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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » D&D: one of the culprits why MMOs are so bad

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42 posts found
  daelnor

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/16/04
Posts: 1467

5/26/11 1:27:37 PM#21
Originally posted by Sain34

 

 

I am sorry, but DnD is not to blame for the current state of MMOs. There is in fact a flaw in MMO being made today and that flaw is the simple fact that developers are giving us (the players) exactly what we asked for. We are curretly reaping what we have been sowing for years with endless forum threads about forced grouping and games being to hard and unfair drop rates and leveling being to slow, yes sir "that MMO" that is damaging the genre is exactly what we asked for it to be.

Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner folks! Give that fan a teddy bear!

  Arthineas

Novice Member

Joined: 6/01/08
Posts: 232

5/26/11 7:11:17 PM#22
Originally posted by dougmysticey

I will start with this. Without D&D there would not have been CRPGs and Action RPGS on the PC and later the console. Without those there would likely have never been any MMOs to begin with. So I can't blame D&D. While I am finding many of the latest entries into MMOs a rehash in many ways I have enjoyed MMOs for better than 10 years so THANK YOU D&D for that.

You just said exactly what I was going to say.  Both the developers of UO and especially EQ was influenced by D&D.  And those two games put mmorpgs on the map.  If they would have flopped this industry would have never got started.  

As far as some of the current mmorpgs not being good, that has absolutely nothing to do with D&D and everything to do with the developers.

  LordPsychodi

Novice Member

Joined: 6/14/07
Posts: 102

5/26/11 8:35:44 PM#23

1. Dungeons and Dragons has come a long way. Where once dungeons were deadly and perilous to experienced, downright hopeless to new players, more modern editions, 3rd and namely 4th focused much more on making characters tougher at a baseline for encounters. Likewise, skills, and feats were added in eventually as further methods to give characters out of combat functions not solely given to spellcasters. In 4th edition many spells became "rituals" which anyone who spends a feat can gain access to for further skill-related powers at a cost for out of combat options. Characters live longer, resurrection is more commonplace and perfectly acceptable within the core rules. "Spells" and abilities are no longer found nor under the whim of the DM, and many are more streamlined/made with increasing benefits when levels reach certain points. Nowadays, because we have solid rules for many actions, and is no longer up to the DM's whims of what is permissable for a situation and what is not, honstly there *is* much more room for what the OP is trying to describe, experience for out of combat encounters/mixed encounters. There's even guidelines for how much experience should be handed out for each particular type of challenge.

 

2. MMOs borrow from what I consider to be pooled references. They draw from qualities that are very similar to tabletop games because these are the very core mechanics of many types of games,  tabletop, computer or console. They are quite finite, and despite creativity, will look similar. Things like class, race, "ability scores" are all actually very generic things are are *NOT* special to D&D. It may have been one of the first to use those to define characters mechanically, but there are plenty of other tabletops games and tons of video and computer games that take up these same concepts that are NOT Dungeons and Dragons, nor does D&D have some kind of trademark or copyright on these things. (in fact the parent company  of D&D in the 80s and 90s, TSR once tried to sue for these things and lost miserably, which was a very good thing)

3. Older editions of dungeons  and dragons are not a good baseline and while their mechanics were admired and used in some of the most successful CRPGs of all time, given that while they were "popular" then,10-20x play 3rd and 4th edition than people who have ever played earlier editions. The modern Neverwinter Nights has been played by more people than who have ever touched 1st edition D&D and before, and honestly I don't think developers are so easily fooled into thinking old D&D was so much more popular OR than it actually was. Older D&D editions had way more rigid charts and tables than I've seen between ten modern D&D releases these days.

 

I really don't think we are stuck in a cycle of recreating old things in new forms. D&D jumpstared role playing games, but old D&D much like its creator Gary Gygax, are both dead, and the industry probably is better off remembering what they did, but forgetting *what* old D&D was. Gary Gygax was an innovator, but a poor game designer. Even a glimpse at "Lejendary adventures", a small and I believe free tabletop RPG shows pretty clearly he didn't understand the causes of success for modern RPGs and that he made as many bad design mistakes as he made good ones. But this is practically the truth for every type of game, where nostalgia is often confused for good game design because it was so well enjoyed.

