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

    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.

    Same haters, same motives too.

    My MUD story is not too similar; a 10-year player who had invested her self, her love, into the same character for more than a decade.  She one day, through simple carelessness, didn't keep close track of her "deeds" (favors of Lorminstra), and unwitingly used the last one.  There is no option, when this happens, permadeath is the only possible result.

    I got the distinct pleasure of 'talking her down' while she sobbed and railled at me, non-stop, for more than three hours.  The executive producer (unseen) was there, observing, as were several other of my direct bosses.

    Bear in mind, small company, less than 5000 accounts.  Most of these players, particularly the veteran long-term players, we know very well--multiple encounters over years with their characters, multiple encounters with the actual players at a yearly convention.  There weren't many 10-year accounts that were not GMs accounts, half a dozen tops.

    It's unfashionable on the Internet to have any sympathy for players who make a mistake; that's easy; you don't have to meet or speak with the players, ever.

    But that night we saw a decade-old account close forever.  Once word got out, message board firestorm (of course), followed by other account closings.  Pretty fun way for a rookie CE GM to get 'broken in', sitting in his office with cryng vet player.

    Nice thing about the message board firestorm; we got to see several traditional 'haters' develop some actual human empathy.  On the internet.  Really.

    Bad thing about the experience; no one can convince me that perma-death is ever a good idea.

    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.

  • rungardrungard Member Posts: 1,035
    Originally posted by Hrimnir
     
     
    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.

    I am really getting sick and tired of the misinformation that constantly gets spewed about EQ1.

    WOW was the first true themepark MMO.  It was the first one that had quest hubs, and directed storyline paths and shit like that.

    Everyone thinks that WOW was a derivation of EQ1 because a large part of EQ1 was raiding.  Thats literally where the similarities end.

    EQ1 did not have tiered equipment, EQ1 did not have set zone paths.  EQ1 was not a progression raiding game.

    EQ1 was a world.  First and foremost.  It was meant to be hard and unforgiving and you had to find your own way.

    Hell just as an example i was watching an anniversary video from SOE that was talking about something like 1000 items that exist in the game even after 10+ years havent even been discovered.

    In EQ1 every race had their own faction, and NPC's had multiple factions within their race.  Then there were random other factions all throughout the game, you could get faction with giants, dragons, etc.  Depending on your faction levels you could go some places and not others.  As a human paladin i couldnt set foot anywhere near a dark elf, but if you were a human shadow knight, you could, or a human necromancer.

    Every race had their own city and subsequent zones outside of it. None of this two faction bullshit every MMO does now. Or even worse, one faction. You had plenty of overlap of levels in zones and plenty of zones, so at any given level you had a minimum of a half of a dozen overland areas you could go XP at.  That wasnt even including the dungeons along the way.  Quests in EQ1 were real quests.  It wasnt any of this fetch 3 bear asses and return them to me.  It was bring this letter to this dude at this city, who then sends you out to kill some mob to get some item from them, which was then analyzed and the info gathered from it lead you to to this dungeon to break out this NPC, or whatever.  You werent doing most of the quests in 1 day, thats for damn sure.  And questing wasn't about getting XP either.

    The point of MMO's prior to WOW was to introduce you to a world where you could make your own way in.  It was not about the hand holding and guided path direction like now.  You didnt have your virtual cock stroked from the beginning, acting like you're the hero who is gonna save the day.  There was none of this, log in and your first quest is to save the local village from an invading goblin horde by yourself, cus you're just that badass.  In EQ1 it was, log in, steep learning curve, punch a skeleton to death with your bare fists so you could take the rusted piece of shit sword off it, go talk to the local guardsman who tells you if you help him clear out the skellies in the area he'll put in a good word for you with the local guard captain, etc.

    It was about working your way up, starting out as nothing and making something of yourself. Now, MMOs are a reflection of modern western society where people feel entitled to everything.  Like somehow they deserve this or that just by virtue of being there.  Its absurdity at the highest level.

