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Where art thee, MMORPG?

The ongoing quest for the ideal persistent virtual world.

Author: Lodeclaw

It's all about F-U-N(?)

Posted by Lodeclaw Monday October 22 2007 at 2:01PM
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Greetings and salutations, my friends and acquaintances!

I am Lodeclaw. You may call me Lodeclaw.

So I've been ranting over the past two days in the pub about what I believe is the best way for an MMORPG to be developed. By that I mean, how the design should look from inside the game and what players should be capable of doing within said game. After the second day of ranting, I decided I may as well start a blog on the subject, since I seem to be hijacking poor DragenSoul's now on-and-off topic thread. I'm sure many people will scoff or roll their eyes at my blog; let's face it, throwing ideas of one's ideal game isn't exactly original or innovative in itself... Anyway, I hope some of you will find it interesting and I hope even more those of you who do read it will respond and even challenge my thinking.

Well, on to the entry...

First thing's first. An MMORPG is above all a game, I doubt anyone will argue such an obvious point. So the question is, why aren't more MMORPGs more fun? Fun is probably the most important word I'm ever going to use in this blog, because the problem with MMORPGs is that the fun is being lost somewhere between the developer's vision and the completed game.

So, where does the fun go? It gets smothered by content. Yes, content. Hundreds of hours worth of boring, repetitive, uninspired, disconnecting* and generally pointless content based primarily on questing that has no lasting effect on you, your character, other characters, the NPCs or the game world. It's no wonder developers have lost their drive to be innovative in game design as they use up all their energy creating and implimenting quests that for all intents and purposes are single-player with an optional co-op mode.

As I continue this blog I'm going to offer up my ideas of everything from character creation, combat, crafting, PvE, PvP and all sorts of other fun features that should give players many fun activities while playing.

Your good friend,
Lodeclaw

PS: I will read all comments and try to respond as best I can. If you leave me a comment or question that I find particularly interesting, I'll be sure to share it in my next blog. This goes for every entry I submit, so don't be shy and no holds barred!

soulwynd writes:

Just like telecom networks, all the fun happens when they receive their paycheck.

Personally speaking, my main problem with mmorpgs is the lack of scenes, preludes, interludes, and the whole movie-like feeling most single player games give you. I don't mean they should be linear, but I'm pretty sure any major mmorpg would be able to maintain a small team of script writers and animators without any real budget change.

Mon Oct 22 2007 2:14PM Report
Lodeclaw writes:

That's a good point, Soulwynd. If I made an MMORPG, I would have an animated intro or some-such that would introduce the game's underlying story, rather than just show off fancy CG animation with cliche background music.

Mon Oct 22 2007 2:25PM Report
Qaze writes:

The forum thread is http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/152205/page/1 if anyone wants to read it.

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:09PM Report
Zynro writes:

Also, since most of the companies KNOW that the WoW method works, repetitive, etc etc etc, they go with that. "Screw innovative!" , Says the company, "We can make a copy but with better rgaphics and make even more money! What do we have to loose?". It might take decades before a company even TRIES to make a INNVOVATIVE game, and another decade to produce it. The results would skyrocket.

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:15PM Report
lightblade writes:

To all the replies above me:

Have you played Guild Wars yet?

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:35PM Report
Zynro writes:

Yes, GW is a work of art, having no grinding and pure I don't know why, but even with new content, it gets old. Theres only a certain number of builds, and since GW2 is coming out, its pointless to play now. I own all the campaigns by the way.

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:38PM Report
Regiko writes:

Oh lol,

 

Of course developers were thinking of this. Expectations of the community are plummeting. They foresaw this. Thus, that is why there is much apprehension on action-paced games such as 2-D scrollers like Maplestyory, Dragon Gem, Ghost Online, etc etc. These 2-D MMOs are basically a transitional period of going from 3-D grind games to 2-D action games. If you are sick and tired of games that suck so much there's nothing to do but grind and hunt for items or camp bosses then you'll want a game where you can jump around and essentially, have FUN whilst playing. The above games mentioned were all basically failed attempts at this. The true FUN lies in games where you can actually have action packed gameplay and you're constally keeping your mind hooked on what to do next(quick thinking). It's an interesting concept, see how long you can go without dying from boredom.

There are some 3-D games that attempt this such as Fury, however, I doubt there will be mass playerbases on those types of games, due to the requirements. There also is no companies who are know for immersive, 3-D grinding games are in the market, developing for these types of games. They can't keep releasing expansions.