However, these days, with mechanics like skill checks/challenges/modernized traps and story paths and "quest experience" I think most games generally are going in the right direction, just slower than one would like. Unlike tabletop games where every rule *is* technically optional (not that the DM necessarily is in the right to always treat them as such), computer games cannot decide to randomlly remove or decide not to use a particular rule one day to the next, nor can it create things on the fly to suit player tastes. While every RPG group has material 99% of the time that is tailored to that exact group, more specifically the characters present, MMOs can only guess at proper party makeup and hope to provide a challenge for everyone in interesting ways, besides combat.

  TheCrow2k

Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 956

5/26/11 8:49:13 PM#24
Originally posted by eayes

I respect the OP's opinion but to me say D&D is to blame is the same as saying WoW is to blame for fairly lame MMO's coming out recently. The only thing holding things back are the developers themselves.

I disagree with the OP on the sentiment about D&D, I think its really wrong particularly when you look at the dumbing down of all PnP rules accross the board in the Fourth Edition books which has made the PnP game more like an MMORPG.....

Eayes - to say developer are holding things back is also very misleading. There are lots of very innovative titles coming out or that have come and gone in the MMO space. The reason many of them do no survive or thrive is the bulk of players DO NOT want innovation.

My god how many new MMO's launch and one of the first complaints is "why arent your chat text colours the same as WoW's ?" /FACEPALM I mean even such a small relatively minor deviation from what has become "the norm" thanks to the WoW masses seems to get slammed so what hope to do devs have of getting the bulk of MMO players to accept innovation ?

People say they want open world MMO's but so many of those MMO's die off because players do not stick with them, players say they want innovation but then slam even the slightest deviation in a game from what is considered "normal or mainstream". Then you have people like the ex wow crowd who went to rift who then bitch and moan that Rift is the same as WoW........ its the same because you as part of the market will spend money on it if its the same & you wont spend money on it if it deviates from your long standing expectations built on the back of previous experience.

So no it is not the developers holding things back it is the majority of players & there have been several articles on this very site that conclude the same.

  Faelan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/13/04
Posts: 831

Oops - looks like I'm an internet dog who somehow learned how to type. What has the world come to?

5/27/11 7:17:50 AM#25
Originally posted by Axehilt
Originally posted by Sovrath

nah.

It was up to the dungeon master to fill in those things or create adventures that didn't have combat.

If anything D&D was better better because it tried not to bog your dm and players down with too much minutae. At least for a while and then more tables and more charats appeared.

As a DM I discarded most of that stuff. It made the adventures flow much better. If I needed a dice roll I based it off of one of the stats or their backgrounds.

Exactly.

It's a tabletop RPG.  If the players and DM want, it can be entirely about crop-farming or political intrigue or any imaginable non-combat experience.  It's anything the group makes of it.

While D&D could be used for a game entirely about crop-farming, political intrigue or other non-combat experiences, it's a really poor fit. There's just so little support for that kind of play in D&D that you're basically just making up most of the stuff and eventually the rules that do not support this kind of play start really getting in the way and grinding your nerves. At that point, you might as well ditch the whole thing and go systemless.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think D&D is awesome for some beer'n'pretzel kick-in-the-door style gameplay and with the right group of people, you can stretch it far beyond its focus when needed. But I'd never run or play D&D in a game that has non-combat activities as the focus of the game. It's just not the game for that kinda thing and there's an abundance of systems on the market that can do a better job without going into extreme detail.

I'm a big ol' fluffy carewolf. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  Adamantine

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/07/08
Posts: 3309

War is not the ultima ratio, but the ultima irratio - Willy Brandt

5/27/11 7:30:24 AM#26

I fail to see why D&D caused MMOs to focus on combat.

MMOs focus on combat because they are large, game development is expensive, and they need a lot of content to keep players happy.

D&D has nothing to do with it.

 

P.s.: Also, that black eye system is definitely not on my list of "systems better than D&D".

  Rasputin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/07/03
Posts: 618

5/27/11 7:47:54 AM#27
Originally posted by LordPsychodi

1. Dungeons and Dragons has come a long way. Where once dungeons were deadly and perilous to experienced, downright hopeless to new players, more modern editions, 3rd and namely 4th focused much more on making characters tougher at a baseline for encounters. Likewise, skills, and feats were added in eventually as further methods to give characters out of combat functions not solely given to spellcasters. In 4th edition many spells became "rituals" which anyone who spends a feat can gain access to for further skill-related powers at a cost for out of combat options. Characters live longer, resurrection is more commonplace and perfectly acceptable within the core rules. "Spells" and abilities are no longer found nor under the whim of the DM, and many are more streamlined/made with increasing benefits when levels reach certain points. Nowadays, because we have solid rules for many actions, and is no longer up to the DM's whims of what is permissable for a situation and what is not, honstly there *is* much more room for what the OP is trying to describe, experience for out of combat encounters/mixed encounters. There's even guidelines for how much experience should be handed out for each particular type of challenge.

