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[Column] General: Five Overlooked Features that Every MMO Needs

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

We’ve all got our must-have gameplay systems that absolutely need to be present to secure our patronage to a new MMO or RPG on the block.  For some, it’s an in-depth crafting system that allows players to create the most powerful items in the game and corner the market with their wares.  For others, it’s a fully realized PvP system that requires the use of different strategies and builds, with leaderboards and rewards to boot.

Read more of Som Pourfarzaneh's Five Overlooked Features that Every MMO Needs.

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Comments

  • sketocafesketocafe Member UncommonPosts: 950
    I don't think that's a small price to pay at all. Not for a convenience feature. Not when subsequent dungeons have to be tuned to parties with no experience working together. Not when people actually managed to get things done before group finders became ubiquitous. I would much rather have quality runs with a quality community than settle for quantity when there are things like drop rates on gear and tokens that can be tuned to reduce the quantity of trips required without giving up everything that you lose with LFG tools.
  • BadSpockBadSpock Member UncommonPosts: 7,979

    Mentoring and remote-deposit are very cool, wish more games had them.

    Rest are all correct, IMO.

    One more for the list is a transmog / appearance tab / costume system. With dyes. 

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Member EpicPosts: 6,130
    Originally posted by sketocafe
    I don't think that's a small price to pay at all. Not for a convenience feature. Not when subsequent dungeons have to be tuned to parties with no experience working together. Not when people actually managed to get things done before group finders became ubiquitous. I would much rather have quality runs with a quality community than settle for quantity when there are things like drop rates on gear and tokens that can be tuned to reduce the quantity of trips required without giving up everything that you lose with LFG tools.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa!! Just because there's a LFG tool doesn't mean that you need to tune for PUGs. This is part of the problem. There's this big misconception that PUGs are a problem, but the real problem is with the lack of communication. Even when I was in an organized group, we would spend 10 minutes talking about the next fight, making sure everyone is ready. Now, we've got the "Go go" mentality, you've got DPS pulling bosses, zero communication, nobody asks questions because they don't want to get yelled at. Sorry, that's not a fault of LFG, that's a fault of the community. 

    Crazkanuk

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  • RemyVorenderRemyVorender Member RarePosts: 3,839

    Here are my top 5:

     

    1. Huge Open World

    2. Terraforming

    3. Housing anywhere

    4. Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI

    5. Survival Elements

     

    P.S. No full loot PvP

     

    Can you figure out from where my frustration stems? That's right, they don't make this game. 

    Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, BDO, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
    ESO, Fallen Earth, FFXI, FFXIV, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MxO, Neverwinter, Rift, RoE,
    Ryzom, Shadowbane, SWG, SWTOR, TERA, TSW, WAR, WoW, WURM...and a bunch of others not worth mentioning.


    Joined - July 2004

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,934

    I like every point you made.

    The wallet is a must in games which have an absurd number of currencies. LotRO has a great universal wallet. Games like ESO don't really need one though.

    Group Finders can be great, but this is one feature that can't be abstracted and universally applied to a game. It has to fit the game and the group dynamics. Rift has the best grouping tool of any game of that type. The class and role dynamics work really well for that. Some games don't fit that template so well and I think their grouping tools need to make getting together for group content easier, but not necessarily imitate the style Trion uses with Rift.

    Remote storage access is another feature I love. GW2 does it right. An important part of this feature, to me, is the ability to craft without needing to micromanage storage withdrawals and deposits.

    Mentoring is one of those things again that needs to work for the game, not the other way around. I really prefer dynamic scaling where the character and the content match each other rather than a player picking a specific level. What would really be great here is if you could adjust this to select a challenge level (easier, normal, harder) so you can play in a way you enjoy. The rewards could scale to meet that. In a really cool world content would also scale in difficulty based on the number of players facing it.

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  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade Member EpicPosts: 4,816
    Mentoring and groupfinder are the big ones for me. Though all of the features you've mentioned are good ones that make life a lot easier, Som.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

    https://www.ashesofcreation.com/ref/Callaron/

  • CiixCiix Member Posts: 13
    Perhaps this would fall under Inventory Sorting, but they also need separate bag space for quest items.
  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade Member EpicPosts: 4,816
    Originally posted by remyburke

    Here are my top 5:

     

    1. Huge Open World

    2. Terraforming

    3. Housing anywhere

    4. Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI

    5. Survival Elements

     

    P.S. No full loot PvP

     

    Can you figure out what my problem is? That's right, they don't make this game. 

