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The Explorium Adventures

Here we talk about The Explorium's adventures! We will talk about MMOs, browser games (rarely) and singleplayer RPGs.

Author: Explorium

Are Singleplayer RPGs better than (new) MMORPGs?

Posted by Explorium Friday April 8 2011 at 6:58PM
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Why I've gone back to playing singleplayer RPGs.

New MMOs tend to have small worlds...grind quests over and over and are instanced. In UO, Asheron's Call, SWG...I didn't need to do 1,000,000 raids to grind for items...I could CRAFT my own items. I could EXPLORE and FIND my own items. What is it with raids? Or even worse...now sandbox/open world games are all PvP focused.

Nothing beats Fallout 3 (or New Vegas if you prefer that) or Oblivion (or Morrowind/older elderscrolls if you prefer that). My Oblivion world literally beats Rift in world size. By a long shot...Rift has a tiny world. It may even rival one WoW continent. Why is my Oblivion world so big? Well because of all the mods! I haven't taken the time it takes to compare world sizes, I just play to have fun...but my Oblivion world is huge.

 

If old SWG was still around (well actually it is, but I can't post about it) I would be playing that...or if there was an updated Asheron's Call or an updated Ultima Online...I would be still playing MMOs full time. As it is, I just casually (very casually) play LOTRO because it is the best modern MMO out...that is PvE...

 

Sadly, all new sandbox/open world games (well Fallen Earth, I'll go into a bit of detail on that) are PvP focused as I mentioned in the opening paragraph...great for some, but I'm a PvEr...not a raider either, I prefer making rare items by CRAFTING...or exploring and finding rare stuff.

 

As for FE...it isn't post apocalyptic at all...it is lame. EVERY item can be bought from the merchant. I tried selling a crafted item and someone said (exact words) "wtf? You are selling that for 50 extra chips, you can buy that cheaper on the merchant...NOOB!"...I quit and have never been back. Along with having to grind for AP, though I guess they fixed that? That wasn't really my only problem. Just what knocked down the barrier of me quitting. Sorry, but to me, Fallout 3 actually does a GOOD post apocalyptic world...well, if you mod it that is...my FO3 gameplay mod makes everything really rare (medicine/stimpaks/food/ammo/weapons, etc) among other challenges, and I have to eat/sleep/drink to survive and stuff. Some may not like that, but that is what I want to do when I play a post apocalyptic game. I want it to...you know...actually feel like I'm trying to survive in a post apoc world.  

 

Then there is Oblivion...better than most MMOs and RPGs in general (well, especially modded, only RPG "FOR ME" that rivals it is Fallout 3)....my Oblivion is so much fun. I can add races (I only add ones that actually fit with the Elder Scrolls lore)...add tons of new land...add lots of quests. I can turn Oblivion into a game that fits ME...add dungeons...items...etc, list goes on...because of mods.

If I could mod MMOs, I probably would like them more. But I can't do that. I can't add player made races, or player made quests or anything...so I can't turn a MMO into something that fits ME (note that "me" not "you or we"...I doubt a MMO will come out that is specifically for ME...because there is a lot of MMOers that want a MMO that fits THEM...and their MMO/game is different than my game.

The RPG in MMORPG...what happened?

Posted by Explorium Thursday December 2 2010 at 8:32PM
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What happened to the RPG in MMORPG? Now some companies take that out and call it a MMOG or some other variation.

What happened to developing your character and telling stories of things you accomplish? Sure you still make orcs, elves, some other fantasy race or boring humans...but now its all about the phat l33ts and grinding the same raids over and over.

What happened to the days where I find a beautiful location (take Ultima Online for example)...saying, wow I would love to live here...and building a house at that location.

What happened to the days where MY character tells the story, and not a bunch of NPCs telling it for me? In SWG (Star Wars Galaxies), I remember finding a very rare boss mob that very few knew about. It didn't drop epic items, but I (my character) soon became known because of this, along with a few of my friends I brought to help tame the beast. Yes, that epic, rare beast, I was able to tame with help from my friends. best memory of a MMORPG yet.

