 and only became more casual over time so they could continue to hold their seat as "most casual MMO".

    Casual compared to EQ1 or DAoC?  Sure.  They were never trying to be the "most casual MMO" no matter how much you like to take pot shots.  They wanted it to be easy to learn and difficult to master, without keeping around the really punative punishments like XP or item loss, or weird class designs like Shadow Knights reducing group XP.

    Compared to all the MMOs that launched before WoW. Instead, they made it easy to learn, easy to master, because there were so few game mechanics and what was there was shallow as a puddle, made it nearly impossible to fail so that no one would rage quit. If they didn't try to make the most casual MMO, doesn't change the fact that they did.

  • sfc1971sfc1971 Member UncommonPosts: 421

    [mod edit]

    The fast majority of games are themeparks almost all games with a story in fact.

    Half-Life is famous for its themepark ride opening scene, which was much praised. Just replace tram with little boat and you surely regonize the mechanic.

    Themepark games were created because themeparks SELL. many a MMO can only dream of the kind of revenue and profit even small themeparks make.  A real world themepark expansion like a rollercoaster cost 10 million and this is true for most big attractions, and most themeparks add at least one a year if they want to keep attracting a new audience.

    The PROBLEM with themeparks is that they don't lend themselves for endless and especially continuous replay.  Story based games also have limitted replay until you are sick to death of the story.

    GW2 made the mistake of holding the disney parade every 15 minutes. Look behind you in the little boat ride and you can see the animatronics resetting and fail the balthazar event and while you are repairing your armor the next event is already starting. That kinda ruins the immersion.

    But the little boat on a rail was created because? Because attractions telling a story BEFORE that had people move on their own, like the Haunted House in the Efteling. But it also mean you got to deal with people moving at the their own pace, stopping, causing obstructions etc etc. Far easier to put them ina boat and know EXACTLY how long they are going to be in each area.

    Themepark MMO's pull people along through the content. They give people road signs to tell them were to go next.  They add focus to the game. With sandbox games, the pull needs to be more natural. Exactly why should I build an entire rail network in Transport Tycoon? Add a story and I am motivated... which works if I needed motivation but feels like needless handholding if I was already motivated.

    Themepark MMO's were created to give single player story based game experience online. And the sales figures proved it worked. EQ beat UO handsdown and themepark MMO's ruled the industry.

    And then EVERYONE build them, bad ones, cheap ones, crappy ones and the themepark got a bad name. But sandbox games like eve are still there, proof the game designers wrong, go play it. Get their membership above even badly performing themepark MMO's. Maybe when Eve has 1 million players, things will change.

    But as long as any new themepark MMO sells MORE boxes at launch then Eve has aquired after year after year, themeparks is what we will continue to see.

    Don't complain nobody builds sandboxes anymore while standing in line for the rollercoaster.

  • VyntVynt Member UncommonPosts: 755
    Originally posted by Terrawen

    I was just coming to post my experiences with MMORPGs, but slowpoke68 nailed it so I'll just add a few thoughts.

     

     EQ came out shortly thereafter and I would call it a theme park because you were locked into a class with preset abilities, you were led via quests to certain level appropriate areas in the game and the game had objectives to work toward via tightly balanced dungeon and raid content - I call this structure, which sand boxes rarely have much of (else they start to start to become a non sand box).

    Did you ever play EQ? People certainly weren't led via quest to level appropriate zones. Hell, it was the biggest joke on the name of the game being EverQUEST in that there were practically no quests. I think the only quest I was really given early on was to go turn in a letter to my trainer to get a tunic or robe. After that, trainer is like make us proud, go kill crap.

    Sure there were some quests in the game, but certainly not a focus, more of an afterthought. Something to add a little depth, not a guiding tool, nor a facilitating mechanic.

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,994
    At the time most of us just thought that WoW had improved on a few areas in MMO's. What we did not realise was that they were bringing the values of solo console games to MMO's. This then accelerated with each new MMO release and is still going on today. WoW was not created to be a themepark, but it ended up as one and has been the template for nearly every MMO since its release.