 

2. MMOs borrow from what I consider to be pooled references. They draw from qualities that are very similar to tabletop games because these are the very core mechanics of many types of games,  tabletop, computer or console. They are quite finite, and despite creativity, will look similar. Things like class, race, "ability scores" are all actually very generic things are are *NOT* special to D&D. It may have been one of the first to use those to define characters mechanically, but there are plenty of other tabletops games and tons of video and computer games that take up these same concepts that are NOT Dungeons and Dragons, nor does D&D have some kind of trademark or copyright on these things. (in fact the parent company  of D&D in the 80s and 90s, TSR once tried to sue for these things and lost miserably, which was a very good thing)

3. Older editions of dungeons  and dragons are not a good baseline and while their mechanics were admired and used in some of the most successful CRPGs of all time, given that while they were "popular" then,10-20x play 3rd and 4th edition than people who have ever played earlier editions. The modern Neverwinter Nights has been played by more people than who have ever touched 1st edition D&D and before, and honestly I don't think developers are so easily fooled into thinking old D&D was so much more popular OR than it actually was. Older D&D editions had way more rigid charts and tables than I've seen between ten modern D&D releases these days.

 

I really don't think we are stuck in a cycle of recreating old things in new forms. D&D jumpstared role playing games, but old D&D much like its creator Gary Gygax, are both dead, and the industry probably is better off remembering what they did, but forgetting *what* old D&D was. Gary Gygax was an innovator, but a poor game designer. Even a glimpse at "Lejendary adventures", a small and I believe free tabletop RPG shows pretty clearly he didn't understand the causes of success for modern RPGs and that he made as many bad design mistakes as he made good ones. But this is practically the truth for every type of game, where nostalgia is often confused for good game design because it was so well enjoyed.

However, these days, with mechanics like skill checks/challenges/modernized traps and story paths and "quest experience" I think most games generally are going in the right direction, just slower than one would like. Unlike tabletop games where every rule *is* technically optional (not that the DM necessarily is in the right to always treat them as such), computer games cannot decide to randomlly remove or decide not to use a particular rule one day to the next, nor can it create things on the fly to suit player tastes. While every RPG group has material 99% of the time that is tailored to that exact group, more specifically the characters present, MMOs can only guess at proper party makeup and hope to provide a challenge for everyone in interesting ways, besides combat.

What a bunch of baloney. Don't pass off your personal opinion as fact.

I, for one, hate stupid skills (like Sense Motive), that have no place in a tabletop game, where the mission of sensing surrounding's motives is one of the biggest parts of the roleplaying game itself. Now it is reduced to a roll of the dice.

Furthermore, I hate all the spells. What the hell is up with thieves and warriors casting spells? Spells, spells, spells. I could puke.

That is my personal opinion, and I don't try to wrap it up so it looks like an official fact, that should be accepted at face value. Unlike you.

  Drachasor

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 2693

5/27/11 11:53:34 AM#28

Considering D&D is the father of ALL RPGs whether PnP or CRPG, I think it is wildly innappropriate to blame it for any problems that exist.  These games might very well not exist without D&D (not that I am saying any edition of D&D is perfect).

I think the big problem with MMOs is simple economics.  They are hugely expensive to make and getting the funding for them is far from trivial.  Anything like that encourages companies to be conservative and try to aim for designs that are a "sure thing."  That's why there isn't a lot of innovation (which MMOs certainly need).  Investors are scared of taking chances, because most of the time when you take a chance you fail and failure is an expensive proposition.

So overall, I don't think it is really about evil companies, bad players (which is the most ridiculous target of blame), etc.  It's just an unfortunate but unavoidable business fact.

  Drachasor

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 2693

5/27/11 11:59:09 AM#29
Originally posted by Rasputin

I, for one, hate stupid skills (like Sense Motive), that have no place in a tabletop game, where the mission of sensing surrounding's motives is one of the biggest parts of the roleplaying game itself. Now it is reduced to a roll of the dice.

