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News & Features Discussion  » General: Why Not Throw Out The Rulebook?

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135 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1693

5/22/09 2:40:56 AM#21

Developers are well aware of this, however there is NO ONE willing to pay for such a product.

You are preaching to the converted, if you did it at GDC, you'd still be preaching to the converted, you need to walk up Wall Street and convince the people with the money, though I have no idea how you could ever do that.


Elite Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5244

5/22/09 2:58:18 AM#22
Originally posted by bobfish

Developers are well aware of this, however there is NO ONE willing to pay for such a product.

You are preaching to the converted, if you did it at GDC, you'd still be preaching to the converted, you need to walk up Wall Street and convince the people with the money, though I have no idea how you could ever do that.


Really? I'll tell you how it's always been done and will always been done. First you get together a small group of investors and a talented  core of programmers and make a successful single player game or three. They don't need to be completely revolutionary but they need to get you noticed and they need to make good money. You leverage that sucess to take your company public. It's helpful if you can develop a good relationship with a major publisher along the way.  You might release some technologically significant multiplayer games. while developing the infrastructure to build your MMO in the background. Then you make and market your MMO sucessfully using the war chest you've built up along the way. You see most investors know nothing about games. They do know about money and flock to success. You just have to think long term, make no mistakes and not cash in by selling out to a major corporation that's going to run you into the ground along the way.  The concept isn't hard, it's the execution that's an iron clad bitch.

Oh yeah, that's what Blizzard did. That they chose to build a derivative game rather than something revolutionary says more about the developers than the investors.

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo


Novice Member

Joined: 6/27/07
Posts: 51

5/22/09 3:10:34 AM#23

Great article

i would just like to touch on something that a few have said when they say "bits of wow in it" when others say that an mmo has "bits of wow" what are we talking about here because for me and im prob alone on this

as it has been higlighted by others already wow is its own brand but at the same time is a copy of elements from past mmo games. So when we say a new puplished mmo has bits of WoW in it are we talking about warcraft as a brand and its gameplay or are we talking about the bare bones of wow because at the end of the day wow was built around the template of something thats been around for years.

I also think that everyone should have a voice in this thread because this is a very interesting disscussion and i also think its a very healthy disscussion for mmo players and its threads like this that some up and comeing or currently developing companies might look and and say "hey these guys have a pont".

i dont post here much i mostly just browse the news and stuff so im still in touch with the mmo world because after putting wow to rest almsot a year ago now i have been on the look out for a new mmo that grasps my idea. because as an artist myself i generaly choose my games due to there art direction and there have been a few great ones.

but to stay on topic i think one of the great mmos before it was ruined was SWG (some will agree some will dissagree sorry) and for me this was a game that filled out that left wing of mmo games it was based on something that already exsisted. I dont know why but it just didnt feel like you were playing in the star wars universe (dispite being a huge SW nerd)  but for me this was a great left wing game for me and there are countless others but my main point here to sum up in one question.

when we brand something "a little bit like wow" are we pitting it against wows play style and direction or are we pitting it against the fact that it looks a little like a cookie cutter of wows UI ect because thinking about it couldnt you say that about wow itself?.

thanks for takeing the time to read my post :)


Steed of Tardcore

Joined: 8/29/08
Posts: 5637

Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.

5/22/09 3:48:32 AM#24

Great article.

You can't conquer the world by walking the trodden path. Folks have been there and done that and won't give up on their current game when you just offer more of the same either.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/15/06
Posts: 19

5/22/09 3:58:08 AM#25

Creativity and ingenuity in an MMORPG is a nice concept, but trying to shop an idea/concept around to publisher/developers is almost impossible in my experience.  Providing a "proof of concept" and research package is just not enough. 

Publishing companies want a completed game... After all, they are publishers not developers...

Developers will not talk to you unless they are afraid of being sued for stealing your ideas... "Your game has elves, and I had elves in my game!  You stole it!"  So to protect their creative work, most will just shove you out the door and tell you to start your own development company.


From what I have seen, the best you can hope for is to find a developer that is working on a similar idea and pass your ideas on in the alpha/beta phase.  Who knows, eventually one of them might actually like your idea and use it...  But you would have a better chance of winning the lottery while being struck by lightning.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/01/04
Posts: 50

"I am Jack's complete lack of surprise"

5/22/09 4:22:22 AM#26

Great article, pretty much sums up how i've been feeling about MMO's after i started playing the WoW beta.  Thanks.

Playing: Nothing
Retired: Runescape, DAoC, SWG, Planetside, Guild Wars, WoW, EVE, Battleground Europe, LOTRO, AoC, WAR.
Tried: Pretty much everything!


