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  • Five New MMOs We Want to Know More About - General Columns

    So, we have 3 eastern MMOs on the list, and two western developers who might be developing an MMO, but we don't know.

    Not exactly exciting times :-(
    AlomarJamesGoblinJunglecharlyScotlaseritCecropiaSamhaelKyleranEponyxDamorBellomoand 7 others.
  • Does everyone hate PvP?

    My summary of why people hate pvp:

    1) Gankers - when a person / people with significantly higher power than you attack you and kill you. In these situations, the gankers interupt the player's game but that player has little/no possibility of winning. There is no positive, only negative, to this experience. This only happens in games with open world pvp where everyone is permanently flagged, i.e. about 1% of MMOs. Not a problem in general, just blown out of proportion. 

    2) Losing - We play for fun and losing isn't fun. Assuming you are an average player, 50% of pvpers are going to be better than you, so you'll lose 50% of the time. Do you really want to spend half your free time losing? Compared to PvE which is designed for you to win 99% of the time. This is something most pvp-haters wont admit to but this is a fundamental mindset problem. Can't be fixed

    3) Competition / Confrontation - PvP by it's nature is competitive. In every fight, you're trying to beat another person or group of people. Some people just aren't competitive by nature and so the whole notion of fighting other people doesn't appeal. Some might admit to this, but its not really a problem, pvp just isn't for everyone

    4) Balance - Pure PvEers often complain that their class got nerfed due to PvP. They hate the fact that developers are balancing classes around PvP. In my experience of MMOs with both, balance happens 95% due to PvE and 5% due to PvP. This has been backed up by the devs (lotro and sw:tor). Ultimately, it sucks when any class gets nerfed. This problem varies developer to developer. In most games, its not a problem and people are just whining, but in other games the devs get over-zealous. Problem works both ways - pvp balance is often screwed due to pve balance tweaks, but pvpers don't shout at the pve'ers as often. 

    Looking at my gaming history, I'd say I spend probably 60% of my time in PvE and 40% in PvP. I'd personally never play a game that didn't have both in some form or another because I value both playstyles, both communities and enjoy interacting with both. There is also a lot of crossover between the two. 

    Problems only arise when one group feels overly entitled (e.g. "this is primarily a pve game, how dare you balance for pvp!") or when developers don't think through their actions properly. It is the last that is the big problem. If you have a game with significant PvE portions but have perma-flagged ow-pvp, you're gonna get gankers, so why enable such a feature to begin with??!?

    Same with balance. Most of the nerfs tend to come not from pvp, but because the devs weren't balancing consistently. For example, when LotRO launched, it was balanced around group v group for PvE. But, it meant the healer sucked to level up, so damage got boosted (for PVE!) which unbalanced pvp (healers OP). Same with a lot of other classes - their solo abilities got boosted for the leveling process, which then unbalanced them in group situations, resulting in nerfs......its never ending. Perfect balance doesn't exist in complicated games, so devs just need to pick either solo (1v1) or group (rock-paper-scissors) right from the start and balance classes that way. 
  • Puzzles in the Dark - Camelot Unchained Columns

    I come from a development background so can fully appreciate the timescales involved.

    The guys at CSE are not only creating a game engine from scratch, but they are developing brand new ideas for mechanics and gameplay. It takes an incredible amount of skill to do all these behind-the-scenes type jobs, but they are absolutely critical to the success of a game like this.

    So yeh, building an engine from scratch and then iterating over these core mechanics was always going to take a long time, but it is 100% worth it in my mind. Once those are all in place and working, then the "easy" stuff can get done - all the artworking, 3d modelling, sound effects, animations etc. All that still takes skill, but the processes and tools are well documented and their is a larger pool of talent available to do the work, so easier to staff up for it.
  • MMORPG.com's Best of 2017 Awards - General Awards

    Best Hybrid MMO....uggh. 

    Destiny 2 is not a hybrid MMO. There is nothing MMO about it! A 16 player online shooter is nowhere close to being massively multiplayer. Whilst I agree there is crossover appeal with the MMORPG crowd and I'm happy for you to cover such games, please don't contribute to dissolving the genre and misunderstanding of the term. You are supposed to be an authority on the genre so you should be able to distinguish between the technology (MMO - number of people in the same virtual environment) from the features (RPG - progression, loot, classes, dungeons, raids etc). 

    As to the actual awards.....meh. Only three were about MMOs. 

    Most Anticipated - Ashes of Creation. I really don't know much about it. It seems pretty sub-standard to me, just another indie sandbox, it just happened to raise marginally more money on kickstarter than other kickstarter MMOs. What are you most excited about? Only unique thing seems to be the AI driven political changes and town growth. Whilst that sounds good, it also sounds wildly unachievable on their budget. 