Furthermore, I hate all the spells. What the hell is up with thieves and warriors casting spells? Spells, spells, spells. I could puke.

That is my personal opinion, and I don't try to wrap it up so it looks like an official fact, that should be accepted at face value. Unlike you.

I understand your school of thought regarding RPGs.  However, I find another school of thought more persuasive (for me at least).  If I want to play an excellent public speaker, a skilled tracker, or the like, then it seems rather silly to demand I am personally good at these skills.  The whole point is I want my character to be good at them.  Hence skills like "sense motive" have a role in creating characters that are good at something the player isn't.  It's not perfect, but they have value and can be properly used without changing all social encounters to dice rolls.

Anyhow, regarding "warriors and thieves casting spells" I assume you are referring to 4th Edition.  Well, they aren't casting spells there.  That edition just gives everyone special moves they can do to add some depth to gameplay while making it a bit less complicated.  Of course, I don't think 4th is perfect by any means.  It is written and formed in a way that severely hampers player creativity (that's my experience running a 4th Ed game).  That said, treating bashing someone in the head to knock the sense out of them as a special ability does make a lot of sense.

  Vesavius

Old School

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 7121

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

5/27/11 12:16:18 PM#30
Originally posted by Elikal

I no longer play D&D, mainly Pathfinder/ CoC/ Traveller/ M&M, but I can't see how you blame 4E for whats wrong in MMORPGs, so I will assume you mean the older system versions.

I understand for many "Dungeons and Dragons" is one of "holy cows" for gamers and fantasy geeks. And many MMO gamers still have fond memories of pen and paper gaming. It is undoubtly true that D&D played a central role in the shaping of CRPGs and thus in the long run also of MMORPGs. The early computer RPGs were all more or less attempts to bring the dungon runs of D&D to computers. They functioned in the same, simple formula of D&D: make a dungeon and fill it with mobs. That was the central formula of D&D since it's early days: monster slaying.

No no no.

PnP RPGs, D&D included, are whatever you make them... they are not about 'slaying monsters', unless you play like a 13 yr old newbie (either because you don't know better, or because sometimes thats fun).

They are also not about 'getting a dungeon and filling it with mobs', unless you want them to be.

Both of these things can be included, sure, but it's a cliche and lazy way of thinking to think thats what they 'are about'.

How long has it been you PnP RPed? And how old was you when you last did it?

Now while for once and then this is fine and nice, as someone who plays tabletop Pen and Paper games for almost 30 years now,

So your 40 years old +?

and your perception is that D&D to you is still just about filling a dungeon full of monsters to kill?

oh boy...that explains the title of the thread at least.

My experience as DM of Arcania showed me there are a plethora of other ways to give experience to a group of characters other than how many mobs they killed.

as there is in D&D. The DM has the freedom to reward whatever he likes for whatever he likes. RP, puzzle solving, objective completion, whatever.

In Arcania, a character has a legion of non combat skills: Convincing, Heraldic, Etiquette, Dress-up, Disguise, Bluff, Streetwise Knowledge and many others, all to be applied to find other, non violent ways to proceed through a quest.

As has D&D, and has had for wellover 20 years. Why are you trying to make out that D&D has always been simply a combat mechanic?

Honestly, Eli, this all sounds like an elitist attack on D&D rather then a post on why it  'is to blame'.

D&D is true sandbox. My players have created entire kingdoms through magic, diplomacy, marriage, and yes violence. They have been merchant princes and pirate raiders, they have talked their way to fame and fortune and spent weeks of play time never raising a sword. D&D has allowed all that, and much more.

In short, the game has always been what you make it... if you have chosen in the past to make it a narrow and simple monster bash, fair enough, but don't try to define the game by that experience.

Maybe if the game devs had carried on following the true sandbox theme of D&D rather then focusing on the chain killing we might have better games right now, but you can't blame D&D that they focused on the most basic part only. Blame the devs. Better yet, blame the players who make up the market that keeps buying the same old crap.

  Unlight

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 2586

5/27/11 12:30:34 PM#31
Originally posted by Sovrath

nah.

It was up to the dungeon master to fill in those things or create adventures that didn't have combat.

If anything D&D was better better because it tried not to bog your dm and players down with too much minutae. At least for a while and then more tables and more charats appeared.

As a DM I discarded most of that stuff. It made the adventures flow much better. If I needed a dice roll I based it off of one of the stats or their backgrounds.

