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If it launches: The incremental changes I expect to see.

(I originally wrote this in response to another poster in another thread. But since it's off topic, decided to make my own thread. This is about what I foresee occurring in Pantheon in the months and years after it launches.)

Original post below:
Dullahan said:
svann said:
Dullahan said:
svann said:
Dullahan said:
Succeeding a game that wasn't successful is not the wisest business model.
Well, any game that comes out now would literally have to "succeed" Vanguard since it comes out later. 
succeed:  to follow after another

But seriously, no one is or has ever suggested that Pantheon use Vanguard's failed coding.  So really whats your point?  Strawman much?

You are assuming that the only issue with Vanguard was coding, which it definitely was not. There were mistakes from a design perspective.
Can you be more specific about what parts of the game design you think was a mistake? 

They had good classes, good xp system that balanced questing and sandbox, crafting that wasnt just a combine button but actually had tactics, diplomacy, group harvesting, multiple separate starting areas, factions, races that made enough of a difference that it was a real choice without making one race the only choice, player built houses and boats you could sail anywhere you wanted.

The only actual game design flaw I can think of was that bards were too powerful, but then that might have just been me.

No, the reason people left was definitely the flawed coding.  People loved the game design.
Bugs were responsible for most people leaving early on, yes, but there were still many like myself on high end systems who left for other reasons.

I've discussed the issues I felt most responsible ad naseum here over the years. Very briefly, it was the the lack of risk versus reward. It was the fact that death had little to no consequence. The world was too accommodating, and the rewards were numerous and forgettable until late game.

This philosophy washed over into every aspect of the game. Ultimately they normalized the prestige that players sought and which kept them logging in. The respect a virtual world like EQ demanded - pushing the player to be cautious, to be efficient, to be sociable - were all scaled back leaving a much less compelling experience. At least in my opinion.
They did what--almost unanimously--every MMORPG company does, and that's copied what seemed to be working for others and applied it in their own game. This is something has always been going on. One example I'll offer was Anarchy Online when they created the Shadowlands expansion. They weren't trying to copy WoW because WoW didn't exist yet. No, they were trying to copy.... (wait).... (wait).... EVERQUEST. Believe it or not, but they actually had instances pre-Shadowlands. At that time, instances weren't yet mainstream. Shadowlands reduced the instances and focused on overland encounters and EQ-like mechanics.

Every company shifts into a state of desperation after they start seeing a fall in new subscriptions, and eventually a fall in overall subscriptions. It seems to be human nature. Instead of trying to innovate or reinvent or refortify, they fallback to what's possibly the easiest countermeasure to survive: copy.

In those days, I was excited about Vanguard. I had been following it since about 2005 or 2006 when news first started emerging. It had a more sandbox orientation with its housing system and player ships--things I welcomed because I always loved UO too. At the time, I didn't have a computer up to specs for Vanguard, but I did watch it like a hawk. AFter several months it was obvious they were falling into the same pattern. They had experienced a steep dropoff in subscriptions and interest. Business interests took over. I also remember feeling unhappy when they removed that equipment expertise thing. It was just another example of them downsizing--or watering down--the game. Later they added the tutorial island up to level 10 and that's like hte most popular trick in the book when a company has lost all hope. It's bottom of the barrel desperation. Everquest did it with the Mines of Gloomingdeep. At that point, I had lost all hope in Vanguard. I'd lost all hope in MMORPGs. It wasn't until I played Wurm Online in 2012 that I regained it and had an unbelievable run.

Of course, Wurm Online is also getting desperate. They started out much more indie than Vanguard, so they've weathered the years better. Yet every game maker is susceptible to the forces of nature, and bit by bit Wurm Online is losing its soul in the same manner as eveyr other MMO that's ever existed.

The instinctive urge to make things easier and more accessible for newer players WHEN things become scary financially is something every game maker has to be more cautious about. They want to save their own skins in a roundabout way, and that's understandable. However, don't forget the affect this will have on hte soul of the game. Ultimately, it seems every game maker fails at this. Eventually the game is a shell of its original self. Some people think this is good, but we don't all agree on that. One of the primary drivers seems to be financial. For example, Project 1999 recaptures much of the original Everquest, but it's not commercial in nature. It doesn't require payment. It's a work of love. Perhaps this is a lesson to any and all future game makers.

I don't believe ALL intentions to make a game easier or more accessible are attempts to survive. Sometimes it's just the changing moods or beliefs of a game maker. I think it can be as simple as just playing a different game for a while and then wanting to implement those things into their own game. This can have good and bad results, but I think usually they have to first check with the business people.