    Most Underrated - Wildstar. Strongly disagree, as would the overwhelming majority of people who ever played it. Apart from housing, Wildstar seemed to fail at every single thing they attempted. Such a disjointed mess of a game. 

    Best MMO - FFXIV. There were basically only two contenders for this, FFXIV and ESO. Nothing new this year, so only relying on oldies, most of which aren't getting much love. I'm surprised Stormblood beat Morrowind, but I guess there isn't much in it so doesn't matter which way it goes. 
    AlomarJamesGoblinRexKushmanShodanasViper482Thunder073BodeanGOzmodanJoseph_Kerrlecram64and 2 others.
  • MMORPG.com’s Weekly Watercooler: What’s in an Acronym? The MMO Definition Debate a Columns at MMORPG

    OK, so we have Richard Garriott clearing stating that the term MMO is all about the number of players in the same reality (instance / world).

    We have Raph Koster stating that the term MMO was used to identify games that supported more players in the same persistent world than standard multiplayer games (minorly multiplayer) where the current common cap is 250.

    Then we have English comprehension of the term "massively multiplayer online", which tells us the word "massively" applies to the word "multiplayer", so again, its all about the number of players who can play together at the same time and that number is massively bigger than standard multiplayer.

    So, whilst there is no absolute figure, it is clear that the number of players in the same world is the key and that number has to be massively bigger than standard online multiplayer games. For me, that means massively bigger than 128 (common cap for multiplayer games like battlefield), so I'd set it as 500+ or 1000+ in the same world.

    That rules out Destiny and The Division. It rules out mobas. It rules out standard FPS's like COD and Battlefield. It rules out survival games like DayZ. It rules in games like UO, WoW, LotRO, EQ etc.

    So, can we say argument over on the definition now? Can we stop calling Destiny and The Division MMOs? I don't care if this site writes articles on games from other genres, that's fine and the articles are interesting and it's fun to see what features other genres have that could be applied to MMOs. Just, stop calling them MMOs; they aren't. I get really excited when I hear that a new AAA MMO is being developed by a Western company, but then halfway through your article it turns out you're lying and not writing about an MMO. That always leaves me feeling disappointed and it hurts your credibility.

    Being an MMO should be something to aspire to. A persistent virtual world with 500+ concurrent users in it is something we rarely see and should excite us. We just need MMOs to start designing features specifically for 100+ people and then investing in the tech to support it. They don't need to be hardcore features, you don't even need to be grouped, just features that support / encourage as many people as possible (imagine large-scale public quests or rifts, or pvp areas that actually support large numbers).
  • PUBG Team Apologizes for Inappropriate Female Model on Test Server - PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds -

    Iselin said:
    I wonder what @cameltosis thinks about this.
    I wish 18 year old me had more imagination and hadn't picked a username off of a Korn album.....
  • What Would a Star Wars Activision Game Look Like? - Garrett Fuller - MMORPG.com

    I'm not the biggest fan of Activision, so my guess is that an Activision SW game would look very similar to an EA SW game, just slightly higher quality and slightly better monetisation. It would almost certainly be a shooter or highly action orientated, so there is almost no chance that we'd see an RPG. 

    If it was an Activision / Blizzard game.....we'd have to wait and see what trends were about when they get the license so we can see what they'd copy. Blizzard are the kings of taking other peoples ideas, polishing them and making them accessible to the public. They do tend to prefer their own IPs though, so I expect this is unlikely. 

    Out of the big publishers, I'd much prefer to see Ubisoft get the license. Sure, their games are often buggy and their monetisation is all over the place, but at least they seem to be trying to produce good games! They do experiment with ideas and take risks so I think we'd see a more diverse range of games and we might finally see a good open world RPG set in the Star Wars universe. 

    What would happen to TOR?

    I hope it dies a quick death. It was an awful game at launch and only got worse over time. It only serves one small niche - people who love story - but yet it ties up the MMO license, preventing all other playstyles from being able to enjoy the Star Wars setting in an MMO. Even the niche it serves would be better off in a single player SW RPG, so yeh, kill off TOR and allow someone talented to build a new MMO. 
  • Camelot Unchained - Sailing Against Time - MMORPG.com

    Wizardry said:
    I noticed a word i used to see a lot and have completely laughed at of late because  i know how gamer's play these mmorpg's but i am still very curious.
    That word is FUN...so truly curious here because i still yet to understand the attraction to this game,what will be this game's FUN factor that i or anyone else can't get in the already multitude of games out there?

