Couldn't figure out a clever title using word play between 'console' the electronic, and 'console' the verb. That's as good as it's going to get for you all!
Well, as promised, the topic of this entry is Console MMORPG's. What's wrong with them, what can be improved, and what should be utilized in the future. I've only played a small handful of console MMORPG's...due to that there's only a handful of console MMORPG's. I've been demo testing that Star Ocean game on my Xbox 360 lately, and while, yeah, it's kind of cool to run around, use the voice chat and so on, it got dull quickly. There wasn't much depth to the game, no real 'You just got this level, what are you going to do with it?' to it. That was one of the major problems with it as I saw. Yes, the options of using skill sets are limited, but games have done it before.
Mass Effect, an RPG on the Xbox 360, utilizes many types of abilities based by what type of weapon you're wielding, and what skills you have. They're accessed with a radial dial style pop-up. The game does pause itself, while you select a special ability, and you can queue up all your party members to use different abilities at the same time. The game doesn't have to stall to allow you to use special abilities in this way, though of course, in a real-time game, it's not always the best choice. I got to thinking the other day, and both the PS3, and the Xbox 360, have attatchments to allow you to use a mini-keyboard...
Why not make it bigger? Make the keyboard slightly bigger, or create an entirely new 'MMORPG' attachment. Gives you ways to access hotkeys, so you can use special abilities faster on the spot. As for leveling up issues, I don't see why a menu screen can't be utilized. It could be an almost exact replica of any MMORPG's character screen. It could allow players to view their character more indepth than current Console MMORPG's (CMMORPG's for the ease of writing this blog further).
CMMORPG's also have the bonus of developers knowing their limit on the game. They don't have to worry about 'Okay, does 10% of the MMORPG population have a computer powerful enough to run this?'. I know personally, my major frustration with MMORPG's, are the system requirements. I'm sadly stuck with a laptop due to University reasons. I need the portability. Sadly, my laptop is plagued with rather crappy specs. I can run most things, but my laptop gets rather burning hot. I've had past Laptops actually melt from trying to play some games. Literally melt, the little plastic hinge separating from being too hot. LCD burning out on one side, from the sheer heat. But it's sadly what I'm stuck with; And I know my laptop won't be able to play much of anything new.
My xbox 360 however...has the same hardware as the next guy's. I don't have to worry about it being strong enough to play a game. It is. Moving on to consoles as well, would give developers a larger audience, a new way to bring people who don't normally play MMORPG's, to play them. In all honesty, no matter what genre's you play...it's pretty hard to hate MMORPG's. They're addictive, and constantly keep you hooked. With CMMORPG's, developers would have less marketting worries, players would be able to play no matter how powerful their computer is, as long as they own the console (And, from what we've heard and seen so far, servers CAN be set up between different consoles, alongside computer's, meaning even if your friend has a PS3, and you have a 360, you could still grind together).
Basically, in closing: The Next-gen systems are damn powerful. It's about time we see something that truely shows that power, that vigor that we see in current next-gen titles. What do you, MMORPG.com, think should happen in terms of these CMMORPG's, and what features do you want added, changed, or taken away?