    On a side note, sandboxes were never EVER about PVP vs PVE.  Anybody who thinks that is a complete retard.  Hell, show me the PVP in the elder scrolls games, guess what, single player PVE, and theyre considered some of the best sandbox games in existence.

     

     what a great game. I totally agree. Now if we could take the essence of this awesomeness and remove the junk weve been exposed to over and over again the last 13 years, we could experience it all over again.

    image

  • ShakyMoShakyMo Member CommonPosts: 7,207
    EQ was a themepark, it has leveling game, then endgame, its not a sandbox.

    Ditto daoc (although that has a very different endgame)

    Also anarchy online.
  • DrakynnDrakynn Member Posts: 2,030
    Originally posted by Apraxis
    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.

    This.

    People don't look Past UO which was not even the first MMORPG,Richard Garriot was just the first person to coin the phrase.

    Also UO,while a great game was lighter on the RPG elements compared to the single player CRPG seires that spawned it and was more of a social experiment and a world simulator.This caused it to get bad press when first launched because folks didn't understand what it was trying to acheive.

    Later games went less heavy on the world simulation and went back to the CRPG roots of the genre for better or for worse.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo Member CommonPosts: 7,207
    Coh predates wow too
  • MindTriggerMindTrigger Member Posts: 2,596
    Originally posted by BigAndShiny
    Originally posted by Hrimnir
     
     
     

     

    EQ1 was a world.  First and foremost.  It was meant to be hard and unforgiving and you had to find your own way.

    Hell just as an example i was watching an anniversary video from SOE that was talking about something like 1000 items that exist in the game even after 10+ years havent even been discovered.

    In EQ1 every race had their own faction, and NPC's had multiple factions within their race.  Then there were random other factions all throughout the game, you could get faction with giants, dragons, etc. 

    It was about working your way up, starting out as nothing and making something of yourself. Now, MMOs are a reflection of modern western society where people feel entitled to everything.  Like somehow they deserve this or that just by virtue of being there.  Its absurdity at the highest level.

     

    So basically you're saying you want to kill 10,000 mobs again and again, remove quests for pure grind and just go back to the 'good old days' where you have to spend hours every day grinding for months to get anywhere?    Go back to EQ then.  See how much fun you have.

    I can't believe there's this stupid attitude that somehow working for months in games for virtual items is fun for the majority of players.  It isn't.    The reason they have been made 'easier' and the grind 'shorter' is that people don't want to waste months of their lives.   Simple as that.    Vanguard was the spiritual successor to EQ and even it shortened the grind and was mostly quest-based.

    It doesn't work like this.

    In a well designed sandbox game, *you* aren't the most important thing going on in the world.  Player interdependency is huge and is rewarded.  Yes, you can still be a lone wolf if you want, but you do so because you choose to, not because the game is designed around everyone being a solo hero.

    Take a game like Star Wars Galaxies.  First of all, it didn't take very long to level a character to max.  I can't recall how long it took at launch but even pre-CU when you understood the game, you could max out a new toon in a matter of days or a week if you were more casual.  This left you with the freedom to always be playing with and dabbling with your skill points to create unique combinations.  Some worked better than others, but you could create just about any type of character you wanted.

    Think of SWG's professions sort of like "classes", but it was a skill point based system where you could make unique combinations to some extent. They consisted of combat, non-combat and hybrid, each profession with it's own (mostly) complete gameplay path through the game:

    http://www.swgcharacterbuilder.com/swg-cb.php

    You never really felt like you were just "grinding 10,000 mobs" either because you were probably always killing mobs for loot, and resources anyway.  You or your guild needed those resources, or you needed the cash.  With a deep and interesting crafting and resource system, there was a good chance you were doing some crafting anyway.   Leveling happend as a matter of course of having fun with your friends, and it wasn't a race to get to cap.  If you decided you didn't like your build or profession, you could try other things.  In fact, re-building characters and trying so many new options of gameplay was one of the best features of the game.

    You were indeed, in a world, not a virtual disneyland.  In fact, in SWG, you had multiple planets, each huge, with it's own setting, lore, mobs, points of interest, etc.  Exploration was a blast in this game, even a year+ into it.

