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MMORPG Quest

One man's quest through the world of MMORPGs...

Author: elvenprince9

Multiple MMORPG Publishers publishing the same game?

Posted by elvenprince9 Thursday July 30 2009 at 1:26AM
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Why is it that more than one MMORPG game publisher publishes the same game? It doesn’t make any sense. Games like Nostale for example are available in the United States through two different publishers. Players can sign up for the game on nostale.net or on nostale.uforia.com. Isn’t it weird that the same game is available on two different websites? On two completely different servers? I’m not sure what Nostale’s developers were thinking by licensing their game to two different companies in the same region, because as it stands the game’s playerbase is now divided. This really hurts the ‘user experience’ as a game’s community is a big part of MMO games, and having a game’s community split totally sucks for players. To be fair though, NosTale isn’t the only game that’s published by more than one company. La Tale for example is currently being published by the folks over at OGPlanet for North American users, but it looks like Aeriagames will also begin publishing the same exact game soon, as La Tale is currently in Closed beta over at Aeria. Another game, Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu used to be published by both Ndoors and IJJI, but luckily the folks over at IJJI merged their servers with the Ndoors game.

The question now is, why on earth do game developers license their games to multiple publishers? Heck, if I was OG Planet, I would be furious at La Tale’s developers for giving their game to Aeria, especially after initially giving it to OG Planet! Successful games like Atlantica Online, Runes of Magic and Fiesta Online for example don’t license their games to multiple publishers for a reason, so why do some people do it? I’m pretty sure this practice has a lot to do with greed. Developers are looking to milk their games as much as possible, but I feel that this practice will only end up hurting everyone, as a divided community will hurt the user experience causing some people to quit, less players will hurt the publisher and the less revenue publishers make the less the developers make. So, what’s the point of this article? To urge developers to stop licensing their games to multiple publishers!
 

Too Many Free MMORPGs

Posted by elvenprince9 Sunday July 19 2009 at 2:26AM
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Honestly, I think the free to play MMORPG game market is growing way too fast. It seems like every month a n ambitious new game publisher opens its doors for the first time in hopes of making it big in a market overflowing with MMORPGs. Companies like Aeria Games that have multiple successful titles like Last Chaos, Twelve Sky and Shaiya are making money hand over fist in the lucrative micro-transaction based business, but other smaller companies like Uforia who only publish smaller less known games like Red War, Three Kingdoms and Nostale are in risk of going bankrupt. The fact is, there are far more online games out there than the amount of players needed to make them all profitable. What this means is that some of these free MMORPG publishers are doomed to failure.

 

Now, I bet a lot of readers are thinking, “where are the facts? The numbers?”, Well I don’t have any numbers in front of me, but I can say from firsthand experience that a LOT of MMORPG games are deserted. Stone Age 2 for example, only has a handful of players online at any given time. A HANDFUL of players. There’s no way the game’s publisher can recoup their expenses for the game with only a dozen or so players online at any given time. I’ve personally played dozens of games where the total number of players online were less than 100. Personally, I’d love to see every game bustling with activity, but with so many Free MMO games on the market, this isn’t possible. Surprisingly, there are very few major browser games with this problem, as almost every browsed based MMORPG I played had a healthy playerbase.

Why are so many MMORPGs using Bit Torrent now?

Posted by elvenprince9 Saturday July 18 2009 at 7:03AM
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For as long as I can remember, Bit Torrent has been a tool used by pirates to illicitly ‘acquire’ music and movies. Just recently though, over the last year or so, Bit Torrent has grown to become one of the primary download methods for several big MMORPGs. World of Warcraft for example, uses bit torrent for patching while games like Project Powder, Fiesta Online, and GodsWar utilize bit torrent to transfer the entire game client over to players. Personally, I feel that even though bit torrent can speed up downloads on some occasions, it’s almost always slower than a mediocre HTTP direct download. For extremely popular games like Atlantica Online, a bit torrent based downloader could work, as the game has millions of players, but for smaller titles like Wolfteam and Angels Online I’d much rather prefer a reliable direct download than bit torrent.