What happened to those days where you can tell epic stories of things you accomplished yourself? Sure you can say "I beat the lich king"...along with 10,000,000 other people (maybe not exact number, but you get the point)...my character in SWG told his own story, and with help of friends, became well known. That was only the first start of my characters journey. I found many rare things in SWG, many times with friends right there to experience it.

Now, its the NPCs telling the stories for you. And your character doesn't really develop, except for getting better items and better stats.

What do you think of this? Did MMORPGs lose the RPG part of their game?

Reply to forum thread: The majority of players will never like a sandbox game argument

Posted by Explorium Tuesday October 12 2010 at 3:56PM
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If there was ever a MMO like Fallout 3, Morrowind or Oblivion (GTA and RDR too, but I haven't played those two)...I would never leave the house again lol. Okay maybe I would, but you get my point :P This will be a long post.

Here is the link to the thread this was a response to:

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/294594/The-majority-of-players-will-never-like-a-sandbox-game-argument.html

Excuse the rambling rant...my mind is scattered today, I'm on pain killers...and tired as heck...

So anyway...to the blog. May be a bit confusing if you haven't read at least some of that topic in the forums.

 

Sure Fallout 3/Oblivion/Morrowind aren't TRUE sandbox games. They are more of a hybrid. But, with player made mods (as mentioned) you can easily turn then into sandbox games. I built a pretty large settlement in FO3 with mods. But this is what I imagine would do really good in a MMO. A hybrid MMO, like Fallout 3 or Oblivion. I actually prefer Oblivion a bit more than FO3, but both are awesome. But the point is, I'll be talking about Oblivion a bit more.

 

In Oblivion, you are really free to do whatever. But before I get to that, I'm going to get to the actual meat of why these games last so long on the PC version. Console versions of these from what I've seen have a lot less life expectancy, but don't quote me on that. Thats just what I've personally seen with friends, their friends, family, etc. I've racked up 100s and 100s (more like thousands) of hours in Oblivion. 100s and 100s in Fallout 3, and unknown amount in Morrowind. Way more than I have any MMO (WoW, EVE and Asheron's Call being my longest played MMOs). 

 

AC for 2-3 years

WoW 4 or so years

EVE for about a year, and I still play EVE.

But, why does Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Morrowind last so long? Because I can download mods, I can download texture packs to improve the graphics, I can change the very game itself. Take Nehrim in Oblivion, a Total Conversion. Its like Oblivion, but at the same time a whole new experience. But lets talk about the mods that change the actual game. Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, a game changer that imo really really improves vanilla Oblivion. My favorite mod ever (outside Nehrim)...Mart's Mutant Mod (Fallout 3), Mart's Monster Mod (Oblivion)...why? Because it adds SO much new monsters and everything. MMM adds tons of stuff to FO3 and Oblivion.

Then real time settler (FO3), an awesome mod that lets you build stuff...pretty self explanatory

 

My point? I can talk about mods all day...but the point I'm getting to...I can't change a MMO to fit my needs or wants. I can't upgrade the graphics with player made mods, I can't download mods that add new monsters to the game word. I can't change ANYTHING with a MMO. I can suggest to the devs to change something, but with 1000s or millions of people, I have a better chance at winning the lottery than single handedly getting something changed in a MMO. Now a large group of people can make a change, which is what a MMO is about...large groups of people...but my change might anger 10s of thousands if not more. The closest I can do that, is with EVE and Ultima Online and SWG before it got destroyed. And those aren't really the same, but they are (or were in SWG case), my favorite MMOs ever. In EVE, I can build on planets (do note, I haven't tried this feature yet, took a break from EVE)...in UO I could build my own house and do whatever. In SWG, well...I hate talking about SWG because it was so awesome, and so much freedom that I always get upset it got destroyed.

