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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

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.

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