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What makes an MMORPG good?

Well certainly there are a number of characteristics that would allow me to classify any MMORPG as good, but of course, we must remind ourselves that this is mostly opinion and opinions are relative (as WoW constantly reminds us). With that done, let's go

Author: theguru22

Why I'm looking forward to Darkfall

Posted by theguru22 Tuesday December 9 2008 at 2:21PM
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Well there certainly is a shitstorm of MMORPGs out there now, and with WoW (as always) still leading the pack and EVE biting at its heels we've still yet to see a MMORPG that's as consistently entertaining as games such as... say... Left 4 Dead. Let's examine Left 4 Dead for a moment to find out why it's fun at all.

Left 4 Dead lacks plot entirely, that is, the plot is (chuckle) that you're one of four survivors who happen to be immune to a virus which causes people to inexplicably garnish superhuman strength and speed as well as mutate into people who explode or have 300 foot tongues. As one of the sole survivors of humanity you must run from safe-house to safe-house fighting off "zombies" until you are eventually rescued. In this way it's blatantly ripping off movies Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. And yet, this game is fucking awesome.

Why? Aside from the fact that you're consistently splattering "zombie" brains unto many neatly placed walls there's an element of tactical teamwork added, and couple that with the ability to play online with friends either co-op against the computer or versus people playing as mutated (all right, I'll get it right this time) infected. In versus mode this game never gets old and co-op campaign doesn't easily ware thin either with achievements to be gained. The point is the game knows exactly what it wants to be and it doesn't bullshit you about it, and the fact that it achieves this goal while being riotously entertaining as well as pretty just tacks the extra gold star on its title.

So now, why am I talking about L4D? Aside from it being the most massive hit at LAN parties since Starcraft it has elements which are similar to some found in Darkfall. One of the many things MMORPGs seem to be missing (more and more as time goes on) is the element of strategic teamwork, something which, if properly executed, Darkfall has the potential to capitalize on. Play Mount & Blade for an hour and you'll gain the realization that this is how combat in MMORPGs was meant to be done. No more autotarget, level/gear based combat where the person who's wasted more of their miserable lives "raiding" or "arena-ing" is automatically declared the victor so long as they have motor skills at least on par with a chimpanzee.

Furthermore, Darkfall proposes to eliminate something which I will harp on constantly because frankly it's the death of fun in MMORPGs by literally turning them into a second job; which is the class/level system. Please, for fuck's sake, haven't we had enough of the grind to level 60, and then 70, and then 80, and the... oh god when will it end? It's monotonous and retarded, and the same job could be done by a machine with 3 output functions operated by a hamster. What's more, classic MMORPG logic dictates that once you achieve the highest status attainable with a character, that character is limited to one or two rolls at best in a party no matter if they're raiding, questing, or PvPing.

In order to do something besides "DPS" you must create an entirely new character and repeat the same damnedable monotonous process of grinding up to max level and then raiding for gear. No one who's sane has ever done that once and said to themselves "yeah, that was great. If only I could do it again with a sligthly different outcome". Get rid of the level system. Get rid of the class system. They are antiques! Even SWG knew how to do this before they got their balls in a twist with internal problems and decided that instead of maintaining the mindbendingly unique and immersive game they had made they should rip it to shreds and make it completely indiscernible from 14 other games already on the market.

I don't know about you, but FPS style action with strategic elements using a character and allies you develop by using skills and not training them on whack-a-mole "mobs" appeals greatly to me. Of course there's always the possibility that Darkfall will be a horrible flop, in which case we will cry our sorry eyes out over what could have been the next step in evolution for MMORPGs.

Skogsbrand writes:

pretty much the same reasons im looking forward to play mortal online. DF is out first though. let the sandbox era begin!!

Tue Dec 09 2008 4:01PM Report
imbant writes:

Darkfall <3

Anyone who isn't rooting for this game is not a real gamer.  Like it or hate it, we need games like this to succeed where the big companies like Funcom and Mythic have failed...and failed hard.

January 22nd, 2009!

Tue Dec 09 2008 6:31PM Report
Zoulz writes:

If your saying WoW has no "strategic elements", you can't have played it very much. Team work is absolutely vital in raiding and grouping. I'm not trying to turn this into wow vs darkfall, but it's pretty obvious your talking about wow, isn't it? Why don't you just play L4D instead?

and imbant, who are you to say who is and is not a real gamer?

Tue Dec 09 2008 7:30PM Report
theguru22 writes:

Zoulz, teamwork may be vital but just because you need more than one person to target something and mash a button does not mean that it has said strategic elements. Any game that can have 2 people simultaneously control 40 players while raiding clearly isn't all about strategy and adaptation. And I do play L4D I just like the idea of a persistent online world where my actions are actually meaningful and Darkfall looks promising in that area, although we've been lead astray by promises before...

Tue Dec 09 2008 7:46PM Report
Loke666 writes:

I totally agree with you about levels, they are an old remain from the 70s pen and paper game "Dungeons and Dragons". There are many better ways than level to simulate experince in a character.

But I'm not so sure that Darkfall will be the game that proves the point, my guess is that it will be "World of darkness online" that really shows us that. DF is just aiming for a very specific group of players with the full looting system and so on, therefore I don't see it becoming really big.

Hopefully it will show us that levels isn't a must and get around with enough money to earn more than it costed to make + the running costs of it. But I kinda doubt that it will get more than 300K players unless they change that full looting thing.