 

But mods I just don't see working for a MMO. I mean, they could very well work, players make changes/additions, developers look over it, and decide to or not to implement it...it would have to be different than in Oblivion or Fallout 3. The closest I can think of that would work universally would be graphics enhancers...but many MMO ban anything that changes graphics. Like, if I want a nudity mod (and yeah yeah yeah, call me a perv...but...)...if Blizzard knew I used one, boom...BAN STICK. Not like nudity mods are any good with WoW, doesn't work at all. In fact, its really disturbing to use for WoW, and no I've never used one for WoW, but I did look at screenshots. But that isn't really my point. Now take Fallout 3, it makes perfect sense to have a nudity mod...just take a freakin look at the setting. Would a MMO company allow it though, even if it fit the game universe? Even if it was totally optional and up to the player? Probably not. The MMO developers hate anything that changes something for the player. They BAN STICK you in seconds as soon as they see you changed something. Even if it affects NO ONE around you, except yourself. Yes, I'm looking at you Blizzard. But to summarise the mod experience, if it wasn't for player made mods in FO3 and Oblivion, I would have LONG ago stopped.

 

And that is what sucks about most MMO companies. Which brings me out of modding talk. They allow no freedom to the player. A player gets banned for having any sort of texture or graphics mod, nudity or not. Not like there are actually mods that upgrade graphics to a MMO (that would be a lot of work), but I know there are minor things that don't involve nudity, and player(s) get banned for those too. On top of that, take Blizzard...a group of people took a raid boss into Stormwind...everyone had fun, but a bunch of whiny kids complained...the group of people that took the raid boss (most fun thing I ever got to experience in WoW)...were all BANNED! For it. Also, remember how you could jump on top of buildings and climb mountains and stuff? Blizzard nerfed that too. No freedom to the player.

 

Take EVE though. UO too, and vanilla SWG...but my memory is a bit rusty on the last two. In EVE, I can scam someone (definitely banned in a certain other MMO), I can grief someone (banned in a certain other MMO)...or I can go the "nice" and "carebear" I guess is a word I could use for that, approach...but the point is, CCP are one of the very few companies that allow FREEDOM in a MMO. Now, there are exploits not meant to be used, like that one corperation that took advantage of an exploit in wormhole space, I can understand fixing that...there always needs to be a point to freedom, otherwise it turns to Anarchy. Nothing can be truly free. But certain other MMOs just take the freedom away from you, and give you a dictatorship. Find something fun? Like climbing onto buildings? Oh, lets "fix" that. Raid boss into a city, which is uber awesome. Griefing, lets ban them all. Well, at least I have a CHOICE not to give them my money.

So to summarize this whole thing, that turned into a random rant...

 

The problem with MMO companies is they do not allow FREEDOM to do what you want (at least to a point). Themepark MMOs are the biggest culprit in this. Most sandbox games I've played allow a lot of freedom (like in EVE). But the problem with sandbox MMOs...they need some guidance to the player. Fallout 3 and Oblivion allow great freedom to do whatever (especially with mods), but I also get a choice to do quests and follow a story. Heck, in Oblivion I only finished the story once in about 20 hours in...all other 100s if not 1000s of hours were exploring the world, downloading quest packs, downloading NEW lands to play in. I only touched the main story once, all other times I played it more or less like a sandbox game (that has quests). 

Now, Fallen Earth I believe tried to do something similar. It had a free roam world, a lot of sandbox elements, but a lot themepark elements too. The problem? The game was TOO themepark like. And I hated having to grind AP from quests (and yes, you had to if you wanted to PvP with the big boys), I love quests, but if it feels FORCED, then I hate it. Not to talk about the horrible economy in FE, where every single thing could be bought from vendors...that was the deal breaker for me.

 

Fallout 3, Oblivion, even WoW really...the quests never felt forced on you. At least it didn't feel like that to me. I had the choice to do them or not. In WoW, I didn't really have a choice, but it never felt forced...if that makes sense.