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:41PM Report
Lodeclaw writes:

I'm having a hard time understanding why everyone seems to think a game without quests and levels will be boring. Have you no imagination? Some people even seem to think grinding is necessary in an MMORPG. Why?

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:55PM Report
Qaze writes:

Some people think that grinding is fun...

Mon Oct 22 2007 3:58PM Report
Lodeclaw writes:

Any schmuck can find a way to grind in any game, the devs don't need to waste time making a grind FOR players. Hahaha...

Mon Oct 22 2007 4:06PM Report
BesCirga writes:

These ideas seems to cater the hardcore crowd, which is fine. If im not entirelty mistaken, the biggest MMO crowd is people over 30+ years and we dont have time for hardcore games...

I peronally dont like the everquest clones, so i embrace every new idea, but these (from the other thread basically) seems to extreme, naive and not fun. sorry, just my opionion.

I think its all about the happy middle and luckly some devs are trying to find it already.

and yes, grinding can be fun...

Mon Oct 22 2007 4:56PM Report
ArcheusCross writes:

"I'm having a hard time understanding why everyone seems to think a game without quests and levels will be boring. Have you no imagination? Some people even seem to think grinding is necessary in an MMORPG. Why?"

I fully agree, though I do see somewhat why it may seem boring to others, because if the NPCs are not doing anything or not even there, it seems lifeless and bumping into another person may seem to take forever. SWG had this in some fashion or form due to the fact that in the player cities, the npcs just stood around and did nothing.

But I believe there is a simple solution. Scripted events that happen for different reasons. So... for instance.. lets say that theres an NPC trader thats trading comodities from one town to another ok.. well say that the players around one of those player made towns kills too many goblins for whatever reason, well then the goblins become hostile... and attack anything, even npc caravans (or insert npc whatever) lets say that one of the members of that npc caravan runs like hell to the nearest player city and crys for help... what do you have? A quest! And without any dialog boxes at all or planned questing (aka quests that everyone do just to level).

Anyway I totally agree... I have been searching for a good dandbox mmoer that didnt lead me around(linear story quests) or restrict me (zone walls)

Good blog so far man.. hope to post more on it :D

Tue Oct 23 2007 6:29AM Report
Klom writes:

Good topic.

How about beta testing the dang classes of players to satisfaction before releasing it. Once the game is released dont nerf classes! People have already spent time making them the best possible.  

I would love to just randomly (whether lvl 1 or 100) have a chance at finding some uber weapon/armor... I played a dos character based verson of Dungeons and dragons type and found a +100 sword at level 2.  I ran my little X around machine colon | walls for hours.  I spent hours fishing in games just hoping maybe I would snag something extra special.

Might and Magic 2 still has me captivated because I have never beaten it.  Got lost somewhere around time traveling.  Never knew what kind of mobs I would face either, sometimes you have to run from mobs.  Maybe its that OH CRAP feeling.  And for all my time playing I was able to beat ancient dragons with a single blow by the end game.  Uberness is also a good feeling for all your time and money put in.

Noob, Newb, n00b, nub, nube should be a swear word.  They are demeaning to experienced/new players alike and used to often.

Implement at least one server specifically for players  < 18 and one for >18.  This way some people can join a server that caters to both one or the other.  I would love not having to think about typing what I am feeling.

 WOW great game engine with little loading but killed me because of the maturity factor of many of the players. Loved the pvp Halaa city event. 

EQ2 seems maturer and expansive character class but seems like melee weapons are almost useless and all classes use power and have the feel of casters...

DDO had me from the begining but lost me at character nerfs and it lost that Dungions and dragons feel after the patches > lvl 10.

I am a sword and board gamer or I would try Eve.

Sincerely,

Gameless in Orlando =/

Wed Oct 24 2007 8:07PM Report
ShrikeValeo writes:

Yeah, cool blog, hope to hear more. I've lately become picky in that the key thing i look for is sandboxing. All i tend to find is "features", although I suppose Planetside for one could be classed entirely sandbox though. Not just a small ongoing potential sandbox that can generally be unfair like Shaiya, or in RF Online where bare minimum level for any remote capability is 30 or so and the actual event only occurs every 6 hours (i think..), but where all players of all levels can affect and take part in at least something ongoing.

One of the best ways to at least start that is by opposing sides, natually, with some sort of different views and/or goals....but I'll leave the in-depth stuff to you for now ;)

Mon Apr 28 2008 8:37AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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