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Provocative idea's for the mind

Taking seriousness to a whole new level, analyzing current MMORPG's, and idea's for MMORPG's in the most logical ways possible.

Author: TenchiMuyo

Is simpler (Or in some cases, Dumber) better?

Posted by TenchiMuyo Thursday February 12 2009 at 10:51AM
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I've been hunting for the past two months or so, in the wake of Darkfall, to try to find a good MMORPG to past the time with. And I was willing to play -anything-. Including games with low votes, or games that hadn't been updated in 5 years. I even resorted to playing children's MMORPG's. Now some of those children's MMORPG's, were dreadful. So dreadful, I simply had to stop an hour in. One such game that comes to mind, was Fusion Fall.

I normally don't consider myself snobbish, or spoiled when it comes to Graphics in video games. Possibly related to the fact, I've never owned a powerful rig. Right now, my gaming computer, is actually a laptop, with a duo core 1.6Ghz processor, and an IGMA X3100, and it's motherboard can only support 2 Gigs of RAM, max. Which is mostly taken up by running the godawful Vista. Now, I'm grateful for my laptop. It's a real trooper, it oftentimes, will play games it's not supposed to be able to play. And when I get to play a MMORPG, that the laptop technically shouldn't be able to; I rejoice. Sadly...some MMORPG's I've purchased; such as the CoV/CoH combo package. That won't play. At all. I've sadly never had the chance to create my own superhero. Back to the main point though, Graphics...Fusion Fall is gritty. Grainy. Blurry, and most of all, was simply a terrible job all together. They tried, they sure did; and I'll give anyone, who creates any game, that amount of credit. But it was so painful, literally, to look at, I had to stop, close the browser, and go pop some advil. It gave me a headache.

Another simple game, one normally meant for children, actually seemed to be a bit enjoyable. It's called Wizards101. This game was actually quite enjoyable. The characters pretty much all look the same, except for the clothes, and the battle system, is based off card play. simple enough. Wizard duels can range from 1v1, to 4v4, players verse players, or players verse monsters. The battle system is simple, you get near a monster, and you run to a dueling circle automatically. It shows you cards you draw side by side; you choose one, then choose your target, and the game takes over from there. It's turn-based, and, I'm afraid I still haven't quite figured out how the game chooses who goes first, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. Certain monsters have certain weaknesses, Fire, Water, Death, Life, so on and so forth. Those do extra damages, and you can use some buff, or debuff cards to make the monster weak temporarily to a certain type. It's a simple game. Very, very simple. But I found myself enjoying the game. It was simplified, but not overly so, that the game was boring. And some of the quests were actually quite interesting.

One of the most simplified games that comes to mind, is AdventureQuest. I'm sure most of us have played through it, but if not, here's the Premise. You start off in a small town, you're a mere adventurer. You go off doing quests, level up, buy new weapons, armor, and magic spells. You eventually choose a type of class, which gives you some special abilities. That's pretty much it. The game claims to be free, but in order to really do much of anything, you do have to pay. there's restricted armors, restricted special abilities, weapons, spells, area's, quests, so on and so forth. It's a decent game to try, but the restriction to free to play, for such a simple game (Which they're able to build a clone to every 4 months, As I'm writing this, I'm seeing a new ad for 'Shadow Tale' which I'm most assuredly is exactly like Dragon Wars, and that space-based one.)


Now to the more complicated games I've noticed.

Eve Online, a game filled with spaceships, missiles, lasers, battle guns, and rockets...and apparently, rocket scientists, as you need to be one, to perform all the calculations needed to figure out what your ship is. I jest, but it really can become a bit complicated, if you don't have a tool, such as the EFT (Eve Fitting Tool). The game requires constant calculations based on how fast your missiles travel, compared to the speed of your target, compared to the distance of your target, to find out if your missile is going to hit. Then again; by the time you actually do all that math yourself, you'll know based on the damage counter on your enemy ship. Luckily, as mentioned, tools can do all that for you. Not live of course, but you can figure out what the max range of your weaponry is, and how fast your enemy can be traveling at that point. But you also need to figure out, when you get a +25% bonus to your shields off that one item you just got, how much does that actually give you...when you consider the +10% and +15%, that doesn't stack, but is rather added as you go. EVE Online is actually one of my favorites, and is a real gem in my opinion. The economy is realistic, and is actually quite balanced, even though it changes from day to day. The quests take you to new area's, and new looks, and there's always the way of the not-so-peaceful-always-attacked-by-pirates miner. Or, the lowly thief, that picks on the miner (me). Overall, the game can be quite involved, but in my opinion, it makes the game interesting, and allows the player to make many, many decisions. In reality, it kind of reminds me of common RPG's of our time, such as Fallout 3, and Fable. Each thing you do, can raise, or lower your 'security' level, which is similar to a 'moral' level. Bad things lower it, making you a pirate, good things raise it...really doing nothing for you.


What do you think,, does simplicity really matter? Or can can a highly simplistic game, be fun, and vice versa, can an overly complicated game, still be fun? And does it matter on what that simplicity, or what that complication is based in (I mean a specific part of the game, such as PvP, or storyline, so on).