    Anyway, I'm barely scratching the surface here, and could write a book about all the things you could do in a game like SWG, but the main point of this post is simple.  You cannot apply your themepark view of MMO gaming to a sandbox. They are so fundamentally different types of games, that they each truly to deserve their own genre.  I've always thought slamming themeparks and sandbox games into the same category was ludicrous.

    As someone before me here wisely said, a sandbox game is about presenting you virtual worlds to live in and make your own path through.  They allow you to make your own adventures and stories any way you choose.  If that means being a beggar in a city, or being a doctor, or a scientist, entertainer, or crafter, or whatever, then go for it.  Most of my favorite and most fun characters in SWG were not hero-types builds.  They were very custom and allowed me to play the game in ways which the SOE devs themselves didn't even think of when they made the game.  Try doing THAT with a themepark.

     

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • SoliloquySoliloquy Member CommonPosts: 128
    Originally posted by Quirhid

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

    9/10

    now, now, let's not say things that are going to invite other people to "say things" and then the whole thread goes up in flames.

    let's respect each others opinions but rebut in intelligent and contructive ways.

  • VengerVenger Member UncommonPosts: 1,309

    I wouldn't call this a history more my own personal perspective.

    I wouldn't say that sandbox mmos were more popular.  They were what was available so that is what we played.  Plus if you look at single player rpgs the "sandbox" style ones were far and few between compared to the standard level/class based trinity ones.

    EQ is a perfect example of simplistic briliance.

    1. People know and can easily relate to the standard holy trinity and levels.  We've all be playing single player games for years.

    2. People like variety.  Toss in different races.

    3. PvP is not all or nothing, people prefer choice.

    4. Playing with people is much more fun then all by yourself.

    None of these individual points are really some stroke of genius, but bringing them together is what put EQ above UO in may peoples eyes (not mine) and started the genre down this path.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo Member CommonPosts: 7,207
    Venger

    But EQ IS A THEMEPARK
  • Greyhawk4x4Greyhawk4x4 Member UncommonPosts: 475
    Originally posted by JC-Smith

    Ironically you could make an argument that Star Wars Galaxies (in the eyes of many players the best sandbox MMO to date) was the precursor to WoW's very theme park oriented gameplay. The idea had been tossed around for a while. In SWG you had rebel, imperial, hutt and other theme parks that were very similar to the quest centric gameplay that now dominates the market. You'd go through a series of missions for those NPCs, and eventually work your way up to the feature characters.  It was just a small part of the gameplay of SWG though.

    Other games before WoW had begun a shift towards a more quest centric approach, but just not to the same level. DAoC's epic quest series gave very good experience, but you still had to grind on mobs for most of your exp. Everquest 2 which beat WoW to market by a month or so, also gave good experience for quests, but there were not enough of them to level off of completely and much of its world was still group oriented.

    But in those days the main way to gain experience was just to grind on mobs. Killing over and over. Anything that gave experience, kill it. Leveling by quest was much more enjoyable for most players than leveling by slaying whatever mob gave exp. It gave them some focus, and allowed for some storyline to be inserted. All in all, it was an improvement over no direction at all.

    Unfortunately like anything else, once the strings were visible and every game started cloning the style, players quickly realized things that they may not have originally. They were generally being driven along the same path as everyone else. Most quests followed a few basic templates and the story meant very little. Players were suddenly grouping less because it was more efficient to solo grind in a lot of cases. So now we have players sick and tired of the same grind, and wanting something new. But if you compare it to what existed beforehand, I still feel that quest grinding is preferable to mob grinding.

    Nailed it....nothing left to add.

    Well done.

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger Member Posts: 2,596
    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.

     

    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.

    I disagree with most of this post.  There's plenty of purpose in a well built sandbox.  In Star Wars Galaxies, there was always the underlying lore and activities of the Galactic Civil War, and while SOE never did implement this on any epic scale, it was enough a part of the game to motivate a lot of players to take part in city/base building, PVP and other aspects of the game. It was built into the whole game (PvE and PvP) from the top down, while still allowing you to remain nuetral and stay out of faction content if you wanted.  People gained ranks, and were given access to faction rank perks and all kinds of stuff.  There was always a strong sense of belonging to the Empire or the Rebellion, or even in choosing to be neutral while still being a part of it.

