Well, here I am again, looking for another post to nail my flag to, like so many others.
The truth is that after the implosion of The Chronicles of Spellborn I really felt that i had had enough of the MMORPG industry for a while. Not the games themselves, but the industry. Yes Acclaim, amongst others, I am talking to you.
Despite myself, I am still in love with this genre. I love classic fantasy, I love traditional PvE MMORPGs, and I love co-op social play.
I will be honest though.. I got sick of the Devs, I got sick of the forums and their bickering, and I got sick of the MMORPG culture in general. I was sick that we had ended up where we were... I was sick that so much potentiol had been wasted.
I just got the feeling that I was talking to games developers that were always three years behind the reality of demand, or were just confused by the fallacy of those same false, but loudly vocal, squeeky wheels on gaming forums. They didnt just seem to get what actually makes a good MMORPG. They obviously were, and are, listening to the wrong people, because what they are doing just isnt working.
You see, Devs have allowed the loudest minority of the forum posters to decide what their games were going to be, without any thought to the sheeple effect or the lazy zeitgiest thinking of these posters.
These though, without doubt, were the worst people to entrust the future of our hobby to. What happened to Devs knowing what they wanted and designing accordingly? Designing by commitee, let alone public commitee, obviously dosent work. We can see the results of this all around us in the state of the genre.
Why don't Devs learn to be true themselves?
The irony is that the Devs took this route to chase the golden eggs that WoW had shown were possible to grab, but without realising that by following that path of EZ mode PvP solo play that they were not in fact not harvesting eggs, but in reality killing the goose that laid them. 'Throwing out the baby with the bath water' was never so true a saying.
Something is broken, and listening to the general MMO public obviously isnt ever gonna fix it. Most of the people I read won't ever know what is good for them until they are given it. Sure, they think they do, they think their ideas would make the perfect game, but they simply don't. I make no apologies as to how this sounds.
The bottom line is that I am of the personal opinion that the MMO market 'that exists today' is pretty crap. I honestly think that something is missing and what we are being offered isnt what a LOT of people want. We only play it because thats all there is. I have simply had enough of this.
So, I hear you ask, why am I back? Why am I bothered?
Well, to be honest it's really only to try and call for some sanity, truth, and a clear signal amongst the hyperbole, trolls, fans, and shills. To maybe plant the seeds of rational thought that looks at the origins of this hobby and sees what once made it great.
There was once a time that me and my friends, in '90/ '91, sat in the pub and marvelled at the potentiol future of online RPGs and where they could take us. Needless to say, we have fallen somewhat short. I wonder what happened to those days of wonder and optimism.
Did we really have to end up where we are?
Well, I say no, no we didnt. But what do I, as a born again poster, stand for then? Well...
- Challenge, including consequence for failure (DP).
- Play to Achieve gaming- no 'F2P' pay to achieve bollox. Ever.
- Player Creativity and player created content.
- Shared public instancing only... never any private zones.
- Non Linear gameplay with dynamic worlds.
- Story and Lore.
- Game controlled markets.
As a first (again) post I am going to try to deal with the prevailing fashionable thinking that all modern MMORPGs MUST have PvP.
Why is this? Lets look at it by taking a peek at the game I measure all others by; classic EverQuest.
Classic EQ was built on socialisers, achievers, explorers... Not PvPers, and many still hold the game dear in their hearts. A lot still play till this day because of the social networks that have been formed.
Sure, PvP servers existed, I played on Vallon myself, but they wernt the body of the game. After 10 years, people still talk about classic EQ and the play experience it gave. People still want it, and it's not just about nostalgia... A lot of people want what it offered, because they arnt being offered it in modern MMORPGs, and they miss it.
There is a huge section of gamers that don't want to deal with the grief and general culture that comes with PvP games and I have no idea where this myth has come from that all MMORPG players want PvP... I can't even think of many MMORPGs that do PvP well even... I don't get the attraction personally. I would rather play a FPS for my PvP and a MMORPG for PvE, but thats just me.
The only reason, IMO, that a challenging co-op non-linear PvE MMORPG isnt huge is simply probably because noone is actually making them beacuse of this lazy fasion led thinking of PvP being required in all games.
The market for PvE exists, it just isnt being catered for.
So, if PvE is so good, and the potentiol market so big, why did it fall in the face of the PvP enabled WoW?
Well, obviously, the competition was, at the time between EQ2 and WoW, and that would prove an important battle for the hobby for sure. If EQ2 won, PvE was the future, and if WoW won then PvP now had a defining hold on the genre. We all know which way it went and how the market has seen MMORPGs since then... A MMORPG without PvP cannot succeed right? WoW had it, and that was massive, so it must be the only way, right?
Well, yes, a lot of people like PvP and there should be PvP games made, no doubt. But the only way? No.
The other truth is that a lot don't want PvP. A lot of people play WoW and never PvP, my sister and her small family guild included. My point isnt that people don't like PvP, because obviously a lot do. My point is asking is PvP in MMORPGs the only road to travel? Is PvP essential for a modern game to be competitive?
Of course, I say no, no it's not... A lot of people obviously also like PvE and that market, because of the false reality that PvP is responsible for WoW's success, isnt being served.
WoW was obviously a massive success for numerous reasons, besides the technical side of things.
These include; having a hugely popular IP, a refined gameplay blueprint based on what existing games had already been using, a dedicated existing fanbase that dwarfed EQs (and 99% of other games at that time), the massive growth in internet connectivity around the same time, SOE rushing their game to market and screwing up basic game design, general growing public awarness of the MMO market, and excellent timing (by luck or design) to pick up a lot of burned out refugees from other games that had been around for a while. These, amongst other factors, all played a part.
Then of course the sheeple effect kicked in and the snowball started.
To give the existance of PvP all the credit isnt really sensible. If it was then other PvP games would have been as big way before.... If PvP was the main driver of WoW's success why didnt other existing PvP games, which could equally run on old machines, ever get the subs? Why did EQ, powered by PvE gameplay, outsell so many PvP games in it's heyday? There was obviously other factors for WoW's very obvious success.
Yes, EQ2 and WoW had a showdown, and EQ2 lost for many reasons. The sad thing is that loss has falsely flavoured market perceptions about PvP since, but, please, bear in mind that perceptions are rarely the true reality.
Time for a new social Play to Achieve PvE group focused MMORPG?