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Teala's Wickedly Cool MMORPG.com Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Project MMORPG 101

Posted by Teala Sunday February 6 2011 at 10:11PM
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This is not my normal entry. This will actually be an ongoing project to determine what it is players are looking for in a game. What I intend to do is poll players here at MMORPG.com, using the forums polling system, to ask some very simple, and straight forward questions about the type of game elements, and mechanics, they’d like to see in future games. Once a week I’ll post a poll asking a question(with a link from this entry to the newest poll). When the week is up I’ll post the results to this entry. Eventually, and hopefully, we might be able to form a basic outline of what some MMORPG players are looking for in a game.

What is Project MMORPG 101.  This genre is stagnating in my opinion.   In the last few years this genre has seen very little innovation or creativity.   Yes there have been some attempts to try something new, for instance  "All Points Bulletin", "Pirates of the Burning Sea", and a few indie game design houses producing some interesting games(their biggest problem though is funding and talent).  All-in-all though, the games that have been released in the last few years are almost all identical in one way or another.   From EQ to Rift, and soon to be released games like Tera and Guild Wars 2, they all seem to share a basic paradigm - that of a theme park based game.

Some of the games like Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, etc, etc, all games that have followed that paradigm have not all been great successes., in that many that have recently been released are struggling to maintain subscribers.  Some have had to go from pay to play subscription base to a free to play subscription base(with RMT) to keep them up and running.  This in itself is a very telling sign that these games are not retaining their customers after the game is launched.  Why?   Why are these games not retaining their customers or drawing them in months after they have launched?

My guess is that these game design houses have lost their way.   Let's face it, ever since World of Warcraft came onto the market, every game since has used it as a blueprint of a sorts to design many games that followed.   Yes, WoW did copy many elements from other games(like EQ), and other games later as it aged.   Let's also face the fact that WoW is a freak of marketing nature.  It was released at just the right moment, with the right type of game play that many gamers were looking for.   On top of that it was easy to learn to play, and could run smoothly on most computers back in the day.   These were contributing factors on WoW's success and growth.   But this has also caused to many other game companies to try to make the next WoW.   For us gamers that play MMORPG's it has been a mixed bag of good and bad games.    

Maybe this project will become a tool for game designers to look at to get some ideals that will help develop the future MMORPG’s that gamers will enjoy playing. I welcome other game websites to participate in this project.   To partake of this project, feel free to post a link to this article. That way we can get a larger number of players contributing their input.

 

Poll 1) What type of game best suits your play style?

1) Theme Park based game. Theme Park being a game like World of Warcraft, Aion, Rift - for example. These games have few, if any, sandbox game play elements or mechanics. No housing, no guild halls, may or may not have crafting, may or may not have player controlled economy, simple character customization(depends on game), lots of pre-scripted quest, static worlds, mostly class based character progression, end game consist of running raids and pvp battlegrounds, very gear oriented.

2) Hybrid Theme Park/Sandbox. Being that it combines aspects of both a theme park and sandbox. Example would be something similar to Star Wars Galaxies, Dark Age of Camelot, in their current forms.

3) Sandbox. This would be a game like Ultima Online or EVE. Has player owned housing(ships, stations for EVE), guild halls, player controlled vendors, player controlled territory, player controlled economy, robust and often deep crafting element, resource gathering, lots of freedom for character customization, dynamic world, few pre-scripted quest, player made content, mostly skill based character progression, no real end game(end game is what you make of the game).

4) Other - If you choose other, please explain in some detail what you’d like to see.

Poll Question Here <<< clicky

*******************************************************************************

Poll 2) What genre would you like to see an MMORPG based on?

1) Fantasy (Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, Princesses, Swords and Sorcery)

2) Sci-Fi (Space, Spaceships, Aliens, Other Planets, laser guns, futuristic gadgets)

3) Western (Cowboys, Indians, Mountainmen, Goldrush, Train Robbers, Marshalls, Banditos)

4) Historical (Pre-historic, medieval europe, Victorian Age, ancient China, medieval Japan)

5) Post Apocalyptic (after mankind almost does themselves in)

6) Sports (football, baseball, basketball, car racing)

7) Steampunk (best you look this up - google it)

8) Cyberpunk (best you look this up as well - google it)

9) Other - If you choose other please explain what "other" is in comment below.

To vote click here  <<<  clicky

************************************************************************************

Poll Question 3)  Which system of character progression would you prefer?

1) Class Based System --- Level Capped

2) Skill Based System --- Progression Capped

3) Class + Skill Based System ---Level Capped

4) Classed Based System --- Not Level Capped

5) Skill Based System --- Progression Not Capped

6) Class + Skill Based System ---Level Not Capped

7) Other - If other, pleased describe what system you'd like to see in a comment below.

To vote click here <<< clicky

cowboyhugbee writes:

Of course, a balance of both Themepark and "Sandbox" elements would be best.

For me, the missing element in MMOs is well-polished, non-combat gameplay.  Sure, I'd like to be able to fight, but I wish I could make a real living in a game crafting, or fishing, or farming, or building houses or whatever in a way that didn't feel like a side-project to my "main" job of leveling, raiding, etc.

Sun Feb 06 2011 10:19PM Report
cowboyhugbee writes:

Of course, a balance of both Themepark and "Sandbox" elements would be best.

For me, the missing element in MMOs is well-polished, non-combat gameplay.  Sure, I'd like to be able to fight, but I wish I could make a real living in a game crafting, or fishing, or farming, or building houses or whatever in a way that didn't feel like a side-project to my "main" job of leveling, raiding, etc.