Agreed.  D&D tabletop was all about killing monsters and collecting loot if you were a lazy player with a lazy DM, or if you were a complete beginner.  The RP stuff was supposed to be filled in by the imaginations of the participants.  if you can't get your nose out of the rulebooks, then that's all you'll get from the experience.  And it's not just D&D but all tabletop RPGs.  Today, even though I no longer play D&D, when I do play a tabletop game, it's 90% roleplaying and planning and 10% execution or die-rolling.

You get what you put into a game.

  Aganazer

Novice Member

Joined: 11/20/08
Posts: 1328

5/27/11 12:35:09 PM#32



Originally posted by Elikal
My experience as DM of Arcania showed me there are a plethora of other ways to give experience to a group of characters other than how many mobs they killed. And if we look even at the most modern MMOs in the making, GW2 and SWTOR, they still give XP for mobs killed. Yes, you have a story-reason and you may not get the XP so much for the kills as to gather some badges they drop, but in the essence the are still kill counters, however elaborately masked. When I recall an adventure evening I DMed in Arcania, often an entire evening of, say, 8 hours went on with maby 1 fight or some even without any. The group would try to sneak by, or make diplomany or explore or do any number of solutions to the issue other than kill things, and it still way cool and interesting. So why don't MMOs do that more often? We heard it as a promise or plan often enough, but in the execution, it was always more a figleaf than a really new area. Example: The Vanguard diplomancy card game. It was a great idea: you needed a diplomat to open new stories or to find alternative solutions to quests. But the realization was only some side-note fun cardgame.
In Arcania, a character has a legion of non combat skills: Convincing, Heraldic, Etiquette, Dress-up, Disguise, Bluff, Streetwise Knowledge and many others, all to be applied to find other, non violent ways to proceed through a quest. Unfortunately D&D has sort of developed back to a pure mob killing game recently with the newest D&D 4 system, where a ton of potential social skills have all be cut away and you get XP purely for mob killing. A D&D dungeon romp has no diplomatic solution, and this heritage formed the perception of what a MMORPG has to be to this very day. You get XP for killing stuff.

I find it quite ironic that DDO is one of the few (or possibly the only) MMOG that has working stealth, rewards players for avoiding combat, doesn't provide experience for killing MOB's, and has a plethora of non-combat skills such as Diplomacy, Bluff, Haggle, Perform, etc.

If anything modern MMOG's could be improved greatly by being MORE like D&D and less like Gauntlet.

  Nadia

Elite Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11305

5/27/11 12:51:18 PM#33
Originally posted by Aganazer

If anything modern MMOG's could be improved greatly by being MORE like D&D and less like Gauntlet.

heh I always thought that WOW was basically a MMO version of Diablo

 

and games like Gauntlet/Diablo are nothing but hack/slash

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

5/27/11 4:18:57 PM#34
Originally posted by Faelan

While D&D could be used for a game entirely about crop-farming, political intrigue or other non-combat experiences, it's a really poor fit. There's just so little support for that kind of play in D&D that you're basically just making up most of the stuff and eventually the rules that do not support this kind of play start really getting in the way and grinding your nerves. At that point, you might as well ditch the whole thing and go systemless.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think D&D is awesome for some beer'n'pretzel kick-in-the-door style gameplay and with the right group of people, you can stretch it far beyond its focus when needed. But I'd never run or play D&D in a game that has non-combat activities as the focus of the game. It's just not the game for that kinda thing and there's an abundance of systems on the market that can do a better job without going into extreme detail.

I guess if my DMs were weak I might feel the same way.  But my friends have always been able to improvise these sorts of systems perfectly well.  Tabletop RPGs are about socializing, imagination, and improv.  By no means do they require game systems which account for every type of activity.

The combat rules are really just an excuse to get together with friends to have whatever the hell adventure you and your friends want.

  Onigod

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/07
Posts: 692

5/27/11 4:22:34 PM#35
Originally posted by nolic1

I Agree with allot of what you say. But to put in into a MMO would be challenging enough. Take any mmo I dont just go kill things but look for the simple path to complete the quest/task at hand if I fail I try again but do it differently and its all about trying and not failing. But all to often most mmo's have gone this route of kill 10 rats type quests. So we are stuck in a world where we follow whats put forth for us and not try to do whats not. Maybe Guildwars 2 will offer another solution or maybe SWTOR but we must wait and see. I hope one day a company comes along and makes an MMO thats open world with out quests at all this way you can make your own path and find your own quests.

sandbox

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

5/27/11 4:36:59 PM#36
Originally posted by Rasputin

What a bunch of baloney. Don't pass off your personal opinion as fact.