As I mentioned earlier, bit torrent can be helpful in some cases, but in most cases it’s a lot slower. I can bet that the reason for implementing a bit torrent type solution has a lot more to do with saving bandwidth for the publisher than improving the user experience. I Have nothing against trying to cut costs, but I think publishers should use HTTP direct downloads for their games over bit torrent, as it’s almost always faster. This is sort of a pointless rant, as almost every game publisher offers both options. I guess my what I’m trying to get at is that publishers should make the ‘default’ download option the more familiar direct download method while having the bit torrent option there but secondary. As it stands, a lot of MMORPG games have torrents as the primary download method. At least browser games don’t have this issue!
 

The Social Experience in MMORPGs

Posted by elvenprince9 Friday June 26 2009 at 6:49PM
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It’s no secret that free to play MMORPGs have been exploding in popularity in the past few years. Once unheard of in the West, scores of free MMORPG games are now available for North American and European gamers. But while this trend has banished the dreaded monthly subscription fee, it has come at a cost. Many rightly claim that free MMORPGs have much lower quality than the traditional pay-to-play MMORPG offered by Western developers such as Electronic Arts or Blizzard. This might of been true at first but many of today’s free games have excellent production value that even rival those of subscription MMORPGs. Games like Project Powder and MegaTen are both high quality titles available for free that defy the stereotype.

While progress has been made on quality, free MMORPGs still lack a very important feature that comes naturally to classic titles such as EverQuest or WoW and that is community. The social experience in a MMORPG is arguably the most important aspect. It’s what separates the genre from its single player cousin, the RPG. Most pay to play games are designed in a way that encourages player cooperation and team work. Few classes in Vanguard, for example, are self sufficient and thus require the assistance of other players to progress. Most free to play MMORPGs try to make each player as self sufficient as possible. The worst thing that can happen to an average Ragnarok Online player is running into a fellow gamer with the audacity to hunt in the same spot as him. Since many free MMORPGs are developed in South Korea where popular f2p titles such as MapleStory and Mir 2 originated, they all have this basic lack of social necessity.

The difference is not hard to spot. Anyone with wide experience in the MMO field knows firsthand how Asian ‘grindfests’ differ from community driven epics such as the original EQ. A good MMORPG will find a way to incorporate elements of both styles. Some people do genuinely prefer to play alone. This is why World of Warcraft has been such a success both in America and in China. Gamers can go at it alone from level 1 to 80 but must work together to defeat the most powerful bosses. As the free-to-play market grows and Western developers get more involved in it, we can only hope that more MMORPGs with hybrid social emphasis are released. Judging by the rapid progress that has been made in the realms of graphics and gameplay, I’m confident we won’t have to wait long.

Where are all the MMORPG Tutorials?

Posted by elvenprince9 Thursday June 25 2009 at 3:36PM
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I’m not sure why, but it seems like the growing trend in free MMORPG games it to launch the game without a tutorial. I had the opportunity to play the Dragon Sky open beta just the other day and I found myself a bit confused, as the game didn’t have a tutorial. Now, I’m no newbie to genre, so I know the jist of how most MMORPG games work, but I just couldn’t figure out Dragon Sky. For a good two hours I played the game without learning a single skill, as the game never explained to me where to train skills. Heck, the game didn’t even present me with starting quest. It basically told me, ‘ready… set…. GO GRIND!’. I eventually figured things out on my own, but it would have been a lot more convenient if the game provided me some instructions. Enough Dragon Sky bashing though, as it’s not the only game without a tutorial. Even newer games like HolyBeast Online, Twelve Sky 2 and Titan Online don’t have tutorials.

