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My Gender is gamer.

I want an outlet to focus the maelstrom of thoughts i have about past, present and future games and put them up for like - minded people to experience. Some will agree with what i say, A lot more will not. I am excited about doing this already.

Author: DeserttFoxx

Lack of Imaginationland

Posted by DeserttFoxx Tuesday August 5 2008 at 5:54AM
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With all the new MMOs coming out in the next year, there seems to be a pattern set in stone. Write a story, announce it to the public, and make certain the game revolves around some existing IP, if it doesn’t, make sure it has dragons and buildings made of stone. MMOs just can’t seem to stray from the fantasy genre, nor can an original title seem to make its way onto the market. All the planned big mmos seems to be based off another game or story that was either a movie or an existing game and turned into an MMO. Which is fine, it worked for WoW, no reason it can’t work for everything else.

I don’t mind playing existing IPs, I will admit, I am looking forward to the KOTOR MMO, id also play the Dragonball MMO, and if it every surfaced, a Pokemon MMO. Its not the fact that they are existing IPs that bother me, it’s the fact that they offer nothing new to the genre. Developers think it is enough to take the IP and basically drag and drop their lore over existing mechanics and figure it should be enough to start siphoning money from their fanbase.

I remember the days when the only MMOs were EQ, DAoC , Ultima and a  few others. MMO gaming was so esoteric that the concept of paying a monthly sub was laughable to some people. And then with the success of World of Warcraft, it seems a lot of companies want to jump into the untapped market of making MMORPGs, but they all seem to be going about it the same way. Taking an existing IP and following as closely to World of Warcraft’s mechanics as they can, hoping if they can get it in sync they can take some of that blizzard cash for themselves. Its painfully obvious that developers or publishers don’t want to stray too far from that formula because they seem to be afraid to fail.

Another thing they are afraid to stray from is the sword and magic fantasy era, take Warhammer for example, now when I play Warhammer I only play the 40k version, and it is based in the very distant future, which is awesome. But of course when they decide to go MMO, they decide to base it in the time of sword and magic, why; Gamers need another fantasy MMO like they need a hole in the head.  Same goes for Aion, now Aion is different, it is being built from the ground up, but of course it is stuck in the fantasy era.

Are developers afraid to take the genre elsewhere? Why are there no modern MMO being planned, or Future, or steam punk, there are a few sci-fi but of course, that’s only because starwars and star gate are sci-fi, if they could find a reason in the lore to go fantasy I’m sure they would. I was really disappointed in final fantasy with this regard as well, now, when you think final fantasy you think Cloud, Sephiroth, Squal, or Tidus, and all of final fantasy worlds I remember were a unique mix of sword and magic and futuristic touch. I love the fact that you could run into a guy with a machine gun while you are using swords and staff, it didn’t have to make sense it was just enjoyable. So of course I was disappointed when the final fantasy mmo was another pure fantasy based MMO.

There are a few new IP out there, like Darkfall, but again they are stuck in the sword and magic era. My thoughts are, with total freedom to create whatever you want, why limit yourself to the rules of dungeons and dragons, why choose a genre? Why not, we have flying cars and dragons, and there is no explanation for why dragons exist alongside flying cars, who cares? Why is it, the only MMOs being produces in the future are riding off current IPs with established lore, do the developers not realize that existing lore is just an unnecessary shackle? And they could do so much more, and have so much more freedom if they just started creating their own games, with their own story from the ground up?

It’s not just the genre; it seems developers all follow the same set of contrived rules when it comes to class creation. Now I am not talking about the archetype system, i firmly believe every class needs to fit somewhere, and the 4 main and only archetypes are Tank, Close range Damage dealer, Long range damage dealer, and Support which includes healers and buffers. But why these pointless rules, why is it that every tank must be weak in terms of strength, every damage dealer must be a glass cannon, every support character must be supremely weak and inept, totally in capable of managing on their own? Why is it that, if someone uses magic they must be a mage, therefore must be long range and in robes? Why is the only way to be a tank, is to have a shield and heavy armor and standing up in the frontlines getting bashed around.

I really don’t know what to expect in the future for MMO, nothing seems too particularly inspiring, or next gen. Just the same things re-hashed over and over again. It seems like developers make a new game, and offer 1 new feature and it is enough for people to hop on and follow it for 3 years.