    Your purpose was also often your friends, your guild and large projects such as building yourself homes, shops and building a city as a group, crafting, etc.   Your purpose was to live in the Star Wars lore, any way you chose, which often changed.

    You are right though that recent indie attemps at sandbox games haven't been very good at building much purpose into the game.  Xsyon could have been very cool, had they bothered too put in a reason to be building and crafting.  It's sort of a weird survival simulator, but it leans far too heavy on the crafting side, and not enough on the survival both solo and group.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • AmanaAmana Moderator UncommonPosts: 3,912

    Let's not let this get into a sandbox versus themepark discussion, because there's already a thread for that: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/317478/Sandbox-vs-Themepark-Discussion-Thread.html

    If this is about a history, let ie be that.

    To give feedback on moderation, contact mikeb@mmorpg.com

  • VengerVenger Member UncommonPosts: 1,309
    Originally posted by Zylaxx
     

    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.

     

    When did themepark get morphed into meaning accessibility?  Isn't that what casual friendly is?!?

    WoW is nothing more the EQ lite.

  • VengerVenger Member UncommonPosts: 1,309
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Venger

    But EQ IS A THEMEPARK

    Ah.... Yeah I thougt I was pretty clear on that point.

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger Member Posts: 2,596
    Originally posted by Amana

    Let's not let this get into a sandbox versus themepark discussion, because there's already a thread for that: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/317478/Sandbox-vs-Themepark-Discussion-Thread.html

    If this is about a history, let ie be that.

    One of the problems on this website is that many of the players who came to the genre around WoW don't even know what a sandbox is, or what it can be.  In fact, most people here think it means "hardcore, full loot world PvP".

    I don't know if you guys have ever done any features on the differences between the two types of games, but with all the changes happening to the MMORPG genre right now, it may be a good time to do a multi-part feature.  I think a lot of people around here need some schooling.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • TheDarkrayneTheDarkrayne Member EpicPosts: 5,297
    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?

    Those games never existed. The reason people think they did was because of the lack a quest journal and a quest finder system. If both those things had been added to all the early games; UO, EQ, AC, AO, DAoC, etc. It would have been the same PvE experience as we get now. Try playing a new mmo without using any of the quest tracking systems, it's the same deal as before.

    I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
  • VengerVenger Member UncommonPosts: 1,309
    Originally posted by MindTrigger
    Originally posted by Amana

    Let's not let this get into a sandbox versus themepark discussion, because there's already a thread for that: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/317478/Sandbox-vs-Themepark-Discussion-Thread.html

    If this is about a history, let ie be that.

    One of the problems on this website is that many of the players who came to the genre around WoW don't even know what a sandbox is, or what it can be.  In fact, most people here think it means "hardcore, full loot world PvP".

    I don't know if you guys have ever done any features on the differences between the two types of games, but with all the changes happening to the MMORPG genre right now, it may be a good time to do a multi-part feature.  I think a lot of people around here need some schooling.

    There was a great article on what a sandbox really is back a couple months ago maybe even a year or more.  I used to have the link saved for just these threads but I lost it.

  • QuirhidQuirhid Member UncommonPosts: 6,230

    Some posters have clearly demonized the term "themepark" to a level that when they encounter a game they like and which could be objectively classified as a themepark, they go to any lengths to say its not a themepark.

    And all this talk about console generation, instant gratification, easy-mode, hand-holding, X-clones and whatnot have no chance to spark a rational discussion - if you guys even want it.

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

  • adam_noxadam_nox Member UncommonPosts: 2,128

    when EQ, AC, and DAoC were in their hayday, pre-WoW there wasn't talk of sandbox or themepark.  These games were neither or both depending on how you looked at it.  They had elements of both, but did neither fully.