Sun Feb 06 2011 10:20PM Report
Corthagath writes:

im leaning towards sandbox with this but little dash of themepark wouldnt be bad for my taste so i guess i would say like

80 % sandbox

20 % themepark

Sun Feb 06 2011 11:38PM Report
NeokiNaomi writes:

I'm mixed. Out of the 3 I would chose #3. However I deep down seek the feel and experience Planetside gave me back in it's wonder days. So my real answer is #4 for "True MMOFPS". Closest game of recent to hit that thirst for me was APB, sadly the original studio was closed due to game marketing and pricing model. Hopefully the new studio gets it right. Gamers want to feel immersed and truly unique, games like APB give them that ability, even my wife and some of her girlfriends enjoyed just messing around with the logo and clothing section of the game. It wasn't a hit, but it did bring new innovation.

Mon Feb 07 2011 1:20AM Report
BadSpock writes:

Honestly, no matter what you do here it will not matter. 

I know, I tried before too... it attracted quite the following (my blog that is) back in the day, but no one outside of this site will care.

Trust me, from experience, save yourself the time and effort.

Mon Feb 07 2011 8:48PM Report
BadSpock writes:

Besides, your basic premise is extremely flawed.

LOTRO trippled their revenue by going Free to Play.

Runes of Magic, Free Realms, Runescape etc. all have more players then every other "major" MMO except for WoW - combined.

World of Warcraft took MMOs out of the niche / hardcore market and made them main stream. We are NEVER going back even if we want to. 

You can pray for a good, quality game that's fits your personal tastes and that is about it. That's the only hope you or I can ever have - something we like to play and the rest be damned. 

No MMO has to be a WoW killer, success is not defined by fanboi forum posts on this site. 

 

There are only TWO things that are actually unique and innovative in the MMO space that no one has done -

1. A major studio publishing a AAA MMO and using F2P right off the bat (i.e. if SWTOR were to magically be F2P) which may actually happen with GW2 btw.

2. A console only MMO that is actually any good. 

and maybe a 3rd for good measure -

3. A succesful and popular MMOFPS i.e. AAA production etc. 

 

Beyond that.. I'm sorry, but you're just pissing in the wind. 

Mon Feb 07 2011 8:55PM Report
BadSpock writes:

You could make the most amazing, high quality, polished, and unique AAA sandbox MMO ever conceived, imagined, realized, and executed and you know what would happen?

250-500k subs. Max. And you know what? As long as you didn't spend Fort Knox making it, it'd be a financial and commercial success.

The only "new audiences" in gaming that the MMO market has yet to capitalize on are as follows -

1. Sports gamers

2. FPS gamers

3. RTS/Strategy gamers

4. Social/ultra-casual gamers (i.e. facebook, hearts, etc.)

5. Mobile gamers (i.e. a mobile-accessible MMO)

So unless you plan to tap those markets, you are directly competing with WoW, any every other "major" MMO out there - and your only chance to make them switch from their current game is to give them something that is familiar - but better and/or more interesting.

Most people who say that they want something new really just want something better, not neccessarily different. This is fact.

Mon Feb 07 2011 9:02PM Report
cirdane writes:

I think any game where the sole objective is only to make your personal chacter stronger is doomed to failure. At it's most popular DAOC had only limited advancement for a tune. you got to 50 found a 16.5 dps wep. got your crafted armor set done and hit the frontier. Then they screwed it up with a bunch of god like powers and artifacts and everyone went to WoW.

For a game to have a player base it must be fun for everyone including Mr. I just Started 2 weeks ago. If he has to face Mr. I've played/raided non-stop for a year and the battle is over in 6 sconds and all that is  left is a pair of smoking boots Mr. new is not going to stay. 

also if Mr. Year and Mr .new have no common goals or needs a strong community will not develop and often comunity holds players far longer than content.

I think that is why at some point chacter improvement has to give way to realm/world/guild improvment. real and fun things people can do with  THEIR chacter rather than look for the next way to eek out 10 more str on their stat sheet. look at how much time people in a realm would put into getting control of darkness falls in DAOC for the money/crafting advantages they could get for the realm.

So in a nut shell I think current MMOs are flawed because the end game is all about self advancement. The best chance for sucess would be a game where personal advancement gives way to real/faction/guild advancement that means somthing

so that players work together and develop relationships so that your never "done" with the game.

Love  and minecraft seem to realize this. (been following them and may try them if I get time) .

Tue Feb 08 2011 7:55PM Report
Anolev writes:

I hate to say it, but the opinions of the active members of mmorpg.com are statistically irrelevant... this site represents a fraction of a fraction of the overall MMORPG community.  A very vocal faction at that... 

Reality check here folks - game companies do regular cohort game testing with test groups, typically through independent 3rd parties, in order to solicit feedback.  They break down those cohort groups into different types (e.g. multilple levels of hardcore vs. casual, NA vs. Europe vs. Asia, men vs. women, etc.) and then, based upon the results, they iterate on their game's design.

So, the dozens, or even hundreds of responses that you get from this particular site is not a representative sample of the MMORPG population.  You're just asking a very passionate, very vocal group what they think... not the other 99% of MMORPG gamers who enjoy playing, but never bother to visit an MMO site.

Thu Feb 10 2011 12:14PM Report
UnsungToo writes:

Other

To complicated to explain at the moment. Dinner time. I'll give it some thought and come back to try to explain

Sat Feb 12 2011 5:12PM Report
Ravik writes:

Hybrid.  I want everything such as building my own content and changing the world while still having things to level up and premade quests and locations.  The more the better.

Mon Feb 14 2011 8:16PM Report
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Wed Mar 16 2011 11:47AM Report

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