Take a serious look at the upcoming MMO and, if you like make a list of all the new things they are bringing and really gauge whether or not this mmo is worth your time, or even worth you dropping your current mmo.

I will start with Warhammer; the only new feature it is bringing to the genre is public quests. It originally had the level diversity system, where every time you gain a level your character would change in a way that would make you look unique, so by level 40 orcs would be bigger in actual size,  chosen would be darker and more sinister, and.. That’s all I can think of, the feature was dropped so Warhammer went from 2 new features, to 1. Age of Conan, new combat system, that is pretty big, not my cup of tea but impressive none the less, now before you say Warhammer has a new combat system too, I assure you, once you play it, you will be able to associate every combat mechanic with something found in another existing MMO with W-A-R in the title. Age of Conan also offered Nudity and sex, which I something not done in mmos, but they backed down from that and went partial nudity, so they added 1 and a half new features.

There isn’t much inspiration and I often ask myself why I still follow MMOs, it seems that nobody who enjoys MMOs actually makes them, otherwise they would realize it is time for something new, and no gamer wants to play the same re-hashed shit over and over again. Time to go wait for the next mmo, with another, solo-party- raid/pvp system.

 

Ascension08 writes:

There is a 40K MMO in development, expect to see it in about 3 years I'd say.

Tue Aug 05 2008 8:29AM Report
streea writes:

Are developers afraid to take the genre elsewhere? Definitely no.

Are the people financing the MMOs afraid to take the genre elsewhere? Definitely yes.

Tue Aug 05 2008 12:43PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@Streea

I hear a lot of people blame the publisher, but how can you be certain this is the reason there is a lack of creativity?

Is there some open admittance of a devoloper saying, well we wanted to add X feature but our publisher told us not too?

I believe both are equal to blame, the publisher if it is indeed true, and the devoloper for not trying harder to push the concepts.

Tue Aug 05 2008 1:26PM Report
shad0w99 writes:

There IS a Pokémon MMO :-D

http://www.pokemonworldonline.net/

 

It's basically just Gold/Silver and Red/Blue/Yellow mixed together. And it's mostly the same graphics as those games, but it's pretty fun and it's free :-P

Tue Aug 05 2008 2:40PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@Shadow99

While that is cool for a fan made game, i cant play2d games in this day and age. Nintendo shouldve offered the pokemon ip years ago. In full 3d,

Tue Aug 05 2008 2:45PM Report
Eluwien writes:

Longest and most intelligently written complaint ever. Still it leaks water like Titanic and is based on hardly any facts. But kudos anyway, keep up the good writing skills atleast =)

Tue Aug 05 2008 3:48PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@Eluwien

That was a interesting insult wrapped in a compliment, if you believe i am wrong about some of the things i mentioned, feel free to bring it up in detail.

Tue Aug 05 2008 5:44PM Report
DataShade writes:

Uh, so you expect a company to sink the tens of millions required to produce and support a modern MMO - after all, you can't play 2D games in this day anda ge - on an untried concept, a new IP, without any backstory?  Five+ years ago, before WoW, right around when the Serious Sam sequel came out, there were a fair number of small-studio fledgling MMOs, especially overseas in Poland and the Czech Republic.  They were all terribly low-budget, but they weren't anything like WoW and many of them were sci-fi or a dark reflection of modern day, and they all failed, many of them never getting out of beta, because they couldn't pull in funding or a big enough audience.  Partly because they weren't pretty enough, partly because their gameplay mechanics weren't as streamlined as WoW, and part because they had such unrecognizable concepts as to not draw attention to themselves.

 

I have to wonder if you're even a sci-fi fan, because the whole sci-fi industry has been taking a backstory to fantasy and such since the early 90s.  By 1993, Robert Jordan started writing the Wheel of Time, Orson Scott Card was doing his last good sci-fi before flying off to crazy politics- and religion-land, Asimov died, and William Gibson had stopped writing short stories and slowed down on novels.

 

The only good news I've heard in a year on the sci-fi front - well, there were two things, the first was that Tor relaunched their website with a lot of free, full-length novels in PDF etc (many of them sci-fi); the second was that Jordan Weisman reacquired the rights to his old IP (Shadowrun, Mechwarrior, etc) and launched a new website, www.smithandtinker.com - maybe three things, if you count the fact that EVE Online's parent company merged/bought White Wolf games, so there might be a World of Darkness MMO in the works. 

