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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

What has changed?

Posted by BadSpock Monday May 5 2008 at 10:15AM
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I wrote this as a response to a thread over at Ten Ton Hammer:

From an article written by Ten Ton Hammer's Garrett Fuller, it's a great read, check it out! I thought I'd bring it over to and try and stimulate a discussion.


The biggest change I have seen is the shift from single player to multi-player, and MMOs have been on the forefront of that change.

Games of all genres are now released with multiplayer, co-op modes, online content, etc. We now have the new Xbox live, the Playstation Online network, and so forth.

This trend has affected a lot more then gaming with social networks like Myspace, YouTube, Wikkis... the list goes on and on.

What does this have to do with MMORPGS? Well I think players are expecting a lot more interaction. WoW was designed to give you a lot of solo playability, and to slowly wean you towards group play and eventually massive group play. It was the perfect learning curve.

Now that multiplayer and cooperation/competition have become the norm across all gaming genres, MMO players expect a lot more group content, more interaction with others (be it in PvE cooperatively or competitively in PvP).

This is why I think we see a lot of the new concepts that games like Warhammer are bringing to the table. Living guilds, public quests, a focus on teamwork and "belonging" to something that we see in the RvR campaign. Sure, they are making a lot of content solo-friendly for the late adapters, but more and more they are focusing on the multiplayer elements of the massively-Multiplayer-online name sake.

As we all become more social online across many different mediums, we expect our games to give us more options to be social, be it cooperatively or competitively. The renewed interest and focus on PvP in MMOs is due to this multiplayer movement that really started with online FPS games. We expect buddy lists and belonging in organizations and social groups in everything we do online now, so we see an increased focus on group content and teamwork in our MMOs.

I think this trend will continue until solo-play while online is really only a memory. Developers will continue to invent new ways of bringing us together, to either help each other or kill one another until it becomes so integrated in our minds that the very thought of single-player becomes boring and obsolete.

samuraislyr writes:

Doubt it.... solo play will always be around.

Sure more and more games have multiplayer content but all that content is well optional. That's what people want, optional multiplayer.

Even in MMO's, people want the option to group but do not neccesarily want to be forced to group. Course part of this has to do with the whole fact that you either solo or group to level these days and go back and helping others is just icky. Sort of weird.

Player mentalitly is a bit different these days I'd say. I remember EQ, it was easy to get groups no matter where or when since grouping was the most effective way to get anything done. Now, it's usually 3 times more efficent to solo since groups take 3+hours just to set up (exaggerating a bit, though sometimes that is true).

Mon May 05 2008 10:44AM Report
JB47394 writes:

samuraislyr: "Doubt it.... solo play will always be around."

Agreed.  Solitaire has survived long after the invention of social card games, and indeed people have played single player computer games when they had the option to do something social with friends.  The human need for some quiet time doesn't change.

heerobya: "Living guilds, public quests, a focus on teamwork and "belonging" to something that we see in the RvR campaign."

I look forward to increased player interactions, but not to the point where players are losing themselves in their online personas.  The "belonging" comment is the part that concerns me.  There's far too much of people losing themselves already (including social web sites), and I shudder at the thought of the phenomenon making greater inroads to our culture.

But I suspect that we will do as we have always done - we'll indulge to excess and learn the hard way about the perils of ignoring fundamental realities.

As for the original article, I tend to agree with the first commenter there; we're still playing a variation of EverQuest.

Mon May 05 2008 11:20AM Report
BadSpock writes:

Well I'm not trying to say that all single-player will go the way of the Dodo...

But instead that it'll become the exception rather then the norm in our online games. It just sounds silly to me to log onto a game with thousands of people and not want to interact with anyone.

Of course the single-player game will never die, I meant my comments towards MMO specifically on that point, I appologize if that was unclear.

I never actually played Everquest for more then an hour  or two, I absolutely hated it. I was a big UO fan myself... So I don't think I'm qualified to make an accurate response to the question of whether or not we are still playing variations of Everquest...

But isn't that what all games are? Aren't Call of Duty and Halo just variations of Doom? Aren't MMOs just graphical variations of Muds? Aren't muds just online variations of PnP rpgs? 

Aren't all fantasy games just variations on Tolkein? Aren't all sci-fi IPs just variations of Dune?

etc etc. etc.