One reason why games like Atlantica Online, Runes of Magic and Maple Story are as popular as they are is because they’re fairly straight forward games and have EXCELLENT tutorials / tooltips so newbies and veterans alike can quickly learn the ins and outs of the game. When I install and new MMORPG, I think it’s fair for me to expect some sort of guide / tutorial. As a hardcore MMORPG gamer, I can usually figure things out on my own, so the people really getting ’screwed’ are those that are new to the genre, as they’ll end up wandering around for a few minutes, dying and quitting the game. I really can’t understand why MMORPG developers spend so much time, money and effort creating a game, and decide to cut a corner and release their game without a tutorial. It really doesn’t make sense. Like I said earlier, MMORPG veterans usually don’t need a tutorial when trying out a new game, but those unfamiliar with the genre certainly do.

The fact is, there really is no reason to launch a free MMO without a tutorial. Without one, newbies will flock to the more popular games that DO have them and this will hurt the entire game’s community. This really wouldn’t be an issue if only a handful of games didn’t have tutorials, but from my experience MOST Free Online MMORPGs don’t have tutorials. It’s simply ridiculous how many games don’t have tutorials.

Can Free to Play Work in Other Genres?

Posted by elvenprince9 Tuesday June 9 2009 at 10:59PM
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Free to play MMORPGs are here to stay. Some nay-sayers still complain about the poor content and quality of service provided in F2P games but recent releases like Runes of Magic, Perfect World and Atlantica Online have shown the world what ‘free’ is capable of. The success of these titles prove that the micro transaction model can work both in Asia and here in the West. The only question that I have is why are so many free to play titles are RPGs?

After RPGs, the next most popular genre of free to play games is FPS (first person shooter.) Here too the success of the model is self evident. Nexon’s Combat Arms has a large playerbase from which it profits by selling slightly more powerful guns and accessories for a small fee. Almost every major free to play publisher either FPS game already available or is in the process of releasing one. IJJI, which already hosts Soldier Front and GunZ: The Duel is soon to release Huxley, a FPS built on the Unreal 3 engine. Even a major Western publisher has gotten the message. EA’s Battlefield Heroes is currently in beta testing and will be released as a free-to-play shooter.

Before I continue, I should mention that racing games are also well represented in the free to play space. Realistic racing games like Project Torque and cartoony racers like Tales Runner and Kart n Crazy are already free to download and play. But what about action adventure titles or platformers? What I would really like to see is more experimentation with all genres rather than sticking with the few tried and true staples. So far it has been Eastern developers doing most of the innovating in the free to play market and that trend seems likely to continue. Hopefully the major studios will soon wake up and the see writing on the wall. How cool would it be if the next major Ubisoft or Activision Blizzard title was entirely free to play?
 

The Decling Role of PvP in MMORPGs

Posted by elvenprince9 Friday May 8 2009 at 11:54PM
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The Golden Age

The year was 1998 and I had just started my very first MMORPG, Ultima Online. I had no idea what to expect from this new genre but at first things didn’t look so different. I wandered around town and eventually made my way to a nearby forest. After killing a few orcs and trolls I thought I had the game figured out but what happened next took be my surprise. In the distance I saw another band of travelers and decided to make my way towards them to say hello. Little did I know that this particular group of players were in fact player killers (PKs) and were more interested in my new suit of armor than in exchanging greetings. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and found myself a defeated ghost, forced to wander the world in search of a healer who could resurrect me. My armor, weapons, and the loot I had gathered from the orcs were all gone. I was angry and I vowed to take my vengeance upon them when I was strong enough. Over the next five years my skills improved and I joined a guild and even took a side in the ongoing civil war between the forces of Lord British and Lord Blackthorn. Mainly because of its PvP features, Ultima Online kept me engaged longer than any other MMORPG, even longer than the other early MMO hit EverQuest.