 

Also, people in the comments are calling you a whiner because that's all you did here; whine.  You went so long without offering a suggestion for improvement I have to assume you've never even smelled a decent manager or heard of Gamasutra's "Designer's Notebook" column.

 

 

Tue Aug 05 2008 7:52PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@datashade

I dont think you actually read a word i wrote.

And, nobody called me a whiner, the difference between a complaint and whining is vast.

Your comment basically defended the repetitive nature of the industry today, and i mentioned the only sci fi game i am looking forward too is KOTOR, and that is not because i am  a star wars fan, that is because i am  bioware fan.

And you basically reiterated all the reasons why MMOs dont do anything unique, by rewording what i wrote.

I dont know what all that sci fi lore talk is refering too, ive never concidered myself that deep into the history of stories. Too be honest i could careless about lore, thats why titles like star trek, warhammer, warcraft, star wars all mean very little too me. I was mearly pointing out that when you have to follow a story that was made in teh 80s, you basically shackle yourself as a devoloper, since a lot of hardcore fans know what to expect, and are dissapointed when they dont see.

 

As for that Gamasutra's Designers Notebook, i need you to explain why that should mean something too me, it just seems like a failed attemped at an insult, while welcomed, it was uncalled for.

As this is a blog, and not something written as my expert opinion on the industry today.

Seems a lot of people have forgotten the meaning of opinion today. And i didnt realize there was a set amount of paragraphs that must be written before you should offer a suggestion, but you do indeed realize i offered suggestions.

Tue Aug 05 2008 8:18PM Report
Eluwien writes:

To clarify the message already delivered, I did indeed mean whining when I used the word complaint, and as Datashade said that is all your did.

From the first line of your orginal post, the lack of information is obvious. Even as simply as going through the games on mmorpg.com's lists, you would gain enough info not to write that poist you just did.

For one, "the industry" you point your finger towards, is actually alot larger than what you seem to have seen. It looks obvious you're not familiar with all of its aspects and vast seleciton already offered. Your claim for contents and gametypes to be repeative shrinks back to actually mean that the content and gametype you've played, has been similar and as that ultimately fail.

In your last post you confess not knowing "what all that sci-fi lore talk is refering to", and I would suggest from those grounds for you to realize, that you may not be qualified to complain. I mean whine. The amount of games that are not based on IP's, and even if you count those that are not high-fantasy type, is larger than those that are either or both.

Your "careless" attitude towards game lore and how little IP's actually mean to you, it sounds vierd you then complain about those becoming games then. It also gives a clear idea of how well you're aware of how the industry, specially the marketing, actually works.

What comes to your right to bring out opinnions as blogs, you feel free and do so. But as it is an open blogging system, we're eligible to correct your information and ask for more as audience. Your well written story of opinnion based on false views of the current day situation on mmorpg's existing and coming, and ignorant approach to the whole topic as industry/bussiness screams for correction.

And yeah, you should actually read what you wrote. =)
Good day.

Wed Aug 06 2008 12:59AM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@Eluwien

How this became a debate about sci fi lore is beyond me. Do i have to care about the IP deeply in order to apprecieate the game? Out of all the blizzard games teh one i played the most was starcraft, i actually hate warcraft and even today while my friends push me to play DoTA i wont, that doesnt change the fact that i played World of warcrft for 3 years.

I go into all MMOs not careing too much about the lore, it is not an important aspect of the game to me, this is not a careless attitude this si simply how it is

It seems reading comprehension is not a specialty of either of you, as your inheriant need to defend lore felt the need to take over. If you reread the blog you will notice i clearly stated i have no problem playing exisiting IPs, even though i dont care about the lore. My issue si, devolopers taking existing IPs, and basically plugging in the story while using the same gameplay mechanics, basically getting a game that has already been done before with new tiles and lore.

I dont know the reason why you guys have trouble understanding that, I am half asleep still and ic an clearly comphrehend your coments when i read them.

Now, lets take a look at the vast list you were refeering too.