     

    As for history, I believe the move towards themepark was spurred partially by titles like Guild Wars 1, and oddly enough by the early design of Tabula Rasa.  Garriot coined a term called "Dramatic Compression" in an interview about the idea behind Tabula Rasa's gameplay.  In a way, the guy who had championed sandbox gameplay in UO has possibly done the most harm to that model, outside of perhaps WoW's success as a non-sandbox game.  Ironic I guess.

     

    In my mind, that was the invention of the themepark model, dramatic compression.  I know most people consider WoW a themepark, possibly even the definitive paradigm, but it's not, and it wasn't when it was vanilla.  It has moved more towards themepark, and is absent more sandbox elements than early mmos, but it's not really the paradigm, or wasn't originally.

     

     

  • ShakyMoShakyMo Member CommonPosts: 7,207
    Daoc is my favourite mmo

    It's a themepark

    I don't use the term as a negative, you can have good themeparks and bad themeparks just like you can have good and bad sandboxes.

    I think we need a 3rd term for the sort of games where endgame consists of sitting in a city waiting to go to instances (either pve or pvp). Those sort of games don't feel like mmos to me, they feel more like lobby games .
  • adam_noxadam_nox Member UncommonPosts: 2,128
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Daoc is my favourite mmo

    It's a themepark

     

    It's really not.  It had housing, and the original frontiers was an open area where people did what they wanted.  Keeps could be taken, but it wasn't like DYNAMIC EVENT, HURRY AND  CAPTURE X!  Crafting was actually effective and didn't require special drops to finish recipes (when I played).

    I don't use themepark negatively either, but DAoC wasn't one.  It lacks a lot of refinements required to be considered one.  Now it developed more in that direction I'll grant, but the general concept was that leveling was just to get you to 50 to do frontiers.  Or was early on.  If you mean post ToA and new frontiers, I can't speak to that as I had moved on by then.

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798
    Originally posted by Drakynn

    People don't look Past UO which was not even the first MMORPG,Richard Garriot was just the first person to coin the phrase.

    Also UO,while a great game was lighter on the RPG elements compared to the single player CRPG seires that spawned it and was more of a social experiment and a world simulator.This caused it to get bad press when first launched because folks didn't understand what it was trying to acheive.

    Later games went less heavy on the world simulation and went back to the CRPG roots of the genre for better or for worse.

    Garriott seems to be the earliest reference for the terminology of themepark mmos back in 2002

    (i cannot find any earlier online reference to "themepark")

     

    Garriot never mentions Everquest but does mention the unreleased WOW

    http://www.gamesfirst.com/articles/aaron/garriott/garriott1.htm

    GF!: What about how the game plays? What can you tell me about that?

    Garriott: Game play dynamic. Well, one of the great things about solo player games is that you get to be the hero that saves the world. Every door you unlock, every feature you see, you experience it special as if you’re the first and only person who’s ever seen it…because you’re blissfully unaware of your next-door neighbor who’s playing the same game. The wonderful thing about an MMP is that you don’t have to go alone. You can actually go with your friends, which everyone has always wanted to do. The problem is that you can never get rid of everybody. Everybody is with you all the time, and so you go into a dungeon and people are qued up to kill the troll king and you just wait your turn. We’ve seen other people try to fix that,like Anarchy Online with their pocket spaces of your own completion area of the quest.I’ve heard World of Warcraft is doing sort of the same thing with solo player areas, but in my mind we’re actually doing something much more fundamental than that, which is that instead of creating this giant virtual world where -- though it’s cool to go, "Hey, our world is five square miles." -- it’s not much fun to get to your friend if you were to come online at different times and different places. We actually believe that the best games will be organized much more like a theme park.

  • XthosXthos Member UncommonPosts: 2,729

    To make it simple, could go through the progressions, but themepark elements were designed to be more casual friendly.  EQ hit it's stride toward this with its expansion LDoN....They went back and instanced some of the encounters that were blocked by stronger guilds to keep lesser guilds at bay...They then took it and ran with it as the new design....

     

    WoW was just EQ's direction on steroids.

