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Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the reviews of MMORPG.com or its management.
I think I'm in the majority here when I say that I will always want a better graphical experience when possible, but I'm willing to concede the ability to produce such graphics sometimes falls below the bleeding edge of what is possible. A game does not have to blow me away graphically for me to respect it. Anything I would rate a 7 or higher in all meaningful categories (story/plot, graphics, sound, gameplay, replayability, etc.) has my respect, shown in the dollars I spend to purchase it, and the reviews I might write for it. A seven, graphically speaking, varies depending on the platform, of course, but for PC-based MMOGs, there's really only one criterion for me: Do the graphics detract from my immersion?
UO is an excellent example. I tried to enjoy that game, and simply could not. It was so graphically archaic when I tried it, I just could not begin to care about how the game itself actually played. The same was true of Asheron's Call, to a lesser degree. I admit it, I LOVE a pretty game, and I've probably missed some great MMOG experiences because they weren't attractive enough, but that being said, I don't want companies to cater to my ideas of what is graphically "good enough." Instead, make a finished product. Make a game that looks, plays, and feels exactly like you envision, and let me decide if your vision is enjoyable. I believe that any game that is developed and tested thoroughly, and is pronounced "finished" by developers and at least 75% of your beta players is worth putting on the market, and if it's not the prettiest game out there, so be it.
Best of luck to all developers in bringing more amazing experiences to the MMO genre.
I see a lot is written on this.
Well , let me give you my point of view - as a professional graphic artist and magister of arts
The thing people dont realise , there is a diference between
simple(or old) graphic and bad graphic
example no1: Super Mario
This game has old 2d sprite graphic. But nobody can say it has bad graphic. It is simply enjoyable.So why is that super mario games can claim they have good looking graphic even today.
The answer is simple - They are ICONIC
There are countles theories written on this subject. Like "uncanny valley" and many others.The result is simple , as closer something resembles the "real" object , the more obvious are its faults.
The further away something is from "real" the more our brain is compensating - and thus creating perfect imagehalf real half imaginary...thus "Iconic"
<- is this a face ?
Just circle , 2 dots and a line...
So finnaly we come to a match made in heaven
WoW vs Everquest2
WoW uses high iconisation - deliberately sparking our imagination , making our brain to compensate-EQ2 goes for hyper realistic look - undeliberately producing "uncanny valley" effect , making us judge it graphics
In few years EQ2 will have highly dated graphic , while WoW graphic will be as fresh as ever - because tey are iconic and not dependant on rendering but on "style"
So in closing word.
Good or bad graphic is not function of age , or rendering engine or new directX
It is in hands of clever design and good eye for art (and knowledge of human visual mind)
"Before this battle is over all the world will know that few...stood against many." - King Leonidas
I realized I was a graphics whore just recently. Dark and Light opened my eyes to my true inner being. I always claimed innovation and ideas, gameplay, features and content were more important, with graphics and sound bringing up the rear.....but i was wrong, I read everything about Dark and Light, and really thought it had a lot to offer, and then I paid 50 doallars for it.
I was burned, I forced myself to play it for two days, and then I never signed on agian. It made me take a look at what matters in a game, and I realized that it is immersion. A game must have style, something that makes me forget my little computer room, an d graphics have to hold my attention long enough to get to the innovative game play.
I finally laid Star Craft to rest recently also, Dawn of War series was good enough for me to no longer play the rts giant. I didnt care that the graphics on a '93 game were very outdated, they still had style, of course until DOW came along, now I expect that level for my rts games.
So I guess i'm saying I agree...I was a closet Graphics whore who has finally come out.
Rage - Head Honcho of the Revilers "Ragemore and Whine Less"
Graphics get me looking at a game. I normally read an article on a game based on some screenshot that is included. I might go and buy a game based on graphics but long term playability such as a MMORPG needs more. Games like EQII got my initial $50 but I eventually got bored and quit paying the monthly fee. A game can look great but something more is needed to keep players following that dangling carrot of an MMORPG, at least from my opinion.
Another scary thing is that if MMORPG.com feature a game lacking in graphical pizzaz then normally it means that the game is being done by a small company, or that the company is behind on production allowing the graphics to become dated, or that quite possibly the gameplay will be as boring as the graphics. I've played good looking games and ugly games that stunk on the game-play/fun-factor side so it is always a coin toss but I tend not to even look at a Shadowbane or a Dark and Light anymore. It's very rare that a MMORPG is going to release with 1998 graphics but some stellar innovative incredible gameplay design in todays market. Now if only I could say on the other side of the coin that an impressive graphic engine meant I was going to see stellar gameplay then it would all be so easy.
I am the type of player where I like to do everything and anything from time to time.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor - pre-WW2 genocide.
I partially agree.
I wouldn't call graphics as something that destroys games (not an only reason at least). [afraid] Producers, [afraid] designers and crappy coders is what is the worst. They prefer to make simplistic clones again and again, instead of doing something better, more original (of course there're exceptions, but rather rare). But that requires effort, more work, more imagination, more support, more time, more complexity. Why bother ? It's all about the money in the end. And simplistic, proven "solutions" work, supported by tremendous amount of PR bullshit. Regardless if it's mmo or single player game.
Good graphics does help medicore titles in staying afloat though.
In mmo realm, take for example L2 - a terrible game with incredibly broken game mechanics on practically, every level imaginable. With one of the worst CS. Yet it's still alive in NA. Why ? Decent graphics. Big, pretty, shiny, glowing weapons, cute armors, panties visible on every occasion, silicon DEs. Everything else seems to be secondary. Besides grpahics, people also love to self-brainwash themselves and force into liking crappy, unfinished halfproducts, and then literally drool to pretty screenshots and a few numbers. A lot of current players can't even comprehend an idea of a mmorpg without a grind. That's sad.