We have, Fallen Earth, Star trek, stargate, star wars, and earthrise. I mention these ones because it is very likely they will see the light of day. So Now that i have listed the huge list of sci fi games, does it change anything in my statement that a vast majority  of the MMOs today are fantasy,  Even going through the gamelist, the ultimate reliable source, like you suggusted, there are 63 fantasy titles in devolopment or beta, But again, i have no idea why the arguement because whether or not sci fi, and only sci fi mind you, titles exisited when the whole premise of my blog is the repetitive nature of the games today.

63 fantasy titles in devolopment, 15 scifi, and undoubtly when they hit beta people will bash them, this is a WoW clone, this is  lineage 2 clone, this is a typical asian grinder, which basically equates too, this is a lineage 2 clone.

So while, i would love to have a pointless discussion on lore, and i welcome all disagreements and insults, i do demand at the very least that you read what i write before you think you have earned privledge to insult me on it. And when you read it, make sure you understand what it is you are reading.

Because the fact is, even if they arent fantasy, when they change genre, they just seem to be the same fucking game with a new lore. With nothing new being brought into the industry feature wise. Or did you not read that far into my blog.

And just for future reference, it is impossible to correct an opinion, you can either agree with it, or disagree with it, but in the end you cant come over and tell sombody they are wrong.In a blog like this, which is simply opinions about the industry today,  And while you state it is a false view, you actually made no effort to display what was false, and shown proof of what new exisiting games are coming to the market and what new things they are offering.

So, what i gathered from your post is, my own experience is false, my opinions are wrong, and i seem to be ignorant, though your whole post seems to be based around arguing that the sci fi lore does exist, it wasnt the basis of my original blog, as such you missed the point entirely forcing me to waste my time reexplaining it while countering pointlesss objections.

I know very well what i wrote, as i read it during, and after i wrote it, how about you make an effort to UNDERSTAND what it is i wrote.

Wed Aug 06 2008 7:55AM Report
DataShade writes:

I read what you wrote, but it's full of so many typos, grammatical errors, and malaprops that your contention that I misunderstand your meaning is quite likely.

 

You accuse me of not understanding your point, but you ignored everything I said.  There are no good sci-fi games because sci-fi as a genre has been in a lull for almost twenty years.  That's longer than most decent game programmers have been programming.

 

You said you want new features, but you didn't like Age of Conan; what kind of new feature are you looking for?

 

I'm not trying to correct your opinion, I'm trying to correct the enormous misconceptions that are the bedrock of your opinion.

Wed Aug 06 2008 8:47AM Report
vajuras writes:

I feel ya here another good piece was written. Off hand, I must say I was disappointed you did not give props to EVE Online, Saga of Ryzom, etc which are classless titles that tried something different. Upcoming we have fresh titles like Well online, Mortal online, champions online, and I think even DCU will be classless as well.

There is a lot of classless titles coming down the pipe. Please don't ignore them then maybe original titles will become norm

Wed Aug 06 2008 8:50AM Report
ronpack writes:

I don't understand why noone has mentioned city of villains/heroes. Which happens to be one of the most impressive MMO's there ever was. It basically has everything that you say MMO's are missing. So why haven't you played it?

Wed Aug 06 2008 10:01AM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@DataShade

If there are typos in my original blog point them out please.

As well, i have no idea why we are tied up on Sci- fi only.

And what i said about Age of Conan, word for word was:

"really don’t know what to expect in the future for MMO, nothing seems too particularly inspiring, or next gen. Just the same things re-hashed over and over again. It seems like developers make a new game, and offer 1 new feature and it is enough for people to hop on and follow it for 3 years.

Take a serious look at the upcoming MMO and, if you like make a list of all the new things they are bringing and really gauge whether or not this mmo is worth your time, or even worth you dropping your current mmo.

I will start with Warhammer; the only new feature it is bringing to the genre is public quests. It originally had the level diversity system, where every time you gain a level your character would change in a way that would make you look unique, so by level 40 orcs would be bigger in actual size,  chosen would be darker and more sinister, and.. That’s all I can think of, the feature was dropped so Warhammer went from 2 new features, to 1. Age of Conan, new combat system, that is pretty big, not my cup of tea but impressive none the less, now before you say Warhammer has a new combat system too, I assure you, once you play it, you will be able to associate every combat mechanic with something found in another existing MMO with W-A-R in the title. Age of Conan also offered Nudity and sex, which I something not done in mmos, but they backed down from that and went partial nudity, so they added 1 and a half new features."