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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  • RimmersmanRimmersman Member Posts: 885
    Originally posted by Fendel84M
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

    Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

    It's hard to say Sandbox was more popular, they were so new. EQ was arguabley the first Themepark as it didn't really have any sand. I honestly don't know why they made it the way they did, I really can't imagine what they were thinking.

    EQ wasn't the first themepark that crown goes to WOW, EQ was an hybrid MMO.

    EQ was also skilled based and lacked quest markers and instances in the early days. In fact their wasn't anything called a themepark in those days. EQ was nothing like WOW, it was miles apart from the new breed of MMOs..ie WOW and EQ2.

    image
  • RimmersmanRimmersman Member Posts: 885
    Originally posted by Fendel84M
    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    Before there were only worlds, nowadays they try to make the worlds into games. Give me my worlds and adventures back, the secrets and exploration the dangers with dying and all that comes with it. :(

    What I mean with worlds is that the mmos were more of a breathing world with day and night cycle, areas where mobs lived dangers with going out alone and dying etc. Players had more of a reputation and nowadays what do we get? People talk about 'open world' pvp and after that term they throw in factions I just feel ill when I see that.

    /rant

    First real themepark is... wow? What were they trying to fix? well they wanted the casual carebears to take part because casual carebears = $$$. Then as content couldn't be produced fast enough people bandwagoned the 'next big thing' and here goes the hype train... CHOO CHOO!

     

    EDIT: Inb4 I get reported for trolling or something silly.

    I think we have to figure out what games are not sandboxes first.

    EQ EQ2 Asherons Call Anarchy Online Dark Age of Camelot all came before WoW. Were those all sandboxes? Cause they never felt like it.

    Why would you put EQ2 alongside games like EQ-AC-DAOC, that's just silly. EQ2 was released 2 weeks before WOW but make no mistske it was nothing like EQ and more like WOW.

    I never read or heard anyone discribe EQ2 as sandbox lol, it doesn't need working out.

    EQ was an hybrid MMO

    image
  • RimmersmanRimmersman Member Posts: 885
    Originally posted by Terrawen

    I was just coming to post my experiences with MMORPGs, but slowpoke68 nailed it so I'll just add a few thoughts.

     

     

    Now, to the question, why was the first themepark mmo created? I suppose early developers like Origin (UO), Verant (EQ) both probably developing their respective games at roughly the same time and there really wasn't a model any of them could follow. While the content could be compared to MUDs, they were all pioneering and helping mold a new genre of video games. UO hit first and I would call it a sandbox, because you made your own class, you sort of did want you wanted to do and there wasn't much structure or purpose built into the game. EQ came out shortly thereafter and I would call it a theme park because you were locked into a class with preset abilities, you were led via quests to certain level appropriate areas in the game and the game had objectives to work toward via tightly balanced dungeon and raid content - I call this structure, which sand boxes rarely have much of (else they start to start to become a non sand box).

     

    You never played EQ lol, makes me laugh when people try to comment on things they know nothing about.

    image
  • Kuro1nKuro1n Member UncommonPosts: 775

    [mod edit]

    Gotta say I haven't done much grinding in EVE for example. Sure you can grind in some sandbox games or even the most but same goes for themepark to an even bigger extent and the only difference is that they hold you in the hand and there are no consequences to your action and lots of invisible walls to limit what you are allowed to do. Babysitting the players etc.

  • coretex666coretex666 Member EpicPosts: 3,827

    Board of directors meeting:

    How to get the masses to play an online game. At the moment, they have reputation of being fun for computer geeks and nerds. How to make them more of an instant fun rather than complex virtual worlds with depth and little direction.

    We need to create a game that people jump in and dont get driven away by it being too complex and confusing. We need the game to be so simple that even people who just bought their first computer can play it and even be competitive.