Everything changes, generally. I understand sometimes it's good to change something. I'm not posting here to oppose all change. Just a word of warning.
Beezerbeez

Comments

  • asteldiancaliskanasteldiancaliskan Member UncommonPosts: 58
    Keep in mind with VG a lot of the dilution occurred was from having to turn to SOE, even before release the game rapidly started changing to a more EQ2 experience, and by release, as soon as the first exodus of players occurred due to bugs and performance it continued the dilution - time, effort and money wasnt put in fixing code but instead more superficial mechanics. By the time SOE came to the rescue, Brad and his team (what was left of it) were nothing more than a name plastered on the game rather than really involved.

    Changes i foresee are:
    Eventual mix of open overland raids and raid instances (probably popular overall)
    A dilution to the death penalty (mixed response, too weak more disappointed than happy)

    They are the two most obvious contentious issues even amongst rabid fans
  • delete5230delete5230 Member EpicPosts: 6,594
    Much of what the two above is true, it's almost a standard of how mmorpgs deplete. 

    However it doesn't have to be that way: 
    World of Warcraft was the exception (sorry, this gets people mad) 
    1) It was a quality game and bugs were fixed fast or at least fast enough. 
    2) It was a large game from the start. 
    3) It was a complete game with an ending even on release.  Sure stuff were added like Battle grounds and raids but they were un-expected enhancements. 
    4) Vanilla was large enough to not require expansions for the first few years. (6 starting areas and two factions). 
    5) No greed at least in the first few years, They turned it into quality and enhanced the experience. Unlike EQ2, they never fixed anything just pumped out expansions. 

    Get mad that I used WoW as an example all you want, its how to be successful from start to finish. 

    The key to not fail is a FULL SIZE, QUALITY RELEASE, players demand this. NO buts !
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 599
    edited September 2018
    Keep in mind with VG a lot of the dilution occurred was from having to turn to SOE, even before release the game rapidly started changing to a more EQ2 experience, and by release, as soon as the first exodus of players occurred due to bugs and performance it continued the dilution - time, effort and money wasnt put in fixing code but instead more superficial mechanics. By the time SOE came to the rescue, Brad and his team (what was left of it) were nothing more than a name plastered on the game rather than really involved.

    Changes i foresee are:
    Eventual mix of open overland raids and raid instances (probably popular overall)
    A dilution to the death penalty (mixed response, too weak more disappointed than happy)

    They are the two most obvious contentious issues even amongst rabid fans
    I don't want to respond. One of the first things I think about when I make a discussion is I want to avoid arguing. So I'll do my best not to take this further than I have to.

    You might be right, but do you think SOE exists in isolation? EQ2 was changing all throughout its life in the same manner. What, you don't think the game developers at SOE never played WoW? EQ2 fell below expectations. Comparatively, EQ1 remained high in subscribers. They got desperate for sure. EQ2 never stopped trying to make itself easier and more accessible--like every other MMO--in an attempt to survive financially.

    Get this. EQ2 released just weeks before WoW. They saw some moderate success, but below what they wanted. Then WoW releases a couple weeks later. In a matter of a few short months it has a million subscribers. EQ2 never exceed 350k subs in tis life. In fact, it only sligthly exceed EQ1 subs in 2007 when it had 200k. It has followed EQ1 since then with a gradual decline. By Q2 2005 WoW has 3.5 million. Can you even for a moment imagine hte pain SOE business heads are feeling when they see the unimaginable success WoW is experiencing? Ooh, the hit to their pride! And you don't htink they became slightly depserate? You don't think this had anyting to do with the changes EQ2 underwent? These changes, like in almost every other MMO, are why so many EQ2 players later wanted classic or progression servers.

    SOE is a company like every other company.
    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
  • LokeroLokero Member RarePosts: 1,514



    Every company shifts into a state of desperation after they start seeing a fall in new subscriptions, and eventually a fall in overall subscriptions. It seems to be human nature. Instead of trying to innovate or reinvent or refortify, they fallback to what's possibly the easiest countermeasure to survive: copy.


    The instinctive urge to make things easier and more accessible for newer players WHEN things become scary financially is something every game maker has to be more cautious about. They want to save their own skins in a roundabout way, and that's understandable. However, don't forget the affect this will have on hte soul of the game. Ultimately, it seems every game maker fails at this. Eventually the game is a shell of its original self. Some people think this is good, but we don't all agree on that. One of the primary drivers seems to be financial.

    Well, when it's a financial struggle situation, you have probably already reached the point of it being too late to do anything but use the most obvious countermeasure.