Novice Member

Joined: 6/27/07
Posts: 51

5/22/09 4:28:17 AM#27

to throw a spanner in the works i think aion has some great potential from what i have seen and read and for me seems like a fresh idea  (but i did say the same thing bout warhammer) and that still does have great potential in my veiw.



Novice Member

Joined: 11/02/06
Posts: 2249

5/22/09 4:46:05 AM#28
Originally posted by Dana

Who says MMOs should be the way they are? This week, Massey suggests the only chance some upstart has of matching World of Warcraft is to forget all their assumptions about what an MMO "should be" and start over.

Ignore everything. Even games that try to be innovative still employ basic conventions of MMOs, because they’re “supposed to.”

Who woke up and decided every MMORPG needs to have a D&D-esque character development system, or even a UO-esque one for that matter?

Who said that MMOs require hot bars?

Who proclaimed that it’s not a proper MMO unless you have quests?

Read more here.


Don't fight against poverty, fight against greed.
My Lord of the Rings Gallery


Novice Member

Joined: 1/30/08
Posts: 1221

5/22/09 4:49:46 AM#29

In a way, couldn't you say that Second Life did this?

Anyway, I think the next big thing will probably be the opposite of what people here want - something that appeals mostly to casual players

R.I.P. City of Heroes and my 17 characters there



Joined: 5/21/08
Posts: 2729

5/22/09 5:11:21 AM#30

good article, as others have said it is the same way me and nearly every gamer i know feels, but not only does it apply to mmorpgs but other genres as well. im just so sick of shelling out money or wasting time on a  game that gets all kinds of hype and at first seems to be a great new thing, but once you get past the couple of cool new features it turns out to basically be the exact same as everything that has come before it for years, only with prettier graphics. imo we gamers, as the ones buying the product should demand more. look at the massive numbers we have just within the mmorpg community and all the ideas we have and the innovations we would love to see that can never come to light because we dont happen to work in game design or a similar field. we should stop funding these clones of clones of clones month after month and force these companies to either change and give us something truly new and unique, or die out. look at other products outside of gaming, such as cars. do the car companies succeed by just shelling out the same design, performance, features, etc year after year, no they are forced to improve their product or their sales suffer greatly and they cant keep themselves going, which is part of the reason many foreign auto makers are out performing the US companies, because they are being more innovative.

the best thing a gaming company could do at this point if they hope to come out with something to topple the competition is to stop relying on these so called pros, who are stuck in one mindset of how things should be done, and setup some communication with the actual gamers who they are catering to and have a way for us to give them suggestions/ideas/feedback and for others gamers to see these things as well and have it all build on eachother in order to ensure that the end product is something that, perhaps not all, but the great majority of the mmorpg community has had some hand in contributing to and are getting exactly what they requested. i know there are lot of creative and intelligent people out there in the gaming world that have ideas that would have never even crossed the minds of anyone at some of these companies, but we need a way of getting this information to the devs and publishers so that they can take that and turn it into reality, theyre the only ones with the funding and skills to make it happen. after all many of our greatest advances in history have not been made by a large group of singleminded people working together, but rather by one or 2 individuals who for whatever reason had the ability to see and comprehend things that noone else would have ever dreamed possible.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 4

5/22/09 6:03:52 AM#31

I read someone said that funding is the biggest obstacle for innovation, for example, I know a game which I've been following for quite a while now, called Renaissance, and it's ideas are great, the development team seems to be skilled and they are veteran gamers, so they know what most gamers want from a game, and they will try to make it original, however, atm development has been halted, becouse every time they found an investor, that investor suddenly 'mysteriously' dissapeared, investors just don't like innovation, they prefer tested and 'working' concepts.


Staff Writer

Joined: 8/08/03
Posts: 40

5/22/09 6:04:02 AM#32

I remember Tabula Rasa ran their whole marketing thing about thinking out of the box and starting over with a clean slate. While in reality it was not actually that much different from the cookie cutter MMOs it failed pretty badly...

I'm still waiting till the day they give me cyborg penguins with katanas, flying around in purple space ships trying to conquer the breakfast table through the use of a reverse leveling system based on stealth. :)

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of or its management.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 4

5/22/09 6:07:57 AM#33

I thought Tabula Rasa was one of the better mmos I've played, I think mostly becouse I got the feeling I got to do something, and actualy shoot at the enemy (even though everything following was standart rolls) Still, it seems that all mmos I like, die >.<


Staff Writer

Joined: 8/08/03
Posts: 40

5/22/09 7:02:10 AM#34

I liked Tabula Rasa alot too, but it just seemed like they gave up on it after a while. After a month of play I had tried all it had to offer, I always ended up doing the same things over and over again. The npc invasions of the cities were fun at start, but it seemed very pointless, it could be fun to implement an AI director like the L4D one to add some randomness and maybe some consequenses to your actions.