A False Dawn

Now fast forward to 2009 and it is obvious that the MMORPG market has achieved new heights. Today there are hundreds of games available, many of them don’t even charge a subscription fee. But what about PvP? World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online both boast of their Player vs Player content. Mythic even claims RvR (PvP between larger numbers of players) as its opus magnum but both games fall short of the kind of open PvP first offered over a decade ago. Death in either of these games is meaningless since players are instantly resurrected with only a slight financial penalty in the form of damaged equipment. Some free to play MMORPGs like Atlantica Online, Ragnarok Online, Shaiya and Warrior Epic offer many controlled PvP features but again, it lacks the natural feel of Ultima Online’s open-world, anything goes atmosphere. Many free MMORPGs don’t even bother with PvP at all these days, take for example Maplestory or Fairyland Online. What is even more unfortunate is that EA chose to castrate Ultima Online by restricting open combat and mixing foreign elements into the game to try and make it resemble other popular offerings.

A New Beginning?

Over the years many bold developers have tried to carry UO’s PvP banner but have stumbled before getting very far. Shadowbane comes to mind. During its development it was hailed as the PvPers dream come true, the MMORPG that would be Ultima Online and more. I admired this spirit but unfortunately, the game failed to live up to its fan’s expectations. All Shadowbane servers were permanently closed in the first half of 2009. Now a new game has risen to claim the UO mantle, DarkFall Online. DarkFall offers many of the same features diehard PvP fans crave, unrestricted combat, free looting and so on. The game has so far been attracting so many users that the publishers have had to limit the number of new subscriptions allowed each day. Hopefully they will fix their technical issues soon and allow anyone who wants to try the game an opportunity to do so. Will DarkFall elevate MMORPG PvP back to where it was during the golden age? Only time will tell.

 

Top 5 MMOs / MMORPGs with the Best Graphics

Posted by elvenprince9 Saturday April 18 2009 at 2:56PM
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Let’s face it; even if we say otherwise, graphics are still an important aspect of a game. We’d like to think at times that things like gameplay, story and music are more important than graphics but let’s face it, a game that looks terrible can ruin an otherwise excellent MMO. But also keep in mind that graphics alone can’t salvage an otherwise bad title. What really surprises me about this list is how far free MMORPGs / MMOs have evolved, as most of the titles below look just as good as any pay to play game. Without further adu, the MMOHut official top 5 most graphically impressive MMORPGs / MMOs are:

5. RF Online

I think I’ll get a lot of disagreements about RF Online making it to the list, but for some reason I feel that the game’s graphics are incredibly sharp. Sure it’s not the best game, but it has some great visuals and some unique game music.

4. Atlantica Online

This beauty is considered one of the best free MMORPGs of all times. With its unique turn based gameplay and large playerbase Atlantica Online is certainly a lot more than just an MMORPG with a pretty face. Its combat closely resembles that of traditional turn based RPGs for the console.

3. Perfect World

Perfect World is perhaps best known for its amazingly detailed character customization, but the game should also be known for its stellar graphics. Upon cranking this game’s visuals to maximum on a high resolution monitor, everything from the game’s character models to environments truly resemble a ‘perfect world’.

2. Project Torque

Even though Project Torque is now at least a year or so old, the game is still considered one of the best looking free MMOs out there. Just about every aspect of this game from the detailed environments to the car models are incredibly polished. If you’re looking for a solid realistic fast paced racing game, Project Torque is well worth trying out.

1. Sword of the New World (Granada Espada)

Aside from having the best music in any free MMORPG, Sword of the New World also has top notch graphics. On top of having some of the best visuals and audio of any game, Sword of the New World has incredibly unique and polished gameplay.


 

MMOGs = Massively Multiplayer Online Grind?

Posted by elvenprince9 Friday April 17 2009 at 9:23PM
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One thing that I noticed that most MMORPG Games have a lot of is ‘Grinding’. For those that aren’t familiar with the term ‘grinding’, it refers to the process of mindlessly killing hundreds of monsters just to gain enough experience to level up. I mean, the concept of killing monsters in order to get stronger makes sense, but whoever thought it would be fun to mindlessly kill monsters for 10 hours in order to gain just one level is just plain insane. Unfortunately though, if you play MMOs regularly the concept of having to grind for hours on end to gain a single level shouldn’t be too foreign to you.