    I get this real feeling watching game supporters that it is alot like music,sometimes people support music groups or types just to be different,also just like people dying their hair or wearing earrings where they don't belong,people just need to feel umm what's the term like a rebel or just to be different than the rest of the crowd.
    Me i am just that plain ol Joe err Bob looking for a quality and yet yikes "FUN"game to play.To me Fun is in the systems,does a game offer me something unique and different so that i can THINK a bit,manage my resources and perhaps utilize team work in combat.I also at this point MUST have no hand holding markers of any kind,so to make it simple,a fully immersive game,nothing that just looks like computer code tossed into a generated world.
    From everything I've seen and read about this game, the fun comes from two main sources:

    1) RvRvR (i.e. combat)

    It's a PvP game, focused on 3 realms fighting over territory. So, you'll be spending a lot of time teaming up with friends / randoms and fighting other people. Now, of course there are a lot of MMOs with PvP, some even have 3 way territory control (DAoC, ESO), so I'll try to go into what sets this apart and why I think it'll be fun:
    • Tab-targeting - CU is going against the modern trends and keeping traditional tab-targetting in place. With all the action combat MMOs out at the moment, this immediately sets it apart and personally I'll find it way more fun
    • Asymmetrical classes - the classes aren't mirrored between the three realms, plus there are loads of them. This makes it good for replayability as each class in each realm should play very differently to one another. 
    • Horizontal Progression - CU is aiming to remove power gaps by having horizontal gear and skill progression. This is very rare, but should mean that you can contribute and enjoy yourself right from the start, rather than having to get thrashed for months whilst you rank up. 
    • Ability Builder - when you rank up, you don't just unlock new skills like a standard MMO, you unlock skill components. You then "make" new skills. So, one melee DPS might combine components to make a really strong single target attack with a bleed effect, whilst a different melee dps might combine components to make a weak AoE attack that slows people. (I may have got the ability builder a bit wrong, but it's along these lines). 
    • Territory Control - in most PvP games, you attack fixed objectives and when you click on a flag or kill a boss, it becomes yours. But, nothing really changes, you just own it. In CU, a lot of buildings are destructible and the community can design and build new ones. In addition, when you capture a zone, the whole zone is floating and floats over to connect with the rest of your realm. This means a constantly changing landscape to fight over. 
    • Massively Multiplayer - its sad to say, but most MMOs aren't designed to be massively multiplayer. CU is. It's designed to support battles with 1000+ players on the screen. Most MMOs die when you reach 50 players, let alone 1000. 
    CU will therefore have a very complex and deep meta game, combined with a deep combat system that focuses on player skill over gear. Such a game doesn't exist on the market, certainly not at the scale CU is aiming for. 

    2) Crafting (i.e. C.U.B.E)

    I've not really looked at regular crafting, only at CUBE. CUBE is essentially a CAD program that allows you to design new buildings and structures. You use preset items to design your structure, but it is pretty freeform. You then save your design as a blueprint which is then available ingame. You can then go out into the world and build that structure. 

    So, as an individual, you might design a small house in CUBE and then go find some quiet corner to build it. Later, you decide you want an outbuilding so you design it and build it next to your house. You might join a large guild and have the main crafter design an epic fortress, then team up to build it over a week or two near the frontier. 

    Then, as the realm war shifts territories, those buildings become usable. The other realm might lay siege to your fortress, resulting in some epic keep battles with the walls being torn down, holes knocked through etc. 2 weeks later, the other realm has captured your zone and built their own forts for you to fight over. 

    If you're a pure crafter, you might build yourself a trading centre away from the frontiers. Other traders setup shop in the same place and all of a sudden you've got a vibrant player-made village where your realm comes to do business. 

    If you're not a crafter at all, no worries - just grab yourself some siege equipment and go and knock down other people's creations!

    I'm sure there are plenty of other unique features that are fun, but these are the two reasons I'm joining. 
  • Player's Choice 2017 - The Best Overall MMO - MMORPG.com

    For those arguing about the definition of MMO. 

    Bill et al actually did an editorial on the definition of MMO a while back. 


    For this, they interviewed Richard Garriott, who said the definition is about the number of players within the same virtual space. Raph Koster also joins in in the comments section, and backs up what Garriott said - its all about the number of people with the same virtual space. 

    But, you can read through Bill's and the teams reasoning. They basically dismiss the experts opinions, dismiss the rules of english comprehension and seem to settle on "well, if it has similar features to other MMOs, then it's an MMO". 