OTOH hard to not agree with the OP - by today's "standards", the amount of time spent on game engine (or even on using one already made), textures and animations is far more substantial than a few years ago. Time that could, and should in most cases, be spent somewhere else.
If AoC and DF flop, I think I'll lose my faith into mmorpgs completely. In the recent few years, there's been a lot of cancellations of promising titles, and a lot of letdowns. Not that sp games were much better (but there were at least few nice titles there).
Originally posted by Rattrap simple(or old) graphic and bad graphic example no1: Super Mario This game has old 2d sprite graphic. But nobody can say it has bad graphic. It is simply enjoyable.So why is that super mario games can claim they have good looking graphic even today. The answer is simple - They are ICONIC example no2: <- is this a face ?
- Spanish Black Prophecy Fansite
Originally posted by Holyavenger1 You may also want to consider that while a developer can screw up or throw overboard the features that he announced, he cannot do that with graphics. Hence graphics bear more importance, especially in a to-be-released games, because they're the only reliable thing you have.
And this is why so many games are lacking in any real depth, but I don't think this is so much the developers fault but the company that is making the monetary investment in the game to start. Pretty games sell; so if you make the game really, really pretty with few features you are more likely to sell a ton of copies up front. MMO's also start in the black more so then a single player game. All those servers to pay for and run, the CS department to fund; I think that software companies focus on getting a return for all the money they put out before anyones ever bought the game that they go for the "safe" thing and overload on graphics in an ettept to sell more.
I think that it won't be long before software companies learn that MMO players are not the same as single player console gamers, and we require more depth to our games.
I recently played Civ IV at a friends and was inspired to go replay the original Civilization. I remembered the hraphics as better than they were, but the gameplay was still the best Civ out there.
People complained mightily about the graphics of WoW but 6 million of them seemingly overcame this deficiency. Imagine if WoW had "better graphics".
Lately Im playing Second Life, where your beginner avatar is literally what you make of it. After a few months of tweaking and 4000L of skin upgrades, hair, walks and clothes I have a pretty hot chick looking back at me. So when I saw the bag of suet that passes for an avatar in NWN II I was frankly apalled. I couldnt stand any of the EQ II avatars and their plastic hair at all. My SWG avatars are holding up well for the most part when I checked up on them a few months ago, and when I played the retro EQ servers for a few months, the avatsrs, for all their chunkiness were "home" and I didnt mind at all. I actually preferred the original models to the Luclin models.
Maybe Second Life is the future of graphics. Let the players do the work and concentrate on making a great game.
I have to say that i might count meself as a "Graphic Whore", if graphics of a new game does not meet the standart of what is possible (especialy on a high end machine) then the rest of the game doesn't intrest me unfortunaly, i noticed this when i went into beta of Carpe Diem, from what i have read the gameplay looks awesome, but when i went into the game itself it looked horrible this time and day (kinda like games back in the 90"s then it looked nice) i really could not force meself to look at those horrible graphics and listenen to really wierd noise( wich was ingame sounds wich i couldn't really reconize).But graphics need to be consistent with the gameworld aswell work great and feel realistic, this is what is possible today so why settle with less, some may argue that not everyone has top notch machines, but i think a good gamedeveloper can make a game work on both low and high end machine's (think WoW can be apricciatted on both kind of machine) There are also games that really look cool but play horrible for me Cabal online is such a game.
But to be a "graphic whore" does not neccesary mean i can not enjoy older games, but those games can't be from a series of the same sort cause then i'm tempted to play the newest version as most become upgraded or become better over the years, unfortunaly some don't change that much and get lost in the mass of games.
For those that have seen the World Of Warcraft intro movie, i'm still waiting for games to look like that and hopefully one day play like what you see in intro movies. When games are that high of quality i think i can finaly say to games the words Nex-gen if it comes to pc games!
Originally posted by Major_Skillz I agree and disagree with points made in the editorial. Company's that develop their games with high-end graphics are no more or less guilty of not innovating than another company. This is part of a larger issue.Every game put out is a financial gamble. Especially when it comes to mmo's because of their natural higher operational costs. It's the game publishers are afraid of cutting edge and innovation. They want to see and touch what the know is and has worked in the past. I mean come on. It's about money, not the end-user or innovation.A company that took that chance and succeeded was CCP with EVE-ONLINE. Not the graphics part. Yes, the are very high-end to say the lest. However, the mark they made was the fresh and innovative game they created. from the heavy PVP element to the single game Universe.I think they were prepared to fail in order to put out the game they wanted. This is what has made them a success and also the potential failure of any new game.This is why publishers are very heavy into a games design and features normally. They want to put out something that will give them some sort of respectable return and the only data they can accurately use to make that determination is what is living and breathing. Not what someone has dreamed can be possible.Peace
"There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer."
I AM A GRAPHICS WHORE AND DARNED PROUD OF IT!!!!
In all honestly, I don't believe game devs should rely solely on the graphics. Game mechanics and the overall plot of the game are just as important. But I don't think a game should be knocked just because it's pretty either. I like pretty games. Pretty games add to my enjoyment of the game. Whereas, crappy game mechanics can suck the life out of even the prettiest game. But you add crappy game mechanics to crappy graphics and it becomes a blackhole (the hell-place in the movie Event Horizon), no one wants to visit...ewww (my least favorite game ever...RYL). I've enjoyed 2-D games just as much as 3-D games.