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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

No Smarter Than A Rock.

Posted by Teala Sunday August 28 2011 at 4:54PM
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Watching all the latest game videos for up and coming games and one thing I noticed that was prevalent in all of them...the AI of MOBs has gotten no better than the AI of MOBs we encountered in games back in 1999.   No seriously...watch any new or recently released MMORPG and you notice this right away.   They are like this...

a rock.

 

Why are we still seeing MOB AI that is seriously no better than this rock?   Over ten years and the MOBs we fight in todays MMORPG's are no smarter than the MOBs we fought in games over a decade ago!   In most games the MOBs are stagnate, non-dynamic objects that sit in one place, like a rock, and wait until a player comes by and whacks on them with an oversized (weapon of choice here).   They will not run.  They do not try to manuever.  They do not do anything out of the ordinary that most gamers would encounter in any other situation...just like a rock...

I made a request of developers in a recently released game, I will not name, to make the MOBs more dynamic(just a little bit), have them try to out manuever the player, or even try to run away - anything to give the feeling that the MOB had some kind of intelligents to it.   What was I told.   Most players do not want that in their game.  They do not want to fight unpredictable MOBs, they want to just kill what they are fighting and move on to the next one.    Personally I find this hard to believe.  

Are the majority of gamers really like this?  Do they want stagnate, stupid MOB's that do nothing but sit in one place and let you wail on them until they are dead - like most MOB's in the past, present, and future games?

Do you as a gamer - really like that?  I know I am tired of it.  I would think others would be as well.

I mean how difficult would it be to put some level of AI into MOB's that make them a little more challenging to defeat than your common rock?  And why wouldn't players want a little more challenge to the MMORPG's they play?  Am I to believe that the majority of players are happy with how MOBs are handled and made to behave in MMORPG's, and that adding smarter MOB's would put people off if they became more challenging to defeat?

I just don't get it. Games would not only be more fun, but challenging.  It would add a level of challenge to add some dynamic AI to MOBs so they are not so predictable. 

This is also the one thing that drives me crazy about dungeons, raids, and boss MOB's.   This set of game mechanics I think are the worse offenders of the lot regarding MOB placement and MOB AI.   It is crazy that after all these years and we're still dealing with stupid MOBs that are no better than rocks, and the vast majority of players are content with this type of game play.  

Look at any raid bosses, in any MMORPG, and you know what...they never change how they behave or how they were programmed/scripted to perform.  They are so linear in action that you can find youtube videos telling you how these MOB's will perform down to the last second.  There is nothing dynamic about them in the least.   None of the MOB's...not even the hardest of the so-called "hard mode" MOBs are any smarter than a rock you'll find in your yard or while you are walking down a gravel rode.  What makes them ahrd is they have more HP than your average MOB and they hit harder - period - end of story.   They are stagnate, non-dynamic, over hyped, rocks - with their own instance to make us players think we've encountered something that is more challenging.  The reality is, though, far from this.   Am I the only one that is a litte tired and annoyed of this?

For the love of gaming!  Please...please...please, developers, can we get past this level of gaming, and add a little challenge to these games by making MOBs a little less predictable by giving them some form of AI beyond that of a rock?

If you played any MMORPG prior to say World of Warcraft, and then watch videos of soon to be released MMORPG's, or play some of the most recently released MMORPG's of today, you soon discover that in this area of game play nothing has changed.  MOB's are stagnate, non-dynamic, poorly scripted, and in most cases - no smarter than a rock.

5 Reasons Star Wars:The Old Republic Might Be Successful

Posted by Teala Friday August 5 2011 at 2:09PM
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This is going to be one of two write-ups I will ever do of this game.  So enjoy and savor them, they will most likely be my last for this particular game - ever.

This first entry is my list of reasons why this game might actually succeed or do well on the market, and finally break the streak of games that release under the huge hype machine with expectations of drawing in millions of customers, and possibly retaining the majority of them(something no new game has done in the NA and EU markets for years) but failed to do.  Not since WoW has any game done as well.   Most new game releases draw in around a million players with the initial sales of the game and then within months of the games release the game companies are working their arses off to retain even a 1/3 of those players that had started playing the game.  

We've seen it happen in countless games since the release of World of Warcraft; and that list is long and littered with well known IP’s that have millions of pre-made fans.  Some are struggling to remain in operation, some have gone free to play, while others have just outright been shut down.   They were all hyped to heaven as the next best, greatest thing since , and none of them proved to be anything other than just a re-envisioned version of a couple of games we've all ready played.

And...despite people saying, 'Who cares if the game is similar to X game - this game is better and is going to rock!', it didn't save these games from being less than successful.   I can name the games if you like, but I think we’ve heard their names enough to know which ones they are...so no need for people to get salt rubbed into their wounds.  

Successful, however, can be subjective, so playing it safe I am going to say that being successful in this case means they have at a minimum of 300+k players playing the game(that number is less than EQ1 at its peak - so I think that is fair).  Most new games released since WoW barely maintain 150k subscribers and some(as I mentioned have just folded and are no longer in operation).  Another point so some of you understand where I am coming from, I am talking about the NA and EU markets...not the Asian markets.

I’m not here to slam or to promote, I am merely here to point out why I think this game "could" be successful.  Whether it is or not lies solely with the creators of the game - Bioware and Lucas Arts.   If they fail to deliver the goods than no doubt this game can be tossed onto the heap of bad games all ready piling up in your moms basement.  OK I joke...not your moms basement, that was wrong...but probably your step moms.  

Anyway....here are the reasons I think Star Wars: The Old Rebublic might actually be successful.