I, for one, hate stupid skills (like Sense Motive), that have no place in a tabletop game, where the mission of sensing surrounding's motives is one of the biggest parts of the roleplaying game itself. Now it is reduced to a roll of the dice.

Furthermore, I hate all the spells. What the hell is up with thieves and warriors casting spells? Spells, spells, spells. I could puke.

That is my personal opinion, and I don't try to wrap it up so it looks like an official fact, that should be accepted at face value. Unlike you.

I dunno, personally I agree with all of LordPsychodi's post.  Entertainment may be subjective to the individual, but can be objectively measured on a broad basis -- and most of the points he makes are true in this objective sense.

Old D&D was this bizarre sado-masochistic torture experience where the DM was almost the only player with a license to have fun and hopefully the other players were masochists because that's the only way they're gonna derive enjoyment from the game.

The above statement is true of early MMORPG designs too (except instead of someone being the DM and genuinely having fun torturing players, the server is the DM, so no players were having fun -- except the masochists.)  With less needless torture/timesinks in modern MMORPGs, they've predictably become quite popular.

The thing modern MMORPGs have yet to learn is how to provide the right spread of difficulty so each player can have their sweet spot of challenge.  It's fine for players to mistake inconvenience for challenge -- they're free to be wrong.  But if game designers fail this distinction it becomes a critical failing in the genre as a whole, and a big stumbling block for the genre being enjoyable to everyone.

  Venger

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/03/04
Posts: 1322

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5/28/11 12:24:13 AM#37

I wouldn't disagree with your core idea, MMOs focus way to heavly on combat.  But I don't think pnp games had anything to do with it.  PnP games depth really depend on who is running the game.  Typically when I dm I will reward my players for thinking outside the box more then just charging in and killing everything that moves.

I'd say the number one culprit is single player rpgs.  Hell starting with EQ most mmos have been little more then single player rpgs with people filling the AI roles.

  theratmonkey

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/24/06
Posts: 684

?

5/28/11 12:54:46 AM#38
Originally posted by Elikal

I understand for many "Dungeons and Dragons" is one of "holy cows" for gamers and fantasy geeks. And many MMO gamers still have fond memories of pen and paper gaming. It is undoubtly true that D&D played a central role in the shaping of CRPGs and thus in the long run also of MMORPGs. The early computer RPGs were all more or less attempts to bring the dungon runs of D&D to computers. They functioned in the same, simple formula of D&D: make a dungeon and fill it with mobs. That was the central formula of D&D since it's early days: monster slaying.

Now while for once and then this is fine and nice, as someone who plays tabletop Pen and Paper games for almost 30 years now, I always felt D&D was a bit "simple-minded", in the way that it presented a doubtless great world, most popular the Fearun Forgotten Realms setting. But if I compare it to other PnP games, I always felt D&D was in the essence almost solely about slaying monsters. I know the German "Realms of Arcania" ("Das Schwarze Auge") is quite unknown in US and overseas. Maybe some may know the old Northland Trilogy or the first two Drakensang RPGs (which have nothing to do with the new Drakensang MMO btw.), there was always a much greater emphasis on socializing and roleplaying in Arcania and other PnP games. If you examine a typical D&D char and compare it to a char from Arcania, D&D chars have considerably more skill which are based on combat than a char from Arcania. And this was of course the paradigm of D&D: a simple fast paced dungeon run. I mean, there is nothing wrong with this, but in our days, it sort of weighs down all attempts to make different games, because we are so biased and blinded by this D&D heritage that we are still unable to imagine and manifest other ways to "advance" a game than by giving XP for mob kills as in the days of D&D.

 

My experience as DM of Arcania showed me there are a plethora of other ways to give experience to a group of characters other than how many mobs they killed. And if we look even at the most modern MMOs in the making, GW2 and SWTOR, they still give XP for mobs killed. Yes, you have a story-reason and you may not get the XP so much for the kills as to gather some badges they drop, but in the essence the are still kill counters, however elaborately masked. When I recall an adventure evening I DMed in Arcania, often an entire evening of, say, 8 hours went on with maby 1 fight or some even without any. The group would try to sneak by, or make diplomany or explore or do any number of solutions to the issue other than kill things, and it still way cool and interesting. So why don't MMOs do that more often? We heard it as a promise or plan often enough, but in the execution, it was always more a figleaf than a really new area. Example: The Vanguard diplomancy card game. It was a great idea: you needed a diplomat to open new stories or to find alternative solutions to quests. But the realization was only some side-note fun cardgame.