    Bills exact definition:

    "To me, if I must put a definition - it's any persistent online game that hosts thousands of players and lets them play together. Even MOBAs could be considered MMOs of a kind. But they're certainly not MMORPGs."

    This should tell you everything you need to know. His own definition contradicts itself. 
    That was all a precursor so that lists like these can be made.........

    But WTF is this really?

    This moving target definition of an MMO was set up so they could wind up Putting completely dissimilar games like GW2 and Destiny 2 in the came comparative lists for the benefit of mmorpg.com.

    Now mmorpg.com gets to feature any game that requires an Internet connection, and put it up against BDO, GW, FFXIV, ESO etc, regardless of what that game actually is.

    It's not like it isnt' obvious. mmorpg.com changed from mmorpgs to mmo/rpg. But in the end that wasn't enough. because some games are neither. If a PVP game features 4v4, it's neither an MMO nor is it an RPG. But Bill likes the game and wants it featured here. Or maybe the game wants to be featured on this site. Thus an "expanded definition" of the term MMO and/or RPG is required to justify featuring it. That is, if we stick to the MMO / RPG formula.

    I don't understand why the site doesn't just use the justification of "Overlapping Audience". IT makes perfect sense that this site covers a game like Warframe. Or Destiny, or LoL.  But don't put some 4 player lobby game in a comparison list as BDO and gall it a day because you like both games. becasue not everyone does.

    Otherwise this site becomes www.bcuzbillsasyso.com
    Yup, thats the bit I don't understand. I have absolutely zero problem with this website covering other genres, in fact I encourage it because, as you say, there is a lot of overlapping interest from the MMO crowd. Whilst MMORPG remains my favourite genre, I do play lots of other genres and I like reading about them here.

    Just get the category correct. 

    If a suitable category doesn't exist, create one!

    That way, Bill and team can still write whatever they want, we still get all the content we already enjoy, just with the added bonus that proper categorisation increases the usability of the site and improves the "authority" of the authors on this site.

    As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, if you Google around you'll see that the expansion of the definition isn't actually that widespread. Developers (if you exclude mobile) get it right 99% of the time. Players within the genre usually get it right too. The people who most often get it wrong are journalists and newbie/casual gamers. 
  • The Importance of Story and Lore in the MMORPG

    I strongly dislike stories in my computer games, but I particularly dislike them in MMORPGs. 

    Suspension of disbelief - I am unable to do this with stories in computer games. The story might be really great, but it NEVER matches up with my actions as a player. Literally never. I have the story telling me one thing, but my actions are telling me something else. This results in a really jarring experience, it invalidates the story and just ends up wasting my time. I am unable to suspend my disbelief and enjoy two opposing things at the same time. 

    Poor Writing - I am a fairly prolific reader, probably read one book a week for pleasure and almost exclusively read fantasy and sci-fi. Due to this, I cannot accept the poor writing that you get in computer games. It's just really awful guys. SW:TOR is often praised for it's stories, but seriously?! They sucked! The overwhelming majority were just really basic and generic, I just cannot understand how people thought they were good?!

    Time Distortion - The passage of time in a story almost never matches the passage of time in game. The story will be telling me that one thing follows another, but in reality I just spent 3 hours exploring those hills, or farming that dungeon. This is made particularly worse in MMOs where the game world is persistent and thus time is always passing, but the story stays static and time only moves inside the story when I'm actively engaging with the story. 

    Clash With Multiplayer - stories do not work in a multiplayer environment. Stories are told in a linear fashion (questing), so in a multiplayer environment I can only participate in the story with my friends if they are at the exact same point as me. This segregates the community into tiny chunks, preventing multiplayer from happening. Then there is the clash in actions - the story being told is usually personal, making you the hero or asking you to do specific tasks, yet as soon as I discuss such things with other players you realise you aren't the hero, everyone is, therefore nobody is. Story and multiplayer just never works out well. 

    Despite my strong dislike for stories in computer games, I'm not completely against them. My preference in an MMORPG is to use strong lore to setup the context of the world. For example, putting in lore to explain the sith and the jedi, as well as republic and empire, and giving a strong background for the conflicts is great. But, let us then live that conflict through our own actions, rather than have the conflict dictated to us through cutscenes and poorly written quests. 

    If you do want to have actual stories, rather than background lore, my first requirement is to remove all XP from the quests. I think unlinking story and progression is vital. That way, those participating in the story are definitely there for the story, and not because they've been forced there. Second, it makes the story more accessible to a wider range of people, so grouping up and playing the story with friends is easier. Finally, it means the writers don't have to write 1000 generic stories for quests, they can instead focus on creating just 10 great quest chains with engaging stories.