     

    SoE decided their was more casual players, than hardcore raiders, so they took the roadblocks away with instances, and then made a lot of group instanced content that yielded loot or points for loot....WoW ran with that and made it even easier to get the loot, and less runs needed.

     

    WoW was more effective at getting the casual player, and most new mmo players were casual imo, as those that did pen and paper, and were big time into the genre already were doing it for the most part.

     

    The same happens now, take Vanguard for instance, when it launched, it was supposed to be a throwback, hard, and while it may be tougher than a lot of offerings, it was still toned down, due to being too hard before release and after.  Raids are lessened, max levels raised to make older content easier, but try to keep some of the more hardcore players...etc...The hardcore is not a focus, but they still like to get their money too....With all themeparks going this direction, people have to deal with it, or jump ship to Eve or something along those lines...

     

     

    Themeparks are generally made for short time to play or attention span crowd now, companies don't want to lose money from the casual player...It's Angry MMO, MMO vs. Zombies for the home computer...Play a few...log out....If anything takes more than 30 minutes to do....It is frowned upon...Millions play farmville and other things like this, while not a MMO, if a MMO can figure out a way to add all the farmville players and make money off of them, they would.

     

    So the problem they were trying to solve was what could be done to maximize their subscriptions/money.  Can't blame them, but the money grab and clone wars crapped on the players imo....Innovation has been severly lacking or limited....Hard to make something unique or different, when you are trying to make WoW2.

     

  • ShakyMoShakyMo Member CommonPosts: 7,207
    Adam

    You state why daoc is a themepark.

    You level, then you do the rvr endgame.

    Two different phases of play. A sandbox game like say eve, isn't like this, it has no endgame.

    Now you could say the rvr pvp model of daoc is somewhat neither themepark or sandbox, with sandboxes that have pvp typically going with guild vs guild and themeparks typically going with hideous Esports nonsense. Yes pvpers do effect the world in daoc through relics, territory capture etc.. but its within a stricter ruleset than a sandbox, you have 3 fixed sides, you can't build your own keeps.

    Your right about the housing though. But you can have a game that's a themepark with some sandbox features. E.g. tsw has a sandbox like character progression model, but its still very much a themepark.

    The crafting thing, well you get useful crafting in other themeparks, I don't think crafted gear that's as good as raid or pvp gear makes a game a sandbox, if it does you would have to class gw2 as a sandbox.
  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member RarePosts: 4,113
    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?

    To understand this we have to go way back to the time before computer gaming, to the time of Paper and Pencil games.

    Amana, bear with me please. image

    Dungeons and Dragons, of course, was the big one. And it was Themepark. You had levels, but what made it Themepark was that the game play was based on "modules". These were like the Quest that are common these days. But you needed modules, just as you do quests, to move players along the game. In P+P games, you had to have the Dungeon Master to say what's what and present the game play. But it wasn't this alone that made it Themepark. Just as it's not Quests alone that make an MMORPG Themepark. (Assuming, that is, that the Dungeon Master of a P+P game has an entire world full of "modules".)

    The big thing that makes a game, paper or computer, a Themepark is the forced direction of it's play. Just as you can't take a character in WoW into zones built for higher levels, and play there, you couldn't do that in Dungeons and Dragons either. And the reverse is also true, "you can never go back" and have effective game play in content designed for lower levels.

    That's the core of the issue. It's only because of that basis that Themepark games have level based quests (and that D+D had levelled modules), dictated by this core issue to be necessary.

    But it's a lot harder to make a game interesting and fun without this level for carrots system. Yet it's better if you do. But you need all the systems to do so, and those systems have to be interlinked to function together as one world. Lot's of balance issues here. Then you get into the social aspects, and all the problems that comes with that. Whether it's PvP or Trade system takeovers by player groups. Even more balance issues here. But that's what makes a Sandbox World.

    For a P+P game like D+D, it wasn't practical to make a Sandbox game. You had a few players sitting around a table playing under the direction of a Dungeon Master. You couldn't let each player play separate games at the same time, and any massive social scale wasn't there because you only had a few players. It was like a Single Player Game with Multiplayer. And Themepark just works so well there. "World" is far overshadowed by "Theme".