     

    Those also aren't QoL things like the ones in the article. :)

    Although that game definitely would be nice.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

    https://www.ashesofcreation.com/ref/Callaron/

  • LheiahLheiah Member UncommonPosts: 190
    Originally posted by remyburke

    Here are my top 5:

     

    1. Huge Open World

    2. Terraforming

    3. Open World Housing

    4. Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI

    5. Survival Elements

     

    This!

     

    mentoring - how about throw vertical progression systems in the can?

  • zaberfangxzaberfangx Member UncommonPosts: 1,796
    Originally posted by remyburke

    Here are my top 5:

     

    1. Huge Open World

    2. Terraforming

    3. Housing anywhere

    4. Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI

    5. Survival Elements

     

    P.S. No full loot PvP

     

    Can you figure out from where my frustration stems? That's right, they don't make this game. 

    I can agree, but open world housing all ways have limit land space then people.

  • PagoasPagoas Member UncommonPosts: 120
    Inventory management killed LOTRO for me. Left it in 2011 mainly because I was fed up with the bloated and annoying currencies, crafting components, drops, and etc.   I hear things are better streamlined  now, but I'm really too snakebit by my memory of its lack and inconveniences of storage options to care... even with all of the bags and banking options unlocked.

    image
  • RemyVorenderRemyVorender Member RarePosts: 3,839
    Originally posted by Azaron_Nightblade
    Originally posted by remyburke

    Here are my top 5:

     

    1. Huge Open World

    2. Terraforming

    3. Housing anywhere

    4. Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI

    5. Survival Elements

     

    P.S. No full loot PvP

     

    Can you figure out what my problem is? That's right, they don't make this game. 

     

    Those also aren't QoL things like the ones in the article. :)

    Although that game definitely would be nice.

    You're right, but the things I mentioned are QoL features to me. I could look past clunky inventory management and a lack of a group finder, as the latter would force more chat comms between players. :)

    Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, BDO, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
    ESO, Fallen Earth, FFXI, FFXIV, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MxO, Neverwinter, Rift, RoE,
    Ryzom, Shadowbane, SWG, SWTOR, TERA, TSW, WAR, WoW, WURM...and a bunch of others not worth mentioning.


    Joined - July 2004

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,159

    Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned, but only the Mentoring which I agree whole-heartedly, it was awesome in CoH. But it should be a selectable option, for example I don't like GW2's always-on downscaling - true, maybe it's because I don't like GW2 itself on the first place :)

    Group finder is a nice tool, it doesn't kill off LFG and friend list and guild channel, so it's just an additional option in case of quick group fun when nobody's online. (cough*nighshift*cough).

    Currency wallet, I admit I love LotRO's premium wallet. But I also love to play inventory tetris :) so while it's good to have, I don't think it's a must-have in every game out there.

    Sorting, this I'd even remove if I can... as mentioned above, I love inventory tetris, have my own bag order and layout in every game - nothing is worse than accidentally click on sort which is shuffling everything into a bloody mess... :)

    Remote deposit, I think that's a "too good to have" feature. I wrote about it around Rift's f2p switch when I went back for getting to know the model, that single one Patron feature spoiled me for months... It's far too convenient, removes immersion, the town visits, etc. and it's too easy to get hooked on... luckily I'm clean now, so don't tempt me, Frodo, no more mats teleporting to the bank, or in the AH for auctioning image

     

    What are some features you think should be present in every MMO?

    Some mentioned cosmetic system or housing, but I think those are depending on the actual game's setting. So even if I love those features, I'm not sure they should present in every MMO...

    What should, instead, is the mods / plugins option. LUA is great for that, or TSW is also a plugin-creator's wet dream. Basically going back to the MUD / MUSH roots. Which brings to an another "should be present" feature (and I'm a bit surprised you missed it from the list, Som image) is UGC. Whether it's the Foundry (STO / Neverwinter), the text-based games inside TSW, the Player Studio for SOE (or daybreak, or whatever, dunno they kept PS in the end?), or the player-run AC servers - giving the option for players to create new content is a great thing.

