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Do all MMORPGs have to have the same rules?

ULBlue13ULBlue13 Member UncommonPosts: 28
edited April 2016 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
The more I hear about different MMOs,  the more they seem to me to be like reskinned versions of each other - the rules of the game are always the same.  The setting and decor is different, but what you have to do is the same. 
Combat as the single main challenge, the one that drives the action forward; you get an XP reward for killing anything and that's the main source of XP outside specific quests; pre-programmed quests with a main storyline that everyone plays through; the quests being broken down into a series of small tasks - combats, talking to NPCs, and occasionally locating items - to be carried out in a fixed order; private "dungeons", guilds, vendors...   (what others occur to you that I haven't thought of?)

I've seen it said that this is partly a good thing, because it's easy for people who've played one MMO to get the hang of another.  But for me, it gets hard to remember/care whether the green thing running across my screen is a goblin, a dinosaur or an Orion pirate - they all have partially filled bars above their heads just the same.  

Am I just looking at the wrong ones?  What MMORPGs can you think of that are really different in the way they work, in some noticeable respect like that?
I can think of:
  • The Secret World's idea of involving puzzles based on real-world information, if it's as big a thing as it sounds - haven't played it.  
  • Star Trek Online's Foundry system at least introduces the difference that players can write their own preset missions.  I know Neverwinter Nights (from the same company) now has that too.
  • Mabinogi has made a valiant attempt at having lots of activities other than combat, and gives XP for them, though they're not very dynamic and sadly, after all that development work,  the main storyline ignores them and focuses almost entirely on combat, so they tend to get left by the wayside.
  • And of course the exception to everything is Underlight - no NPCs, no pre-programmed "main storyline", no dungeons or instances at all - everything takes place in the main game world and anyone can drop in while it's happening if they want to.  But Underlight seems to be sui generis.

And of course, the actual game of skill - the basic little arcade game - that they're built around is always the same: the one where you and your opponent each start with a number of Hit Points, and you throw things at each other to try and beat them down to zero.  Thinking about it, I don't really understand why that has to be so.  Couldn't you equally well build an MMO around a different basic challenge? 

If you write, be polite.

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 20,989
    If you think all MMORPGs are the same, then yeah, you're looking at the wrong ones.

    A Tale in the Desert has no combat at all.  Instead, it has the most complex crafting system ever in an MMORPG.  If you didn't realize that it was possible to have hardcore PVP crafting with permadeath, ATITD will clear that up for you.

    Uncharted Waters Online has both land and sea combat, but the game isn't primarily about combat.  Adventuring (exploration), trading, and maritime (naval combat) are co-equal in importance in the game.  And really co-equal, not the nominally co-equal but mostly about combat like Vanguard had.  Furthermore, adventuring and trading are not primarily ways to get better at combat, the way crafting is in most MMORPGs.

    I'll throw out Puzzle Pirates, Trove, and EVE as also being substantially different from the norm.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    @op, start a game company and make the games you want.  You just might be a visionary who will change the industry!
    http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2010/QBlog190810A.html  

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  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 5,743
    Minecraft bears mention as something different.

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Amathe said:
    Minecraft bears mention as something different.
    So does Overwatch, or The Division. 
  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member UncommonPosts: 1,099
    There are many different ones.  Problem is they are really niche and have tiny population.  Some people call them vaporware.


  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 5,783
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.

    There are completely different MMOs out there: The Crew is about driving around with cars, Star Stable is about horses, Winning Putt is about golfing, Age of Empires Online is RTS, etc. but those kinds of games are not called MMORPGs.

    There are also very different MMORPGs out there: A Tale in the Desert has no combat at all, Myst Online: Uru Live is about exploration, Trove has many Minecraft -type elements and gameplay, EVE Online is a very strategic space game, Wakfu has turn-based battles and allows players affect not only political system and economy but also ecology of the game world.
     
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Vrika said:
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.


    depending on whom you ask. Some website will call anything a MMORPG. 
  • ULBlue13ULBlue13 Member UncommonPosts: 28
    I'd thought that the definition of an MMORPG was any massively-multiplayer online game that was an "RPG" in the technical sense, i.e. you have a character that you can custom-build to some extent and equip and level up over time.  (That seems to be the definition that this site uses itself in its listing requirements.)   Anything that fits that counts as the kind of game I was trying to talk about.