Though I do miss sitting on a rock outside of a town with my sniper rifle shootthing random mobs. :)

Speaking of throwing out the rulebook, Mortal Online seems to be doing that. :)

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of or its management.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 663

5/22/09 7:12:43 AM#35

The question is - Can MMOs work diffrently ?  Answer is yes.

Will players like it ?  ???

Can a company develop something that the players will maybe never like ?   No. 


Here is the thing tho.  Its easy to break MMOs into certain catagories and actually test what works and what doesn't work.  Lets take few examples.

Grapihcs (cartoon like or extra detailed ? ) 
Enviroment (PVP - PVE - AI - interface - travels)
SKills (Classes - Abilites - lvls - rulesets.)
Comunity (player interaction - influence of the players on the game) 

Now - go test it !!!

Do you need multibillion project to do it ?  No.

And THATS where MMO develoopers go terribly wrong these days.  They will not take a dump without paying 10 million for it.  Its that flaw of basic thinking that will always hunt the genre.  Money not only talks - it controls everything. 

Taking risks in game development is not always profitable.  Hell - it almost never is.  WOW was nothing new to start up with.  It just did the things better than most other games had done so far.   First and formost tho - the game was created FOR the gamers - with basic thinking of what most players would like to see and be able to do.  The fact is that probably the biggest factor in WOW succsess is the ability of players to create their own mods and UIs.  It kinda gives the game a new "life" every 3-6 months when you get bored of actually playing it the same old way.  And at the same time many other MMOs including LOTRO do not even have the ability to change the basic font of the UI... and i HATE that font (and alot of other features of LOTRO).  The simple fact that I can't change that font is the main reason I will never ever ever buy that game. Cause I simply can not think of playing a game for a year or two while watching at that horror.

So - personalised gaming is one thing.  Every MMO department should in fact have a team of devs working on making new UIs and new features.  Most of the time tho.  It ends up beeing the last thing that ever changes.  Again - the devs dont think like the players.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/20/09
Posts: 1

5/22/09 7:45:57 AM#36

Brilliant article! I have been saying to my friends for a long time now that there needs to be a new and major change in MMO's. Like many on here I have been playing MMO's for so long now and WoW really was nothing that new. Sure I played it but after 3 or 4 months I was done and wanted something else. It was just another MMORPG to me.

Doing something different is going to make a major impact when it actually is done in my opinion. I think a lot of people are scared of losing money but your average MMORPG gamer who looks beyond WoW is looking for something new and fresh. They want something to really capture them and take them to a new level in gaming. I know this is me. I am constantly looking for the next game. I am constantly looking for something that really stands out from all the rest.

So when will we see something new and fresh? Who will make it? Who will put their money behind it? I hope to see it sooner then later. Believe and it will happen.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/30/04
Posts: 432


5/22/09 7:55:18 AM#37

Hey Dana,

Great post. I wish that there were more developers who took a liberty to research more ideas that MMOs can be created based on. It almost feels like these D&D templates are hard coded in peoples minds now and they don't know anything else to try. The biggest problem is probably gamers mind itself. Somehow games that are unique (Auto Assault good example) don't create enough interest to be popular. Its almost like we are getting born these days holding a virtual melee weapon in one hand and shield in another, and tracking a virtual goblin with our infant eyes.

I think that Gaming Market will have to go through quite a few trials and errors until gamers will get used to ideas of MMOs without elves and goblins. problem is that nobody want to be a developing company who will fall into the trial and error routine. Nobody wants to lose money. So we are kinda doomed to gazillion variations of fantasy MMOs.

I really hope that Black Prophesy and Jump Gate Evolution will succeed in their space flight sim combat MMO attempts.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/07
Posts: 27

5/22/09 8:09:47 AM#38

Good post!

This is exactly the reason why i place high hopes in Star Wars the Old Republic. BioWare like Blizzard is a big name and has the funds to do something innovative without the need to rush it out cause the run out of money. Beside that, they are new to MMO's, like Blizzard used to be before WoW. Those similarties let me hope that Star Wars the Old Republic could be the MMO(RPG) some of use have been waiting for.