    If your game is failing and your playerbase is dwindling away, then obviously what you were doing wasn't working well enough to continue with, and changes must happen.
    Will that alter or sometimes even destroy your vision/soul of your project?  It's pretty likely. 
    But, do you attempt to save the game by copying success, or just watch it die? 
    The ability to suddenly "innovate or reinvent or refortify" costs money, and more(?) importantly, time.  When you are in financial desperation mode and your game is fading away, both of those are luxuries that you probably cannot afford.

    No one likes seeing a game they love getting a complete foundational makeover, but most of the time, when that happens, it's the last card in their hand. 

    It's a lot easier to photo-scan a book than to write a new one from scratch.  Sometimes it is better to save a bastard copy of a book than to have nothing to read.
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 599
    edited September 2018
    These incremental changes don't happen when a company is bankrupt, they happen when a company starts to worry about its financies. Note that a company is always worrying about its finances. They're always thinking ahead to how they can ensure their stability. When I say desperate, I mean they start to notice issues. This can and does lead to said changes in the game to reduce attrition and increase the rate of incoming players. Money money moeny. It really does rule hte world.

    Anarchy Online wasn't dead when it made Shadowlands, but it was concerned both with the popularity of EVerquest and its own future. Maybe me using the word desperate is too strong. A more appropriate word might be uneasy. Peer pressure acts teh same way. Popularity is a strong pressure. Almost as much as money.
  • LokeroLokero Member RarePosts: 1,514
    Ah, I see your point.

    But, let's be honest, the majority of games change from their original core and vision over time regardless of peer pressure or success.
    I think fixing what isn't broken is an even bigger danger than trying to copy.

    Developers, by default, want to change and evolve things, try out new systems, etc.

    Any type of change is really a double-edged sword.  When developers are actually trying to innovate and do their own thing, this irks and drives away just as many customers as trying to adapt ideas from another game.

    The fundamental problem is that people don't like change.  Games like EQ and WoW weren't trying to copy anyone with some of their massive system changes, back then.  They were just trying to evolve their worlds and experiences.  They also drove away many customers with those changes(Cataclsym, PoP, etc.)

    New staff, newer tech, new ideas, etc., lead dev teams to want to make changes.  I don't think there's really any way to avoid a game changing from its roots. 
    A lot of times, big changes were things that the developers wanted from the start, but were just unable to get into the game due to time constraints, generational tech limitations, etc.

    I've never seen an MMO where things aren't constantly changing in major ways.  I don't think there's a dev team out there who thinks their game shouldn't change and adapt to their constantly evolving vision, although, I'm sure some of them regret the changes they made afterwards.

    So, do you regularly change things along the way, prior to financial issues?
    If you don't, then your game stagnates and people leave anyway. 
    Sure, you can say that all these throwback servers like P99 and TLP, etc., show that some people really like things to stay the same forever, but that's a pretty small minority.

    TL:DR -- At any rate, I think my point is that MMOs are going to change, fundamentally, regardless of financial issues.  An MMO, by its very nature, simply cannot maintain the status quo.  It just doesn't work, nor would any creative developer ever want it to do so.  I'm not saying games have to go full NGE, but no MMO will resemble its early self 5+ years down the road.
  • asteldiancaliskanasteldiancaliskan Member UncommonPosts: 58
    edited September 2018
    Keep in mind with VG a lot of the dilution occurred was from having to turn to SOE, even before release the game rapidly started changing to a more EQ2 experience, and by release, as soon as the first exodus of players occurred due to bugs and performance it continued the dilution - time, effort and money wasnt put in fixing code but instead more superficial mechanics. By the time SOE came to the rescue, Brad and his team (what was left of it) were nothing more than a name plastered on the game rather than really involved.

    Changes i foresee are:
    Eventual mix of open overland raids and raid instances (probably popular overall)
    A dilution to the death penalty (mixed response, too weak more disappointed than happy)

    They are the two most obvious contentious issues even amongst rabid fans
    I don't want to respond. One of the first things I think about when I make a discussion is I want to avoid arguing. So I'll do my best not to take this further than I have to.

    You might be right, but do you think SOE exists in isolation? EQ2 was changing all throughout its life in the same manner. What, you don't think the game developers at SOE never played WoW? EQ2 fell below expectations. Comparatively, EQ1 remained high in subscribers. They got desperate for sure. EQ2 never stopped trying to make itself easier and more accessible--like every other MMO--in an attempt to survive financially.