So, my question is....what can MMO developers do, to copy the genre (be that free roam, or sandbox, or whatever you want to call it)...of Morrowind, Red Dead Redemption, Oblivion, Fallout 3...if a MMO comes out that is like any of them, in my opinion, it would be a HUGE hit. That is, if it actually comes out with good quality, a good release (WoW had an awesome release, the main problem with WoW was, they did not expect so many people to buy it, it was polished though and wasn't rushed out of the door to release because of lack of funding. No MMO company I know of (lol SOE) takes Blizzards "release when its ready" approach, and that is a big mistake many make, and why most fail). Well, LOTRO had a great release from what I remember...but I don't know much about Turbine's past releases.

 

Anyway, thats it from this rambling rant...

What happened to MMOs? Were the ever for me in the first place?

Posted by Explorium Friday October 8 2010 at 1:02PM
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First problem I have is the AI. And this is just one reason most MMOs are boring (for me). Most MMOs have stupid, idiotic mobs that stand in place and do nothing. Its like someone aiming a gun at you, about to kill you and you go "LOL, I'M GONNA WAIT FOR HIM TO ATTACK ME FIRST!! Okay he shot! now I can attack!"

 

Well, except for Ryzom. Ryzom actually HAS AI! Mobs migrate depending on the season, animals go up to you and examine you...its very good AI for a MMO. Oh, and the big thing...carnivores actually attack other mobs (like herbivores).

 

I guess Darkfall has good AI too (so I've heard), but I've never played it, not a big PvP fan. I prefer PvE.

 

I guess some people like mindless combat and grinding 24/7...probably why a lot of these "next-gen" (LOL) MMOs suck for me (note the "for me" part, I know some of you will miss that and flame me.)...all it is, is boring grinding, mindless and unfun combat (for me)...grinding to get uber loot (BORING!...for me)...or grinding dungeons/raids 100s of times a month to get some lame item that doesn't mean anything in real life. The only good thing about MMOs is the social aspect, but I can get that by hopping on Raptr/Xfire and talk to my friends while I play games. Or use skype and have conversation(s) while I play.

 

The only good MMO right now that I've personally played is Ryzom, it actually feels like a world...and sure there is grinding, but at least the AI is smart.

 

Hence why I've gone back to singleplayer games for the most part. I'm having WAY more fun in Oblivion (and Total Conversion mod, Nehrim which is uber awesome), Fallout 3 (and soon to be Fallout New Vegas), Fable 1 (well, not sure how long the fun will last in Fable 1, but its fine so far, but I just started)...singleplayer games seem way more advanced than these mindless, grinding MMOs. I actually have FUN in these RPGs...Mass Effect 1/2 are fun and amazing, with a great story, Dragonage is awesome...Anno 1701 is tons of fun (not a RPG, but its a city builder)

 

Oh, and the biggest winner so far this year (for me, always gotta add that part, or someone will take it personal)...MINECRAFT! Most fun I've had in years. Minecraft puts most if not all MMOs to shame (in my opinion)...sure graphics aren't OMG!! but its so fun...after playing Minecraft and Nehrim, I think I've grown out of the MMO genre. 

 

There is one chance of me coming back to MMOs and if it fails, I am completely done with this genre (that has NOT improved barely at all from early days, and in my opinion (note my opinion), its gotten WORSE. But that one MMO, and that is Guild Wars 2. Why? Because I actually see my (and other players) actions effect (or is it affect? Get those confused) the world, with permanent changes. Okay so AI may be bad, but whatever...at least grinding will be done to a minimum (if its like Guild Wars 1 in that aspect...and btw, I thought GW1 was boring, I didn't really like it)

 

But this isn't a thread about GW2, and for all I know, all the promises and things they have said will fail, or not be put in the game. I've seen that happen with countless MMOs (and games in general really...a lot of promises and talk, but no cigar)...but, its only MMO that has a chance of reviving the MMO genre (for me).

 

Well, back to Nehrim, Minecraft and the actually FUN games (you know, ENTERTAINMENT, not WORK...most MMOs seem to be made as a second job, no thanks...I actually have a life, I have friends a job already, I go to school.