Mon May 05 2008 11:30AM Report
samuraislyr writes:

True, about other games but at the same time those other games tend to bring more innovation per game.

Call of Duty and Halo added well ok not terribly much but vehicular combat, greater physics and was probably one of the first FPS to have a tight storyline. Lot's of FPS have the protagonist (you) as a bodyless, voiceless entity and that rarely makes a good storyline (bioshock being one of the exceptions).

I suppose group content could perhaps become the norm in MMO's AGAIN.... i say this because of my experience with Everquest back in the day but I somehow doubt it.

All companies want as many people to subscribe to their game as possible and that requires reaching out to as many people as possible.... need solo-content and lots of it for all those people that work.

I think solo content is here to stay in MMO's and will probably only get bigger... look at DDO. When the game first came out, it was almost pure group content and that was fantastic for the IP but people bitched and moaned right away and now the game has more solo content. Now if DDO had come out say when Everquest was king.... it might have done pretty well... Most people during those days seemed to group all the time, only real exception was they did have the option to grind things solo which DDO sort of lacked till recently.

I think solo-content is on the rise becasue of a lot of risk vs reward and just the reward in general. In some MMO's you can group for 3+ hours and maybe earn a few bars of exp but then get nothing else. While 3+ hours of solo content will get you exp and stuff. Really I think devs just need to give different rewards for group and solo play. LOTRO is close I would say to a almost perfect system... not quite but getting there. Moria might fix it... Basically solo players still get good equipment, not the best but pretty good. Group players can find even better rewards in raids and dungeons (bit debatable among players). Dungeon rewards are a bit low though... if Turbine could just make all the lewt except a few trash stuff good then they pretty much got a good system. I believe they are looking to change how loot works in the next update... will have to wait and see how it goes.

Mon May 05 2008 12:55PM Report
wolfmann writes:

problem bout MORPG's tho is that they fall into the trap of focusing it all on one style of play... combat wombat.

That you can get in almost any game that offers multiplayer...


Meanwhile, there's thousands of players that don't have a place to go for a game that offers social roles in their games... People want to hang out in games, with their friends, without being forced to do the combat 100% of the time.. they want roles that are important to the game, but doesnt include killing 10000 wolves...


And that is the route MMORPG's need to go if they want to distinguish themselves from games these days.

Mon May 05 2008 1:09PM Report
JB47394 writes:

heerobya: "But instead that it'll become the exception rather then the norm in our online games. It just sounds silly to me to log onto a game with thousands of people and not want to interact with anyone."

Yet that is a primary mode of play in World of Warcraft.  It may be silly to you, but lots of people like a very mild form of interaction online.  I know that I'd like to see games change so that I had more opportunities to interact at a casual level instead of having to get married to somebody before I can do anything with them (aka "grouping").

heerobya: "But isn't that what all games are? Aren't Call of Duty and Halo just variations of Doom?"

Not that it's pertinent to much of anything, but I would put Ultima Online and Eve Online about halfway between EverQuest and Second Life.  EverQuest, Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot and so on are all tightly grouped on my mythical chart.

Naturally, if we step far enough away, all computer games merge.  Then all games merge.  Then all forms of entertainment merge.  And so on.

Mon May 05 2008 1:50PM Report
Tron420 writes:

"The renewed interest and focus on PvP in MMOs is due to this multiplayer movement that really started with online FPS games."


Quake1 baby, Quake1... Thats what got me hooked on this shit back in '96

Tue May 06 2008 12:09AM Report
Melf_Himself writes:

heerobya: "It just sounds silly to me to log onto a game with thousands of people and not want to interact with anyone."

Have you interacted with anyone online lately? They're fairly much 90% so bizarrely different to anything I associate with humanity that I try to avoid interacting with them wherever possible (granted, this perception I have of them is often based on their skill as a player, and perhaps I shouldn't be so judgemental...)

I love the idea of public quests and RvR for the epic feel of it and the unpredictability of human opponents, but not because I look forward particularly to talking with people outside of a *very select* group of guildies who I actually like.

Tue May 06 2008 2:39AM Report
BadSpock writes:

That makes sense Melf. Usually we do end up hanging with the same small groups and generally avoiding the rest...

But you are right, the PQs and RvR let us work cooperatively with people outside our circle of friends / guild but allow us to do so without really having to "know" the people lol.

That's the best way I can put it.

Fri May 09 2008 10:11AM Report writes:
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