    Of course, Minecraft, I'd forgotten about Minecraft, and I had heard that EVE Online was rather different than the usual (and promising-sounding - I like persistent-world and sandbox stuff).  I'm glad to hear that something (Trove) has tried to use elements of what Minecraft does - Minecraft has always seemed to me as if someone invented, relative to standard MMORPGs, an entire new genre, but then nobody ever did anything else in it!  Seemed a terrible waste!  From its entry, Trove sounds like a fascinating one.

    Quizzical said:
    A Tale in the Desert has [...] hardcore PVP crafting
    What a phrase (for anybody used to the normal meanings of those terms anyway).  You have my interest  :-) 
    Quizzical said:
    Uncharted Waters Online has both land and sea combat, but the game isn't primarily about combat.  Adventuring (exploration), trading, and maritime (naval combat) are co-equal in importance in the game.  And really co-equal, not the nominally co-equal but mostly about combat like Vanguard had.  Furthermore, adventuring and trading are not primarily ways to get better at combat, the way crafting is in most MMORPGs.
    Having played Mabinogi, I'm pleased to see that distinction being made.  Mabinogi (as I mentioned above) seems to have put a lot of effort at the start into building non-combat activities, but then allowed combat to become the "aim of the game" after all and half-forgotten about them - seems a waste.

    What are the unusual things about Overwatch and The Division?  Hard to tell from their entries on here.  Player effects on ecology in Wakfu sound like an interesting twist, I'll have to look that up.

    Ryzom also sounds like an interesting animal, with some functions (called the Ryzom Ring) designed especially for roleplaying that I don't think I've heard of anywhere before - except for one person on Underlight's forums who once tried to invent them himself, for a planned new engine for Underlight that never came to pass!  Someone on another thread on here claimed that it also had "the best crafting system ever".

    waynejr2 said:
    @op, start a game company and make the games you want.  You just might be a visionary who will change the industry!

    That's a lovely thing to hear!  And I do keep coming up with pipe-dream ideas for things I might put in an MMORPG if I was building one of my own!  Alas, not in a fit state, concentration span all over the place owing to health problems.  Besides, I'd never want a job that required spending the whole day staring at a screen - using screens for long periods doesn't agree with me, there's a strict limit to how much time a day I can spend on them.  If you're wondering why I play MMORPGs in that case, I can only say good question.  :-D 
    In fact, I think one reason I started this thread was to see whether anything like the ideas I had in my head, but that I'm in a very bad position to carry out, already existed, and, if so, how they were doing. 

    AAAMEOW said:
    There are many different ones.  Problem is they are really niche and have tiny population.  Some people call them vaporware.
    I'd forgotten that useful name.  I don't object to vaporware in principle - as you can see from my repeated references to Underlight.  All part of the biodiversity, in my view.  Besides, every game's got to start somewhere.
    If you write, be polite.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    ULBlue13 said:
    I'd thought that the definition of an MMORPG was any massively-multiplayer online game that was an "RPG" in the technical sense, i.e. you have a character that you can custom-build to some extent and equip and level up over time.  (That seems to be the definition that this site uses itself in its listing requirements.)   Anything that fits that counts as the kind of game I was trying to talk about.

    That was before the genre went downhill, and the industry became more inclusive, and throw away the meaning of "massively MP".

    In fact, even most WoW end-game gameplay small group co-op. You don't call a 25 man raid, "massively MP" do you?
  • ULBlue13ULBlue13 Member UncommonPosts: 28
    I don't know, I'm not really sure what you mean by that - I've never played WoW.  Do you mean that that's not really "massively multiplayer" because it's just the 25 of them in a private instance by themselves?  (just guessing).  Or what?  

    It seems as if MMO biodiversity's in a better state than I thought.  I'm going to try and collect together all the ones that have been mentioned so far and what's different about them, as far as I can work out:

    A Tale in the Desert - No combat, exceptionally detailed crafting system, players' activities affect the storyline, there's a system for players to make and change the "laws" of the world.  
    EVE Online

    Minecraft - Entirely different type of game about building, not combat; you can alter the landscape.
    Myst Online: Uru Live - No combat, puzzle and exploration game, persistent world (you can move the objects in it around).
    Overwatch
    Puzzle Pirates

    The Division
    The Secret World
    - involves puzzles that rely on real-world information.
    Trove - Sounds like the same model as Minecraft, centres on building stuff while exploring a series of demolishable, alterable worlds.
    Uncharted Waters Online
    - Genuinely gives exploration and trading as much attention as combat.
    Underlight
    - No NPCs, no instances or private dungeons, players' activities affect the politics and storyline, players can give out their own quests, unusually simple mechanics and to good effect - one of those "hour to learn, lifetime to master" systems, roleplay enforced throughout.
    Wakfu - Turn-based combat, players' activities can affect politics, economy and even the ecology.