Buuut those facts dont garantee a good game, lets see if they come up with something good.. otherwise we will have to wait some more.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/29/04
Posts: 26

5/22/09 8:14:50 AM#39

I've been saying this exact same thing for years. And the posts over here only confirm it.
The MMO space needs to be shaken with new products. If you look at multiplayer games you'll find very distinct experiences.
From MP GTA to Gran Tourismo, Unreal Tournament and so on. But if you look at the MMO space with few exceptions it is always the same. Typical MMO rpg game that
needs to have a crafting system, items, quests, turn base combat and so on. Technology has evolved a lot and broadband is now easy to get access too, yet companies prefer to repeat a formula that
comes from the Everquest days. The formula isn't bad, but new products are needed and you will only get THAT huge hit if you build something that is more than a sum of past MMO features.
Don't get me wrong. We've had some interesting games like WWII online and so on that aren't the typical MMO game. But frankly when can this games bring something like Call OF Duty or Battlefield Online to the MMO space?
I greatly enjoy some of the current MMO games but frankly do almost all of them follow the same basics?
I also think most MMOs could be a lot, and I mean a lot more fun and engaging when copared to traditional single player games. Take a traditional single player RPG game like Fallout 3. To put it simple a traditional walk in the park in Fallout 3 is much more enganging than most mmos.
You got AI walking around doing they're thing activaly engaging the world. Events occurring without player intervention everywhere. Most MMOs even today feel like static beautifull worlds with lots of real players doing pvp and pve but little world interaction.

Just to finalize. In a traditional Call Of Duty level you got lots of things going around at the same time that give you that cinematic feel and emergence. Even the traditional MP game feels alive with action, good movement, players characters speaking depending on what is happening around.
My point is there is a very big player base that is waiting for something that really impressses them.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 663

5/22/09 8:29:15 AM#40
Originally posted by reanor

Hey Dana,

Great post. I wish that there were more developers who took a liberty to research more ideas that MMOs can be created based on. It almost feels like these D&D templates are hard coded in peoples minds now and they don't know anything else to try. The biggest problem is probably gamers mind itself. Somehow games that are unique (Auto Assault good example) don't create enough interest to be popular. Its almost like we are getting born these days holding a virtual melee weapon in one hand and shield in another, and tracking a virtual goblin with our infant eyes.

I think that Gaming Market will have to go through quite a few trials and errors until gamers will get used to ideas of MMOs without elves and goblins. problem is that nobody want to be a developing company who will fall into the trial and error routine. Nobody wants to lose money. So we are kinda doomed to gazillion variations of fantasy MMOs.

I really hope that Black Prophesy and Jump Gate Evolution will succeed in their space flight sim combat MMO attempts.


To me the future of MMOs should and will have elves and goblins.  What will hopefully change it the concpet of "levels", "classes" and "abilites".  

A game without a leveling curve ?  Yes... very much possible.  You just find new ways of progressing the characters.  For example through repuation with certain factions that open up new content as you go along.  And you meet ppl on the way that are looking for the same and playing the game for same reasons. 

Classes ?  Who said you need to start a game as a "hunter" or a "mage".  Or even a "tank" or a "healer".  The progression through the game should be determining how you progress and what you like to do or how you want to play - Right ?

Who said that the laws of MMOs need to be - I get to lvl 20 and I get this and that ability if I play this and that class?  Almost every rulebook in MMOs so far tells you that.  Some games take diffrent aproch and are still populare.  EVE for example.  So how is it that there are no other ways ?  Why isn't there a "path" you can take to get certain skill ?  Talk to a NPC - get a quest for an item that gives you powers.  Do that quest.   And if you then deside you like to change your ability you go on another quest and loose this abilty you have before.

How come MMOs dont give each character 10 abilites they can work with instead of sticking them into determined subclasses like "tank", "healing" and "dmg" like WOW is doing.  Whats wrong with a class that has 3 abilites of each?  Hell - as long as the abilites are balanced it could work fine.  Every tanking ability you take for example means you will take less dmg - but also do less dmg yourself.  All healing abilites mean you can heal but also loose both dmg and the way of protecting yourself. And dmg - you can do more dmg but also become alot more vulnarable.  So... a class that has 3 of each is "balanced" no matter what abilites of those subclasses it takes.  Class that has 9 tanking ablites tho is ofc a pure tank.  And if he wants to change he goes and does quests to give him other abilites but at the same time looses some tanking abilites. 

Everything is possible.  The only thing preventing it to happen is money.  But thats because every big developer thinks that way.  The future of MMOing is based on smaller projects that can "afford" to do something diffrent.  Look at Eve.  You dont need multibillion project to come up with new ideas.  And the thing is.. you dont have to have billions to test those out... in a free game online... 

Now let me ask you this ... should the future of MMOs be based on free to try while in development  OR pre-order before you know jackshit about the game ?   I tell you what the big developers want.  But thankfully they are not the gamers.  And many of them care very little about the gamers.  The future is based on experiments with new ways of making games.  And the company that actually does this will probably be the next giant of MMO.  Free means it doesn't have to be perfect.  So you can experiment all you like !  And when you have the basics - then add content/expansions that can be charged for.  Thats the future of MMOs.

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