    The same problem existed with D+D. Once you reached "end game", you either started over or had not much more to do. You had everything, done it all, etc. Of course being a game with just a few players in an entire world, starting over had it's advantages with all new content. This is something more difficult in MMOs to keep up with.

    Now, lets get into the history.

    With computers, first came Text Based games. There too, you had the difference between Sandbox and Themepark gaming. But here's where the major problem comes in. That being that new players were used to D+D Themepark and not Sandbox. They expected Themepark game play.

    It's only after players start asking the big question "Is there nothing more?" that things start to turn a corner. But before that could be answered (yes, there were Sandbox Text Based games), along came more advanced graphic Single Player games for your newer computers. These were strictly Single Player games, and once again Themepark was really the only way to go. No massive numbers of gamers to make it massively and worldly social, and little technology to do much with worldly interaction. Yet many of these SPGs probably had more Sandbox style worldly interaction in them than most of today's modern MMO's. But the core game play was Themepark, go through the story from beginning to end, and in order so as not to spoil the surprises along the way.

    And then came the first few MMORPGs. These were games like The Realm and Meridian 59. They were simple and really not "massive". I think the largest servers held something like 100 players. But they really didn't kick off the MMORPG genre like we know.

    Ultima Online was the game that kicked everything off. Now understand, EQ was in development at the same time, and others were working on the idea as well. And I don't know which game started on development first. There was a movement to make truly Massive Multiplayer games in the gaming industry, and it wasn't a secret. But UO was able to release first, a year before EQ.

    UO was made without any ideals of making a D+D style MMORPG. They started from scratch, and reasoned that they were making a world, and went with the Sandbox ideals. They hired Sandbox style designers from the Text Based gaming, people like Raph Koster. And they made not only a world, but a social world suited for masses of gamers to play together. Unfortunately, the PvP aspect was abused and really hurt the game.

    EQ came out, and they made a game that was D+D style. Themepark. They had lots of new gamers that didn't try UO because of the rampant PKing, and they expected Themepark gaming because that's what they were used to from D+D and SPGs. You had levels, you had content based on those levels. They also had problems, because they did try to build a world to play in. Players actually had to wait in line to get into dungeons that they needed to get items from to proceed effectively. Content was divided by levels, yet not divided by zones. Players often didn't know where they had to go next.

    Eq was also a fully 3D game, a powerfull enticement.

    And yet, at this point, newer players in general still weren't to the point of asking that question, "Is there nothing more?" They hadn't played Text Based (mostly) to get to that point.

    Then came a hoste of new games, and things weren't really entrenched yet in the Themepark mentality. Not totally. Many of them were different in various aspects. EQ had not been released yet when some of them started development, or hadn't been out long enough to set the course for the future. But "Sandbox" had been hurt by UO's experience on the social side. Too many problems and they were all very easily solved by going Themepark and restricting rather than building onto.

    This is where gamers started complaining that "they are giving us less and less", and the complaint that you couldn't even sit in a chair in EQ was proof offered.

    And next came the big one. WoW. They did several things. First, they removed many of the problems that EQ had. They went with a more tailored Themepark design, zone to zone. They made heavy use of "instancing" to remove problems related to player use of content (no more waiting for other players to run the content). And then they polished their game far beyond what anyone else had dared to spend all that money on.

    WoW had another advantage. Players still weren't asking "Is there nothing more?", and from somewhere came numbers of new players that no one had thought were out there, who were not ready to ask that question either.

    And that's what established then Themepark design. EQ, then some others, and finally WoW with massive success.

    But since then, more and more gamers have asked "Is there nothing more?" They do want more. More world. More socially massive. More interactively world. And since then, Themepark games being released have not been able to hold the gamers that try them.

    So, now is the time. Sandbox. With socially massive and interactive game worlds, with polish as much as WoW had. To do this, that Themepark style of levelling needs to be replaced with "living in a world", but not without the excitement of things happening in that world, and not without a lot of polish.

     

    Once upon a time....

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