    I've just noticed what might be another one -
    Atlas Reactor - Turn-based combat, but I'm not sure whether it strictly counts as an RPG since it looks as if you pick from a set of fixed characters rather than making one from scratch.

    If you write, be polite.
  • lunawisplunawisp Member UncommonPosts: 184
    edited April 2016
    There's the pre-apha Chronicles of Elyria that I'm getting quite excited for! There is no 'win' situation, it's more like real life where your character will eventually pass away of old age if it survives long enough to get to that stage. It can be part of a family and when it dies, its soul retains some of its attributes. That enables you to train your new character in whatever it knew in its previous life(lives) faster and more effectively. The whole thing is, to a large extent, player driven with professions that interact with others. No-one can learn to do everything so there's a lot of reliance on others.
    lunawisp was my peacebringer in City of Heroes. She lives on, in memory, as my gaming id
  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,124
    What you are asking about is what the MMORPG genre (or most digital RPG´s in general) inherited from its pen and paper ancestors (who in turn inherited it from classic storytelling) 

    Look up "the heroes journey" 

    the simplest way to show that off as a game mechanic is just start weak > improve > conquer.
    Gear and other stuff is used to trigger the pleasure center in the brain as a reward mechanic. 

    So yeah... break it down far enough it is all the same from ATITD to WoW... Same basic premiss and the same basic systems. 

    But then again that goes for EVERYTHING in life. 

    Tawess gaming

    Tawess soapbox

    This have been a good conversation

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,964
    Vrika said:
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.


    depending on whom you ask. Some website will call anything a MMORPG. 
    Yeah, but fortunately we are smarter than they are, well at least some of us.  B)

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  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    Nice try but its just another attempt at saying mmo's suck now.  You basically said because you are playing a character then they are all the same.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • ULBlue13ULBlue13 Member UncommonPosts: 28
    I did not say any such thing.  Your grumble-postings radar has got a bit too sensitive.  (just seen this)  (So anyone that sees this, don't be put off, actually have a proper look at the original posting!  :-D  )  

    In fact, the main reason I posted this was that I play one MMORPG (Underlight) that is very different in a lot of the ways I mentioned - specific features that most MMORPGs have, Underlight has something different instead.  So I was interested to see what other MMORPGs managed that.  It's not "playing a character" that I said is always the same, it's specific details which really don't follow automatically from that - the big action taking place in private dungeons; a series of "main storyline quests" that every player goes through, identically, regardless of the world around; etc., see original posting.

    Thought (possibly off-topic): Would "endgame", with all its various aggravations and controversies over how to do it properly, not actually exist if there were no "main storyline quests"?  It's just occurred to me that really the definition of "endgame" is that it's what happens when you're finally spat out of the end of the "main storyline".  Underlight, for example, has no definable endgame because there are no pre-set missions, only "live" interactions and events in the game, which apply whatever level you are.  Or you could alternatively say that it's all endgame; if so, they've solved the problem of endgame. 
    If you write, be polite.
  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Member RarePosts: 1,985
    Uru online, the MMO that came from the Myst series of adventure games, is another MMO that's really different.
    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Kyleran said:
    Vrika said:
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.


    depending on whom you ask. Some website will call anything a MMORPG. 
    Yeah, but fortunately we are smarter than they are, well at least some of us.  B)

    You never heard of "ignorance is bliss"? May be it is "unfortunate" that some wants to be "smart" about their definitions. 

    BTW, are you claiming to be smarter than those who actually make games, and run websites? 
  • CecropiaCecropia Member RarePosts: 3,972
    Kyleran said:
    Vrika said:
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.


    depending on whom you ask. Some website will call anything a MMORPG. 
    Yeah, but fortunately we are smarter than they are, well at least some of us.  B)

    You never heard of "ignorance is bliss"? May be it is "unfortunate" that some wants to be "smart" about their definitions. 

    BTW, are you claiming to be smarter than those who actually make games, and run websites? 
    I'd say he's smarter than anyone who thinks a game like WoT is an MMO.