    Get this. EQ2 released just weeks before WoW. They saw some moderate success, but below what they wanted. Then WoW releases a couple weeks later. In a matter of a few short months it has a million subscribers. EQ2 never exceed 350k subs in tis life. In fact, it only sligthly exceed EQ1 subs in 2007 when it had 200k. It has followed EQ1 since then with a gradual decline. By Q2 2005 WoW has 3.5 million. Can you even for a moment imagine hte pain SOE business heads are feeling when they see the unimaginable success WoW is experiencing? Ooh, the hit to their pride! And you don't htink they became slightly depserate? You don't think this had anyting to do with the changes EQ2 underwent? These changes, like in almost every other MMO, are why so many EQ2 players later wanted classic or progression servers.

    SOE is a company like every other company.
    The point is, SOE started diluting VG into a more EQ2 like experience, and like you said, EQ2 was not the success they wanted, so trying to 'save' VG by mimicking EQ2 was hardly a winning plan. Interestingly, one thing both VG and EQ2 had in common was piss poor performance, and in both cases SOE failed to address this, opting instead for more superficial changes. EQ2 had plenty of flaws, but did do somethings right, had they focused on making the game more accessible performance wise they may have seen more success than trying to make it easier - afterall, one of the big draws for WoW was not just its world, but also the fact the game would run on a potato.

    I dont fault SOE for trying to make changes to increase popularity, i blame them for choosing to focus on the wrong things. There is a reason for them having a poor rep and its because time and again they have chosen poorly.
  • AdamantineAdamantine Member RarePosts: 4,449

     AFter several months it was obvious they were falling into the same pattern. They had experienced a steep dropoff in subscriptions and interest. Business interests took over. I also remember feeling unhappy when they removed that equipment expertise thing. It was just another example of them downsizing--or watering down--the game. Later they added the tutorial island up to level 10 and that's like hte most popular trick in the book when a company has lost all hope..
    Err ... maybe instead of some blind random theorizing about it, actually playing the game would have been a much better base for judging it ?

    The change in the equipment system didnt change much at all about the game. I wouldnt even have remembered that if you had not mentioned it. The newer system was much easier to understand and worked just as well. I fail to see whats bad about removing useless complexity.

    That tutorial island was simply wonderful. I leveled every class at least once on it, and explored that thing all over again and again. Much better than the two douzen starter areas we had that offered much, much less complexity and fun.

    Please set a sig so I can read your posting even if somebody "agreed" etc with it. Thanks.
  • AdamantineAdamantine Member RarePosts: 4,449
    World of Warcraft was the exception (sorry, this gets people mad)
    [...]
    The key to not fail is a FULL SIZE, QUALITY RELEASE, players demand this. NO buts !
    Sigh. Yeah yeah sure. The old WoW myth.

    The truth was WoW was buggy at the start as well and in the beginning it was shut down for days without explanation - something that never happened with Vanguard, at least we got an explanation quite quickly and restarts, well I dont remember exact times but I think the longest was a day or so and that was the exception, usually it was some hours later up again.

    And the moment Blizzard noticed they gained traction, they brutally watered WoW down to appeal better to the masses. Vanilla WoW might have been a challenge - the later versions not so much.

    And sure they had success with that - and still have - but that doesnt mean I personally care, sorry. I play games based on how fun they are to ME, not to others.

    And personally I was completely turned off from WoW back then by the silly comic style graphics. I want my characters to look pretty, not absurd, thank you very much. If its comic style, then at leasst give me elegant Manga.

    I also didnt liked the lack of complexity. Few races, few classes.

    Thus  I never touched WoW. I've only seen other people playing it, but on these occasions I was always turned off by the complete lack of a challenge there. The player in WoW doesnt have to think in order to stay alife. No wonder three year olds apparently can play WoW. In Vanguard, I played all the time for seven years and there have been many raid bosses I never even faced because only the most dedicated raid guilds would be able to handle them. In Vanguard, I died a lot, even with seven years experience. Well OK at least during raids and during low level adventuring, not so much on high level adventuring when you character in raid gear could be king. But still, there was a challenge.

    Also despite their massive success Blizzard never invested much into WoW. They never added housing, or bards, etc.

    Sure you can play whatever you like, I dont care. I just get annoyed by people taking the wrong position. You're the gamer, not the game investor. If the investor makes money thats not a win for you, thats only a win for the investor. WoW was a huge investor success. As a game, sure it was stable. But it didnt appeal to me and thus its not a good idea to copy it to get a game that *I* would like.

    As a rule, dont try to copy a single other game. Sure you should copy. But you should copy from 50 games, not just one. Cherry pick the features that really work well, obviously add own ideas, and integrate them into a completely new, self consistent mixture and gaming experience.

    Thats btw true for any form of art.

    Please set a sig so I can read your posting even if somebody "agreed" etc with it. Thanks.
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