  • FacelessSaviorFacelessSavior Member UncommonPosts: 188
    Remote deposit and cross server group finders? I sincerely wish that wuzn't the direction the genre wuz heading ;/ Le sigh.
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,749

    I don't know about sorting.  I think I prefer to put stuff in specific places within bags -- weapons go here, armor goes here, etc.  I've yet to see a sorting system that doesn't mess up my manual organization.

    The wallet is almost essential these days.  But the thing that is most needed, but never seems to be implemented, is a money changer.  Almost everyone who has traveled internationally has dealt with a money changer.  There needs to be some simple way to convert currency from one form to another.  I'd love to see fluctuations in the exchange rates, with reasonable exchange fees (different for each vendor) to help remove money from the game.  A more thorough, complex economy would have something worth buying at every level with each currency type.  This could even encourage players to set up their own exchanges (and exchange rates) within the game.  And such a system should be easier than inventing all the various types of currency in the first place.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,159
    Originally posted by Pagoas
    Inventory management killed LOTRO for me. Left it in 2011 mainly because I was fed up with the bloated and annoying currencies, crafting components, drops, and etc.   I hear things are better streamlined  now, but I'm really too snakebit by my memory of its lack and inconveniences of storage options to care... even with all of the bags and banking options unlocked.

    As the wiki says: https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Premium_Wallet_Upgrade

    There's a wallet now for most currencies and stuff, additionally you can buy the Premium one for 10 bucks, which draws almost everything into it, like a black hole.

  • mmorobommorobo Member UncommonPosts: 126
    Originally posted by remyburke

    Here are my top 5:

     

    1. Huge Open World

    2. Terraforming

    3. Housing anywhere

    4. Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI

    5. Survival Elements

     

    P.S. No full loot PvP

     

    Can you figure out from where my frustration stems? That's right, they don't make this game. 

    Well, 4 of the 5 are Minecraft.  Intelligent and dynamically spawning AI is so poor in Minecraft that you can say that it is not there.  But the next update (combat) might give us a weak combat system.  While not really a Mmo, some servers have 100-200 players at a time.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    That mentoring thing is really just needed if you have the incredible large powergap between new and veteran players most MMOs tend to have. In a system that levels you down like GW2 or one with far less powergap there is no use for it at all. 

    The whole thing is like putting a bandaid on a crushed skull or like doing CPR on an ancient mummy, the problem is the system in itself. While many munchkin players seems to enjoy going from peasant to demigod that system hurts the games. Now, you should become better as you play but going from peasant to experienced soldier is more than enough.

    The other features are practical, but the same thing could be said about the wallet. Do we really need 20 different coins and tokens in a game? The game doesn't actually becomes more exciting or fun just becuase it have many different currencies.

    My list:

    1. Risk Vs reward. 

    2. Good customization (When everybody of the same class are more or less cardboard copies of eachother it is just boring).

    3. Challenging open world content.

    4. Auto dividing of any loot. Need and greed just leads to loot ninjas.

    5. Bosses that actually can adapt somewhat to the situation and wont fall for taunts.

  • GediasGedias Member UncommonPosts: 46

    I don't mind group finders that act more like a message board - you list your class role and what dungeons you want to run. But when you click a button and get whisked into an instance with other players, it now only ruins immersion but makes friend lists or server reputation pretty much pointless. (And yes content does get dumbed down when you do automatic grouping.)

    About the only thing I would want a group finder for would be instanced battlegrounds.  And then only if open-world PVP wasn't part of the core gameplay.

    Mentoring is a great idea that needs to be used more. The other 3 items are convenience that don't make or break a game for me.

  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505


    Posted by Som

    It’s even better if a group finder can allow you to connect with players across servers, essentially ensuring that you’ll have more time partying in a dungeon and less time waiting around for others to show up.