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Cecropia said:
    Kyleran said:
    Vrika said:
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.


    depending on whom you ask. Some website will call anything a MMORPG. 
    Yeah, but fortunately we are smarter than they are, well at least some of us.  B)

    You never heard of "ignorance is bliss"? May be it is "unfortunate" that some wants to be "smart" about their definitions. 

    BTW, are you claiming to be smarter than those who actually make games, and run websites? 
    I'd say he's smarter than anyone who thinks a game like WoT is an MMO.
    and I would say he is not that smart in managing a website because he does not realize that traffic is more important than literal definition of a label. 

  • CecropiaCecropia Member RarePosts: 3,972
    Cecropia said:
    Kyleran said:
    Vrika said:
    @ULBlue13 ;

    If it's different enough from MMORPGs, then we don't call it an MMORPG.


    depending on whom you ask. Some website will call anything a MMORPG. 
    Yeah, but fortunately we are smarter than they are, well at least some of us.  B)

    You never heard of "ignorance is bliss"? May be it is "unfortunate" that some wants to be "smart" about their definitions. 

    BTW, are you claiming to be smarter than those who actually make games, and run websites? 
    I'd say he's smarter than anyone who thinks a game like WoT is an MMO.
    and I would say he is not that smart in managing a website because he does not realize that traffic is more important than literal definition of a label. 

    Ah, so you do understand. Just like to play clueless, huh. Anyways, a website trying to stay afloat and relevant doesn't transform any definitions for those who have the ability to think for themselves. The internet is stacked full of all kinds of BS, in case you weren't aware.

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • GorweGorwe Member EpicPosts: 6,095
    No, why would they, it's a silly rule.
  • AntiquatedAntiquated Member RarePosts: 1,415
    Cecropia said:
    Ah, so you do understand. Just like to play clueless, huh. Anyways, a website trying to stay afloat and relevant doesn't transform any definitions for those who have the ability to think for themselves. The internet is stacked full of all kinds of BS, in case you weren't aware.
    The internet is stacked with so much BS that Americans can't seem to tell the difference anymore. Candidates sling it with great abandon, and the Internet eats it up.

    -

    Imminent catastrophic failure due to loss of the general public's critical thinking skills. Bread and Circuses.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Cecropia said:


    Ah, so you do understand. Just like to play clueless, huh. Anyways, a website trying to stay afloat and relevant doesn't transform any definitions for those who have the ability to think for themselves. The internet is stacked full of all kinds of BS, in case you weren't aware.

    Sure it does. You didn't see some posters (not me) called Overwatch a MMO in the other topic?

    And yes the internet is full of BS ... otherwise, why would forums be so much fun? You don't think it is a place to exchange information, and gain knowledge, do you?
  • CecropiaCecropia Member RarePosts: 3,972
    Cecropia said:
    Ah, so you do understand. Just like to play clueless, huh. Anyways, a website trying to stay afloat and relevant doesn't transform any definitions for those who have the ability to think for themselves. The internet is stacked full of all kinds of BS, in case you weren't aware.

    Sure it does. You didn't see some posters (not me) called Overwatch a MMO in the other topic?

    And yes the internet is full of BS ... otherwise, why would forums be so much fun? You don't think it is a place to exchange information, and gain knowledge, do you?
    Sure. I have given and received information several times last month. This site can be valuable in that respect. However, that is unlikely ever going to happen with someone who behaves the way you do online, so I can easily see how you have such an unfortunate perspective.

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Cecropia said:
    Cecropia said:
    Ah, so you do understand. Just like to play clueless, huh. Anyways, a website trying to stay afloat and relevant doesn't transform any definitions for those who have the ability to think for themselves. The internet is stacked full of all kinds of BS, in case you weren't aware.

    Sure it does. You didn't see some posters (not me) called Overwatch a MMO in the other topic?

    And yes the internet is full of BS ... otherwise, why would forums be so much fun? You don't think it is a place to exchange information, and gain knowledge, do you?
    Sure. I have given and received information several times last month. This site can be valuable in that respect. However, that is unlikely ever going to happen with someone who behaves the way you do online, so I can easily see how you have such an unfortunate perspective.
    "unfortunate" is just a matter of perspective. You don't think i feel it is unfortunately, do you?

    lol .. you have received information here that you cannot otherwise get from google (which is 1000x faster)? I doubt that is the main use of the forum here, but hey, if you want to do that, it is your prerogative.
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