 

I play games to have fun, not to be forced to do tedious mindless tasks, or grind 100000 (I know exaggeration) raids to get some lame, useless item.

 

^all the above is my opinion, so don't take it personal (have to add this in or someone will take it personal and flame me...actually, it will probably happen anyway, oh well, I don't care)

 

Guess the MMO genre is not for me anymore. Either that, or maybe it really was never for me.

A Total Conversion of Oblivion - Nehrim - Journal Entry Day One

Posted by Explorium Thursday September 30 2010 at 12:13AM
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Do note, I posted this on the forums first. 

 

 

So...do you have Oblivion? All you need is the latest patch and the PC  vanilla Oblivion. No other DLC or expansion needed.

 

Nehrim is a total conversion using the Oblivion engine. Plus, even with Nehrim installed, you can play the regular Oblivion. You just need to install the mod to a different folder (which is recommended anyway) from where you have Oblivion installed.

 

Now, you ask what Nehrim is? Well, first...all the voice acting is in German. But you can read what they say in English, if you can't speak German. 

 

So...Nehrim is similar in ways to the Gothic series. For those who may be familiar with that. But enough like Oblivion to be similar to that as well.

 

So, here is some info taken from the official site

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.) Nehrim is a game focusing both on story and classical RPG gameplay. You solve quests, earn experience points, collect better equipment. Although this sounds rather conventional, Nehrim finds a perfect balance between a stunning presentation and the actual game. If you are not motivated to proceed playing once you have started, you are probably doing something wrong.

2.) There is something to discover at every corner in Nehrim. Monotonous woods and impassionately designed dungeons? Not here! And honestly: Who wants to wander through landscapes you can find outside your own home? Nehrim includes sets of landscapes that have never been implemented in any game before.

3.) There is more to the story than "Go save the world". Much more. The characters have deep personalities, they change throughout the game. And who knows, there may even be some romance...

4.) There is going to be a new soundtrack. Our team musicians Simon W. Autenrieth and Lukas Deschel have been industrious so even acoustics freaks will be comfortable in the new world. Aside from these compositions there will also be a gig by Schandmaul, a popular Folk-Rock band, who kindly have provided a song for the project. 

5.) Nehrim has an elaborate synchronization. And when we say elaborate, we?re talking no less than 56 professional voice actors and a recording studio from Berlin that got our backs. Regarding this, Nehrim may just be one of the biggest synchronization projects ever having been undergone for a fan project. 

6.) Nehrim is free. All you need is a copy of TES IV: Oblivion.
1.) Nehrim is a game focusing both on story and classical RPG gameplay. You solve quests, earn experience points, collect better equipment. Although this sounds rather conventional, Nehrim finds a perfect balance between a stunning presentation and the actual game. If you are not motivated to proceed playing once you have started, you are probably doing something wrong.

2.) There is something to discover at every corner in Nehrim. Monotonous woods and impassionately designed dungeons? Not here! And honestly: Who wants to wander through landscapes you can find outside your own home? Nehrim includes sets of landscapes that have never been implemented in any game before.

3.) There is more to the story than "Go save the world". Much more. The characters have deep personalities, they change throughout the game. And who knows, there may even be some romance...

4.) There is going to be a new soundtrack. Our team musicians Simon W. Autenrieth and Lukas Deschel have been industrious so even acoustics freaks will be comfortable in the new world. Aside from these compositions there will also be a gig by Schandmaul, a popular Folk-Rock band, who kindly have provided a song for the project. 

5.) Nehrim has an elaborate synchronization. And when we say elaborate, we?re talking no less than 56 professional voice actors and a recording studio from Berlin that got our backs. Regarding this, Nehrim may just be one of the biggest synchronization projects ever having been undergone for a fan project. 

6.) Nehrim is free. All you need is a copy of TES IV: Oblivion.
1.) Nehrim is a game focusing both on story and classical RPG gameplay. You solve quests, earn experience points, collect better equipment. Although this sounds rather conventional, Nehrim finds a perfect balance between a stunning presentation and the actual game. If you are not motivated to proceed playing once you have started, you are probably doing something wrong.