    BAM -> Themepark

    Or maybe not, I dont know. You definitely need to be looking at the business side of this, in my opinion. Something like this does not come from a drawing board. It comes from board of directors meeting...at least in the world where I am living.

  • ForumPvPForumPvP Member Posts: 871

    businesman somewhere in the past "lets make role playing games for those people who dont like role playing games"

     

    Let's internet

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Member Posts: 6,403
    Originally posted by MMOExposedBack then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

    Probably WoW.  I used to say WoW was EQ-era design, stripped down with all of the worst ideas removed (the forced grouping, outdoor boss camping madness, etc) to Formula.  But in addition to WoW, there were a handful of other games released in 2004-05 that followed nealy identical "formulas" (i.e. highly soloable, abbreviated time-to-cap, etc) 

    CoH preceeded WoW's release, for example, yet incorporated many of the same design ideas.  The fashionable "blame WoW for every evil in the industry" doesn't really stand up.  CoH was definately a theme park...has a whole lot of classic-sandbox-hated systems...and developed independently of Blizzard.

    Like most simplistic explanations, it's not really adequate or entirely accurate.

    Why do we keep asking for simple answers to complex questions, anyway?

    We also frequently make the mistake of treating MMOs like they developed in a void.  The dreaded "!" over quest-givers that every right-thinking sandboxer hates so much?  First developed and was widely spreading throughout SP RPGs, well before 2004.  So did the preference for fast leveling.  So did the classic interface, the minimaps, questlogs, etc.

    And how much of the solo-centric development of MMOs should be properly "blamed"on Consoles?

    Not the answers the op was fishing for, probably.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • QuirhidQuirhid Member UncommonPosts: 6,230

    I love it how this thread brings out all the bitterwets with their wacky theories.

    9/10

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • ZylaxxZylaxx Member Posts: 2,574
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

    Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

    The first themepark was WoW.  It was created to give accessibility to the MMO genre.  At the time 250K subscribers was considered a mega success and it thought nothing could break that count.  MMO's were also considered a niche market at this time.

     

    Most first generation MMO's were sandbox or at the very least very least would be considred Themebox or Sandpark by todays standard.  (Everquest in particular)  WoW was an attempt to bring EQ into the mainstream by streamlining many elements like removal of the camp spawning/grinding leveling technique and replacing it with a true quest based system. It also steamlined alot of elemenets like auction housing, guild structures, combat, classes and post level cap progression.

     

    Everything you need to know about Elder Scrolls Online

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    Best MMO of all time: Asheron's Call - The first company to recreate AC will be the next greatest MMO.

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  • fivorothfivoroth Member UncommonPosts: 3,916
    In my opinion, they (WoW) tried to put some fun (and succeeded) into the MMO genre. Cause it was seriously boring before that.

    Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,138

    I'd call WOW the first true theme park as they currently are perceived today, though as others pointed out titles such as Asheron's Call 2 and EQ2 had also gone down the path of quest based progression and a strong de-emphasis on group based mechanics.

    The probelem they were all trying to solve?  How to increase the title's market share by appealing to the larger number of customerrs who did not enjoy MMORPG's as they had been previously delivered in the first generation of titles.

    I knew many people who would not play EQ1, DAOC or AC because the mechanics /vitural world aspects were not what the majority were looking for.  They wanted a "game", not a world to live in, so developers naturally catered to their desires.

    But they ended up shooting themselves in the foot in some ways, because not it seems outside of WOW most MMORPG customers play them like single player games, fun for a month or three...but then you move on to the next title.

    I guess it works out financially, few of these titles fail outright, and most theme parks seem to persist for years in spite of their rapidly declining popularity.

     

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  • IcewhiteIcewhite Member Posts: 6,403
    Originally posted by Kyleran

    I knew many people who would not play EQ1, DAOC or AC because the mechanics /vitural world aspects were not what the majority were looking for.  They wanted a "game", not a world to live in, so developers naturally catered to their desires.

    Exactly.  There was a big (huge, as it turns out) segment of single-player RPG players hanging out in the console market, mom taking care of her kids, etc.