    While simultaneously increasing the price to pay to the point of disjointing and fracturing the playerbases of every server included in "crossrealm" grouping. Also, completely destroying the very last hint of an incentive to interact with players beyond heal/taunt/target assist. Meh, I don't consider that better.

    As the poster above me pointed out, the more organic the group finder, the better. Specifically, queuing up for a dungeon in the same manner in which you find a match in MOBAs is, by and large, an awful way to organically implement a group finder in an MMORPG.

    The rest of your article I can agree with. The groupfinder isn't so black and white, but you seem to generalize the issue. That, to me, is a mistake.

    image
  • HorusraHorusra Member EpicPosts: 4,181
    Originally posted by Mendel

    I don't know about sorting.  I think I prefer to put stuff in specific places within bags -- weapons go here, armor goes here, etc.  I've yet to see a sorting system that doesn't mess up my manual organization.

    The wallet is almost essential these days.  But the thing that is most needed, but never seems to be implemented, is a money changer.  Almost everyone who has traveled internationally has dealt with a money changer.  There needs to be some simple way to convert currency from one form to another.  I'd love to see fluctuations in the exchange rates, with reasonable exchange fees (different for each vendor) to help remove money from the game.  A more thorough, complex economy would have something worth buying at every level with each currency type.  This could even encourage players to set up their own exchanges (and exchange rates) within the game.  And such a system should be easier than inventing all the various types of currency in the first place.

    WoW added a sorting feature where you can designate different bags for different types of items for the auto sort button.

  • HorusraHorusra Member EpicPosts: 4,181

    It seems people against Group Finders do not like PUGs...yet standing in a city calling out LFG creates a PUG.  If you are not in a PUG then you are in a know group and thus would not have to be using a Group Finder.  Is it that people miss the "LFG for X" spam all the time in chat?  I fail to see how the feature destroys the community of a game.

     

     

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,019
    Originally posted by Horusra

    It seems people against Group Finders do not like PUGs...yet standing in a city calling out LFG creates a PUG.  If you are not in a PUG then you are in a know group and thus would not have to be using a Group Finder.  Is it that people miss the "LFG for X" spam all the time in chat?  I fail to see how the feature destroys the community of a game.

     

     

    They really don't, the removal of downtime mechanics and some other things removed the socialization aspects of the random PUG, not the fact that is now being put together via a LFG tool rather than through shouting.

    Cross server LFG however does negatively impact the community, but even then in this new megaserver era the point becomes moot.

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  • NildenNilden Member EpicPosts: 3,072

    I think it's a better idea to not limit a MMO to having five things they all need. All a MMO really needs is to be massively multiplayer online. I want to see things like a vampire MMO, old west MMO, sim ant colony MMO, pigeon life survival MMO, underwater mutant living facility MMO, alternate planet MMO, sea turtle the MMO, etc.

    Buck conventions and come up with a whole new experience within the confines of Massively Multiplayer Online don't confine MMOs further by conforming to any set list of features.

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  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    Originally posted by Kyleran
    Originally posted by Horusra

    It seems people against Group Finders do not like PUGs...yet standing in a city calling out LFG creates a PUG.  If you are not in a PUG then you are in a know group and thus would not have to be using a Group Finder.  Is it that people miss the "LFG for X" spam all the time in chat?  I fail to see how the feature destroys the community of a game.

     

     

    They really don't, the removal of downtime mechanics and some other things removed the socialization aspects of the random PUG, not the fact that is now being put together via a LFG tool rather than through shouting.

    Cross server LFG however does negatively impact the community, but even then in this new megaserver era the point becomes moot.

    I was specifically referring to cross-server grouping.  More specifically, the type of group finder that models itself after MOBA match finders.  It's the antithesis of player interaction masquerading as a system that moves said interaction forward.  I lasted about 4 dungeons runs last I played WoW using the finder before I decided that any other activity in the world (e.g. sticking my junk in an oven) would be more enjoyable than doing another silent run, mindlessly rinsing and repeating ad nauseam.  It's an activity I personally will never participate in again.

     

    Not sure if that was the intended result of the group finder when Blizzard implemented it.  But that was the end result in my experience.  A bunch of mutes spamming abilities as quickly as possible simply to keep from falling asleep at their keyboards, I imagine.

    image
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