Not only did i give props to AoC for adding a new combat system, i even mentioned that it was a pretty big new feature. You just re-iterated my point that you didnt actually read what i wrote.

@Vajuras

Actually you are right about Eve, It is actually the WoW of the Sci - Fi Ship genre, i unfortuantly was turned off by the real time skill system, and Saga of Ryzom died, i think it was being resurrected but i am not sure about that.

I actually plan on playing champions online, DCU online is relying way to Heavily on the DC IP for me to dive into it.

From what i understand about Mortal, it is going to be an FP-RPG like oblivion,  sounds interesting if they pull it off, they also offer freedom But how much freedom is something is something i  am sceptical about, I dont concider next gen graphics a feature, video cards have been monsterously powerful for years now, games shouldve caught up a long time ago.  And you are right, i shouldve mentioned it but in all honesty it slipped my mind as it was not a title i was actively following.

I cant find a working link for well, provide me one and i will look at it, but it is another game i havent actually heard much information about.

@Ronpack

I actually played CoX for 2 years, and have the veteran rewards active

The purpose of this blog was not to bash the current mmos ou there, it was simply talking about the upcoming mmos and how they arent doing much different from the exisitng ones. And its not even like they are taking the good stuff from all the exisitng titles, they only focus on certain aspects of one game.

Take CoX for example, when this game first came out, i figured it would basically revolutionize the MMO system It is the only MMO that has an indept character creation process, so indepth that i spend 3 or 4 hours making characters, just to make them, and just leave them at level 1. The only game whre i have been playing my mian for over a year, and have never ran into someone who looks exactly like me.

They also have the scaling dungeon system, dungeons that adjust for Solo, duo, trios up to 8 man groups, this game came out a long time ago, and has great features that should be in every MMO  todate, so why is the only new MMO captalizing on the features of CoX, Champions online.. which i refeer too as CoX v2.0 Why are MMOs still coming out and giving the feeling that i am playing a clone war? Why havent scaling dungeons been introduced in games that use instances?

I played CoX, i just didnt mention it because it wasnt an UPcoming MMO  I wasnt taking anything away from it. as for DC online, it just looks like a game specifcally trying to capitalize on the DC names, nothing more then that, compared to champions online, promising much deeper character creation then CoX, and customizable powersets which was a limitation the CoX engine couldnt do, and open power system, it is actually the only upcomming MMO i currently plan on buying.

Unless, the go the route of Age of Conan, Warhammer, Vanguard and start back tracking all their promises or release a shotty product come launch date.

But it seems the focus of this discussion has been lost, it has been turned into some attempt to bash devolopers and their current tiles or lack of them in certain genres, when it was somply pointing out that the MMO being promised today and in the future are just captalizing on exisiting IPs and  actually offer little to nothing new, giving people very little reason to leave their current MMO.

Wed Aug 06 2008 10:52AM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

Oh btw,

 

The reason i stopped playing CoX, was because of the endgame, while crafting and stuff is cool for somepeople, ive never been a fan of it. I dont enjoy raiding, and pvp in CoX was not for me,

I dont take anything away from the game, but i understand that champions will most likely fix all the flaws CoX had.

Wed Aug 06 2008 10:54AM Report
vajuras writes:

Okay back on track (topic) I agree with you. I think it comes down to Mainstream (popular IP) vs Innovation (Independant; original IP)

I think the smaller devs find themselves having to innovate big time to get noticed so we see lots of exciting innovation on that front

But on the Mainstream side--- yeah its just like you described. They have the big budgets so instead of innovating they try to overwhelm us with Content, graphics, and Flash.

You wrote a great work here I would say. I once blogged on this topic awhile back myself (but removed the blog should repost it or something).

Wed Aug 06 2008 12:20PM Report
StinkyPest writes:

Interesting blog Fox. You'll probably recognize my name from another game you had high hopes for. From in the industry experience the publishers are by far the worst of the bunch. They are the ones making the loans, they are the ones that literally own the intellectual property if the game falls for whatever reason (a common add-on to publisher to developer loans).

The publishers are so afraid of not making their fiscal term's quota that they do clone after clone in effort to change little amounts of things. I personally hate it. I do not see this changing for some time though.

Anyways if ya want some more insight from me, always willing talk about it more in private with you if you want to send me a mail fox.

Fri Aug 29 2008 2:22PM Report

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