Sargoth writes:

I've been in the same boat trying to find new mmo's to play.  I also played Eve, once in 2006 and a few months in 2008. 

Due to how insanly complicated Eve is, I only played for a few weeks in 2006.  I had to play a few other mmo's and single player games before I fully understood enough mechanics to come back a play Eve for an extended period of time. 

Now that I understand the mechanics I can safely say that the complications that game presents just rips the fun right out.  I don't know how many nights I spent using EFT to come up with fittings that would maximize my damage only to realize that I would only be good in one situation and not another. 

Eve is so complicated that there is no jump in and have fun.  But this also gives way to a different breed of players.  The ones that do understand and are willing to dedicate time rise to the top and become, for the most part, elitist pricks.  The ones that do not fully understand the mechanics and fly ships with sub-par fittings have more fun but leave the game because of tedium.  But at the same time your almost guranteed that people playing longer than 2 years are 20+ and you don't have to worry about whiney brats.  You do have to worry about a-holes  because of the "hardcore" pvp enviroment.

Simpler games such as WoW and a good bit of the f2p games have lots of people that come in and play for a little and get out.  But at the same time, you have lots of whiney brats and few mature people to play with.  Take your pick. 

I'd rather just have  a game that rewards effort, plays easy with some thought process involved and punishes shitty gameplay.  I'll be one of those people wishing on Darkfall.  You don't need numerous calculations on hit damage.  You just need an economy run by the players to make any game complicated for the most part. 

Anyways, decent read and my two cents.

Thu Feb 12 2009 1:39PM Report
Quizzical writes:

It's not necessarily a case of simpler or more complicated being better.  A game needs to have enough complications to give it some depth.  But that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be all that complicated; the rules to chess are pretty simple, but that doesn't mean that you can master the game in an hour--or a decade.

Throwing in complications for the sake of making things more complicated is usually a bad thing.  That may make players take quite a while to figure out what to do, but eventually players will, and most of your complications get ignored.  Or perhaps worse, the developers didn't really understand them either, and players find things that are tremendously unbalancing.

But what's really bad are complications that are nothing more than a nuisance that everyone hates.  For example, suppose that a game was based around 26-man raids, but had the restriction that no two players in the raid could have their names start with the same letter.  That would surely make getting a raid together a lot more complicated.  It would also make the game awful.

Regarding Wizard101, I'm not sure how far you got into the game, but if you're not to the "use lots of shields or die" point yet, you haven't really seen how complicated the combat gets.  Winning a 1 on 1 battle is pretty easy.  Winning a 1 on 3 where two of the three are bosses each with more health than you have is harder.  Wizard101 combat gets more complicated than combat in WoW.

As for what determines which side goes first, that's chosen at random at the start of a battle.

Thu Feb 12 2009 3:11PM Report
axlezero writes:

Chess is a great example, its simple enough but its also very intricate and has strategy that you develop over time.  IMO a good mmo should be simple to understand and hard to master. 

Everquest had classes like this, one that really stands out is the enchanter, its easy enough to play, but to really master that class took time. 

Thu Feb 12 2009 6:52PM Report
TenchiMuyo writes:

I'm glad my blog is succeeding; it's doing exactly what I'm wanting it to do. I want to see lots of idea's out there. And you guy's certainly have some good idea's and points.

No, I haven't gotten that far in Wizards101. I'm going to keep playing it (I might start a subscription too). And yes, Chess is a great example, thank you axle.

My dream game, would be simple to play, not overcomplicated. Maybe SLIGHTLY skill based, but take a while to master exactly how to play it. Require strategy, require thinking.

Thu Feb 12 2009 7:21PM Report
Sargoth writes:

If you depth in a game, add empires.  Combat is simple and just a numbers game.  Poeple get their kicks from it but nothing more.  Once software compainies can get around to dynamic additions to their game where you can build and tear down objects at will in a game then we can really start to see mmo's devolpe into what we all want to see. 

Imagine the hardware to recreate the world.  Say like a 1:10 scale.  1 mile in game is 10 miles in real life.  Then start the game back in the prehistoric era.  Players devlope communities and research knowledge through quests and other means.  If we could dynamically raid and build cities as we please, all the complication you could ever want would be presented but we all know how to do it so it's just hard to do not hard to understand. 

There would be little need for character developement since it's a land grab kinda thing, but diplomacy and economics would rule supreme while player ran countries would still need military, players, to enforce rule and sovereignty which would provide the adrenaline needed.  Heck, it would not even have to look like earth but you get the point.  What would push it forward would to have 1 land mass run by the developers that would be carebear central for the new players. 

There is your complication, your slow mastery.  We just need the software and hardware to handle lots of people at one time and dynamic object manipulation hardware. 

Fri Feb 13 2009 1:45PM Report
Sargoth writes:

If you *need* depth....   Sigh, proof read before submit, grr.

Fri Feb 13 2009 1:46PM Report writes:
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