Anyways, the ride will be intresting :)

Tue Dec 09 2008 7:53PM Report
imbant writes:

Zoulz,

Rooting for a game to fail is just pathetic.  We as gamers rely on developers to bring us games that we enjoy so we can continue to have our hobby give us enjoyment.  Rooting for a game to fail for any reason is pathetic, there is not a single reason you should hope for a new game comming on to the market to be a bad one.

So whether you like the concept of darkfall, whether you hate the fanbase it has, you should be rooting for it to be a success...if you aren't...than i question your intentions and personality and are not a real gamer.

Sorry if you can't understand that...maybe you need to turn in your gamer card if you are offended by that statement. 

Tue Dec 09 2008 8:51PM Report
xbellx777 writes:

zoulz you have no clue what your talking about.

anyways good post i agree with what you are saying but i would like to add this, you can have fun in the mmo's that are out today but you just have to lower your standards a little. im playing war right now and while its not the best its still pretty fun

Tue Dec 09 2008 9:04PM Report
Hellscream07 writes:

Great Post.

zoulz, i'm not gonna start with wow  bashing, there's enough of that out there (besides, if u read the nick, u can see i'm a warcraft fan myself, be4 blizzard started shitting on warcraft lore). but as much as wow can require teamwork in raids to get people to do something, you have to admit is not hard to make them mash some buttons. Once you know what to do and skills rotations, it doesn't require lots of reflexes or wit to do your role. Not saying WoW is bad, just saying it can get repetitive quickly and it aims at a different type of player. And the level system still survives only cuz it's a great timesinker=more money spent.

Now, gotta say I'm looking forward to DF myself, I love the sandbox concept, teamwork, and whole pvp system behind it. Seems like the fusion of my 2 favorite RPGs xD (SB and Oblivion).

And btw Loke666, although the emphasis on the pvp system is surely aiming a specific type of players, the full loot isn't as bad or hardcore as it sounds,at least according from what i've read. This game won't be equipment-based, meaning if you die and get looted, you can spend a small amount of gold to get a decent weapon and armor that should be farily easy to find and still be able to kick ass. It's not like you're gonna lose stuff that took you a month of raiding and that now you're worth shit till you get it back. Of course, we gotta see how well Aventurine implements that in the game, we'll have to wait and see.

Tue Dec 09 2008 10:17PM Report
7anman writes:

I was really attracted to Planetside when it was in its hay-day.  Darkfall and Earthrise seem to want to bring that element of constant conflict back, which is pretty cool. 

I think the reason why some people freak out about certain things like corpse looting and combat systems is because they compare them to games they have already played.  The biggest example is WoW, if there was corpse looting in that game, a loooot of people would /quit.  But Darkfall looks to be doing a lot of things differently, so instead of instantly shooting comments around how you think corpse looting is retarded...try it first?  Corpse looting in one MMO can be 100% different in another.

And one comment ill put in for WoW as far as teamwork and strategy, one thing it has going for it is that it is a very smooth combat system, its very fast paced and 1 second can make or break the game.  But lately it seems to be turning into a fragfest, where everyones burst damage was jacked up by 200% and you can kill someone within 5 seconds....which my friend who is a feral druid has. 

Wed Dec 10 2008 3:16AM Report
Zoulz writes:

imbant: I do agree that it's pathetic to root for a game to fail. But it has nothing to do with if your a "real" gamer or not. Some people are just jerks. You seem to be under the impression that i'm rooting for DF to fail, but i'm not.

xbellx777: Could you elaborate?

Wed Dec 10 2008 3:59AM Report
TheDor writes:

Zoulz: WoW does not have "strategic elements" to it at all. For PvE it has 2 or 3 guilds learning how to kill a boss and making a video/writeup, and then everyone copying their strategy. In PvP it has incredibly twinked characters. Gear and luck determines the winner, you might as well roll some dice at the beginning and do away with the whole 3d interface.

There are some things that WoW does very well. Strategic elements are not in that list.

Wed Dec 10 2008 4:43AM Report
Nashtak writes:

Hey hey.... ''EVE biting at its heels''... What does that mean? I understand the bitching about World of Grinding but leave the innovative games alone!

Wed Dec 10 2008 2:13PM Report
theguru22 writes:

Nashtak, I was talking merely about player count and longevity. I liked EVE a lot for it's openness and dependancy on the players until I realized it was about as fun to play as mowing the lawn.

Wed Dec 10 2008 5:24PM Report
lvlanoob writes:

I've played WoW before, and i didn't like it. BUT...I certainly don't hope for the game to fail. It's just not for me.

I have not been following DF as long as others, but i like the idea of full PvP. I remember back in the day playing some text based games that were set up like this, and it was fun. It wasn't a big gank fest as some might think, because politics/ alliances were just as important as how well you could pk someone. Sure you could gank someone...but you WOULD deal with the consequences.

I find it perplexing that some people would wish for a game to fail just because it is not their kind of niche. Some people are only happy when others are sad it would seem...

I wouldn't say I'm a huge fanboi (I've only been following the game for about 6 months) but I am looking to the release on January 22. Good luck to the devs!

Thu Dec 11 2008 12:02PM Report
cobbsie writes:

I think that if corpse looting had been implemented in WoW from the start it would have been a much more interesting game. I dont think it would have dented the overall population too much.

Having played and loved the original UO system I'd welcome something a bit more interesting in my online games

I worry that to get 'mental stimulation' from my gaming I have to play 'offline' standalone games. To get sociability I have to pick and choose my online games.

Now....a game that combines both....there would be something I'd play for a very long time!

Tue Dec 23 2008 6:14AM Report

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