In Arcania, a character has a legion of non combat skills: Convincing, Heraldic, Etiquette, Dress-up, Disguise, Bluff, Streetwise Knowledge and many others, all to be applied to find other, non violent ways to proceed through a quest. Unfortunately D&D has sort of developed back to a pure mob killing game recently with the newest D&D 4 system, where a ton of potential social skills have all be cut away and you get XP purely for mob killing. A D&D dungeon romp has no diplomatic solution, and this heritage formed the perception of what a MMORPG has to be to this very day. You get XP for killing stuff.

 

Only here and there we saw a glimpse of other ways. SWG had with it's sandbox elements something different, especially with the Image Designers, Doctors and Entertainers there were entire subsystems which did not revolve around killing things, and to this day I am quite astonished why something so popular as the Entertainer system never was seen again in any form. One small hope is that SWTOR at least with have *some* decisions where you can get the same XP by nonviolent solutions, at least to a degree. It is not because I am such a pacifist, but it is because there would be need to have a much greater variety HOW to solve a quest, HOW to proceed through a "problem".

In our days, it doesn't make a difference whether you are a Priest or a Ranger or a Paladin: you always kill things. Why can't a Priest try to be diplomat and negiotiate with the robbers at the street, trying to convert them? Or he can go to missions of healing, teaching and preaching rather than killing? Or a Ranger could find other pathways through the wilderness for a group of travellers instead of just killing the robbers on the forest road. There are many ways a "problem" (quest) could be solved, depending on the skills of a character-role and the decisions of the player. And this thinking outside the D&D-box of mob-killing is what I miss and what I yet haven't really seen in MMORPGs. In this I think many developers are still too much confined in this 1970ies ideal of: "fantasy-game = monster killing", where noble attempts like Ultima IV already tried to break away from over two decades ago. But alas, this is a step we yet have to see in MMORPGs: The emancipation from the D&D heritage.

 

When I do PnP gaming, I usually play a game called Exalted, which is by White Wolf (World of Darkness), and what I like about the system it uses is that its based around rewarding the players.

For instance, you can say "I pull out my sword and slash at the creature", that's all well and good, but if you were to give a detailed description of your attack, or even act it out, you're rewarded with bonus dice rolls and EXP. 

It's also not as restrictive as DnD, as you can be the "warrior" class and still be quite adept at crafting, socializing, and other various skills in game.

If you really want to, you can make a character in Exalted that never has to draw a sword to handle situations either. He can talk his way out of things and gain experience via socializing, political manipulation, and inspiration.

While Exalted is almost purely a power game (You start off as a badass demigod, basically), you still have a lot of choice in what you want to do with a character. You can start off as a lowly commoner at essence 2, and by essence 5, you can have a legion under your hands, and you can acheive that without ever fighting.

That's the kind of thing I would love to see incorperated into MMORPGs. The problem with this, though, is that it's hard to put that in a game. The game that I think comes close to this is Eve - You can be an industrial/trade character and never really fight. Or, you can be a pirate/fighter, whatever. It has some good options there.

But I do like the idea of making a traditional fantasy with each class having more to do than just "Kill X this". I would totally play a game where the theif's solo gameplay is centered around stealing and manipulating, while the priest is focused around religious enlightenment.

Groovy.

  Khalathwyr

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Joined: 6/02/04
Posts: 3151

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5/28/11 1:01:24 AM#39

Elikal, your view of how D&D is played is, unfortunately, shaped by you playing it, if you indeed have, with a bunch of unimaginative people.

 

D&D, at least up to 3.5, was not all about monster bashing unless you specifically played it that way. There is a reason there is a diplomacy skill. It's do that Cleric you used as an example could go up to the brigands and talk them into surrendering. There are as many, if not more non-combat skills in D&D (3.5 and below) than in Drakensang, especially if the Drankensang comptuer game uses all the skill in the table-top version.

 

Older (AD&D) versions of D&D even had full sourcebooks dedicated to things like building your own castle and running your own kingdom.