I remember when I first started playing Maplestory I didn’t mind ‘grinding’ because it didn’t take too long to gain a level. After I reached level 40 or so, gaining each additional level took 6 hours of nonstop grinding to achieve, which I felt was ridiculous. The earlier levels in the game were actually quite enjoyable because experience gain was moderately paced and the game has a huge community. Maplestory isn’t the only game that’s notorious for slow experience gain, as even newer 3D games like Perfect World, Florensia, 4story and Silkroad Online have incredibly slow experience gain.

Developers need to completely revamp the ‘progression’ system in both pay to play MMORPGs and free to play MMORPGs. ‘Leveling up’ just isn’t cutting it anymore, as the current system rewards whoever mindlessly grinds the longest and that’s just plain stupid. Simply progressing in the game shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of the game. The entire ‘kill monsters to progress’ system is so simple and basic that I’m surprised it’s still so heavily used today. Why gamers aren’t demanding change is beyond me. I guess most people don’t mind grinding for hours on end.
 

Top 5 Free MMORPGs With the Best Music (With Videos/Music!)

Posted by elvenprince9 Sunday April 5 2009 at 2:59PM
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One thing that I feel a lot of MMORPGs and MMO neglect is music. Now, I’ve never really experienced ‘epic’ music from a game until I played Final Fantasy X for the Playstation 2, but the fact that so many MMOs have such uninspiring graphics is a bit sad. I don’t expect epic music from any MMO I play, but having good music certainly enhances the enjoyment of an MMO. Without further adu here is the official MMO Hut ‘Top 5 MMORPGs / MMOs with The Best Music”:

5. Project Powder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ecjg0zUEA

This one was a tough call. The fact is since there are so many free MMORPGs and MMOs, there are more than five titles with good music. The music itself in Project Powder is good, but not great. The reason though that Project Powder made it onto this list is that the game’s music fits the fast paced snowboarding MMO really well. The music really helps the player get into the ‘zone’ while racing down the game’s slopes.

4. Perfect World

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5_ClowRRd8

This one was a tough pick. Perfect World certainly has good music, but unfortunately it only has a few ‘great’ tracks, as most of them aren’t anything special. Actually, if you’re looking for music in a game, Perfect World is a great choice, because it has a built in radio where players can stream music their favorite bands.

3. RF Online (Rising Force Online)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pef0F9nV9U

Even though the ‘in game’ tracks aren’t nearly as impressive as the music in the game’s intro cutscene, RF Online still deserves a spot on this list. Even though the game didn’t really perform well in the United States, the game has an incredibly high production value. Just about everything in this game from its music to animations feel ‘top notch’, so it shouldn’t be surprising that RF Online made its way to the #3 spot.

2. S4 League

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y--O7FGBshU

If you’ve ever played this fast paced Sci-fi Shooter you’d certainly agree with me that it has some of the best music out there. I would actually venture to say that S4 League has the best music of any MMOFPS, as the game’s beats match the theme of the game incredibly well. The game actually has its own sound track with all of the beats being nothing short of impressive.

1. Sword of the New World (Granada Espada)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=365ru-BJstE

Sword of the New World, also known as Granada Espada in some places, has without a doubt the best music of any free MMORPG / MMO that I’ve ever played. I’d actually venture to say that it has the best music of any pay to play game as well. Unlike some of the other games on the list, Sword of the New World has great music all around, rather than just in one cutscene or part of the game. Whenever I play this game, I actually take off my headphones so the folks around me could also listen in on the game’s tunes. The only adjective that can accurately describe the music in this game is ‘Epic’, and if you’d listen to the youtube video above, you’d certainly agree with me. The game actually got quite ‘poor’ reviews from the mainstream gaming magazines, but from my experience, it’s an under rated title that’s well worth checking out. No one video / track will do the game justice, as the game has an incredible amount of expertly composed tracks.

I would hate to end this article without mentioning other MMOs with great music, so here is a small list of games that were really close to making the list: Ragnarok Online, Lunia, Fantasy Tennis.