2.) There is something to discover at every corner in Nehrim. Monotonous woods and impassionately designed dungeons? Not here! And honestly: Who wants to wander through landscapes you can find outside your own home? Nehrim includes sets of landscapes that have never been implemented in any game before.

3.) There is more to the story than "Go save the world". Much more. The characters have deep personalities, they change throughout the game. And who knows, there may even be some romance...

4.) There is going to be a new soundtrack. Our team musicians Simon W. Autenrieth and Lukas Deschel have been industrious so even acoustics freaks will be comfortable in the new world. Aside from these compositions there will also be a gig by Schandmaul, a popular Folk-Rock band, who kindly have provided a song for the project. 

5.) Nehrim has an elaborate synchronization. And when we say elaborate, we?re talking no less than 56 professional voice actors and a recording studio from Berlin that got our backs. Regarding this, Nehrim may just be one of the biggest synchronization projects ever having been undergone for a fan project. 

6.) Nehrim is free. All you need is a copy of TES IV: Oblivion.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
And here is my game experience thus far. I'll just try and say the general stuff, so shouldn't be many spoilers. Once a week, maybe  more, maybe less...depends how much I play, I'll post my journey through Nehrim. Until I get bored or if I take a break. I'll take screenshots too (which may contain spoilers), but I was too absorbed into the game and forgot to do that. But I've only been in the starting dungeon, anyone who downloads it can see that. Yeah, this series of blog I am doing doesn't really have anything to do with MMOs...but there is plenty of non MMO games on this site, so heh. 
 
So here is the journal entry:
 
Day One: You start in a mostly abandoned mine. Tunnels and chambers go everywhere. Traps, some puzzles, monsters (trolls)...bodies...skeletons..zombies...you name it. First thing I noticed was that graphics are vastly improved from vanilla Oblivion. That was a bonus. Sound and the music is AMAZING too...but the music seemed a bit buggy. Sometimes it would play, then suddenly it would stop and either become quiet, or switch to another song. Some of the graphics seemed to flicker too. But not sure if that is the mod (Nehrim is pretty new release I believe...so...) or maybe my graphics settings or something. I may need to play with that more. The music "bug" was kind of annoying though. Sound and music is in the top three (I count those two as one) of most important things for me in a game. Aside from the music issue, which may or may not be on my end...I definitely wasn't disappointed. With 5.1 surround sound added to it, it was awesome.
 
The atmosphere in the dungeon was a lot better than the vanilla oblivion starting dungeon. It gave a very creepy feeling to it. Which I like. The music went along nice with that, as well as the other sounds.
 
The dungeon was A LOT more challenging than Oblivion starting dungeon, too. Which was nice. You had to figure things out, be chased by powerful trolls (fighting some of the certain species=death) and it was quite a fun experience. Plus, if you went off the main path (not too far!...its a long way down...) you could find items and other neat stuff.
 
Near the end of the dungeon I was going, "I see light! YES! FREEDOM! Damn! Can't get to it!  Wait! almost there...damn it! more trolls! WAIT! LIGHT! NOOOO MORE TROLLS!" finally I ran at full speed toward the exit and was greeted with...an awesome rainstorm shortly after I got out. No it was actually really awesome, even if I was hoping for sunshine after being in the dark dungeon. But, that added to the atmosphere :) A great way to be greeted. A dark, dangerous dungeon. Exit it hoping to be greeted with sunshine...but its still dark and gloomy. Sets the mood up for the game ;) Though, your experience may vary on this...you may or may not get the same weather I do. 
 
And that ended my first play through. I did die a few times in the dungeon, which beats 0 deaths 100% of the time in vanilla Oblivion dungeon. Was quite a bit more challenging. At least with the first play through, I'm sure it will be easier next time,since I know how it works for the most part.
 
Here is the official site:
 
Here is a thread with screenshots:

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