 

If you are solely talking about D&D 4.0, then I wouldn't argue too much. 4.0 was very clearly developed in part because WIzards wanted a computer gaming company to make a MMO or other computer game using it. Atari has done so with Nevewinter and based on the reviews so far that game is severely lacking in near all areas.

 

It's also of note that the overwhelming majority of long time D&D players have shunned the 4.0 system, choosing either to remain with 3.5 and lower or switching to Paizo's Pathfinder system. I got to meet Sean K. Reynolds last week at Reaper Con and he's a pretty cool guy, I must add.

 

No, it's not the systems so much (other than the pitiful move to 4.0) as much as it is the new gamers. Most older gamers (33+ years as measured by today's date) grew up loving the journey and weren't apart of the "got to have it yesterday" group that came behind us. We didn't mind long waits in character advancement because advancing a character wasn't our fun. Just being in the world was our fun.

 

Well, those that followed behind us for the most part are rapid consumers of entertainment. They want to devour it fast so that they do not miss out on the next offering. And if the next offering isn't ready by the time they finish their first helping, they create a thunderous roar that shakes the nine hells.

 

So, content creators, especially in gaming, had to adapt to making stuff faster and in turn diversity of content to be trimmed away, in most cases leaving only combat. Too, often, leaving poorly done combat.

 

It's the people, Elikal, not the systems so much. At least it has been up until the last couple of years when we start seeing those same "gimme, gimme now!!!" people going to work for these gaming companies and you start seeing the content suffer even more.

I'll part with this, I'd love to sit down and watch all 5 hours of a movie like Cleopatra. The folks I mentioned above can barely sit still for an hour or 90 minutes to watch the short attention span movies being made today without checking their smart cellphone and texting someone.

 

Time are changing and it's up to you to not monetarily support these changes and instead find those last bastions of good, fun entertainment and support them. They are out there, though you won't find them on "mainstream" sites like this one.

Khal

 

 

"Many nights, my friend... Many nights I've put a blade to your throat while you were sleeping. Glad I never killed you, Steve. You're alright..."

Kickstarter 1 / Naysayers 0

  bingbongbros

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/10
Posts: 569

5/28/11 1:20:38 AM#40
Originally posted by TheCrow2k
Originally posted by eayes

I respect the OP's opinion but to me say D&D is to blame is the same as saying WoW is to blame for fairly lame MMO's coming out recently. The only thing holding things back are the developers themselves.

I disagree with the OP on the sentiment about D&D, I think its really wrong particularly when you look at the dumbing down of all PnP rules accross the board in the Fourth Edition books which has made the PnP game more like an MMORPG.....

Eayes - to say developer are holding things back is also very misleading. There are lots of very innovative titles coming out or that have come and gone in the MMO space. The reason many of them do no survive or thrive is the bulk of players DO NOT want innovation.

My god how many new MMO's launch and one of the first complaints is "why arent your chat text colours the same as WoW's ?" /FACEPALM I mean even such a small relatively minor deviation from what has become "the norm" thanks to the WoW masses seems to get slammed so what hope to do devs have of getting the bulk of MMO players to accept innovation ?

People say they want open world MMO's but so many of those MMO's die off because players do not stick with them, players say they want innovation but then slam even the slightest deviation in a game from what is considered "normal or mainstream". Then you have people like the ex wow crowd who went to rift who then bitch and moan that Rift is the same as WoW........ its the same because you as part of the market will spend money on it if its the same & you wont spend money on it if it deviates from your long standing expectations built on the back of previous experience.

So no it is not the developers holding things back it is the majority of players & there have been several articles on this very site that conclude the same.

Since everyone seemed to miss this post but me ill repost it.  I agree with this statement a lot! I always say I want a game that has more sandbox'ish features. Darkfall launchd and i couldnt get into it because i was bored with nothing to do but smack things with weapons or spells.

So what do I want in an MMO? No fucking idea!! I want a time machine so i can go back and play eq1 before PoP again and be happy with mmos

Playing: Smite
Played: Nexus:Kingdom of the Winds, Everquest, DAoC, Everquest 2, WoW, Matrix Online, Vangaurd, SWG, DDO, EVE, Fallen Earth, LoTRo, CoX, Champions Online, WAR, Darkfall, Mortal Online, Guild Wars, Rift, Tera, Aion, AoC, Gods and Heroes, DCUO, FF14, TSW, SWTOR, GW2, Wildstar, ESO
Waiting On: Nothing really, though Black Desert looks pretty amazing so far.

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