    Let's not forget that the press had delivered a rather unflattering picture of Evercrack to the public at the time, extreme addictiion stories, etc.

    "But Little Johnny liked WC3, and that seemed harmless.  Maybe I should let him play this warcraft thing.."

    Mom sat down and played that warcraft thing (often) and a whole lot of families started fixing their own dinners...

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • ApraxisApraxis Member UncommonPosts: 1,509
    Originally posted by Richard A. Bartle, http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/BeyondGameDesign09.pdf

    Anecdote


    One of MUD2’s players was called Dextrus.
    Dextrus was among the most imaginative players we ever had – very
    innovative, very exciting and very charming. She had something of a bad girl
    reputation, though: in a game where character death was permanent, people
    tended to be more than a little upset when Dextrus appeared out of nowhere,
    beat them up and took their stuff. It was made all the more embarrassing
    because she was invariably at a lower level than her victims when she did this.


    One day, Dextrus decided to abandon her killing ways. Tired of being
    treated as a pariah, she announced that she would thenceforth fight no other
    player characters except in self defence. Sure enough, that’s what she did. In
    the weeks that followed, she redeemed her previous indiscretions by helping
    out other people unstintingly; she rushed to their defence when monsters
    caught them unawares, she gave them her own equipment to use, and she led
    thrilling expeditions to the more far-flung and dangerous parts of The Land.
    Because she was so charismatic and kept true to her word, in a short space of
    time she became hugely popular.


    So it was that some three months later she volunteered to accompany
    another player, a mage, on his “wiz run”. The way MUD2 works, once a
    character has sufficient experience points they are promoted to the level of
    wizard/witch (or wiz for short); this means the regular game is over and they
    achieve immortality – it’s effectively ascension to an administrator position. A
    wiz run is when you’re trying to get those final few points you need, with
    everyone else in the game either cheering you on or hoping to stop you. It’s
    often a player’s most heart-thumping, exhilarating time in the virtual world,
    long to be remembered afterwards. Dextrus had generously offered to be the
    mage’s bodyguard as he endeavoured to rack up those last, remaining,
    precious points.

    The pair descended deep underground, to the realm of the dwarfs. The
    risks were high – there were a lot of dwarfs – but the rewards commensurate.
    The mage and Dextrus fought their way side-by-side through several heavilyguarded
    rooms until they finally stood on the threshold of the treasure
    chamber. The contents of this trove would be enough to push the mage over
    the finishing line and into wizardhood.


    Suddenly, disaster struck! Dextrus went off to the Royal Bedroom to
    deal with the queen dwarf, but the king dwarf appeared before the mage could
    follow and immediately attacked! The fight went right to the wire, and it
    looked as if the mage – still injured from earlier fights – was about to lose.
    Then, in the nick of time, Dextrus finished off the queen, raced back, and took
    down the king.
    Then, before the mage could even say thanks, Dextrus took him down,
    too.
    She’d been tracking the king, knew where he was, knew when he was
    about to appear, and had deliberately left to kill the much easier queen
    knowing that the king would instantly assault the mage. Next, having
    despatched the queen in a timely manner, she waited until the mage was close
    to death and valiantly returned to save the day.
    Then, in one exquisite moment, she killed a mage who was 30 seconds
    short of making wizard. It was exactly 100 days since she’d last killed another
    player character.


    Moments passed, and a zero-points novice entered the game, bearing
    the same name as the deceased mage. He shouted a single, agonised word:
    “WHY?”.
    The reply was simple: “Because I’m Dextrus”.

    Just to want to post this little anectode, to remind, that MMORPGs were not born out of nowhere. You have to look past the short decade of MMORPGs and look a lot deeper into it. Where those early games come from, and why.

  • ThaneThane Member EpicPosts: 3,501

    everquest, asheron's call, DAoC.... 

     

    actually "theme parks" aren't that new, you have been killing bosses, doing quests and stuff all the time.

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

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