1) Bioware - the name alone means quality and is synonymous with roleplaying games.   If you call yourself a true gamer, you know who this company is.  They made the first games many of us grew up playing years ago like Bauldur’s Gate Series(crap...my age is showing), and the most recent well know games Dragon Age I & II and Mass Effect 1 & 2.   How can this game possibly fail?  Not sure it can - if I am to be totally honest.  The game is loosely based off their original award winning game series Knights of the Old Republic(and of course the expanded Star Wars Universe), a single player roleplaying game that changed the very way we looked at computer based RPG’s.   To this day KoToR is still considered one of the best computer RPG’s ever made.  BTW KoToR is the only game I have ever played that made me cry at the end.  Seriously...I cried like a baby.    Such a great game.   With that said, like Blizzard before them, Bioware has a huge...and I mean huge fan base with which to draw from...if that alone does not spell out success - nothing will.   Bioware is renown for their games and they have millions of gaming fans around the world.   This just might be all it takes for Bioware to take a large chunk of the MMO market.   For now though we’ll have to wait and see.

2) Star Wars - OK who doesn’t know and love this IP? OK there maybe a few that do not care for this IP - but in a sea of billions of fans, those that do not like Star Wars are so few that we that do like it make no mind of them...they are like that cousin that nobody in the family remembers or even knows their name.   Star Wars without a doubt is one of the best known IP’s on this planet!  OMG...I swear you can travel to the most remote regions of this world and I bet you’ll find someone there that has heard of Star Wars, Obi Wan, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker.   Really...how can this game possibly fail with an IP that is this well known and this big?!  If it does fail...then Bioware will forever in the annals of gaming history be known under various monikers as BioFail, BioCrap, BioPoo, BioTrash, BioDung, BioPoodoo,...let’s face it...they will never be able to show their faces at E3 or any place gaming related without being met by a mob of people ready to chase them out of town with torches and pitchforks.   This is Star Wars...I repeat Star Wars.  The name alone oozes of awesomenoussauce: lightsabers, Jedi’s, Sith’s, spaceships, stormtroopers, and wookies.  

3)  Accessibility - perhaps one of the main reasons World of Warcraft was so successful was the fact that you could play the game on a McGyvered calculator.   The young padawans learned well from the master Blizzard and it appears that SW:ToR will follow suit and be playable on just about any gaming rig - even really old ones - ancient ones...ones made before many of you reading this were barely out of diapers.   When a game company takes the effort to make sure their game can be played on even the lowliest of low gaming systems that is a good sign.  It means that if you can’t spend a ton of cash on a new computer or upgrades, no worries, your old circa 1999 computer should handle this game fairly well(to play it safe though I would be more inclined to think you should have something dated around 2005 - you know - just to play it safe).  

4) Themepark - now I am going to come right out and say I think this is a terrible thing...if I didn’t you’d all be going, “Where is our bitter, jaded, bitchy MMORPG hater Teala, and what have you done to her?”  OK that is out of the way.   Because Bioware seems to think that this is the right model for their game due to the success of another well known themepark based game...well who can really fault them? (Sure I can, I’m just a mean spirited bitch that hates themeparks - lol), No really, who can fault them?  Look at the success of one of the greatest MMORPG’s - World of Warcraft - now tell me one game company that would not like to repeat that success.  Is it playing it safe? Sure it is.  Is it wrong?  Who the frak knows...I can tell you how I feel about it, but I am biased, but one thing is for certain - it appears most gamers prefer to be hand fed their game and led around on a leash and this game, like its many predecessors, does not deviate from that model of game play.   If you think previous games that followed after World of Warcraft was on rails...welcome to more of the same.   Now as I said, this could actually make this game a huge success.  It seems many people prefer this style of game.   I do not understand why people say they like this style of game and yet most newer MMO’s that used the same paradigm crashed and burned(some horribly) due to players finding out that once again the game was just more of the same old, same old and then abandon them within a few months.  Maybe themeparks are the answer - it’s just that nobody has gotten it right since World of Warcraft.   So I am going out on a limb here and say that if there is another reason this game might be successful it will be because Boiware stuck to a model that they knew would work if they manage to give players what they want - a good game that is fun to play - whether it is a themepark or not - if it is fun - people will play it.

5)  Timing - This maybe one of the top reasons this game does succeed when so many other games have failed.   Timing.   Just like when Blizzard released World of Warcraft, one of the major defining factors of this games success was Blizzards timing of its release.   MMORPG players were just as jaded then as they are now.   We were looking for something bigger, something better, something fun to play.   We were tired of our UO’s, EQ’s, AC’s and wanted something fresh, something different, but not so different, something we could really rally around and Blizzard delivered at just the right time when the genre needed something to kick it into high gear.   Bioware is at the right moment in time for just such another kick.   This genre surely needs another successful game to bring it back from the edge of the “Abyss of Doom”.   When Blizzard released World of Warcraft, we were just coming off of years of playing games like EQ and AC and the like.   People were ready for not necessarily something totally new or different, because World of Warcraft was modeled after the games that came before it and took the best of those games and made them better - so we weren’t getting new and different - just better and Blizzard hit a home run in the 9th inning with the bases loaded.   It was partly a matter of timing.   This maybe one of the things that helps make Star Wars: The Old Republic a success - Bioware launches it when we the genre really needed a good kick in the proverbial nether regions.  

There you go...my top 5 reason Star Wars: The Old Republic might just shock us all and be one of the most successful games ever released.   We can all hope and pray it does, because if this game fails...I have a feeling it might be the end of this gaming genre as we know it...so keep your fingers crossed that they have a great batter in the 9th inning, who is strong in force, with the bases loaded.

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